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Winking Eyes by hedwidgeon
Chapter 1 : Colin Creevey
 
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[Anything you recognize is probably not mine.† The Deathly Hallows quote in the story summary and all recognizable characters belong to the wonderful JK Rowling.† All story graphics are mine.]


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Winking Eyes
Part I of III:
Colin Creevey


On the morning of May the 2nd, 1998, Colin Creevey had porridge dotted with peaches and cinnamon and a glass of orange juice for breakfast.†

He tried and failed to convince his brother to try some raspberry marmalade, because Dennis was stubborn and refused to like raspberries; their father laughed, familiar lines of stress falling away for maybe a moment. †He read spellbooks and he tutored Dennis, far away from his hundreds of winking eyes. †He pulled a single golden Galleon out of his pocket.

This was the day Colin Creevey went to war.


Oh, sweet Merlin, I hope Dennis stays behind.† This passage is the absolute definition of dark, even with a single wand lighting its rough walls.† I trip over the uneven flooring Ė bloody hell Ė because my weak little wand beam is not ideal against this blackness.† Itís cold, too; I draw my cloak more tightly around me and speed up.† I glance behind me; this passage is so long and straight that it has that creepy tendency of making you feel like youíre being watched.† It doesnít help that Iím terrified You-Know-Whoís voice is going to sound again any moment Ė I donít know how long ago he made that first announcement that I could hear even outside Hogsmeade, how long I spent searching for a way in, or how long Iíve been in trying to sneak away from Dennis.†

I feel terrible for leaving him behind, but taking him with me is completely out of the question.† Heís only fourteen, and even though he learned a lot from Harry in Dumbledoreís Army two years ago, I know there will be a difference between the Room of Requirement and the rest of the castle, between hexing our friends and hexingÖ others.† Iím bloody terrified of that difference myself, but this isnít the moment.† †

I take the stairs at the end of the passage two at a time.† The Room of Requirement is empty except for Ginny Weasley, who looks so formidable I canít help but think that you could shove You-Know-Who under her nose and she would dispatch him in five seconds flat.† Itís a bit of a comfort, that Iíll at least have someone I know and trust beside me when I go out there in a moment.† Come to think of it, even being in this room again is giving me a boost in confidence.†

ďColin!† What are you doing here?Ē she splutters, shocked.† ďHave you been in hiding all year?Ē†

ďYes, with some relatives in Ireland, but Dad, Dennis, and I have been back in the area for about a month now.† Saw the message on the galleon and snuck into Hogsmeade.† You coming?Ē I ask, stopping in front of her.† I would dearly love to head straight over to the cupboard that leads out of the room like some sort of confident legendary hero, but itís going to take me a moment to compose myself for this.† I may be a Gryffindor, but there are some things even Gryffindors know to respect.†

She looks torn, which I donít understand at all.† If thereís anyone I would trust completely and totally to get out of this alive, it would be Ginny Weasley.† I would never peg her as one to hold back.†

I raise my eyebrows, sticking my hands in my pockets in an attempt to hide the fact that they are shaking.† †

She sighs and heads for the cupboard.† ďI promised Harry and Ron and my entire bloody family that Iíd stay in here because Iím underage, but if youíve snuck back I might as well Ė Ē†

ďGinny!Ē† The voice makes us both turn around.† Obviously Ginny knows this pink-haired woman; she shoots me a look that says clearly GO! and I make a break for the door.†

As I close it behind me, I can just hear the pink-haired woman asking, ďWho was that?† You know, you really shouldnít encourage younger students to sneak Ė Ē†

I make a mental note to apologize to Ginny later, but I think itís brilliant the way sheís stayed back so I can go.† And knowing her, it wonít be long before sheís free too, and Iím worried for the Death Eaters when that little bundle of power is unleashed on them.†

Although I canít talk, considering that even at sixteen, I am still smaller than Ginny.† †

