Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter NOR any of his friends NEITHER any of his enemies. It's hard to admit, but when I'm done with them all, I have to return them to Joanne K. Rowling in an original wrapping and unharmed.
I make no money, I mean no harm.
The Tiny Sparkle of Light
Rebecca stepped closer to the wall, pressing her back to the cold surface. She took a few deep breaths to calm herself down.
She couldn't go back - the man might wake up any moment and she really, really didn't want to meet his wrath. But she couldn't just stay here. When found, she may be given just seconds to persuade the Death Eater in question she had had to leave the room.
She realised there was something in her sleeve. It was the fake wand. She slipped it further up.
It would be best, she decided, to be found by Voldemort himself. He would seek the answer in her mind and he would trust what he would find there. All she had to do...
She heard something echoing from behind a door nearby. Creeping closer, she peeked into what seemed to be a vast hall, illuminated by floating torches. Whoever was moving inside remained hidden in the shadows. No - there! She could see a faint silhouette pass between two pillars and when she tried really hard, she could make out a human figure operating in the shadows. She couldn't tell who it was, but by the clothing she could guess who it was not.
It was not a Death Eater.
She slipped into the hall and edged around the bookshelves covering the wall, half-hidden behind the row of pillars that supported a gallery running around three of the walls. The last wall held only a small balcony, reminding Rebecca of a pulpit she had seen in a Muggle Studies textbook ages ago (this March, it was only this March). Someone emerged from a door in the back of the balcony, a person in black robes, and started descending the stairs. Rebecca glanced across the hall. The non-death-eater figure there was leaning to a pillar, discussing something with two another non-death-eater figures, one of which sported flaming red hair.
That Harry Potter boy had a red-haired friend, hadn't he? And they always stuck to a Muggleborn girl.
Bets on who it was, hiding in the shadows in the middle of Voldemort's lair?
The trio was unaware of the Dark Lord approaching the middle of the hall, from where they could be spotted quite easily. Rebecca couldn't warn them, but there was one thing she could do and she made up her mind immediately.
She crept back to the door and sprung herself out of the cover, panting. She ran straight to Voldemort and threw herself around his neck, clutching at his robes and sobbing hysterically the best she managed. Nausea threatened to take over, but luckily that went with emotions she was trying to fake, and the closiness of a man she strongly disliked helped her rouse the memories of Warden Macnair breaking into her personal space.
When she raised her head to meet Voldemort's eyes, she caught the last traces of his surprise, quickly replaced by cold, simmering anger.
"He will be punished for that," Voldemort hissed, as his hands closed on Rebecca's shoulders. One last shiver ran down her body, and she stepped back and tried to look ashamed by her breakdown, nodding.
"After I've dealt with Potter," he added malevolently. So he knew about them - must have come here already knowing. "Stay in the back."
Very shortly, Rebecca wondered whether he believed her to be so helpless as to be unable to cause him any trouble, or whether he believed her to be his ally. In the end, it didn't matter - there wasn't much she could do, anyway.
"Potter! Come out and meet me like a man!"
"I would, if you were a man," came a loud reply. Rebecca glanced across the hall. The trio had emerged from their cover among the pillars, all holding their wands ready. Harry Potter stood in the middle, and if Rebecca remembered him correctly, he had matured over the summer - not physically, but when she looked him in the eye, she could see something definitely adult in there.
"You are a fool to have come here, Potter," Voldemort drawled while drawing his own wand. "AVADA KEDAVRA!" he shouted.
So many things happened at once that Rebecca needed five seconds to take them all in.
One, instead of emitting a green beam of light, Voldemort's wand changed into a swirling and hissing snake, and with a curse, Voldemort let it fall to the ground.
Second, Harry Potter shouted something, and his voice went two octaves up in the middle of the incantation, and two octaves back down before he finished it, and it was all Rebecca could ever remember of it.
Three, a tall figure rushed out of the shadows and in the way of the Killing Curse that had never emerged from Voldemort's wand, the man's face set and his eyes hard and determined, and he got there in time - or would have gotten there in time, if...
