Chapter 23 : XXIII - The Final Battle, Part One: Rose
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Hugo was fully dressed, even though he had gone to bed for an early night like Rose. His face was pale and he looked sweaty. It was only then that Rose noticed the frantic voices of her parents coming from downstairs. With the crushing atmosphere that had lingered over the house since James’ death, Rose could not believe that her parents were doing something as normal and human as talking.
“What is it Hugo?” said Rose croakily. Her voice was dry and rasping as she had not used it since her father had come into her room that morning. Hugo still looked blurry and she rubbed her eyes sleepily as her brother barked bluntly, “You’ve got to get up. The school’s been attacked.” Rose leapt out of bed instantly. The school under attack? She had heard the mumblings of the Gryffindor boys of a Slytherin takeover, but she had not really taken it seriously.
“The DA are going to fight,” he said quickly, “Uther’s taken charge. He’s sent messages to everyone. I’ve just got mine, you should have yours.” Rose felt a sudden, unexpected pang of pride in Uther, but she quashed the emotion almost instantly as she realised the implications of what Hugo had just said. She was going to have to throw herself into the thick of the battle with everyone else. That meant that she could die and Rose was not quite sure she was brave enough to die.
She nodded quickly at Hugo who whispered, “mum and dad have got a Portkey downstairs. We can use that to get to the school.” At this comment Hugo left the bedroom, leaving Rose to get changed, her mind whirring. What was going to happen? The Order had barely won last time and Rose was not sure they had enough fight left in them.
Another thing that worried her was Scorpius. Would he be sensible and stay out of the fight if he heard about it? Or would he, his good heart prevailing, come and join the fight to protect his school? He could be anywhere, Rose knew, but all she wished was that he stayed safe. Once she was changed she ran downstairs a new spring in her step. Fighting the people who she knew had indirectly destroyed her life would give her too much satisfaction to miss.
The second she arrived at Hogwarts she made her way up to the Gryffindor Common Room. The DA seemed to have congregated there, and members from other houses had been let inside. Uther was standing on an armchair next to the fire, making a speech about how the DA had to fight, not just for themselves, but Hogwarts. Rose skirted around the crowd and caught Uther’s eye for a moment. He smiled as he continued to speak,
“Lestrange had brought dark forces within the castle. As students, we must defend our home,” he said as Rose reached Julia and Cecelia. Julia immediately flung her arms around Rose’s neck out of sympathy for her predicament. Neither she nor Cecelia could mention Rose’s marriage to Scorpius, but Rose knew they both wanted to. Surprisingly Cecelia copied Julia’s motion and also added “I’m so sorry Rose, for everything.”
Rose looked at her two best friends lovingly. They had been with her through everything and now they were going through one of the most testing times of their lives hand in hand. Both Cecelia and Julia had their wands in their hands and Rose suddenly realised that they were both risking their lives for this cause as well. It soon became clear that Uther had finished his speech as there were claps, cheers and whoops as Uther dismounted the armchair and made his way towards Rose.
Rose found herself smiling in spite of herself. She really did love Uther, in her own way, or at least had affectionate, platonic love for him. But, try as she might, while Scorpius was around she could never look at Uther in any other way. She hugged him sadly as he rested his heavy set chin on her shoulder and said “well, you ready?” Rose nodded as they broke apart. There were so many people that she could not bear to see hurt and the top of her list included Uther, Cecelia and Julia.
The DA seemed to be leaving the Common Room and Rose saw lots of people she wanted to remain safe. Barry, the quiet clever boy she sometimes studied with, Duncan, the party animal who always made her laugh and Margot, a sweet girl she wished she knew more of. Even Rosaline, conceited, silly and vain Rosaline held a place of affection in Rose’s heart. These were the people she had shared her childhood and adolescent years with and after losing one she couldn’t bear it if one more died.
