Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Second Fiddle

Voldemort’s Requiem pt. 3

by Crucio_Crusade 9 reviews

Harry Potter is aware of the wizarding world. The only problem is he grew up apart from it. When he explored the magical world, he found dangers, wonders, and friendship.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres:  - Characters: Harry,Hermione,Neville,Voldemort - Warnings: [!] [V] [?] - Published: 2008-06-10 - Updated: 2008-06-10 - 5949 words

Disclaimer: This fan fiction was based on the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. I do not claim ownership on any character created by J.K. Rowling, and no money is collected from this story. This is one way I show appreciation to J.K. Rowling’s works. Other names or places on this story are fictional. Any similarity to actual name is purely coincidental.

Chapter 34: Voldemort’s Requiem pt. 3

When the wards went down, there was no battle cry or shouts of triumph. Swiftly and silently, Scrimgeour and his Aurors crossed the ground, and took up positions on one side of the fortress’ gatehouse. With heart pounding, the minister leaned for cover against the rough wall of the fortress. His hand felt clammy as he tightly gripped his wand. He knew the Killing Curse would be used against them in this battle. So, he fully approved its use by the Aurors, but only as a last resort. For a brief moment, he questioned his own decision. Was he leading his own men to their death? But, he quickly pushed the thought aside as something ridiculous. He, then, signaled a group of Aurors on the other side of the gatehouse. Seven blue-cloaked Aurors detached themselves from the wall, and faced the massive wooden doors.








For a moment, it seemed nothing happened. Then, slowly, the massive doors creaked slightly ajar. Like a well rehearsed choreography, four of the Aurors immediately pushed the doors open. Scrimgeour and the other Aurors quickly tapped their heads with their own wands as they cautiously entered. One by one, they blended into the surrounding background. The only clue to their presence was the transparent ripple in the air as they slowly moved.

Scrimgeour and his men found themselves in a dimly lit courtyard. The minister quickly surveyed his surroundings. He saw high, solid, stone walls on four sides. The cobblestone floor was free of any useful hiding place. And, they still had to cross some thirty meters to get to the door on the other side of the courtyard. Scrimgeour didn’t like the looks of things. He was starting to regret his rash decision. But, it was too late to change his mind. A loud clanging sound had sealed their fate. Scrimgeour swifly looked behind him in surprise. The massive doors had closed, unnoticed by him and his men, effectively cutting them off from the rest of the Auror attack force.

“Well, well, well… What do we have here? Uninvited guests?” Scrimgeour was startled when a harsh, sarcastic voice broke the silence. He immediately stopped in his track and listened tensely. “Did any of you bother to read the sign on the gate? It says, ‘Trespassers will be cursed. Survivors will be cursed again.’” Scrimgeour heard scattered chuckling. Tried as he might, he couldn’t pinpoint the source of the voice. It seemed to come from all directions. “Shame on you, minister. Have good manners and right conduct deserted you?” The minister wonderingly looked at himself. He was still disillusioned. There was a brief silence, before the voice was heard again. “A pity… I was also expecting Longbottom’s company. But, I guess yours will have to do, minister.” There was no doubt in Scrimgeour’s mind who was speaking…You-Know-Who.

“SURRENDER!” Scrimgeour shouted commandingly, while continuously searching for You-Know-Who. He knew he and his men were at a disadvantage. They were exposed, so to speak, while the enemies were hidden.

A harsh laugh echoed around the courtyard. “You have an odd sense of humor, minister.” There was no denying the sardonic tone in the Dark Lord’s voice. “If you haven’t noticed, we outnumber you three to one.” A short harsh laugh was heard again. “Let me remove those silly Disillusionment Charms.” The gloomy courtyard was momentarily lit by a violet-colored light. “As you can see, it is you who will surrender.”

Scrimgeour hastily counted his men. There were fifteen Aurors who made it inside with him. Their numbers wouldn’t have mattered to him, if he didn’t see the fear in his men’s eyes. Already, he knew You-Know-Who won half the battle. Wildly looking around him, he vehemently shouted, “YOU-KNOW-WHO… SHOW YOURSELF AND FIGHT ME!”

