Playing With Fire

Chapter 30

Disclaimer: I do not own the world of Harry Potter.

In the end it was little Ginny Weasley that managed to pull Harry to his feet and into the castle, though he walked in a daze the entire way. From the way she looked at him, Tilly realized that he was hers, wrapped around those fingers of hers and little Ginny Weasley wasn't so little anymore.

They walked through the castle, Tilly looking around at the destruction and chaos. People, students were watching them, watching Harry, wondering. Ginny murmured that they were going to the hospital wing and she caught Bill's name.

"Is he okay?" Tilly asked. "Are you sure?"

Ginny looked up at her, her eyes sad. "Of course I'm sure . . . he's a – a bit of a mess, that's all. Greyback attacked him. Madam Pomfrey says he won't – won't look the same anymore. We don't really know what the aftereffects will be – I mean, Greyback being a werewolf, but not transformed at the time."

Knowing that Harry as fine with Ginny, their hands clenched tight around each others, she hurried forward, eventually breaking into a run. Poor Bill, her dear friend. She shouldn't have left him. She reached the hospital wing, her hand gripping the handle.

"Tilly!" She turned at the sound of her name and saw Charlie hurrying towards her, his eyes wide with fear and worry. What a sight she must look, she thought vaguely, covered in dirt and blood, her curls a tangled mess about her head. His body slammed into hers and she threw her arms around his neck, holding on for dear life. She wanted to scream and cry, but couldn't find it in her to do so, even as Charlie took her face in his hands, his lips against her forehead. She was just glad to have him here with her. "I got here as quick as I could. What the bloody hell happened? Where's Dumbledore?"

At the sound of that great man's name, she lowered her eyes, shaking her head. Charlie's hands fell from her face, grabbing her hands instead as he whispered a horrified, "Oh."

Tilly took a deep breath. "Come on we have to check on Bill."

"What happened to Bill?" Without waiting for her answer, he rushed inside the hospital wing. She followed just as Harry and Ginny appeared behind her. Charlie dropped beside his older brother's bed, grasping the man's hand. It was worse than she had thought, she realized as she came up behind her fiancé, gazing down at Bill.

She went numb with relief when she heard Remus tell them that Bill wouldn't be a true werewolf. As much as she liked Remus she didn't know how she would have handled Bill being a werewolf, as hypocritical as it seemed. She thought maybe the rest felt the same way. She tried not to listen as Harry told them that Dumbledore was gone, dead, lost. She vaguely heard Madam Pomfrey burst into tears as she moved to the window, looking out into the night sky.

A song echoed across the grounds and Ginny shushed them to hear. It was Fawkes she knew, mourning the loss of his master and friend. It was a beautiful, haunting medley and tears welled up in her eyes as she pressed the heels of her hands against her lids.

Wake up, she thought, shaking her head. Wake up. But she knew it was impossible. This was no simple nightmare.

"Tilly." She looked up as her Aunt Minnie and Marguerite walked into the infirmary. How long had her grandmother been here? Had she been fighting as well? She rushed into the comfort of the older woman's arms, listening as she stroked her hair and murmured soothing words in French. She felt like a child again, when things were simple.

She and her grandmother stayed quiet as Harry explained what happened, what Snape had done and why. She listened as Minerva took the blame and was reassured that it wasn't her fault. And it truly wasn't. Nobody here was to blame.

Only Snape and Voldemort. They had a habit of ruining lives it seemed.

To find that Ron, Ginny, and their friends were involved in trying to keep the castle safe was not surprising. They had a habit of putting themselves where they didn't belong.

"He shouted, 'It's over,'" Harry said, his voice low and hollow. "He'd done what he meant to do."

Fawkes's song continued to echo across the campus and they all silently listened to it. Charlie walked over and Tilly moved from Marguerite's arms to his. His hands pressed firmly into her back, holding her close as if he need to reassure himself she were there but his eyes were focused on his older brother.

The rest almost seemed to go by in a blur: Mr. and Mrs. Weasley showing up, Molly and Fleur's argument over Bill and Molly's acceptance of her future daughter-in-law. Tilly could only smile at Tonks when she finally yelled at Remus and everyone's telling him how wrong he was. Everybody could see just how much love Tonks had for him and, though he tried to hide it, Tilly could tell he loved her right back.

After Hagrid came in to tell Aunt Minnie Dumbledore had been moved and left again with her and Harry, Tilly looked up at Charlie and found him looking back at her. "Can we go home?" she whispered. She wanted nothing more than to lie down and try not to dream.

Charlie looked to his brother again, knowing there wasn't much he could do here. He nodded, letting go of her for a moment to walk over and kiss his mother, hug his father and Fleur. He paused, gripping his brother's hand and giving it a firm squeeze.

Tilly turned at a hand on her shoulder. She turned and found Marguerite behind her. "You have to be especially careful, dear. Now that – now that Dumbledore. . . . Just be careful, okay," she continued after taking a deep breath. "Ward your doors and windows and you," she added, pointing a finger at Charlie, "you don't let her out of your sight."

Charlie nodded, taking Tilly's hand in his. "Let's go home."

They walked in silence, out of the infirmary and to McGonagall's vacant office. They Flooed back to Tilly and Tonk's little apartment in Hogsmeade, not wanting to go too far away just in case they were needed again. Not even bothering to change clothes, they fell into Tilly's bed, Charlie's arms wrapped tight around his girlfriend, holding her close.

Tomorrow would be another day of fighting.

A/N: Sigh so I messed up smh. Did not realize that Tonks was already at the castle when the Death Eaters attacked and Fleur was not (in the book) but that's okay cause it's my story and I'm sticking to it!

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