ABERCROMBIE, EUAN ROY
B. May 19 1983
D. May 2, 1998
Harry Potter had been the Triwizard Champion the very first year he was at Hogwarts.
He tried not to be like Dennis, fawning all over him and taking pictures and talking about him like some silly witch with a crush, but secretly, Harry was just about the most amazing thing he had ever imagined. It wasn't all the Boy Who Lived stuff, either. You-Know-Who's reign had been over years before he was born, and the adults never really talked about it, so to him, honestly, the lightning-shaped scar was just that. A lightning-shaped scar. Looked pretty neat, though. Kind of undid how stupid it was that he wore glasses.
There had been all kinds of argument that Harry had cheated, that he didn't belong in the Tournament to begin with, that he'd gotten his name into the Goblet of Fire by bribing an older student, but none of that really mattered to Euan. When it had first started going around, he was way too busy just trying to adjust to going to a wizarding school in the first place to care at all, but then the First Task had come, and it became a moot point completely, because that…well, that had just been bad-ass.
Out-flying a Hungarian Horntail? When Viktor Krum hadn't even dared try that? Oh, come on. How could a kid not be impressed?
He already had the slot saved for Harry's card. Euan had been collecting chocolate frog cards since he was barely five years old, and he was one of only two people he'd met in his whole life who had the entire set. Not only did he have them all, but they were still in perfect condition, magically sealed into neat little sleeves in a binder he kept locked in his trunk under every protective spell he knew. His dad had helped at first, but every time he learned a new one, he added it. Just in case. Six year-old brothers had sticky stuff on their hands way too often to take chances. But right there, between Pombridge and Povington, there was a blank space. Potter. He just knew it. Probably even before he was twenty, at the rate he was going, and wouldn't that be incredible? Youngest chocolate frog card wizard ever?
Privately, he thought that would be a lot more amazing than youngest Seeker in a hundred years or youngest Triwizard Champion. Frog cards lasted, after all. His dad still had a bunch from when he was a kid. And a lot more people saw them, too.
He was a lot more open about his admiration of Harry at home, where he knew he wouldn't get compared to the Creeveys, so it had been a nasty shock when his father took him aside a week before he started his second year. "Euan," he had explained gently, "there's something you need to understand about the Potter boy…he's been famous ever since he was a baby, and last year, with the Tournament, he got to be really famous. And a lot of people like that. There are bad things and good things about being in the spotlight, but it's exciting, and it makes you feel important, and Potter…well, I think he's afraid people won't pay as much attention to him now that the Triwizard's over, so he's started telling a lot of lies to make sure they keep paying attention. I want you to understand that he's still a kid, even though he's older than you, so he might not realize how very serious it is what he's doing, but I don't want you getting caught up in or scared by anything he says. It's still wrong."
But his dad had been the one who was wrong. His dad and everyone else who thought Harry was lying, because it was all true. You-Know-Who had come back. Cedric Diggory hadn't been killed in an accident, and now even his dad was searching the Prophet every day, looking for news of Harry, hoping he was still alive, calling him The Chosen One.
Everyone, even Neville, thought Harry was their only real hope now that things had gotten so bad, and Euan never would have admitted to anyone in the world that he thought any different. But he did. Well, not thought, really. More like dreamed. In those dreams, it was the D.A. that wound up winning it for real. They'd take down all the Death Eaters, leave You-Know-Who alone and make him run again, and Harry would thank them personally when he got his frog card. He'd say he could never have done it without them, that they'd all been so brave, so tough, and he'd maybe even pick out a couple of the most courageous by name. Euan wanted to be one of those.
He was fourteen now, the same age Harry had been in the Triwizard, and maybe he couldn't out-fly a Hungarian Horntail, but he'd worked hard. Oh, he'd worked hard, and he privately thought he was probably the best in his year now. The last time the D.A. had all drilled together, he'd been one of the Death Eaters, and he still grinned when he remembered that he and Sloper had pinned Ernie Macmillan in the Charms classroom. He himself had nailed the older wizard right in the face with a really good jinx…and Ernie was a seventh-year, and an officer on top of it! One of Neville's top men! Not to mention about four times his size.
That was something else where he felt like Harry had paved the way, beyond just the idea of being fourteen and a hero. If a scrawny boy with glasses and hair that always looked like he'd slept on it in a bad windstorm could be amazing, then there was no reason he couldn't. He was kind of scrawny himself, and although his hair didn't stick up, it didn't…well, anything, really. It just sat on his head, kind of limp and kind of brown and kind of straight and not at all heroic. Even his Granny simply called him a "sweet-looking boy," and if it weren't for Harry, he wouldn't think that you could be a hero if you didn't look the part at least a little.
It was really easy to consider the officers as heroes. Ginny and Luna were so beautiful that he couldn't even look at them without his head coming apart and all kinds of increasingly bizarre and distracting reactions from his body. Ernie was a Hufflepuff, and that was kind of lame, but he had a body that every boy in the D.A. envied desperately, and he'd seen him actually bend back the iron bars on a broken window during an exercise once. Neville he'd never really even noticed while Harry was there, but he was tall and strong and confident, half the witches had crushes on him, and rumor had it that he was so tough that he'd been the only one left standing at the Ministry with Harry, and that he'd actually taken down a Death Eater wandless and left him permanently blinded.
They would all be so surprised. He could close his eyes and see it, and it helped a lot when he was tired or sore or scared or bordering on hopeless from how much hell Snape and the Carrows were always getting away with. Ginny – or maybe Luna, or maybe even Lavender – would be pinned down by three…no, six of You-Know-Who's most elite Death Eaters. Neville and Ernie would be fighting somewhere else, they would have no hope of rescue, and then he would be there, and they would be so grateful…but nevermind. It just got silly after that.
Still, he'd be a hero, that much he was sure of. That wasn't a fantasy. If Harry could do it at fourteen and nothing-special-looking, so could he.
It almost worked out that way, too. He'd pulled back into the castle with McGonagall, and there were Death Eaters everywhere, and he was holding his own. Euan could scarcely believe that he wasn't even afraid, but there wasn't any chance to be. It was too mad, too thrilling, too incredible to actually be terrifying, because you could only really be afraid of something that your mind could wrap itself around as happening, and this was so much more surreal than that.
Things even looked dream-like, with the dust so thick everywhere and the flashes and bangs and people appearing and disappearing out of the heavy mist of destruction. Then he had heard a witch scream, and it was Lavender, and he hadn't even hesitated.
Part of the balcony had fallen at some point, and she had been backed over the edge while dueling. She hung now, dangling by her fingers, her legs kicking uselessly at thin air, and the Death Eater was leaning over her, ready to stomp her hands or hex her or – Euan charged forward, roaring a challenge as his wand swept down fiercely. His curse struck directly in the middle of the black-robed back, and the enemy stiffened, toppled to one side.
Lavender was trying to pull herself up, but she kept slipping, and he dropped to his knees, reaching out to grab her by both arms. She was heavier than he had imagined – it always seemed like the older boys could pick up witches like they didn't weigh anything, but she had to weigh at least a hundred and ten, a hundred and fifteen pounds, and that was almost as much as he did. He was sliding forward, but he braced himself, leaned over, hauled back…and there was an awful, sudden cracking noise.
Euan had only a split-second of understanding what had just happened, and then the rest of the balcony gave, and he was flung head-first into nothingness. He would never know that when the chocolate frog card came out for the D.A., his name was near the very top. He would never know that Neville had asked for them to be listed in alphabetical order.
His father cried for a week.