Mrs. Weasley sighed sadly as she helps prepare food for the few students their underground school has. She, Minerva, Poppy and other professors has been on the run since the death of Harry. She didn’t want to run but she couldn’t just watch while they arrested her daughter for loving Harry. She tried to help Ginny escape. It was a futile effort with so many arrayed against them that day.
The day they gave Harry a funeral…
The day it broke her heart to bury someone she considered a son. Her heart broke more as she watched Ginny cried over his casket. She was at her wit’s end when the Dark Lord declared Ginny a criminal for believing on someone ‘unworthy,’ his last revenge on the boy who has hounded him since birth.
Ginny was too distraught to defend herself. And as a mother, she couldn’t just stand there. She had lost so much of her family already. She tried to help her daughter escape. Shrieking like a madwoman, she ignored her husband’s warning and attacked the Dark Lord himself. It was a futile effort that has almost caused her life.
She was only saved by McGonagall who valiantly deflected the Dark Lord’s curse before disapparating with her. Since then, they had been hiding here in Rowena’s Nook, a quiet town a few miles away from Godric Hollow. The town is surrounded by a forest that somehow affects magical transport, may they be apparating or through use of charmed objects like brooms. One can’t even apparate directly into the town despite it having no shields.
Such strange characteristic has always been a hindrance to the town’s growth. However, with the recent upheaval in the wizarding world, it has become their savior. The Dark Lord, seeing no benefits in owning such a sleepy town, has not exerted any effort to invade it.
What he doesn’t know was the town has become a harbor for the muggleborns and half breeds that are running from the new regime. And it is in this town that McGonagall and the other professors have set up their new school: The Potter House for Learning of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Having no house elves at their disposal, Mrs. Weasley and few witches from the town have since been working as their new cook
“Smells good, Molly…” Poppy poke her head into the kitchen. She has taken to herself watching the motherly woman who has been separated from her family forcibly. She had also tried getting news of what happened to the other Weasley family members. Other than the news about Arthur joining the new regime or that Ginny has been locked up somewhere, she had no useful news to give Molly.
“Those children deserve the best…something our society can’t give them right now.” Molly huffed as she levitated the food she cooked. Slowly, she walked alongside Poppy toward the makeshift school near the center of the town. Behind them trailed the hot foods.
“Sooner or later Kingsley will succeed and retake Hogwarts…” Poppy commented. “In the meantime, it is our job to ensure they get the proper schooling they need to survive our own version of the Dark Age.”
“Well, Kingsley better move fast.” Molly said. “Sooner or later, You-Know-Who will get tired fighting his ragtag forces. When that happens, the muggles will be the one to suffer next or worse. He might even find out we are hiding here.”
“I hope it never comes to that…” Poppy whispered.
In the meantime, Arthur Weasley, the Secretary for the Extinction of Muggleborn was standing in front of Dolores Umbridge, Senior Undersecretary. He has been stoically accepting her tirade for the last half hour.
“This wouldn’t do, Arthur…” Dolores smiled sweetly while she straightened her pink dress. “This wouldn’t do at all. We have given you and your family too much leeway already. The Minister has been very generous in forgiving your past misdeeds but this wouldn’t do at all.”
“George is of age, Dolores.” Arthur tried to explain. “As much as I would like to curtail his behaviors, I cannot force him…”
“Use magic if you have to, Arthur.” Dolores spoke up a little bit shrilly as she pushed the Daily Prophet toward Arthur.
The headlines showed the Weasley Wizard Wheezes with George peeking out of the window. A huge poster hangs in front of it. It depicts a squatting wizard, hands raised up in supplication. His eyes, the only facial feature that is identifiable under his dark shroud, were glowing red. To everyone it was obvious that the poster is trying to parody the Dark Lord. Under the figure, a huge sign can be found bearing: YOU NO POO! STILL SELLING!
“If he does not remove that ridiculous poster then I will have no choice but order his arrest.” Dolores still smiled sweetly at Arthur. “He might disappear too like what happened to your daughter.”
Arthur sighed. Until now he has not found out where the new regime has taken Ginny. He has endured separation to his wife and family. He has ignored his conscience every time his department thinks of something to capture the muggleborns. He has done it all and will do more in order to find Ginny. But so far, he has found no clues as to her whereabouts. He hopes Charlie, who everyone believes is out of the country but is actually looking for Ginny incognito, contacts him soon with good news.
“I will try to talk to him again.” Arthur sighed.