She turned to the portrait hole and took her place in the queue as the DA members bustled out. Rose could barely hear her fellow students as her heart was hammering so loudly. She was terrified; she would be participating in a battle, just like her parents did at her age. Soon she found herself outside of the Common Room and the fighters were dissipating throughout the castle. Rose found herself tagging along with Julia and Cecelia and they just began to march along corridors, their eyes open and alert.
After walking like this for awhile, they found themselves in the Charms corridor and Cecelia was getting annoyed. She turned round facing Julia and Rose, “this is hopeless!” she moaned noisily, “I say we just go down to the entrance hall and –“ at this point a bolt of red light flew into the centre of Cecelia’s back and she fell to the floor like a dead weight – she had been stunned. Rose and Julia lifted their wands to see who had shot the spell. Lestrange was up ahead of them smiling menacingly.
“I’ve found you!” he thundered, his eyes locked on a defenceless Rose. Her throat suddenly became dry, there was something sinister about Lestrange, and he always managed to make you feel as if there was ice cold water trickling down your back. Julia was about to throw a stunning spell at him but Lestrange was quicker, and silently he sent long ropes out of his wand which wrapped themselves around Julia like thick snakes, making her fall to the floor. Her wand rolled out of her hand as the ropes slithered around her mouth, muffling her speech and impairing her ability to breathe. It looked as if she was drowning. Rose would have stepped into help but suddenly Lestrange shot a spell at her which pushed her hard against the stone wall.
“Rose,” he whispered, his voice icy cold, “when I free you, you will come with me, to the Heir.” Rose immediately knew this was the last thing in the world she wished to do. “No!” spat Rose, her heart hammering. Lestrange was not a Deatheater, surely? Unexpectedly Lestrange lifted his wand and pointed it at the spluttering Julia and bellowed, “Crucio!”
The next sight was horrible. Julia writhed around in pain, her brow furrowed, her body crumpled in on herself. Her screams were muffled against the ropes that bound her and sweat erupted painfully from her forehead. Rose could not bear to see Julia in so much pain. It was like Rose herself was on fire. Suddenly, Lestrange released Julia from the spell with a simple swish of his hand and he turned to Rose, his wand still pointed at Julia, his eyes bright. “What do you say then Red?”
The use of that nickname that had been used so affectionately by Scorpius so many times before seemed to highlight the horror of what was happening. Rose nodded slowly and Lestrange released Rose, a giant grin spreading across his face. Rose knew she could not hate But it seemed as if Lestrange did not trust Rose or Julia as he lifted his wand again and said “Expelliarmus” as Rose’s wand careered across the corridor away from her. He then changed the direction of his wand to Julia and he whispered “Stupefy”. Julia instantly fell to the floor next to Cecelia as Lestrange pushed his wand into the small of Rose’s back to make her march down the corridor. Taking one last look at her two friends, Rose noted how peaceful they looked. Maybe, in sleep they would be safe.
After walking for less than a minute in silence; Rose thought she could see someone at the end of the next corridor they appeared in. The figure seemed to move tentatively in the darkness, but the way the person walked was familiar. The figure came closer and closer until Lestrange barked for the person to reveal himself. A wand was lit and the owners face was revealed, leaving Rose to almost laugh with relief.
“Malfoy,” began Lestrange, “have you got the dagger?” With that simple question something began to dawn on Rose, something she hadn’t contemplated before. Was Scorpius a Deatheater? Had he murdered James because he was ordered to? Had he lied to Rose, used her, just to gain her trust so she may spill some secrets?
“Yes,” said Scorpius, his eyes slowly shifting to Rose, but he did not directly meet her eyes. “What have you got her for?” Lestrange suddenly dug his wand sharply into Rose’s back and it made her wince in pain. Scorpius didn’t react as Lestrange said emotionlessly, “the Heir wants her, just give me the dagger.” Lestrange removed his wand from Rose back and walked towards Scorpius, at which Scorpius reacted instantly “Stupefy”. Lestrange dropped with a look of surprise, just as Julia and Cecelia had. Tearing her eyes away from the unconscious Lestrange, Rose wrapped her arms around Scorpius’ neck.
