AN: Hello again! Here's the next installment of the illustrious (jokes...) Here For You! These next couple of weeks are going to be insanely busy so savor this chapter and all its crappy glory because I don't know for sure when I'll be able to post again. Yay APUSH exam! And college graduations! And musicals... and dance recitals...and fifteen page research papers...and Latin Olympics...and school reunions...and school in general... and of course, my favorite subject, chemistry... yay.
Dedication: To Chris! Congrats! You're finally out of school! Now it's time to sleep in for the rest of your life (I wish!)!
Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognize.
Charlie remained upset about the whole "Harry and Ginny dating" thing for several weeks after the kiss. Despite numerous attempts from Amy to convince him otherwise, Charlie still firmly believed that Harry Potter, though a good kid, was defiling his young sister. He was taking this overprotective brother attitude to heart and nothing Amy said could deter him. She had to remind him several times that she too was a younger sister, and that her brothers had gone rather easy on him when he was in Chicago. She also made him promise not to tell his mother anything before the teens were ready for that level of Weasley interference and that he wouldn't go around following his sister and her new boyfriend to ensure that they weren't doing anything he deemed 'promiscuous.' By Charlie's definition, this meant looking at each other from a distance of less than five feet, holding hands, and smiling overzealously.
It took all of Amy's strength and feminine tactics to distract him and even then, he was still blowing things way out of proportion.
"How can you expect Ginny to follow these 'rules' of yours if you don't even follow them?" Amy asked one day. "I mean, I certainly don't see you staying more than five feet away from me." She gestured to their position now of them sprawled out across the couch in her room to enforce her point.
"This is different," Charlie protested. "We're adults. Ginny's just a kid, and so is Harry for that matter."
"And yet they've both seen more than most witches and wizards," Amy said. "Maybe you should just let them be teenagers for once. They don't get to do that very often after all."
Of course, it wasn't only Ginny's new boyfriend that was riling Charlie up. Things in the Wizarding World were quickly going from bad to worse. It seemed as though every day the Daily Prophet had a new story on a witch or wizard who had been cursed or a Muggle family that had been slaughtered. The Ministry workers were getting antsy and this did little to placate the paranoid feelings of the Wizarding community. Amy was determined to seek out the bright side in all of this, but she had yet to discover one, and with Professor Dumbledore constantly away, the Hogwarts faculty was seeing the rise of anxiety within their students as well. Everyone knew that Hogwarts was the safest place in the world, but with all that had happened in the past several years, Amy could tell that some of the students were beginning to doubt this.
With everything that was happening in the outside world, along with the looming end-of-term exams in the not so far off distance, tensions were running high at Hogwarts, and it took everything Amy and the other professors had to maintain the school with the Headmaster gone.
Of course, this wasn't very easy when there were Death Eaters wreaking havoc in the halls of the castle in the middle of the night.
Amy was up late when she heard the screaming and crashing in the halls. It wasn't uncommon for her to be working so late, what with the O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s upon the students. It was still a bit uncommon, though, for there to be screaming, especially so late at night.
The crashes jolted Amy from her half-asleep position over her desk and papers. As the night had gone on, her handwriting had become increasingly sloppier and she had been considering throwing the papers aside and forgetting about the whole ordeal. Sleep was much more tempting to her than finishing a stack of stress-written papers, but the crashes and smashes that echoed through the halls and into her room had her jolting awake.
There was no pause in between the time she jumped in her seat and when she was out the door of her office and racing down the hall towards the sound of the crashes and bangs. The portraits were in an uproar as she went running passed, the characters jumped from one frame to the next, spreading the word of what was happening. Amy, however, paid them no mind; instead, the witch focused on the fact that the crashes and cries were growing ever louder, and the castle was shaking beneath her feet. She had no idea what in the world was happening, but she did know one thing: this was not good. There was no way these noises were coming from mere students; something, or someone, worse was within the school, and Amy had a sinking suspicion of what it was, and she could feel the fear setting into her gut.