I take my hands out of my pockets as I rush down the stairs.† Theyíre cold and somewhat clammy.† I pull out my wand, hold it tightly.† I run through a list of spells in my mind, some Iím comfortable with, ones I can always rely on.† When Iím finished, I stand by the door out of the passage in absolute, unnerving silence.† The passage blocks out all noise, and I have no idea what I will find when I push open this door; the last few people in the Hogís Head warned me that it comes out somewhere different each time.† Extra security, but in this case, just a little extra terror, as well.†

This is it.†

There isnít any reason to delay, except for the fact that my hands are shaking and my mouth is dry and Iím scared I wonít be able to think fast enough, or see fast enough, or run fast enough.† Casting around for one more moment to stand still, I think of the peaches I had in my porridge this morning next to Dennis, wonderful bursts of flavor and freshness.† †

Peaches.† Peachespeachespeaches.† †

I take a deep breath and push the door open a crack.† The silence shatters violently and something flashes across my eyes, so bright that Iím blinded for a second, and, blinking frantically, I try to get my bearings.† There are people whirling around, some running, some dueling, and the ground is littered with bodies already.† I bite the inside of my cheek, trying to breathe evenly.† A black-hooded figure sprints by where Iím hiding behind the door, wand aloft.† Itís a corridor of the castle that I canít place at the moment even though Iíve grown to know these hallways quite well through my winking eyes in the year before last, with half the windows shattered and the inhabitants of portraits either fleeing or screaming, voices barely audible over the din that is spells and cracking stone and desperate voices.† Oh, sweet Merlin, I hope Dennis stays behind.†

I throw myself out from behind the door, slamming it shut in the same motion that I turn to survey the corridor.† Out of the corner of my eye, I can see it melting back into the stone, and now Iím on my own.† Ginny will end up somewhere else when she takes the passage out.† Another black-robed figure sails by me, hot in pursuit of someone in Gryffindor robes.† I take aim and send a Stunning Spell after the Death Eater and he crumples, hitting the stone floor with an awful crack.† The Gryffindor girl turns back and calls something to me, but itís lost in everything else thatís going on.†

Then her eyes widen and she sends red light sailing somewhere behind me.† I flip around and duck Ė the Death Eaterís curse misses me by mere inches Ė and then Iím falling, rolling along the stone floor, and someone else goes down near me and an arm flings across my path Ė I launch myself to my feet, stumbling over it, and try to relocate my attacker as the world spins around me.† But itís not one attacker Ė there are three Death Eaters sprinting towards me, and long hairy legs are poking through the broken windows.† Whatever those legs are, they canít be good Ė I send Stunners flying at random among the Death Eaters, hoping like hell there arenít any of our people nearby, and run for it Ė keeping low as I can among the fallen bodies, zigzagging at random because itís harder to hit a moving target Ė I cast Protego as I take full flight near the end of the corridor beneath my hundreds of winking eyes, not a moment too soon, because some purple spell ricochets away from me and gouges a deep crack into the wall to my right.† †

I round a corner and throw myself through the first door I find, gasping for breath, and magically lock the door.† I rush over to a window on the far side of the deserted classroom.† I wonder briefly where all the desks have gone, but as I look down through the glass I see them Ė along with what looks like every other desk and every suit of armor in the school Ė charging down Death Eater after Death Eater.† There are even several groups attacking the giants that are lumbering towards the school.† I canít help but smile; Iím not the only one using Hogwarts as a weapon.† Even the Whomping Willow is almost ripping itself up in its attempts to grab ahold of black-robed figures in the distance.†

I hear the three Death Eaters from earlier race by the classroom as I send a few spells raining down from the window, but itís desperately tricky aiming, and within moments two Death Eaters on the grass catch on and send curses of their own back at me.† I duck back into the classroom, sprinting away from the window as the stones around it crack and blast away.† I charm my way through the door, knowing the Death Eaters in the corridor will have heard the window exploding, but I have the advantage of surprise Ė two of them are down before they know whatís hit them.† Iím just jumping out of the way of the third oneís curse when he falls, brought down by a group of Ravenclaws at the end of the hall.†

