‹ Prequel: Essential Hope
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Into Forever

The End of All Things

Several things happened at once.

My hand flew to my pocket and I pulled out my wand just as a shield charm shot itself between me and the spell. The spell was deflected backwards, and my father just barely dodged it; the jet of green shot over his shoulder and caught an unsuspecting Death Eater in the neck.

The full body-bind curse on Neville was broken as Voldemort spun to look for the source of the shield, and the rest of his hold on the student body shattered; they scattered every which way, most rushing into the castle.

And just as Voldemort was shouting to my father, KILL HER! KILL HER NOW! IF SHE LIVES I SHALL KILL YOU!, I saw Neville pull something silver and glittering from the sorting had that had been left on the field. In one swift motion, Neville sprang forward and sliced off the head of Voldemort’s snake.

I wanted to cheer, to hug Neville and celebrate, but there wasn’t any time. Voldemort had disappeared into the castle after the students, along with most of his followers, and now only my father faced me, his blue eyes glinting with determination. I’d learned my lesson dozens of times over- don’t hesitate.

“Impedimenta!” I cried, my wand aimed directly at my father.

No. This man was not my father. Remus Lupin had been more of a father to me than this Death Eater ever had, and because of him, Uncle Remus was dead. He had fought with the side that killed four of the people I loved most in my life, and dozens more that had fought for their lives. I could not call him my father.

“Crucio!” he yelled, and our spells met in mid air- one stream of silver, one stream of orange- and the spells shot off in either direction. I dropped to the ground, avoiding the rebound, and rolled over, pointed my wand, and shouted,


The spell hit the dirt just inches away from where he had dropped as well; jumping to my feet, I took aim and cried even louder,

Expelliarmus!” this time my spell caught him; his wand flew up into the air in a long arc and landed neatly in my hand. He dropped to his knees as I took my final aim.

“Kelsey, sweetheart, please,” he begged, reaching a wavering hand towards me. “You know I love you-“

“Then tell me why you just tried to kill me,” I snarled, taking a step towards him. “Why did you join them, join the Death Eaters and abandon us?”

“To save you,” he insisted, inching a bit closer to me. “I couldn’t let anything happen to you.”

“I don’t believe a single word of it,” I said coldly, glowering down at him. “You abandoned us. Mom became depressed, did you know that? She started drinking because she missed you so much. She ended up ruining almost two years of her life because of you. And Lakey? He just lost it. He’s almost twelve now, and he still can’t make it through the night without crying.”

My dad stared up at me, his expression unchanging. Desperation swam in his eyes; he didn’t care what I said, so long as I didn’t kill him. Maybe six months ago, I would have been on the ground sobbing with him, having a father-daughter moment. But the second he stepped out of the group of Death Eaters, and I realized he was one of the hands helped kill Fred, Uncle Remus, Tonks, Harry… and all the others I loved, all the love I felt towards the man cowering on the ground had vanished.

“But you know what, Michael?” I said, unable to call him my dad. “My life got better after you ‘died’. I met the best friends I’d ever had in my entire life. I fell in love and found my other half. I had two beautiful children, who now, thanks to you, will never know their father, just like I guess I never knew mine.”

I saw actual remorse flicker across his face at the last statement, but I kept going.

“I’m not going to kill you. I know that’s all you care about right now. So here,” I said bitterly, tucking my wand into my pocket and taking his in both my hands. In one fluid motion I snapped his wand in two and tossed them to the ground. “Death is too good for you.”

My father scrambled forward; he hadn’t said a word to me. He didn’t care. This man on the ground at my feet wasn’t the father that had raised me. This was now the empty shell of who I used to know.

There was nothing left to do here. Silently, I turned my back on him and began to head off to the castle; I would fight beside my friends until the end.

Rustling of the grass behind me gave me only a moments notice before I felt the agonizing pain shoot up my leg. My leg gave a spasm and I dropped to the ground. Glancng down, I saw one end of Michael’s broken wand embedded into my leg through me jeans, and I spotted the other half in his hand as he lunged for my heart.

I brought my injured leg back and kicked out hard, catching him in the chest and sending him flying backwards. Rolling slightly to the side, I yanked my wand back out and cried STUPEFY, all the anger and pain (physical and emotional) coursing through my spell.

The spell caught him square in the chest as he lunged for me; he was thrown back nearly fifty feet letting out a terrified scream as he flew through the air. His body slammed into the ground, and his head snapped back, cutting off his scream with a sickening finality.

