Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all related concepts do not belong to me! I am merely borrowing them for my own personal enjoyment. All OC's and anything you dont recognize is copyrighted by me: xXxKaraBeckerCutterxXx
Warnings: Please do not flame me for anything.
Summary: This year, their greatest test will become their darkest hour; as Charlie and Harry realize that 'Courage is not the towering oak that sees storms come and go; it is the fragile blossom that opens in the Snow'
Author's Note: Chapter dedicated too: DJScales, Razmend, ItzKevin97, Forever Dreaming Grace, Aileen Autarkeia and Carolina. I know I say this every chapter, but you guys are amazing! What would I do without your lovely reviews and constructive criticism? Its for people like you that make me want to update every night no matter what the situation. Also, its a pleasure to know that while some of you were able to guess right on who Charlie was, it was also nice to learn that not everyone knew where I was heading with the plot. So I thank you all for being truly brilliant throughout this year of Harry Potter and the Muggleborn Witches series. Don't know what I would do without you.
Love Conquers All
"There! The Dark Mark!"
Snape's voice resonated in her mind from the previous night, after he had shown a flustered looking Cornelius Fudge the burning mark on his arm; it had been their last attempt to get the Minister for Magic to believe the claim that Voldemort was back, but all had been in vain, Fudge didnt believe them anymore than the rest of Hogwarts did! Which was why the morning following the Third Task, Charlie sat between her friends at the Slytherin table hoping and praying that the ground would just open up and swallow her because she couldnt with stand the stares she was recieving from the rest of the student body, the older Slytherins had sent threatening glares at the students of other houses but there was only so much they could do, Charlie knew that she would have to face them sooner or later. She just wished they would give her the benefit of the doubt and leave her in peace at least for one day.
"What was it like?" asked a dreamy voice, and the Slytherins looked up to see a first year Ravenclaw standing over Charlie "The Daily Prophet claims that you witnessed the Dark Lord's return...did you really?"
Charlie swallowed and looked away, tears burning her vision. She wasnt going to explain herself to anyone anymore, if they didnt believe her, or Harry, or even Cedric for that matter then that was their problem. She stood by her account, she had witnessed the rebirth, she wasnt lying! So why couldnt they have just taken her word for it? Stupid Government officials! Gotta know every stupid detail! Why can't they just for once believe the truth from someone else, rather than have to witness it with their own eyes? she thought angrily, brushing the tears from her eyes roughly. Her face stung after she had wiped the tears, but she didnt care; she wanted all this to just go away...she wanted everyone to go way! She wanted to be alone! Alone in a world where nothing could go wrong, she wanted to go to a place where Voldemort didnt exist, where people believed what they were told straight up no matter who had told them, where people believed others and didnt need proof of anything. But sadly, a world like that didnt exist, and thus she was trapped here...in a world of disbelief and discouragement.
Marcus sighed and glanced up at the Ravenclaw "Go back to your table, Lovegood!" he hissed
The first year Ravenclaw tilted her head to the side her expression blank, before she turned and skipped away her plait bouncing up and down with each step she took. When she had gone Marcus turned back to Charlie, he noticed the glisten of tears in her eyes and stared at her for a long time "Please, don't do that" she spoke
"Do what?" Marcus asked
"Stare at me!" Charlie answered "Im not some Porcelian doll that's gonna break at any moment"
The older Slytherin lowered his gaze "After last night," he spoke "Im not sure that statement is true. I've never seen you like this Charlie, its not you" he took her hand, and pressed a kiss to the side of her temple "You need to look past this now, you should have known that not everyone was going to believe you, but can you really blame them? He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named terrorized lives 14 years ago; he made it unbearable for anyone to live a day long, and you took your days in stride knowing that anyone of them could be your last. Families protected their homes like they protected their children, with great difficulty. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was ruthless, you can't begin to imagine what it was like when everyone heard that he had fallen! It was the celebration of the century"
Charlie sighed and glanced side ways at him "But now he's back," she mumured
"It'll take time for everyone to realize that," Marcus answered her "Just give them time...they'll come around. I promise"
"You believe," Charlie spoke "Right?"