“You better Arthur…you better.” Umbridge was about to speak more when Yaxley entered without knocking.
“Dolores, do you have time?” Yaxley asked, barely looking at Arthur. “I think Jugson and Walden Macnair have finally found away to remove the half breed centaurs in the Forbidden Forest.”
“That will be all, Arthur…”
Mr. Weasley only nodded before leaving the room. He hopes Hagrid, Firenze and the other centaurs are ready to repel an invasion.
“Thank you for coming all the way here, Bill.” Hagrid clapped Bill at the back as he escorted the scarred Weasley into the Forest. Ever since that fateful day when Harry finally fell against the Dark Lord, Hagrid has been working on helping the centaurs escape the new regimes’ persecution. So far they had been successful in repelling Umbridge numerous forays into the Forbidden Forest. “We first tried to find Charlie but seeing that he’s out of the country or something…”
“Glad I could help.” Bill muttered, his wary eyes scanning every tree they pass by. Like his father, he had renounced all his previous actions and has pledged allegiance to the new regime. And with his father working in the Ministry, he and his wife, Fleur has been left mostly alone in Shell Cottage.
That doesn’t mean he isn’t averse to helping those who are still openly fighting the Dark Lord’s rule.
“I know a few curses or two that would surely repel even the strongest death eaters.” Bill said, already running through in his mind the numerous curses he knows. “But I will need help. Who do you have?”
“Not that many…” Hagrid shrugged as they entered the centaur’s territory. “Dean Thomas is here. He’s been hiding from your father’s Mudblood Hunters. Hestia Jones is also here. She refused to bow down to the new regime like your father did…mind you I have nothing against Arthur. I know he is just protecting you lots…”
“Perhaps…” Bill murmured though he has inkling to the reasons of his father. “Who else is here?”
“A lot of other wizards and witches I just met when they stumbled here, trying to survive the new regime.” Hagrid raised his umbrella, signaling an unseen sentry. “Don’t you worry about that…it is just some of our precaution here. Since we have a lot of able bodies seeking refuge here…mind you it is causing a lot of problems with the prideful centaurs…we’d come up with sentry schedules. Some uses camouflages, others magical concealment. It gives us a head start during an attack.”
Not far away, Fang the boarhound noticed them and with a playful bark, he ran toward Hagrid, his tail wagging.
Hagrid knelt down to receive a licking from Fang.
“Told you I will be back quickly…” Hagrid laughed as he mussed the dog’s fur. “Oh, I just remembered. Susan Bones, niece of Amelia Bones is here. She’s good in curses, learned it probably from her aunt, bless her soul…though a little bit strange when it comes to choosing her mate.”
Bill only raised an eyebrow at the half giant. It was very uncharacteristic of Hagrid to comment on something as mundane as relationship.
“Who did she hook up with?” Bill asked with curiosity even as he tried to remember Susan Bones. As far as he can remember, he had met the girl during the Siege of Hogwarts. She was a Hufflepuff that usually wore her blond her in pig tail.
“The relationship is against everything I know…I don’t even think it is natural…I can’t even imagine how…”
“Hagrid…who is it?” Bill asked; his curiosity really peaked.
“Firenze…” Hagrid replied, his eyes almost wild.
“But he’s…?” Billy asked in surprise.
Susan Bones couldn’t help but giggle as she give herself a look over in the body-length mirror in the small cottage she share with her former Divination professor. Gone was the young, pig-tailed Hufflepuff girl mourning over the death of her aunt. She has grown into a long-legged, shapely, confident woman. Her lashes have grown long and curly that curtains over deep blue eyes; her lips are full and pouty; her pig-tailed hair was replaced by a luscious, waist-length blonde hair.
She had to admit she is beautiful.
A beautiful woman who chose to live with a centaur...
She giggled again with the absurdity of it all.
“You are in a good mood?” Firenze asked. His front legs were bent and he stooped down to level his face with hers. “Perhaps you have finally decided to ignore the looks given to you by both of our kind?”
“You receive more ridicule than me from this arrangement of ours.” Susan smiled sadly at Firenze, her right hand cupping his cheek.
“I have long since been ostracized for teaching at Hogwarts long before I was ostracize for sharing my abode with you.” Firenze replied, leaning his face on her warm hand. “I regret nothing of it.”
“They don’t know what you have done for me.” Susan whispered.
