It all comes back to King's Cross station, Rose thinks, and fights back tears for the Hogwart's Express, burnt to its wheels somewhere between platforms nine and ten. Sorrow turns to rage in an instant: Muggles can't get on the platform; can't find the train. That means some Wizard or Witch is responsible for the destruction of the last symbol of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
She's walking carefully through the station now, waiting for Scorpius to come in from France. Apparition is to risky these days, especially internationally. It's about to get more so; she composes a note in her head detailing the extent of the damage, the obvious involvement of traitor wizards working with the government, and thanks Merlin for her mother's perfect memory and her father's courage. She can't thank them. If she's lucky, she'll never see them again. If not, she'll see them on the telly, moments from execution. Scorpius is less lucky.
It started out so well – the repeal of the Statute of Secrecy years after the fall of the Dark Lord. The measure enjoyed unprecedented support in the Wizengamot, co-sponsored by both faction leaders: Justin Finch-Fletchly representing the majority Integration Party and Draco Malfoy representing the leading minority Traditionalist Party. The Wizards First party, in failing minority since the Dark Lord's fall, stubbornly abstained, but party leader Theo Nott, well into his third pint at the Leaky Cauldron after the vote, admitted the repeal had been all but inevitable.
Scorpius' hair is black now, and his grandfather grumbles that it makes him look common, but Lucius Malfoy has too much to deal with these days to remember the glory days of the Wizarding aristocracy. Running a resistance movement has aged him far beyond his ninety-odd years. Arthur Weasley might roll in his grave if he knew Lucius, his Dark Mark well-faded and tattooed over with a mark far older in origin, was in charge of what was left of the Order of the Phoenix. Not that they call themselves that anymore: a symbol of hope and rebirth has no place in the new order, not even in opposition. They;re an Army these days, and the name that Cho and Ginevra once sang out in defiance of tyranny has never been more appropriate.
Rose actually smiles at that thought, bittersweet though it is. The image of Lucius Malfoy, managing to pose even as secret police closed in, knowing that the footage of his escape would be leaked out to the Muggle internet, is one that gives her enough amusement to power a weak Patronus, if she thought she could get away with casting one here. I'll join you when Hell freezes over, her love's grandfather spat, the resistance's rallying cry ever since Neville fell defending the gates of Hogwarts to the last.
She spies Scorpius now, scowling at soot-covered London as his train approaches. His eyes flicker to her, then behind her. He blinks twice. He knows they've been made. Two men, lounging with black shirts and blacker thoughts, and she knows better than to look at them until Scorpius is off the train. Of course he noticed. He's too much of a Slytherin not to. She's too much of a Gryffindor to care. Her wand is already in her hand, covered under long sleeves. She knows his is waiting too. He breathes in the window, fogging it, and she stifles a laugh as the familiar sign of the Deathly Hallows appears. He's all alone on the train.
Just a few minutes until hell breaks loose, and she can't kid herself: hell broke loose years ago. Never mind that Justin's family had been Anglican since Henry XIII. It hadn't saved him when the fascists swept Parliament on a wave of sudden evangelistic fervor in the aftermath of one terrorist act or another. Magical folk slipped into the list of undesirables somewhere between Anarchists and Muslims, and registration happened quickly thereafter. For only the second time, Justin and Draco agreed on something. Both flat out defied registration. Justin, speaking for the House of Lords, to which he had been kicked upstairs after five years of serving with the Liberal Democrats, proclaimed that he'd seen registration before, and what it led to, and never again. Draco, supported by the few remaining centre-right Tories, spoke eloquently of Britain's history fighting tyranny and reminded any who would listen and a few who couldn't care that the Ministry of Magic had voluntarily disbanded the Wizengamot specifically so all Britons would once again be equal.
