Chapter 2 : Memories
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A/N: Hello, again! Had to do some editing on this chapter so I apologize for anyone who wanted to read this and had some trouble! Anyway, here it is, the second chapter and I'd like a review please and I hope you enjoy it very much, this is not a popular shipping but I thought it deserved a FF so any read I get on this story is very appreciated! Much love, as always.
“Tell me again why we're out here doing this?”Alicia asked Angelina annoyingly as the two of them lugged the heavy wooden box back up towards Hogwarts. The Quidditch supply room had been broken into only a few minutes before and she was surprised by just how heavy it was, though it may have been her nerves weighing down every action. Angelina hadn't been able to banish her wild idea but she wondered bleakly if it would be enough to stop the horrors to come, “I thought that you had a pretty good idea but this just seems kinda crazy.” Her friend continued dryly. There was a frown working onto her face and her blonde hair appeared to glow like liquid silver in the muted light around them, the castle glowing like a forbidden bonfire in the distance, “I can't believe that I let you drag me out here like this.” The girl complained. Angelina shot her an irritable look as they continued walking, the grounds were swarming with students and teachers, waiting for the fight that was going to come. Even though the night would probably be the most terrible that she could have ever endured, the air was clean and the moon was ominously full, so full that Angelina thought that it might pop and cover them in some kind of protective charm.
Angelina was far more afraid than she would have allowed herself to admit and she waited for some sort of miracle, some sort of blessing. It never arrived and she gave Alicia a look, “Look, I know that this is taking a lot more out of us than we thought but I have to do something.” Her voice was firm but she must have appeared more determined than angry because Alicia's expression softened. They could have used their wands to carry the box but neither of them were thinking clearly at the moment and using magic for something like this felt like a waste, “everyone else is going to be trying their hardest and I want to do the same. We'll be all right if this idea of mine works,” she continued with a small frown. She was a little worried that they hadn't seen Katie again since she had run after Oliver in the Great Hall but she didn't voice this fear out loud, praying that they would see one another again when this was all over, “I'm going to enchant the Bludgers and send them flying at the Death Eaters when they start coming at us.” She suddenly explained as they set the heavy box down on the ground, her fingers throbbing.
“What?” Alicia asked in disbelief, a wry smile playing across her lips.
“They're not walking into this school without a fight, Alicia,” Angelina said fiercely while opening the trunk of Quidditch gear. Memories swamped her for several seconds and she tried not to allow the tears prickling in the corners of her eyes overwhelm what had to be done, “I don't want them to think that they've scared us enough to back down. This war has cost a lot of people their lives and if we don't make a stand now, then they'll never be at peace—it's something that my grandparents used to tell me, a person should never die for nothing.” Alicia appeared a little uncomfortable with the grim words but they were true. Angelina knew that too many people had been killed because of one wizard's insanity and she wouldn't let them down by being a coward, “you know as well as I do that getting hit in the face with a Bludger can put you in the hospital. If we do this right, we might be able to catch a few of these Death Eaters off guard,” the struggling Bludgers were fighting against their leather straps and she quickly took out her wand. “George taught me a spell that might help, he's always been a lot better at Charms than me,”
Alicia withdrew her wand. “So what do we do?”
Angelina inhaled for a few minutes and tried to think of the precise spell that George had taught her and although he had ended up making the trees around them fight, it should be powerful enough to work now. Her chest tightened at the thought of him but she voiced out the spell to Alicia, the tip of their wands pointed at the Bludgers like hissing snakes, “I just hope that this works.” She whispered softly as they performed the complex spell that brought them to life, “George told me that if I do this correctly, the objects will only attack when I tell them to.” Alicia stared at her doubtfully but appeared surprised when the rattling Bludgers stopped after a sharp command. “Thank God, could you help me with these?”
Alicia was staring at her with open mouthed amazement but hastily nodded and opened one of the leather straps with a few deft tugs. A strand of her hair had fallen over her forehead and she brushed it aside irritably, though she closed her eyes tightly as if she expected the Bludger to smash directly into her face, “I'm going to have to thank George for this spell someday.” Her voice cracked slightly and Angelina tried not to think of the sickening possibilities. The thought of never seeing George again was enough to break her apart, she loved him too much to live a day without him, “I can't believe that this actually worked.” The girl murmured softly as the Bludger remained exactly where it was and didn't immediately try to attack her. A grey light had fallen over them and they seemed to pulse for several minutes as if they were struggling against the magic that was keeping them in place, “are you sure that they'll know what to do?”
“Of course. Until I tell them to,” Angelina said grimly.
“Angie...” Alicia hesitated.
Angelina stared at her in concern. “What is it?”
“Do you think that we stand a chance?” Alicia asked quietly.
The night air brushed by them like a ghost and Angelina knew that there was a chance that they might die tonight but she had to force herself to remain strong. Alicia appeared so fragile that she worried what would happen to her if the oncoming battle forced them apart, “This might be the only chance that we have to make a difference and I know that we'll make it through this. We're Gryffindors,” she said confidently as they released five more Bludgers. Alicia smiled at her but took her hand for a brief moment, squeezing away the fear that had worked into her system and they stood together in silence, breathing in the moment. The Bludgers hovered over their heads and vibrated with suppressed energy, as if they were brimming with blood lust. Angelina allowed her friend's hand to fall away and was so caught up in her own thoughts that she didn't immediately notice the swarm of activity nearby, there were suddenly dozens upon dozens of students surrounding them and it looked like some sort of shaking army but she could smell the defiance in the air, could feel it tainting her skin and she swallowed hard and waited.
Across from them, the Forbidden Forest loomed just as dangerous and as darkly menacing as always but it held another fear this time. Briefly, Angelina wished that she had had enough sense to get Hagrid's dreaded Blast Ended Skrewts (George had recounted their horror from Ron one night when they'd had a brief moment alone together and she'd laughed then, but now she desperately wished for the help) but there was only one or two left and she had a sneaking suspicion that Hagrid had taken them away so they wouldn't be hurt. Something zoomed above them and Angelina looked up to see several students on their brooms, bags of something in their hands. The smell was noxious and Alicia covered her nose as Angelina asked what was in the bags and was delighted when they told her it was undiluted Bubotuber puss that they were going to lug it over the walls. They flew away before she could congratulate them.