“Nor do they know what you have done or sacrificed for me.” Firenze replied before straightening up. “Now, let us put all that behind our minds and concentrate on what the stars are telling us. Mars has been very prominent lately. He colors the other stars with his red azures. I fear that open warfare amongst wizards will soon start again.”
“It is almost time.” Hermione Granger murmured as she stood at the parapet of a castle that stood amidst endless snow. Her bushy hairs are pulled everywhere as the cold wind buffets her.
She was wearing only a flimsy white blouse that gives you tantalizing peek of the color of her undergarments and a tight-fitting jeans that ended in heeled leather boots. A year ago, she would be shivering, bundled in tight jacket and with a floating ball of fire to warm her. Now, she is used to the harsh weather of the land that adopted her.
There was pandemonium and panic after Harry’s death. As everyone tried to flee the invaders, she got separated from Ron and his family. Chased by two death eaters, she had run into the Forbidden Forest in hope of evading her pursuers. In her haste, she failed to notice that she had stumbled into Aragog’s territory.
Her blood has run cold when she heard the screams of the death eaters chasing her. Turning around she saw some of Aragog’s children, feasting on their death eaters allies. Stifling the fear that was threatening to overpower her, she tried to run faster, gripping her wand tightly.
She remembered crisscrossing through the many trees, jumping over huge roots and blasting any Acromantula that got closed. She remembered shrieking as she finally missed a bloody stone and stumbled to the ground. She had ignored the pain coming from cheek and elbow. She had hastily rolled around to point her wand at the approaching Acromantula.
She remembered the horror of realizing that the crack she heard when she fell was the crack of her wand breaking into two. She whimpered, backing away and looking for an escape.
She remembered finally accepting that she will soon follow Harry…
She remembered seeing a shadow of a man jumped from a broom to crouch protectively in front of her. She watched him took care of the horrid creatures in a quick manner. She remembered slumping on the ground crying in relief.
She whispered Harry’s name as the man looked down in concern for her. As she lost consciousness back then, her last thought was that how come Harry is still alive.
Of course, it was just an illusion, a wishful thinking on her part.
It wasn’t Harry who saved him back then. It was Viktor Krum who swooped down to her rescue on that fateful day.
Back then, she woke up to find herself no longer in England but in Durmstrang. Viktor explained that it wouldn’t have been wise staying in a country that was about to wage war against all non-pure blooded wizards and witches.
Back then she resented being taken away from her home. She would have stayed and fought to the very end. Harry would have wanted her to do so.
For days, she had cooped up in her room, thinking and planning of ways to return to England, of continuing the fight Harry had started. She was mad, angry and sad at the same time. She had lost Harry, almost a brother to her and she wanted revenge even at the expense of her life.
She only came to her senses when Viktor haltingly explained that Harry would not want her to throw away her life needlessly, that she should bid and wait for the right time. He told her that Harry would have wanted her to survive.
And survived she did. For a year, she had stayed here in Durmstrang, taking a new identity and finishing her seventh year, embracing the school’s curriculum which included learning the dark arts. With her vast knowledge and experience in it firsthand, she soon rose to the top of the class, mastering the art she once fought hard against.
“Ven vill you learn to vear a coat, Hermione?’ Victor asked from behind her. He had long since learned how to pronounce her name right. After all, after months of him pestering her for a date, she had agreed to go out with him only if he could pronounce her name right. It took him six months to say it. Ever since then he has been saying that the reward he earned was by far priceless compared to the effort it took him.
“I am used to the cold now.” She murmured, leaning against Krum when he hugged her from behind. She smiled, savoring their closeness though her eyes retained their faraway look.
“I know that look…”
“We graduate tomorrow.” Hermione said matter-of-fact. “In my stay here, I have learned more than I should about the dark arts. I am stronger than before, able to call forth both side of magic. It is something my enemies won’t expect…”
“You haven’t really forgotten, have you?” Viktor asked, turning her around before he tilted her chin up so that he could look into her eyes. “You haven’t forgotten what happened a year ago.”
“I lost everything a year ago.” Hermione’s eyes darkened in anger.
“You gained me…” Viktor pointed out.
“And you have been wonderful, Viktor.” Hermione’s eyes softened as she cupped his face. “And you know how much I love you but there are things you just can’t turn your back on. Harry started something a year ago. He failed to finish it. I intend to see it to the end for him.”
“I have been keeping tabs on your country. I have been doing so since I met you.” Viktor smiled charmingly. “Things are not looking good. You vill find little help if none at all from your friends. Most of them has either mysteriously disappeared or has joined the new regime.”