Marcus paused "Yeah. Of course I do," he stated "How could I not? You listed my father as a Death Eater...I wrote to him the moment Madam Pomfrey ushered us out of the Hospital Wing. He confirmed your statement, the Dark Lord has in fact returned!"
"Do you know where he is residing?"
"Malfoy Manor" Marcus answered, glancing across at Draco who was staring absentmindedly at a letter in his hands. One could only guess that it was from his mother, warning him and Nathan of what was waiting for them when they got home from school.
"Im scared," Charlie told her boyfriend "Not just for me, or Harry..." she glanced across at the Gryffindor table "...Im scared for the rest of you. For you, Draco, Nathan...all of you!" she glanced around at her Slytherin friends "You're easy for him to get too. I don't want him to use you guys to get to me..."
Adrian glanced up from his breakfast "Don't worry about us, Charlie" he smiled "You just worry about yourself. He knows who you are now...he's gonna do everything possible to get you back. You're not safe anymore"
Charlie swallowed hard as she returned her gaze once more onto the table beneath her, Adrian was right, she wasnt safe anymore. Neither was her mother, or Carol, or even Riley for that matter. Voldemort's return opened all new doors, all new scares; he could easily have come to Spinner's End and tortured all of her Muggle friends in hopes of getting her to surrender and he knew she would do it! He knew she was protective, he didnt have to raise her for 14-years to know of her nature he could see that the previous night, when she cried out Harry's name during the ritual! When she cried for her friend when he was under the Cruciatus curse. She swallowed again Im a danger now she thought miserably all my friends in danger of him...and its my fault.
Soon Dumbledore was calling for order, and the whole Great Hall fell silent "The end," the headmaster said, looking around at them all "of another year. There is so much I would like to say to you all this morning. But alas, there is nothing I can truly say that will soften the blow that this confession will bring; as you all know, last night, three of our students witnessed a most horrific sight during the third and final task of the Triwizard Tournament. Harry Potter, Charlie Hunter and Cedric Diggory; were kidnapped and able to escape and return to us, with disturbing news that most will find difficult to comprehend! But alas, it is the truth. These three students were kidnapped and forced to witness the rebirth of Lord Voldemort"
A panicked whisper swept through the Great Hall. People were staring at Dumbledore in disbelief, in horror. Others were glancing around at the three students he had listed as being kidnapped, Harry and Cedric ignored them the best they could, while Charlie tried to keep her attention focused on Dumbledore and not the prying eyes of her fellow students. Although their Headmaster looked remotely calm as he watched his students mutter themselves into silence.
"The Ministry of Magic," Dumbledore continued "does not wish me to tell you this. It is possible that some of your parents will be horrified that I have done so - either because they will not believe that Lord Voldemort has returned, or because they think I should not tell you so, young as you are. It is my belief, however, that the truth is generally preferable to lies. This is a grave situation we have fallen into, no one knows what will happen, or what will come of this information, I hope that you will all take your studies much more seriously from now on. One will never know when you will need it. The three students whom I have mentioned, risked their lives to return to Hogwarts grounds last night to tell us of what has happened. They showed, in ever respect, the sort of bravery that few witches and wizards have ever shown in facing Lord Voldemort, and of this I honour them" he nodded gravely at the three students, all of whom stared back indifferently "The Triwizard Tournament's aim," he continued "was to further and promote magical understanding. In the light of what has happened - of Lord Voldemort's return - such ties are more important than ever before. Every guest in this Hall, will be welcomed back here, at any time, should they wish to come. I say to you all, once again - in the light of Lord Voldemort's return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided..."
"We are stronger together..." Charlie's own words flittered through her mind, the same words she whispered to Harry the night the fought Voldemort. That's what Dumbledore was saying at this very minute.
"Lord Voldemort's gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great," Dumbledore continued "We can fight it only by spreading an equally strong bond of friendship and trust, differences is a habit, and while we may come from different places and speak in different tongues...our hearts beat as one. It is in my belief - and never have I so hoped that I am mistaken - that we are all facing dark and difficult times. Some of you, in this Hall have already suffered directly at the hands of Lord Voldemort. Many of your families have been torn apart"
Charlie turned to look towards Marcus; she gripped his hand tightly.
"...the bonds of friendship we've made this year will be more important than ever!" Dumbledore continued to speak in the background, but Charlie was only half listening. "Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy..."