Four, Rebecca's concentration broke, and the heavy door she had been levitating from their place on the back of the balcony over Voldemort's head fell to the floor with a loud crash.
Five, Severus fell to his knees with a look of surprise as a trickle of blood appeared in the left corner of his mouth, and Rebecca started screaming and ran to him, her muted scream turning into a real one before she took him in her arms.
"He's dead," the read-headed boy said, astonished. He waved his hand in the general direction of the door that had happened to land on Voldemort's head. "I thought Harry..."
"Shut up, Ron," the Muggleborn girl interrupted him, and with a nervous glance towards Potter, she knelt beside Rebecca and Severus. She waved her wand and stuttered an incantation.
Rebecca couldn't tell whether the spell managed to stop the flow of the blood she could feel running through her fingers and pooling about her knees. All she saw was Severus' face and his eyes that fluttered open and the faint smile that curved his lips. All she could do was to lean forward to catch the word those lips were forming.
"Rebecca..." As the Muggleborn girl continued to cast one healing spell after another, Rebecca kissed the dear lips, feeling with cold certainty their warmth fleeing with the last breath that had been her name.
"Hermione," Harry Potter said after an eternity. He sounded tired and meek and gentle. Rebecca rose her head.
The other girl - Hermione - started sobbing hysterically, and Rebecca, void of tears, void of anything, stared at the saviour of the wizarding world, who had... who had just...
"I didn't want to," he whispered, as if he could hear her thoughts - which he couldn't. "I didn't. Not anymore." And before she could get angry over the implication that he had wanted to kill him once, he added, "Your mother gave us the memory. I wanted to talk to him. This is..." He waved his hand and looked away. "This turned out so wrong..."
How long they were sitting there like this, Rebecca didn't know. In the end, the red-haired wizard - Ron - went to peek into the corridor and returned with a ghastly white face.
"We have to go. I mean, now. They know something's happened. They're coming here." Hermione jumped to her feet. Her eyes were red and puffy and her hands shook.
Rebecca held Severus' body. She didn't want to leave him here. Not even now.
Not even dead.
"You can't stay here," Hermione leaned towards her. "He..." She stopped short under Rebecca's gaze. "You can't," she insisted. Rebecca closed her eyes.
But she couldn't stay, not really, and she knew it. Voldemort's wand - the one she had fished out of his pocket and replaced it with the fake wand while pretending to be panicked and frightened beyond belief - slipped into her palm. She conjured a stretch.
Her own voice, while speaking the incantation, sounded strange to her.
"We can't go through that narrow tunnel with a stretch," Ron said.
"We'll manage somehow," Harry offered. "It's a long way to the entrance and..."
"I'll make a portkey," Rebecca pronounced hollowly. And without waiting for their approval, she cast the spell on Severus' robes and laid a hand on his unmoving chest. "Five seconds. Four, three..." The trio hastened to catch a piece of fabric. They could hear the door opening, just before they felt tugs at their navels and the world whirled away.
Personally, Rebecca hoped it would never whirl back.
The darkness was complete with the only exception of a thin line of light coming under the door from the kitchen. Rebecca was lying on her bed, fully clothed. She didn't feel like undressing or getting under the blanket.
She felt empty and cheated.
Soft sounds from the kitchen indicated what Rebecca's mother was doing: filling the kettle, warming up the cups, making tea. Rebecca closed her eyes. Slowly, her right hand started rubbing her stomach, and in between the comforting strokes, she felt the truth.
A smile enlightened her features. The fate had played a nasty trick on her, granting her a taste of her wish and then making it impossible. But there was always a thin, tiny sparkle of light in the darkness, there was always some life to live, there was always some hope to keep. The darkness was never complete. The fate could never win.
"Checkmate," she whispered. "Checkmate, you bitch."
A/N: I have just (17th February) finished sweeping the story and I'm astonished at seeing how many faults, typos and even factual errors you, my dear readers, let go without a comment! I've corrected all I've tracked down. Please be so nice and if you find some wild word I missed, let me know. There's this little review button, see? ;)