last01standing: (bad guys)
[personal profile] last01standing
Title: Darkening Light
Disclaimer:Not mine
word count: Kind of a long one 10,000
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Character death, swearing, and some pretty disturbing scenes
Summary: You see, in the real world, there's not always a happy ending.
author's note: Originally posted sometime in fall of 2004 on my fanfiction account and later at my personal journel [livejournal.com profile] spastic_visions. It has been edited a little since then and of course since the release of HBP is now firmly AU. It is a 7th year Ron pov containing cannon up to OotP.

PROLOUGE- Once Upon a Time

I'd love to be able to story this with the phrase 'once upon a time'. But I don't think I really can. You see stories that start with once upon a time usually end with a 'happily ever after'. This story doesn't look like it has a chance at a happy ending. Things would be screwed up even if Harry, by some miracle did kill Voldemort. It wouldn't change a thing. The world would still be the same hell it is now.

And in the midst of it all, here I am studying for N.E.W.T.s. That's the really funny thing about it all. I mean the wizarding world's in chaos and I'm falling asleep on the books. I feel like Hermione. But then again, worring about tests does take my mind off of outside.

'Cause stuff really hasn't been good here. Like I said earlier, I think I can sum it up to hell. And it's a bit more of a literal interpretation than you'd think. There's no way you could have seen the ministry after last year, but I did and I think 'hell' summed the situation up rather nicely.

Voldemort's gotten the Ministry, Azkaban and now that I think about it, nearly half of muggle London.

The Order's headquarters has moved at least a dozen times in the past year. The Black's old manor had lost its unplotable status the minute that Sirius, the last of the Blacks had died. The other place haven't been nearly as secure, but at least there wasn't the baggage from the Black place. Or that horrible portrait. The portrait more than the whole incident with Sirius and the veil was what really scarred me for life.

"Where's that son of mine? Finally gone for good? About time. I should have strangled the muggle-loving fool when he was born. But then again, I knew he'd get himself killed one of these day, the filthy blood traitor."

It'll still echo in my head if I let it along with my own voice screaming at it until it was drowned out by her horrible cruel laughter. It's the sort of thing that'll stick with you, especially since I didn't see the real thing. I was busy playing with the brains and then there was the insanity and all. It didn't really sink in until I had to face her portrait.

The whole thing cut Harry a lot more deeply than it cut me. Us Weasleys have an entirely different tragedy that makes things hell for us. I don't really know how to say it so, I'll just be blunt.

Percy killed Fudge.

Percy Weasley killed the bloody minister of magic

I can hear laughter now that I actually said it. And if you're laughing, I don't blame you at all. I mean I laughed too. Actually I think my exact words were something along the lines of, 'He did the old bastard in? Good for him. About damn time someone did it.'

You know I don't think I ever regretted words more, because guess what? Percy did kill the incompetent bastard. Spent a month in the makeshift prison the Ministry used after Azkaban fell. They let him go since he said he had been under the impervious curse.

And we believed him.

We let him back into the family, welcomed him with open arms. It was a mistake and we paid.

It happened at a big family dinner, the first time we were all together since the war started. Mom cooked us up a huge meal and we ate outside and everything. After dinner was over, all of us but Percy and Bill went inside. They had volunteered to clean things up. It was all normal enough until Ginny went back out. She'd forgotten her sweater of something trivial like that. Next thing I know someone's screaming bloody murder. George was the first to react, wand out, rushing out the door.

There was a time that if Ginny was screamed like that, Fred and George were responsible, laughing over some prank, but those times were long gone. Now there was only one meaning if someone was screaming.

George got outside as Percy turned from Bill's still warm body, a sickly smile on his face. Within twenty seconds he was on the ground sporting an extremely odd array of side effects.

But that didn't change anything.

Bill was still dead.

Ginny hasn't talked much at all since it happened.

We've all dealt with the war so differently it's almost scary.

Hermione acts like nothing's wrong.

Neville's stepped up to the challenge, he's probably doing the best of our year.

Harry on the other hand has all but shut down.

Dean's got a massive chip on his shoulder, I don't think I've seen him smile since Seamus...

Seamus is dead.

Me on the other hand, I've pretty much become the twins, the jokester, doing anything for a laugh. Hermione says I have no shame.

I just say I'm dealing.

Funny thing is that the death and destruction isn't the worst part of this for me. Asides from Percy, the worst part has been Harry.

He's still my best friend, but he's changed more than anyone. He's darker, less caring, cold. You can see it in his eyes...

His eyes are empty now, the fire that used to light them doesn't seem to exist anymore. I remember the first time I met him. You could tell exactly what he was feeling with just a glance, but he's not like that anymore.

I remember a time when I was jealous of him, when I wanted the spotlight for myself, but it seems silly now. You just need one look at him to know he's not in a good situation.

We're losing this war. Plain and simple. The fight has been going downhill for ages and unless something major happens soon, the resistance will collapse and it'll all be over.

The funniest thing is the papers, every single one of them from the Quibbler to the Daily Prophet are speculating on when things went bad.

None of their guesses were even close to correct. I laugh a bitter laugh each time a new one comes to light because I know when things were really lost. The turning wasn't gradual at all. It happened suddenly, at the same moment the light went out of Harry's eyes.

It happened the instant Sirius Black died.

So you see the predicament here? Stories like this just don't get a happily ever after. So what's the point in starting this with once upon a time?

Chapter 1- The Turning Point

The wards went off again and not a single person even jumped. It hardly even phase the first years anymore. They've been used to it since around Christmas and it's a month past Easter.

I glanced at Hermione who merely picked up her N.E.W.T.s Transfiguration book and propped it up. Harry looked at me with his dull green eyes. "You'd think they'd've figured out how to disable the wards by now."

"I think they like us knowing." My voice was bitter but I didn't care. "If they want discreet they just use a Slytherin."