All too soon it was time to return to the Muggle world, the school year had come to an end and Hogwarts had closed. The students of Durmstrang and Beauxbatons were preparing themselves to leave England and return to their own countries and their own families, while the Hogwarts students gathered out in the courtyard to bid goodbye to their new friends only two students remained inside slowly packing away their things. One student was on the seventh floor in the Gryffindor tower and the second was in the dungeons in the Slytherin dorms.
Approaching the door with a heavy sigh, Jenn raised a hand and knocked before allowing herself entry at the soft response she recieved from the teenager on the opposite side "Arent you coming up to say goodbye?" she asked, as Charlie sat on the edge of her bed, facing the bathroom and her back towards the door
"No," Charlie answered, folding a t-shirt and placing it into her trunk "Im really not in the mood for all that right now. I just want to finish packing, climb onto the train and go home"
Jenn nodded as she entered the room and closed the door behind her "No one blames you Charlie," she spoke softly "for what has happened. It wasnt your fault, Dumbledore always knew that Voldemort would return one day. It was only a matter of time"
The Slytherin nodded "Yeah; but it just so happened to be me and Harry who witnessed his rebirth," she mumured "now everyone thinks we're crazy!"
"They'll come around,"
"When?" Charlie asked "When the world is in bits? When Voldemort moves out into the open? That's never gonna happen...how many people are gonna haeve to die before the Ministry realizes we're telling the truth?" she asked "because that's what's gonna happen Jenn! People are gonna die...lives are gonna be distroyed, families are gonna be torn apart and Voldemort will be the centre of it all!"
By now she was on her feet and facing the doorway; but she still didnt meet Jenn's gaze.
"My friends are in danger," Charlie continued "because of who I am! What I am! I refused Voldemort, I don't want to believe im Serenity Riddle and I refuse to become a Death Eater, and join the man who birthed me!" her hands curled into fists around the t-shirt in her hands "Now Marcus, Nikki, Adrian, Daphne and everyone else I hold close is in danger because of my refusal to co-operate! Voldemort has access to them over the summer...what if he..." her throat closed up as she tried to rid her mind of the terrible images that had appeared there "I can't lose them! See that's the problem with human nature, you let yourself get too close; and when you get close, you get hurt!" she shook her head again "I don't want to get hurt anymore!"
Now Jenn understood all this rough and tough, bad girl thing Charle had going on was merely a mask to hide away what she was truly feeling. After 14-years of knowing the young Slytherin in front of her, Jenn was ashamed to say that she had not noticed the signs of hurt that her son's friend was going through; 14-years worth of pain had been hidden away, bottled up and left to build over time; add 4-years of magic and near death experiences to that pain and what do you get? This: a hard to control teenager! Charlie was deteriating and it was only a matter of time before she did something stupid and regretful. The mask was slowly breaking apart and Charlie Hunter was being revealed for who she really was; a scared, innocent little girl with the weight of the word on her shoulders. There was only so much one could do when the odds were stacked against you, and Jenn was finding it extremely difficult to understand what Charlie was going through right now, but she could help the Slytherin for just being there for her.
"Charlie," she spoke softly "don't you worry about a thing. Your friends are going to be fine! I promise" she sat the Slytherin down and knelt in front of her "and so are you..."
Charlie nodded and brushed the tears that had appeared in her eyes away once more, she hated crying. Although she knew that it wasnt a weakness to cry that didnt meant she enjoyed it! It made her feel vunerable and that was the last thing she needed to feel right now. She was out of her element when she was upset, she needed to get control of herself, rebuild the mask and go about her day as if the previous night hadnt even happened. You can do it Charlie, just breathe.
The Hogwarts Express rolled into Kings Cross Station and Platform 9 ¾ and the fourth year friends all glanced out of the windows as students hurried off the train and to their parents who waited for them on the platform. While parents greeted their children with hugs and kisses, the children's faces were pictures of worry and relief but preferred to answer their parents questions when they were away from the public, and so as many families cut their visit short and hurried away with their children. Although a small group of students lingered in their compartment slowly collecting their trunks and familiars before making the descent out onto the platform.
