Disclaimer: I donít own the characters, just the plot!
A/N: This little one-shot is for task one of the House Cup! WoC: 1, 610
My prompts included:
- features your Houseís Champion (5 points)
- mentions at least 4 specific breeds of dragon (5 points)
- mentions at least 1 Unforgivable Curse (5 points)
- mentions a Blast-Ended Skrewt (5 points)
- features a dragon (10 points)
- mentions a Sleeping Draught (10 points)
- mentions 2 of the following types of magic: a transfiguration spell, a sleeping spell, the conjunctivitis curse, the summoning charm (accio) (15 points) *specifically mentions Draconifors and conjunctivitis.
- mentions at least 2 of the following types of Dark Detectors: Foe-Glass, Sneakoscope, Secrecy Sensor, or Probity-Probe (15 points) *specifically mentions foe-glass and secrecy sensors
- features a theme of flourishing in the face of adversity (25 points)
- mentions the details of your Championís Wand, as provided by your Head of House (25 points)
"Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid."
- Franklin P. Jones
Avada Kedavra. There's a horrific sting that comes with those two words, like a sting from a fresh wound or the shattering of a heart. It's like fire reaching your skin and then roasting you from the inside out, boiling through your veins.
There is no other way to describe the pain I felt upon seeing Maxine, my dearest and closest friend, lyind dead amongst the turmoil that struck Hogwarts the second You-Know-Who entered our grounds.
I think it's safe to say that none of us were ready for this. Well, except for Harry Potter and his closest friends. He had done his best to prepare us all, and while I think he prepared Ginny Weasley and many others, I was not one of them. I only attended the Dumbledore's Army lessons to learn. I didn't think I'd actually be using any of it in real battle. I thought the absolute most that could ever possibly be demanded of me would be to stun a blast-ended skrewt if Hagrid ever brought another one of those to his classes.
I think for the first hour or so of the battle I wandered around in shock, a little dazed and petrified. I didn't rise up to the occasion like so many of those around me. I've never been brave, and I've never been a martyr. I didn't think I had what it took to fight such a battle. In fact, as soon as Potter left the Great Hall to set off on his duties and Professor McGonagall and the rest of the Order set off to secure the castle, Maxine and I bolted out of the Great Hall and down into the dungeons where we hid in a potions classroom, poking at old foe-glasses and secrecy sensors to pass the time.
That was one virtue Maxine and I had always possessed, and we could execute it flawlessly. We were wonderful at being patient, and that was half of our plan at the time: to escape to the dungeons where we could wait it out, out of harm's way. We were Hufflepuffs anyway, for crying out loud. We were best known for our patience and loyalty.
Then Zacharias Smith found us, reprimanded us a little, and tried to convince us it was our moment to rise to the occasion and fight for Hogwarts and for our world. It was a beautiful and eloquent speech, coming from such a scrawny boy who had always been so inarticulate and reserved, but it had been enough to get Maxine and I moving. We sprang from the dungeons, freezing at first with our horror upon seeing the battle, but then - surprisingly enough - instinct kicked in.
When a Death Eater ran at me with the Killing Curse forming on his lips, I raised my wand and stunned him into unconsciousness. Maxine had embraced that instinct better than I had. As soon as she had warded off her first Death Eater, she began welcoming them bravery as they approached her until death finally took her. I tried to tell myself she looked peaceful, that maybe she was still sleeping, or the idiot Ernie Macmilliam had accidentally slipped her a Sleeping Draught again.
Then, with Maxine gone, I shriveled back into this tiny, hopeless creature. I crouched down in a corner and cried into my knees, rocking back and forth and hoping a Death Eater would pity me enough not to kill me. I was ignored and overlooked by all. How could everyone else be so brave? Why did it come so naturally to them when fear quaked within me to my very core?
Zacharias found me again not long after Maxine had been killed. He crouched down in front of me and gingerly touched my knees. Gently he grasped my chin and lifted my head to meet his gaze. He had a long gash down the side of his face, and almost every inch of his skin was coated in blood and dirt.
"Maxine's dead," I blubbered before he could say anything.
