A/N: Why hello there everyone. It's me, Epochs, having finally returned from the void which was my final year of high school. Now that I am officially free, I am pleased to announce that I am rejoining this lovely online community, with a rewrite of my story Rebound, which—in its previous iteration—consisted of about twelve chapters. I have decided to rewrite it due to a number of issues I took with the original in regards to writing quality, plot, and character development, and I hope those who followed it will understand why I've chosen now to start anew.
This version will be much better, in my humble opinion, and I am excited to share with you. To the readers of Rebound, differences might not be overtly apparent in this first chapter—beyond, hopefully, general improvement of writing quality—but I promise they will soon be starkly clear. To my new readers—welcome to the first chapter of (trumpet noises) Rewritten!
(PS: Please remember to review to let me know what you think!)
Chapter One: Afraid
"The day you lose someone isn't the worst,
at least you've got something to do, it's all
the days they stay dead."
- Steven Moffat
The Battle of Hogwarts
Amelia Hobday was not afraid.
She stood, fixed, in the center of a wrecked hallway, while magical creatures and beasts of all types battled feverishly around her, hexes mingling and crossing in such a way that made it impossible to tell who fought for the Light and who for the Dark. A misdirected curse whizzed past her ear, crackling an eerie green glow; it was the Killing Curse, she knew, but she didn't even flinch.
Amelia Hobday was not afraid, but she bloody well should have been.
Instead she felt altogether empty, a biting coldness seeping into even the most well-guarded parts of her spirit, her soul, as she stared blankly at a speck on the dusty gray flagstones, standing out only because it was a bright, sickening shade of red.
How, she wondered, could she feel anything but vacant when staring at a pool of her dead boyfriend's blood?
Fred Weasley had been murdered, and Amelia was quite certain she'd never feel anything ever again, least of all fear.
Amelia whirled around on her heel, holding her wand out towards the intruding voice with haphazard abandonment. A pair of pale green eyes not unlike her own stared back at her, worried, and her arm limply fell back to her side.
"I'm sorry," she croaked, wincing at how broken her voice sounded. "I didn't recognize you."
"It's quite alright," Lupin assured her, fiddling nervously with his wand as he surveyed the corridor, making sure that no one was preparing to attack them at the moment; something Amelia should have been doing the entire time. "I simply saw you alone and was wondering what happened to—"
"They killed Fred," she told him bluntly, her voice hitching on his name. Lupin, despite his usual level-headed demeanor, let out a strangled, choked noise of shock. Running her fingers absent-mindedly over a silver bracelet on her left wrist, she explained further. "A wall blew up," she mumbled to the werewolf, whose eyes had glazed over with a soft mistiness. "We went flying back, we all were screaming and shouting and crying, except for…except for him."
She bit her bottom lip, barring herself from continuing. Amelia refused to lose herself now, not when they were still in the middle of a war. There was no time for feeling right now.
"I'm sorry," Lupin said honestly, his warm hand finding her shoulder and dragging her into a suffocating embrace. Amelia felt her body quake as she fought back a breakdown—now is not the time, she chastised herself, you're better than this, Hobday—as he continued: "I know he cared for you very much, and I'm sure that had he been able he would have—"
An anguished scream halted Lupin mid-speech.
Amelia jumped back from him as her pulse skyrocketed, spinning around just in time to see Hermione Granger crumple at the feet of Antonin Dolohov. The Death Eater had a look of sadistic triumph on his face as he raised his wand to strike her again, and—before she could process what she was doing—Amelia found herself racing towards him.
"Bombarda!" she shouted, moving with the recklessness of the Gryffindor she was not. The blast erupted at Dolohov's feet, and the Death Eater yelped as the spell threw him back towards the ground, far enough that he could do no further damage to Hermione.
"Hang on, Hermione!" Amelia yelled to her classmate, beginning to chase down Dolohov and finish what she started. Adrenaline was coursing through her body at the thought of avenging Fred; even though Dolohov hadn't been the one to kill him, he'd make a fine substitute for now.
