Chapter 36 Brothers in Arms
Fred had been separated from George, and he wasn't liking it one bit. Especially since one or both of them could be killed in this battle. Oh well...he'd just have to settle with Percy for now.
After the Order of the Phoenix had made their way into the castle through the secret passage from the Hogs Head, there had been an awkward reunion between Percy and the rest of the family. Fred, who had been adamantly against his brother's chosen career from the beginning and been the first to call him a royal git, had been the first to welcome him back into their family.
And it seemed that that made it okay for the two of them to work together to guard one spot of the castle.
Upon seeing that the magical shield that he been constructed around Hogwarts was falling, Fred tensed and took a deep breath. Percy, who was watching out a window a few feet from Fred's own window, noticed and glanced over to him.
"You okay Freddie?" he asked, and Fred was surprised at his older, prim and proper brother calling him that.
Fred swallowed, nearly coughing from a dry throat, and nodded. "I'm okay Perce, thanks."
to calm his frantically beating heart, he sent a short prayer out for
the safety of his friends. George, Draco, Ginny, Melody, Hermione,
Harry...he wondered how many of them were going to die tonight.
Draco had been paired up with Lupin, and he'd had to stamp on his automatic disgust of the werewolf. Old instincts died hard, it seemed, and he had to make an effort to actually work with the older man.
"I cannot believe that Dora would come here!" Lupin was currently ranting, as the first wave of Death Eaters came into view.
Draco and Lupin began shooting off spells, Draco doing his best to remember as many good and effective ones as possible.
"She seems stubborn. Something I guess she gets from my side of the family." Draco commented, surprising himself. He hadn't talked much too Tonks, but had been surprised when she's come through the portal. Hadn't she just had a baby?
Lupin took a moment to stare at him in surprise at the casual comment and then duck as a blast destroyed a suit of armor.
"That's right...you're cousins. That means we're cousins now too, you know." Lupin put up a shield as more debris rained down from a spot on the ceiling now.
Draco blinked, letting that sink in.
He had bloody well get over his silly prejudices. Think of that...he had a werewolf for a cousin.
Ginny held her breath as the unofficial group of Death Eaters-most of them Snatchers- came charging toward them across the bridge. She had been horrified when the shield had come down, and she now watched, heart pounding, as Neville turned from his vigil at the other end of the bridge and ran.
"C'mon Neville!" She cried, and if she hadn't been looking for it, she might not have noticed the spark that shot from his wand. A few seconds later, there was a loud *BOOM* and the middle of the bridge started to collapse.
Ginny gasped and stared at the spot where the bridge had been, and slowly made her way closer to the edge.
"Neville?" she called.
A hand came up over the side, and then a wand, and there he was! Ginny heaved a sigh of relief and reached down to help the boy up. There was blood running down the side of his face, but he smiled up at her and said, "Well, that went well!"
"'Course it did!" Seamus said from behind her. "I was the one who rigged it! Still can't believe McGonnagal said we could do that..."
Ginny wasn't paying attention anymore, as she could hear the noises of battle from behind her. More Death Eaters were in the castle now.
Wand gripped tightly in her hand, she ran back into the castle, and immediately ran right into someone.
"Ginny!" She heard as she jumped back and held her wand in the direction of the person, but then heaved a sigh of relief.
"You're lucky that I wasn't a Death Eater," George scolded her.
"Sorry," Ginny muttered. She looked behind him, looking for Tonks, who had been his assigned partner. George noticed her look.
"We got separated, and then I saw the explosion..."
"Did Harry find the horcrux?" Ginny asked.
"I actually don't know. He was-" George stopped mid-sentence, and then stared at her. "Hang it-you're not supposed to know about that!"
Ginny rolled her eyes and started back the way George had come.
"Where're you going?" George called after her.
"I'm going to find someplace I can make a difference!" She called back.
Draco felt like he'd been fighting for hours when he noticed the trio of Slytherins.
There was a break in the fighting, and Draco inclined his head towards them, pointing them out to Lupin who hadn't seen them yet.
"Blaise, Crabbe, and Goyle. They're acting mighty suspicious," Draco whispered. Lupin and he were hiding in a niche behind a suit of armor that was amazingly still standing. The trio hadn't seen them.
When they disappeared around a corner, Draco suddenly suspected where they were going. He hurried after them, barely noticing Lupin following, and saw them disappear into the Room of Requirement. Draco swore, wondering what they could need in there, but there was some shouting, and a yell from Lupin, and they were fighting again.
One of the Death Eaters that was facing Draco, paused a moment as if to size him up. Then he reached his wand up and dissolved his mask.
Draco's eyes widened as he recognized Pravus.
"Hello there!" The man said with a fake cheerful smile, right before he threw a curse at him.
"Right back at you, Bad Breath!" Draco responded, throwing up a shield.
Draco poured all his concentration into the duel, hexing and shielding left and right. At one point, a hex got past his defenses and he felt a sharp pain in his arm as he was slammed him back into the wall.
Then Pravus was staring in surprise as his wand flew out of his grip, and he was hexed so hard that he flew across the room and hit yet another wall with a loud crack.
Draco winced, and then looked over at his savior. Fred grinned at him. "He'll be feeling that for a while!"
"Yeah, if he actually lives," Draco muttered, staring at the crumpled heap on the ground.
There was suddenly a yell, and the doors of the Room of Requirement opened, and Ron and Hermione and-was that Goyle?- shot out on a broom. They had a bit of a crash landing, flaming heron and everything, with Fred running over to help Hermione up and demand what had happened.
Draco stared back into the room, his eyes wide at the flames that were literally eating everything. The creatures that seems to run around in the flames were mesmerizing, and he barely heard Lupin beside him mutter, "Fiendfyre!"
"Crabbe cast the spell! I don't think he knew what he was doing!" Ron exclaimed.
A moment later, Harry came charging out with a much more spectacular landing than the others, and he and his passenger, Blaise, rolled along the hall floor for a moment.
Draco looked down and noticed the diadem laying in the hallway floor. He recognized it for what it was, and he remembered what else could destroy horcruxes.
Fred must have remembered too, because he beat Draco to the job. He walked forward and kicked the diadem back into the room, causing an explosion as the fire morphed into what looked like Voldemort's face, and then the doors slammed shut. It left the fire to rage through the endless piles of junk and treasures in the room of hidden things.
Draco wondered if anyone would ever be able to go back in there, and what it'd look like and if the fire would ever go out...
Draco whipped his head around, staring at his once closest friend. Blaise was coughing and sobbing.
"C-Crabbe!" He said again.
"He's dead!" Ron snapped, and Draco felt his heart sink. He may not have cared much for the other boy, but they had still grown up together, and it surprisingly hurt to know he was gone.
"What a horrible way to die," Hermione said.
A few more explosions were heard farther down the hall, and Draco turned to see Fred heading to help Percy fight off the new wave of Death Eaters.
"Oi, Prime Minister!" Percy called as he threw a hex out at the man who Draco was assuming was the person in question. He was still too far away to see.
"Did you get the memo? I'm-"Percy flicked his wrist, shooting up a shield to block an attack," Resigning!" He yelled as he threw his own hex at the man. The Minister flew back and landed on the ground, unmoving.
"Did you just tell a joke, Perce?"
Draco was hearing Fred's voice as is from a long way away. He had seen the Death Eater round the corner, readying his wand. He wasn't aiming at a person, and as soon as Draco realized it, he started to run.
"I don't think I've heard you joke since-"
"Fred!" Draco screamed, and jumped. He connected with Fred-
And the wall exploded.