Another short harsh laugh was heard yet again “Brave words for such a cowardly wizard…” Scrimgeour quickly whirled to his left to face his enemy. Not too far from him, a fluid shadow appeared to coalesce rapidly. When the form was complete, it was none other than the most dreaded dark wizard. “…You can’t even call me by my name.” You-Know-Who gave him a predatory smile, which sent chills down his spine. All around him, Scrimgeour noticed shadows moving and forming into well-renowned, white-masked, dark- cloaked figures…Death Eaters. They were surrounded. And, You-Know-Who wasn’t joking as the minister realized. They were really outnumbered, three to one.

The Dark Lord slowly and menacingly walked a little closer towards Scrimgeour. “I believe this is the part where you lay down your wand, minister. Carefully, I might add.” Voldemort grinned sarcastically. “You don’t want my Death Eaters to start cursing you.”

Scrimgeour heard hurried movements behind him. He briefly turned his head to one side, and saw his men had closed rank. The minister faced his enemies again, feeling proud of his Aurors. They were all good men. Despite their fears and hopeless situation, his men still had the presence of mind to assume defensive formation. He just hoped the other teams found another entrance to the fortress. He had a strong feeling he would not come out of this encounter alive. He could see no escape from certain death.

The minister smiled with confidence he didn’t feel. “I’m afraid I can’t oblige, Lord Voldemort.” Scrimgeour’s voice was dripping with sarcasm, when he daringly mentioned the Dark Lord’s name. “If I’m going to die, I’m going to die like a wizard, not a coward like you.” He saw You-Know-Who’s scornful smile slowly disappeared until there was nothing, but a cruel mask.

“I don’t intend to kill you, minister. I have a use for you. Your men, however, are of no use to me.” After hearing the Dark Lord’s words, the tips of the Aurors’ wands began to glow with arcane power. Scrimgeour noticed You-Know-Who’s eyes were curiously directed to his left. At the Dark Lord’s next words, he found out why. “Thicknesse, if you don’t want to die with your stupid comrades, now is the time to move to one side.”

Scrimgeour’s head snapped to his left so fast, he almost broke his neck. He couldn’t believe it. He thought Thicknesse was one of his most loyal Aurors. Boiling with anger, he watched the traitor hastily crossed over to the Death Eaters’ rank. There was no sign of guilt or shame on the traitor’s face as he locked eyes with him.

“Don’t look so surprise, minister. Soon, you will also serve me.” The sarcastic smile was back on Voldemort’s face. “I hate to cut our little chat, minister, but I have more pressing matter to attend to. If you and your men will throw away your wands, I promise to make their deaths as painless as possible.”

Scrimgeour’s face looked like it was carved in granite. He no longer felt fear for his life. He would be no one’s servant. “Never! I’ll see you in hell first.”

“No, you won’t, for I shall never die,” came the arrogant reply.

You-Know-Who’s boastful claim irked the devil out of Scrimgeour. At that moment, he liked nothing better than to curse the stupid grin off the Dark Lord’s face. “That’s what you think.” In a surprise attack, Scrimgeour angrily cast a deadly curse, aimed at the Dark Lord. “Avada Kedavra!”

Almost at the same time, Aurors and Death Eaters immediately sprung into action. The courtyard was filled with cries of dark and light curses. Colorful lights flashed to and fro. And, in mere seconds, it was over. Bodies lay scattered on the cold stone floor. Death Eaters suffered some casualties. But, all the Aurors lost their lives.

Voldemort derisively smirked at Scrimgeour’s pitiful act of defiance. “Lock the minister in the dungeon.” He looked down indifferently at the dead body of Thicknesse, who was hit by the minister’s Killing Curse. In complete loyalty to him, Thicknesse foolishly stood in the path of the deadly curse. “Dispose of the bodies. I want this courtyard spotless.” Without an ounce of pity for his servants’ lost lives, he turned around and walked away, laughing with abandon. Before he even reached the entrance to the fortress’ main hall, his cohesive form became tendrils of shadows, which rapidly floated away.