Of course, the bright flash of green which shot passed Amy as she turned the corner only reaffirmed her fears. She jumped back to avoid the curse, and only after it had bounced off a ball, causing stone to crumble to the floor, did Amy peek around the corner of the wall. The sight that met her filled her with dread while at the same time reaffirming her fears: Death Eaters were in the castle, and to make things worse, Dumbledore was not. The headmaster had sent a message to the staff earlier that even, informing them that he would once again be leaving the castle. He didn't specify for how long or to where he was going, but by now, the teachers and students had come to expect this of their headmaster, and it had come back to bite all of them.
From what she could see, at least a dozen Death Eaters were spread out through the hall, their wands aloft and curses ready on their lips. While this was terrifying all by itself, it was the sight of Amy's students dueling these masked fiends that struck Amy to the core. The majority of them appeared to be Gryffindors, but Amy thought that she spied a Ravenclaw or two amongst the crowd as well. What they were doing in the halls when they should have been locked away in their common rooms, safe from the wrath of the Death Eaters, Amy did not know, but she did not have time to dwell on this as she was quickly spotted by one of the masked wizards, who turned his attention onto her.
Her concerns for the safety of her students were pushed aside as Amy focused on the predator before her. There was a moment of peaceful interlude between the two, and then they locked eyes and began to duel.
Everything grew incredibly hazy, and Amy blocked out the happenings around her, forcing herself to focus on the fact that she was dueling an incredibly Dark Wizard and a single mistake on her part could result in the loss of her own life and the lives of many others. It was this fact that kept Amy from backing down; she was not merciful for she knew that her opponent would not be either. He was out to kill, and while she didn't know whether she would ever be capable of achieving the same, she sure as hell wasn't going to back out or ease up on her cascade of curses.
She could faintly hear the sounds of the other duels happening around her, and she could see the bright colors of the spells that were bouncing around the corridor in her side view. For a moment, Amy thought she saw the trademark bright orange hair of a Weasley, but she forced this thought away as her Death Eater charged towards her, determined to defeat her. Amy, however, was not having any of this. She whipped her wand around, creating a slashing motion over the wizard chest and down towards his hip, and the wizard was thrown to the ground, where his head collided with the stone floor and he fell limp.
Amy was allowed but a moment to breathe before she was forced back into the flurry of battle, although this time she was not alone. From all around her, a swarm of new witches and wizards joined the battle, their wands drawn as they too began to defend the castle.
The Order had arrived, and with them, they brought a new hope and a new energy to the fight.
Students, teachers, and adults alike threw themselves back into the battle, curses and hexes spilling from their lips faster and with greater vengeance, all of them determined to defend the castle from the evil force of the Death Eaters. Despite the fact that they were quickly becoming outnumbered, the Death Eaters showed no fear as they turned to face their opponents with more force and they unleashed a wave of curses and hexes upon the Hogwarts' defenders. Around her, Amy saw those around her fall in their duels, but whether or not they were on her side or not, she did not know. It was all she could do to focus her attention on the duel at hand; it would not bode well for anyone if she became distracted. She needed to focus and for a moment, she could almost hear Mad-Eye yelling in her ear about constant vigilance.
They were slowly managing to push the Death Eaters further and further back. They were up against the stairs, but for some reason they were unable to move back any further. Something was blocking the staircase, and the defenders of the castle were unable to penetrate these blockades. Several Death Eaters managed to slip past their defense and up the stairs. They were chased but forced back by the remaining Dark Wizards.
In her peripheral, Amy again saw the flash of Weasley hair, and she presumed that Charlie must have arrived with the new defense. She knew that the flash of red-orange did not belong to either Ginny or Ron because she could see Ron fighting against a Death Eater of his own, several yards in front of her, and Ginny was just to Amy's left. For two under-aged students, the two fought incredibly well, and every curse and hex that was sent their way missed them by mere inches – Amy wondered for a moment if it was the luck of the Irish kicking in.
The noise in the hall was increasing, the shouts growing louder and the lights of the curses growing brighter. One of the Death Eaters was shooting off jinxes, not directing them at anyone in particular, but allowing it them to bounce off the walls and in every direction. Everything seemed to be building up to a crescendo, although what was to come at the climax, Amy did not know. It was all moving so fast; the spells, the movements, the crumbling of the walls around them. The roaring of spells and curses continued to echo throughout the hall, as everyone fought for their lives. It was becoming too much for Amy and the others, and the whole lot of them could barely see who was good and who was bad.