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Dean flinch. That was how Seamus had died. We could never prove it, of course, but everybody knew it. Most of the kids who they can actually prove did something like that are sent to the makeshift prison currently located in the Hogwarts dungeon. It's a damn scary sight down there, some of the kids aren't any older than twelve. It makes us all dread potions even more, but Filch at least has never been happier.

The only one it the whole room who'd actually reacted to the alarms was a first year by the name of Trixy McGee. She had jumped to her feet, running her hand through short cropped brown hair.

She was attempting to rally anyone who'd listen into the fighting mood. No one paid much attention to her. We get people like that in Gryffindor. Fighters I mean. Usually a bit less violence mad but hey, to each his own. Trixy only managed to get one person on his feet. I recognized him. Chance Jacoby. You never saw him without Trixy. Which I guess also explains his complete lack of enthusiasm.

A second year called Alex Ferris made an exceedingly rude gesture at her and I had to laugh aloud at the scene.

You see last year, it was Ferris rallying the troops. That changed last summer when his mom had never come home. Yeah so I've got a sick sense of humor, don't we all.

Trixy ignored Alex and exchanged a smile with Chance before bouncing over to our end of the common room. "Get up you lazy bums! S'time to kick some deatheater ass!"

Harry looked coolly at her. "Just shut up already Trix."

Surprisingly she quieted and after glaring at him for a second, she marched boldly out the portrait hole. Chance made a move to follow but Hermione stopped him. "I'm taking twenty points from Gryffindor if anyone else leaves the room without permission. When the wards go off you are to stay in the common room!"

Chance raised his hands as if to say 'backing off.'

Hermione fingered her head girl badge. "Ron? Could you?"

I nodded. People may think I don't understand things sometime, but that's not it at all: she just wants me to get Trixy before someone else greases her. Doing it herself would mean admitting that we're in deep shit and that'd break her whole 'nothing's wrong' charade.

I flash her a huge, but completely fake smile. "Prefect Ronnikins to the rescue."

Hermione rolled her eyes and my false smile melted into a genuine one as I walk past her and towards the portrait hole. I pushed it open and entered the hallway.

The wards were louder when you weren't in a room but I've trained myself not to notice them. They'll go off in a minute anyway.

Trixy was twenty paces off, leaning on a statue, face bright red, wand clutched tightly in her hand. Hesitantly, I approached her.

"You risked twenty whole points to chase after me red?" She smirked. "Truly, I'm touched."

Sarcastic as well as pugnacious, she'll probably get herself killed within the year. I stopped walking and almost against my will said. "'Mione sent me, didn't want you blooding up the walls."

She laugh harshly. "And you obeyed 'cause you fancy her."

I felt myself blush. "No I don't! I kind of like the walls the way they are." Her sharp glare sent my humor running. "I just... I don't want you killed either. You don't know what you're getting into.

Her teeth clenched. "I think I know exactly what I'm getting into, Weasley."

Why did Hermione have to be denial girl? I'm no good at talking to the younger kids. Hell, even Harry's got more finesse with it than me and I think the first years recently declared him scarier than Snape.

Trixy looked bitterly at the ground. "Not like people would really care if I up and died and me, well, how could I care. I'd be dead."

"What about Chance?" I asked instantly. "And how about..." I trailed off feeling like I was missing something as the color drained from Trixy's face. "God Trix, I'm sorry. I'm no good at this talking shit."

"Tobias." She croaked.

Confused I asked. "What?"

Trixy looked like she could burst into tears at any time. "You were going to say Tobias weren't you." It was more a statement than a question.

"Who's Tobias?"

I knew immediately that this was the wrong thing to say. She went quickly from white back to bright red. "Who's Tobias?" she sputtered. "He's my best friend. I've known him for ages."

She seemed to deflate in front of me. "He was my best friend. Now I s'pose he's some body in a ditch somewhere." I watched as she sank to the floor not knowing what to do. "Three days before Easter, remember? We were late to Herbology when the wards got broke."

Oh yeah I remember that one. Just about the worst fight we'd had. The first time some kids had gotten stuck in the cross fire and it hadn't been the last... "This isn't your fight Trixy." I said softly.

"That's what you don't get. This is my fight. They'd never shown us babies what to do in a combat situation so all me an' Tobias could do was send pretty sparks at 'em. When the next dozen deatheaters showed up, so did the teachers. An' they tol' us to run an' we did. I was all the way back to Gryffindor when I noticed tha' he wasn't behind me... An' here you are, askin' me to run again." She shook her head. "An' there's no way I'm doing that again."

I tried to pull her up from the floor, but she still slouched against the wall. "Listen to me." When she didn't meet my eyes, I slapped her lightly across the cheek. "Listen to me Trix. It's not your fault. There was nothing you could have done."

Those damn wards wouldn't even shut up to give us some peace.

She glared at me, a steely glint in her gray eyes. "But I can do something now."

I'm so very not good at this. I was supposed to talk the girl out of it, but I've started to think that maybe she's got the right idea. I was only about a step away from going off to kick ass with her myself, but my rarely seen sensible side still wanted to talk her out of it.

"They don't want the kids fighting." I said lamely, knowing very well that it was the weakest argument I've ever pitched: I mean Harry's a major player and had been since it started when he was, oh say, in diapers. Hell, even I've been fighting for years.

But suddenly, it's like she doesn't even care anymore, she was staring straight past me, focusing on something far off. "Tobias?" she asked with open incredulity.

I spun around fearing that old Trixy McGee had gone mad on the spot, but sure enough there a vaguely familiar little boy in baggy robes stood in front of us .

I felt obligated to say, "Doesn't look dead to me."

She stared at the boy, wonder fading into skepticism as the wards went silent as if to emphasize the surrealness of the situation.

And then I saw something that nearly made my heart stop. For striding out of the shadows was a tall man with shoulder length black hair and pale blue eyes.

