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Chapter 1 : Young Blood
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breathtaking chapter image by 365daysdone @ TDA!
Disclaimer: Everything you recognize belongs to JKR! The lyrics in the chapter summary as well as the title of this chapter belong to the song Young Blood by the Naked and Famous, which I also do not own.
A/N: This is prologue to the rest of the story, and the events are not in chronological order. Enjoy!
June 2nd, 2016
There was a sudden bang, a harsh, threatening sound. She crumpled as though she’d been hit with a bulldozer, and she was falling, her mouth formed in an ‘o’ from a silent scream.
Instinctively I reached forward to catch her and stumbled harshly to the ground, my shin catching the bench from the Hufflepuff table on the way down. It was chaos. As I held her in my arms, I saw another student fall, his eyes glassy and his skin pale. His glasses slipped off his face as he landed on the ground. People were screaming, running, trampling one another in an effort to get away.
I wasn’t sure how long I lay there with my arms around her, covered in her blood, unable to process anything, not even the flashes of green light and gun shots that were causing total mayhem. Eventually, he found me, yanking me up by my arms and forcing me to run. I didn’t want to leave her behind; perhaps we should go back and get her. I turned to him to tell him so but the look on his face stopped me from asking anything at all.
Instead, I ran with him, side by side. I followed his path carefully. I knew he’d be mad if I tripped or fell behind. I didn’t want to make him mad. All around us bodies were hurtling through space, and in the hysteria I felt like I was swimming, barely keeping my head afloat. He seemed to sense this, and dragged me down a narrow corridor and into a closet.
“Clara, I need you to stay here, okay? You’ll be safe if you just stay quiet and don’t move. Don’t open the door for anyone until I get back. Okay?”
He was so serious. I wanted to tell him to calm down. He always did get worked up so easily. Instead I nodded and took a seat on the dusty floor of the closet. My gray eyes stared up at him until the door began to shut, and the darkness overtook the light.
As I sat there, I wondered where she was now. I knew we should have gone back for her, but I figured she could handle herself. She’d probably found Fred by now anyways.
“THEY’RE GOING TO KILL US, THEY’RE GOING TO KILL US ALL!” Footsteps pounded down the hall and I heard the horrified shrieks of a young girl just outside the door. There were more loud noises; I could hear the ‘pop, pop, pop’ through the door.
Suddenly, I could feel my heartbeat in my neck. My arms were sticky with blood that was not my own. My breathing pattern became shortened, coming harsh and fast. Yes, of course. She was dead. That would explain why she was letting me hold her for so long. Normally she hated to be touched by anyone other than Fred.
I blinked. Where had he gone? Probably to find his siblings. But I couldn’t let him be out there alone. I had to save him. I had to stop the killing. It was, after all, my fault.
June 10th, 2016
“Miss Sullivan, where were you the evening of June second, 2016?”
Numbly, I shifted my gaze over to the prosecutor. “At Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.”
“And what were you doing prior to the killings?”
I could feel the pulse of my heart in my neck. “Making an announcement to the Great Hall.”
“And what happened after your announcement?”
Every person in the courtroom stared at me, their gazes making my skin prickle. My throat went dry. “They killed her.”
“Who is ‘they’?”
I looked over at Him, the sick bastard in his wheelchair. He was on trial for murder, and he was sitting in the courtroom of the victims’ families and smirking. “The Muggle-born Martyrs.”
“Who are the Muggle-born Martyrs?”
“A group following the mindset of Lord Voldemort or Adolph Hitler. They believe purebloods should cease to exist. They think it their duty to destroy them. To murder them.” My voice cracked and I forced the bile to stay down.
The prosecutor came closer to me. “Can you identify the members of this group for the court?”
I stared them down, one by one. They couldn’t hurt me anymore. Couldn’t touch me. Couldn’t take anything more from me. They were going to burn in Hell, of that I would make sure. “Ivan Turner. Kevin Daley. Ross Nicholson. Sierra Greene. Tamara Wiggins. Carl Davenport. Bryant Hayes. Eric Harrisburg.”
My gaze stopped on the last person in the row, and gray met green, just like that night, when she’d taken her gun and pointed it at my skull. “And Margaret Greyson.”
“These nine people were the attackers? You saw each and every one of them with a weapon?”
There was already proof of it. He didn’t need me to say it. He just needed to put on a show for the Wizengamot. “Yes. I watched Carl Davenport use his wand to round up a group of students, and witnessed Ross Nicholson kill them one by one. I watched Kevin Daley torture twelve year olds before brutally ending their lives-”
By now the courtroom was abuzz, and the prosecutor was trying to cut me off. I simply spoke louder.
“I saw with my own eyes Maggie Greyson pumping bullets into already dead bodies, saw Sierra Greene slit the throats of Slytherins-”
The Minister was pounding his gavel, trying to restore order. People were weeping, shouting, spewing venomous threats at the accused.
“I SAW IVAN TURNER SHOOT AND KILL THE CHILD OF HARRY POTTER WHILE THEY WERE PLEADING FOR THEIR LIFE!”
I was yanked out of the chair and forcibly dragged from the room, which was now in chaos. Everyone was either screaming or crying. Except for them. They were sitting there in silence, perfectly still. They’d done what they wanted to. Accomplished what they’d been planning. With one exception: they hadn’t killed me.
September 1st, 2015
I hadn’t been sure of whether or not I’d find him out here. Considering what had happened over the summer, I didn’t know if he’d even be allowed out of the castle.
Silently, I mounted my broom and flew up to him, feeling the moisture in the air and smelling the dampness of the grass and the trees. Early morning was the best time to train, as no one else was awake. All the more perfect for keeping secrets.