I run towards them, and the boy in front Ė Terry Boot Ė shouts a warning; I duck out of the way as he and his friends release a volley of spells into the corridor.† I turn to look back: spiders as large as the corridor itself are forcing their way toward us.† The first one crumples under the combined force of their spells, and from my position off to the side I join in, bringing down spider after spider until the corridor is completely blocked.†

Terry comes forward and offers me a hand.† ďThanks,Ē I tell him, and he nods, gesturing to my face.†

I reach up and my hand comes away with a trail of blood; now I feel the stinging over my right eye.† It must have gotten cut when the window exploded.† I staunch the bleeding as best as I know how with my wand and follow the Ravenclaws back up the corridor.† †

Itís obvious they want to stick together, and I canít blame them Ė simply being with these four other students has made my hands steadier and my breathing calmer for the moment.† I know it wonít last Ė we could be moments away from the next Death Eater Ė but Iím grateful, just for the moment, of the false security that these Ravenclaws offer me.†

Something cracks behind us and I whip around, but Michael Corner is faster: he sends a Stunning spell straight into the crumbling wall before I can even blink.† It cuts through the dust and thereís a yell, and then Death Eaters are swarming at us from the rubble.† I dodge off to the right Ė sweet Merlin, I hope Dennis finds all of my winking eyes, just in case Ė and Iíve never cast more spells, cast more jinxes and counterjinxes and curses and hexes, as I do in the next several minutes.† I lose track of the Ravenclaws, and then I lose track of myself, until the only thing I can still recognize is the tell-tale black cloaks and hoods of the Death Eaters.† Part of my mind wonders why they give themselves away like this, but I canít complain Ė itís my only saving grace right now, as I dodge and weave and jump and sprint and let loose curse after jinx after hex into black robes Ė†

But itís never so easy, and then curses are coming at me from both sides.† There are Death Eaters behind me, and in front of me, and I donít know where Terry and Michael and the others are anymore Ė they could be dead for all I know Ė dead beneath my hundreds of winking eyes, which would still be a victory in death, yes Ė and I see empty space in front of me and take a wild leap, missing green light by barely a centimeter Ė†

But maybe the green light would have been preferable, because now Iím falling Ė I must have jumped through a break in the wall that led out onto the Grand Staircase and now Iím falling fallingfallingfalling Ė†

Except Hogwarts really is fighting for us, because Iíve never seen a staircase move so fast Ė one moment it is connecting the third floor to the second, and Death Eaters are sprinting for it, and the next it is directly beneath me and the black figures have lost their balance and are tumbling down.† I trip off my feet, landing painfully against my knees, but the staircase doesnít move, only hovers until I have regained some semblance of balance.† I clutch at the handrail, gasping for breath; itís a jubilant, albeit rather painful, reunion with Hogwarts after a year on the run.† Red light whizzes over my head.† Someone screams, and I look up to see a limp body in Hogwarts robes fall past the staircase.†

ďNo Ė Ē† But I canít tell who it is, and I look away, grateful that the overwhelming noise from every corridor connecting to the Grand Staircase is loud enough to cover up whatever sound the student makes upon contact.†

I stand up shakily, my right leg unwilling to take on as much weight as it should.† My forehead has started bleeding again.† The staircase begins moving; I hold tight to the handrail.† It reconnects to the second and third floors and I take off running, gasping in pain with every step of my right leg.† †