I knew right then that this was a turning point in the war. It either meant a much needed boast to our side or it pretty much signed all our death certificates.

But you know what? At that moment none of it mattered because a supposed dead man was standing right in front of me.

Struggling to breath, I locked eyes with the icy stare of Sirius Black, and his glare didn't change, didn't soften, didn't waver.

The skeptic side of me promptly started going wild.

This could not be good.

Harry's death certificate may have just been signed.

Chapter 2- Miracles

“Tobias?” Trixy’s cautious voice jerked me back into reality. “You’re supposed to be dead.”

The whole thing seemed surreal. Like something out of one of those muggle movies Hermione made me and Harry watch, the moment where everyone involved is like ‘its you!’

From what I saw, most of those moments were immediately followed by some sort of battle scene with guns and horses. Hermione seemed to have a thing for the American cowboy movies where good always triumphed. I thought they were a nice fantasy, but things like that just don’t happen. In the real world, good doesn’t always win. It’s a downright cynical point of view to take but you try and be optimistic after two years of all out war.

Miracles just don’t happen. There’s always a price. A death for a life and all that rot. And we had two dead people right in front of us.

So forgive me for being a skeptic, but in things like this I think I’m allowed.

The skinny green-eyed boy in front of us smirked a little and slowly raised his thin willow wand.

I hate being right sometimes. Have I mentioned that?

My instincts took hold and I knocked Trixy down as a flash of light destroyed the statue behind us.

“Run,” I hissed at Trixy trying to shove her towards the portrait hole.

Her eyes flashed defiance. “No! That’s my friend out there Red. I’m not leaving without Tobias.”

Was she dense or something? He just blew half the wall away and she still wanted to play nice?

I was only dimly aware of her distant blabbering, preoccupied with the fact that dead people were attempting to kill me. People trying to kill me wasn’t new since anyone who was close to Harry was a target. So my mind was more stuck one the fact that they were supposed to be dead.

The situation didn’t look good for us. The way I figured it, we could feign unconsciousness or make a move. Neither sounded terribly appearing, both almost assured blood on the walls. Either one was a mistake but I had to do something.

Trixy made my decision for me, springing up suddenly in a burst of frantic energy.

As the heads of the two figures snapped towards her in tandem and I stayed down, slipping my wand out from my sleeve. A flash of light was speeding in Trixy’s direction shot by... God this feels weird to say... it was shot by Sirius.

I groaned and, staying flat on my stomach, yanked Trixy’s legs out from under her. She fell noisily to the floor, cursing at me once she got her breath back. I would have done a silencing spell on her if I’d had the time, but Tobias and Sirius were approaching.

Leaping to my feet, I shot the banishing charm at them both and grabbed Trixy roughly by the wrist, yanking her to her feet. “Move!”

For once she didn’t need asking twice. I guess I can be dead scary if I need too. When you’re six-feet plus, I guess it comes naturally.

We got to the portrait hole as the two were searching for their lost wands. The fat lady looked at us distractedly. “What are you out here for?”

I looked back over my shoulder and noticed that they both had their wands back in hand and were moving towards us. Trixy had an expression on her face so that she looked like she didn’t want to be were she was. Like she’d rather be back in the hall being axe murdered by her friend.

And while she was all for it, that was something I didn’t want to face yet.

“Crabsnark,” I snapped irritably to the fat lady and when she didn’t open immediately, I repeated myself, “Crabsnark. Crabsnark!” The portrait swung open mumbling about how I was an ungrateful brat.

Ignoring the insult I grabbed Trixy and shoved her thought the passageway before closing the opening myself. I let out the breath I had been holding. Trixy slumped against the wall.

Sighing I pulled her back to her feet. “Five minutes and you meet me in the 7th year guy’s dorm. Got it?”

I sounded harsher than I had originally intended but she nodded looking distinctly gray and limped over to Chance. I winced a bit at her limp, realizing that it was probably me who had caused it. Just what I needed, assault charges along with the living dead.

Shaking all unwanted thoughts from my head, I approached Harry. “Dormitory.”

Harry studied me for a second. “What’sa matter Ron?” He glanced over at Trixy. “You and McGee look like you had...”

“Dormitory.” I repeated more firmly but I was still not feeling terribly articulate. “Now.”

Harry shrugged and went to walk upstairs, I trailed closely behind him, grabbing Hermione as I went. Behind me I heard Neville and Dean get up.

I noticed that Parvati and Lavender were watching curiously, but they didn’t follow. Trixy and Chance were still talking.

When we entered our dormitory, I collapsed on my bed, suddenly exhausted. All I wanted to do was sleep. Harry on the other hand was all business.

“Spill Ron. What’s up?”

Sighing, I sat up. Everyone stared at me and although the room was crowded, it still felt empty. The room could have the entire school in it and it’d still feel empty. I glanced at Dean who was staring at the place where Seamus’s bed had been. I forced myself to look away. “We’ve got to wait for Trixy.”

Neville was surprised at that. “McGee? What for?”

At the same time Dean said, “What’s she got to do with it?” He finally tore his eyes from the empty space in the room and fixed his unwavering gaze on me.

Just when I was really starting to feel uncomfortable, Trixy awkwardly slid into the room, Chance following close behind, looking even more out of place.

Harry gave them a disinterested glance. “Now that McGee’s here can we start? Some of us have potions homework.”

Hermione uttered her first words. “What happened to you two? You look awful.”

For the first time I noticed that I still had debris from the ruin statue on my robes and most likely in my hair as well. Trixy didn’t bother, I doubt that she cared about her appearance right now.

And then I started talking. “We got attacked.”

“There are deatheaters in the school?” a panicked Neville asked. “They broke the wards?”

Dean laughed harshly. “No surprises there. They’ve never needed to break them before. They’ve got people on the inside already. This just means...”

Hermione cut him off softly. “They’re ready to finish this.”