James watched Scrimgeour and the other Aurors swiftly ran across the ground once the wards went down. Even though the minister sacked him, he still stayed. For the chance to capture Voldemort, he was willing to set aside his dislike of the minister. But, it didn’t mean he would stay close to Scrimgeour. So, he picked a team situated at some distance from the minister. Once Scrimgeour disappeared while entering the gate, James double-checked the readiness of his men.

An Auror standing beside him quickly spoke, “Sir, the doors are closing.”

James quickly looked back at the massive doors. “What the... EVERYONE! MOVE!” He sprinted toward the doors as fast as he could. But, it was too late. The massive doors slammed shut more rapidly than what was even thought possible for their size. Several Aurors had tried to hold the doors open, and failed. “Everyone form a line here! We’re going to reduce these doors to kindling!”

“Sir, Death Eaters may hear the noise.”

“We’re long past covert operation! They already know we’re here!” James briefly looked around to see if everyone’s ready. “On three, one, two…” Every Auror pointed their wands at the doors. And then, suddenly, the massive doors vanished. Surprised, James looked up. There was nothing there. The whole fortress vanished. “Voldemort must have set up new wards! The fortress is still here! Aim your spells straight in front of you!”

“Sir, what exactly are we going to hit with our spells?”

“I just told you! We’re going to…” For a fleeting moment, James knew exactly what their target was. But, like the fortress, the thought vanished from his mind as well. Confused, he looked around the empty cliff. “I… I don’t know.” He was at a loss for an answer. He didn’t even have any idea what they were doing there. After a few moments of indecision, he gave a new order. “Let’s go back to the Ministry. We’ll sort everything there. Team leaders! I want your full report ready by morning. Dismiss!”

One by one, the Aurors disapparated. James stayed for a moment, searching the vacant ground for something. He knew they were there for a reason. A gust of wind whipped his cloak about. And then, he heard it. It sounded like laughter. But, when he tried to listen more carefully, there was nothing. He could only hear the wind blowing, and the waves crashing on the jagged rocks below. With a feeling akin to frustration, he too disapparated.

Voldemort entered his throne chamber to find a burnt, dead body on the marble floor. Malfoy and his son, Draco, and two other Death Eaters flanked the body on its left and right sides. He continued on to his throne, ignoring his kneeling servants. Once seated, he disinterestedly regarded the body.

“Malfoy, I hope for your sake, you have a good reason for subjecting me to this stench.” Voldemort’s voice held a promise of pain.

Malfoy hoped his master would be in a lenient mood, considering his glorious victory over the Ministry. “Forgive me, my lord. You have given me an order to find the traitor, Hywel.”

Voldemort curiously looked at the dead body. “Is this the traitor?”

“No, my lord.” There was a hint of nervousness in Malfoy’s voice. “We haven’t caught him…yet.”

Voldemort’s eyes narrowed. It was evident his patience was wearing thin. “Are you going to tell me whose body this is, then?”

Malfoy already expected his master’s reaction. He secretly quivered in fear. “Harry Evans, my lord. The boy you dueled not too long ago.” Trying to forestall his master’s wrath, he hurried to explain himself. “But this is not my doing, my lord. A magical anomaly suddenly appeared, and destroyed everything it touched. The boy was foolish enough to stay in its path.” His heart was racing when he stopped talking. For a moment, he tensely waited for his master’s response.

“Look at me, Malfoy.” The aristocrat pureblood nervously met his master’s intense gaze. “Are you telling me the truth?”

“Yes, my lord,” answered Malfoy as truthfully as he could, before he lowered his eyes.

There was a pregnant silence. After a few tense moments, Voldemort’s harsh laugh filled the chamber. “Throw the body of the boy at Diagon Alley. I’m sure his parents will be happy to see him.” Again, the chamber was filled the harsh laughter of the Dark Lord.