Others were in good groups of five or ten, each of them circling, practicing for the battle that was going to happen. Angelina swallowed hard before jumping in surprise as something large, inhuman and made of stone came close to her shoulder, “What in the hell?” she murmured. The ground shook and rumbled as more of the creatures arrived and she looked up in surprise to see that it was a monstrous statue from the school next to her, a scythe in hand and a tense look in its eyes, regarding the Forest. There were thousands, literally, thousands behind it, surrounding and protecting the students. A flush spread over her exposed skin and it was nearly impossible to understand the feeling that enveloped her just then and she wanted nothing more than to live through this night, protect everyone that was out here with her now. There was only one person capable of doing something like this and she had to privately admit that McGonagall was a woman that should be feared immensely, “I think that I should have paid a lot more attention in Transfiguration,” she whispered shakily.
Alicia jumped as a lumbering gargoyle crushed the box of Quidditch supplies beside her but appeared too startled to be afraid. The statue grunted its displeasure and Angelina glanced at her just in time to see her truly smile for the first time, “This is getting kind of cool, huh?” she asked with a nervous giggle. Her wand was gripped tightly in her hand and she appeared more capable of handling herself than she had a few minutes ago, “I didn't think that I would live to see the day when I'd be happy to have a gargoyle backing me up.” She was deeply afraid of trolls and all manner of dark things but those childish fears didn't seem to matter to her now, “...I hear that the Death Eaters have giants with them but if they can bleed then I sure as hell hope they can die.” Her voice was bitter and it was almost hard to hear the faint tremor in the words.
Angelina laughed, trying to shake off her fear. “Are you still scared?”
“Maybe,” Alicia said with a weak grin.
“Where do you think Oliver and Katie went?” Angelina asked curiously.
“They're probably still inside, enchanting some of the school things. Oliver will probably be out soon but I think he's swooning over the fact that Katie's confessing her love first,” Alicia said with a laugh, shaking her head. There was a rueful smile on her face but Angelina thought that she appeared a little regretful and wondered why she had never confessed her feelings to Lee...her love for him was so clear that she couldn't understand how they had never noticed. Lee had never been someone that she would have pictured with her friend but she was overwhelmed by how much it would hurt if those words remained unsaid, “Katie's been in love with him for years and I'm pretty sure Oliver isn't going to turn her down at a time like this—he's always liked her too.” Angelina laughed, “I should have figured that was going to happen no matter how hard he fought it, he always treated her extra special during Quidditch practice.”
Angelina couldn't help but think that was true and laughed a little, hoping that they would have time to mock him for it later, Oliver was incredibly modest. The fact that he had turned Katie down for so long puzzled her but she had a feeling that he may have been afraid of what might happen if he gave in to his own feelings, though that was stretching her imagination a bit. He would probably deny it with all his might, “And what about you, Alicia?” she asked her friend carefully, unsure whether it would be prudent to bring up her feelings for Lee at a time like this. Alicia shot her a guarded glance and the gargoyle beside her shifted restlessly, “I know that you're seeing someone right now but did you ever think of confessing to—”
“Lee's never been interested in me but that doesn't change how I feel. I'll always care about him and if he ever needed me, I would be there and that's all that matters right now,” Alicia interrupted curtly, her blue eyes appearing to glow. Angelina wanted to apologize but the girl shrugged helplessly, as if it were something that neither of them could really help, “I'm not going to spend the rest of my life—especially if I die tonight, worrying about what might have been.” The bitterness in her tone was enough to have Angelina wincing. All of the tears that she had shed in the Great Hall earlier had faded away, the fear dissolving into a steely resolve that she had to admire, “I asked Seamus Finnegan out last year and we've been good together, that's all I can...” she trailed off with a weak grin. The explanation was a little depressing but she was startled that she was dating someone younger than her, though it was clear that the relationship did nothing to diminish the longing for someone else. Even though the words hadn't been spoken aloud, Alicia shot her a fierce look, “w-we have a lot in common, okay? And Lee never did anything...so...” she mumbled, blushing.
“If you're still in love with Lee—” Angelina started awkwardly.
Alicia shook her head firmly as more statues thumped loudly along the grounds, causing a few students to flinch in surprise. The grounds brimmed with tension and Angelina knew that she could have cut it with the edge of a spoon...her blood was pounding so heavily that she was nearly dizzy, “Angie, this isn't really the time to be talking about this sort of thing but Lee's never noticed me or anything and I got tired of waiting for him to.” Her lower lip trembled slightly and her eyes turned glassy, “but if I die tonight, promise me that you won't tell him how I've always felt—I don't want him to be burdened with that, he won't understand...I don't want any of you to hold that against me, okay?” Angelina felt a pang in the center of her chest and refused to make such a dark promise, recalling Lee's words before they had gone into the Great Hall. She shook her head and her friend sighed wearily, one stray tear sliding down the curve of her cheek before merging into darkness, “...I won't ask you again, it was wrong of me to expect you to do something like that for me.” A pause, “Angie, I know that you don't want to talk about it but you should have told George how you felt. I think that...that he probably would have needed to hear it.”
“He needed to hear it,” Alicia interrupted firmly.
“There's no time to worry about that right now.” Angelina said curtly but the fear in her chest lightened instantly at the thought of him—George was the most important person in her world. The love that she had for him had been a secret for so long that she couldn't imagine revealing it to him, she had never been able to work up the courage. It sounded so silly with everything that was happening now but the confession had remained locked away for too long and her chest became heavy—the sensation abruptly ended as a boom echoed loudly over the grounds. Her heart seemed to stop beating. Alicia's eyes had suddenly gone round with terror and Professor Lupin muttered a curse nearby as he scanned the dark grounds frantically, hearing a crackling sound spiking sharply in the air like a thunderbolt. The blood slowly drained from his face and he looked just as shocked as she was while thousands of figures suddenly burst forth from the Forbidden Forest, all of them with wands outstretched, “Stand together!” Professor Lupin shouted.
Angelina could feel the fear bubbling in the pit of her stomach as she watched the black mass running towards them like a murky river. Alicia was whispering a prayer under her breath and she was certain that a few of the other students had begun to cry, though they stood their ground even as their enemies drew closer...closer and close like a plague. Some were Disapparating, others trying to burst through the protective shield that was surrounding the school. The unlucky few that ran straight ahead burst into multicolored lights and faded from this world and Angelina couldn't help but shield her eyes from this horrible sight. But there was more coming, as hex, curse and jinx after jinx shot around the bubble of a shield.