It was Dean who finally voiced what everyone was thinking. “We’re not going to win this fight.”

I’d like to take a second to point out that even saying this was optimistic in spite of everything, ‘lose the battle, win the war’, right? But it’s not going to go that way. Losing the battle and the war is much more likely. But of course no one liked to hear that even if we all knew it was true. Which I’m guessing is why Chance immediately said, “Don’t talk like that.”

Dean kept at it like the ray of sunshine he is, “Please. You really think we have a shot? Haven’t you heard. You-know-who can’t be killed by magic.” Neville’s eyes had gone wide, but he remained silent. “An auror hit him with the killing curse last week ‘n’ he just stood there ‘n’ laughed. And I’ve heard tell that there’s this prophesy sayin’ that only Harry can knock him off. Now personally I think it’s rubbish and we’re all doomed but...”

“Shut up Dean.” Hermione said softly and surprisingly he quieted.

I blinked as I realized just how off topic we were. “That’s not why I got you all up here.” I swallowed. “It’s about who attacked us.”

Trixy seemed to come out of her gaze. “It was Tobias.”

Almost nobody had a reaction.

“I’m sorry if you know him McGee,” Neville said, “but we’re all on different sides here.”

A chalk-white Chance found his voice. “Tobias is dead though.”

That was something that caught everyone’s attention in a hurry, silence blanketing the room.

I missed the wards. Anything’s better than silence.

So I took a deep breath and dropped bomb number two on the unsuspecting group. “There’s another thing.” I swallowed. “Uh. Sirius was with him.”

And the room promptly snapped out of shock.

“You’re mad.” Dean laughed.

“Impossible,” scoffed Neville.

“Nemocracy,” Hermione muttered in an awed whisper.

I swallowed again, preparing to explain that this was not a lie, but Trixy got her word in first. “It wasn’t Tobias.”

Chance leaned back in exasperation. “Christ, Trix, make up your mind. You can’t jerk me around like this.”

She stared back at him. “Well, he looked like Tobias, but...” She was grasping for words. “but it didn’t feel like him,” Throwing her hands up she looked at me. “You tell ‘em Red. They already think I’m batty.”

I looked at the group and saw suspicion in almost every face, pain was evident in Harry’s as well. “I swear I’d never joke about this. She’s telling the truth.

The god-damned silence was back again as they digested that and I absently thought that there should be chirping crickets in the background to make the scene complete.

Neville tentatively broke the silence. “How?”

Hermione the braniac surfaced with a vengeance. “It’s quite possible, resurrection spells, the dark arts, zombies.” She fidgeted under our combined gazes. “All I’m saying is that it’s possible.” And very quietly she added, “I believe them.”

The group accepted Hermione’s ruling as law and everyone seemed to deflate at once, Neville asking, “So what do we do?”

Trixy let out a harsh laugh. “Can’t do much can we? What would people say when we told them we’ve seen dead man walking? They’d have us all committed is what they’d do.”

Dean sighed. “All of this is gonna go bad real soon. There’s no way things will go well if we’ve got zombies. We might as well enjoy our last bit of peace.”

Ironic, really coming from Dean who hadn’t been at peace since Seamus had died. He still screams about it in his sleep, but he was right, “It’s just a waiting game now.” I said softly, “Just a waiting game.

And then things would go bad. That’s how our lives went. If we expect the worst, it won’t hit us as hard if it happens. In cases like this hope was the most dangerous thing that could happen.

The worst part is I could see Harry thinking he’d got Sirius back, but I knew better.

There’s no such thing as miracles.


Chapter 3- Knives

There’s an over-quoted cliché I’m going to use right now and I desperately hope you’ll forgive me for it. We were in the calm before the storm. It’s lame and I hate myself for actually saying it, but it’s true.

Well, it’s at least true on the outside, but looking in all you saw was paranoia. You see, we all knew things would get real bad and that probably would happen really soon. It’s the anticipation that’ll kill you, only it’s really just the fight that’ll kill you, but the anticipation will at least piss you off. Anyone who had any psychic ability was having an especially bad time, sending curses at anyone who moved suddenly.

But psychic ability aside, Harry, Trixy and Chance were probably having the worst time of it. Harry didn’t seem like he knew what to do. Sirius dying had shut him down so long ago and the fact that he wasn’t quite so dead now meant he was getting his hopes up. He wouldn’t listen to me when I told him it probably wasn’t Sirius, that it was a puppet wearing his skin.

And he stared getting his hopes up. It was the worst thing that could possibly happen, because whenever anyone gets his hopes up that high, they were just asking to have them crushed into a thousand tiny pieces.

I knew better. When Sirius had out of our lives and into the veil that had been final, absolute. He was dead. Coming back wasn’t a possibility. Harry would have his hopes smashed and that’d break him for good.

In the Great Hall the owls swooped in bringing their normal messages of death and despair. The only one with non-war mail was Neville. He got a suspicious looking package that he wouldn’t tell me about. When I asked, he made a lame excuse and changed the subject.

Neville wasn’t very subtle, but I let it go.

The whole school was in the Hall save the first year Gryffindor-Ravenclaw Herbology class that had finals in the greenhouse.

Even though we knew there was going to be a massive attack on Hogwarts, even though we’d been preparing for it for months, no, years.

Even though we knew it was coming, we were completely taken by surprise when it was here.

It all started with dim screams and shouts from outside and then the entire hall went mute. The distant screaming grew louder and Dumbledore wordlessly strode through the tables. The door opened a crack and Trixy McGee stumbled in dragging a bloodied Chance behind her. “They’re here. Hundreds of them! Thousands!”

Chance spit out a tooth. “We only barely got out.” His words were punctuated with violent coughing and then his legs gave out.

Trixy looked from the unconscious Chance to Dumbledore. “It’s started hasn’t it?” she asked distantly. “This is it. All or nothing.”