I make it halfway down the staircase between the second and first floors when a scream almost directly above me sends me spinning around.† I cast Protego, again just barely in time, and this time the curse forces me backwards a few steps in its strength.† Three students are sprinting down the stairs towards me, behind them a group of Death Eaters Ė I canít even count how many, and then a snarl behind me makes me press flat against the wall.† I grab the nearest student Ė Ernie Macmillan, also from the DA Ė and push him back against the wall, too; his friends are not so lucky.† They are both bowled over by a stampede of desks, which rampage into the Death Eaters, and Ernie springs forward to help his friends up.† I turn to the Death Eaters Ė two have broken loose from the desks and are tearing down the stairs at us, and I send jinxes at both of them but they are deflected.† The Hufflepuffs back down the stairway beside me, shooting spell after spell at the Death Eaters, and even though there are four of us and only two of them, we canít get the upper hand Ė†

Out of the corner of my eye, I see the staircase that caught me move away again just as the desks chase the rest of the Death Eaters toward it.† They plunge downward, followed by the snarling desks, and one of the Hufflepuffs shrieks in shock.† The scream is cut short by one of the Death Eaters Ė gaining an advantage at last in her distraction Ė and she falls.† The other two yell and redouble their efforts; I have never heard Ernie Macmillan so terrified and desperate.†

But if Iím right, and Hogwarts is fighting for us too, then the three of us have one advantage left.† Iím a step below the two now and work my way between them.† As we reach the bottom of the staircase, the Death Eaters still halfway up, I grab at the two Hufflepuffsí sleeves and scream at them to run.† They follow the order so blindly itís like theyíve been waiting for it Ė they tear past me and I open fire on the two Death Eaters bearing down, hoping to buy some time.† I back into the wall, dodging back and forth as randomly as I can.† They limit their spells to me, and Iím so grateful Iíve managed to give the two Hufflepuffs some time beneath my hundreds of winking eyes Ė and the Death Eaters are fully sprinting now, and I turn and run too because there is nothing else I can do, if Hogwarts doesnít step in and save me now then itís over anyway Ė†

I hear their voices yelling and when I look back the staircase is swinging away, the edge of one black cloak just slipping out of sight as they fall.†

I collapse against the nearest wall, my right leg giving out.† I allow myself a few momentsí respite Ė sweet Merlin, am I thankful for the adrenaline; I have no idea how badly I hurt my leg in the fall but the only reason the pain is not registering now is because of that, and the blind terror thatís making everything look a thousand times sharper than normal Ė and I hope my winking eyes are in tune with me tonight, now that Iíve returned to them at last, and are capturing everything as clearly as I am Ė†

The doorway to the Entrance Hall, one flight of stairs below me, cracks and stone comes tumbling down; from the rumble several more cloaked figures emerge.† One of them has lost his hood Ė I see him turn to look up at me, and I know that he can tell, from the way Iím clutching at the wall to keep myself upright, that hereís an easy kill.†

Air whistles sharply into my lungs as I realize how right he is Ė I stand no chance against the four of them, because even if Hogwarts is fighting for me as I am fighting for it, I canít see how the staircases can get me out of this one.† The first spell misses me only because I throw myself down, flat on the stairs, and the Death Eaters run forward to get a better angle.† Dennis Ė he has to find my winking eyes Ė but then the first Death Eater is gone, swallowed by that trick step everyone always forgets to jump.† Iíve only ever seen people sink into it up to their knees but tonight things have happened that Iíve never imagined Ė saved forever on film by my hundreds of winking eyes along with everything else thatís happened in my absence Ė but that still leaves the other three, and theyíre jumping over the suddenly deadly trick step now.†

I bite down any pain or rebellion from my leg and take flight up the stairs.† I donít get very far before the Death Eaters are close enough to aim well even at my erratic dodging, and I try not to look as I put every ounce of faith that I possess into the staircases one last time.† I leap for the railing and scramble over it, shooting one last Stunner from my wand before letting go.†

This time I scream; I canít help it.† Itís terrifying, and Iím thinking only of Dennis and hoping desperately that he was smart enough to stay behind so he can find my winking eyes, and with a crash I fall into yet another staircase, my legs buckling again.† Tears of pain are blossoming across my vision now and I send Stunners up at random, knowing the Death Eaters will pick me off easily now Iím beneath them.† †