Boom! Angelina's heart cascaded.
Boom! They were gaining a bit of success.
Boom! Death Eaters were running now, panting, screaming, shouting for blood at Hogwarts and there was an outcry of fury from the students. Angelina had never felt so much hatred in her life and it was so consuming that the pit of Hell should have opened beneath their feet but she clutched the handle of her wand with all of her might. I won't run, she thought. The air became heavy with the stink of rage and terror but she flinched warily as a tall Death Eater broke apart from the others, the tilt of his head held arrogantly, “I won't back down.” Angelina whispered to herself. Her words were too faint for anyone to overhear but they flooded her with strength as the man raised one imperious hand to his companions, forcing them to stop in their tracks. The borderland between the fighters and the damned, “This is your last warning from the Dark Lord! Cease this fruitless effort and join us! Slytherin House has already made the right decision, join them while you still have a chance!” the man suddenly screamed. It took a lot of nerve to demand surrender after everything that they had done and Angelina glanced over at Professor Lupin and Kingsley before walking forward, her back straight as she ventured as close as she dared, Alicia shrieking for her to stop.
“No!” Angelina shouted.
The Death Eater reeled in the night as he tried to find her voice. “What did you say?”
Angelina's heart was pounding and she could feel a faint tremor in the pit of her soul that should have made it impossible to stand. The world had faded away into nothing and she would never be able to turn her back on anyone that needed her...she wouldn't give anyone the satisfaction, “You heard what I said.” There was a catch in her voice that was almost hard to decipher. There were thousands of eyes watching her every move and she could hear the faint whispers breaking out among the group, hear the twisted thoughts sleazing through their minds but held her head proudly. “I said no!” she screamed furiously. Turning to look at the other dumbfounded students she screamed, “we've all had enough of this and we're not going to take anymore!” a flash of red light burned by her ear and it was immediately blocked with a swift wave of Professor Lupin's wand. Angelina backed away just in time to avoid a shower of green light and some wordless agreement shifted between the two opposing groups, the Death Eater's approaching faster than a crushing wave, “No!” she screamed angrily as she ran through the rest of the crowd with dozens of others at her back.
“Angie, I'm right behind you!” Alicia screamed.
Angelina was only dimly aware of the people around her and the grounds seemed to explode with screams, the sky burning with blood and magic. Statues thundered path with stone weapons swinging and she could taste the panic on her tongue—the world had erupted into chaos around her but it was nearly too much to see. War cries lit up the night and she could hear the sound of bones breaking, bodies falling and her name being shouted over the melee, “Protego!” she screamed reflexively as a shaft of yellow light nearly struck her shoulder. It was impossible to determine how long she ran and fought but she was only dimly aware of the others around her, she was too busy aiming hexes and jinxes at her unwary opponents, who were unleashing a barrage of terror onto the students as they collided, fought and died.
Death Eaters were fighting furiously now against a band of bedraggled students and Angelina, insipid and crazed with blood lust dared not look to see who fell behind her. Blood was flying everywhere, clinging to the edges of her vision but she didn't want to know who started crying or who was dying around her. The truth was too horrible to contemplate,“Stupefy!” she screamed waspishly at a man that was going after a small Ravenclaw girl, “Stupefy!” she screamed again when she missed, this time hitting him in his gaping mouth. The terrified girl thanked her weakly and started fighting again but Angelina was too suffused with blood lust to wonder if she made it or not. Although it couldn't have been more than a few minutes, she felt as if she had been fighting for days and when the Death Eaters were starting to force their way through, she ran drunkenly back to the Bludgers and screamed, “Go, now! All of you go!” they flew from through the air and rushed at the Death Eaters, cracking skulls, smashing faces and breaking arms so fast that Angelina smiled darkly at the sight of blood, the sound of their pain.
It didn't last long, however and Angelina quickly found herself immersed in the battle again, spells flying from her tongue with rapid fire. There was no telling how long the battle would drag on and she couldn't stop herself from thinking of Fred and George, her parents, the students that she knew, that she didn't know. Being without them was too much to dwell on, “Petrificus Totalus! Get away from him, you bitch!” she screamed furiously at a female Death Eater that tried to slice a Hufflepuff boy open with long, vicious strikes with her wand. The boy appeared shaken to the core but darted away into the fray before Angelina could determine that he was all right and she let out a cry as the fallen woman was crushed by a statue as it rushed through the crowd. Angelina heard an awful roar shake the night and she saw dozens of statues charging wildly in the distance, slicing and hacking at what was now joining the battle. Giants. There weren't many but they towered over them all like deranged mountains, swinging clubs and maces, “Christ! Get out of the way, move!” someone shouted shrilly as a few students stood terrified on the spot as the beasts broke through the line of statues towards them, “get out of the way—!” the voice commanded loudly.
The monstrous roars splintered through the night and the giants crushed whatever foolishly stood in their path, hitting dozens with bull-like growls. Angelina felt the ground shaking with each step that they took and she watched as their victims flew through the air, broken little dolls slamming harshly onto the ground. A scream was wrenched from her throat at the sight, the mangled remains that were piling along the grounds with every growing second, “Everyone, run for cover!” Angelina blearily heard Professor Lupin's voice through the carnage. Giants were swarming towards the castle and were so large that they seemed to block out the moon above and she managed to break out of her shock long enough to move out of their way just in time, staggering shakily as something exploded over her head like macabre fireworks. Dirt, rock and large shards of glass pricked at her skin like bee stings— “Run for cover!” Professor Lupin continued to shout in the darkness but before Angelina could find a safe place to hide, a vicious spell collided with her leg like a lightning bolt and she staggered from the force of the pain.
“You should watch where you're going, girl!” A sneering voice declared.