Dumbledore put a hand on her shoulder. “I’m afraid that you are correct.” He gave her a bit of a push. “Off! Take him to the hospital wing and tell Madam Pomphrey to be ready.”

She nodded frantically and struggled to support Chance’s dead weight on her shoulder before slowly and painfully limping off.

Dumbledore turned to the masses. “It may seem to be unwinable and many have fallen, but Hogwarts is all that remains on the side of light and Hogwarts must not fall!

We’d lost two of the key places last year: Azkaban and the Ministry. Voldemort had decided he’d wanted them and they’d all rolled over and died. Hogwarts was the last remaining symbol of light save the elusive Order of the Phoenix. If Voldemort got Hogwarts, the war was over.

Not that we had much of a prayer to begin with. The so called war effort was almost laughable, what Voldemort wanted, he took , we couldn’t stop him. The war was really just him toying with us, feeding off our fear.

He’d been attacking all year. Relatively small stuff compared to his mass murders. Killing a teacher here and there and more recently four of five students a week, but I got the feeling that this was already much worse.

One by one the teachers stood up, filing out in a dignified row. Remus Lupin who’d returned to the Defense post at the end of last year glanced over at me and Harry with a grim smile, the last Marauder going into battle.

I looked at Harry expectantly. He stared blankly back and it was clear that he didn’t feel inclined to do anything.

I stood up instead and addressed the Gryffindors. “What the hell. Let’s roll.”

Not refined at all, but something had to be said and it wasn’t supposed to be my job to say it. This was Harry’s job, Harry’s place not mine.

I’m just the sidekick. He’s supposed to be the hero. But he wasn’t stepping up and someone had to say it.

I hated that it had to be me.

The effect at least was the same as if it had been Harry. The Gryffindors let out a roar and leapt to their feet. I lead them out, falling into step behind the teachers. It vaguely occurred to me that I was leading the whole student body to their doom.

Behind me I could hear Luna Lovegood rallying the Ravenclaws and Susan Bones of all people psyching up the Hufflepuffs. The Slytherin table was suspiciously silent, only a few stray people joining the masses.

It should have bothered the hell out of me, but it didn’t. I was going headfirst into one of Voldemort’s sieges, why should a could of unenthusiastic Slytherins bother me?

So nearly the whole school trooped towards the door to meet out doom.

And the knife slipped into our collective backs as the first attack came from behind.

Figures.


Chapter 4- Shells

Harry looked bored. The screams, the blood, the chaos was swarming around us and Harry was disinterested, detached. It was like he was... I dunno ... waiting for the inevitable. The battle against Voldemort that would decide his fate.

And he looked like he was going to loose, and that didn’t even seem to bother him in the slightest, he just didn’t care anymore.

He was going to die. I realized with chilling clarity, he didn’t have enough fight left to live.

Hermione was a direct contrast. Her face was livid with fear and panic, her eyes darted from side to side occasionally muttering random spells at attackers.

I glanced behind me and caught the eye of an equally panicked Luna Lovegood. “We’ve got this!” Her voice was almost lost among the screams of terror, but I heard and the Gryffindors plowed out into the open.

The scene outside was just plain wrong on the face of it. It was a bright and sunny day, the light from outside was bright enough to blind me. The birds were singing their sweet songs like nothing in the world was wrong. Hell, even the whomping willow was calm. If you were completely deaf and didn’t look at anything but the sky, you could fool yourself into thinking it was a normal day.

Almost.

On the ground it was a different story. Blood, death, chaos, bodies, dark magics whizzing through the still air...

It was funny how I always assumed that dark energy could suck the light out of a place, turn a bright and sunny day into a dark and stormy night or something theatrical like that.

I was wrong.

When the side of light fell, the sun would still rise, the birds would still sing. None of that would change at all.

That didn’t make me feel any better.

Caught off guard, a bone breaking charm smashed into my wrist and I gave a startled cry, my wand dropping from my hand. Hermione picked it back up and handed it back to me. “Honestly Ron, keep on top of things.”

I would have blown my top at her if I hadn’t been so glad to see her breaking out of her shell. Using my good hand, I gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze. “Don’t die alright?”

Her smile was forced. “That’s Harry’s job.”

I took a deep breath and we entered the fray outside.

And of course, as fate had it, we were immediately separated.

My wrist was throbbing and my wand would probably splinter if I had it held any tighter.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the hoards of people out to kill me. That sucked too.

I awkwardly flicked my wrist, distraught to discover I couldn’t make the shield spell work. I’d never been too good with my off hand. There aren’t many wizards who actually are, but I’m worse than most. With my right wrist broken I doubted I could do anything more complex than a body bind, maybe a blasting spell or two if I really poured my power into it...

But too much of that was as bad as using heaps of wandless magic and would end with me passed out from the power drain.

I wouldn’t have been shocked if I was shot down on the spot, there were certainly enough killing curses flying around to make it a possibility.

I had no intention of dying. I’m not like Harry, I haven’t had my entire life stripped from me for the sake of some prophecy made by Trelawny, the giant glittering bug-lady.

Petrificus totalus.” I hissed, pointing my wand at the deatheater dueling with my sister, Ginny, feeling rather childish at even using such an elementary spell.

At least it worked, I strained my eyes for another flash of red hair, but Ginny had disappeared into the melee.

And then it was my turn for a life or death bout, the first spell hitting me squarely in to stomach, knocking the breath out of me. I unconsciously doubled over, but a split second later, the urgency kicked in and I forced myself to straighten back up.

Sirius Black was standing in front of me with the same impassionate look I had seen on Harry’s face just minutes before. He didn’t care about any of this.

I don’t think Harry cared anymore either. He’d lost the spark. They both had.

Somehow I thought Sirius had lost it as well, maybe in the gray area between life and death, maybe when he was in Voldemort’s hands for god knows how long... or maybe it was even before that, when he spent a year confined to a house he hated with memories he loathed...

