By Your Side
Disclaimer: I solemnly swear I do not own the published masterpiece of Harry Potter. I also do not write and publish this story to earn any sort of profit. I simply do it because I need to.
Claimer: I do, however, own and take full responsibility for this twisted story.
Beta read by Arithmancy Master.
Ten Thousand Ways to Lose
It was a sticky, hot summer morning, a heavy feeling hanging in the air. The sky was darkened by moody clouds, painting it in different shades of grey, sheltering the ground completely from the brilliance of the sun. The heat was sweltering, oppressive – bordering on depressive. Any moment now, a thunder crack would sound and the ground would be covered by piercing needles of ice cold water.
But not yet.
First, the wind would come – engulfing the entire village in a breezy storm, easing the heat somewhat, although it wouldn't be able to sweep the oppressive feeling away.
There was a skinny figure walking the gravel road up towards a lavish mansion on the top of the hill – his ruby red cloak billowing dramatically in the wind, the gravel complaining loudly from under his black dragon-hide boots. His raven black bangs moved like wings in the storm, sweeping over his pale, handsome features – obscuring and revealing his gleaming, light green eyes from view. They were sparkling with emotion – shining like stars on a clear black sky.
In his right hand he held his weapon, his wand, in a tight grip. He would not hesitate – this was something that had to be done.
He stormed up the stairs to the front door. As soon as it was opened for him the clouds were finally torn apart by a mighty lightning bolt and the world was lit up for a couple of heart beats, putting Harry's slim form into a moment of spotlight, showing his resolute expression to the world. Then, it all went dark and the rain poured down from the swirling clouds above.
Harry stepped past a gaping Mr Bryce without a word and hurried along the hallway, up the grand staircase and into the well-filled library – where he knew his target should be. And sure enough, lazily draped over a burgundy velvet divan lay Tom, his black button-up shirt rolled up at the sleeves, his long fingered hands flipping through the pages of a heavy, dark covered book in his lap.
At Harry's entrance he looked up, locking eyes with the other, a small smile curling the corners of his mouth. "He comes unannounced," he said in a soft voice, snapping the book shut to stand up, bowing sarcastically at the waist while still keeping eye contact. "What a surprise."
"I'm full of surprises," Harry answered with a leer, the spark in his eyes turning wilder still as he raised his wand into an offensive position. His grin became even wider as he noticed his target's hand twitch involuntary, clearly itching to reach for a wand of its own. But it lay on the circular table in the middle of the room, Harry had noticed at once, and was unquestionably out of reach.
"This is a long time coming," he hissed out threateningly, watching with glee as the other narrowed his eyes suspiciously and tensed up all the way from his calves up to the back of his neck.
Harry sniggered mockingly and fired off a stinging curse in his target's direction, the spell narrowly missing as Tom jumped away from the beam just in time. The other hex hit its target perfectly, making him hiss angrily as pain rippled through his right arm and down to the tips of his fingers. Harry smirked at him and raised his eyebrows in question. Tom set his jaw firmly.
They stood staring at each other for a couple of heart beats – the thunder storm crackled outside, breaking the heavy silence residing in the lavish room.
Just as Harry raised his wand again to fire of another painful curse they were interrupted by heavy panting from the doorway. "Mr Potter, please, your shoes – they're leaving a mud track!" Bryce grunted between breaths and Harry groaned inwardly; there went his upper-hand.
Tom realized this too and didn't waste any time before taking advantage. "Grab him!" he ordered the butler, whose eyes turned dim at the command. The 58 year old Muggle threw his heavy body in the direction of the wand-wielding wizard, his arms stretched out threateningly. He didn't stand a chance – of course. Both Harry and Tom knew that. But he worked as a nice distraction as Harry had to spend time on stunning him, letting his opponent buy time to go get his wand from off the table.
Bryce fell to the floor with a heavy thump once he was hit with the full body-bind curse, and Harry wasted no time in casting another hex his target's way. But it missed. Tom flew over the floor in a furious sprint and once he reached the table he grabbed his wand with the left hand, a chair backrest with the right, and flipped himself over the table and out of reach from another of Harry's vicious spells.