Angelina felt blood welling from the wound and she blearily fell to the ground, the pain was beyond anything that she had ever imagined. It felt as if thousands of claws were digging into her skin and she shook the braids from her sweaty face just in time to see a hulking, leering man staring down at her triumphantly, “I guess you'll be lucky number thirteen.” Horror went through her, nearly eclipsing the agony but before she could even think about protecting herself, the man had connected his booted foot to her chest and she went sprawling onto her back, seeing stars and planets. The sound of screams and death faded away into a dull hum but Angelina tried to lift herself up, her fingertips clenched tightly around her wand. Her opponent aimed his wand for the center of her chest, “Avada—” the Death Eater's final curse was barely out of his mouth before he was suddenly writhing in pain, nasty black boils breaking out over his entire body.
Angelina felt her entire body tense and she gasped harshly for breath, barely able to understand what merciful being had spared her life. Lucky number thirteen, “Angie, is that you?” the voice was instantly familiar and she looked around frantically until she spotted Oliver Wood a few feet away, “thank God that you're all right.” His voice sounded distorted over the sound of screams and she could barely see him through the haze of delirious pain that swept through her. The world seemed to be on fire and she could barely think, “I wasn't sure if I was going to make it in time—don't move!” he broke off quickly and crossed the distance between them hurriedly, dodging curses and spells until he was kneeling down to help her up. Angelina was relieved to see that he was alive and although her leg pulsed with agony, she managed to find the strength to stand, though she eventually shook him off roughly. “Angie, you're going to be okay—you're hurt, stop fighting, it's me!” he cried furiously, shaking her until her struggles ceased. His face was smeared with smoke and his eyes appeared blood shot, his lower lip swollen, “I've been looking all over for you but you're hurt, we need to get you somewhere safe—dammit, would you stop fighting and listen?!” he shouted.
“Let go of me! I have to fight—” Angelina said angrily before hitting him and running back into the screams, darkness and death as he tried to stop her. The world was spinning into crazy shapes, she didn't know what was real and what was a figment of her imagination, her head was pounding so fiercely that it was a miracle her skull was still in one piece. Horrible images were swarming through her memory and her heart was filled with so much despair that she would have longed for any chance to escape from this awful reality. Hogwarts had always been such a happy place, it had always been the one place where she had felt truly happy and now it was on fire, now it was falling apart and people were dying around her. Was this real? Oliver's voice was barely distinguishable over the loud cries and although she knew that he had only meant to help, some part of her wondered if the exchange had ever really happened in the first place—was it some Death Eater trick? If it had been the real Oliver, she should have felt sorry for hitting him but her blood was boiling hotter than lava and her mind was a mess of fury and grief but because of it, she fought and fought, knocking down Death Eater after Death Eater with all her might.
The minutes ticked into hours and Angelina soon lost a sense of time but as she struggled to hold on and fight through the pain, a horrible scream suddenly tore the night apart. There were so many people fighting...so many students dying that she couldn't immediately place where it had come from but through the dust and gloom, she managed to see a hulking, barrel chested man ripping his teeth into a thrashing girl's throat. Vicious fangs tore into soft flesh before ripping away, causing blood to spurt and curtain the air, “No! Let her go!” another girl screamed and she turned swiftly on her undamaged leg to spot Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil running over to the writhing victim. Angelina's leg screamed in protest but she made her way over and clapped a hand over her mouth as she took in the terrible sight before her, “You let her go, you bastard!” Lavender shouted at the beast, who leered at her with bloody, yellowed teeth. The dead girl had been Eloise Midgen, a Hufflepuff that Hermione had told her was infamous for cursing off her own nose but by the time she rushed over, the girl was tossed aside, falling to the earth with a hard thud.
“No, Eloise!” Parvati screeched.
The terrible sight of her lifeless brown eyes and the vision of the monster wiping his mouth caused Angelina's own to fog over with fright. It clawed its way up her spine but it didn't stop Lavender and Parvati, who shot curse after curse at the monster, who could only be the child killer Greyback. He blocked most of their spells but shot a few of his own, knocking Parvati down with a vicious jinx that surely must have broken a few ribs and quickly fending Lavender's attacks off as she lost her footing and was nearly brought down by a stream of black light. Angelina jerked in shock as the earth near the girl's feet caved in like wax, “Lav!” Parvati shouted weakly, gasping for breath. Lavender staggered unsteadily but before anymore curses could be fired, Angelina suddenly intervened and managed to shoot a hasty curse at Greyback, whose interest in Lavender was apparent by his furious look in her direction. Revulsion coiled in her stomach as she realized that the younger girl was exactly his type, she was tall and blonde and pretty, “Out of the way,” Greyback hissed warningly. “Get out of the way you stupid bitch!”
“Stay away from her!” Angelina shouted fiercely, firing more complicated spells at him that the two girls hadn't performed. Greyback was struck hard in the shoulder and stumbled back a few feet, though his body appeared to be tougher than she could even comprehend, “Parvati, make sure that Lavender is all right and stand back.” Parvati looked too weak to move far but she obeyed the command without a second thought. Lavender appeared shaken and allowed her friend to help her but appeared distracted by the fight happening before their eyes, “I want you two to stay behind me and try not to make any sudden moves!” Angelina barked with the barest glance in their direction. Greyback snarled something obscene and a harsh blast silver light was blocked by Angelina's wand, forcing her to fend off the werewolf with everything that she could but he fought her hard and would have ripped a hole in her chest if she hadn't dodged at the last second. Thin tears appeared in her shirt but she was beyond all rational thought and fought him harder, by the time Lavender regained herself, she was battling the beast viciously as well, sending such a strong protective charm at him that he flew several feet into the air and landed with a sickening crunch.
Although it was unlikely, Angelina prayed that the monster was dead but she had an unpleasant feeling go down her spine when she glanced at Lavender. The Gryffindor girl looked braver and stronger than she had ever seen but nodded at her gratefully before helping Parvati to her feet, “Thanks for helping us,” Lavender said when she had Parvati standing. A brief silence fell over them as their gazes fell on Eloise Midgen's body, “there's nothing we can do, we didn't get here in time. Come on, we have to see if we can help,” her voice broke but she swallowed back a rush of tears as she regarded her friend, keeping an arm around her shoulders. Parvati gave Angelina a sharp nod and the two friends ran into the castle, which was currently on fire and the sound of screams from inside of it pierced her ears. It made her want to sob in distress as a tower exploded ahead and she saw chunks, mountain sized chunks falling towards the ground, effectively killing some Death Eaters that had been pouncing on some students.
