Uranus I - eccentricity, upheaval
Uranus ♅ eccentricity, upheaval
"I'm only honest when in rains
If I time it right the thunder breaks
When I open my mouth, I want to tell you but I don't know how."
The sun; it was always so warm...
"Dad, look what I found!"
They used to go to the beach. A lot. It wasn't very far away from the house they used to have, before moving when she was seven. They would spend the whole day out there when her mother was away. She liked to work...so Xenophilius was one of the ones who watched them the most often.
"What do you think it is?"
After thinking for a moment, the six year old stated as a-matter-of-factly that the tracks must belong to an imp.
When they were much younger, Xenophilius used to take his daughter and Echo to the nearby beach. They would play in the waves, search the sand and nearby land, toes scratched and nipped by tiny crabs and rocks. Other days, Xenophilius would take them on little hikes in the forest. Luna would complain about it if she was tired or hungry while Echo would stare wide-eyed at a shimmering plants Xenophilius explained.
Luna never was into magical creatures and plants, not the way Echo was, not back then. Luna liked them, yes, but it was more of Echo's passion—Echo's always been crazy about them, soaking the information like a sponge. Luna never liked them, not as much as her cousin. Now, however, that all seems to be changing.
It happened sometime between the two months after her mother's funeral and on her eleventh birthday that Luna realized she had been sucked in just as deep as Echo had. And by the middle of her second year at Hogwarts, Luna's head was buzzing with every possibility of magical creature she could spot or think of. She kept it secret at first until it clicked to Echo who blurted it out one Christmas Eve to the family. Xenophilius's eyes had held a sparkle and Echo's mother just smiled.
Echo still kept the starfish and sand dollar found in the ocean that day from all those years ago. One hangs on her wall and the other by a set of books, near a dead flower she picked while out with Neville once in the school yard. She likes keeping little trinkets, little bits of memories, she calls them.
Echo looks at the clock on the opposite wall from the bed. She would be walking the halls of Hogwarts again around this time tomorrow.
Her mother didn't like it though. Ever since hearing about the rising of Voldemort, Echo's mother has put a fuss about how she didn't want her daughter back at that school. The stories were all in the papers, it is what was whispered in the streets, and privately Mrs. Bell didn't know what to make of Potter and all this craziness that was happening. She didn't like that her daughter was attending the same school with such a trouble-magnet and so close to danger. She just wanted her daughter to be safe and protected...
Echo reassured her mother that she doubted Harry would return to Hogwarts year. That would be the right thing to do, the smart thing.
Echo smiled to her mother who would cup her face and kiss her forehead, and Echo would send a thankful grin to Xenophilius who finally convinced Mrs. Bell that her daughter would fine.
Privately, Echo knew for a fact that Harry wouldn't be returning. Part of it was common sense; the other was from a brief brush with Colin Creevey.
Xenophilius convinced Echo's nervous mother that her daughter would be in good hands as long as both she and Luna stayed together. And he would be right, but of being of different houses, they would not see each other as often. And Voldemort was closing in.
But it wasn't going to be alright. Who were they kidding?
Neville gripped the metal bars along the side of his mother's bed.
Nothing was going to be fine. There was a battle coming and one would be lying if they didn't feel it. Neville knew it. It circled the halls of Hogwarts, that is why Dumbledore was murdered last year, and that's why Harry wasn't returning this year most likely.
He remembered standing in the crowd of follow students and Hogwarts staff, raising their wands to the sky at their Headmaster's fall. He remembered the stiff feeling in the air, the tears in Minerva McGonagal's eyes and Hermione near him.
Neville's grandmother, Augusta, was further off near the third floor entry door of St Mungo's.
Neville's fingers tightened around the bars at the side of the hospital bed and he ground his teeth together, brows wrinkling together at watching the violent flailing of his mother under her restraints. Nearby, his father was babbling incoherent, mad nothings, and Neville's knuckles were beginning to turn white. The look on his face could have been mistaken for anger at how far his brows arched.
But he wasn't angry; not at them, but he was angry. He was angry at all this, all this mess that was going on, at all these murders happening around them, how these murderers were after his friend. They were after all their families, and the one person that could protect them was now dead. He was angry that all this was happening and he felt so powerless; they all felt so powerless and didn't know how to stop it.
Neville flinched when his mother's flailing hand scratched his and hissed in pain at the red scratch her nails left.
His own parents are crazed because of those same murderers and he feared that there may be more like them to come soon, that those same murderers will scramble the minds of those he once cared for and stood proudly next to and he wouldn't be able to save them—he already knew someone whom he had almost lost to similar circumstances. He feared that those murderers will fill up St Mungo's of other unfixables. He feared that he would be among them.