Before she could make it far, however, a hand clamped down tightly on her bicep and halted her in her tracks. She craned her head back to meet the stern eyes of Lupin, which smoldered with a quiet determination that made him look as immovable as a boulder did to a Muggle.
"Let go, Lupin!" she demanded, tugging her arm from his steel grip. Already Dolohov was beginning to stir, and if she didn't finish him off soon he'd be sure to—
"You get Hermione out of here," he ordered, his tone carrying an authority to it she'd never even heard when he was her professor. "I'll take care of Dolohov, don't worry."
Amelia scoffed. "Not bloody likely! You take Granger. I'm the one who instigated this, and I'm sure as Merlin going to be the one to end it."
Lupin sighed, peering at her strangely, as he firmly shook his head.
"We need you alive," he said matter-o-factly, and before she could protest any further, he raced after Dolohov himself.
She swallowed nervously as Dolohov climbed back onto his feet, immediately beginning to fling curses at Lupin. As much as she'd hate to admit it; Lupin was at a distinct disadvantage as he had clearly been battered from previous fights. All Dolohov had to do was land one nasty curse, and that would…
She shook her head of her dark thoughts and turned to Hermione. Amelia knelt down beside her and a morbid sense of dread immediately filled her stomach. She already looked dead.
"Oh, it's you," Hermione coughed, her bloodstained lips parting into a scarlet smile as Amelia dragged her to her feet. "I knew you'd be coming for me soon."
Amelia did her best to ignore the other witch's rambling, combing the space for somewhere secure to take her. If she could hide Hermione well enough, she might have enough time to go and help Lupin with his battle; he couldn't lose, not when it wasn't even his fight in the first place.
She found a safe space behind a half-crumbled statue of Salazar Slytherin, and Amelia began the task of slowly steering Hermione towards it. Hermione had a debilitating limp and was staining Amelia's once-crisp white shirt red with her bloody coughs, but to her credit, she didn't once complain or ask Amelia to slow down for her.
"You haven't seen Harry or Ron, have you?"
A coldness settled in Amelia's stomach as she slowly shook her head.
"I'm sorry, Hermione," she muttered, wincing at the way Hermione's hopeful expression fell apart at her words. "I've been here since…since Fred…"
Don't! Amelia screeched inside her head, self-loathing prickling all over her skin. Don't think about him now.
Hermione's ragged features crinkled with grief as she let out a mournful sob which soon degraded into another coughing fit.
"I still can't believe…Fred," Hermione whispered, shaking her head vigorously. "If there was anyone I'd thought would live forever…"
Amelia fought down the urge to scream in frustration, knowing just how right Hermione was. Fred had an unmatchable talent for making everyone around him feel invincible. And now without him, what was she? Small. Insignificant. A trembling little girl who was fooling herself by playing soldier and—
Hermione groaned, jolting Amelia from her downward spiral as she forced her attention onto the witch laying before her.
"Where were you hit?" she asked, scanning Hermione's body for any injuries that could be life-threatening. "I don't see anything too bad."
When Hermione bit her lip and let her eyes stare off into the distance, Amelia slowly began to realize what had happened.
"It was a curse," Hermione sighed, a little frown on her face, "You can't do anything for me, I'm afraid."
Helplessness was an awful feeling. Amelia's limbs transfigured into stone blocks and her head suddenly filled with cotton as Hermione shuddered and moaned in unimaginable pain that Amelia couldn't lessen. Dozens of curses flashed through her mind, but she couldn't think of any that would cause this—this destruction from the inside out.
"Finite," she whispered in a last-ditch attempt, her wand shaking in her hand as she pointed it at Hermione. Nothing happened. Amelia swore under her breath, shouting louder, "Finite!"
Images of Fred's body—stiff and unmoving, his lips frozen upwards into an eerie smile and his beautiful chocolate eyes glazed over into a dull, muddy brown–filled her mind, and Amelia felt some of her resolve turn to her. She couldn't let that happen to Hermione, she just couldn't.