"We are not playing hide-and-seek, Tommy," Harry drawled mockingly, a cold smirk finding its way onto his lips. As an answer he got a furious red spell shot his way, but he easily side-stepped it, laughing quietly to himself.
"My mistake," Tom answered flippantly and engaged him in a vicious exchange of hexes – the room becoming messier and messier as spells missed their targets in a rapid succession. Tom was wickedly fast dodging and retaliating. Harry worked with shields, blocking the curses while he performed his answering spells with precision, keeping his head cool.
Tom was murmuring a long tirade in Latin, creating beam after beam of scorching hot light crashing against Harry's bright blue shields – being held up by a tirade in Latin of his own – when they were once again interrupted.
"WHAT IS GOING ON IN HERE? BOYS! STOP THIS NONSENSE!"
They both halted for a second, turning around to pierce the wheel-bound Lord Riddle with heartfelt glares, before they continued with new vigour; as if nothing had happened.
They flung themselves all over the room – the table with chairs tumbling around the library as it was hit with spell after spell.
"YOU TWO STOP THIS, RIGHT NOW!" His Lordship tried again, but was completely ignored this time as the two in question were engaged in a vicious duel of water and fire.
"Fine!" he snapped helplessly, turning around to leave. "You better clean up after yourselves," and he was gone.
The wizards paid him no heed but continued their furious duel. Harry was suddenly hit by a heavy beam of water and hurriedly twisted out of his ruby red cloak, leaving him in a soaked long-sleeved dark blue shirt and a pair of black slacks. Tom smirked at his dripping wet form. Harry answered by shooting an answering beam of water, catching the other unaware, and then they both looked like drowned rats.
They proceeded with trying to hit each other with painful curses, spells coming out from the wand-tips faster and faster. Then, Harry finally hit his target and Tom sagged together, clutching his stomach in pain. "Expelliarmus," Harry intoned with a dark leer and the other's wand flew into his waiting hand, landing next to his own.
Tom looked up at him with a calculating expression, breathing heavily. Harry smirked down at him, stepping closer while shaking his head patronizingly. "Such bad, bad luck, Tommy. It seems you are defeated..."
He didn't have time to say anything else, however, before the young man crouching before him made a wild leap, knocking him to the ground and grabbing hold of the both wands while Harry lost his breath as he made impact with the floor.
Next thing he knew, Tom stood over him, a foot placed firmly onto his chest, both wands pointed at his face threateningly.
They looked at each other intently, Harry with narrowed eyes, Tom with a hungry expression.
Then, the other smiled widely and let out a little snigger, taking a step back and lowering the wands.
"Happy birthday, Harry."
The world was not what it once had been.
War had taken over. All over Europe and parts of Asia witches and wizards were fighting for their lives – and beliefs. Grindelwald had invaded and successfully taken over Norway and Sweden (where the dark magic school Durmstrang was located), Denmark, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia – all the way down to Greece with the main base in the heart of Albania. He had used the Muggle war as a smoke screen, covering his attacks. In the midst of battle, no-one really took notice if the ones attacking were firing guns or spells – both alternatives were equally deadly.
The desperation and poverty spread all over Europe worked to his advantage as the chaos put things askew and people generally considered that staying alive was more important than standing up for their rights. Hence, there were a lot of sorcerers fleeing, settling down in Africa or America – some going as far away as they could and running all the way down to Australia.
Then there were those who fought back – staying close to the misery. Britain and Ireland had been kept from harm so far, to the great confusion of most. One would think Grindelwald would want to take hold of Britain from the start – as it held the greatest school of magic in the world. The most influential of witches and wizards congregated there, to make the greatest decisions in the magical world. It was the central part of Europe, in that regard, closely followed by Albania, and then France, that had gone unconquered as well, although, not for want of effort.
France was also an attractive spot for witchcraft, with its magical school Beauxbatons and it being the only country in Europe, if not the world, where over 50 % of the magical population consisted of Veela. Italy came as a close second, but France was no doubt the country with the vast majority.