When I’d first met him, he’d still had the spark. That was all I knew for sure. He’d been insane, sure but he’d had the flare of a man with passion. He’d been alive.

“Do you remember me?” I asked suddenly. “My name’s Ron Weasley.”

Not a move, not a blink, not a sign of recognition, but then again, not a hostile spell either.

“Sirius?” My voice cracked for no apparent reason. “It’s Ron. Harry’s friend.”

My danger instincts kicked in and I jerked my head backwards as a flash of green light whizzed by my head, hitting someone behind me. “Do you remember?”

Pain, blood, a tiny rat’s bite

The Grim bounding straight towards me.

Harsh teeth tore flesh and my leg splintered...


I pushed the memory aside and focused on Sirius, maybe if I could get through to him...

“You were a dog, an anamagius. You were looking for Peter Pettigrew, do you remember? You nearly ripped my bloody leg off? Remember?”

Sirius took a step forwards, not a threatening one at all, just a single step forwards.

I took a deep shuddering breath and took a step forward of my own. “Or how ‘bout when you snuck out to watch Harry play quidditch even though it was pouring down rain and there were dementors everywhere: all looking for you.”

The corners of his lips twitched upwards and I took this as a sign to plow ahead.

“And that summer at your place. You and Lupin told the twins hundreds of stories about the Marauder’s and then spent a solid hour in your room laughing at the fact that they didn’t figure out that you two were half of the Marauders.”

A wide smile now stretched his face as I looked up. But it didn’t reach his eyes. He raised his wand and croaked. “Expelliarmus!

My wand flew out of my hands as a distant memory rose in the back of my head.

“Daddy, is it true that Dementors can suck out your soul?”

Dad looked taken aback. “Has Bill been telling you stories again?”

“Yessir. But is it true?”

“I’m afraid so Ron.”

“What are you like after you get your soul sucked out?” The question was one of innocent curiosity.

He looked resigned and sat down at the edge of my bed and I clamored up onto his knee. “You know this isn’t proper bed time story material. I could tell you the one about the knight and the dragon again.”

“Daddy!”

“Fine, fine.” He sighed. “Without a soul, you’re just a shell , a walking talking shell. You have no memories, no emotions. No goals, except to make everyone else just as lost as you are. You’re technically alive, but you aren’t actually living. People can use you like a puppet, ‘cause you don’t remember how to fight them”

I played with a hole in my sleeve. “Are they evil?”

“They can’t help but be.”


And several things hit me at once. First, Sirius shot a spell that slammed straight into my gut and I fell to my knees at the bottom of his robes.

Second, I realized that this wasn’t Sirius in from of me, this was just a shell. There was nothing inside fueling it to make it alive. Sirius was gone.

And third, I suddenly knew what the price of resurrection was, what it had to be.

A soul.

I doubted it mattered whose soul, the caster’s or the returnee’s, but that was definitely it.

Voldemort had no soul to give, so it took Sirius’s.

I didn’t want to believe it. Looking up at him, I coughed violently and blood filled my mouth. “Do you remember?” I asked frantically. He had to remember something, for Harry’s sake, he had to remember something, he had to still be in the shell.

He pulled me up, surprisingly gently and looked me straight in the eyes and for a blessed second, I could fool myself into believing that everything would be all right.

And then he shattered my hopes with his one word answer.

Do you remember?

He raised his wand and pointed it at my chest. “No.”

And I was blasted backwards into the dark forest.

Chapter 5- What will get you killed

My head was fizzy. I mean all fuzzy. No that’s not the word either, let’s just say I was pretty damn confused. But here’s the kicker: I wasn’t dead. I hurt like hell, but I wasn’t dead.

That was a good thing right? I mean asides from the fact that I half wished I could have taken the big hit myself.

But that hit was meant for Harry, it always had been. Nobody ever bothered with the sidekicks and the sidekicks never ever saved the day.

Sirius looked up at me and I realized with alarm that I couldn’t move my body.

And then there was the part where I seemed to be pinned to the branches of a tree by only air and the strong threads of magic.

Sirius smiled a sickly sweet smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “Feel lucky, Ron. You’ve got a front row seat.”

Front row seat to what?, my brain called frantically, but I sensed what was coming.

The shell in front of me turned and without a drop of emotion in his voice called, “Harry! Harry!”

The act was hollow. If you were looking for it, you could see right through it, but nobody on our side took notice. At a glance he merely seemed to be a parent searching frantically for his kid and the other side, I assumed, knew the plan.

In fact there were only a few people who would know to look, who would see right through the façade : myself, Trixy, Chance, Hermione, Dean, and Neville.

But this was Harry’s Achilles heel. I knew it, Hermione knew it, Neville knew it...

Voldemort knew it as well.

Dean was locked in a fight for his life. To notice Sirius would mean his death.

Hermione was on the other side of the field.

I was stuck up a tree.

Trixy and Chance were out of the action.

I couldn’t see Neville, but I doubted he’d be much help. I could never get his bumbling persona of out first four years out of my head, he probably had the best chance of any of us, but I’d never be able to make myself believe that. First impressions are hard to shake.

“Harry!” I almost wished he had a sadistic killer’s tone of voice instead of the hollow one. Maybe that’d tip somebody off.

Voldemort was dueling with Dumbledore fifty yards away. That old bastard Dumbledore. He’d always let us fight for ourselves, never stepping in until the last second.

Funny how until that moment I had always admired him for it. But I realized that his lazze faire attitude would get Harry killed. If Dumbledore had stepped in and finished Voldemort before he regained power, this would have never been happening.

“Harry!”

This time there was an incredulous reply: “Sirius!”

And I violently attempted to curse out loud, but whatever magic was holding me was far stronger than that, I was useless, a spectator.