"Hermione, there must be—"
Hermione gasped and began to flop around abruptly, her limbs swinging in all directions like a mermaid stranded on the Black Lake's shore. Amelia panicked and tried to pin her down, thinking Hermione was having some sort of seizure, but the Gryffindor slapped her hands away and began to blather through speedy puffs of breath.
"My bag," Hermione hissed, her eyes glowing with urgency. "I can't believe I forg—I need my bag!"
Amelia cast a glance around the immediate area, and spotted a small purple piece of fabric a little ways off. She quickly scrambled to grab it and showed it to Hermione.
"This bag?" she asked.
Hermione nodded, the prologue to a smile forming on her lips.
"What am I looking for?" she questioned flatly, her jaw dropping as she opened the pouch. Hermione had clearly cast an Undetectable Extension Charm on the thing; the volume of objects inside was bloody mental.
Hermione grinned crookedly, blood now freely seeping from between her teeth. "Books."
Amelia blinked. "Hermione, I hate to say this, but I don't think this is the best time to start studying for your NEWTS." Her joke was dull and devoid of any humor.
Hermione still tried to laugh, but she started gagging on her blood and stopped.
"Notebooks," she clarified, eying Amelia as if she expected that to ease her confusion, but the Ravenclaw simply stared dumbly at her. "They chronicle every day since I started Hogwarts—everything I know is inside of them."
Amelia nodded, realizing what Hermione was getting at: she wanted her to share the notebooks so that she wouldn't be forgotten. She patted the bag awkwardly, a silent promise that she'd do so, and Hermione smiled a little again, albeit much weaker this time.
"Read them," Hermione urged, pinching Amelia's forearm as hard as she could muster. Amelia stared, transfixed by the action. Hermione's fingers were so small, so dainty. Had she always been this little? The other witch had always been like a giant to Amelia, but suddenly…
Hermione's eyes fluttered shut and Amelia gasped. "Hermione Granger, don't you dare!"
"You'll fix everything, Amelia. I know you will…" Hermione sighed, her voice nothing more than a whistle riding the air around her. Her body went completely still then, an odd little grin still plastered on her lips.
Amelia clutched the handbag tightly and began to quake.
She was afraid.
One Week Later
"His funeral was six days ago, Amelia," Andrew Hobday attempted to reason with his twin, his voice muffled slightly by the door separating them. "I'm so sorry—we're all sorry—but you have to come out of your room eventually. You need to start moving on."
He started to pound on her door as the familiar sting of tears tickled the corners of Amelia's eyes, though she refused to let them fall. She hadn't cried since the end of the Battle, when she had to be the one to tell George what happened to his twin. They'd spent the entire night crying, then, clutching onto each other and sobbing through to the dawn.
Fred Weasley, the wizard she had loved more than anyone else in the world, was still dead. This wasn't one of his awful pranks, nor had she mistaken another wizard for him. It was horribly, frighteningly real, and no amount of crying would ever change that. So she stopped.
Admittedly, locking herself in her bedroom hadn't been her brightest plan. When she first walked in she immediately found herself facing a picture of them together, laughing and throwing snowballs at each other in the winter months of her fifth year.
That photograph had long since been shoved deep within her closet, alongside an oversized Gryffindor jumper that she would wear to the Quidditch matches where Ravenclaw wasn't playing.
"The Longbottoms are coming over soon," Andrew pressed on, and Amelia nearly snapped at him—what a doltish announcement. Neville and Augusta, family friends, had come over for dinner every Sunday night since she was in diapers, of course they'd be coming tonight. "Maybe you should try talking to Neville. He's going through the same things you are."
Like hell he was. Neville didn't have to watch Hermione die—Amelia did. The beaded bag stuffed into the pullover was proof of that. No one else had to see what she saw. They didn't see Lavender Brown get her throat ripped out. They didn't watch their boyfriend get crushed by a wall. And they certainly didn't see the dead body of Remus Lupin, wrecked and crumpled, all because Amelia involved him in a fight he shouldn't have been in.
No one knew, and anyone who said they did was a liar.