On the other hand, Albania had a magical population of about 77 % of vampires and the remainder almost exclusively consisted of dark sorcerers. And Grindelwald was a dark wizard. He'd quite obviously focused on the darker parts of Europe to build up an army before he would take on the lighter countries – at least, that was the general suspicion and gossip going on all around Britain.
Most adult sorcerers had been called in by the ministry to fight. No matter what they worked with beforehand – everyone was expected to join the forces.
The Potters had been called in as well, of course, and were standing proudly in the midst of it all, fighting to let the good prevail. Fighting for a free Europe.
Harry's parents, who had before the war been ministry employees, were now knights of the British army. Aunt Katherine, who had been part of the Wizengamot, was a higher ranked field marshal taking orders directly from the Minister for Magic himself. Uncle Leonard, previously a well-known chef working in Diagon Alley, was now also a knight, working alongside with his nephew Harold and his daughter in law – Dorea Potter, Charlus' wife since three years back. They had a one year old son together, Daniel, the sole reason why Charlus himself had managed to stay out of the battle thus far.
He was glad to be left out of it, one could tell. He adored his son and spoiled him rotten, keeping him close at all times. Because of the war Dorea and Charlus hadn't gotten themselves a home of their own yet but were living with Uncle Leonard and Aunt Katherine in Little Hangleton still. The little baby had gotten Lora's room for his own as his 17 year-old aunt had moved over to her grandmother's house in Godric's Hollow to keep her company.
Two years ago, Grandpa James had died. He'd been 75 years old by then and had simply collapsed unexpectedly at the dining table one evening to never wake up again. Grandma Arabella had taken the loss extremely badly and had sunken down into depression at the loss of her life-long companion. She had aged abnormally fast and now looked to be over 90 years old although she was in fact barely 76. She had become delirious, had lost her grip on reality.
With Lora for company she made it through the weeks, but she was not much more than a shell of the witch she'd once been, her milky white eyes having darkened over the months to land on a dirty beige colour, making her skin look even more dusty, grey and horribly wrinkly than it already was.
The other parts of her family tried to keep her company as much they could as well. Harry spent most of his days nearby, jumping between his home and his grandmother's house in the Hollow – sometimes staying the night as well, to let Lora have some time on her own then and again.
Charlus and Daniel came over quite often as well, but the baby was very fussy and cried a lot, giving their dear grandmother headaches, so they rarely stayed longer than a few hours before they called it a day.
Harry liked the new little addition to the family and gladly carried him around, feeding and playing with him to relieve Charlus from his duties. The young father looked very worn out most of the time and Harry suspected he rarely got to sleep all night through since the baby kept waking him up at all odd hours to be fed or have his diaper changed.
That, and the additional burden of his wife and parents being at war, in constant danger, meant it was, no doubt, a tough time for Charlus. Harry knew it was, being in a similar position himself, with the rest of his family fighting for the good, while he sat on his bum doing nothing. It was slowly killing him. He wanted to fight as well! To be out there doing some good. As of now, he was useless, and he hated it! But every time he tried to convince his parents to let him join the army as well and skip his last year of studies they would scream at him and berate him for even thinking about it. They wanted him safe, they said, and that he wasn't ready yet. As if he couldn't take care of himself! He was 17 years old by now, how much more ready could he get?
But so far, he was out of luck and would, very grudgingly, return to Hogwarts in a few weeks' time.
Someone who wasn't sharing his heated feelings of wanting to throw himself into immediate danger was Tom. He was happy where he was – locked up safely in his lavish mansion, with servants and a doting father giving him whatever he wanted.
His uncle, Morfin Gaunt, was one of those unlucky people who had perished due to the war. Not in battle, mind you, no – the troll-like man had held no patriotic feelings what so ever. Actually, his hate for the magical society and the ministry of magic itself had been so fierce that once he'd gotten his regimental letter, telling him to join forces, he'd right out refused and ignored them all. Soon, there had been aurors at his door, trying and talk some sense into him. They were all swiftly killed off by the enraged man, who soon after that became a sought after criminal, chased by an angry horde of knights fighting for the good. He would not give up, would not let himself get caught and imprisoned, and was soon after that killed by the angry mob of sorcerers.