There was only so much Amy could do as she continued to duel against the same Dark Wizard, who seemed determined to strike the witch down where she stood. Time after time, their spells shot past each other, crashing into the walls and forcing more rubble and dust to fall around them. Everyone was covered in dust, and it was almost impossible to distinguish who was who.
The shouting and screaming continued, growing incredibly loud, almost deafening. The spells moved faster, the walls caved in closer to them, and then…
There was a moment of silence and a split second where there was no motion but the tumble of another wall and the settling of dust around them, where the only heard one thing:
"It's over! Time to go!"
And then the battle resumed, although this time the Death Eaters were began to back away. They were no longer focusing to kill, but attempting to distract or immobilize their opponents so that they could escape. The others, however, were not having this. They, of course, did not want to fight, but they knew they couldn't simply stop and allow these Dark Wizards to get away, not after they had stormed the castle, blasting through their numbers and cursing anything and everything that moved.
No, there was no way they were getting away that easy, at least not without a fight. And so fight they did. Amy and the others continued to push their way closer to their opponents, wands slashing through the air and spells bouncing off of the floor and the walls. Amy could feel the rage building up underneath her skin, and she suspected the others felt it as well. Did the Death Eaters really think that they would be allowed to invade their home, attack their families, and instill fear within the entire Wizarding World without consequence? Did they really think they could get away with it all without the slightest hint of retaliation? Without having to face retribution? If so, they were more foolish and ignorant than anyone could have ever perceived. Nescience only went so far, and sooner or later, they would have to pay for what they had done to each and every one of their victims. Amy hoped that day would come quickly; there was quite a bit that she wanted justice for, and she would be damned if she didn't receive it.
Just as she had raised her wand to cast another spell at her opponent, someone crashed into her shoulder, sending the witch flying to the ground. Her head cracked against the stone floor, and she groaned, her wand slipping from her hand and rolling into the dust. There were several moments of terrible, head-splitting pain during which Amy pressed a hand to her head and groaned. She laid there in the dust and debris before forcing herself to look up and face, what she believed to be, certain death.
Yet, instead of looking up to find the face of a victorious Death Eater leering down at her, Amy saw only the back of her opponent as he raced down the hall, following in the footsteps of his accomplices. It took her a second to recognize what had just happened before she also realized that the shouts and screams of spells from the battle had died away, leaving only the echoes of long forgotten hexes ringing in her ears. Gingerly, Amy forced herself to roll over onto her side and push herself into a sitting position. The pounding in her head only increased as she did this, but Amy forced herself to ignore the sharp, stinging pain that burned through her brain and focus on the scene before her.
The walls of the once great hall were crumbled around her, revealing the outside world to everyone. Amy took a moment to revel in the complete destruction of the hall compared to the night sky overhead, where several stars could be seen, poking through the clouds. How was it possible for their home, for Hogwarts, to be ruined while the world outside their walls remained right as day? Amy could not see any logic behind this, although that may have also been because her head continued to pound and ache tremendously.
Carefully, Amy forced herself to push her body from off the ground. She wobbled on her feet for a moment, vertigo hitting her in full force. It took her several minutes of standing complete still, with her hands pressed to her head for the dizziness to pass, and even then, her head continued to ache something terrible.
"Professor?" a voice asked tentatively, drawing Amy's thoughts away from the pounding in her head. The witch looked up immediately, her eyes seeking out the face of the speaker. In the darkness and shadows of the hall, she was able to identify a petite silhouette with an enraged mane of hair.
"Hermione," Amy gasped, breathing a sigh of relief at the sight of the seemingly unharmed student. "Thank Merlin, you're alright." She stepped forward and grasped the younger witch by the arms, surveying her form eagerly. "You are okay, right?"
The teen nodded, giving the teacher a faint smile. "I'm fine," she assured her. She eyed Amy's form warily, taking notice of the cut and bruise on Amy's forehead from her fall to the floor. "Are you alright Professor? You look a bit pale."
