I'M ALIVE! I finally updated! And may I just say, I do not deserve such loyal readers as you. I appreciate you all very much! Enjoy!
Harry and Arra kept running. Arra's heart felt like it might burst out of her chest from fear. Her muscles screamed at the pain she was putting them through by sprinting nonstop, but she pushed through, not caring about the ache, but only about her friends.
They skidded to a halt in a clearing, their former path suddenly blocked by a fallen tree, "Where are they?!" Arra screamed, clinging to Harry's hand, afraid that if she let him go, he might disappear too.
"Come on! This way!" Harry yelled, charging to the right and towards a shower of sparks he had seen fire out above the tree tops.
He ran with his wand lighting their way in his right hand, his left hand strong in Arra's as they continued through the forest. Arra held her wand aloft in her left hand, a curse ready on her tongue in case someone tried to attack them from behind.
The two of them slowly came to a tip toe as they neared the sight of the sparks and the screaming. Harry removed his hand from Arra's and used his arm to push her behind his own body, "Stay behind me," he muttered.
"Harry—" Arra started.
He whipped his head around to face her, "Arra," he said, his eyes filled with worry, "I need to make sure you're safe."
She frowned a bit, "I can take care of myself," she whispered.
He sighed, "I know you can, but right now I don't care if you can beat Dumbledore at every duel you challenge him too. Just stay behind me, okay? Please?"
She grabbed his hand again and moved her body behind his own, pressing herself against his back. She breathed in deeply, taking in his scent for possibly the last time. Letting her breath out she said, "Okay, let's go."
He started walking again, taking their steps carefully and quietly, waiting to either find Hermione and Ron, or for the attacker to reveal themselves.
"Shh, do you hear that?" Arra asked suddenly, her ears picking up a sound just around the corner. A worried voice muttering and another crying filled her ears.
"Hear what?" Harry whispered.
Arra let go of Harry's hand and sprinted around the corner, her wand ready to attack.
"Arra!" Harry yelled, taking off after her. "What did I just say about—oof!"
Harry had the breath knocked out of him as he ran into a completely halted Arra, in the middle of the clearing.
In front of them was a worried Ron, searching frantically on the ground for something. Sitting in a ball on the ground of the forest floor was a sobbing and scared Hermione. And over to the right of both of them, was a large black lump.
Arra frowned at it and slowly approached it.
"What happened?" Harry asked.
"He attacked us and I lost my wand," Ron muttered, shuffling through the leaves on the ground, "I can't find it now!"
Harry frowned and looked at Hermione for a more elaborate explanation. In response, she opened her mouth to talk, but just sobbed again.
"Will someone tell me what happened?!" Harry asked again, exasperated.
Arra bent down to the large black lump on the ground, examining it. "Harry?" She said, and he came up behind her. Tentatively, she reached out a hand to move the large mass. In response to her small shove, it turned over.
"Fuck!" Arra gasped and jumped back, wiping her hands on her robes.
Staring up at her was a freshly dead body.
"Is that…?" Arra asked.
"Barty Crouch," Harry said, putting his hand on Arra's back. "Are you alright?" He asked her, running his hand up and down her spine in a comforting manner.
She let out a breath, "Yeah, I'm fine."
Without taking his hand off her back, Harry turned to Ron. "What happened?"
Ron stood up shakily, finally stuffing his newly found wand back into his pocket, "we were out here looking for some things to practice hexing when we heard talking. We thought it was you two, so we headed over in that direction. By the time we got there, Crouch was already…well, you know. And I guess the guy who did him in was hanging around. Fired a curse our way, Hermione took him out with a good jinx and he took off running that way," he pointed off in the distance. "We went over to Crouch to see if he was okay…he wasn't."
Harry continued interrogating Ron about the incident. Arra shivered and looked around the forest before heading back over to Crouch's body. She bent down next to him, positioning his head so that he could look in his face. Hermione scooted her way over to her best friend and the body.
"Hermione, you okay?" Arra asked, turning her attention to her friend.
Hermione nodded, sniffing once more, "Yeah, now. Just scared. My first dead body and all," she said quietly.
Arra gave her a quick hug, "Trust me, you're doing better than I did with my first one."
Hermione gasped, "How many have you seen?"
Arra shrugged emotionlessly, "More than I should have. Growing up with the Lestranges, it was a special day when they were able to get in a few good muggle murders after suppertime," she said dryly.
"Arra," Harry said, walking over to the two girls and the body with Ron in tow, "so what was it?"
She averted her attention back to Crouch's body, pulling his face to look at her own, "Killing curse. I'm sure of it."
"You think it was an accident?" Hermione squeaked.
Arra shook her head, "Avada Kedavra's never an accident."
"Who do you think it was?" Ron asked.
Arra shrugged, "Well, obviously someone pretty knowledgeable about the dark arts. Respectable murderers do it the old fashioned way, you know? With a knife, or a trained crocodile or something," Arra muttered, "Not like this. This is bad news."
"My bet is whoever killed Crouch put my name in that Goblet too," Harry said, frowning.
The four friends stood in silence for a moment, gathering their thoughts, and thanking Merlin that they were still alive.
"Well, what do we do now?" Hermione asked.
"What?" Ron asked.
