‹ Prequel: Essential Hope
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Into Forever

Wit Beyond Measure

The second Fred, Tonks, Uncle Remus, and I appeared in the musty room of the Hogshead, I was engulfed into a gigantic hug that squeezed all the air out of me.

“Kelsey! It’s so good to see you!” Ginny exclaimed, making me wheeze as I tried to take in a breath.

“You too, now let me go!”

Ginny let up on her hug, grinning wildly, just like her brothers always did. Mrs. Weasley was next with the hugs, giving me one more fierce than Ginny had; a bit worried about the strength of Mr. Weasley, I was thankful when he only gave me a hearty pat on the back. Kingsley was talking to Lee, and neither of them seemed to notice our little group’s arrival yet.

“Alright, so what’s the plan?” Fred asked, clapping his hands together. Ginny pulled our little group of new arrivals off to the side and said,

“Harry’s only just arrived with Hermione and Ron.” My heart grew lighter at the mention of my friends, knowing they were still alive. “The adults are staying here for a moment to see that any other arrivals get through to Hogwarts, but Fred, George, Kelsey, Lee, and I will be heading in right away.”

Uncle Remus and Tonks nodded in agreement as I asked,

“How do we get to Hogwarts, though? I’m sure it’s heavily guarded-“

“Yes,” Ginny agreed. “But we’ve got a secret passageway of our own.”

“I don’t care what you do, just get on out o’ my pub,” a new voice growled from somewhere in the shadows, making me jump in surprise; Fred gave me an amused look, and I frowned at him. He knew I startled easily.

“Who’s that?” George asked, glancing around for the owner of the voice.

“That’s only Aberforth,” Ginny said with a dismissive wave of her hand. “Don’t worry about him.”

“Yes, well we better get moving,” Lee said from behind Ginny, squeezing into our little semi-circle. “I’m sure the action will be starting soon.”

“Right, right,” Uncle Remus said, resting his hand on my shoulder and giving it a squeeze. “We’ll see you all in a bit.”

With that, Ginny motioned for Fred, George, Lee, and I to follow her. A large portrait of a lovely young girl was hanging on the wall; the girl gave us a warm smile as the portrait swung forward.

“I don’t remember this being anywhere on the maurauder’s map,” Fred said, glancing around at the tunnel as we all set off after Ginny.

“This can’t have been here while we were here,” George mused, running his hands along the walls. I could just barely make out Ginny shake her head in front of me.

“It was built just this year, for just this reason,” she explained as the tunnel began to slope upwards. “It’s been rather hard to keep it a secret, but now I figure it doesn’t matter either way, right?”

We all knew the meaning behind her words; in the morning, none of this would matter. Everything could change in a heartbeat now. I reached out and took a hold of Fred’s hand; he gave a squeeze.

It was nearly five minutes later, and I was certain we were climbing one of the largest mountains on the face of the earth by the time we reached a set of stairs leading up to another portrait. All of us panting now, we scrambled up the stairs and paused for a breather; Ginny turned and said,

“There’s no going back once you’re in here-“

“Just get on with it already,” Fred told his sister with a roll of his eyes. She grinned and pushed the portrait open.

Ginny was the first out of the painting; as Harry turned at the commotion, I could see the love in his eyes as he grinned at her. As she stepped down beside him, he pulled her into a tight hug. As they released, his eyes moved up and locked onto mine. A grin spread across his face.

“Kelsey!” he exclaimed, rushing forward and yanking me into a hug as I jumped down. “I’m so happy to see you’re okay,” he breathed, holding me tight. I hugged him back fiercely as Fred, George, and Lee jumped down beside me. “But what are you all doing here?” Now he sounded alarmed and a bit worried, but I had no time to ask him what was wrong. Hermione rushed past Harry and yanked me from his arms, giving me a hug even tighter than his had been.

“Oh Kelsey! I’m so glad to see you!” she gushed, then pulled back. “And your children! How are they?”

I reached into the back pocket of my jeans and unfolded the picture Lee had given me just a few hours ago. It was a picture he’d taken last week; the twins were both swinging back and forth in their swings, Brielle staring intently up at the camera, while Cameron was giggling madly.

“They’re adorable!” she exclaimed, beaming down at the picture. Ron, who was nearby and heard her exclamation, hurried over and looked at the photo.

“Well, another couple of gingers to add to the Weasley army,” he chuckled, earning a grin from Fred.

“I imagine your kids will look just like this,” George said to Ron, coming up beside Fred. “I mean, they’ll probably have Hermione’s eyes-“

“OY!” Ron exclaimed, going from pale to red-faced in less than a second. Hermione blushed as well, but she pretended to be immersed in the picture. Finally, after we’d all caught up, George turned to Harry and asked,

“So, what’s the plan?”

“There isn’t one,” Harry told him, seeming to be a bit disoriented by the sudden arrival of all his friends.

“Just going to make it up as we go, are we? My favorite kind,” Fred said, wrapping an arm around my shoulders.

“You’ve got to stop this,” Harry said urgently to Neville. “I don’t want all my friends going into battle-“

“We’re fighting, aren’t we?” Lee asked, taking out his fake galleon. “The message said Harry was back and we’re going to fight!”