Amy waved the witch's concerns off. "I don't matter," she said dismissively. "Cuts and bruises is all, nothing life threatening, I assure you." Again, Amy surveyed the teen's form, noting that for whatever reason, Hermione appeared to be without even one single scratch or bruise. While this was curious to say the least, Amy found that she did not care in the slightest. All she could find herself able to care about was the fact that Hermione was unharmed, and in a moment of overabundant joy and relief, Amy pulled the teen into her arms, squeezing her tight.
Hermione hesitated for a moment, before she wrapped her arms around Amy as well, gripping her tightly. Amy felt the witch tremble for a moment, and this only made Amy grip Hermione harder in an attempt to console and support the witch.
The feeling of another portion of the wall crumbled to the wall besides them and the two pulled apart, eyeing the walls around them warily. Behind them, Alex saw teachers and other members of the Order scurrying about, trying to make the most of a terrible situation. She could hear McGonagall ordering students and adults alike around as they tried to clear the hall and help those who were injured.
"I want everyone to head to the infirmary immediately," McGonagall exclaimed. She was standing in the middle of the hall, covered from head to toe in dust while blood trickled down her cheek from a rather deep looking cut. Despite her frazzled look, however, the older witch appeared oddly calm, especially for someone who had just been involved in a battle against Dark wizards.
"I don't care if you're hurt or not," she was saying. "I want you all to go to the Hospital Wing and have Madam Pomfrey examine you. No arguments." As she said this, she shot a look towards her Gryffindor students, all of whom, to Amy's relief, appeared to be unscathed except for Neville who was propped up against the wall, ghastly pale and clutching his stomach in evident pain.
"Weasley," McGonagall continued, turning to find Ron standing amongst the rubble. The red-haired teen looked up expectantly, his shoulders hunched awkwardly. "Kindly help Longbottom to the Infirmary." Ron looked towards his peer, who was still gripping his stomach and groaning quietly, before nodding at his professor. He quickly made his way over to Neville and helped him off the wall. Together the two boys made their way down the hall, stumbling over rubble and broken bits of the wall. McGonagall turned now to Amy and Hermione.
"You need to go to the Infirmary as well, Granger," McGonagall ordered. She turned then to Luna, who was off in her own little corner, apparently admiring the broken walls of the corridor. "You as well, Lovegood." Luna turned with a dazed expression before smiling brightly and making her way over the piles of stone. Hermione turned to Amy once more, smiling faintly at the Professor, who responded by squeezing her arm gently, before the teen turned and followed in the footsteps of her retreating peers.
All who remained in the corridor now were teachers and members of the Order. They all stood there for a moment, taking in their broken surroundings. All of them, except for Amy of course, had attended Hogwarts at one point in time. The castle had been their home for seven years and they had walked through this hallway every single day, and now… now it was completely destroyed, crumbling at the walls. For some of them, this was the start of the war and the first time that they had seen the consequences of the war firsthand.
"What are we to do?" Amy asked quietly. Those in the room turned towards her, their faces void of any emotion. She looked from face to face – McGonagall to Tonks to Remus and so on – searching for any semblance of an answer. "How are we supposed to protect the entire world if we can't even protect our own castle?" No one said anything, and Amy suspected it was because they were all beginning to wonder the same thing.
How were the expected to save the world? There may have been more people on their side, but a victory wasn't decided by mere numbers. It took so much more than that, and with what they had all seen tonight, Amy began to doubt that they really did have what it took to prevail. Silence reigned over them, broken only by the muttering of the portraits around them and the sound of the wind rushing through the holes in the walls.
"You should all go to the Infirmary as well," McGonagall said quietly. "But first we need to straighten up the Great Hall. It will do us no good to have the entire school tramping through rubble and broken glass." The others nodded distractedly and got to work, drawing their wands from their sleeves as they began to work their way across the hall.
It was as Amy was kneeling down to sweep up the house points which had spilled from their containers when a shout rang out through the hall. Immediately, everyone stood to attention, anticipating for a moment the return of their opponents, but they saw no one approaching from either end. Instead, the shout had come from the corner of the room where Tonks was kneeling over a large pile of rubble.
"Come help me!" Tonks cried, struggling to pull the rubble away from the ground. Everyone stood in their spots for a moment, not entirely sure what was happening. They were pulled from these thoughts, however, when Tonks yelled again. "There's someone stuck under here!"
