‹ Prequel: Essential Hope
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Into Forever

Taking a Stand

For an older witch, Professor McGonagall could move. She was nearly ten steps ahead of us as Harry, Luna, and I raced behind her beneath the invisibility cloak. Just moments ago, Professor McGonagall had sent patronuses ahead of us to seek out the heads of houses.

We had just finished racing down the two flights of stairs ahead of us and were jogging down the corridor when my heart skipped a beat. Just a ways in front of us came the sound of footsteps. I grabbed Harry’s arm and all but yanked him to a stop just as McGonagall called out,

“Who’s there?”

“It is I,” said a low voice; and from behind a suit of armor stepped Severus Snape. His greasy hair hung in curtains in front of his face, and his black eyes held a cold, dead look that sent a shiver down my back. He narrowed his eyes at McGonagall and asked,

“Where are the Carrows?”

“Wherever you told them to be, I expect, Severus,” McGonagall replied. “Why do you ask?”

Snape stepped forward, and his eyes danced around the corridor, as if he knew the three of us were huddled petrified beneath the cloak just a few paces to his left. I lifted my wand ever so slightly, just to be ready. Luna and Harry did the same.

“I was under the impression that Alecto had apprehended a intruder.”

“Really?” asked McGonagall, raising a brow. “And what gave you that impression?”

Snape held out his arm and pulled his sleeve back, flexing the Dark Mark that was branded into his skin. As he let his sleeve drop, he asked,

“It’s not your night to patrol the corridors. What are you doing out this late?”

“Do you have an objection to extra security measures?” McGonagall asked with an heir of calm that only she could muster. But Snape narrowed his eyes and took another step towards her.

“Have you seen Harry Potter, Minerva? Because if you have, I must insist-“

Professor McGonagall moved faster than any of us could have believed; her wand slashed through the air and for a moment and I was sure Snape would crumple to the ground, unconscious.

But the swiftness of Snape’s shield charm sent the spell ricocheting onto the wall, knocking a torch off balance. The flaming chunk of wood, along with the metal stand it had been in, came crashing to the ground. Harry grabbed a hold of both Luna and I and yanked us to the side as I blocked the flames from touching the invisibility cloak. McGonagall was caught off guard, and I could see as Snape lifted his wands, his mouth just forming the words Avada-

From behind us, we heard a squeaky voice shout,

“No! You’ll do no more murder at Hogwarts!”

Professor Flitwick’s spell hit the suit of armour Snape had been hiding behind; the armour came to life, reaching to strangle the bat-like professor. Snape sent the suit flying with a flick of his wand, and Harry, Luna, and I dove to the side, barely keeping the cloak wrapped around us.

And then, without warning, Snape turned, sprinted towards the window, and threw himself into the darkness. Just like that, Professor Severus Snape was gone. Harry clambered to his feet, knocking the cloak to the side and revealing the three of us.

“Potter? Lovegood? Werner?” Professor Flitwick exclaimed, blinking in shock at our sudden appearance.

“Hello, professor,” Luna said with a smile as Harry and I gave him a brisk nod. As McGonagall stepped up beside Harry, Professor Sprout and Professor Slughorn appeared around the corner, both giving the three of us a double-take as they took in the sight of Harry.

“What’s happening, Minerva?” Professor Sprout asked, glancing at our disheveled group.

“Voldemort is on his way Pomona, we need to gather and fight!”

Flitwick and Sprout didn’t wait a moment longer; they rushed past the three of us, towards the stairs to gather their students.

“What shall we do? We cannot possibly beat him, he’ll find a way in-“ Slughorn began; McGonagall was on him instantly.

“I shall expect you and the Slytherins to gather in the great hall,” she ordered. “If you wish to leave, we shall not stop you. But if any of you attempt to sabotage our resistance or take up arms against us within this astle, then, Horace, we duel to kill.”


“The time has come for Slytherin to decide upon its loyalty.”

I wanted to stay to hear the rest of the argument, but Harry had taken a hold of my sleeve and was pulling me back.

“Where are-“ Luna began; she was being yanked along as well.

“We’re getting the rest of the students from the room of requirement,” Harry panted, rushing up the stairs with us in tow. At the top, he released us. Students were already rushing down past us; several had enough time to see who was weaving through them.

“That was Potter!”

“Harry Potter!”

“It was him, I swear, I just saw him!”