"Alohomora!" The door swung open and Andrew burst in with a worried expression on his face. "You know, if you don't answer me, I'm going to bloody well assume you're dead! Honestly! I think that—" he cut himself off, his eyebrows raising at the image of Amelia sequestered in the center of her bed, cocooned in a thick wall of quilts with her normally straight mousy hair sticking out at unnatural angles – "Mother of Merlin, were you maimed by a hippogriff or something?"
For a Slytherin, Andrew was the most tactless bloke that Amelia knew.
"It can't be that bad," she said sharply, untangling herself from the blankets. "Don't be a git about it."
"I only tell the truth," he said, smirking slightly before turning serious. "Uncle Amos is coming over tomorrow, you know, and I think that you should talk to him too—"
"No." Amelia couldn't help but wonder if Andrew had suddenly gone barmy. "All he ever talks about is Ced, and I'm not in the mood to reopen that bag of worms, especially not right now."
"I'm sure Cedric would love being referred to as a bag of worms," Andrew mused, a melancholy smile on his face as he motioned for her to make room for him on the bed. She moved over hesitantly, warning bells buzzing in her head. "It'd be up there with that time you called him overcooked beef jerky after that dragon burnt half his face off."
Amelia flinched, feeling as though she had been slapped at her brother's insensitive reminder.
"Don't talk about the Tournament to me," she snapped, "It's still too soon, and after everything that's happened—"
"This is what I'm talking about," he said firmly, shaking her shoulder as though he expected the motion to change her mind. "It's been four years, love, and you're still acting like it happened an hour ago. Everyone is sick of walking on eggshells around you; you've had enough time to accept it…why can't you just let it go?"
His voice was tired and defeated; it was the voice of a wizard who had started and lost this specific argument one too many times.
"Andrew, Amelia, dinner is ready!"
Amelia wasted no time in pulling away from Andrew and standing up, grabbing her wand off of her dresser and striding from the room without another word. She could hear his sigh behind her, followed by the sound of her bed creaking as he stood up. He was upset, that was for sure, and she knew this conversation was far from over.
It wasn't that she didn't want to let it go. Godric, she knew how much easier her life would be if she could. But Cedric's death had just felt wrong. She could never jettison the feeling that he shouldn't have died in that maze, though she wasn't quite sure why.
The dining room smelt like mashed potatoes and fresh bread, and her stomach groaned anxiously. She slid into a chair beside her father, who had his nose buried in a copy of The Daily Prophet. Amelia glanced over the cover page, her eyes skimming an article about how the Ministry was working to recover dangerous magical artifacts from Death Eater bases across Europe.
"Are you quoted in there?" she asked casually, scooping a heaping serving of potatoes onto her plate.
Her father, Oakden Hobday, was an Unspeakable who specialized in Time. He'd been almost as busy as she had been during the war, protecting all time-related artefacts from falling into the hands of Voldemort.
He lowered his newspaper with a flourish, scanning his daughter's ashen face with all the subtlety of a toddler playing spy.
"You've left your room," he noted, and Amelia rolled her eyes.
"Another brilliant observation from the resident family genius," she scoffed through a mouthful of potatoes, suppressing a moan at the buttery taste; it had been far too long since she had eaten real food.
"You know, sarcasm is quite unbecoming in young ladies," he scolded in a mocking posh accent, sticking his nose up in a way that forcibly reminded her of Draco Malfoy. "We'll never marry you off with that attitude."
The smirk that had been playing on her lips fell when her mind morbidly thought of another reason she would never get married.
"I'll keep that in mind," she said flatly, poking at her potatoes with her fork. "When are the Longbottoms getting here?"
Someone cleared their throat behind her.
Amelia whirled around at the unexpected sound and leapt to her feet, having to physically restrain herself from cursing the person for sneaking up on her. Her chest thumped and she immediately flushed, her hands clenching into fists as she blinked at Neville Longbottom. He stared back at her, his eyes understanding.