Her father-in-law and her mother's friend's defiance fell on deaf ears, and deaf ears is what Rose intends to give the two secret police waiting for her and Scorpius just as soon as her love gets off the train. She sees his slicked head of black hair and her wand is in her hand, shooting off a gravity-blasting curse that cracks in front of her two foes before she even turns around. When she does, there's not even dust to clear. Everything not nailed down in a small radius around where the spell hit is just gone – all except the two coppers, protected by a shimmering force field Rose recognizes as protego horribilis – protection from dark magic.
As the gravity of that hits her, along with the pun, she notices the wand in the younger one's hand, and finally gets a good look at his face in the red light of the stunners Scorpius starts firing out the moment he vaults from the rail coach. John Edgecombe, Rose thinks, processing even as she dives for cover, slicing at the traitor with sectumsempra even as she realizes the dark magic has no hope of passing past the shield of the ex-Ravenclaw she graduated with at Hogwarts not three years ago. Scorpius has the right idea: even if stunners are weaker by far, they're not dark magic and Edgecombe would have to drop the horribilis and put up a standard shield to block them. Her husband is brilliant. Then again, Rose is too.
Now the coppers are firing back, Edgecombe with the all-too-familiar green light of the Killing Curse, the other with what looks to be a Browning of some sort. The white blast of the Muggle firearm contrasts with the darkness of the station and the red and green of the spellwork jarringly, but this is the world they live in now, Rose reminds herself. Shield spells do just fine against bullets, but no point in putting one up now with the Avada Kedavra flying around. It would never last.
There's a flash of green, and Scorpius isn't moving, and Rose can't take it. Her mom and dad are as good as gone, Draco really is gone, Astoria is channeling Bellatrix a little too much these days and Uncle Harry hasn't been seen in weeks. She can't lose Scorpius too, and to use her dad's words, she gets a little scary. Brilliant, but scary. She pops around the corner, wind and magic swirling around her, the first taste of Fiendfyre on her lips, but Edgecombe is on the ground now, his wand scattered, and the older blackshirt is holding another wand on him, the tip still glowing a bit green. Scorpius groans behind her, and she's confused as all hell when the blackshirt raises his wand hand and points his wand at the sky.
"Reductor, if you'd be so kind, Ms. Weasley," he says quietly, and she recognizes Zacharius Smith, cowardly, bitter, arrogant Smith with his wand in the air. "Aim for the wand, if you please," he adds dryly. "I'd prefer to keep using that hand," he says, and Rose remembers now that for all his faults, he's a Hufflepuff, loyal to the end. She obliges him his alibi, and he clutches his hand, bleeding now with shards of wand and missing a finger, but they'll never pin his partner's death on him now, not with the Killing Curse never leaving a mark. Well, except the one, but Uncle Harry is an exception to most rules.
"Better leave now, Ms. Weasley, Mr. Malfoy," Smith gets out as he tears his partner's uniform to bandage his hand. "Don't hate him too much," he adds, gesturing to Edgecombe's corpse. "His mother's high up in the new Ministry; he was scared for her." Rose has heard that before, years ago before her mother and father went into hiding, and she hates the excuse as much now as she did when her dad first told her about his fifth year, but she manages a nod to Smith, clutches Scorpius' hand and they rush out of the station before Smith has to report in.
Rose knows she and Scorpius have to get out of London, but half the world isn't safe anymore. Scorpius shakes his head; he was supposed to meet with the resistance in France, but all he found was a poster of Victoire and Teddy's very public hanging. No funny business with flame-freezing charms these days. The new inquistion is terrifyingly competent. No one's heard from Gabrielle in months. Rose hopes her aunt went underground with Bill and Fleur, but the point of being cut off from everyone is to be cut off from everyone, and her other aunt and uncle can't be reached.
Inevitably, they go to Grimmauld Place, and it's the only way they know Uncle Harry is still alive, because the Fidelius is still active. Albus meets them at the door, face a grim mask.
"Lily was captured," he blurts out, not even waiting for them to get inside. "James went to rescue her. That was three days ago." He's visably worried, and seeing the look of fear on the usually-calm face of the only Slytherin Potter is enough to put Rose's stomach to ice even as her cousin hugs her fiercely and does the same for his old housemate.