Voices rang out all around the three of us as we raced back towards the room of requirements; we didn’t even look back as we weaved through the kids staring at us like we were gods.

Harry was in front, and he reached the door to the Room of Requirements first. Throwing it open, he rushed in only to come to a startled halt and fall down the first few steps in shock.

“What’s wrong Har-“ I began, racing to catch up. But the moment I entered the room I knew what had startled him. Standing at the top of the stairs, I could see just how incredibly packed the room had become. Kingsley and Lupin glanced up at our trio as Luna slipped past us down the stairs; on top of that, the familiar faces of Katie Bell, Alicia Spinner, Bill and Fleur, and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley beamed up at us.

But what caught my eye was the flaming red hair of George as he darted through the newcomers to reach a face I never thought I’d see again.

Angelina had only a moment to give me a huge grin before George engulfed her in the biggest hug anyone had ever seen. The crowd made room for the two of them as George spun her around, then dipped her low to the ground and gave her a deep kiss that seemed to shock the breath out of her.

The only thing that drew us back to the present and away from the romantic world of George and Angie was Lupin calling up to us,

“Harry, what’s happening?”

I helped Harry to his feet and the two of us raced down to meet my uncle at the foot of the stairs.

“Voldemort’s on his way. McGonagall is gathering all the students in the great hall and we’re barricading the school.”

Fred had managed to weasel his way through the throng of people and he pulled me into a tight hug as Harry asked,

“Where did everyone come from?”

“We sent messages to the rest of Dumbledore’s Army,” Fred explained, grinning at Harry and I. “You couldn’t expect everyone to miss the fun now, could you? And the D.A. let the rest of the Order of the Phoenix know, and it all kind of snowballed…”

“I can see that,” I said dryly, still not able to find a bare spot in the mass of people surrounding us. Fred rolled his eyes at me.

“What’s first, Harry?” George called from across the room, still holding tight to Angie. “What’s going on?”

Harry paused for a moment, his eyes locking briefly with mine. I knew how much he hated accepting help from others, especially if it put his friends in danger. But Harry needed help this time. I gave him a reassuring smile, saying to him, go for it.

Harry turned back to the crowd, raised his voice, and called,

“They’re evacuating the younger kids and everyone’s meeting the great hall to get organized,” with one last glance at me, he yelled, “We’re fighting!”

There was a great roar and a surge towards the foot of the stairs; Harry, Fred, and I were pressed up against the wall as the crowd ran past us, the mingled members of the Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore’s Army, and our old friends, all with their wands drawn, heading up into the main castle.

“Come on, Luna,” Neville called as he passed, holding out his free hand; she took it and followed him back up the stairs.

The crowd was thinning: only a little knot of people remained below in the Room of Requirement and we immediately rushed to join them, Fred slipping his hand into mine as we went. Mrs. Weasley was struggling with a red-faced Ginny. Around them stood George, Bill, Fleur, and Uncle Remus.

“You’re underage!” Mrs. Weasley shouted at her daughter as the three of us approached. “I won’t permit it! The boys, yes, but you, you’ve got to go home!”

“I won’t!” Ginny’s hair flew back as she pulled her arm out of her mothers grip. “I’m in Dumbledore’s Army-“

“A teenagers’ gang!”

“A teenagers’ gang that’s about to take him on, which no one else has dared to do!” Fred put in, immediately standing up for his younger sister; my heart swelled as I thought, this is how he’ll stand up for our daughter one day.

“She’s sixteen!” Mrs. Weasley shouted, sending Fred a menacing glare. “She’s not old enough!” she whirled around to glare at Fred and George. “I distinctly remember telling the two of you to take her home! What were you thinking, letting her stay here?!”

The twins looked slightly ashamed of themselves.

“Mum’s right, Ginny,” said Bill gently. “You can’t do this. Everyone underage will have to leave. It’s only right.”

“I can’t go home!” Ginny shouted angry tears sparkling in her eyes. “My whole family’s here, I can’t stand waiting there alone and not knowing and-“

Ginny’s tearful eyes swiveled to lock with Harry’s, pleading him to help her. But I already knew Harry would never let her stay. He shook his head slightly, and she desperately turned to me.

