It was slightly chilly in my dormitory that night. The window next to my bed absolutely refused to close, so cold autumn breezes were sure to disturb me while I was sleeping. I was forced to do my homework with an irritating runny nose.
I scribbled some random words onto my charms essay with my now worn-down quill. The quill could not stand all the writing I was required to do with it—too bad it was my only quill. Sixth year, as expected, required lots of homework. It didn't help that I was extremely nervous about the upcoming D.A meeting as well. The nagging thought that we would be found out wouldn't go away.
I glanced at the clock perched on my bedside table—it was 8 o'clock, and the D.A meeting would take place at 10.
I sighed, closing my textbook and gathering up all of my books and parchment, and slipped them into my trunk. Apart from the fact I was exhausted, I was nervous. Getting to the Room of Requirement was a task itself, with Death Eaters guarding every corner of the castle.
I looked around curiously for the source of the sound, and saw that there was a silhouette of an owl at the window. I rushed to the window helped Errol through the gap, which wasn't too hard since the old owl was one of the skinniest I'd ever seen.
The ancient owl collapsed with exhaustion onto my bed, wings tiredly drooping. He had a letter attached to his leg, and I untied it quickly, smoothing it out onto my lap. It was from Mum:
I do hope you're alright. I hope you're not doing anything dangerous. I know perfectly well that you can be quite reckless at times. I advise you not to do so. Make sure you're not doing anything to get in trouble. I repeat- do nothing to get you into trouble.
Your father and I are currently in a state of worry-not like that's anything new, dear, we'll handle- his salary has reached a record low. I hope you're getting decent meals at Hogwarts, as we can't afford proper food here at home. Please don't worry, we'll manage.
Make sure you're keeping up some effort in school work; you'll need all those skills later on, especially in times like these.
Again, be very careful. I don't want anyone to harm you for being careless.
Lots of love,
I suddenly felt even guiltier than before. Here I was being extremely reckless, not just endangering myself, but my family as well. Then again, I had sworn my loyalty to Dumbledore's Army. This was a risk worth taking, I thought, trying to convince myself.
I quickly replied,
Everything's fine, you don't have to worry about me. The Hogwarts food is fine, and my grades are going well. I'm sorry to hear that you're so tight on money.
I knew it was a rushed response, but what else could I say? I obviously couldn't tell her about Dumbledore's Army, an illegal organization that would almost certainly get me expelled or killed.
I quickly pushed the thought out of my mind. I had to stop being so negative about the D.A. It was all for the best, no matter how risky it was.
I yawned, and collapsed onto my bed next to Errol, who was already sleeping. The meeting was two hours away; it wouldn't hurt to take a short nap, would it? I felt so comfortable under my warm blanket, I couldn't resist. Just a short nap…nothing would happen…
I yawned sleepily as my eyes opened, and I found it strange that there wasn't any sunlight poking at my eyes. Shouldn't it be morning already? There was also a strange, nagging feeling at the back of my head that I had forgotten something.
I pulled of my covers, grabbed my wand, and muttered lumos under my breath so that I could see the clock. It was 11 o'clock in the night.
With a jolt, I realized what I was missing: The D.A meeting. I cursed myself for being so careless; the meeting was probably halfway through already.
I quietly rushed out of my dormitory, hoping not to wake Lauren and Tristan, who would surely raise questions as to why I was leaving after curfew.
I quickly exited through the portrait hole, waking the Fat Lady who started complaining about students constantly waking her up, and I ignored her.
The Room of Requirement was so frustratingly far away from the Gryffindor common room. I walked cautiously through the corridors, not believing my luck that I had not seen any Death Eaters yet. But when I turned a corner, I stopped at the sight of two Death Eaters who were standing guard at the seventh floor corridor—right where the Room of Requirement was.
Now I would never get to the meeting, I concluded. I had just started to make my way back to the common room, but I almost screamed at the sight of Peeves the Poltergeist zooming off into the corridor, hovering right over the Death Eaters.
"Get away, Peeves!" the first Death Eater said, and although he seemed to be attempting boldness, I could see his frightened expression. His wand was pointed shakily at Peeves, who merely cackled at the sight of him. Perhaps these two Death Eaters had an earlier experience with Peeves.
"Look at the naughty Death Eaters, walking 'round the school like they own the place! But Peevsie knows better, they're stupid little gits!" he cackled, pulling out a straw and loading it with gum. When he blew, the gum zoomed up the Death Eater's nose with great force.
The other Death Eater laughed at him, but he wasn't for long. Another wad of gum zoomed forcefully into his ear. He pulled out his own wand and pointed it threateningly at Peeves. "I'm warning you Peeves! No more funny business!"
"But the fun has just begun!" Peeves cackled gleefully blowing at his straw again, and more wads of gum started attacking the Death Eaters, most likely enchanted to cause pain.
