Chapter 34 : 34- Register of the Fallen
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“Fall back to the lower levels!” Naomi heard Kory’s magically enhanced voice command over the explosive and deafening sounds of the battle as the opposing army continued to overpower them. The destroyed Atrium was filling quickly with Dark Wizards pressing their assault or else blasting pieces of the interior to panic the last of the Ministry defenders.
Ignoring the stabbing like pain that was currently panging out in her stomach, she ran to follow the others as four more of the other fighters that were around her were picked off by jets of green light.
She sent a barrage of jinxes and curses into the constantly advancing crowd, dodging and blocking their retaliations as she pelted towards the staircase.
She felt her foot catch on something and she glanced down to see Derrick Kidman, eyes closed and blood leaking from his head, lying on the floor at her feet.
She forced herself to look away quickly before leaving herself open to attack, when she saw Hermione Weasley covering all those retreating down the stairs and saw her indicating Naomi to hurry up.
As she did so, Naomi saw Neville overtake her and she could see tears running down his dirtied face.
“Move!” They heard Kory bellow again as he joined Hermione in protecting those retreating. Both she and Neville broke into a sprint, spells just missing them.
The moment they touched the first step, she heard both Hermione and Kory cry out “Preoccupo Maxima!”
Naomi glanced a look round and saw their combined empowered blocking jinxes create a thick see through wall. Many Dark Wizards slammed into the wall before some of the others began to attempt to be rid of the jinx.
The remainder of them ran down towards the first floor of the Ministry, which was the lowest point underground. They put up more barriers along the way passing the Sphinx, a few cuts in places though otherwise unharmed, as they did so. Though when a battle worn Enforcer asked how long the barriers would hold, neither Hermione nor Kory answered him.
“Neville, what’s happened? Who’s...?” Naomi started, noticing that he couldn’t stop the tears, though she couldn’t bring herself to finish the question. He looked at her as though he was experiencing pain far worse than that of any curse. She placed a hand on his shoulder as they reached the crowded bottom floor.
“Lance, Ron, status report.” Kory panted. His golden hair was covered in building debris and he had lost his black sunglasses during the battle revealing that one of his sapphire blue eyes looked as though it had been sucker-punched.
The two Aurors ran towards them but Ron seemed preoccupied with embracing Hermione.
“Where should I start?” Lance said in obvious exhaustion as a deep gash that just missed his eye continued to drip blood. “The Trolls are dead, the Ghouls are dead, most of the Goblins are dead and from the looks of it that includes Devring, more than half of our Wizarding army is either dead or captured, Kingsley’s injured.” Lance listed off. “And I’m almost certain that when they get down here, which they will, we will then all be killed. Unless there’s a way out.”
Kory looked around. “Do you have an idea of how many or who we’ve lost?” Lance stared at Kory.
“I’m sorry, I’m afraid I didn’t have time to do a roll-call.” He snapped as Kory continued to survey the scene.
“Where’s Potter?” Kory asked and Naomi too looked around as a slim, blond woman she recognised as the Leaky Cauldron landlady ran into Neville’s arms. Naomi knew Harry went had gone to take on Selwyn and Rabastan but before she could join him, more Dark Wizards had attempted to assist their leaders and she had to help stop them.
“He’s not still up there is he?” Ginny asked barging through the crowd as the topic was brought up.
“He went to fight Selwyn and Lestrange.” Naomi stated and the entire building gave another huge tremor.
“Alone?” Ginny asked, drawing closer to Naomi.
“He wasn’t alone.” They heard Neville say, though he wasn’t looking at any of them including the woman in his arms. Then, with a shaking voice full of pain and anger, he said “Harry’s dead.”
“What!” Ron said, releasing Hermione instantly.
“No.” Naomi said disbelievingly but Neville nodded and pulled from the inside of his robes a small spherical object that Naomi recognised as an Amethyst Orb.
“This was Selwyn’s. I broke away from the fight and ran up to help Harry. I killed Rabastan but for some reason Harry just lost it. Selwyn started talking but he also had me under the Cruciatus Curse and I couldn’t hear anything and even struggled to see but then Harry tackled Selwyn and… the two fell from the roof.”
“No,” Ginny spluttered out. “No, Neville. NO!” She cried and it looked as though her shout had inflicted physical pain on him.
Word spread around the crowded department and Naomi could here crying coming from many of the other fighters. Ron pulled out his Two-Way-Mirror from his robes and placed it to his reddening face.
“Harry Potter. Harry Potter!” Ron yelled and tears of his own began to trickle down his own dust covered face as Lance pulled Kory to one side.
“I’ve spent most of the battle trying to find him. But I couldn’t find him or Selwyn.” Neville said, as though explaining his efforts would help make them pay off.