In a flash, the group was at her side, some kneeling besides her as they began to pull away the rocks with their bare hand while the rest used their wands to Levitate the rubble away. Amy stood at the back of the group, focusing her attention on Levitating the larger pieces of stone away from the group.
In no time, the group of witches and wizards had managed to remove enough of the stone and debris to reveal the broken form of one of their own beneath the rubble. As Amy charmed the last large piece of stone away, she looked back at the figure.
Blood was splattered across the floor around the figure, and the puddle was growing larger by the second. The body was covered in dust like the rest of them, and though the blood had mixed into their hair, Amy was able to identify the bright red coloring beneath the dark blood, a coloring that was all too familiar to her and the others that had gathered around.
The witch's stomach clenched together tightly and she gasped, her wand falling to her side as the stone crashed to the floor several feet away from the group. Panic and dread built up within the witch, and her eyes filled with tears as she surveyed the broken form of the Weasley before them. Those gathered around the figure glanced back at the witch; worry and concern were etched into their faces as Amy slowly pushed herself to the front of the group, kneeling down besides Tonks.
Amy knew that she had seen this hair earlier when the rest of the Order had arrived, but she had completely forgotten in the midst of the war. She sat back on her heels in shock, not totally comprehending anything more than that the form before her was that of her boyfriend Charlie, who was losing more and more blood by the second. Amy knew that they had to move him; that they had to get him up to the infirmary as quickly as they could if they wanted to even attempt saving his life, but she could not force herself to move. Here was the love of her life, sprawled across the floor as blood oozed from his body, staining the stone beneath him, but what could she really do? She may have been a witch, but that didn't mean she could stop death; no one could. And that's what this was, wasn't it? He was dying.
Charlie Weasley was dying and there was nothing she could do to save him.
Even if they did get him to Madam Pomfrey, who was to say that she would be able to save him? He had lost so much blood already that there probably nothing they could do and nothing she could say to change this. She was going to have to sit back and watch the love of her life die, and there would be nothing she could do.
For what seemed like the hundredth time, Amy saw the future she had envisioned for the two of them after the war. The stolen kisses and brief moments of intimacy that they would be allotted in the presence of their families, the spring time wedding, and soon enough, the auburn haired babies with infectious giggles and smiles that would take the world's breath away. It all could have been theirs, it should have been theirs, and now…
Sobs built up within Amy's chest and she did her best to choke them down. She couldn't break down, not here, not in front of everyone. She gripped her thighs tightly, digging her nails into the fabric of her skirt to keep herself from crying out in agony and despair.
As these thoughts had been racing through her mind, the others had moved around her, and without her knowledge had begun to move the body away. Once they had cleared it from the corner, they turned the figure onto his back so that they could get a better picture of what was happening. Amy could hear their murmurings behind her, but she paid them no mind, focusing instead on the fact that her Charlie was dying…
"Amy," a voice said quietly. A hand fell onto her shoulder. "Amy, look at me." The witch did not move but continued to stare at the puddle of dark, red blood before her. She heard a faint sigh before she found herself being forced to stand and turn. Tonks was standing before her with a grim look on her face. She gripped Amy's arms tightly and talked in a low voice. Amy, however, heard little of what she had to say as her words slipped in one ear and out the other.
"It's alright, Amy. Everything's going to be fine, I –"
Amy remembered how just days before the only worry in Amy and Charlie's life had been Ginny's blossoming relationship with Harry.
"Remus says that he'll be fine, that Greyback hadn't turned so-"
She remembered the feel of his arms wrapped around her as they sprawled out on the couch in her room, and he whispered jokes and teases in her ear, hugging her tight as she laughed brightly.
"Bill's a strong guy, he won't go down without a fight and-"
Then there was the feeling of his lips against hers and the unbelievable joy it brought her, as each one reminded her just how ardently she loved-
Amy's head shot up and she looked over Tonks' shoulder towards the group of witches and wizards who were slowly leading the body out of the hall and towards the staircase to the Infirmary. They had long since turned the figure so that they were no longer face down and they had cleared away some of the blood from his face to reveal long gashes across his cheeks. For a moment, all Amy saw again was the red Weasley hair and freckles, but she forced herself to look closer, and when she did, Amy realized that though the hair color and freckles were identical to that of Charlie's, the person before her was much lankier and his hair was much longer than that of her boyfriend's.