Malfoy secretly breathed a sigh of relief. “As you command, my lord.”

Neville Longbottom was surprised, when Susan Bones fiercely hugged him as soon as he entered the Gryffindor Common Room. Over the left shoulder of the blond Hufflepuff, he saw his friends looking at him with worry and relief etched on their faces. He was beginning to feel warm and fuzzy inside from the sincere welcome, when he met the indignant eyes of his girlfriend. Embarrassed, he awkwardly pulled away from the buxom Hufflepuff.

“Um… Thank you for your concern, Susan. But, I’m fine, really.” Neville smiled reassuringly at the very worried witch. And then, he felt an arm wrapped around his waist. When he looked to his right, he found Cho tensely smiling at him. Susan quietly moved away and joined the others near the fireplace, giving Neville and Cho a little privacy.

“Thank Merlin you’re back.” Cho fiercely hugged her boyfriend. “I was worried when you didn’t return before dinner.” The black-haired Ravenclaw partly drew back, and looked at Neville with concern. “What took you so long?”

Neville, holding Cho around her waist with his left arm, lightly caressed her beautiful face with the back of his fingers. “Come on. Let’s sit down. I’ll tell you all about it.”

Neville sat on the sofa directly facing the fireplace. Cho sat beside him on his right, and held his hand for comfort. The rest pulled up chairs, and gathered around him. He was surprised when Seamus and Dean came down the stairs.

“Dean? Seamus? What are you two doing here?” Neville immediately stood up, and shook his fellow Gryffindor’s hands.

“I’m fine, Neville,” answered Dean, smiling lightly.

“I enjoyed my school vacation. Thanks for asking Neville,” Seamus added jokingly.

Neville just laughed good-naturedly. “Okay, okay, so how are you, Dean, Seamus? Did you two enjoy your vacations?”

“Didn’t you hear our answer, Neville?” Dean asked mischievously.

“Yeah, we said we’re fine and enjoyed our vacations,” Seamus added teasingly.

Neville exaggeratedly rolled his brown eyes. “Quit it you two. I’ve had enough of that from Fred and George. Now, answer my question. Why are you here early?” Neville suddenly looked concern. “Did something bad happen to your families?” He shifted his gaze from Dean to Seamus, and then, back again.

“If you mean Death Eaters, then, nothing of the sort happened,” Dean replied somberly. “Thanks for your concern, though.”

“Ron sent us an owl,” Seamus expanded on Dean’s answer. “We figure you may need more support from DA members. So, here we are.”

“Mind you, it wasn’t easy convincing our parents to allow us back to Hogwarts one week early.” Dean scowled lightly at the thought.

“Yeah… It’s a good thing Snape built a reputation for being a taskmaster and a git. So, I just said to both our parents that we’re going to do research on Snape’s school assignment. And, here we are.” Seamus was all smiles at his cleverness.

“Well, it’s good to see you both.” Neville gladly shook their hands again. “Grab yourselves a chair. You may as well hear what I’m going to tell the others.” Neville returned to his former spot, right beside Cho. Dean and Seamus sat down behind Ginny and Luna. “Well, there isn’t much to tell.” His friends groaned exasperatedly at his words. He secretly smiled. The Weasley twins were not the only ones good at teasing. For a moment, he was busy blocking pillows thrown his way. His girlfriend was also hit a few times. “Okay, okay, I was just joking. Sheesh, you blokes have no sense of humor.”

“We have plenty,” Dean protested righteously.

“We just don’t see the need right now,” added Seamus, equally offended.

“Yeah, get on with the story mate.” Ron lightly frowned at his best friend.

Neville adapted a serious expression. “Joking aside, there isn’t much to tell, really.” He saw the look of disbelief on his friends’ faces. “I’m telling you the truth, mates.” Still, his friends didn’t look like they believe him. “We went there, and I pointed the location of Voldemort’s...” Neville’s expression went blank for a moment. And then, it was replaced by a look of concentration, as if he was searching for something within his mind. “Uhm… Anyone remember where I went?” He looked at the others, hoping for an answer.