The Death Eaters covered their heads, running away Peeves and out of sight. I never thought I'd see the day I'd thank Peeves. Then again, those two Death Eaters must have been the stupidest of the lot.
When I was sure that the Death Eaters and Peeves were well out of sight, I rushed to the spot where the Room of Requirement was supposed to be. I remembered the words that Neville had told me to recite in my head.
I need a place for the D.A to practice that cannot be accessed by supporters of Death Eaters, I thought in my head. I looked up hopefully, and a large, elegant brass door appeared in front me.
I opened the door, revealing all the D.A members practicing defense and offense. Everyone looked startled at the sight of the door opening, but when they saw that it was only me, they continued with whatever they were doing.
"Ginny, you're here!" Nevile said happily.
"Sorry I'm late, I accidentally fell asleep," I said, hoping that Neville wouldn't mind.
"That's okay, I've done that before. I missed charms class." he laughed.
"So, what's everyone practicing?" I asked.
"Stunning. I'm surprised at how much everyone's improved since the last D.A meeting," he said. "Oh, and by the way, Hannah wants to be your practice partner."
Sure enough, Hannah looked ecstatic to see me. I liked to call her the ever-cheerful Hufflepuff. We had been friendly towards each other ever since the first D.A meeting two years ago.
"Hi Ginny!" she smiled, leading me towards a practice mat.
"Hello, Hannah. Do you want to go first?" I said politely.
"Okay," she said determinedly. "Stupefy!"
It had a pretty weak affect on me—I only froze for about two seconds.
"Oh, no, that wasn't very good…" she said.
"No, that was great Hannah! You just have to flick your wrist a little like this," I said, demonstrating.
"Oh, okay! I'll try again," she nodded, and once again pointed her wand at me with a very determined look on her face. Her wand was raised, but she didn't do anything. She looked mesmerized, and was staring a far distance from me.
I looked at where she was staring, and saw Neville helping a fifth year with his spell. I looked from Neville to Hannah, smiling with realization.
"Hannah!" I said loudly, and she appeared to be woken from her trance.
"Wha-what?" she blushed.
"What were you staring at?" I asked playfully.
"Nothing." she said firmly.
"You like Neville, don't you?" I said with a knowing smile. I've always suspected it; the way she looked at him, the way she talked to him—I even heard Lavender and Parvati giggling about it during breakfast once.
Hannah flushed. "Fine, I'll admit it. I do like him, but don't tell him!"
"I won't, I promise." I said truthfully.
"It's just…I've liked him even when he was a klutzy, accident-prone kid. You know, like an adorable teddy bear. I hated it when that Malfoy and his gang made fun of him, because Neville's always been such a good person. And now he's just so brave and handsome all of a sudden…" Hannah said dreamily.
"I'm sure he likes you back." I said.
"But…I thought he liked you." she blinked.
"What? No, Hannah, we're just friends! You know I like Harry." I said, even though, at the moment, I wasn't too happy with Harry for not telling me anything while he went off to save the world, like he usually does.
Hannah seemed very cheerful all of a sudden.
"Alright guys, stop whatever you're doing, it's time to go." Neville announced. "I've appointed each house a leader that will guide you to your common rooms without being caught by Death Eaters. Gryffindor will be led by me, Hufflepuff will be led by Ernie, and Ravenclaw will be led by Luna."
Luna looked quite proud about being leader of the Ravenclaws, but other Ravenclaws including Michael and Terry seemed to be quite uncomfortable with the arrangement.
The doors of the Room of Requirement opened, and as quiet as mice, we exited.
The Ravenclaws eventually turned right, and the Hufflepuffs had to go downstairs. Unfortunately, the Gryffindor common room was the farthest from the Room of Requirement. We had to make about three detours due to Death Eaters guarding a corridor. But we eventually made it to the portrait of the Fat Lady with everyone in one piece. The Fat Lady yawned and blinked a few times until she noticed about fifteen Gryffindors standing in front of her. "Oh my, what are you all doing here in the middle of the night?" she asked suspiciously.
"Never mind that, crescent moon!" Neville said impatiently.
She glared at us as we entered the portrait hole to the common room. The Fat Lady was known not to tell anyone about nighttime wanderings, and I highly doubted she would tell anyone with Snape as headmaster.
"That went well, didn't it? I told you everything would be fine, didn't I?" Neville said smugly.
"For now it did." I said.
"Stop being so negative." Neville frowned.
"I'm being realistic." I said firmly.
"Of course you are," Neville laughed, heading to the seventh year boys' dormitory.
Perhaps re-creating the D.A wasn't a bad idea after all. Maybe it was worth the risk.
Author's Note: If you like this story, PLEASE check out the official version! The official version has more chapters and is always updated first! It has graphics too! To check out the official version, please click my profile and there will be a link. The link leads you to a different harry potter fanfiction site and it has Staying Strong on there. PLEASE check out the official version, it's better!