Michael Werner moved no more.

Slowly, I got to my feet, my eyes locked on his motionless body. I stood frozen for a moment, trying to get my brain to comprehend exactly what was going on. I had just killed the man who used to be my father. I felt no remorse, though. No sadness, no guilt. Just this odd sense of… Freedom. Freedom and relief.

Honestly, I could have stood in that spot for the rest of my life, my gaze unwavering, but his last scream had alerted a few other Death Eaters, and as a spell flew just over my shoulder and singed my hair, I snapped out of my trance.

I could think later; right now, I had to move.

Quickly, I scanned the small battles going on around the grounds as I backed up the steps towards the front doors of the castle, trying to spot any of my friends that needed help. But everyone I saw was either running inside the castle or fighting well enough on their own. With a final glance, I turned and sprinted up the last few stairs, taking out the two Death Eaters that had rushed outside.

As I skid to a stop by the doors of the Great Hall, I had to duck to avoid a jet of orange light that slammed into the doorframe just beside my face. A group of students raced past me into the great hall, and I followed their movement.

This was chaos. Students and Death Eaters were scattered around the hall, and spells were flying every which way. Yanking my wand from my jeans, I wasted no more time and dove into the action. I caught a Death Eater in the shoulder with a fierce stunning spell and threw him backwards into another Death Eater, sending them both to the ground. Spinning around, I saw Angie and Katie off to one side, dueling together to bring down a group of seemingly inexperienced Death Eaters; they were doing okay, so I wouldn’t jump into the fight.

George and Lee were leading a battalion of Hufflepuffs into the fracas, screaming ear-piercing war cries and taking down a whole group of Death Eaters.

I saw Bill, Percy, and Mr. Weasley standing guard at the entrance to the Great Hall, trying to push back the other Death Eaters trying to enter the hall. For a moment, I considered rushing to help them until I caught sight of Ginny and Hermione side-by-side dueling Greyback, Bellatrix LeStrange, and the one and only Dolohov. I couldn’t stand back and watch.

Hermione was doing all she could to keep a protective shield in between her and Ginny and their attackers while Ginny shot stunning spells around the shields, but it wasn’t going so well.

As Greyback and Dolohov hit Hermione’s shield and shattered it, Bellatrix shot a vicious spell at Ginny.

“Expulso!” I cried, my spell intercepting Bellatrix’s and sending it veering back towards her. With a shriek she dodged it, then whirled to find her attacker. Her eyes lit up with excitement when she recognized me.

“Little Kelsey Werner!” she cackled, brushing a lock of hair from her eyes with her wand. Dolohov and Greyback whipped around to lock eyes on me; I held my ground, my wand gripped tightly in my hand.

“Still don’t know how to fight fair, do you?” I asked her, beginning to advance towards the fight. Dolohov’s mouth twisted into a sick grin as Greyback growled,

“Werner was supposed to kill her, he was! Why’s she here?”

“It seems as if the Dark Lord put that service into the wrong hands,” Dolohov spat, narrowing his eyes at me. “A failure, he was. The Lord should never have taken him in.”

“Let’s do her daddy a favor, then,” Bellatrix sang, lifting her wand towards me. “We’ll finish what he started!”

Hermione and Ginny rushed back to stand beside me as we prepared to duel.

“I’ve got Dolohov,” I breathed to them, and they nodded.

“I’ll take Greyback,” Ginny said. “I’ll make him pay for what he did to Lavender and the others.”

“Bellatrix is mine,” Hermione said with a deadly anger that was very un-Hermione like. The three Death Eaters stared at us a moment longer, and without warning Bellatrix shot a vicious spell towards me; Hermione intercepted it and fired back, and the duel began.

All I could see was Dolohov; that was all that mattered. This was it; no more running, no more close calls. We’d end this now, whatever it took. For a moment, I wasn’t sure who would win; for every great shot I’d get, Dolohov would block it with an equally powerful spell. I blocked out Hermione and Ginny’s duels; I had to concentrate fully on the monster in front of me.

Dolohov shot a jet of green light at me; in an instant, I’d shot out my own spell, and I sent his attack right back at him. Dolohov dove to the side, but the spell caught his stolen wand and shattered that one too. And this time I didn’t hesitate. Dolohov knew exactly what was happening right before it happened. I had always been against murder; it wasn’t who I was. But to me, this wasn’t murder. This was righting all the wrongs that man had ever done. So just as Dolohov’s eyes widened with fear, I hissed Avada Kedavra.