“What are you doing here?” she breathed worriedly. Her concern was not appreciated however as while Scorpius embraced her in return, he seemed stiff and agitated. “I’m sorry Rosie,” he whispered, “I’ve got to go; I’ve really got to go.” Rose looked at him in surprise. Scorpius was always affectionate; she knew there was a battle on, but this moment in the quiet, secluded corridor may be the last moment they spent together. If Scorpius was caught, he would certainly go to Azkaban.
“Scorpius, are you working with the Deatheaters?” she said, gazing down at the strange dagger in his hand. “Yes, well, not really,” he replied, “but I have a plan.” Rose looked up into his eyes with the same motherly concern that her grandmother Molly had for the people she loved. She could not help but despair at how she and Scorpius had ended up in the predicament they were in. She thought that if they were born in another time and place, things may have been different.
“Trust me Rose,” whispered Scorpius, smoothing a curtain of hair from her face. Rose kissed him gently before replying, “I do trust you.” He smiled gently as if this affirmation of trust completed his relationship with her, and she finished by saying “and I’ll love you until the day I die.” Rose kissed him again, tasting the sweet flavour of his lips. When they broke apart Scorpius whispered, “I love you Rose, and I will forever more.”
He gave her a small smile which she returned and then he turned on his heel, marching down the corridor and disappearing into the darkness. When it registered with Rose that he had gone into the throng of the battle, she felt herself tremble at the thought. She also felt a sense of finality; it felt as if she was never going to see him again. She shook the thought from her head as she remembered Cecelia and Julia lying unconscious in a corridor.
Retracing her steps, Rose could not help but hear the sounds of fighting coming from other places. Sometimes she would catch some sparring in a corridor she was to turn into and would dart around it. She knew that she would not start duelling until someone attacked her, she could not do it unless it was really necessary. Anyway, she needed to save Cecelia and Julia, and only then could she even think about fighting. She also had no wand.
Eventually she discovered Cecelia and Julia in a corridor. Cecelia had just started to wake up; her dark hair appeared messy as she looked up to see Julia looking in a terrible state. “Rosie!” she shouted, “Quick, come help me! What’s happened to Julia?” Rose stumbled over as she ran over to help her friend. Cecelia was quickly using the spell to wake Julia up and soon she was spluttering and coughing as Cecelia whacked her on the back. Rose had to admit she looked terrible, her brown eyes wide and blood shot and her hair bedraggled.
“Julia,” Cecelia was saying, “are you okay?” Julia gave a gentle nod as Rose grabbed her wand. Julia pulled herself up and found her own wand, her hand tensing around the familiar wood. It was clear that nothing was going to stop Julia. Looking directly at Rose she said, “how did you escape?” Rose felt herself blushing. That moment with Scorpius had felt so intimate, so tender, that she almost didn’t want to tell Julia of that secret meeting. “Scorpius saved me,” she whispered before continuing, “but we must not worry about that now. We’ve got to find the fighting!”
Suddenly a bolt of blue light shot past Rose’s left ear. Turning around, she clearly saw Arnaud Avery through the darkness, flanked by two nameless Slytherin’s. The sight of him made Rose’s blood boil. How did it happen that Avery was still able to be breathing air when James was dead? Cecelia was instantly at Rose’s side as she bellowed, “Avery, you know your side’s done for. Why don’t you go to bed like a good little boy and maybe you won’t end up like your parents.” Avery’s nostrils flared as he stepped worried.
“You won’t be talking like that Davenport when we’ve won this war. You and your bitch of a sister will be the first to go I assure you. I’ll kill you myself just to make sure the jobs done.” Rose could hear Cecelia gulp. Rose had never seen Cecelia hesitate before, she was an impulsive person, hesitating was not something she did. Luckily for her it seemed as if Julia was in a mood to fight and she shot a quick stunning spell at Avery, which unfortunately missed him and careered into one of the smaller Slytherin’s behind him.