“I will make them remember Harry.” Hermione said stubbornly.
“He vas your bestfriend? More of a brother?” Viktor asked. “You have such strong devotion to his cause and ideals. I knew he vas good but hearing about him from you makes me think he must have been better than good…that he was great”
“He was just a man…” Hermione murmured in answer, her mind already flying as memories she shared with Harry flashes through her mind – one lonely night in particular.
“Damn this all…” Ron murmured as he crouched behind a trashcan in a dark alley in London. Instead of following his father and Bill’s example of joining the new regime, or of Charlie migrating, he has openly denounced Voldemort’s pogrom. As a resort, Arthur Weasley was forced to disown him.
Hunted by the Death Eaters, he was forced into hiding and scrapping foods wherever he can steal one until he made contact with Kingsley and his ragtag rebellion. Almost a year of fighting a losing battle has affected both his physique and personality.
His muscles have firmed up and his face has acquired a harsher look. His stares are sharper and colder than before, making even those he commands cringed every time they are caught in his line of sight. Gone also was the natural color of his hair. He has dyed it black and allowed it to grow long.
He has also gained an attitude for trouble. Due to his new attitude, he has earned the moniker Tempest, the storm bringer. His temper has also risen ten folds and he has taken into swearing and using cuss words every time things does not go his way.
As Kingsley’s Silent Enforcers, he and three other deadliest members of the rebellion was to waylaid and get rid of Walden Macnair. Kingsley has heard rumors that the death eater has come up with a plan to invade the Forbidden Forest and other half-breeds sanctuary.
Their mission was to capture Macnair, use legilimens to know his plans, kill him, transfigure and hide his body.
Easy as pie
But things rarely go exactly as planned.
Macnair usually walks alone on his way home from a binge in Leaky Cauldron. It would have been so easy to nab a drunkard.
Except that when he sent Anne Smith and Matt Devon to accost the swaying death eater it turned out to be a trap. Three more death eaters peeled out of the surrounding shadows. The next thing Ron knew was that Matt lay dead on the street of London and Anne Smith barely got away only thanks to his and Katrina Delayne interference.
“We are outnumbered…” Katrina Delayne whispered as she checked Anne’s wounds. “Those bastards used a cutting charm. We’ll need dittany to heal this.” She wore her brown hair in a pixie cut that accentuated her chiseled chin that is more appropriate in a catwalk than in fighting. She has also foregone wearing witch’s robe and prefers wearing a miniskirt made of denim and razorback top. Her natural appeal and her alluring attire have usually caused the death eaters to under estimate her much to their detrimental.
“I think they wanted to capture me…” Anne’s innocent looking face grimaced in pain as Katrina magically bandaged the wound. “I guess Malfoy has gotten tired of his current playthings.”
“I’ll deal with Malfoy when the time comes.” Ron muttered as he peeked to check the location of the death eaters hunting them. “Some of those ‘playthings’ are my friends.”
“Concentrate boss.” Katrina chided Ron. She is the only one in the Rebellion that could talk like that to Ron and get away with it. She has also, in numerous occasions, acted to calm and pull Ron back from his rage. Behind her back, she is called the Tempest’s Tail for where ever there is trouble, she is sure to be there.
“They have raised an anti apparating charm on this area.” Ron pointed out. “The charm usually is a mile-wide umbrella. We just need to find its boundary.”
“Easier said than done with one of us already dead and another one seriously wounded…” Katrina rolled her eyes while wiping sweat off her brow, leaving a trace of blood.
“This how will we do it…” Ron whispered back. “Katrina, you take Anne slowly toward Diagon Alley. From there, I am sure you could apparate out from there. They wouldn’t dare curtail magical transportation on Diagon Alley especially with Avery and Rookwood setting up shops there.”
“And you…?” Anne asked weakly.
“I will deal with these four.” Ron muttered darkly. Without waiting for their reply, he walked away from them, crouching low amongst the trash cans.
“Ron…” Katrina muttered exasperatedly.
Things rarely go the way things are planned. Ron swore silently as he crept behind one of the death eaters hunting them. With grim determination, he wrapped his arm around the man’s neck. Before the death eater could struggle, he twisted. He smiled as he heard the neck break and the death eater slummed against him. Silently, he pulled the man back into the darkness.
“Three more…” He murmured as he crept toward his next target. Not of the first time, he wished he was this brave and determined a year ago when Harry died.
In fact a year ago, he was more a coward than Collin Creevey who died for what he believed in.