“For Merlin’s sake Nev! Your joke is getting old,” Ron said impatiently. “You were there just a few hours ago.”

“And?” Neville looked expectantly at Ron. “You all know where I went, right?” From Ron’s, his gaze travelled to his other friends’ faces. They all nodded in agreement, except for Dean and Seamus.

With an exaggerated sigh, Ron replied, “Okay, mate. I’ll humor you. You and a few Aurors went to… to…” Like Neville a few minutes ago, Ron looked like he was trying to remember something, not only him, but the others as well. Ron threw his hands up in frustration. “I give up. I don’t remember.” He looked dourly at Hermione, expecting to hear a scolding for being forgetful.

Hermione saw everyone looking at her. “I… I don’t remember, either,” she said, embarrassed. She noticed the teasing smiles directed at her. “What? You don’t expect me to remember everything, do you?”

“Yes, we do,” Ginny said, her teasing smile growing by the minute.

“This is so sweet!” Ron crowed with glee. “Hermione can’t remember, either!”

Hermione irately looked at the red-headed boy. “Ron, put a sock in it.” Then, her face grew serious, like she’s in a lecture mode. “Why can’t I remember? It was just a few hours ago…”

“Fidelius Charm.” Luna’s whimsical voice cut the rest of Hermione’s self-recriminations.

“Huh?” Dean asked dumbly.

“What?” Ron asked cluelessly.

Hermione just nodded her head in understanding. “It makes sense.”

“It makes perfect sense!” exclaimed Neville with relief. “For a minute there, I thought I was getting senile. And, I’m still a strapping young lad.” His girlfriend playfully punched him on the shoulder. “Oowww… That hurts.” Cho just smiled at him, extra sweet.

“For those of us in limbo, will somebody explain what’s going on?” Seamus asked in annoyance.

Warmed by the roaring fire, Neville told the two Gryffindors what happened, beginning with Professor Dumbledore. After that, he spent the next hours answering or clarifying their questions. It was early morning when they decided to retire. They were bidding each other goodnights when Neville caught a figure at the corner of his eye, silently watching them.

“Charlie? Is there something wrong?” At hearing Charlie’s name, everyone curiously turned to face their visitor.

The dragon-keeper didn’t answer right away. He looked grim. “Ron, Ginny, mum wants to see you.” He noticed Ron was about to open his mouth. “Don’t ask me any question. Just follow me to the hospital wing.” With strong curiosity and sense of foreboding, the Weasley children quietly followed their older brother. Neville, as well as the rest of the group, decided to tag along too. Charlie didn’t voice any objection.

Very early in the morning... Most residents of Diagon Alley were still asleep. But, a few, mostly shop keepers, were already busy preparing their trades. Fred and George were among the early risers.


Fred sleepily opened his eyes, reached under his pillow for his wand, and poked the annoying alarm clock, tipping it over. “George, wake up… Time to open the shop.” He, then, pulled his blanket up to his chin, and cozily settled back on his bed. Except for their soft snoring, the twins were asleep as new born babes.


George blearily opened his eyes, and lethargically sat up. For a moment, he sleepily regarded the alarm clock resting on its back. He, then, lazily reached for his wand lying just beside the clock, and zapped the wailing banshee. It sent the alarm clock, flying over his sleeping twin, crashing against the wall, before breaking into several pieces. Satisfied with his handiwork, George yawned widely before going back to sleep, mumbling. “Stupid clock. Stupid twin brother.” Except for their soft snoring, the twins were asleep as new born babes. A few more dream-filled minutes ticked by.


Fred and George sat up at the same time, both suddenly wide awake. With a startled look on his face, Fred turned to his twin brother. “What the bloody hell was that?”

For a moment, there was a blank look on George’s face. Then, his eyes grew wide as he suddenly remembered something. “The firecrackers!”

