Chapter 1 : The Battle
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Disclaimer: All plots and characters known are J.K.Rowling's
“The calm before the storm,” Hermione muttered to herself, watching the blue sky become blanketed by black storm clouds through her bedroom window at 12 Grimmauld Place.
Of course, it wasn’t just the weather that Hermione was thinking about.
A near year had passed since the death of Dumbledore, and it had been several months since any solid news of Lord Voldemort’s whereabouts. Harry, Ron and Hermione had been using this break between battles to capture horcruxes. They had succeeded in finding and destroying five, and knew that they were close to destroying Voldemort for good.
However, the Order of the Phoenix had been tipped off a month ago that Voldemort was preparing for an attack on Hogwarts. Only hours before, a scout had seen movement of Voldemort’s followers congregating around Hogsmeade, and the Order was preparing themselves to leave Grimmauld Place for Hogwarts to increase the schools’ defense.
Hermione looked around at her and Ginny’s shared bedroom; walls of cream and two beds next to one another, one flawlessly made, and one unkempt. Hermione’s duffle bag was sitting on top of her bed, with a few items placed beside it, all packed and ready to go.
I hope I return, at the end of all of this, she thought. She could hear the bustle of members running up and down the stairs, organising themselves, yet Hermione was sitting on the windowsill watching the clouds take over the beautiful blue skies, trying desperately to zone out of it all for a few moments.
She was embarrassed to admit it, but she was scared. For once, Hermione did not “know it all”.
She felt herself mentally and physically prepared for what she was going to experience. The chances they were walking in to battle was high, and she was ready. But it did not make the situation any less terrifying.
"Come on Hermione, we have to get to the portkey!"
Harry was shouting from the second storey landing, trying to hurry Hermione up from packing her things.
With one last look around, Hermione pulled herself together and stood up, breathing deeply as she walked towards her bed, packing the last few items.
“Hermione,” Hermione lifted her head to see Harry standing in the doorway, a melancholy look on his face. It was not hard for Hermione to notice that Harry was also as afraid as she was.
“Let’s go. We really need to be going,” Harry said softly.
"Alright, alright, I'm coming.” Hermione huffed as she threw the last few books into her duffle bag before shrinking it, stuffing it into her pocket and heading downstairs, Harry following her.
As Hermione entered the kitchen, she was graced with the faces of the rest of the Order members, speaking quietly to one another, waiting for direction on what to do next.
She met Tonk’s gaze, and they nodded to one another, and she watched as Mr Weasley gave Mrs Weasley’s hand a gentle squeeze. The air in the crowded kitchen was so thick with uncertainty, that Hermione could almost hold out her hand and clutch her fingers around it.
Seeing the fellow members before her, the determined looks on their faces, fear in their eyes, made Hermione shiver. Remus Lupin looked around, checking that Harry and Hermione had come down, and began to orchestrate the travel plan, but Hermione was barely listening. She was focusing all of her energy on calming her rapid heartbeat. Ron noticed her absentminded gaze, and her red-headed friend nudged her slightly, pulling her from her reverie as the group began to congregate around the portkey.
Taking a long, deep breath, she hauled her jacket further up onto her shoulder, stepping in a few paces so that she was within reach. She had barely a moment more to ponder, as upon hearing Lupin’s signal, the group all grabbed onto the cracked tyre and felt an uneasy tug in their navel, Grimmauld Place spinning away below them.
Finding himself alone, lurking the halls of Hogwarts late at night with only Peeves and his thoughts for company was not quite the seventh year Draco had expected.
In fact, if he was realistic, he did not envision himself returning to Hogwarts for his seventh year at all. Instead, he saw himself donning robes and a mask blacker than black, vowing his lifelong servitude to the Dark Lord.
And initially, he did. He bent the knee and took upon him the Dark Mark, doing the bidding of his master. But he felt uneasy, and every mission gave him an overwhelming sense of regret of his new position.
During the summer Draco was given an opportunity to sneak away from the tight grasp of Voldemort, if only temporarily, and return to Hogwarts.