Angelina couldn't see if they had been crushed as well when she had been too horrified by the sight of the kids falling from the tower, screaming for their lives. The hasty spells that attempted to save them failed harshly as they all landed with hard, grotesque thuds and she turned away from this horrible image but nearly received a curse to her chest. Alicia's shrill voice suddenly cut through the chaos erupting in her head and she gave a sharp gasp as the girl screamed, “Protego!” and blocked the curse before it could properly end her life. It bounced off like a rocket and shot into the night with enough force to destroy a small village, “Wake up, Angie!” her friend yelled. She turned to say something but the words became trapped in her throat and Alicia was soon rushing away to defend a group of students that were capering under the weight of curses and hexes. Angelina had never seen her friend look so fierce and shook herself off and looked despondently around at the grounds, where little bundles littered the grass and felt her rage overtake her again. Death Eaters were rampant and their black robes were like an extension of night as they battled ferociously with the teachers near the castle, Professor McGonagall was sending curses with expert precision and fighting five of them on her own. Flitwick and the others were spread around in a small circle, protecting what looked to be a group of frazzled Hufflepuff students that were shivering behind them. Angelina could see their cuts and wounds even from where she stood and she had to turn away, catching sight of Slughorn battling with superb skill with a group of men near a collapsed wall.
The man looked mad, crazed and very silly in his green silk pajamas but he fought like a demon and many fell dead at his wand. Angelina tried to help as many students as possible but the fight was a fierce, difficult one and she saw too many of them die—Colin Creevey had been fighting nearby with a group of Ravenclaws for a short moment before a Death Eater had snuffed out his life. His companions had barely managed to escape and the sight of his small body collapsing underneath that green light caused something to break in her—there was nothing to stop her from tearing them apart. She threw herself into more of the fighting, running now, through parts of Hogwarts that were torn to pieces. She ran past demolished buildings, over bodies and fought with everything that she had until the breath was knocked from her lungs. But there was no stopping her...there was no stopping the sights of children being murdered right before her eyes and she paid little attention to who she fought against and who fell around her.
As the tormenting night continued, Angelina stood alongside Lee Jordan, Neville Longbottom, Hannah Abbott, Alicia, Oliver Wood. At some point she even noticed Luna Lovegood and Ernie McMillan dueling someone who looked suspiciously like Bellatrix Lestrange before running off, “Crucio!” the woman screeched wildly, her aim deadlier than sin. Students were trying desperately to fend the Death Eater off but she was stronger than all of them and Angelina bleakly wondered if madness was the cure to every fear. There were experienced killers in this batch and that particular terror was too much for them and she found herself rushing away from the force of the woman's spells and sharp cries, “You can't run from me forever!” Lestrange shrieked. Professor Lupin had vanished but she had seen him rushing forward with a few students an hour ago, though the darkness appeared to grow like a fungus around her. I'm going to die, Angelina thought bleakly and she was so startled by the abrupt thought that she didn't immediately notice the cold, suffocating feeling was suddenly smothering the air and dread settled into her chest...Dementors were hovering in the burning sky and she looked up in horror as they spread above her like a disease.
Angelina's legs immediately began to feel like jelly and even as she tried to step away, there seemed to be hundreds of them surrounding her, sucking her in. You-Know-Who had brought on an arsenal of death and the pain in her bleeding leg seemed to intensify while memories flashed through her mind, things that she had forced herself never to remember again. Dementors were truly the most despicable creatures...they were forcing her to relive her worst fears in a haze of murky images and color, feasting on everything that she had to offer. Her eyes began to overflow with tears and she was suddenly buried underneath the paralyzing sadness that had gripped her after she had lost her grandparents, the despair that had made every bright day dull. I'm never going to see them again...they're gone forever and I'll never see them again... the thought pulsed and thrummed in the pit of her heart with constricting force until she could barely climb away from it. They're dead...I'm going to die...they're dead...I'm going to die here all alone...
A scream threatened to rip Angelina apart but there was no sound and she was suddenly drowning in misery, despair and fears to awful to contemplate. It was too much. This wasn't something that she wanted to think about. The chaos opened up like a chasm, spilling out deeply guarded horrors until she was choking from the force of them and she was soon overcome with agony at the fear of seeing George around the arms of another girl and tossing her fragile love aside. Despite all of the death that she had seen tonight, that horrified her more than anything and she was unsure if she would be able to deal with the loss. I'm never going to have him. Angelina's mind was growing numb with panic as she was forced to imagine the love of her life being comforted by someone else. I should have said something sooner... They were getting married...having children...growing old together when she had always been there for him and would love him until she couldn't draw breath... “No, th..this can't be real. Give him back...” her voice was becoming slurred and thick, this ghostly hallucination was becoming the only real thing in the world.
“Expecto Patronum!” someone shouted and a brilliant lion, perhaps bigger than life itself broke through the darkness and the Dementors skittered away as the creature lit up the world. Angelina felt herself breaking away from the clutches of grief dazedly but even as she tried to stop herself from falling, the muscles in her legs gave out and she was hurtling towards the ground, her mind swimming with the awful delusion the creatures had given. Everything was spinning, dancing, merging into nothing but before she fell, her body was caught in the arms of someone she knew and did not know. “He's mine, don't touch him...” Angelina told the imaginary girl that was swirling in her mind, the girl that was holding George and taking him away from her. It was difficult to breathe, her chest was too tight with emotions that were eating her alive, breaking her down,“take your hands off....” the horror of losing George pounded through her, the Dementors had succeeded in warping her mind to pieces and she could barely see. “I've always been the one...I've always...” her heart was beating too fast, flooded with misery.
The sounds of screams rent the night and Angelina could hear the sound of the dying, the wounded, the weeping of friends and her rescuer was calling her name. Her breathing was still too rough and she couldn't focus on the familiar sound, “Angie!” it was someone she knew and loved, yet she couldn't quite place it. Angelina wanted to speak but her gaze was faltering and before she understood what was happening, the figure picked her up and carried her for a very long time until setting her down near what looked like fallen glass. A tower must have been blown apart and she could blearily make out the shape of stone, statues and bits of torn clothing that clung to the shards but it was becoming difficult for her to keep her eyes open. Earlier, she had seen part of the castle had been blown away but this small space felt like some sort of sanctuary and it was unclear if she would ever be able to lift herself up from this spot without collapsing. Loud, fractured sounds of battle were so far away that she wondered if she really was dying but the screams were so loud. The screams were everywhere, “Don't move, Angie. Stay here, I'll be back for you.” The person kissed her on the cheek and vanished into the smoke, the death and the blood.