“Ginny, you’ve got to go,” I told her; she was my little sister too. I couldn’t let her get into danger. I just couldn’t. Shaking her head in disgust, she turned away bitterly and hissed,

“Fine. I’ll say goodbye now, and then-“

There was a scuffling sound and a great thump. Someone else had clambered out of the tunnel, overbalanced slightly, and looking fallen. I wasn’t sure exactly who he was, but judging from the flaming red hair and his uncanny resemblance to the rest of the ginger clan around me, I could take a pretty good guess.

“Am I too late?” he stuttered, looking around. “Has it started? I only just found out, so I- I-“

There was a long moment of what appeared to be astonishment. Fleur cleared her throat, making myself and Harry jump as she asked,

“So, ‘ow eez leetle Teddy?”

Uncle Remus blinked, startled. The silence between the Weasley’s seemed to be solidifying, like ice.

“I- oh yes- he’s fine!” Uncle Remus said loudly. “Yes, he’s at Tonk’s mothers house…”

The newly arrived ginger and the rest of the Weasley’s were still staring at one another, frozen.

“Here, I’ve got a picture!” Uncle Remus shouted, pulling a picture out and showing it to Fleur. Harry and I exchanged puzzled glances.

“I was a fool!” the newly arrived ginger roared so loudly that Uncle Remus nearly dropped the picture. “I was a idiot, I was a pompous prat, I was a- a-“

“A ministry-loving, family-disowning, power-hungry moron,” offered Fred. He and the ginger locked eyes, and the new ginger swallowed nervously.

“I was.”

“Well, you can’t say fairer than that,” said Fred, holding out his hand to the ginger.

Mrs. Weasley burst into tears. She ran forward, pushed Fred aside, and pulled the boy into a strangling hug while he patted her back, his eyes on Mr. Weasley.

“I’m sorry, Dad.”

Mr. Weasley blinked rapidly, then he too hurried to hug his son. The ginger’s gaze wandered to me, and Fred caught on immediately.

“Percy, this is my fiancé Kelsey. Kels, this is my disowned and newly re-owned brother Percy.”

“Good to meet you, Percy,” I told him with a smile.

“Pleasure,” he told me with a nod.

“What made you see sense, Perce?” George asked.

“It’s been coming on for a while,” he said with what seemed to be an attempt at a smile. “I was just waiting for a good out. I’d managed to get in contact with Aberforth just ten minutes ago, and he told me Hogwarts was fighting, so here I am.”

“Well, we do look to our prefects to take a lead at times such as these,” said George in the best imitation of an official voice that I’ve ever heard. “Now let’s get upstairs and fight or all the good Death Eaters’ll be taken!”

“So, I heard on PotterWatch that you and Fred had twins?” Percy inquired, coming over to Fred and I as George, Bill, and Fleur began to make their way up the stairs.

“GINNY!” barked Mrs. Weasley. Ginny had been attempting, under cover of the reconciliation, to sneak upstairs too.

“How about this, Mrs. Weasley,” I said, stepping forward between the two Weasleys. “Why doesn’t Ginny stay here, then at least she’ll be on the scene and know what’s going on, but she won’t be in the middle of the fighting?”

“I don’t know-“

“That’s a good idea,” Mr. Weasley said firmly, giving my shoulder a squeeze. “Ginny, you stay in this room. Do you hear me?”

Ginny didn’t seem to like the idea much, but she nodded and gave me a grateful smile. I smiled back as Mr. Weasley, Uncle Remus, and Mrs. Weasley rushed up the stairs. Fred gave my hand a squeeze as Harry glanced around and asked,

“Where’re Ron and Hermione?”

“They must have gone up to the Great Hall,” Fred said, glancing around with a shrug.

“No, I would’ve seen them pass me,” Harry said with a frown.

“They said something about a bathroom,” said Ginny, “not long after you left.”

Immediately, Harry strode across the room to an open door that I assumed led off to a bathroom. He came back out a moment later, frowning and asking,

“Are you sure they said bathroom?”

Ginny just shrugged, and Harry let out a sigh.

“We need to get going,” I told him, beginning to edge towards the door as I pulled Fred with me. With one last glance around, Harry frowned but relented to follow Fred and I up the stairs, telling Ginny one last time to stay put.


The Great Hall was packed; Fred and I had only just arrived right behind Harry, and McGonagall was overseeing the evacuation.

“If you are of age, you may stay and fight,” McGonagall announced, ignoring the groan of disbelief from the younger students. While more questions were asked of McGonagall, Harry, Fred, and I swerved through the crowd; I could tell he was looking for Hermione and Ron. Fred slid his hand into mine, and gave it a tight squeeze. I squeezed back.