“You up for a game of one on one?”
He tossed me the quaffle and I caught it using just the crook of my right arm. I awarded him with a smirk and chucked the worn ball back at him.
“Sure. I’ll even give you a handicap. Your ball for ten minutes, I’m not allowed to touch it.” I grinned, knowing he hated it when I acted like the superior player, merely because I was on the team and he was not. But it made for a better game, in the end.
He flew his broom so that it was parallel to mine, but in opposite direction. His nose brushed mine as he leaned in. “Well in that case…”
Taking advantage of my momentary distraction, he made a quick loop around me and shot the quaffle through the hoop, effectively scoring against me. With another grin, I shot off after him.
We live in a time that historians call the Quell. The Wizarding World is at peace, Voldemort is dead, the Death Eaters are disbanded, and the community can now focus on topics like better education, creating more jobs, and making families.
That’s what the adults say, anyway. Here at Hogwarts, being a pureblood is a death sentence. Even making eye contact with one is enough to put a target on your back. The muggleborns and half-bloods run the school, and the purebloods, like the children from those who won the Second Great Wizarding War, are shunned. They’re bullied ruthlessly, often to the point where they’re found lying unconscious in a corridor, forced to sit alone and away from everyone else, unallowed to partake in activities such as dances, parties, or even quidditch.
If the professors noticed, they never said anything. I think they felt that helping would only make matters worse, and they’d be right. I remember in my fourth year, Robert Corner had been tied to a tree for getting caught kissing Dominique Weasley. Our Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Dean Thomas, tried to help by punishing the group of Ravenclaws that had done it, but the next day his entire office had been ransacked and destroyed. His food and drink were spiked with various potions and he never got control of his classes ever again. Anyone caught associating with a pureblood got the same treatment: harsh words, rogue hexes, isolation.
I guess you could infer by now that since I’m on the quidditch team, I’m not a pureblood. I’m a muggle-born, which instantly makes me popular. It’s so backward, isn’t it? But at the same time, it’s like we’ve reverted back to the sixties and seventies when the entire mess began. I never was one to partake in the bullying or hexing, but I can’t say I’ve ever done anything to stop it. I’m as bad as the rest of them, because despite being a Gryffindor, I have no courage to stand up to them. I prefer to keep my head down and just try and make it through the day.
That’s why James and I play in the early hours of the morning, when it’s still dark and the castle sleeps. We’ve been doing this since my first year, his second. Since I’m a muggle-born and am unable to practice at home, I’d started playing in the early mornings to prepare myself for the team tryouts. James came just so he had the chance to play, unable to be on the team.
He’d actually tried out in my first year, but something had happened that no one ever speaks of, James least of all. I remember seeing the difference in him, though. I’d watched him closely from the start, fascinated by the way he’d stick up for his cousins and friends. But after his tryout, he stopped preaching about unity and blood lineage. He kept his head down like the rest of the Pures. I’d watched him grow nearly mute. Even now, on the pitch, I was sometimes surprised when he spoke.
“Sullivan, are you going to play or float there like a reject?”
I raised a brow. “Your ten minutes are up, Potter.” Before he had the chance to react, I flew past him so quickly it made his broom shift, and when I circled back around and flew by him again, I stole the quaffle.
I still don’t really understand why the students here are waging a war against the purebloods. Their parents are happy with the way things are, and they’re the ones who had to live through the Dark Times. Everyone here just feels self-righteous and indignant all the time. It’s like they’re trying to start another war, which makes it really ironic that we live in a time of peace.
James and I played to 100 points, and he won. He really is a better player than me, naturally has more talent, and playing against him puts me on my best game. I’ve always thought it a shame he isn’t on our team, as he would be such a great asset, and honestly I thought that the captains would have been able to set aside blood line for the sake of winning. But none of them ever could. For the past six years, the Slytherins have won the House Cup, fueling the hatred for Pures even more.
Slytherin House is the reject of the castle. I’d heard stories that once it was Hufflepuff, that it was once the house where students who had no particular outstanding trait or talent was placed, but now, it’s Slytherin. It’s still the same pureblood-filled house, but I think a lot of students want to be placed there, so they’d have allies. Because of this, they have some of the greatest quidditch players. Marcus Zabini, Albus Potter, Scorpius Malfoy, Roxanne Weasley, Vincent Chang, and Davina Wood are the members of the current team.
Once the Sun started threatening to rise and the birds began chirping, James and I landed in the middle of the pitch, plastered in sweat and short of breath.
“It was a pleasure to once again kick your arse, Sullivan,” James smirked, rolling the quaffle beneath his foot.
I swiped the leather ball out from under him and he landed on his bum. “And it was a pleasure putting you on yours.”
He glared, but accepted my hand as I helped him up. I reveled in the electric feeling that buzzed through my veins at the contact. I felt it and I knew he felt it too – there was a reason we were always seeking each other out in secret. We used our love of quidditch as an excuse but the truth of it is that we liked to be around one another.
But no one could know of our friendship, or else I’d be the one lying unconscious in a corridor, with James right beside me. Publicly associating with him would mean getting kicked off the team, losing my friends, becoming a broken and bruised pariah. And I’m a coward.
I never stuck up for James and he never asked me to. We knew our places, and we didn’t fight it. I sat in the middle of the Gryffindor table, surrounded by my dorm mates and team members. He sat alone or with his family on the outskirts of the other Gryffindors. There were times when I grew so tired of the people I called my friends that I wished I could just get up and sit next to James, but that would make everything worse for both of us. Whatever our frustrations, we left it on the pitch.
A/N: This is my first Next Gen fic, it's pretty dark but there is heavy romance in it. Let me know what you think with a review!
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