This wasn't Charlie at all. She had been completely wrong. Charlie hadn't been the Weasley to join the fight midway through; it was Bill, and for a second, relief flooded Amy's body as she realized that it wasn't Charlie who was hurt and bleeding but his older brother.
Of course, that moment was pushed aside in a heartbeat, and guilt built up inside of her. While it may not have been her boyfriend who was torn apart and bleeding, that didn't give her the right to be relieved and pleased. Bill was still a person and more importantly, he was Charlie's only older brother. What kind of person was she for being happy that it was Bill who was hurt? Bill was her friend and she had even come to think of him as family in the last several months. He had been so concerned for her when she was kidnapped, and he had done everything he could to help Charlie and the others find her before it was too late, and here she was, pleased that he was hurt!
Tonks seemed to notice this war that brewing in Amy over whether or not she should be pleased and the Metamorphagus trailed off, unsure of what she was saying. Minutes earlier, Amy had appeared as though she was ready to start crying and now she seemed to be angry with herself as she watched the others remove Bill and carry him up to the Infirmary.
"Amy," Tonks said gently, drawing Amy from her warring thoughts. "Are you alright?"
The professor looked blankly at her friend, unsure as to whether or not she should voice her thoughts. Was she okay? Did it make sense for her to be okay after she thought the love of her life had been killed only to find out that it was her boyfriend's brother who was mortally wounded? Did that make her alright?
Amy shook her head.
"I thought," she started softly. "I thought it was…" She trailed off, watching the others exit the hall, following closely behind those who were carrying Bill. Tonks turned to watch them depart as well, and something seemed to click within her. Perhaps it was the tremble in Amy's voice, or the utter look of despair in her glistening eyes. Whatever it was, it struck Tonks to the core and she nodded once in realization.
"You thought it was Charlie," she said quietly. Amy's jaw trembled at her words. There was a moment of silence between the witches before Amy gasped and dropped her head into her hands, sobs wracking her body.
Tonks quickly stepped forward to wrap her arms around the witch, and Amy moved to cry into Tonks' shoulder, similarly to the way the Metamorphagus had cried into the teacher's shoulder weeks ago.
"Amy," Tonks cooed softly. "Amy, everything's fine. It wasn't Charlie, and Pomfrey's going to fix Bill up in a jiffy. He's going to be fine. Charlie's fine. You're going to be fine. Everything is okay."
Amy shook her head in response and pulled herself from Tonks' embrace.
"I was relieved!" she gasped. "Relieved when I realized it wasn't Charlie. What kind of person is relieved to find out that their boyfriend's brother was hurt?" She didn't give Tonks a time to respond. "A terrible person, that's who!" More tears ran down Amy's face, but she did nothing to get rid of them; this was her punishment. This was what she got for being relieved.
"No, no," Tonks' protested quietly, gripping Amy's arms tightly as she tried to get her point across. "You're not a terrible person, Amy, and you never could be!" Amy laughed bitterly, but Tonks continued on as though she had not been interrupted. "Being relieved that Charlie wasn't hurt doesn't make you a bad person! It just goes to show that you're a good person because you're so concerned and worried about the welfare of those you love! How could that possibly make you a bad person?"
"Bill knew what he was doing when he came here tonight," Tonks broke in bluntly. "He knew the risks and he accepted them because he knew it was the right thing to do. There was nothing you could have done to stop him or save him, not with everything else that was going on. Yes, it's unfortunate that he was hurt, but you are not a terrible person for caring for the ones you love. Got it?"
There was a silent pause before Amy nodded bleakly.
"Good," Tonks said briskly. "Glad we cleared that up. Now come on." She looped her arm through Amy's. "Let's get you up to the Hospital Wing. I don't like the look of that cut on your forehead."
The professor nodded and allowed her friend to lead her down the still dusty hall and up the stairs to the Infirmary. They could always come back to clean up the hall later. For now, though, it was best for them to focus on getting themselves cleaned up and healed. They would be no use to anyone injured.
