Chapter 2 : The Search
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"RONALD" said Hermione, hitting him in the shoulder. "Hey, why did you do that? he said indignantly "I was just wondering why..."
"He can't keep the Elder Wand. Not only is the temptation to use it to great, he will be the target of every dark wizard for the rest of his life. It has to be put back where it came from." The Elder wand is the most powerful wand in the world. Harry had won it from Draco Malfoy. "Well, that would be something new" said Harry. They all laughed. "But seriously, though, the risks are too great. We need to get rid of it. Will you two help me to do it? I don't think I can do this alone."
"Absolutely" said Hermione & Ron at the same time. They looked at each other blushing. Harry looked at them & smiled. It seemed like it took forever for the two of them to get together. He couldn't be happier for them. He looked at them with tears in his eyes "I'm just so happy for you two. Granted, your timing wasn't the best, it being in the middle of a battle & all, but I'm so happy you two finally got together." He hugged the both of them, tears in his eyes. "Let's go." Hermione took Ron's hand. They began walking back to the their house. As they walked, they began moving slower & slower. They were each lost in their own thoughts. Ron had tears running down his face. Fred, his brother, was gone. His parents were in the Great Hall, clustered around his body. Hermione was thinking about Nymphadora Tonks. She was an Auror, and a member of the Order. She had been an like older sister to her and Ginny while they were at #12 Grimmauld Place, the headquarters of the Order. It had belonged to Sirius Black, Harry's Godfather. Tonks and her husband Remus Lupin had come back to help for the battle. They left their newborn son Teddy with her mother Andromeda. They both lost their lives there. They were laid out together in the Great Hall.
Harry could hardly breathe. With every step, his injuries began to take their toll. All of them had been beaten, bullied, and bruised. Especially in the last 48 hours, which seemed like a lifetime. He was haunted by their faces. Fred, Colin Creavy(who worshiped Harry), Tonks, Lupin, Sirius. His parents. How many others had fallen? 50? And it was all his fault. His actions, or lack thereof, resulted in their deaths. He fell against a wall and slowly slid to the floor. "I - I can't do this. I can't go down there."
Ron was at his side. "No worries mate" he said. He wanted to avoid that too. He turned to Hermione, who nodded her head. All three of them were pretty beat up, but she was really worried about Harry. He had told them what had happened in the forest, but she thought there were some things he had left out. They were all exhausted. They had not slept in at least 24 hours. Going to Gryffindor house seemed like the best bet, and it was closer too. They helped Harry to his feet. They stood on either side of them and continued walking. As they grew near the Fat Lady, whose portrait guarded the door, they heard voices. They couldn't tell if it was from in front of them or behind them. "What are we going to do?" Hermione whispered to Ron. "There's nowhere to hide." Ron leaned Harry against the wall. "We'll stand back to back. I guess this will be our last stand." They braced Harry against the wall with their bodies. Hermione reached over and kissed Ron, maybe for the last time. "I love you" she said. "I love you too" said Ron.
They thought they heard Harry say something. "What?" they asked him. "Help" said Harry. "Help what?" said Ron. "No - Help." Harry was pointing. Coming up the stairs, wands drawn, were Neville, Dean, & Seamus. From the opposite direction he saw Bill, Padma, and Parvati. They were all happy to find the 'Golden Trio'.
"Thank God we found you" said Padma. "We thought there were still some unsavory folks..." she stopped when she saw Harry. "Blimey mate" said Dean. Harry was a mess. His clothes were ripped to shreds. Between the mud, grass, and blood you could hardly see his pants. 'I wonder whose blood that is?' Seamus thought. 'I hope it's not all his own.' Hermione and Ron didn't look much better. The search parties looked at them in shock.
Ron looked at his brother Bill. "How are mom and dad?" Bill didn't answer right away. "Did you know about Fred..." Ron nodded as Harry let out a moan. "We're not going down there right now. Let's go into our house and go up to the dorm rooms.
"OK" said Neville. "Seamus, Dean, and I will escort you the rest of the way. You three head back and let everyone know we found them and where they are."
Hermione looked at Bill. "Please tell you parents, the Minister, and the Headmistress that we just need to get some rest right now."
Bill replied "I think that is a good idea. There may still be some of the press around too. I think they may be worse that the Death Eaters. Especially that Skeeter woman. " Bill, Parvati, and her sister Padma went back to the Great Hall.
"Seamus, you and Dean help Harry" said Neville. He took the lead as they walked the rest of the way to their house, followed by Dean, Harry, and Seamus, and lastly Hermione and Ron.
"I am really worried about Harry" said Ron. "Me too" she said. They could hear him moaning about their fallen comrades. Tears were running down the faces of Neville, Seamus, and Dean. They could only imagine what the three had been through. Dean had some idea, having been freed from Malfoy Manor with Luna and the wand maker Olivander by Dobby. He knew Dobby lost his life in the process and is buried outside of Fleur and Bill's home at Shell Cottage. 'How can they still be standing' he thought of Hermione and Ron, walking behind him. It looks like they are a couple.
Dean nodded to Seamus, and glanced behind them. "Finally. About time" he told them. They smiled to them, and to each other. 'We've all been to hell and back' Seamus thought. He didn't know if he could ever tell anyone about it. Maybe one day, but not now. As one of the leaders of the resistance order, Neville, Ginny, Luna, and he were targeted by the Carrows. If their captors had not been so sadistic, they probably would have been killed as examples. Instead, they were returned beaten.
Soon they reached the door. The Fat Lady, seeing who they were, opened without the password, tears in her eyes. They helped get Harry up to the dorm room they all shared. "The three of us are going to be down in the common room" said Neville. They went back downstairs and transfigured the furniture so there were two beds in front of the fireplace and a chair at the foot of the stairs. "Who wants first watch? asked Neville. Seamus and Dean looked at each other. "OK, I'll go first" said Neville. "I'll wake up-Seamus said "me'-in about four hours, then Dean, it will be your shift." They all nodded, Neville sat down, and the other two laid down, falling asleep immediately.
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