Grabbing their wands, the twins quickly jumped out of their beds as if their pajamas were on fire. They hurried down the stairs, their bare feet barely making any noise. But, when they reached the first floor on their way to the basement, they found their shop in a complete mess. The wall facing Diagon Alley was blown open. The remains of their glass door and show window littered the floor. Most of their products were scattered everywhere. But, what surprised them the most was a burnt body slumped over their remaining front wall.

George lightly nudged his twin brother forward. “Go ahead, Fred. I’ll cover you.” He, then, raised his wand to show he was ready. His twin scowled at him. “Oh, go on. I’ll protect you.”

Fred rolled his eyes. “Yeah, right.” Nevertheless, he slowly approached the body. George followed close behind him with wand pointed at his target. For a moment, Fred curiously looked at the body, and then, at the street outside already filling with curious bystanders. There was a deep crater on the cobblestone street. He wondered why someone would blow up a street, and then, dumped a body inside their shop. Of course, the unknown body could have been blown towards their shop when the street exploded. At first, Fred tentatively poked the body between the blackened shoulder blades with his wand. When he got no reaction, he deduced they were in no danger. “Come here, George, help me lay him on the floor.” Together, they pulled the body onto the floor, and turned him over. “Merlin… It’s Harry.” Fred promptly leaned down to listen for a heartbeat.

“Is he still alive, Fred?” George asked with concern.

“I’m not sure. I can’t hear any heartbeat.” After a moment, Fred slowly sat up. There was a worried look on his face. “George, I think he’s dead.”

“Don’t say that,” George empathetically retorted. “Quick, let’s take him to Madam Pomfrey. We’ll let her decide.” George immediately stood up, and quickly headed toward their fireplace.

“What about the shop?” Fred asked offhand.

“Forget the shop. Let’s go!” Fred carefully levitated Harry, and followed George to their fireplace. George firecalled Professor McGonagall. He got no answer. So, they used Madame Rosmerta’s fireplace instead. Soon, they were on their way to Hogwarts.

Neville felt increasingly worried as they neared the hospital wing. This situation reminded him of the time when Mr. Weasley was hurt guarding the prophecy. Charlie offered no explanation. He just quietly led them through the corridors. Ron and Ginny didn’t dare to ask him questions either. And, that’s what worried him. The two were usually inquisitive when it came to mysteries. He surreptitiously glanced at his best mate, who was unusually quiet. He hoped for his friend’s sake, nobody in his family was hurt.

When they reached the entrance to the hospital wing, Charlie stopped and faced them. “Ron, Ginny, before we go in, there’s something I have to ask of you.” His grim look was replaced with undefined sadness. “Promise me you two will remain strong for mum and dad’s sake.”

“What’s going on, Charlie?” Ginny asked anxiously. Her face showed the inner turmoil she was experiencing. “Did something happen to mum and dad? Are they hurt?” Charlie sadly shook his head. “Couldn’t you just tell us then?”

“Yeah, what is this all about?” Ron asked impatiently. Unlike his sister, he tried to mask the fear he was feeling. “Come on, Charlie. Tell us what’s wrong. If it concerns our family, we have a right to know.”

Charlie looked unsure. For a moment, it looked like the dragon-keeper would ignore Ron’s demand. “Okay… But, you two have to promise me you will remain strong for mum and dad.” Charlie gazed at his siblings in all seriousness.

“Yeah, yeah,” Ron answered indifferently, while Ginny just nodded anxiously. “Now tell us.”

“Ron, Ginny…” Charlie now looked grave, his voice slightly quavered before he regained control of his emotion. “Bill is dead.”

Ron was shocked speechless. His friends were horrified as well. Neville gently laid his hand on his best mate’s shoulder, silently conveying his condolence.

“No…” whispered Ginny in shock. “No! You’re lying!” She quickly ran toward the door, angrily brushing Charlie’s hands aside as he tried to stop her.

“Ginny, wait!” cried Charlie, immediately going after his sister, Ron close on his heels. The young, Hogwarts students hastily followed the Weasleys inside.