The smiling face of Echo, Dean, Harry, Ginny, Luna, Hannah, all turned into blank, slobbering, and brain dead in his mind.
He didn't want there to be anymore that would have to sacrifice like his parents did.
Neville squeezed his eyes shut and his mother continued screaming. His father's meaningless rambling grew in volume, and a tear slipped from Neville's squeezed eye.
His mother shook the bed and he had to hold himself back from shaking it back in frustration.
He wished they were hear to help him, tell him what to do...
Neville jumped a little hearing his grandmother's voice suddenly echo across the room, calling for him.
"It's time to go." Augusta had left her grandson to give his condolences to his parents before leaving St Mungo's for their monthly visit. She, like any witch or wizard, had heard of the rising of the Death Eaters and wasn't liking the news one bit.
She watched him trot back to the door and in her direction, his head down. Augusta swung an arm around her tall grandson's way Her height now came to his chest and Augusta wondered where the time went, when this growth spirt hit.
"You have school tomorrow," she murmured as they neared the exit of the hospital. "I'll be making herby toad in the hole tonight, and then you have to get to get your sleep."
Since Neville's fifth year, Augusta hadn't had a need to remind him of things as such—when to eat, to brush his teeth, clothe, to go to sleep. He was far more responsible than that. It was more for comfort for herself though she would never admit it.
Neville only nodded in response, out of respect.
Augusta pulled him closer, in a sort of awkward side hug. "It'll be alright, you big lug," she smiled. "You're mucher than those flooks. You got both of your parents' courage in ya, their sturdiness, and stubbornness."
She gave a weak chuckle at a memory and looked up at the sun hidden behind clouds. It would be setting soon and they needed to hurry home. The streets were no longer safe at night.
"Thing's be alright, Neville," she muttered again. "Be alright…"
September 1st came around quickly and Ginny was very wary about leaving for school. One reason being her family; the other: she knew that it would only be trouble that awaited them at Hogwarts. She felt it in the air. And she was glad that she wasn't the only one who felt the same—Luna admitted that there was unusual tension this train ride, and held an air of wariness.
Luna had lost sight of Echo after boarding The Hogwarts Express. The bleach blonde had been too excited to see her friends again that she departed immediately in search of Grace and Isabelle, most likely in the Hufflepuff car. Luna stood for a moment in the small walkway, considering whether to call after her cousin and deciding against it. Echo was fine even though she was a bit spacey in the head. Luna knew it was just her worrying about her family, and the Death Eaters.
She remembered she wouldn't see Harry or the other two and that was why she was worried, what brought her worrying back. They were so close to the threat, and she knew it, which also put everyone they knew in the crossfire.
Luna had stood in the narrow walkway and watched Echo run down the left way, dark purple coat flying. That's one thing Luna needed to leave alone: Echo. She was like a raw discovery, Echo was, unscathed by many and brought a freshness in the air. Echo always seemed to make things seem new, alive, and much more interesting, even things you've known for years. She was always so optimistic and things of the same energy just gravitated to her. This wasn't needed to be said—it could be seen upon one conversation with her.
Echo was odd but she was pure and needed to be kept that way.
Luna had watched her older cousin run off and stood looking after her before smiling to herself and taking a right in search for her friends.
In the far car, Luna managed to find Ginny Weasley and Neville Longbottom among other seventh years. Using codewords for certain names and places of course, Ginny explained that a disaster had hit her home and that her brother, Ron, along with Hermione and Harry were off trying to put an end to all this. She explained that no one was safe for the time being—everyone knew. And sure enough, no more than twenty minutes later at the sound of The Express's whistle, two tall, and dark men sauntered down the aisle of their car, sunken eyes shifting and casting a cold, hollow feeling in the air.
When the two Death Eaters boarded The Hogwarts Express, it was Neville Longbottom, the unlucky fool, that literally stood toe to toe with them, making them leave with "hey losers, he isn't here." And when the air lifted with the Death Eaters' departure and the expected rapid spread of word, Echo came rushing into the car followed by Isabelle and Grace, throwing herself around Luna's neck first expressing loudly her worry before wrapping around Neville's arm again, much to his embarrassment and concern. Isabelle was the only one who voiced how cute it looked with Echo hugging his arm as he left to a separate car, the gang in tow.
There was a wide smile spread across Echo's face, one she hasn't worn for such a long time it made heat rise in Neville's face.
Echo's light blonde hair in the back brushed just below her neck now, her side bangs reaching past her collar bone and still covered her eyes in the front. She only let Neville, Luna, Grace or Isabelle brush it to the side to see her eyes.
The six of them packed into a compartment room and discussed the possibilities this year and she couldn't be happier amongst all her friends. Even though they were approaching death and danger with each mile The Express traveled, Echo would hug Neville's arm like a stuffed bear and her eyes would wrinkle in a smile at all the conversation and souls around her.