Naomi’s entire body was shaking and she noticed her physical injury had been overpowered by her grief for her mentor but, over the sounds of heightening fear and grief, she noticed she could still hear the conversation Lance and Kory were having.
“We need to get out of here, now.” Lance hissed and before Kory could reply he continued “We can’t fight them, Caseman, especially not now.” And Lance indicated the mourning crowd.
“Where’s Kingsley?” Kory asked in a cracked voice.
“With the rest of the injured being treated by what few Healers answered the call.” Lance answered. “He lost a lot of blood from a cursed wound and he’s in no fit condition to take command which, if I’m correct, puts you in charge.” Kory nodded as he looked around what remained of the Ministry defenders.
“That House Elf trick Potter used seemed to work.” Kory said. “Go around and give the command to anyone who’s in charge of a House Elf to summon them.”
“And go where?” Lance asked and Kory hesitated for a moment.
“The Burrow.” Charlie Weasley interrupted. “On the outskirts of Ottery Saint Catchpole.” Lance and Kory looked at one another for a moment before nodding and they both began to spread the word.
Charlie looked as though he wanted to hug her but Naomi put a shaking hand up.
“Don’t.” Charlie stopped instantly. She could tell grief was gripping him too but she found herself numb to the others pain. Harry Potter, her mentor, her friend could not be dead.
“Let me go!” She heard Ginny cry out. Naomi turned to see her trying to wrestle off two of her brothers. “I want to kill them! I want to kill them all!”
“Please, Ginny!” Percy Weasley pleaded with her. “You honestly think that Harry would want you going off like that.” Ginny’s strength seemed to fail her as she stopped fighting at the mention of Harry’s name. “Please, we need you to summon Kreacher.” The building gave another shudder and, as dust fell from the ceiling and gave the defenders a coating, Naomi noticed that the cries from above were getting louder.
Ginny nodded before feebly whispering the House Elf’s name and Kreacher, along with a few other House Elves, popped into the Department.
“You first.” Ron said to Ginny. “Tell Mum and Dad there are a few more on the way.” Ginny reluctantly took Kreacher’s hand. Hermione, Percy, Neville, the woman whose hand he was now holding and a few other D.A members: all carrying their own battle injuries joined her and as Ginny said “Take us to The Burrow” they vanished with a ‘pop’. Immediately a repeat of the evacuation at Azkaban began as the House Elves held on to multiple wizards and witches and vanished only to reappear seconds later ready for the next group.
“They’re getting closer.” Fay told Lance and Kory from the top of the stairs.
“Damn it, we need more time.” Lance said as he watched more groups of people vanish.
“I will buy you time.” Said a cool female voice and the large golden Sphinx appeared from behind Fay. “Get your remaining fighters to safety.”
Lance nodded. “Thank you.” The Sphinx returned his nod and vanished behind the corner.
“You can’t let her go alone.” Naomi told Lance as he turned to help the injured.
“It’s either one Sphinx or every remaining wizard and witch in here.” Lance answered and he left, leaving Naomi dumbstruck. She gripped her wand tightly and turned towards the stairs but, before she could make a move, a strong hand grasped hold of her arm and pulled her. She spun around to see Charlie holding on to her with one hand as another was given to a short, elderly House Elf. She couldn’t even think of an objection before feeling herself turn on the spot.
Fresh air hit Naomi’s face as she found herself in a lush green field in front of tall rickety wooden house that she assumed was the Burrow. Charlie had loosened his grip on her. “How dare you.” She said flatly not looking at him.
“You running into a fight wouldn’t help anyone.” He retorted. A summer breeze blew across them and Naomi felt her crave for action being eaten away by grief.
There was another ‘pop’ as a group of the injured appeared. Kingsley was floating in mid-air, his majestic purple robes covered in blood and his once dark face had paled in colour. The Healer who had attended to her head injury was right beside him and she too was covered in blood, though whose, Naomi did not know.
“Please tell me there’s a place for the injured.” She said to Charlie and Charlie indicated her to follow him.
“We can arrange something.” He said as he began walk towards a tall house that, judging by the number of poorly attached add-ons, was obviously supported by magic. “You coming?” Charlie asked as he began helping more of the injured to the house. There was another ‘pop’ sound as a group of Aurors appeared along with Lance.
“Alright, we need to put up extra protection around the place pronto. They don’t know we’re here and they can’t find out.” Naomi glanced at Charlie before wordlessly turning to help the other Aurors.
When the last of the Ministry defenders had arrived, Kory had begun making a register so that they’d have a better idea of who they had lost during the battle.
Ginny, Ron, Hermione, the two elder Weasleys Naomi had been introduced to as Molly and Arthur, Lance, Naomi and a number D.A members were residing in the Burrow’s cramped living room, grieving their losses.
“So what now?” Molly asked when the results of the battle had been explained.