"I know," he answered, and even though he must have been hurting too, he looked sympathetic towards me. "Susan, we need you. You have to fight."
"We will die!" I declared horrifically.
Besides, what could I really do in a fight? They didn't need me; not unless they wanted me to transfigure some Death Eaters into canaries. My wand is even made of ash with a dragon heartstring core. It's twelve inches and springy; Ollivander even said it was good for Transfiguration. What more could I do?
"We won't," Zacharias said, trying to convince me differently. "You're good, Susan. Brilliant. I've seen you in our DA lessons! You're magnificent. You just think you are a coward. "
Zacharias was right; I know I'm a coward.
"Prove me wrong, Susan," he pressed, breathing intently. "Prove me wrong."
I swallowed deeply and knew he was once again right. I had to prove him wrong. What kind of person was I to just sit back and let my friends be murdered? Even if all I could do was transfigure things into canaries or rodents, I would still be helping. I sucked down my fear and took one long, calm breath. Zacharias offered me his hand, but when I reached out to take his hand, the air suddenly grew hot. The temperature was rising, and fast.
Zacharias and I looked about to determine the source when a raging dragon generated from fiendfyre turned the corner and was blazing down the corridor. It was like nothing I had ever seen, nor was it any ordinary dragon. It wasn't a Hungarian Horntail or a Chinese Fireball; it wasn't a dragon you could simply use the conjunctivitis curse on or use the counter enchantment for the Draconifors Transfiguration spell. This was a dragon of its own making, breathing the very fire it consisted of.
Zacharias latched onto my hand and dragged me from the floor and out of the path of the dragon. "Run!" he shouted horrendously.
Together we ran from the dragon that was suddenly on our tail. It was closing the distance between us to its flaming mouth. I could feel the ends of my hair being seared from the heat. We rounded a corner and burst into a classroom, bolting the door behind us. We knew the dragon was passing by as the door rattled with its ferocity, burning the door and letting embers fall to the floor. When we knew it had passed, Zacharias kicked down the door and turned back to me.
"You're braver than you think you are," he said quietly to me before leaving the classroom to join the fight once more.
He left me there to stew in my own guilt and self-loathing. His words ripped a new hole in my heart alongside the one that had formed upon Maxine's death. I didn't want to be a coward; I wanted to be out there avenging Maxine's death. So why wasn't I? Why did I think myself such a coward? It is said that we all have bravery and greatness. I guess some just have to try harder than others to find it.
I could be brave, couldn't I? I think it's safe to say that fear and bravery go hand-in-hand. No one is without fear, even Harry Potter. He must be terrified, but he doesn't let anyone know how truly terrified he must be. I could be like that, couldn't I? No one needed to know how horrified I was of everything going on.
I sucked in a deep breath, puffed out my shoulders, and forced down my fear. I shoved it to the back of my mind where I locked it away, never to be opened again. Then, with my springy wand in hand and hoping I could do more than transfigure a few things, I ran from the classroom, prepared to take anyone down with me.
The first that came at me was a snatcher, and when I saw the demented look on his face, I didn't even grant him the second to raise his wand. I had mine up and ready before he could even speak.
"Stupefy!" The words felt good as they lift my lips, and I watched him sink to the floor in unconsciousness.
I heard rapid footsteps behind me, and I whipped around to face another who dared to end my life. The Killing Curse left his lips, and I dropped to the ground. As soon as the green light passed over my head, I raised my wand and sent him into unconsciousness as well.
I could do this! I really could. I had had the courage in me all along. I had just been too scared of what could happen. I had even told myself I was a coward. I wasn't, though.
Zacharias was right; I had proven him wrong. I am braver than I thought I was. All I had needed was a push in the right direction. That flaming dragon had awoken a side of me I didn't know I could have. I had showed myself that I could be that dragon. Not a Common Welsh Green or a Swedish Short-Snout, but of fire. I could erupt into flames and leave those stricken with fear. The snatchers and Death Eaters would be the ones I could chase away with my fierce flames! Even those Carrows.
I could fight for Maxine and those around me, and no one would know of my fear. I welcomed the rest of the coming battle and proved to everyone that we all have a fire-breathing dragon somewhere within us.