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Old 09-27-2009, 04:12 AM   #566 (permalink)
Cassirin

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Join Date: Sep 2003
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Hogwarts RPG Name:
Phoebe James
First Year

x7 x8

Ministry RPG Name:
Genevieve James
Law Enforcement

Ministry RPG Name:
Carrigan Howard
Accidents & Catastrophes
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Made of Awesome | Ern-la the Best-wa | TZ's Apogee

Yet again, I apologize for making everyone wait on my posts. The fact is... it's hard to rely so heavily on canon. I've read the fight scene at Hogwarts in HBP over and over and over to put everyone in their place, but because it's spread out over chapters and reported back by witnesses... let's just say it isn't easy and has required me to make diagrams and lists.

And I haven't even written that part yet. So. There's my excuse for being so slow, and I hope you still like me if it takes another three months to post the next chapter. I'm hoping I'll be MUCH faster.

MWAH.




Wand drawn and hex on her lips, Tonks took the corner quickly. The corridor opening in front of her was dark. More than dark, the stones and sconces were hidden in a pervasive shadow that swallowed her sight like the gullet of a great beast. Tendrils of shadow dribbled from that blackness to wrap around her ankles and trail off into the main corridor.

“What…” Remus pulled up short at her side, his hand on her wrist as if to keep her from sending blind curses into the dark. In truth, the complete absence of light and movement was so unsettling, Tonks was tempted to shoot until the dark broke into a thousand pieces.

“That’s just terrifying,” Bill said dryly, letting the blackness dabble across his fingertips. He rolled the tendril in his hand with distaste. “Should it feel gritty?”

“Hush!” McGonagall joined them, her hand extended for silence. Her steely eyes peered into the dark, and Tonks wondered if Minerva could somehow make out shapes down the hallway. And then Tonks heard the voices too.

“You’re on my foot, Ron!”

“’M not! That’s Neville.”

“What? Oh. Sorry.”

The corridor suddenly exploded with Weasleys. Well, two Weasleys and a Longbottom, blinking at the sudden light and appearance of the Order members. The dark dripped from their robes, pooling at their feet before seeping away.

“You are out of bounds!” Minerva’s thundering voice would have stripped years off of Tonks’ life, but the Gryffindor three were obviously made of sterner stuff. All three of them began to speak, Ron and Ginny’s voices tumbling nonsensically over each other while Neville helpfully clarified their muddled story.

“… outside the Room of Requirement…”

“… didn’t believe him about Malfoy, but Harry was right…”

“… then it went dark, but we could hear ‘em…”

“Hush,” Minerva said again, this time her tone wearied. Tonks had to give the professor credit. Was every conversation with teenagers so frantic? Her experiences at the Burrow seemed to confirm the idea, but perhaps it was just a Weasley thing. She’d never had a peaceful meal, and the more Weasleys present, the louder the din grew.

McGonagall gestured with one long finger waggling at them. “Say it plainly, please. Just one of you at a time. What are you doing out of bed?”

“Death Eaters!” Ron and Ginny breathed simultaneously. Blue eyes and brown widened with fright, and Tonks was reminded of how young the three were. How did it feel to stand on the cusp of adulthood in these trying times? Tonks, at least, had chosen this way of life.

“Lots of them,” Neville added.

“Where?”

Tonks glanced up and down the corridor. They hadn’t seen a soul, but she recalled the tromp of heavy boots as they climbed the stairs. If they had only arrived moments earlier, the Order members would have run right into Death Eaters in this hallway.

The three students had just appeared from the magical darkness, created by Peruvian Darkness Powder according to their story, and they hadn’t any idea where the Death Eaters had gone. Process of elimination dictated that if the Order members hadn’t encountered them on the stairs, they must have done further down the main corridor.

“Back to the dorm, I’d say,” Bill offered helpfully, giving his youngest brother and sister a merry look. Clearly, he approved of their adventuresome ways to a degree Molly and Arthur probably wouldn’t support. Weasley boys were always a bit foolhardy, to Tonks’ mind, and she suspected Ginny was cut from the same cloth.