"Hi, Amelia," he said awkwardly, taking a hesitant step into the dining room. "You doing alright?" She cocked an eyebrow at the stupid question, and Neville's face reddened. "I mean, considering…well, considering everything."
"Oh, Neville, lovely to see you dear!" trilled Amelia's mother, Claire Hobday, as she strode into the room with a pan of roast chicken held tightly between two oven mitts. "But where's Augusta? She isn't ill, is she?" she asked concernedly, placing the chicken down carefully in the middle of the table, only for it to instantly be seized by Andrew's greedy hands.
"No, she's fine," Neville said quickly, shaking his head as Amelia sat back down. "She's stuck at the Wizengamot until nine—you know, with the trials and all—but I figured that I should still come, if that's alright…"
"Of course," Claire said, waving her hand dismissively. "In fact, I'm glad that you did; I think that Amelia wanted to speak with you about something."
Amelia's head shot up from her plate. "I do?" she asked, her voice muffled by a bread roll.
All three of her immediate family members gave her an identical, stern look.
Right. Talk to Neville about my feelings, she mentally sighed. Exactly how I want to spend my Sunday night.
"I guess I do," she said bitterly, shoving another spoonful of potatoes into her mouth to hold herself over before dragging Neville into the living room. He followed her without hesitation, like a placating puppy, eager to please. He bore no resemblance to the man who had directly challenged Voldemort only a few days ago, and Amelia couldn't help but find that oddly comforting.
The room they walked into practically bled green and silver, with Slytherin memorabilia shoved onto every conceivable surface that the Hobdays were able to find. There was only one disruption to the color scheme, which came in the form of a small Ravenclaw Quidditch banner that hung half-hidden behind a bookcase. Her parents had reluctantly put it up after she had been made captain, and Andrew complained about it every chance he got.
Amelia haphazardly tossed herself onto one of the plush leather armchairs, sinking into the seat as she motioned for Neville to do the same. He hovered gracelessly in the middle of the room, his arms pressed tightly into his sides, before going to sit on the edge of another couch. She smirked despite herself as he crossed legs and tucked his hands neatly on his lap.
Neville looked at her expectantly. "What did you want to talk to me about, then?"
Her smirk fell. "Oh, uh – " she realized she had no desire to tell Neville anything about her actual feelings, and scrambled to come up with something else to say – "How was...er...how was Lavender's funeral?" she blurted out, jerkily sitting up in her seat. She wasn't even sure if the funeral had been today.
"It was alright," Neville sighed, twiddling with his thumbs, "Standard, honestly. Did you know that Lavender was my cousin? Mum's side, obviously, but I never thought to try and get to know her better…" He smiled at her ruefully and shook her head. "You'd understand the feeling, wouldn't you? How was it for you when Cedric—"
Amelia sighed deeply out of her nose, forcing any and all emotions to stay dormant when Neville stopped, gazing at her inquisitively.
"Don't mention him," she mumbled, her fingers subconsciously brushing the silver charm on her bracelet. "We don't talk about him in this house."
Neville turned red again, looking regrettable, but Amelia couldn't help but notice the curiosity ablaze in his eyes.
"I'm sorry," he said solemnly. "I didn't realize that you two were that close."
Amelia laughed humorlessly.
"Not many people did," she admitted, her voice sounding much more vulnerable than she would have preferred. She would have to work on that sort of thing. "He wasn't just my cousin. He was my best friend, too."
Her voice faltered just a smidge, but Neville didn't seem to notice, or at least gave no indication that he did.
Instead, he eyed her with pity, and she suddenly wanted to curse him off of the couch. She didn't want his pity—she didn't want anyone's pity—she just wanted Cedric and Fred and Lupin and everyone else back, alive.
"I understand...and Fred took his place, didn't he—"
"Don't," she snapped, her voice a little more than a growl. "Don't say that. Fred wasn't some bloody replacement for Ced, he is—was—his own person, and I…" Amelia stopped herself, the three words she and Fred used to exchange so freely dying on her tongue.
I loved him, she finished silently, once again feeling the sharp prick of tears in the corners of her eyes. I love him.