Dean, thank god for the kid, noticed what was wrong and looked over. “Harry! Don’t you get it? That’s not him.”

He got a killing curse in the back for his trouble, toppling ungracefully to the ground, right into Harry’s path.

And Harry didn’t even slow down. I doubt he even heard him. All that was on Harry’s mind was Sirius.

He was a moron. He was my best friend, but god damn it, he was a bloody moron. I doubted any of my warning about Sirius had got through. He only heard what he wanted to hear. He believed that he had gotten his miracle.

“Sirius!”

He threw himself into Sirius’s arms and hugged him tight but Sirius didn’t respond, didn’t throw his arms around his godson and hug him back.

It was wrong. This whole scene was just wrong. Harry clinging to Sirius like he was a lifeline and Sirius completely non-responsive. He didn’t seem to be paying much attention to Harry at all.

He was looking straight at me. His mouth unconsciously stretched into a feral, predatory grin.

He wanted me to see this. I realized in dismay. He wanted me to see it all.

Lupin and Pettigrew were in a fight, wands forgotten, beating the crap out of each other the muggle way.

I could finally make out Ginny moving towards what looked like a little lost boy at the edge of the forest. It was Tobias. The same one who’d attacked me and Trixy a week before.

Voldemort had managed to disarm Dumbledore and was gloating and advancing on the fragile old man.

And Harry was sobbing on Sirius’s shoulder.

It was wrong.

It should never have even been happening. You know, I’ve never believed in God of higher powers or destiny or fate. I’ve always thought that our life was ours and only ours to screw up. And we’d all done a bang up job of screwing things up.

I just couldn’t believe in God though, because that would mean that there was someone up there who actually unleashed an evil like Voldemort into the world. It would mean that we probably weren’t meant to win in the end. And even though I was expecting the big lose, that was something I just couldn’t deal with.

If God does exist, then I swear he has to be a deatheater, because if he was benign, this would never ever be happening. Thing’s wouldn’t be unraveling so quickly.

How long does it take for a life to fall apart?

Pettigrew had Lupin by the throat, his silver hand squeezing hard and he laughed manically as the life force drained from the werewolf’s body.

Ginny had tapped the Tobias on the shoulder and without a change in the boy’s expression, he whirled around, leveled his wand on her and promptly blew her away.

And Voldemort looked calmly down at Dumbledore who didn’t even resemble the strongest fighter for light anymore and he pointed his wand at the brittle old man. “Avada Kevdara.

This time, Fawks was not there to save him.

Sirius stole a glance at me before taking Harry’s tearstained face in his hands.

Harry’s watery eyes showed of nothing but trust.

It was twisted. It was like Harry couldn’t sense Sirius’s complete lack of emotion. Like he actually saw something when he looked into the older man’s eyes.

Abruptly Sirius gave a quick almost effortless flick of the wrist and Harry’s neck snapped.

My life started to unravel and spiral out of my control.

Harry fell to the ground as if in slow motion.

Silence crept over the field like a dark cloud over the bright and sunny day. For a second, everything was quiet, no spells criss-crossed the air, the birds stopped singing, there was no wind rustling the trees. I don’t know how but everyone knew what had just happened, the whole world maybe. There must have been a shift in the energies or something.

The resistance had collapsed.

And for a split second, the entire bloody world was in mourning. Scratch that, we were in shock. Heroes weren’t supposed to die. That wasn’t how the good stories went. But it wasn’t a story at all. In the real world, heroes can be killed just as easily as the rest of us.

And then Voldemort started to laugh.


Chapter 6- Blurring the Lines

I remember when laughter used to be a welcome thing. When I used to pray that Fred and George would pull some prank to give us some sort of relief from the world. Yes I remember when laughter was a release.

Voldemort changed that, corrupted what we had all used to crave.

His laughter through the silent field chilled me to the bone.

The laughter had everyone rooted to the spot.

Everybody, I noticed, except Neville, he was circling around back of Voldemort with a sense of purpose in his step.

But I’d never seen Neville look so scared, not when Snape glowered at him, not when we’d all rushed off to save Sirius, not when we’d seen Fluffy the three-headed dog over the trap door.

He was shaking violently, but he was a Gryffindor, he’d go through with whatever he had planned.

Knowing us Gryffindors, it was brave but foolhardy and incredibly likely to get you killed.

Neville put his hand into the inner pocket of his robes, reaching for what I assumed was his wand.

Only it wasn’t.

The object was small and dark gray fitting comfortably into Neville’s grip although Neville looked decidedly uncomfortable at the fact that he was holding it.

I vaguely remember the package he’d gotten that morning, the one he wouldn’t tell anyone about.

And I remembered Dean. “You really think we have a shot? Haven’t you heard. You-know-who can’t be killed by magic. An auror hit him with the killing curse last week ‘n’ he just stood there ‘n’ laughed. And I’ve heard tell that there’s this prophesy sayin’ that only Harry can knock him off. Now personally I think it’s rubbish and we’re all doomed but...”

Neville had a gun in his hand.

A wand-like device muggles use to kill each other.

Holy shit.

A gun.

Neville had a gun.

Voldemort’s laughter felt like it would never stop.

Harry’s dead body was mocking me and Sirius was nearly immobile having completed his task.

And Neville raised the gun and leveled it as I mentally cheered him on.

He pulled the trigger.

The crack of the gun was harsh, unnatural and incredibly loud. I wondered briefly what a muggle war would be like, crack of gunfire and explosives instead of the gentle hum of magic.

I wondered if any of us wizards would last a second in one of those wars.

And a single hole appeared between Voldemort’s blood red eyes and he collapsed like a puppet who’d had his strings cut.

Ironic huh? I mean he’d underestimated the muggles so much that he didn’t prepare for their weapons and that got him dead.

I guess nobody’s invincible.

Disbelief was so thick in the air, it was almost tangible. I very nearly started laughing myself, and I was almost expecting to hear cheers. Or something like that.