He'd left all his possessions to his nephew, although Tom hadn't cared much for them – the man barely owned anything at all except the run down shack deep in the forest. The only thing of value had been the family ring he'd carried around at all times, and it now sat snugly wrapped around Tom's right handed index-finger, the gold of the ring and the onyx gem carefully polished until it shone brilliantly in its cleanliness.
All the men of the mansion, except for the injured butler Mr Bryce, had been called in to serve in the Muggle war against the Nazi. That left four housemaids, a cook and two gardeners' wives, who had had to step in instead of their husbands who were off fighting. The stables were taken care of by the gardeners' wives with occasional help from the busy housemaids – a shaky, but necessary solution.
The family only had four horses left, as it was as much they had time and resources for at the moment. Lord Riddle sometimes managed to bully his son into riding them, but it was tough work – Tom didn't care in the least about the animals after all. In fact, he'd rather they'd get rid of them altogether instead of having to keep up the hard work of taking care of them. They held less than no value to him, quite obviously.
Sometimes, some young boys from the village came up the hill to ride the horses, keeping them in shape somewhat, but they were very scared of running into Tom and rarely stuck around.
Harry had taken pity on them and tried to talk his friend into treating the poor kids better, but had only gotten a contemplating smirk in response before Tom threw him onto the back of a horse and declared that he'd stop if Harry rode the animals instead of him.
He had given it a good try, but it was much more difficult than it seemed. The horse had a strong will of its own, and he wasn't like Tom who could command it to do what he wanted it to. It didn't take long before the horse drove its hooves deep into the dirt and refused to move however hard Harry pinched it in the sides with his heels.
"Alright, I can't do this!" he'd exclaimed in outrage and jumped off of the horseback, while his friend stood leering superciliously at him. Tom would get to keep playing with the Muggles – he'd won.
Another great change to the life at the Riddle mansion was that Thomas and Mary Riddle no longer lived there. After the drawn out legal process due to the asylum incident, they'd got freed of all charges as the judge found they'd handled the situation well. Tom was about to be taken right back into the mental institution before the Ministry of Magic stepped in and obliviated everyone who had been a part of the case. Lady Mary and Lord Thomas had been allowed back home, although they were put under stiff surveillance, and soon cracked under the pressure of sorcerers checking up on them as well as Tom and Morfin giving them hell on a daily basis. It was with great relief Tom Riddle Sr could at last send them off to a nearby rest-home, where they now lived, oblivious to the world around them.
Tom's father was therefore the squire of Little Hangleton by now, the so called Lord, and was also addressed as such. Harry had taken to teasingly call him "His Lordship", like the servants did, since they'd once agreed it'd be confusing if he called both his best friend and his father by their proper names. At least, that was his excuse for fooling around. Lord Riddle had found it increasingly amusing, although he'd thought it uncomfortable at first. Tom had argued Harry could start calling him "my lord" and use the godforsaken name Tom for his father instead. The others had just laughed at him, to his great chagrin.
Somebody else who did not share Harry's feeling of wanting to fight was Lora. She was happy to stay out of it, preferring to take care of her grandmother and babysit her nephew before anything else. She looked forwards to the school year, dead set on at last finding the school kitchens, although she'd been utterly unsuccessful so far. But things were looking up, for she'd gotten a hot tip from one of her Hufflepuff friends. He'd told her the kitchens were located somewhere in the basements not far from their common room, although he wouldn't disclose where that was hidden. He'd said she should look out for a painting of a fruit bowl and tickle the pear once she found it. She couldn't wait to try it out. Harry found her utterly silly, but adorably cute at the same time.
Something that wasn't just as adorable was something which had happened to Harry over time ever since flying back through time. It had to be some sort of disease – but the healers couldn't find what was wrong with him. All of them only frowned at him, as if he was making it all up, and explained that the only explanation they could find would be that his symptoms originated from the odd curse scar he had on his forehead.