"There's my mother," Draco's voice broke the silence that cacooned him and his friends as the stepped off the train
Charlie looked across the platform to see Narcissa Malfoy waiting for her son and nephew expectantly "You'll be okay, Draco" she promised "you and Nathan"
"How can you be so sure?" Nathan asked
"Just trust me, okay?" Charlie asked, holding her arms open for a hug. Normally her male friends didnt hug her, but times were changing, and their friendship was all that was going to keep them alive and together. After pulling back from one another Draco and Nathan crossed the platform, hugged Narcissa briefly, and then the three apparated away.
Next to appear was Pansy, Millicent and Daphne's parents "We best be going too," Pansy mumured, "Will you be okay this Summer?" she asked, turning to Charlie
"This is me your talking too," Charlie responded "Once I get back to Spinners End, see my Muggle friends; it'll be like it never even happened!"
The four girls hugged and the Purebloods were then hearded away by their parents, offering one more fleeting wave before they disapparated too. All that remained was Adrian and Marcus; and this was the last time the three would be together on the platform. Both older Slytherins had obtained enough NEWTs to graduate from Hogwarts and this was their final year.
"Well, I guess I wont see you next year," Adrian spoke first, after Charlie had turned to face him and Marcus "You think you can refrain from getting in trouble?"
"You sound like Nikki," Charlie smiled
Adrian smirked "Just stay out of trouble Charlie," he hugged her "We don't need to hear word that you've gotten yourself killed or something"
"Hasnt happened yet," the Muggleborn responded "Im starting to believe that not even Death wants to face me"
The older Slytherin chuckled and shook his head "Im gonna say goodbye to Riley," he winked at the Muggleborn in front of him and headed off in the Gryffindor's direction.
"Sometimes I get the feeling he liked Riley as more than a friend," Charlie mused, "What do you think?" she asked turning back to Marcus
Marcus shrugged "Sometimes" he mumured, looking up at his best friend and Riley "To bad she belongs to Weasley..."
Charlie chuckled; before movement across the platform caught her eye "There's your father," she whispered as Mr. Flint turned in her and Marcus's direction, he raised his hand and waved his son over "You're going to be okay, this Summer right?" she asked
"I'll be fine," he promised, tilting her head back and lower his lips so that they hovered inches over hers "Stay safe this summer, okay?"
"I promise," Charlie nodded "I'll see you sooner than you think"
Marcus frowned in confusion before realization dawned "I look forward to it..." he mumured, before pressing his lips against hers. Unlike any other kiss they had shared this one lasted longer, and Charlie felt that there was a hidden meaning behind it, and she found that when he broke away she didnt want him too; she wanted him to stay! To stay with her, she felt safe when he was around, and she hadnt wanted anyone around as much as she wanted Marcus right now. They hugged one another tightly holding onto one another longer than normal, before he kissed her temple and made his way towards his father, only stopping to say goodbye to Riley before he disapparated.
Charlie watched him go longingly before heading for the barrier with Riley. On the opposite side the two friends bid goodbye to the Weasleys, Hermione and Harry as they left the station with their parents, relatives and family. Riley then turned to her mother, who she hugged her in relief and comfort.
Serena, meanwhile, was staring at Charlie sadly "Im sorry for not telling you," she spoke "But Charlie, I don't want this too -"
"Mum," Charlie cut her off "I don't care that you didnt tell me! I understand that you wanted me to be older, so that I would understand. And to be quite honest i'm not happy with the fact that I know! Quite frankly im terrified..." she looked up at her mother "just promise me that this won't come between us? Please, just knowing that he's breaking us apart is satisfaction for him! And I wont give him that satisfaction!"
Serena smiled and held her arms open to her daughter "He wont break us apart," she promised "Never!"
"I love you, mum" Charlie mumured
"I love you too, Charlie" Serena responded "I love you too"
A/N: And here ends Harry Potter: Courage. Aw, so the truth behind Charlie's nature is also revealed. I repeat, she has been through alot hasnt she? It was only a matter of time but something had to give! I hope you enjoyed, and the next story should begin in a few days so be on the look out for that. Please review. Thank you. God bless.
Reviews (Greatly Appreciated, especially since its the last chapter)
All OCs and anything unrecognizable is copyrighted (c) and belong to me xXxKaraBeckerCutterxXx
Chapter updated 24/02/2011 at 04:25am