“Now, we have already placed protection around the castle,” McGonagall was saying. “But it is unlikely to hold for very long unless we reinforce it. I must ask you, therefore, to move quickly and calmly, and do as your prefects-“

Her words were drowned out but the coldest voice I’d ever heard. The chill seeped through my skin and shook my bones, freezing my feet and halting my movement. My eyes immediately went to Harry. He had gasped in pain, and his hand flew up to his scar. Fred pulled my rigid body to his and held tightly as the cold words announced,

“I know that you are preparing to fight.” There were screams amongst the students, some of whom clutched at their ears and glanced anxiously around for the body of the voice. “Your efforts are futile. You cannot fight me. I do not want to kill you. I have great respect for the teachers of Hogwarts. I do not want to spill magical blood.”

For a moment, the hall was painfully silent. All that kept me from screaming in fear was the steady drum of Fred’s heartbeat. I took a deep breath.

“Give me Harry Potter,” said Voldemort’s voice. I saw Harry go rigid; I wanted to pull him into a protective hold and hide him away right then. If I hadn’t been petrified with fear… “Give me Harry Potter, and I shall leave the school untouched. Give me Harry Potter, and you will be rewarded. You have until midnight.”

And then silence swallowed us again. Every single head turned to star at Harry. Everything seemed to freeze in time… and then,

“But he’s right there! Potter’s there! Someone grab him!”

That bitch’s voice shoved the fear right out of my body; I did what I wanted to do a moment ago. I stepped forward, my eyes locked on Pansy, daring her to challenge me. Without a word, I stood firmly in front of Harry, my wand pointed at her.

“Go ahead, Parkinson. I’d love the excuse to take you out.”

And then there was a wave of movement; Fred stepped up beside me, his wand drawn and pointed at Pansy as well. The group of Gryffindors turned and moved in front of us, wands drawn as well; then the Hufflepuffs, and finally, the Ravenclaws all stood in front of Harry, wands drawn.

Thank you, Miss Parkinson,” said McGonagall in a clipped voice. “You will leave the Hall first with Mr. Filch. If the rest of our house could follow…”

Cheering erupted as the Slytherins stood quietly and turned away from Harry, marching solemnly out of the hall.

“Underaged Ravenclaws, you next!” McGonagall ordered, throwing us into motion once more. Slowly the four houses drained from the Great Hall. Several Ravenclaws had hung back, looking ready to fight. Even more Hufflepuffs were gathered in the center of the hall; more than half the Gryffindor house had stayed behind, forcing McGonagall to weave through the crowd and pull out the underaged.

“Absolutely not, Creevey, out you go!” she ordered as Harry, Fred, and I rushed for the grouping of gingers just off to the side.

“Have you found Ron and Hermione?” Harry asked the Weasley’s as we joined them.

“Haven’t you found-“

Began Mr. Weasley, but Kingsley’s voice cut him off as took the stand at the front of the Great Hall.

“We’ve only got half an hour until midnight, so we need to act fast! A battle plan has been agreed upon, so listen closely! McGonagall, Sprout, and Flitwick will take groups of fighters up to the three highest towers, where they’ll have a good overview and excellent positions to fight from.”

Nodding to my Uncle Remus, he said, “Remus, Arthur, and myself will take groups onto the grounds. Now, we’ll need somebody to organize defense of the entrances of the passageways into the school-“

“Sounds like a job for us,” Fred called, indicating himself, George, Angie, and me. Kingsley nodded his approval.

“Alright, leaders, let’s get a move on!” Kingsley cried, and everyone began breaking off into groups.

“Potter!” McGonagall called to Harry, rushing towards him. “Aren’t you supposed to be looking for something?

“What? Oh,” Harry said, giving a slight shake of his head to clear his thoughts. “Oh yeah!”

Harry turned to me, and said softly,

“Be safe, Kels.”

“I’ll be fine,” I assured my best friend with a small smile. “Go destroy some horcruxes.”

And with that, Harry gave a final nod, then tore off through the crowd, disappearing into a sea of students. As I rushed off after the twins with Angie by my side, I wondered,

Is that the last time I’ll see Harry?
♠ ♠ ♠


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Wooow. Talk about procrastination! So so sorry! I totally meant to update, but I've been putting this off. I've only got four more chapters and it makes me sad! And next chapter......... Jeeze!

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