My jet of green light caught Dolohov in the stomach, and he doubled over, clutching himself as he drew in his final breath. With a loud thud, Dolohov fell to the ground, never to move again.

I had no time to rejoice; immediately, I turned and began to duel Bellatrix with Hermione. They were both evenly matched: Hermione dueled with her skill and wit, and Bellatrix dueled like a bat out of hell. Hermione was growing tired, though, and her energy was beginning to drain. Ginny was easily overtaking Greyback as I began to shoot my own spells at Bellatrix.

She let out a wicked cackle as she shot her own killing curse that shot just between Hermione and I, nearly catching ‘Mione in the shoulder. I heard Ron cry her name in fright from across the room, but he was too far away to be able to reach us in time.

Greyback hit the ground hard right to the side of Bellatrix, and then Ginny joined the fight; the three of us dueling Bellatrix, and we were beginning to lose. For every spell we shot at her, she threw out two more. It was all I could do to aim my spells towards her while trying to dodge every killing curse she threw my way.

Thankfully the spell that hit Hermione moments later was only a stunning spell that knocked her to the ground. It was enough to draw a startled cry from myself and Ron, who was currently doing his best to reach our fight, though he was doing his all to keep the underage students from being struck down by the mob of Death Eaters by the entrance.

I dropped to the ground in front of Hermione, blocking the spells from Bellatrix while she tried to recover.

“’Mione! Please say you’re okay,” I gasped, deflecting another spell back towards Bellatrix. Ginny was still fighting with a vengeance, and we were beginning to draw a crowd. I knew others wanted to help, but most were without wands now, and even more were too injured or exhausted to be of any use. Ginny moved in front of Hermione as well as ‘Mione gasped,

“I’m fine, really!”

I nodded down at her, then spun and got to my feet; Ginny and I stood shoulder-to-shoulder as we dueled with Bellatrix and guarded a recovering Hermione.

The next killing curse Bellatrix shot at us went right over Ginny’s shoulder; just half an inch lower, and I would have lost another part of my life. And as Bellatrix lifted her wand to strike at Ginny again, the most furious voice I’d ever heard shrieked,


And then Mrs. Weasley was pushing her way past us.

“Get back, get back! She’s mine!”

Ginny and I, both stunned from hearing the first curse word from Mrs. Weasley ever, stumbled back out of her way as Mrs. Weasley tossed her sweater to the side, freeing her arms as she glowered at Bellatrix.

“A joke! A joke!” Bellatrix laughed, her eyes dancing with humor and excitement as she took in her new opponent. “What will happen to your children when I kill you? When mommy’s gone the same way as Freddie?”

Fury coursed through me, and I moved to fight Bellatrix.

“Get back! She’s mine!” Mrs. Weasley snarled, and I took a step back, still furious at Bellatrix. Molly turned back to Bellatrix and snarled,

You will never touch my children again!

With a violent slash of her wand, Mrs. Weasley began the fight. Bellatrix began to laugh, a taunting smile on her face as she began to duel with her opponent. I could tell she didn’t take Mrs. Weasley seriously; a few more students moved to help Molly, but she snarled,

“Stay back!”

As the battle continued, and Mrs. Weasley’s attacks got more and more vicious, the smile on Bellatrix’s face slowly morphed into a snarl as she realized she wouldn’t win as easily as expected.

“Once you’re gone, I’ll kill your children!” Bellatrix taunted, cackling menacingly. “And then your grandchildren, one by one, until nothing is left of you!”

Bellatrix let out an exhilarated laugh, a wild look in her eyes. And then Molly Weasley’s killing curse flew right below her outstretched arm and caught Bellatrix right in the chest, just above her heart. The whole room went quiet as Bellatrix’s eyes bulged, and then she toppled to the ground, never to raise her wand again.

I let out a joyous cheer as I rushed forward, throwing my arms around Mrs. Weasley. And then I heard a furious scream of disbelief come from a little ways away. Mrs. Weasley and I whirled around just as I caught sight of Voldemort’s spell coming towards us. I turned my face away, ready for the end.

“Protego!” a voice cried from behind Mrs. Weasley and I. The entire room drew in a shocked gasp; I opened my eyes and turned to look at the person who had just saved both our lives. My jaw dropped, and once again my brain couldn’t compute exactly what was going on.

