DISCLAIMER: All belongs to JKR not me.


They move like ghosts through the shattered ruins, stopping here to feel for a pulse, there to peer at a face hoping that it is not someone they cared for. They place them together in the Hall, then go looking for more, praying that they can gather the injured before the hour is up. Sadly they far more often find only the dead.

Colin Creevey, sixth year, sixteen, kissed a girl for the first time only two weeks ago. Far too young to be fighting, to be dead. Wordlessly, Neville and Oliver scoop the body up between them, both refusing to look at the innocent face, so peaceful in death. They leave behind the two black-robed bodies that the youth felled before finally being overcome. His brave charge saved five lives at the cost of his own.

Katie Bell, identified only by the charm bracelet wrapped around her wrist and the few wisps of wheat-gold hair that are not stained sticky crimson. Beside her, her former Captain heaves up the contents of his stomach at the sight of her face, or rather the lack of it.

Theodore Nott. Neville is surprised to see the Slytherin's sprawled body decorating the floor. Beside him lies Morag MacDougal, and even more surprisingly his fingers find a pulse. Seconds later she is telling him between sobs about how the boy so greatly disliked for participating in the Carrows' torments had thrown himself in the way of a killing curse aimed for her. Neville slings him over one shoulder, and steadies Morag with the other arm as they make their way back to the temporary safety of the Great Hall.

Wayne Hopkins, posed grotesquely, turned inside out and left to die in agony. Lisa Turpin, her head nearly severed from her body, one side of which is still singed and smouldering. Parvati Patil, as beautiful in death as in life, the lack of damage indicating a merciful Avada and a swift painless end. Michael Corner, Terry Boot, the pair surrounded by fallen foes, eventually outnumbered and destroyed. Vicky Frobisher, Kiernan McLaggen, Andrew Spinnett, three young Gryffindors allowed to stay only by weeks of age. Their undersized bodies added to the line growing far too long between the tables.

The glory of war.

And yet they prepare to fight on, knowing that they may soon be joining those that they gather. What cost for righteousness?

Fifty-three lives.


A/N: There is a deliberate attempt to make the story seem detached. Not sure if it works, but it was intentional