Most of the people present in the hospital wing immediately looked in their direction. Their faces showed their sorrow. Neville noticed they were all Order members. Madam Pomfrey was standing on the side of the hospital bed, opposite Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. Mrs. Weasley and Ginny were crying as they hugged each other. Auror Potter and his wife as well as Tonks, Mad Eye, and Fleur were grouped near the foot of the bed. Tonks was comforting the distraught Veela. Professor McGonagall was nearest to them. When he turned his attention on the bed itself, he saw a white blanket completely covering someone lying on it.

“What is this prat doing here?” Neville saw Ron angrily marched toward the window. There, observing them quietly stood the unwelcome member of the Weasley family… Percy Weasley. Ron aggressively grabbed the front lapels of his brother’s cloak. Percy did not react. He just emotionlessly returned his younger brother’s angry glare.

“Ron, let him go,” his dad said gently. The uncommon tiredness in his father’s voice didn’t escape his notice either. “I brought him here.”

Ron slightly shoved his brother away when he released him. He, then, turned his attention on the covered figure on the bed. He still refused to believe it was Bill lying there, dead. With his heart beating fast, he slowly approached the bed and carefully pulled the white blanket. His eyes began to moisten with unshed tears as he saw the serene face of his eldest brother. To him, it looked like Bill was just sleeping. He very nearly reached out to try to shake him awake. He unconsciously gritted his teeth. His eyes burned with anger. In his tumultuous state, Madame Pomfrey easily pulled the blanket from his grasp to cover the body of his brother again.

Ignoring Neville who stood beside him to show his support, Ron turned to his father. “How did he die, dad? Who did this?” he asked gruffly. There was a brief moment of silence. His anger grew as he thought his dad wouldn’t answer his questions.

“It was my fault.” Ron heard a soft reply. His head quickly swiveled towards Percy. His brother’s face was a mask as he stared dully at a far away point.

“You?” Ron couldn’t believe it. Percy might be a git and a prat. But, get one of them killed, his own brother? It was unthinkable. In his anger, Ron blindly charged his estranged brother. But, Neville was quick to block and hold him. “Let me go, Nev! That prat got Bill killed!” Struggle as he might, Neville didn’t let him go. “What did you do? Did you order one of the Hit Wizards to execute him for believing You-Know-Who’s back!”

“Easy, Ron. There must be more to it than what he said,” Neville reasoned calmly.

“He got Bill killed! What’s more to be said? Let me go, Nev! I’ll kill him!” Ron renewed his struggle to get free from Neville’s tight hold on him.

“Stop it, Ron! Stop it!” Ginny screamed hysterically. “Perce wouldn’t do that. He wouldn’t.”

Mrs. Weasley comfortingly hugged her distraught daughter again. “It wasn’t Percy’s fault, Ron,” she said tearfully. “It was a Death Eater who killed Bill.”

Ron ceased struggling. “What are you saying mum? Bill didn’t go with Neville to look for You-Know-Who.”

“Death Eaters attacked the Ministry as soon as Scrimgeour and a large contingent of Aurors portkeyed away.” With heavy heart, Mr. Weasley described again the event, which led to the death of his eldest son. “They tried to get inside the Department of Mysteries again.”

“Why?” asked Neville, puzzled.

“I don’t know.” Mr. Weasley momentarily rubbed the back of his neck. “But, this time, they met heavy resistance. Robards, a few Aurors, several Ministry employees, myself, and Bill banded together to fight them off. The Death Eaters were outnumbered. We stopped them, and easily pushed them back.” Mr. Weasley lamentably sighed. “Someone disabled all the fireplaces. So, when the Death Eaters couldn’t get out by floo, they barricaded themselves inside the minister’s office. Robards was killed in the encounter. And, Umbridge wasn’t there. So, Percy assumed the responsibility of demanding their surrender.”

“What?!” Ron disbelievingly looked at Percy, aghast. “Are you mad?! What were you thinking?!” Percy just lowered his head in remorse.

“Percy was out in the open when a Death Eater fired a Killing Curse at him. Bill pushed him out of the way. And in so doing, he was hit instead.” At this point, Mr. Weasley breathed deeply to ease the pain in his heart. His eyes were red from unshed tears. Mrs. Weasley and Ginny hugged him to give him comfort.