"We've got to go tell a teacher!" Hermione said.
Arra scoffed, "Bloody hell no!"
"But it's a dead body!"
"Exactly! You want to go running up to the castle and tell them that we found a dead body of a member of the Ministry, in the forbidden forest, after curfew, because we were sneaking out at night to go practice cursing each other? No thanks, Dad's done enough jail time for all the Black family members, thank you very much."
"Well Hermione's right, we've got to do something," Ron said.
"Let's go tell Hagrid," Harry offered. "He'll understand why we were out here, and he can just tell Dumbledore that he was out patrolling the forest when he found Crouch."
Harry was right. The four friends made their way over to Hagrid's hut and told him the story of how they came across the body. Hagrid agreed to walk them back to the castle safely, and then go and tell the staff about how he had found the body out during a patrol.
"This is ridiculous," Ron said as they made their way through the hallways leading to the Gryffindor common room. "How many other 4th years have gone through half the shit we've gone through?"
"You could likely count them on one hand…with four of them being us." Arra muttered, wrapping her cloak tighter around her. Though she was used to seeing terrible things from when she lived with Bellatrix, it never really got easier.
"Who do you think it was that killed him?" Harry asked, ever ready to solve a mystery.
Run shrugged, "Dunno."
Hermione shook her head, "For once, let's just let the adults take care of it."
"Ah, what fun is that? We wouldn't be us if we just let things go," Arra said sarcastically—though it was true.
A silence fell over them as they reached the portrait hole. Arra had been staring at her feet for the last few minutes before she finally looked up after Harry said the password.
"Banana fritters," Harry said and the picture swung open. Hermione quickly clambered through, and Ron followed with a look of concern. Arra squinted as she saw something rounding the corner from the portrait hole—a body with a head of platinum blond hair.
Draco poked his head around the corner his face clearly saying, Leave the scarface and come talk to me.
Ah, Arra thought, better just get this over with.
"You coming, Arra?" Harry said as he began to enter the common room.
"Um," she said glancing quickly over at Draco to make sure Harry hadn't seen him. "Yeah, in a bit, I just remembered I forgot my potions book in the classroom. And with how upset Hermione is over the body in the woods, you know she'll want to have a group homework session to feel better," she lied as she began to back away towards the hallway where Draco was waiting.
Harry let out a short laugh, "You're probably right, I'll meet you in there, okay?"
Arra nodded fervently, "Yeah, for sure." She turned around and started to leave.
"Wait, Arra?" Harry said.
She turned around, "Yeah?"
"Be careful," he said slowly, concern obvious in his voice, "it's not safe out there."
She smiled softly and walked back towards him reaching out a hand to touch his arm, "Come on Harry, when am I ever not the picture of careful?"
He rolled his eyes at her sarcasm, "I'm serious, Arra."
She pouted, "So am I!" When he didn't fall victim to her attempts at humor, she softened, "Fiiiiiiiiiine! I'll be super careful and look both ways before I cross the corridor and not talk to any strange ghosts I meet."
Without warning, he leaned forward and placed his lips on her forehead, "Good," he muttered and pulled back and headed inside the common room.
Arra couldn't help the enormous smile that spread across her face when he kissed her. She watched him walk through the portrait hole and it seemed that everything began to fall into place. He was the one she wanted to be with. He had always been the one—how could she ever be so stupid to think otherwise?
It only made what she was about to do about a million and a half times easier.
She turned around and headed around the corner, and stopped suddenly when Draco appeared in front of her.
She shook her head at him, "What do you want?"
"Arra, we need to talk," Draco said, drawing closer to her.
She shook her head and scoffed, "Go away Draco. It's done."
"Really?! Come on, Arra!" He said loudly, reaching out for her arm.
Before he could grab her arm though, she stepped up closer, right in his face.
"You don't get to talk to me! You don't get to act like this is my fault! You're the one with the insane jealousy problems and abusive tendencies and the fact that you're a complete and total ass!" She yelled and kicked him in the shin on the last word.
He doubled over and grabbed his leg, "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to be like that! I just—will you please just listen to me?!" He pleaded.
Arra took a deep breath, stepped a few paces back, "You've got thirty seconds. Start talking."
He sighed, "Thanks, okay…well…"
"29, 28, 27…" Arra chided.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have acted like a jealous prat…the things I said to you, they weren't true. I was just mad."
Arra shook her head, "I don't care how mad you are, the things you said to me…it's not okay. I can't just forgive you for that."
He frowned, "Why not?"
She scoffed again, "What? You think just because you say sorry we can just get back together and kiss and make up and everything will be great and dandy again?"
"Well how else are we supposed to fix this?"
She shook her head with a small smile, "We don't."
Arra turned on her heel, a satisfied look on her face. She only took about three steps before rounding the corner and she felt her heart stop. There, leaning against the wall, looking at her with a shocked face was Harry Potter.
Her jaw fell, "Harry…I-I-Oh my God…"
He shook his head, "You…and Malfoy?"
She felt the tears starting to sting her eyes, "I'm sorry," she whispered.
"Yeah. Me too."
DUN DUN DUN! He knows! Love it? Hate it? Want me to burn in Hell because I never update in time? Let me know in a review!