It had come as a surprise, considering his failed assassination attempt on the headmaster was burned well into the brain of both sides, yet McGonagall had approached him, somewhat apprehensively, offering him the protection of Hogwarts if he desired to complete his final year.
When he forced himself to say yes, and asked why she offered, she merely huffed back that she had “her reasons.”
And so he’d returned, keeping to himself for the year, ignoring both the burning calls to action from the Dark Mark on his arm, and the stares and whispers from the students and teachers as he went through his days.
When Draco wasn’t studying or spending time walking around thinking, he was trying to devise up a plan to avoid the Dark Lord’s grasp once he left Hogwarts. There were only so many weeks left of school, and he knew he would endure the Dark Lord’s wrath for abandoning him once outside of the schools protection if he couldn’t keep himself hidden.
His late night wander was interrupted by the eruption of a loud siren echoing throughout the halls. He covered his ears, but split seconds later, it disappeared to be replaced by McGonagall’s voice, echoing throughout the corridors;
“Attention all fifth, sixth, and seventh years, your presence is urgently needed in the Great Hall. Bring your wands. All students fourth year and younger to your dormitory immediately, and stay there.”
Draco knew exactly what that emergency siren meant. He stood cemented in place for a few minutes, thoughts spinning through his head as he watched students and teachers alike rushing past him, up and down corridors with wands out and fear in their eyes.
He had half a thought to turn away from the Great Hall and find somewhere quiet and secluded, and hope that if he put up every protection charm he knew, he would come out okay after it had all finished. But after everything he had gone through, he couldn’t find it in himself to turn away. Instead, he took out his wand, and walked briskly towards the Great Hall, thinking about what he now had in store for him. “Merlin help me,” he mumbled, “I wonder which side will kill me first.”
Arriving in front of the heavy steel gates of Hogwarts made Hermione’s skin crawl with dread. The path was silent, and a thick fog had descended, making it impossible to see even a few feet ahead of themselves, throwing an ominous feel onto the grounds.
Upon seeing her discomfort, Harry squeezed her shoulder softly. Sending a thankful smile his way, Hermione focused her attention back on to the school that had become such a big part of her life, and her home for the past six years. She didn't want to see it destroyed by the likes of Voldemort and his cronies.
Walking up the long path to the school, it was obvious to everyone how much of an effect the war had had on the school in just under a year. The grounds were completely deserted. There wasn't a creature, human or otherwise, in sight. For the first time since Hermione could remember, there were boundaries on where students were allowed access, cutting off all access apart from the castle, even Hagrid’s hut or the Herbology greenhouses were too far away. The castle itself was locked from the inside out with a collection of charms and spells, as well as protective shields and defensive weapons; Hogwarts trying its best to keep its students safe.
Professor Flitwick was outside waiting for them to arrive. After re-locking the castle, he escorted them to congregate with everyone in the Great Hall. The amount of people that had come to Hogwarts’ aid to fight was reassuring, but, as Hermione could see, they all had the same look of fear and disconcertion of the unknown in their eyes as she had in hers.
As Harry and Ron accompanied Lupin to speak to McGonagall and Kingsley, Hermione spotted Neville and a familiar female redhead, both sporting Prefects badges, and made a beeline towards them. Ginny turned around just in time for Hermione to give her a hug.
There was no words that could be exchanged between the two, but the hug portrayed all emotion from not seeing each other over the past few months.
Ginny released Hermione from her grip and looked up at her with a serious gaze. “We’ll get through this, and afterwards, we will drink butterbeer and catch up until the sun comes up!” She tried her best to sound light-hearted, but her voice cracked at the end of her sentance.
A faint smile graced Hermione’s lips, and she pulled Ginny in for another hug. “Yeah Gin,” she spoke softly, “we will get through this.”
She gave Neville’s shoulder a soft reassuring squeeze and turned her head to look around the room once more. She did a quick double take as her eyes landed on white-blonde hair on a tall body sitting on the very end of a table, alone.