I wipe a hand across my eyes, and my sleeve is bloody as well as wet.† My breathing is ragged; my wand shakes in my hand.† The Grand Staircase is swirling around me Ė I canít quite see anything Ė wishing desperately for my winking eyes, my winking eyes that can never be obscured by such mundane things as tears or death, I fall against the cool floor.† They can probably see me from here Ė I stationed several in the Grand Staircase Ė Dennis will have to find them all Ė†

But he will not see me like this, no.† He will not see his brother like this.† My staircase jolts suddenly, and I wipe my eyes again, taking gulps of calming air.† My eyes focus again, and there they are Ė the Death Eaters, approaching down another staircase.† Mine is still hovering, its lower end in midair, and I cast Protego to ward off the worst of what they shoot at me while I gather myself back together.† The Death Eatersí staircase is level with mine, and now itís swinging around, too Ė and with a jolt of pure terror I realize that its lower end is about to connect to the lower end of mine.†

Suddenly Hogwarts isnít on my side anymore, the staircases are giving the Death Eaters a passage straight to me Ė bloody hell, Dennis, I hope you stayed behind.† Hereís the proof, captured beneath my hundreds of winking, weeping eyes Ė†

And even as Iím panicking, raining spells on the Death Eaters that are blocked as effortlessly as a few irksome flies, the staircases meet at the bottom and provide a passage for the three cloaked figures directly to me.† †

I know something is wrong the moment the first Death Eaterís foot lands against my staircase.† There is a sound like a wail Ė or is that me as I claw myself to the railing yet again Ė and both staircases smooth into stone slides, sweeping all three Death Eaters off their feet.† And at the point where the stairs meet, the two slides twist into what appears to be a stone drain Ė not a hole through which the Death Eaters would fall through the stairs, but a hole of stone, that swallows all three cloaked figures whole and then closes back up with a ripple like water disturbed by a pebble Ė and the ripples defy gravity and continue up the stone slide until I am lying on stairs again, clinging to the railing of the staircase, alive by the power of Hogwarts beneath my hundreds of winking eyes.† Thereís the fleeting hope that they captured a birdís-eye shot of the Death Eaters disappearing into the drain, before the staircase jolts again and I tighten my grip on the handrail.†

The staircases separate, and mine returns to its position against the wall that connects the Entrance Hall and the first floor.† I hobble down, my head still spinning, my wand slippery in my hand.† The doors to the Great Hall gape open, and the house-point hourglasses are in shards across the floor amongst less innocuous debris.† There are splashes of blood, and far more people here than in the corridors and on the staircases.† Itís like my first glimpse of the battle, hiding behind the door before it faded away Ė itís blinding, but not because of a single spell this time, but because of the haze of multicolored hexes and curses and jinxes, of creatures I canít identify, of screams loosing themselves in each other Ė itís so overwhelming and there is nowhere for me to go, for me to collapse safely and plead with the world that Dennis stayed behind.†

I look up at the ceiling, into a corner where I placed one of the first of the winking eyes.† I can barely see it, concealed by my Disillusionment Charm and by the dust of battle.† I wonder how many have been dislodged or destroyed already Ė but at least this oneís safe, and I raise my hand in a salute to it, to my winking eyes, to my last defense of Hogwarts.† My defense of Hogwarts, and at the same time my best weapon in my own personal war against Voldemort.†

Another deep breath, another battle won against my leg Ė and Iím running again, sprinting into the midst of the battle and weaving and dodging and casting spell after curse after jinx after hex Ė I roll down the stairs outside, and the air is far clearer out here, I can breathe Ė but still there are black robes flying all around me, spiders bearing down, and giants, lights and spells and maybe a few winking eyes Ė sweet Merlin, I hope Dennis Ė


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