I crashed to the ground, the only one in the entire place who was moving.

What were they waiting for? There was a choice to be made here of course, there always was, but how hard could it be, they could surrender or they could fight. The war had been won.

Or had it?

The thought suddenly occurred to me that this couldn’t be over. Sure Voldemort was dead, but so were Harry and Dumbledore.

And as far as I can figure, that puts both sides on an even playing field, both leaders dead, the prophesy completely invalid.

This wasn’t over yet.

It would never be over, because there’s always been good and evil and there’d always be good and evil. This was just the battle of the extremes.

Sirius started to turn and face me and I dove at my wand grabbing it with my off hand, and concentrated on pouring all my power into it.

He’d killed Harry and deserved to pay. Before I could stop myself, I’d blasted his head clean off his shoulders.

The war started up behind me but now it was me that was frozen.

I’d never killed someone before, I’d disabled them, crippled them and knocked them out, sure, only I’d never actually killed someone before.

I think I might have crossed a line, blurred it at least. There was no purity in anything. As the war went on, the side of light darkened. You can’t win a war when you’re busy upholding morals, so the light darkens and changes and in the end you can’t even remember what innocence really is.

It’s stupid. The whole thing is stupid, I wish it would stop.

The war restarted behind me, Neville’s body disappearing under a heap of hostile spells.

Hermione was screaming like she could never stop.

I forced myself to go numb and reentered the fray.

Around me the war torn world continued to turn.

It would never be over.


Epilogue- Fairy Tale Endings

A year later the war's still going strong. We've started making steps in the right direction, the new ministry's half built, and the deatheaters are not gaining any more ground.

That only leaves the fact that the deatheaters are still all over muggle London and that people are still dying.

Hermione's in a mental institution. And pretty much everyone else is gone.

It's only me left.

Do you have any idea how lonely that it?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Tell me a story." Hermione demanded childishly. She looked so small in her bed. The doctors had told me that she would snap at random intervals, hexing everything in sight, but I'd never seen anything except the meek girl before me now.

I cleared my throat and with a ironic smile began:

"Once upon a time, there was a good prince called Harry Potter..."


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It was surprisingly easy to get into the Ministry of Magic. I mean I know it was just built, but damn, did they want spies all over the place or were they just too lazy to put up wards? Not powerful enough to?

They didn't even give out the visitors passes anymore. People could just walk on in here and kill whoever the hell they wanted.

Or in my case, steal whatever the hell I wanted.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"When Harry was only a baby, he somehow managed to defeat the evil lord Voldemort."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now before anyone goes and starts questioning my motives, I'm going to say that it took me a year to make myself do this. This world, to put it plainly, sucks.

So before you all go Hermione on me and start with this bullshit about changing the timeline, let me tell you that there is no possible way I could screw this up more.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Since the wicked Lord Voldemort had killed his parents, Harry was sent to live with his awful cousin in a land far far away…”

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Besides, I miss the good old days, back when Hermione was sane and Harry was alive and not constantly brooding. When I was still a spastic, goofy dork.

I couldn't ever have that dynamic back, but there was no particular reason why it shouldn't exist.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"When Harry turned eleven, he found out he was a wizard and he went to the castle Hogwarts to learn magic.

He found the first friends of his life and all seemed well in his world, but Lord Voldemort was far from dead, and eventually returned to make Harry pay."


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The twelfth floor of the new ministry was for dangerous magical items. Ones that could get people killed if they fell into the wrong hands.

I suppose that would probably include me as well. I have always been one of those rash impulsive individuals who could cause hell if they got their hands on a time-turner.

I would probably be in trouble if I even knew where one was.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"He lost everything." My voice had taken a bitter turn, "All for some stupid prophesy that was invalid in the end."

Hermione gazed at me with glassy eyes. "Stop."

But I couldn't stop. "When Harry finally confronted him he was killed. Not even by Voldemort. The bastard sunk lower than that. No, Harry was killed by a puppet with the face of his friend." Red-hot anger had swept over me.

"Don't," Hermione whispered brokenly.

"Don't what, 'Mione? Tell the truth? It happened and I don't block things out of my memory, I deal with them. I'm not like you! Reverting back to a time I felt safe."

"It's just a story," Hermione informed me, not understanding in the least. "'S'not real. Can't you just finish the story?"

I turned away, face burning and walked towards to door…

"Ron?"

I stopped for just a second in the doorway and whispered, "There was no fairy tale ending."

I left Hermione in tears


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I picked up the time turner and slipped the chain around my neck, wincing as alarms began to blare in my ears. I would be arrested for this if I was caught. They'd say that we shouldn't undo anything. That since Voldemort was dead it would all be OK.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And once upon a time Harry's best friend decided to change it.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For only a split second I wondered if it was worth it. If maybe they were right. Maybe I'd screw things up even worse. Maybe there was a good reason for not messing around with time.

But the field of bodies, and all the lives wasted in the war resurfaced. I practically had the scene burned into my eyelids.

So, ignoring the wards, I deftly moved the setting on the hourglass from hours past days and months before settling it on years.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

He'd do what it took to rewrite the story.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The door burst open again with several panicked ministry officials looking around for the transgressor. I had about ten seconds before they found me.

I started to turn the hourglass.

There was a cry as they spotted me, but it was too late. There was a curious spinning sensation in my stomach and suddenly it dawned on me that I was going to make it, I could fix it all.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Because Ron wanted his 'happily ever after'


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Well that’s the end. Any feedback would be great

(no subject)

7/1/07 23:36 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ohrebelme.livejournal.com
Woah. I just don't know what to say. Well written, subtle and in your face at the same time. Just woah. Great job.

(no subject)

18/1/07 23:30 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
Woah! Someone reading a fic *this* old... Glad you could see past the grammar mistakes enough to get the whole story. Thanks for reading.