They move to the kitchen – somehow, Molly is still there, a fixture in this small calm center of a mad world. She's talking worriedly with Lucius, and Scorpius interrupts to hug his grandfather. That the two eldest members of the resistance speak as close friends these days is a testament to their changed reality, though Rose suspects it has more to do with Draco's death. Molly Weasley knows what it's like to lose a child. After all, she's lost three of them, and maybe four – nobody actually knows where George is these days.
"Rose, dear, there's tea on," Molly says. "You look like you need it," she doesn't have to add. They all look like hell these days. Rose pours herself a cup, and one for Scorpius. The telly's flickering in the other room, and she finds Uncle Charlie watching it intently. The dragons are all gone these days, but Charlie has other strange animals to wrangle, like desperate revolutionaries, ex-Death Eaters and Muggleborns and it's all old hat to him now, but some days he can't get off the couch for being overwhelmed. He's holding an old wooden flute, the last one Hagrid carved before he and Grawp went into hiding, and he can't tear his face from the screen. Rose hands him her tea and start's drinking Scorpius'.
"Rose," Charlie says affectionately, his eyes never leaving. "Look." She watches, and her heart stops. James and Lily are on the screen now, eyes red with tears, and the camera pulls back to reveal the ropes around their necks as they stand on the platform in Trafalgar Square. She counts thirteen twists of rope and is, for the first time, glad that Aunt Ginny is two years dead and will never have to see this happen. She forces herself to watch as the gleeful reporter counts down with the hangman, three, two, one, and then James and Lily disappear from view, dropped below the level of the platform as the gallows ropes both snap at once. The camera zooms in, and for the first time in weeks, she allows herself to hope.
He's standing there on the platform, a blazing look of determination in his eyes that Rose swears must have been gifted to him by his wife before she died, the Master of Death, half invisible with his Cloak rippling around him and his hair wild, dual-wielding holly and yew with the power of the Elder Wand behind them. Both wands are glowing, and for once, she knows her uncle doesn't mind the shock and awe the crowd must feel that Harry Potter is standing before them. Round after round flies from government-issued assault rifles, but Harry doesn't blink, just levitates James and Lily, alive, shocked, from the space beneath the gallows as two protego shielding charms appear from both sides of the platform. Rose brings her hand to her throat. She feared seeing her parents on the gallows, but she could live with this. She watched her parents shove wands into James and Lily's hands, watches them turn on the spot and hears twin cracks downstairs. Harry's brought the anti-Apparition wards on the square down, and she can see the look of triumph in his eyes as his eldest and his youngest flee to safety.
Her uncle, her mum and her dad stand closer together, as the shield charms fade the Golden Trio bring wands together into a massive display of fire, and even through the telly she can hear the phoenix song. The fire rises into a triangle, a circle in the center and a line bisecting it, and Rose smiles once more as Uncle Charlie grips her arm in excitement. Scorpius, Lucius, Albus and Molly are all behind them now, watching, and the last thing she hears, over the phoenix song and the roar of the flames of the burning gallows, are Harry, Ron and Hermione bellowing the name of the resistance as they dissappear, not with the crack of apparition but the joyful blast of phoenix fire.
Their voices are thick with the names of the fallen, of all those who fought for Wizardkind. Harry's voice echoes with Ginny, Draco, Neville, Victoire and Teddy. Ron channels Horace Slughorn, Oliver Wood, Hannah Abbott, Theo Nott and Gregory Goyle. Hermione's cry brings memories of Justin, of Minerva McGonagall, of her parents and of Dudley Dursley, who spoke up against the tyranny and then disappeared. All three cry out for Hogwarts, and the world, watching, knows what they're saying to the registration committee, to the tyrants, to the genocide and a world gone mad:
We'll join you when Hell freezes over. Dumbledore's Army!