"I didn't mean to imply anything, I just—"
A loud bang exploded in the kitchen, shaking the walls of the house. A ceramic broom figurine feel from a bookcase, shattering on the floor, but Amelia didn't notice. The sound of her mother screaming filled her ears, and she exchanged a quick look with Neville before they flew from their seats with wands in hand.
Amelia froze in the kitchen doorframe with Neville coming up just behind her, and a strangled sob broke free from the bottom of her throat.
The back wall of the room had been blasted away, and a man with a wild look in his eyes stood over the bloodied form of Claire Hobday, his wand pressed firmly into a petrified Andrew's skull. His faded Dark Mark was displayed proudly on his left arm, and Amelia's head spun when she recognized the man's face.
"Oh, who do we have here?" bellowed Dolohov, a smile lurking in the corner of his mouth as he took in the sight of the two Hogwarts students. "Mister Longbottom! A pleasure, certainly—I can see from your face that you thought you and that Weasley boy had killed me, didn't you?" He let out a bone-chilling laugh. "I'm afraid I'm still here, my boy."
Five more cloaked figures Apparated into the kitchen, all drawing their wands on the Hobdays and Neville. Amelia could vaguely recognize some of them, and felt dread pool in her stomach. They were all terribly dangerous, that was certain. Even with herself, Oakden and Neville able to fight, they were outnumbered and lacked the recklessness of people with nothing left to lose.
"What do you want, you bastards?" demanded Oakden, tears streaming shamelessly down his face as he stared at the unmoving form of his wife, his wand trembling in his fingers. "The war is over—you lost."
Dolohov chuckled. "For now."
The words seemed to have an effect on Oakden, as he glanced over towards a counter to the left of Amelia and Neville. She followed his gaze, and noticed a plain-wrapped package sitting amongst his personal effects, appearing no larger than a ring-box and seeming altogether quite inconspicuous.
A realization hit her as she remembered the article in The Daily Prophet, and she lashed out a hand and grabbed the box, holding it out tauntingly to the Death Eaters. "This is yours, I presume?" she asked innocently, shaking the package gingerly in her hand.
"Give that to me, girl," spat Dolohov, jabbing a thumb in her direction, and the other four intruders trained their wands on her, "And I'll consider letting you walk out of here."
"Let go of my brother first," she demanded, her voice unwavering, she had nothing going for her right now except confidence, and she refused to let it falter.
"Now why," Dolohov hissed, pressing his wand more firmly into Andrew's hair, "would I want to do that?"
"Because I'm willing to bet this is worth much more to you intact than destroyed."
Dolohov stood up straighter, his dark eyes glowing with something caught between fury and surprise. "You wouldn't dare."
"Try me," she declared, sounding much more brave than she felt as she threw the package onto the ground, her foot hanging over it threateningly. "You lot are hardly the scariest thing I've faced this week."
Something akin to amusement twitched in his features, and Amelia developed the creeping suspicion that he had finally recognized her.
"Oh, yes," he grinned viciously, "You're the little bint who abandoned that old werewolf, aren't you?"
Amelia faltered, her mouth going dry. "What? No, he was—"
"Crucio!" shouted one of the men, and Amelia yelped as her father jumped in front of her, stopping the attack from hitting her.
"Dad!" Amelia screeched, her eyes widening in horror as horrible, unnatural screams tore themselves from his throat. She felt Neville latch himself onto her wrist, his hand shaking uncontrollably as he watched the Torture Curse in action.
"Destroy the box!" Oakden yelled, his body convulsing on the tiles. "Now, Amelia—NOW!"
Amelia panicked and slammed her foot down onto the package, something brittle crunching beneath it as the magical wrapping paper dissolved into a puff of smoke. She looked down to see what she had destroyed, and her eyes widened at the sight of golden dust covering her slippers.
Neville tensed beside her. "Is that a—"
Amelia never got to hear the rest of his question, because she felt a sharp tug at her navel, and suddenly she was hurtling through time, far away from the end of one war, and directly into the middle of another.