Angelina wondered if they would really come back for her and if she would be dead by the time that they returned. The energy was fading from her body and she closed her eyes numbly, allowing herself to fade from the world for a moment—all of the screaming and pain slowly started to become nothing more than a dull ache. There had to be somewhere better than this and instead of ascending to heaven or to that other place, she found herself transported back to her first day on the Express, shortly after she had seen her parents off for the first time to Hogwarts....
Angelina was terrified. This was the first time that she had ever been away from either of her parents for so long and the thought made her nervous as she stood nervously in the corridor, she was scared that she would hate Hogwarts but oddly excited at the thought of finally going. Angelina had heard stories about the place from her cousins and was afraid that she may not be able to live up to scratch if she managed to get into Gryffindor House—her parents would be so disappointed. A lump formed in the pit of her stomach. Her parent's smiling faces had faded away and she inhaled raggedly before looking for a place to sit, disgruntled to notice that most compartments were full with chattering students that didn't look very thrilled to include her in their groups. Angelina felt a loneliness creep into her system just as a tall, red haired boy bumped into her. He had appeared from out of nowhere and startled her so badly that she nearly jumped three feet in the air, “I'll get you two beasts for this!” the boy vowed. Angelina blinked up at him irritably, “you wait until I tell Mother!” he was snarling, looking very pompous and full of himself.
“Watch it!” Angelina snapped.
The boy looked down at her in apparent surprise, horn rimmed glasses perched on his nose. There
were thousands of freckles on his face and he had the reddest hair that Angelina had ever seen but he possessed a haughty air that made her instantly dislike him, “Who do you think—sorry.” The older boy said with forced politeness. Angelina scowled up at the prat for a moment or two, he looked as if he wanted to throttle everyone and everything but she simply returned his forced smile with a sour expression, “if you'd please excuse me.” He spat unkindly before stomping off. Angelina watched him
leave with a sigh of relief and wondered if trolls could take human form—
“Did you see his face?!” someone shouted behind her.
Angelina jumped and looked to see another boy laughing uproariously at the older one who had just stormed off. The boy was her age and had just as many freckles as the troll that had just stomped away but his smile was warm enough to make his red hair flame all the brighter. He was wearing faded robes and looked so impish that she expected something to fall apart underneath them but she felt a curious feeling spread in her stomach at the sight of him and couldn't quite explain what it was but she had enough sense not to trust it, “Who're you?” she barked.
“Me? Oh, I'm George Weasley.” The boy said rapidly, grinning at her. He seemed to have been studying her with the same curiosity that had strangely gripped her, “I hope that troll didn't bug you too much, he's always been kind of mean and grouchy.” Angelina opened her mouth to say something but he interrupted her happily, rocking on his heels and staring at her, “that was my older brother Percy, he's a prat and thinks he's gonna be Minster of Magic someday. Don't mind him, he's always a stuffy git,” he explained while eyeing her with a grin that she couldn't help but give back. “Anyways, I'm sitting with my twin brother Fred, and this girl, Alicia or whatever.” He rolled his eyes heavenward as if he were being deeply set upon, “come sit with us.”
Angelina hesitated for only a few seconds before following after him and when they entered the compartment, it was bursting with laughter. There was another red-haired boy, who had to be his twin, laughing evilly with another girl with light blonde hair and Angelina couldn't help but think that she resembled an angel. The naughty-looking twin could only be a devil and she watched as the girl's cheeks turned brilliantly red, she was laughing so hard that she could barely breathe, “In his tea! He was itching for weeks!” Fred was saying happily. George closed the compartment door with a clang and coughed into his fist to catch his brother's attention, “well, well well, who is this?” he asked George curiously when he noticed Angelina.
“I don't know.” George said.
Three people turned to look at her expectantly.
“Angelina Johnson,” she said shyly.
“I'm Fred Weasley,” the other twin declared smugly.
The giggling girl introduced herself with a warm smile. “I'm Alicia,”
“Nice to meet you,” Angelina murmured.
Fred eyed her warily. “You're not gonna be a complete bore, are you Angie?”
Angelina frowned. “Don't call me—”
George laughed and placed a warm hand on her shoulder, the sensation spread to a strange place in her chest. Angelina shot him a glance but wasn't able to move away, “Better go sit with Percy and Clearwater, the two happy little Prefects,” he said mock angrily. Fred shuddered and Alicia laughed, her eyes sparkling as she glanced between the two brothers, like they were pieces of herself in male form. “Percy was sitting with us for a while but he's just so bloody dull and we just had to put something in his robes to get him to leave.” He informed with a smile that made her face blush. She wasn't sure if she liked this, “if you stick around with us for a while, we'll turn you properly rotten. Or, you could sit with Percy and talk about boring things like yarn and good deeds,”
Angelina shivered slightly at the thought of being that dull and shook her head firmly, she didn't want to sit with boring, perfect Percy. George was watching her face carefully but apparently seemed perfectly at ease playing with the lobe of her ear, “I don't want to be boring!” she smacked his hand away. He retaliated by pinching her cheek, “stop that—I'll stay with you guys!” Angelina declared desperately. Fred looked very pleased by the decision but was watching his brother with a curious expression before gesturing towards the opposite seat, where he quickly began relating another story to the dazzled Alicia. Fred didn't seem to be all that interested in her but he did stare at her for a few minutes as if he found something very interesting, “So, that grumpy bloke was your brother?” she asked the other twin.
George was lounging next to her now with a relaxed smile, reading something from a mangled Zonko's magazine. Angelina thought that he looked very cute but could tell that he and his brother, though identical down to the last freckle, were not exactly alike, “Yeah, sadly.” Although there was a twinkle of mischief in his brown eyes, he seemed calmer, quieter and warmer as he played idly with her fingers for several minutes before turning a page in his magazine. Angelina had a feeling that he kept touching her on purpose, just to see if he could annoy her, “I have other brothers though. Bill, Charlie and my baby brother Ron.” He was saying to her while allowing her to peer curiously at something in the Zonkos magazine, “Bill is really cool and Charlie is a great Quidditch player.”
