Funny how she'd never worried when he was just the Secret-Keeper and 6th year Sergeant for Gryffindor, even though the former was, really, a more crucial task to all of their survival than the Commander's own. Maybe it was seeing him like this – soft lit by the furtive glow of clandestine wands in an unused classroom with tousled hair, a ragged Star Wars tshirt and Superman pajama bottoms – but he looked no older than thirteen. Her baby brother's age, even if Colin was as fair as Daniel was dark.

She had come here with the speech prepared on her lips that with the older ones gone, they had an obligation to the rest of them to let it go, to not lose more, but now the words stuck her tongue dry to the roof of her mouth. There was nothing in those intense blue eyes that brooked retreat, nor would there be any hope of the same to be found in the stocky, immovable fortress of a girl that stood stalwart next to him in stealthless yellow.

Jennifer's heart fluttered in hysterical silence against her ribs, her vision blurred in a moment of pleasewecan'twhatareyouthinkingthey'vealreadytakensomany...but then there was a cool, bloodless hand on her arm and nothing childish at all about the tone of the boy who maybe was more a young man than she'd thought. "We won't lose more. That's a promise. My brother's in this school too, same as yours, and I'm all he has."

He paused, his face locking hers and burning her vision clear again. "But you and Rowan; I need you. I need my officers, or everything and everyone we've already lost is for nothing." Another pause, searching her. She couldn't breathe. "Do I have you? Do we have you?"

The voice was a stranger's, the desperate bird caged in her chest, and she wondered idly if after all that had happened this year, this numbed iron of nothing left to loseand everything to lose it for was what courage felt like as she heard herself answer. "Of course, Commander. Me and everything Ravenclaw has left."