Silence settled over the hospital wing after Mr. Weasley’s narration. Each person lost in his or her own thoughts. Suddenly, there was a soft, creaking sound. Everyone curiously stared at the slowly opening door.

George walked in, panting. His attention was on someone behind him, though. “I’ll call Madame Pomfrey!” He stopped short, when he saw a lot of people staring at him. He knew all of them, of course. “Hello?” he greeted uncertainly.

“George!” Ginny quickly ran into his arms, sobbing. “He’s dead, George. He’s dead.”

George was at a loss for word as he returned his sister’s embrace. He was also surprised. He didn’t know the news would travel that fast. He gently pried himself from his sister’s tight embrace, and concernedly held her hands. “We don’t know that for sure. That’s why we brought him here. So, Madame Pomfrey can have a look at him.” Everyone looked blankly at him.

“Mr. Weasley, what are you talking about?” Professor McGonagall asked, confuse.

At that moment, Fred walked in with Harry in tow. “George, have you called…” Fred stopped short, when he saw all the people in the hospital wing. “Oh good, you’re all here. Save us the trouble of individually telling everyone.”

“Tell us what, Mr. Weasley?” Professor McGonagall asked, now intrigue and confuse.

One witch, however, paid attention to the floating body behind Fred. Hermione gasped in surprise as she recognized... “Harry!” She quickly kneeled down right beside the floating youth, and placed Harry’s head on her lap as Fred gently lowered him.

The Hogwarts students, standing near the door, made way as Madame Pomfrey and Lily rushed to Harry’s side. “What happened to him, Fred? Where did you find him?” For a moment, Lily carefully examined her son as she kneeled down. She immediately noticed deep lacerations in Harry’s neck and arms. She, then, touched Harry’s right wrist, feeling for pulse.

“We don’t know,” Fred answered with concern.

“We just found him in our shop,” George added anxiously.

“No…no…no… Please, don’t be dead, please,” Lily suddenly mumbled, frantically pulling her wand from her cloak pocket. “Probatur Somes…” Nothing happened. With tears slowly falling down her cheeks, she tried again. “Probatur Somes!” Again, nothing happened. “Stupid wand! Why doesn’t it work?” She violently shook her wand for a moment. “Work! You stupid wand! Work!” she screamed wildly.

“Lily…” James gently pulled his wife to her feet. “Lily, let Madame Pomfrey look at Harry.” He lovingly hugged his wife whose body was visibly trembling. Madame Pomfrey quickly stepped in, and gently placed Harry on the nearest bed. Hermione worriedly stood at the foot of Harry’s bed.

“He’s dead, James. Harry’s dead,” sobbed Lily in his chest.

“Shhh… Madame Pomfrey is examining him right now. Let’s not make hasty conclusion, until she’s finished, okay?” James worriedly looked at Madame Pomfrey over his wife’s shaking shoulder. The school nurse, after casting several spells, slowly lowered her wand, and sadly shook her head at James. She, then, carefully covered Harry’s dead body. James was unaware his wife turned her head around at that moment, and saw Madame Pomfrey’s final diagnosis.

“NO! Nooo!” cried Lily hysterically. Silent tears fell from James’ eyes as he tightly hugged his wife. His heart felt it was going to explode. Any hope of reconciliation or forgiveness from Harry was lost forever.

Neville didn’t know what to feel. He sadly looked at the Weasleys, and then, at the Potters. Both families lost their eldest sons to Lord Voldemort. He’s sure Death Eaters had a hand in Harry’s death. Harry was wanted by the Dark Lord after all. He knew this war would have casualties, but it didn’t make it easy to accept the reality of it. He momentarily closed his eyes. And when he opened them, there was unusual hardness in their depth. In that brief seconds, he made a decision. He had relied on Professor Dumbledore for far too long. It made him complacent. He was prophesied to defeat Lord Voldemort, and he would do just that.
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