Angelina sat up straight. “Quidditch? I love Quidditch,”
Fred said skeptically. “Do you?”
Angelina nodded. “I'm gonna go pro for sure. I'm really good,”
“Ooh, you hear that George? Angie says that she's good,” Fred teased, causing his brother to snort into his fist. Angelina didn't get the joke, “but you're not better than us.” Alicia looked very interested in the conversation, her eyes glowing. “If you are, then you can join with us when we make the team.”
Angelina frowned but George asked calmly. “What position are you best at?”
“Chaser,” Angelina replied, flushing.
“Fred and I are gonna be Beaters,” George said.
Angelina was curious. “Are you any good?”
George nodded, smiling. “Angie, make sure that you're in Gryffindor.”
“Why?” Angelina asked annoyingly.
George whispered secretively. “Because I'll be in Gryffindor,” when he pulled back, she was gaping at him and he was laughing, “you know, Angie, you should be in Percy's compartment, I haven't seen you laugh once!”
Angelina frowned. “I can laugh! I'm just nervous!”
“Then laugh,” Alicia said.
“Go on, or we'll tickle you.” Fred said, cracking his knuckles.
Angelina tried to force herself to laugh but was unable to do it and before she was able to stop them both twins and Alicia was tickling her. She laughed so hard and fought them playfully but by the time they were done she was crying and Percy Weasley had shown up again, looking furious. “What is going on here? We'll be at Hogwarts soon so you'd better stop that!”
Fred frowned. “Get a life, Percy! When was the last time you told a joke?” he asked annoyingly.
Percy grouched something awful. “I'm gonna tell Bill!”
Fred glared at him. “You're such a spoilsport, Perce. I swear, the day I see you crack a joke'll be the day I die,” he muttered.
But Percy was already gone, his ears red.
Angelina was settled on George's shoulder. “What's his deal?”
“He's ambitious. Probably should've been in Slytherin,” Fred said nastily.
George covered up the awkward silence that fell to say to Angelina. “When we're in Gryffindor, come sit with us. And then, tomorrow, we'll put something in Percy's tea.”
Alicia laughed. “Again?”
“Again,” Fred said with a laugh.
Angelina figured that that was the reason he had rushed out, flushed and furious when he had bumped into her in the corridor. The four of them laughed and joked for the remainder of the trip, getting along so well that when they were finally at Hogwarts, Angelina couldn't imagine what it would be like not to see them again. Of course, it sounded a little silly when they had just met but Angelina felt that some things either stuck with you forever or passed you by and when she was Sorted into Gryffindor, the feeling was impossible to be rid of. The four of them managed to sit together during the Feast and George appeared interested in every little thing that she said, breaking past her shy boundaries until she felt cracked open and brand new. A few rows down, a girl named Katie Bell was blabbering non-stop to a boy named Oliver Wood, who was older than them and looking enchanted. Angelina felt happier than she had in months.
Her grandparents had died not too long ago but being with her new friends had lessened the pain and she was now so elated that she felt like she was going to burst. George was a good listener and he expressed sympathy for her loss, stroked away every sad feeling with a smile that centered in her chest like a tattoo. There was something about him that made everything better, brighter and she had never had such a strong pull towards another person before but it was only when they were going to their separate dorms did she realize why. Fred had just said goodnight after they had spent a few more minutes chatting but George lagged behind, as if he wanted to say something before the words became trapped and locked away. “Hey, Angie...”
“What is it?” Angelina asked worriedly.
“I'm glad that I met you today,” George eventually muttered.
Angelina brightened. “Me too,”
George thought about something and stared at her for a long time. He opened his mouth to say something but then grew silent, his cheeks turning pink and she raked her eyebrow up at him, “...Its been a really good day.”
Angelina blushed as he suddenly took her hand. “What is it?”
“Aren't you going tell me goodnight?” George asked softly.
“Goodnight.” Angelina said shortly.
George burst out laughing. “You're very blunt, aren't you?”
“What did you want me to say?” Angelina asked him, confused. George shook his head, squeezed her hand and walked away, laughing. She didn't really understand what was going on with him or why he seemed so amused but she sensed that they were tied together somehow...it was a strange, scary thing to realize but something she would never forget. The days would be brighter, “Wait, what did you want me to say? George—?”
The memory washed away just as quickly as it began and when Angelina opened her eyes, she wasn't surprised to hear the sounds of death, of loss and of pain all around her. Blood was thickening the little corner that she had been stashed in but she forced herself to stand, she had to make it out of this and with a weak, “George?” she realized that she was still disoriented and thought that they were still outside of their dorms, back in first year. Angelina blinked dazedly and was careful not to fall down on the pile of glass beneath her feet and she shook the memory away, her damaged leg making it useless for her to walk very far without hissing in pain. It was excruciating but she forced herself to head towards the castle, she had to make it inside, to help but she was in a sort of haze as she hexed, cursed and jinxed Death Eaters that got in her way or wanted to fight and left them bloody and empty around her. She had to go inside, she had to make it into the school, to ask George, to see him and ask what he wanted besides a goodnight....
Angelina somehow made it back it into the castle without being shattered completely and she was unsure what monster she fought along the way. The Great Hall was swarming with spells, blood and thrashing bodies fighting for the upper hand and she launched herself wildly into the fighting without hesitation, trying her best not to crumble underneath the weight of survival. It seemed to never end and as she slid along broken glass, she heard a girl scream from above and saw Lavender Brown falling over a rail with a grey, snarling blur before colliding with a heavy thud to the ground. A scream was torn from her and before she could rush over to see if the girl were alive, the staircase nearby was suddenly smoother than glass as Ron, Hermione and Harry slid down it (Angelina figured they were invisible but caught a shock of red hair). The three of them landed on the ground and a quick spell made the stairs shoot back up to their original state, making the Death Eaters who had been chasing them crumble and gasp in surprised shock.