The infirmary was silent upon the witches' entrance, and those who were there looked up at their arrival. Those who were unhurt were clustered in a group at the front of the room, standing their silently and taking solace in the others' presence. Tonks squeezed Amy's arm once more before going to join the group in the corner, and Amy took this moment to survey the room. She noted Neville Longbottom's sleeping form several beds from the front of the hall, and a few beds further up was Bill's bed. Amy's heart clenched tightly once more as she caught sight of the Weasley hair in between Madam Pomfrey's flustered movements around his bed as she worked her magic.
McGonagall also stood near Bill's bed, a grim expression on her face, and when she heard the door to the Infirmary close, she turned to look at Amy. She surveyed Amy's dusty form and the tear tracks through the dust on her cheeks before nodding once and pointing to the first bed.
"Poppy will be with you in a moment," she said. "Sit."
Amy did nothing to resist the Deputy Headmistress's orders, and she slowly made her way to the bed. She didn't lie down on the stiff mattress, but she chose instead to sit on the very edge with her back turned to Bill. Amy didn't think she could stand to sit and watch Pomfrey attempt to heal the Weasley, and the sight of the blood and Weasley red hair only made Amy think of Charlie lying dead somewhere.
So instead, Amy turned so that she was facing the doors to the Hospital Wing, and she stared blankly at the wall beside it, trying to push all her thoughts from her mind. Her head still ached and throbbed from when she had hit it against the stone floor. She could hear the dull whispers of those in the corner, but she paid them no mind. She instead focused on the rhythmic throb in her head as she forced herself to focus on the wall in front of her, counting the grey stones to keep her mind off of what was happening behind her.
One, two, three, four…
Seventeen, eighteen, nineteen…
Thirty-four, thirty-five, thirty-six…
Fifty-seven, fifty-eight, fifty-nine…
The door to the infirmary was pushed open suddenly, and all those in the room turned to see who had entered. Amy's forced herself to draw her attention away from her counting and onto the new arrival, and her heart leapt as she recognized the Weasley red hair once more, and this time, it was Charlie.
The wizard stood panting in the doorway as though he had sprinted all the way from London to Hogwarts. His face was red and his chest was heaving as he tried to catch his breath. No one said anything as his bright blue eyes surveyed the room, frantically searching the numerous beds, until they finally settled on Amy who was sitting to his right. A look of relief passed over Charlie's face, and he crossed the room in a few strides, ignoring everyone else in the room and taking no notice of his youngest brother, as he swept Amy up into his arms, pulling her tightly to his chest.
"Thank Merlin," he breathed against her ear. "When I got the message, I thought-" He broke off and Amy felt him tremble slightly. "I'm so glad you're alright." He held her for a moment longer before pulling back so that he could look her over. His eyes were immediately drawn to the cut and bruise that had spread across her forehead, and he raised a hand to gently run a finger over the gash. Amy flinched at the sting, and he pulled his hand back immediately.
"You are okay, right?" he asked. He again looked her over, searching for any more injuries that may have been hiding from him. "You're not hurt anywhere else?"
Amy shook her head slowly. "I'm fine," she said softly. She tried to offer up a reassuring smile, but it came out as more of a grimace, which did nothing to soothe the wizard's concerns. He could tell that something was bothering her; despite her attempt to appear nonchalant and unfazed, he could see the despair and pain residing in her eyes. She was trembling slightly and biting her lip; something had unnerved the witch, and Charlie felt concern brew up inside of him.
"Amy," Charlie said softly. He gripped her upper arms, his fingers running slow, soothing circles over her skin. "What is it? What's wrong?"
The witch's jaw trembled and she opened her mouth to respond, but her voice died within her throat. She could feel tears welling up within her, causing her throat to constrict, and she knew she wouldn't be able to tell Charlie what had happened to his brother. Instead, she turned her head to the side, looking over her shoulder to the prone form several beds down from her. Charlie followed her look, his gaze settling on the injured figure feet away from him.