In time, she fell asleep, head still tilted upward, resting on and wrapped around his right arm. He brushed her bangs away from her eyes once. He didn't move or dare to wake her until she awoke ten minutes before coming to Hogwarts, expressing how she dreamed about cauldron cakes and now wanted one.
When it was found out that Isobel's disappearance was solved, there had been a shift in things. Her body was found cold and stiff behind a locked door on the fourth floor. No one thought to look there, thinking it was just an old broom closet locked for years and it was the ghost Fat Friar that found her body. She had been murdered and her brother was furious. McGonagal had been devastated, Flitwick saddened. There was even a noticeable difference in Professor Snape's behavior. And those of Alicia Spinnet, Dean Thomas, and Katie Bell those that knew her morned her death, though privately. She had been quite well known.
But despite her death, there was an unspoken, unknowing switch to things at Hogwarts as well. Hannah was happier, karma was returning to Gretchen who had been attacked by bowtruckles, Draco was no longer such an arrogant git, and many were starting to stick up for themselves and aware of the injustice around them.
News of Isobel's death had spread and it dawned on students that they weren't safe even in the walls of their magical school. It opened their eyes that even one of them could be killed at any given time. And from that, Ginny and Neville set off to revive the DA.
Taking the idea from Grace who provided supplies, the two Gryffindors advertised in graffiti one night past curfew that there are recruiting for Dumbledore's Army. The next day, students gathered under the works done throughout the school.
It was dark outside and Echo stared up where her two friends had written the recruitment ad on the stone just the day before. It had been washed off now but the message stayed, it stuck in people's minds. The two Gryffindors were being punished currently by spending the night in the forbidden forest, alongside Hagrid.
Echo stared up at the blank stone, frowning.
Her bangs fell over her eyes to her chin, and she stilled, listing for footsteps. She then reached into her robe's pockets and inside the small charmed sacks there. Both small sacks were charms to hold the paint and wouldn't spill even if upturned. Echo's fingers dripped with green and red. She reached as far as she could on tiptoe, and wrote her own message. The DA was reviving and the students weren't unaware of their surroundings.
Things hadn't been the same at Hogwarts and it was beginning to jeopardize every students' safety. Ginny and Neville have already started to take action. They've all got to start fending for themselves now as well as pass their classes.
Grace trembled before the class of Muggle Studies. From being friends with a muggleborn herself, she had spoken up out of defense—it had been out of defiance to call Alecto Carrow false, that "the natural order is falling back into place" and that muggles were more animalistic. Grace had called her new instructor out, said what she was telling was not true and propaganda. Grace had revealed Isabelle as being a muggleborn but only as evidence this was all untrue.
Alecto grew a wide, twisted smile at this and Isabelle's horrified. Grace meant no harm, honest, but the mistake had been made.
"Then prove me wrong," Alecto spoke, curling a slim hand around Grace's shoulder.
Grace stood with her wand grasped in her hands. She sniffed.
The class remained silent watching the three in the front of the room.
"Prove me wrong, that muggleborns aren't as animalistic as their species. When you strike this one down and it not fight, then you prove your point," the woman had whispered in the Hufflepuff's ear.
Grace didn't move. Her hands shook and tears brimmed in her eyes. Alecto terrified her just like so many other students. Muggle Studies had so many drop outs since finding out one of The Carrows was teaching it.
"Raise your wand!" Alecto ordered and Grace flinched.
When she didn't do as told, Alecto grabbed Grace's arm and raised it outstretched herself.
"Say it, you rugrat!"
Isabelle watched horrified from her position. Alecto had ordered her to stand, wandless, across from Grace at the front of the class.
Grace shook her head furiously, defying yet again.
"Say it!" Alecto screamed, and Grace felt something poke her back. It was Alecto's own wand.
The rest of the class and Echo watched in horrified silence and baited breath.
"Or," Alecto continued, "I'll hex you instead." The Death Eater's eyes widened in bloodlust. "Wonder how it'll be to see you dancing with your robes on fire and slugs coming from your mouth… Maybe I'll try that on the mudblood after I'm done with you?"
Grace felt a sharp pain in her back where Alecto's wand touched, and the Death Eater whisper cursed words behind her ear.
Some shuffled in their seats, muscles tense and ready to jump if violence happened.
Grace's arm shook and tears brimmed in her eyes.
That was almost an hour ago. Now, Grace sat between Dean Thomas and Echo Bell, the latter applying burn-healing paste on Grace's back as she lifted her shirt in the back where the burn marks Alecto's wand left. Dean held the bandages for Echo and Isabelle sat across from them at the table, watching, looking guilty and miserable. She hadn't been able to stand up to Alecto either, and only managed to leave unscathed by narrowly avoiding a Expulso curse.
