Chapter 1 : Bystander
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You told me at the beginning that neither of us would be hurt – that we would come through this with only scratches, nothing more. And foolishly I believed you. I could see you were worried, but you never said anything about it. You played your part well, acting as though this was merely another exam we had to sit through. We both knew it wasn’t, but that didn’t stop us.
Never could I have imagined someone would do this to you – why would he choose you, out of hundreds? But you were his target from the first moment he saw you, it seems. You held my hand tightly in yours as we raced through the halls, seeking refuge. Around us statues and humans alike fell, but you pressed on. You said you had to see me to safety.
We were only children, seventeen and eighteen, doing nothing but playing at being adults. The mantle of responsibility was thrust upon our shoulders before we were ready for it, and yet we had to bear the burden. For if not us, then who? You said it was our duty to a place that we owed so much, and I went along with it, because every word you had ever spoken was the truth to me. It had never been any different.
But you lied.
I watched as your broken self was dragged backward by hands I did not know, and yet had seen before. The cruel snarl on his lips was almost too excited to really belong to someone who could be called human, and indeed, humanity does not rank highly within him. He is one of their prominent people – we have seen him before, you and I. He has transformed from ink on newsprint into living, solid flesh, and this perhaps more than anything is what stopped me from helping you.
My name escaped your lips, shrill with panic, loud with fear. Old wounds were opened by the force, and new ones created, and I could only stand there and watch him take you from me, mouth open, breath gone, wand limp at my side. It wasn’t real; it was a fabrication meant to scare me. And yet your pleas were so very, very real.
We were victors in the end, but it does not feel like a victory to me. Every time this day comes around again, all I can hear is you, asking for help. Begging me not to leave you, to fight him, to do anything but what I did. I could have helped you, could have saved you. Instead I watched as he pulled you back, and away, forever.
I’m so sorry.