Harry Potter himself stood not even thirty feet from our fight, his wand the source of the life-saving shield charm.

The yells of shock, the cheers, the screams on every side of “Harry!” “HE’S ALIVE!” and my own wordless cry of elation were stifled at once; the crowd was afraid. Harry and Voldemort locked eyes as Harry let down his shield charm.

“I don’t want anyone else to try to help,” Harry said loudly, beginning to follow Voldemorts steps as they circled each other. I felt Hermione press up beside me, and I took her hand. We could very well be watching Harry die. “It’s got to be like this. It’s got to be me.”

“Who will you use as your shield this time, Harry?” Voldemort taunted, his red eyes narrowed as he circled.

“No one,” Harry said plainly. “You won’t be killing anyone else tonight. “Haven’t you noticed how none of them have taken a fatal hit? How they all seem protected for you? I died to save them, and that’s what I’ve done, just like my mother did for me. They’re protected, Riddle.”

“By what?” Voldemort challenged. “Love? Your solution to everything? It won’t save you-“

“Not just love, no,” Harry said calmly. I could feel myself about to die from anticipation and fear.

“Do you believe you have more magic than I do?” Voldemort demanded. “Or that you possess a better weapon than I?”

“Both,” Harry said simply, and I caught the flicker of horror that flashed over Voldemort’s face.

“You cannot,” Voldemort denied, trying to gain his superiority again. “I’ve got the Elder wand-“

“Yes, but it was never truly yours,” Harry pointed out, and fury flashed over Voldemort’s face.

“I killed Snape!”

“But the wand never belonged to Snape,” Harry told him, and I began to see that Harry might win this. Whatever he knew, it was enough to get him this far

“But Snape killed-“

“Snape killed Dumbledore, but he did not disarm him,” Harry said, and I saw Voldemort’s face begin to pale. “Draco Malfoy disarmed Dumbledore that night on the astronomy tower. The wand belongs to him.”

“I can easily attend to Draco-“

“But it will do you no good, because I’ve beaten you to it.”

Voldemort said nothing; he stared at Harry with a hatred I’d never seen before.

“So it all comes down to this, doesn’t it?” Harry said softly. “Does the wand in your hand know it’s last master was disarmed? Because if it does, then I’m the true master of the elder wand.”

Just at that moment, the morning sun broke the mountains and a burst of glowing light caught both Voldemort and Harry. And at the same time, I heard them shout,

Avada Kedavra!


Their jets of light met in the exact center of the circle they’d been treading, the red and green lights coming together and creating one golden trail. And then Voldemort’s wand shot out of his hand, flipping through the air towards Harry, who caught it easily.

Voldemort fell backwards, his arms splayed, his red pupils rolling to the back of his head. The Dark Lord hit the floor with a mundane finality, his body unmoving. Voldemort was dead, killed by his own rebounding spell, and Harry stood staring down at his fallen enemy, two wands in his hand.

The entire Great Hall was silent in shock and disbelief as we stared at Voldemort’s body; could it really be over?

And then someone let out a celebratory cheer, and others joined in. It was over; it was really, truly over. Mrs. Weasley was the first one I pulled into a hug as I let out my own cheer; tears spilled down my cheeks and I felt Hermione wrap her arms around me. Ginny joined in on the other side of Mrs. Weasley, and the four of us just stood there, holding onto one another and crying into each others’ shirts.

It came time to separate; I let go of Mrs. Weasley and turned towards Harry. He was surrounded by dozens of students, parents, and professors, and was being passed from one pair of arms to another as families thanked him for saving their lives. Harry’s emerald eyes locked onto me as I gave him the best grin I could manage. He disentangled himself from his friends and strangers and took three long strides towards me to close the gap, then wrapped his arms tightly around me.

I hugged him back as fiercely as I could as he breathed,

“It’s over. It’s finally over.”

“I told you that you’d do it,” I breathed back, holding tightly to one of my best friends. Harry’s arms tightened slightly as he said,

“I’m so sorry, Kels. I never meant for anyone to die.. not Fred, not Lupin, not Tonks-“

“It wasn’t your fault,” I told him softly, pulling back to look at him. There was a glimmer of guilt in his eyes, and I gave him a small smile. “They chose their paths. They didn’t die for nothing; they died making the world a better place.”