Ginny’s hands went to her hips, and her resemblance to Molly was scary in its accuracy. From what she’d gathered of their disjointed tale, Tonks knew the three Gryffindors had purposely set out to watch Draco Malfoy. They probably weren’t itching for a fight with a group of full grown Death Eaters, but they felt the sting of being sent to bed like naughty children.

Fortunately, Ginny didn’t have a chance to launch into a tirade. McGonagall pointed down the corridor. “Sadly, Mr. Weasley, the Gryffindor common room is in the direction we must travel. We shall have to escort them safely to their portrait hole.”

They ran with the three students huddled in the knot of Order members. Tonks supposed the intensity and focus on their young faces reflected her own, but it was unnerving to see calm acceptance there as well. These children could die tonight. They knew it, and they seemed unafraid.

“Where is Hermione?” Tonks fell into step beside Ginny, noticing the absence of the Gryffindor prefect for the first time. It demonstrated her level of distraction that she had only just realized Hermione was missing. A surreptitious look passed between the Weasley siblings before Ginny responded.

“She was watching somewhere else,” Ginny replied shortly. She sped up to walk with Neville. Tonks let her go without comment; there was enough to consider tonight without stepping into some teenage dramas. Hopefully, wherever she was, Hermione was safe.

Ahead of them, the hallway bowed out, curving around the entrance to Ravenclaw Tower and swinging back around to the Astronomy Tower. From there, the group could continue on to the Gryffindor Common Room. It was in this curve of hallway that the Order finally caught up to the Death Eaters.

The Death Eaters recovered from their shock quickly, spreading out to fill the hallway as the Order approached. Many of them were recognizable to Tonks, mostly from warrants that had passed over her desk in the past year. To one side were the Carrow twins. Ugly and uglier. To the other was an enormous blond man whose head seemed to extend directly from his shoulders. No neck to speak of.

And there in the middle, leering because it was the wrong time of month for anything more sinister, was Fenrir Grayback. The man was broad and distinctly unwashed, but the most noticeable thing about him was that Grayback was just… hairy. Although Tonks had often seen pictures of Grayback plastered across the wanted posters, he was definitely more menacing looming in the corridor in front of her then he ever was snapping at her from his picture.

Grayback had eyes for Remus only. “I told them, tried to warn them, that you couldn’t be trusted, Lupin. Bet you’ve been in the old man’s pocket this whole time.” His voice sent shivers down Tonks’ spine, and she instinctively edged in closer to Remus.

Remus didn’t dare look away from Grayback, in spite of the raised wands on both sides of the corridor. It was an Alpha wolf thing, Tonks was sure. He didn’t even raise his own wand, although his posture was tensed for action.

“Letting little girls fight for you, Lupin?” Grayback grinned suddenly, showing teeth that were filed down to sharp, grimy points.

Ew. Really? And little girls? Werewolves were AGEIST!

It was then that Tonks noticed that Ginny had stepped in beside Remus with her own wand pointed at Grayback. At least ‘little girls’ didn’t refer to JUST Tonks, although it was still insulting. Tonks was the only Auror in the group, and Ginny held a steady wand as she pointed it first at the werewolf and then beyond him to where Draco Malfoy peered at them, looking pale.

Ginny curled her lip in an impressive sneer of her own. “I see you, Draco Malfoy. You are going to be expelled for this.”

Impossible, Draco grew paler as he pulled inward, struck by her hard words. “W-why should I c-care about that? You think this school has anything to offer anymore?”

The boy was shaking, and Tonks felt a moment of pity before remembering the important fact: that shaking boy had managed to sneak Death Eaters into Hogwarts. He was no innocent.

All the talk was counterproductive to whatever mission the Death Eaters had set for themselves, and Grayback made an impatient gesture. “Enough talking. You want to play with children, Lupin? Watch them die.” His wand slashed the half-light before either Tonks or Remus could move, pointing at Ginny.

”Avada Kedavra.”
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