Amy felt him freeze as he took in the sight before him of his mangled older brother, and she felt her heart break at the look of confusion and despair that darkened his face. Slowly, he pulled himself from her embrace and made his way around the bed. Amy made no movement so as to follow him. Instead, she hunched her shoulders and fell into herself, not wanting to see, what was likely to be, tearful moment. She could hear murmuring behind her as Charlie was informed of what had happened, and then there was a shuffling and swish of a cloak through the room.
A flash of white fabric in the corner of her eye caused Amy to turn slightly. Madam Pomfrey appeared at Amy's side with a flask, several pieces of gauze, and a tentative smile.
"Alright Professor Wyman," the Healer began, with a tense, yet bright, voice. "Let's get you cleaned up a bit."
She immediately set to work healing the gash on Amy's forehead. The professor sat there, patiently for what was probably the first time ever, as she waited for the Healer to finish. Whatever charm she was using generated a stinging sensation, and Amy flinched. Madam Pomfrey smiled understandingly as she continued to clean the edges of the cut.
"I know it stings," the Healer said softly. "But you'll feel so much better after I'm done." Amy nodded robotically, doing her best to ignore the pain.
The two witches sat in silence for several minutes as Madam Pomfrey focused her attention to the rest of Amy's body, ensuring that there were no other injuries that needed tending to. Behind her, Amy could hear Charlie talking in low voices with Professor McGonagall. The witch was certain they were talking about Bill but she could not will herself to turn around. Instead, she watched Madam Pomfrey's methodical movements, taking solace in the fact that her process was so incredibly similar to the one used in the Muggle world.
"Is he going to be okay?" Amy asked suddenly, breaking the quiet that had fallen around the two. Poppy looked up from Amy's arm where she had been several minor cuts. She raised an eyebrow questioningly. "Is Bill going to be okay?"
Madam Pomfrey's eyes softened at the desperate look in Amy's eyes and gave the witch a tentative smile.
"We can certainly hope," she said softly. "He was fortunate that tonight was not a full moon and that Greyback had not turned."
"Wait," Amy broke in. "Greyback? As in Fenrir Greyback the Werewolf?" Pomfrey looked surprised.
"Yes," she said as she began to pack up her equipment. "He's the one that did, well, that to Mr. Weasley." Pomfrey looked up as she said this and she was met with a look of utter horror and despair that had crossed Amy's face. "But like I said," Pomfrey started quickly. "He's fortunate, he really is. Things could have been much worse for him. We're still not sure what side effects he's going to have, but at least he's alive. All we can do now is hope that everything turns out for the best." She patted Amy consolingly on the arm before leaving the witch to her thoughts.
However, Amy was not left alone for long. Several minutes after Madam Pomfrey had left her, Amy heard shuffling behind her and then a warm presence besides her. A small turn of the head informed Amy that it was Charlie who was seated next to her, and the look on his face caused her heart to ache.
He looked completely and utterly lost, as though he couldn't understand what he had seen or what had occurred. He looked like a little boy who had lost his mother and feared she was gone forever.
"Charlie?" Amy asked quietly. The wizard didn't move. "Charlie," she repeated, reaching out to place a gentle, soothing hand on his shoulder. He jumped slightly, turning to look at Amy as though this was the first time he had even realized she was here.
"Are you alright?"
It was such a ridiculous question to ask, and since this was probably the hundredth time it had been asked in the span of too short a time, it had begun to lose its meaning. It now sounded shallow and pathetic, no matter how much genuine concern was placed behind it.
He didn't respond instantaneously, but after several moments he gave a jerky movement, although whether it was a nod or not, Amy couldn't tell. Rather than asking him again, Amy decided instead to move over several inches until she was just next to the wizard. She offered him a tentative smile before wrapping an arm around his torso and resting her head on his shoulder.
"Don't worry," she murmured. "You will be." She shut her eyes and prayed she was right.
AN: Look at that. 7, 232 words for the chapter. Pretty darn impressive if I do say so myself. Also, big shout-out to my reviewers and my readers in general! Thank you so much for all of your support and words of wisdom. I really do appreciate any feedback at all and I'm glad you all seem to really enjoy reading my story. It certainly makes me feel better when I'm having a bad day and I get a review from one of my lovely, phenomenal, stupendous, supermegafoxyawesomehot readers.