Harry looked just about to explode with frustration when Ron pulled him aside and said quickly,

“Why can’t they help?”

“Yeah, why can’t we?” I asked, frowning at Harry.

“I don’t want-“

“They can help,” Ron insisted, dropping his voice a bit. “We don’t know where it is, and we’ve got to find it fast. We don’t need to tell them it’s a Horcrux.”

“A what-crux?” Fred asked, frowning. Harry just shook his head a bit. Knowing his decision could take forever, I stepped forward and put a hand on his shoulder. He looked up at me, his bright green eyes troubled.

“You don’t have to do everything alone, Harry.”

It was several moments before Harry replied. He looked from me, to Ron, to Hermione, to Ginny, then back to me. Finally, he said quietly,

“Alright,” he said quietly to us. Turning back to the crowd of students, he raised his voice and said, “Okay, there’s something we need to find. Something that will help us overthrow You-Know-Who. It’s here at Hogwarts, but we don’t know where. It might have belonged to Ravenclaw. Has anyone heard of an object like that? Something with her eagle on it, maybe?”

We all turned our attention to the small group of Ravenclaws. Luna was the one who spoke up first.

“Well, there’s her lost diadem.”

“Yes, but Luna, it’s lost,” Cho said quietly to Luna.

“When was it lost?” Harry asked, looking eagerly at them.

“Centuries ago, they say,” Cho told him, and I could see the little bit of hope Harry had gained crumble.

“None of you have seen anything like it?” Harry asked, looking around. They all shook their heads.

“If you’d like to see what it looks like, I can take you to the Ravenclaw common room and show you. Ravenclaw is wearing it in her statue.”

Suddenly, Harry’s hand flew to his forehead. He shut his eyes and grimaced in pain for a moment; I exchanged a worried glance with Hermione. Finally Harry reopened his eyes, turning to Ron and Hermione.

“He’s on the move,” he said quietly. My stomach clenched with anxiety as Fred tightened his hold on me. “Look, I know it’s not much to go on, but I’m gong to look at the statue. Wait here for me, I’ll be back in a moment.”

Harry turned back to the crowd as Cho got to her feet, ready to lead Harry. Ginny jumped up and said rather fiercely,

“No, Luna will take him, won’t you Luna?”

“Oh yes, I’d love to,” Luna said happily, and Cho sat down again, looking disappointed. Harry turned to me and asked,

“Will you come too, Kelsey?”

“Why me?” I asked tilting my head to the side in confusion.

“You’re the best at offensive spells,” Harry said bluntly, catching me off guard. I’d been expecting him to say something like ‘I need moral support’ or ‘just because’. “I’m not sure what will happen out there, but I need the best support I can get.”

I turned to Fred, and he looked down at me.

“Keep the chosen one safe,” he joked, giving me a kiss on the forehead.

“I’ll be back soon,” I assured him as he let go of me.

“How do we get out?” Harry asked Neville as Luna and I gathered around him.

“Over here,” he said, leading us to a corner where a small cupboard opened to a steep staircase. “It comes out somewhere different every day, so be careful. The corridors are always patrolled at night.”

“Thanks Neville,” I breathed as we began to head down the stairs. At the bottom, before we slipped outside, Harry whispered,

“Get under here.”

Harry pulled out his invisibility cloak and threw it over the three of us as he pushed the door open. The halls were quiet, sending an eerie shiver down my spine. We took a few steps down the corridor, then Harry pulled the three of us to one side as he pulled out a bit of parchment.

“The Maurauder’s Map?” I breathed, a grin appearing on my face.

“I see Fred and George have been telling you stories,” Harry whispered back, grinning. “Okay, we’re on the fifth floor. Luna, can you lead us to the Ravenclaw tower?”

“Of course,” she murmured, getting to the head of the group and taking off down the hall; we were all a bit too tall and the cloak billowed up around our ankles. Harry kept one eye on the map to make sure the coast was clear as we raced upwards towards the tower. Finally, after winding around a steep staircase, Luna paused in front an expanse of aged wood. Luna reached a hand out and knocked once on the wood. The beak of an eagle that was on the door opened its beak and asked,

“Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?”

“Hmm, what do you two think?” Luna asked, turning to look at Harry and I.

“What, isn’t there just a password?”

“Oh no, you’ve got to answer the question.”

“And if we get it wrong?” I asked nervously.

“We’ll have to wait for someone else to come along.”

“We can’t afford to wait for someone, Luna,” Harry sighed, a note of anxiety in his voice.

“No, I see what you mean,” Luna said seriously, then turned back to the statue and said,

“I think the answer is that a circle has no beginning.”

“Well reasoned,” said the voice and the door swung open.

I was surprised to see the common room deserted; there were no kids relaxing on the couches, no one cuddling by the fireplace, and not a single bit of warmth left inside the room. I shivered beneath the invisibility cloak.

“That’s the statue, just there,” Luna whispered, pointing to the corner of the room. Harry pulled off the cloak, stuffing in in his pocket as best he could as he rushed forward to examine it. Luna and I followed Harry close behind, our wands drawn just in case.