“We try and contact the Confederation.” Lance said decisively. “Very few of the Aurors the Confederation had sent survived, that’s not going to make them happy.”
“Or it could scare what few of them that actually decided to help off.” Susan said bitterly.
“Excuse me.” Ginny said looking around the room. “Are we already forgetting some-”
“None of us have forgotten, Ginny!” Ron shouted angrily, still holding his Two-Way-Mirror. He had tried using it countless more times since arriving but with no success. “But grieving for Harry isn’t going to help us now.” The two siblings glared at each other before Ginny stood up and headed upstairs where, Naomi guessed, her and her brother’s children resided.
A few of the D.A members that Naomi recognised as Luna, Angelina and the blond woman that had embraced Neville back at the Ministry ran after her. Ron let out a growl of anger and he got up and left, no one even daring to follow him. Naomi saw him through the small living room window looking from his mirror to the woods until, with a soundless yell of anger and grief, he threw the mirror as hard as he could.
The room remained silent until Kory returned, Professor McGonagall by his side, holding a long sheet of parchment.
“Well we’ve got a list of who we’ve got left.” He said to the room as though it was a start to resolving the problem. “We’re still working on a full list for those we’ve lost but here’s who we know have been captured or killed. I thought you’d like to look through it.” He then handed the parchment to Hermione and many of the D.A looked over her shoulder to see.
“Lee,” George whimpered as many other members scanned through the list also announcing names Naomi barely recognise such as Dennis Creevey and Cho Chang.
“I saw Cho being stunned.” McGonagall said, hanging her head. “But I couldn’t get to her in time.” Two twin D.A members each placed a hand on the headmistress’s shoulders as she dabbed her eyes.
“We’ve gone beyond the grounds of the Burrow and have set a perimeter guarded by Aurors and we’re trying to set up shelter. As kind as your hospitality is, Mrs Weasley, we can’t fit three-hundred into one house.” Kory carried on though no one replied. “We’ve heard from the Healers, who are now temporarily being headed by Healer Lavender Brown, and they think all the injured that were retrieved should recover in due course.” This made a thought come to Naomi’s mind.
“What about Saint Mungo’s?”
“I’m sorry?” Kory replied.
“There are still a few Aurors and Enforcers at Saint Mungo’s from the Quidditch attack. As soon as the Dark Wizards sort themselves out at the Ministry, they’ll want every remaining Auror they can get their hands on dead.” The remaining D.A members looked at one another and Naomi knew they were all thinking of Ernie Macmillan who she knew to be a friend of theirs.
Lance stood up. “Well, I think we’ve just thought of our next move.”
“What, attack the hospital?” Kory asked with a tone of exasperation in his voice.
“We find as many Aurors and Enforcers as we can, maybe a few others that are in there who just want to help and a few more Healers and get out of there before things get hairy.” Everyone stared at Lance though no one objected.
“I’m in.” Naomi said, ignoring the stabbing pain that still irritated her but instead acted on the combined thought of Kaman, Emily and Harry and Lance winked his approval at her.
“Kory, gather about four more fighting fit Aurors who are ready for round two.” Lance ordered but Kory stood there.
“Are you serious? We need to figure out how to contact the outside world, find out where they got their numbers from, send word to the Confederation, not go out kidnapping Healers.”
“But we don’t have a plan to do those things do we and even if we did, it wouldn’t take three-hundred to do all that now would it?” Lance replied. “And remind me, the current Supreme Mugwump, Aaron Kirke, what was the reason he wasn’t heading the last meeting?”
Kory stared into Lance’s eyes before eventually saying “Alright, all of the Aurors and Enforcers will be residing in the Drake Garthon ward but I don’t know where Kirke is.”
“Well, let’s ask someone who does.” And with a second wink to Kory, Lance left for outside and Kory chased after him.
“Three-hundred and still outnumbered.” Arthur said disbelievingly as he sat on the arm of the armchair his elderly wife, who was still dabbing her eyes since hearing the news about Harry, sat in.
“We had nearly double that at the start and we were still vastly overwhelmed.” Hermione replied. Her face had grown paler since her husband and his sister left the room and she was beginning to look as though she was going to be sick.
Arthur then turned to face Naomi. “You be careful, dear.”
Naomi nodded. “Don’t worry, I’ve been well trained.” And Naomi saw a tear trickle down the old man’s face.
“I know you have.”
“Alright Naomi, you ready to get back in the game?” Lance called out from the living room door and as Naomi wiped her own eyes, the advice Harry had given her when she had been grieving Emily came to mind.
“A wise man once told me that that pain your feeling now is what makes us human. It’s what separates us from people like the Death Eaters. And, although it might not feel like it now, it’s what gives the strength to go on.”
Naomi looked Lance full in his determination filled eyes, her chest feeling as though a fire had erupted within her, before replying “Yeh, I’m ready.”
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