“But what about your twins-“

“Someday they’ll understand what their father died for,” I said firmly, nodding. Though the pain that constricted around my heart threatened to say otherwise, I knew my words were true.

“You sound just like your uncle,” Harry told me, a weak smile breaking across his lips. I chuckled and gave Harry’s shoulders a squeeze.

“Looks like you’ve got some more fans,” I said, nodding behind him, where a group of younger students and their parents had gathered, waiting to thank him. Harry nodded, then said,

“I’ll find you later. And Kels?”


“Thanks so much for… for everything. You’ve given so much…”

“Don’t mention it,” I said with a smile as we let go of each other. As I turned away, I saw Ginny making her way towards Harry, and I beamed at her.

“He’s all yours,” I said, giving her a quick hug as I headed off to find the rest of the ginger clan.

I spotted Ron first, his arms wrapped tightly around a bushy-haired person. I was considering moving on until Ron caught my eye and then called,


Hermione immediately spun around and I could see tears glimmering on her cheeks. I gave them a smile as I hurried forward; Ron gave me a quick hug, patting me on the back.

“You were brilliant out there,” he exclaimed, pulled back and tucking Hermione back under his arm; I’d never seen her happier. “You saved some lives.”

“I’m glad I did,” I told him, reaching over and squeezing Hermione’s shoulder. Ron and I locked eyes then, and I could tell he knew exactly what I was thinking: If only I’d saved more.

Ron opened his mouth to say something, but I quickly cleared my throat and asked,

“Have you seen George and Percy? I wanted to talk with them.”

“Oh, er, yeah, I saw George and Lee over by the door, and I think Percy was heading over there.”

“Thanks, I’ll see you guys later,” I said, beginning to back away.

“Hey Kelsey,” Ron called; I glanced back over my shoulder. “You did all you could do.”

I paused for a moment, the emotion I’d been holding back hitting me hard and stopping me in my tracks. I swallowed hard, nodding briskly to Ron as I turned back and began to walk quicker towards the doors. Tears pricked my eyes, but I forced them back.

George’s red hair and Lee’s magnificent fro stood out amongst the crowd of brunettes surrounding them. Angie glanced up as I made my way towards them, and she gave a small smile from her place between George and Lee. Silently, I pushed through the other people and came to a stop next to George; he didn’t notice me right away like Angie had, but he glanced over as I sunk down onto the bench beside him.

He had a smile on, but his eyes showed nothing but despair.

“Hey,” he said; his voice cracked.

“Hi,” I told him back, tucking a lock of hair behind my ear. Lee glanced over at my voice and gave me his trademark grin.

“Brilliant work today, Roundie,” he laughed, and I couldn’t help but laugh with him; Lee’s personality was just contagious.

“Way to fight out there, River,” I said back, reaching around George to bump Lee’s fist. Lee gave me another smile, then waved at a group of Ravenclaws across the hall as he got to his feet and jogged to meet them. Angie gave George a quick kiss on the cheek, gave me a warm smile, then got up and followed Lee to give George and I some time to ourselves. The others around us slowly dispersed as George and I sat silently side by side. When we were finally alone, I glanced over at him.

Though it killed me all over again every time I thought about never seeing Fred again, I couldn’t even begin to think about how hard it was to lose your twin. George’s head was bowed, his eyes focused on his hands clasped in front of him. Silently, I reached over and rested a hand on top of his. George was still for a moment; slowly he unclasped his hands, turned them over, and held my hand gently.

I knew right then that I’d need George more than anyone else, because he understood. Just sitting there, holding onto one another, we said everything we didn’t have words for. We would be there for each other when all we needed was someone to hold hands with until the pain settled to something more bearable. He understood how badly it hurt to lose Frederick Gideon Weasley. He had the same hole in his heart that I had.

Quietly, I scooted just a bit closer, then leaned over and rested my head on his shoulder. I rested my hand on top of his, and we sat like that for countless minutes, just together, our tears dripping onto our shirts, the paralyzing sadness slowly subsiding as we watched the students and families around us reuniting, laughing, and holding each other once again.

It was at that moment, the sun shining on our faces, the sight of our friends and family laughing without worry, that I said quietly,

“We’ll make it, Georgie. It’ll be alright.”

George turned to me then, and I looked up at him. A smile, a small, genuine smile was on his lips, and his eyes, though glistening with tears, had lost a bit of sadness. His hands tightened around mine, and he sighed.

“That it will, Kelso. That it will.”
♠ ♠ ♠




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