“This has got to be it,” Harry breathed, seemingly unaware that he wasn’t alone. He reached out a hand, his fingers brushing over the stone diadem. Wit beyond measure is a man’s greatest treasure,” he whispered, reading the words carved on the stone.

“Which makes you pretty skint, witless!” a voice cackled from behind us. Just as I spun around, my wand drawn, I saw a short, beady-eyed woman press the tip of her wand to the Dark Mark on her arm.

“Oh no,” Luna breathed to us as the rather pig-like woman let out a victorious cackle.

“He’s on his way, he is,” she laughed, taking a step towards us, her wand flicking between the three of us. “And when he gets here-“

“STUPEFY!” Luna and I shouted at the same time; surprise registered on the woman’s face just before the spells hit her and she toppled to the ground. And before any of us could be relieved that she was out of our way, we heard another voice from just outside the door.

“I felt the mark burn!” a man snarled. “She called him, the boy’s in there!”

“And what makes you think Potter would return to Hogwarts?” a very familiar voice asked. “Let alone Ravenclaw tower? He was in Gryffindor, after all.”

“McGonagall!” I breathed in relief as Harry tossed the invisibility cloak over the three of us and pulled us off to the side.

“I don’t bloody well know why!” the man snarled. “Let me in the common room and you can see for yourself!”

Moments later, the door to the common room was flung open. A short, stubby man that much resembled the woman lying on the ground came rushing in, his wand waving about. Harry tightened his hand around my arm as he cautiously pulled Luna and I back a bit further.

The stubby man’s eyes locked onto the unconscious woman, and he let out a disbelieving howl.

“Alecto! Alecto! She’s been murdered, she has!”

There were voices from above us, and I glanced up to see many of the Ravenclaw’s were gathering to see what the shouting was all about. The man pointed a stubby finger at them, crying,

“They’ve killed her! They killed my sister!”

“Honestly, Amycus,” Professor McGonagall snapped, rushing forward to study Alecto. “She’s only been stunned. She’ll be fine.”

Amycus, still looking furious, got back to his feet and turned to scour the room.

“Bloody hell, I don’t see him! I don’t see Potter!”

“I told you Potter wasn’t here,” Professor McGonagall said coolly; but as she turned to study the room as well, her eyes lingered on the spot where we were huddled beneath the invisibility cloak, almost as if she could see us.

“He’ll kill us, he will!” Amycus fretted, grabbing at his hair in distress. And then, a sick sort of relief spread across his face as his beady eyes snapped up to stare at the group of Ravenclaws. “We can push it off on the kids. Yeah, that's what we'll do. We'll say Alecto was ambushed by the kids, them kids up there, and we'll say they forced her to press her Mark, and that's why he got a false alarm… He can punish them. Couple of kids more or less, what's the difference?"

"Only the difference between truth and lies, courage and cowardice. A difference, in short, which you and your sister seem unable to appreciate,” McGonagall told him, fury in her eyes. And then, without warning, Amycus turned his gaze on her and spat in her face.

And before Luna and I could do anything, Harry flung the invisibility cloak to the side and shouted,


The force of the spell was so powerful that it sent Amycus sprawling backwards into the wall; he slumped to the floor, unconscious.

“Potter, that was a foolish thing to do!” McGonagall exclaimed, looking more surprised than the time Fred, George, and I had managed to light the ceiling on fire last year. Harry, still looking livid with rage, shrugged and said simply,

“He spat at you.”

“Well, that was very noble of you,” Professor McGonagall stuttered, looking taken aback. “But it wasn’t necessary…” And finally, she seemed to realize that Harry Potter was in the castle and the Dark Lord was on his way. “What are you doing back at the castle? I’m imagining you have a good reason.”

Quickly, faster than I had thought possible, Harry gave Professor McGonagall a run through of what was going on and what he was looking for.

“What can I do to help?” she asked him, looking determined and a bit excited.

“We need time, Professor. As much as you can give us.”

“Very well, Potter. Come with me, and we’ll find the other heads of houses.”

Glancing down at Alecto and Amycus, a grin spread across my face and I waved my wand, muttering a spell as a stream of net appeared in front of me. It slid beneath the Death Eaters and lifted them to the ceiling.

“Animals like you belong in nets,” I hissed, stuffing my wand in my pocket as I raced off after Harry, Luna, and McGonagall.
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Thank you for the comment my dedicated reader :) this chapter is for you!

So, a couple of things! One, I moved into my dorms at college last thursday and I've been SO BUSY! This is the first time I've had to sit down and write for like two weeks! But I'm settled in so expect more steady updates.

Also, I left HP&The Deathly Hallows book at my house so I'm waiting for my mom to send it. I've been going off the books for the past few chapter but I couldn't this time so it probably strays a bit from what really happened, but oh well.

And lastly, though I really enjoyed the movie version, I'll be sticking (mostly) to the book version of the battle, because I've stuck with the book this far and I'm not changing now.

So thanks for reading, and please comment/subscribe! We've only got 5 more chapters, so get ready for some intense action!