He ducked behind a trashcan as memories of that fateful day flashed through his mind.
Ron Weasley knew he had messed up. He did something stupid that he would probably rue for the rest of his life, no matter how short it would be. He had run after Neville when the Dark Lord blasted him for trying to kill the snake, leaving Harry to face the Dark Lord by himself.
He left Hermione too hoping to retrieve the sword and kill the snake. He was near the lake, picking up the sword from an unconscious Neville when he heard the heart-breaking cry of his sister, Ginny. It was followed by Harry’s supporters running everywhere, Death eaters chasing them.
He knew then what happened.
Harry is dead.
All hope was lost and he did the only thing he could think of.
He once more left a friend, Neville this time, and run toward the school’s gate. He had already tried apparating and found he couldn’t. The Dark Lord has somehow re-raised the school’s wards.
He turned around to see the Patil Twins are taken down by Bellatrix Lestrange. All instinct told him to come back and help his friends and his families but the fear rushing through his blood was all consuming.
Harry is dead and it is futile to resist.
I need to survive… He had murmured to himself as he neared the gate. Harry would want me to survive…the snake is still alive…He immediately turned and disappeared the moment he stepped past the school’s massive gate.
Hiding in the Shrieking Shack, the only place he could think of, he slammed his fist on the dilapidated wall as he shed tears of frustration. Safe at least for the time being, the truth sunk into him. This was not the first time he had abandoned his friends. He had done it before when they were on the run, looking for horcrux.
Back then, he had convinced himself that he had left Harry and Hermione because of the locket’s influence. The locket had magnified his frustration and that he had atone for it by coming back and saving Harry.
Now, being honest with himself, he realized something. He ran now as he had run before: because of fear.
Fear has gripped him so tightly that he couldn’t breathe and he did the one thing he could: run!
Harry is dead and Hermione has probably been captured by now. And he didn’t do anything but run!
He punched the wall once again, crying tears of humiliation as he slumped into his knees.
“Why can’t I be like him?” He had whispered back then. From the Shack, he moved from one place to another, stealing food when he can, staying hidden as much as possible, and never attempting to contact his family. He wasn’t even brave enough to attend Harry’s funeral.
His father has even sent words through the Daily Prophet, asking him to surrender and join the new regime but he had heard much about the concentration camps. And he was too much of a coward to risk his safety.
And so he had run
Until Kingsley found him
“Never again.” He murmured as he killed the second death eater. He will atone for his past mistakes. He will be stronger. He was pulling the dead guy into the alley when a spell hit the wall near his head.
He ducked before covering himself with a disillusionment charm. For almost a year, Kingsley has pushed him passed his demons. Again and again, he had sent him against formidable odds until he learned to trust his capabilities again. He is a wizard, a pure blood to boot and he’ll be damned if a few death eaters get the better of him. He appeared behind the one who shot at him, kicking the death eater at the center of his back. As the man staggered, Ron blasted him with a reducto curse.
Even before the man fell unconscious on the ground, Ron turned, raising a shield to deflect Macnair’s curse before answering it with one of his own.
“And I thought I was dealing with somebody important.” Walden Macnair sneered as he deflected Ron’s curse and shot back with an impedimenta curse. “It is just you, the coward!”
“Shut up.” Ron said through gritted teeth, deflecting the curse before he shot at the trashcan beside the death eater. As Walden staggered back, Ron followed it with an expelliarmus charm, disarming the Death Eater. “Yes, I am just a coward!” He smirked before hitting Walden with a sleeping charm.
Ron rushed immediately to the fallen death eater, conjuring a vial before pointing his wand at the man’s temple.
“Now let see what you got” Ron murmured as he pulled tendrils of memory from Walden and into the vial.
Under the invisibility cloak borrowed from her father, Luna sat beside Harry’s tomb. They had dug the casket out last night and she had opted to let her father placed the ring inside it. She would rather not see the ravage time has inflected in Harry’s corporeal body. It only took her father seconds to place the ring inside the casket.
They had then reburied Harry, using magical ways to ensure that the tomb looked as it used to before their violation.
Her father has then asked her to stay and watched over the tomb, telling her explicitly not leave the place unless truly necessary.
“Everything will be all right.” Luna hummed as she patted Harry’s tombstone. “I am sure it will be…”
disclaimer: EVERYTHING BELONGS TO JK ROWLING
next chapter: LIGHT'S OUT as the Dark Lord consolidates his power on both world
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