She couldn’t see his face, his features hidden behind his hair, but she knew instantly that the body belonged to that of Draco Malfoy. Her brow furrowed, she stared at him for a few moments, trying to understand his reasoning behind being in the room.
Feeling eyes on him, Draco flicked his head up and came to stare straight into Hermione’s brown eyes, her face frowning. His facial expression was passive, and he stared at her for a few seconds, before moving his gaze elsewhere.
Shouldn't he be on the other side? Hermione wanted nothing more than to go over and tell him to leave, and that he did not belong in the Hogwarts walls, but on the outside with the other Death Eaters. But the look in his eyes stopped her in her tracks. She could sense an emotion that seemed almost indiscernible… fear? Was he scared of what was to come?
As she thought about it, weren’t they all scared?
“We are here today to hold defence over this castle,” Kingsley interrupted Hermione’s thoughts, and she hastened to stand next to Harry and Ron between the rest of the Order as they began to get the battle plan.
“We have received intelligence that Voldemort is after a specific treasure held here in the castle, and while Voldemort and his army will come and attack us with the might of mountains,” he said darkly, “We have to work together and fight with the highest hope that we can get through this, and end his evil forever. I want everyone in this room to walk tall, and fight with pride for who you are and what you believe in.”
There was a chorus of cheers that erupted throughout the Great Hall, extinguished after a few moments by loud explosions. The enemy had arrived.
Bellatrix threw the vicious curse at Hermione, jeering at her, and Hermione dodged just in time, diving to the ground, picking herself up in an instant and running from Bellatrix, throwing a disarming spell at a hooded figure who was aiming their wand at a fallen student.
The battle had begun, yet no-one was aware of the time that had passed. The fight had already resulted in heart-wrenching deaths on both sides. There were bodies littering Hogwarts’ grounds, many indiscernible and unknown whether they were alive or dead.
There was still no clear winning side, but both sides were doing their worst to inflict as much damage towards their enemies Harry and Voldemort were nowhere to be seen, and the fog that had settled on the grounds had become more dense, making the circumstances even more bleak than before, with curses and spells whizzing through the mist around them, hitting those who got caught unexpectedly by their fire.
Hermione did her best to help the students around her, attacking death eaters who were taking on students who were no match for them. She watched on as a young fifth year student crumpled to the ground as a result of the killing curse, with her hand over her mouth in horror, before having to duck to avoid a misfired stunning spell. Getting back up, she sent a disarming and stunning spell in the direction of the death eater closest to her, and ran further into the mist, looking around for Harry and Ron.
Ron was fighting the death eater Dolohov behind Lucius Malfoy, who looked to be struggling with a member of the Order. Seeing Lucius Malfoy, Draco sprung into her mind, and she frantically looked around to see if she could spot flecks of silver blond hair. She was concerned whether she would see if he would be attacking for Voldemort’s side, and wanted to know if she could disarm him herself. As she looked around, she spotted Draco not too far away from her.
He was standing still amongst all the fighting, with an unreadable look on his face, watching the battle. Hermione followed his line of sight; his father was now fighting a student, one she did not recognise. A few moments later, she saw a rogue blast of green light slam Lucius in the chest. Before she knew what was happening, Lucius Malfoy crumpled to the ground, motionless.
After deflecting a few quick spells from other Death Eaters, she chanced a look back to Malfoy. His face was blank but his eyes... There was something there. Sadness? Anger? Loneliness? She couldn't tell. It wasn't until he jerked his head to stare directly at her that she realised what she had seen. But it was too late. Hermione hadn't heard the curse aimed at her, by what she did see was Malfoy running at her, trying to push her out of the way, and colliding, their two bodies blasted across the field, getting a full dose of the curse.
The last thing she saw was Bellatrix laughing maniacally before it all went black.
Authors Note: Hello! This is the newly revised version of this chapter as of July 2017. I haven't worked on this story in well over a few years so it's getting a revamp, so if you are new to this story, welcome! and I hope you enjoy it. If are re-reading, welcome back! I hope you enjoy the changes and (hopefully) improvements to the writing style.
Thank you for reading! I hope you continue :D
All comments welcome.
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