This study hall was filled with students and the four of them took up one of the circular tables.
Dean was telling them about Dumbledore's Army in coded words and convincing them to join. No one but him spoke, and anger boiled in Grace's mind. He traveled with Echo table to table to tend to other victims of The Carrows before they came to Grace. Echo had paused when seeing her friend's wound and hearing the story.
Grace agreed with a simple "yes" without hesitation when Dean asked. It was Isabelle and Echo that glanced at each other for a moment.
That day, three more soldiers joined The Army.
An administrator patrolled the aisles between the expansive tables of the study hall. Students either had textbooks open or materials and notes sprawled across the table. But let's be honest: most weren't even worried about studying. Many of those students also had Muggle Studies with Alecto and were not able to switch out.
Echo remembered the first day Alecto walked into the classroom. She remembered the dark, haunting look about Alecto and the craziness that seeped past her calm words. She remembered when she saw students first pinned against each other, purely out of the woman's spite, and the wounds the "loser" received. Echo had felt awful and dreaded the class ever since.
She had went to Pomona Sprout, the head of her house at first, but upon mentioning the incident, Sprout's face turned blue and hushed the girl to not speak of it again. There was no one else to go to since Dumbledore's death and Snape succcessing him. She thought about talking to Flitwick and McGonagal, but the more time went by, the more the head of houses refused to talk about the problem. It was like everyone was waiting, waiting for something to happen.
Students were getting hurt, one died in these very halls, and Echo was running out of options.
No one was safe, the DA was struggling to come back up, and Death Eaters were at every school corner. Everyone was running out of options and hope. No one was safe.
"I want to learn something!" Echo clenched her fists. "I want to help, somehow, someway..." She opened her eyes, blinking behind her curtain of hair. "Teach me to help, to heal—something!"
Ginny blinked in surprise. She looked to Lee Jordan sitting next to her but didn't know how to respond.
She, just like others here, knew of the Death Eaters hired to work under the same roofs they slept. But Echo was quiet. She kept to herself and her few friends. She had kept a placid face for years that was slowly turned to a permanent frown. She was one of the least suspected and they knew that she would be a good addition. But how good would she be if she had no helpful skill? This is what she told them, practically on her knees before her one hope.
This was one of the few times they've ever seen the girl express anything other that a blank look, a dreamy stare, or rare smile. All expect Neville, who watched her with a hard frown with folded arms and leaned against a wall. Luna watched the scene from further away.
When Echo stepped in front of Ginny Weasley and others of the DA, her eyes had been begun to fill with tears.
Echo was so emotional; she was such a dear, empathetic thing.
She had clenched her fists and spoke with a strong voice not heard before of how she wanted to aid in anyway possible. She and Isabelle and Grace were apart of the DA and they weren't doing anything, which needed to be fixed.
"I want to help!" she almost shouted.
Just earlier, she had seen a student almost die. Stuck with such a strong spell that it almost dropped their heart to a flatline. It frightened her. This whole school frightened her now.
Was her mother right…?
Echo wasn't doing anything and she had seen the scars left by their professors, and had spent her days covering those scars with aloe or whatever healing agents she could remember.
"Then what do you want to work as?" Neville's voice rang across the room. His voice boomed, swallowing Echo's and he raised his chin, hard glare still pointed down at the girl.
Echo let out a little gasp and looked up at the boy leaned against the wall. He was to the right of Ginny and still wore the healing scar across an eyebrow. His loud voice had shook her as well Ginny and the others. No one had ever heard him raise his voice.
"What?" Echo whispered.
Neville pushed off from the wall and walked towards her. "What," he spoke slowly, "do you want to work as? How exactly are you going to help us?"
The nervous look or laughter he used to wear was long gone. No one laughed anymore, and Echo just cried. She cried a lot.
"What are you good at? How can you help the DA?" Voice now calm again, he stood in front of her, looking down at her short stature.
"I…I-I…" She wiped a tear in her blue eye.
"What have you been doing to help anyone these last couple days?" he asked, knowing she would say "I don't know" though hearing how she's been helping heal students.
And Echo told him just that.
Ginny looked from Lee to Neville. Neither said a word as Neville knelt in front of the blonde.
"Then you'll be our healer." He placed a hand on her shoulder, squeezing reassuringly. "Alright Echo?"
A tear finally fell from her other eye and he wiped it off.
He finally forced a smile. "Now tell me of what you have been using. I hope it wasn't boom berries. Some are actually deathly allergic to it," and he led her away and further into the Room of Requirements to discuss medical herbs and potions.