Avery reacted like a bullet. He shot a series of flames at the three girls and Rose had to leap back as the sleeve of her shirt caught on fire. Cecelia swore rather loudly as Rose extinguished the fire on her sleeve. Julia however was throwing a variety of jinxes and spells at Arnaud and the remaining Slytherin and they were finally being pushed back. Somehow, amidst the chaos Cecelia managed to shoot a stunner at the remaining nameless Slytherin and he dropped as quick as if he were dead.
Arnaud lifted his wand again but Rose was too quick and she disarmed him with a simple flick of the wrist. He stood there watching them, a look of worry in his eyes. Rose flicked her eyes in Cecelia’s direction who immediately spoke, “just get out of here Avery. Just get out!” Arnaud turned on the spot and marched away, leaving Cecelia, Julia and Rose perfectly alone.
“What are we going to do?” asked Julia, obviously pumped up through the adrenaline. Rose looked hesitantly at Cecelia. It was at times like this when Julia and Rose always looked to Cecelia as their leader. She was the decisive one. She would know what to do. Cecelia paused for a moment, her brow furrowed before she said slowly, “we go to the Great Hall. That’s where the fighting will be.”
So they followed Cecelia, through the castle. The beautiful portrait of Artemisia Luftkin, one that inspired Rose for years while at the school had an enormous hole blown through the centre of it. Artemisia, it seemed, had escaped and was cowering in a portrait with some drunken looking monks who all looked excited at the pretty Artemisia’s presence.
Knots of students fought each other; on staircases, in classrooms, down corridors. Many were so focused on their enemies that they did not notice the three girls making their way to the Great Hall. Each had their wands drawn and Cecelia and Julia looked positively deadly. Rose felt herself trembling in spite of herself.
When they reached a staircase they heard a voice. It was a voice that Rose instantly recognised. It was Isabelle. She was clearly shrieking in terror. “Please,” she spluttered, her voice shrill, “I wasn’t leaving, I promise you. I wasn’t fighting for them either! You’ve got to believe me.” Cecelia, Rose and Julia looked down the stairs to see a Deatheater in black with a hand around Isabelle’s throat, his wand pointed at her temple. Although Rose had never particularly liked Isabelle, now was not the time for petty jealousies. With a flick of her wand Rose had stunned the Deatheater and he fell like a stone. Isabelle span round to look at her saviours, her eyes filled with tears.
“Thank you,” she stammered, “I th-thought h-he was g-g-going to k-k-ill me!” she said, her voice shaking with tears. Rose gave her an innocent smile at which she replied, “Sc-Scorpius was going into the Great Hall and I wanted to f-f-follow him, but that m-man j-jumped out!” Rose was no longer listening however, she darted past Isabelle, leaving her friends trailing in her wake.
Running down to the Great Hall, Rose felt her heart beating. Everyone she loved would be in that room, fighting for her home. “Rosie!” Cecelia was shouting, “wait up!” Rose didn’t listen as she pushed the doors of the Great Hall open and clattered in with an almighty noise. She was met with a very peculiar sight.
The room was deathly quiet; you could have heard a pin drop. Everyone was standing in a large circle that enveloped the room and they were all looking at something in the centre. Several heads turned at the sight of Rose, but after spotting her they all resumed looking. It was only then they she noted the look of shock in everyone’s eyes. Growing agitated, Rose pushed her way through the crowd until she broke to the front of crowd.
When she saw what everyone was looking at she just stopped.
Okay, only three more chapters to go! I hope you're all enjoying it so far. Next I'm planning a Andromeda/Ted story alongside Legendary, tell me what you think. Next time...Scorpius takes up the fights and accepts his destiny...
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