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Chapter 1 : Torn Apart
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Only a few minutes ago, the students and staff of Hogwarts gathered in the Great Hall with the echoes of Minerva McGonagall’s cry resounding from the heavy silence. Everyone but Tom Riddle and his loyal Death Eaters were grave and shocked at the apparent death of Harry Potter. Heart-wrenching sobs echoed throughout the Hall; Harry really was their only hope.
Now, Riddle, dead from his own rebounding curse, lay on the floor, surrounded by cheers of relief caused by the end to the interminable fear he cast over the wizarding world, darkening and taking the lives of too many innocent people. People congratulate and thank Harry profusely, weeping with the happiness of the great burden lifted.
But though most seem jovial as they bustle about and hug each other, Harry can’t help but feel guilty tears streak down his dirt-caked cheeks as he looks at Remus and Nymphadora Lupin, Fred Weasley, and all the others who gave their lives in the battle, laying there, already cold. Ginny bends over her late brother as heavy sobs wrack her dainty figure, recalling all the good that he brought to her and the world. Harry walks over cautiously and hugs Ginny tightly, hoping to comfort her. Melting into a pair of strong arms, she doesn’t try to hold back a fresh wave of tears.
Molly sprawls across her son, weeping in oblivion to her surroundings, and grabs his shirt and howls in the way of a beast without its partner, her deepest desire being to trade places with her son so she could restore his smile to these dampened spirits. The entire Weasley family gathers around, silently mourning. Only George, Fred’s identical twin and partner in crime, seems to be stony faced and unseeing as he looks into the distance. He thinks of all the times they pretended to be each other, all the times they pranked together, and especially their escapade in seventh year and knows that he’ll never be the same. With the departing of Fred, a portion of himself had also passed to another world. Blindly, he clutches the hand of his dearest friend and places it lightly on his own heart, a strong will rising within him to live his life, if not for himself, then for the one that would’ve partnered him in crime.
By now, Death Eaters scramble out of the castle frantically and apparate just outside the protective enchantments. The Order of the Phoenix, or what’s left of it, attempts to draw themselves together in a final effort to avenge their own, but they’re too late and the ever-present cloud of sadness sweeps over them once more, muffling joy like a demetor’s breath.
Harry glances over at the Lupins and thinks of little Teddy at Andromeda’s house all this time, unconscious of the devastating fate that met his parents. And what of Andromeda? She already lost her husband, and now the little bit of close family she had was brutally exterminated. As godfather, Harry bites his lip, determined to do everything Sirius did for him and more, never letting Teddy feel the loneliness that was all too present at Privet Drive.
Just outside the castle, Antonin Dolohov hears the sound of boisterous cheering. “Surely nothing could have gone wrong,” he wonders aloud, “the Dark Lord can’t be…” Suddenly, he feels his left arm start to tingle and looks down, hoping desperately that his vision failed him. The Dark Mark, imprinted on his arm so long ago, starts to fade away, signaling the defeat of the Dark Lord. Dizzy with fear, he loses all hope. He yells in anguish to the wind and sinks down to his knees, feeling empty and limp, the light already leaving his eyes.
Dolohov had cast the spell so many times on others that it was already a perfunctory task when he performs it on himself. “Avada Kedavra.”
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