Angelina was still rushing towards Lavender but as she did so, Greyback staggered back onto his feet and rushed at the fallen girl, teeth bared but a harsh, “NO!” exploded from the gloom and was followed by a thunderous blast from a wand. Greyback was thrown back but as he tried to get back to his feet, something large, clear and round landed on his skull and he didn't move again. Angelina prayed that the beast stayed down and shook off her shock and rushed over to Lavender, barely noting that Parvati had somehow appeared through the melee, clutching her side. The girl looked battered, bloodied and beyond rational thought but she sent her a grateful smile as they made it to Lavender, who was barely stirring. “Oh, please, no,” Parvati sobbed while lifting her friend's bleeding skull onto her lap, “Oh, Lav,” she sobbed.
Angelina checked her pulse. “She's barely breathing.”
“Don't say that!” Parvati cried. “You make it sound like she'll die!”
The grim possibility was too much to contemplate but Angelina bit her tongue and helped carry the girl to Madame Pomfrey. Although Angelina had always considered the school nurse to be very soft-spoken, she looked as if she had been through Hell and didn't hesitate to rush towards them with a few sturdy Hufflepuff students, “Give her to me, I'll take care of her.” The woman promised firmly as Parvati seemed reluctant to let her friend go. Lavender was moaning weakly, her eyes fluttering every now and then as if she were traveling to some greater place, “she's safe with me.” Angelina heard the nurse say curtly when Parvati faltered again before allowing her friend to be placed on a makeshift stretcher. Parvati refused to leave her friend's side and was given permission to follow them as the group as they looked for a safer place to tend to Lavender's wounds, “I'm not going to lose another student tonight...” Madame Pomfrey vowed darkly as they fled through the crumbling remains of the Hall.
Angelina watched them go worriedly before returning to the battle, only to see that several of her friends, people that she had known for seven years were dead or dying. The sight was more devastating than a lie. Unsure where the strength came from, she ran through the crowd of Death Eaters, fighting and saving as many Hogwarts students as she could—Draco Malfoy was even spared from being ripped apart when she unthinkingly rushed to his aid. The boy had been riddled with tears and had shook off her concern before running away and Angelina had quickly forgotten about him as she spent the remainder of the night dueling alongside Luna Lovegood and bloody Ginny Weasley, the three of them together taking down many of their enemies. The explosions, the screams, the curses, the sound of Hogwarts crumbling around and below, were ignored as survival took its toll and Angelina fought and fought until, out of nowhere, Voldemort's cold, icy voice rang out. Angelina ignored the sound of it but deduced that he wanted his forces to retreat for now and then, for the survivors to tend to their wounded and take care of their dead, to wipe their filth from the battlefield. It was over as soon as it had begun.
The Death Eaters retreated like smoke, and they were abandoned like a bad dream. Air seemed to rush out of many lungs but before long, sobs were soon replaced with screams as Angelina truly saw the amount of damage that had been unleashed upon the school. There were bodies everywhere and the scent of blood was so thick that it poisoned her lungs and as she stood there, she became aware of the injuries that she had endured. Her leg was throbbing painfully and there were too many bruises and cuts to count but she ignored the stinging aches and bit the horrible scream that was rising but felt her eyes fog over from the effort. Luna was gone, Ginny was looking for her family and she was left alone for a moment. Angelina tended to the wounded, helped carry the dead even though some part of her was already gone, “Angie!” someone screamed moments later as she gently placed a body of a Hufflepuff boy beside one of Hogwarts professors. The sight tore at her heart and she closed his eyes so that he would appear to be sleeping, “Angie!”
Angelina looked up to see Alicia and Oliver running over to her. “What is it?” she asked, instantly concerned. They stopped and hesitated, both of them bloody, torn and cracked. “Are the two of you—thank God that you're all right!”
The left side of Alicia's face was badly cut and a hasty bandage had been slapped on to stop the blood but it looked as if it were pulsing. Angelina flinched as she gently reached out and touched her arm, knowing that the worst was about to come. It was enough to have the floor swaying, “Angie, it's—”
Angelina's whole world was about to fall and shook her off. “Is it Katie? Where is Katie?” she screamed angrily.
Oliver shook his head, slowly. There was a very nasty gash on his forehead and the side of Alicia's face was heavily bandaged but bleeding badly, “Angie, she's fine. She's outside....gathering bodies with Neville and Seamus. I'm going to join them soon.” He hesitated slightly but Angelina saw in his eyes that the news was still too fresh for him to even comprehend.
Angelina felt her heart shattering. “...Please, no.”
Alicia tried to envelop her in a hug but she shook her off. “Lee's in pretty bad shape but he's getting c-cleaned up.” I didn't want to be the one to tell you when you're so hurt—”
“Tell me what?!” Angelina demanded viciously, hearing her throat constrict. This couldn't be happening...this wasn't happening.... “t-tell me what?” she asked around a choke, knowing that it would tear her to pieces.
Oliver and Alicia exchanged a look with one another and the world was swaying and dancing around her eyes. Colors were merging together, “You need to sit down, you're about to pass out. You've lost some blood and...” but Angelina was glaring at him, ready to fight if he didn't tell her what was wrong...who was gone. “Merlin, Angie please just listen to us—”
There was a horrible noise then, like the sound of angels falling from heaven burst through the Great Hall and Angelina turned at the sound. A large family with red hair was sobbing, and a mother was crying so loudly that everyone else was staring....wondering, waiting for the horrible news that Angelina just couldn't face right now. “You don't need to go over there right now,” Oliver tried to say but she barely heard him.
Angelina's feet were forcing her forward and she could barely hear the two of them behind her, urging her to turn back. “You need to sit down, Angie!” Alicia urged but she didn't think that turning away would be any better, she had to see who she had lost...even though the very thought was making her far more dizzy than any curse. She tried to get a hold of her arm and bring her back, the sound of her own tears enough to make her knees crumble. “Wait, Angie—”
Angelina shook her off roughly and ran the long distance across the crowded Great Hall to the Weasley family, who were nothing but a dazzling array of red. “No, let me go!” she cried as she ran over, shoving Oliver away when he grabbed her, “let me go, please!” The look on her face seemed to startled Oliver and he released her, watching as she continued tripping and bleeding to the family. They didn't look at her as Angelina stopped near them and when she could manage a look for herself, a horror unlike anything she had ever seen shattered and her mind and soul, burst into agonizing pain.
This couldn't be happening.
Someone said her name but Angelina couldn't hear them any longer, she could only see his last smile, those freckles...the red, red hair and before she was able to do a thing, she fell into darkness and never wanted to wake up.
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