Harry damned them all to hell for stating the obvious.
Of course his furious headaches and weird dreams were related to the scar Voldemort had so kindly given him. Question was, why now? What had changed? Why did he suffer in pain after all this time? And what could be done about it? So far, the healers gave him no answers.
And it had gotten worse as he got older. By now, the pain was so fierce at times he fainted from it. It was horrible – it made him feel weak, as if he couldn't take care of himself. It felt like something was crawling under his skin, something he couldn't put his finger on, and it both angered and frightened him.
It was so infuriating he was consumed by fits of anger at times. Screaming, raging at little things, silly things that just riled him up for no reason at all.
He hated it; mainly because he had no idea whatsoever what to do about it. He wasn't in control, and there was no help to get.
He was left to figure it out on his own. And so far – he was out of luck.
They had decided to go through the attic of Grandma Bella's cottage in Godric's Hollow. They were supposed to be downstairs, helping Charlus cook dinner, but they'd decided to go on a much needed adventure instead. It wasn't that they were neglecting their duties – no! They'd actually taken baby Daniel with them, and he had the time of his life, crawling around playing with old bracelets and necklaces he'd found in a dusty jewellery box.
Lora had rummaged through Grandma Bella's old clothing boxes and found a couple of old-fashioned garments she tried on in front of a dusty, golden-rimmed mirror. Harry mostly thought the clothes made her look silly – with their puffy arms, laced up waist-parts and skirts that were very short at the front and so long in the back they were lugging the slopes.
Harry himself had gone through the old boxes of books lining the wall, and had soon tripped over a stack of photo-albums. Some of them were of the Potters, others of the Linwoods. The oldest one ranged as far back as to 1846 – almost 100 years ago. Sadly, there were no names of explanations written along with the pictures, so there were no way for Harry to know who the people in the photos were, although he could clearly see which ones were his relatives and who was not. Or, at least he imagined he could.
There was a photo of a toddler with jet black hair and wobbly knees – no doubt a young Grandpa James. He was being taught how to walk by a young man, looking much like him, although he stood out strikingly with his blonde hair. In the frame next to it the little toddler was held and cuddled by his mother, a very pretty and well dressed witch. Harry smiled broadly as he caught sight of her wild mop of shoulder-length black hair billowing around the neck-line of her beautiful, dark green dress. This was obviously the woman who had brought the Potter trademark windswept hair into the mix.
Next was one of the Linwood albums, which turned out to be from Grandma Bella's youth. Harry didn't see his grandmother at first, but when he did, he had to make a double-take. She was beautiful! And tall! She had curly, wild hair pulled up into a charming hairdo under a little pointy witch hat. She stood grinning widely next to a grown man who was probably her father; behind them was a great waterfall in a surrounding of lush vegetation. Harry thought he could spot a gorilla in the background and mused over if they could possibly be on vacation to the Victoria Falls.
There was something off about the young woman in the pictures, though, and Harry frowned deeply as he thought about it. He flipped pages, revealing a portrait photo of her, and suddenly it all clicked.
Her eyes! They were dark. In the black and white frame they looked dark grey – clearly not blue white as they had used to be before the death of her husband.
"Hey, Lora –" he started but cut himself off as he caught sight of her. She was currently trying on a dark green, handsome dress. One he'd seen just recently: it was the dress Grandpa James' mother had worn in her youth. It fit his cousin like a glove.
"I like this one," she stated in a happy voice. "Don't you agree? D'you reckon gran's gonna let me use it?" She made a little twirl to show the dress of, and Harry had to agree he liked it too.
"It's pretty," he said and Lora brightened up like a sun, grinning widely. "It belonged to Grandpa James' mother – look!" he said, holding the photo album up for her to see.
"Really?" she said in wonder, coming closer, squinting down at the picture. "Wow, she was a beauty, wasn't she?"
"Yeah," Harry agreed, smiling softly as he privately thought about how much Lora looked like the woman she'd just called a beauty. "Hey, I found something," he said, remembering his previous thought.
"What?" Lora asked, picking a whining Daniel up into her lap as she settled next to her cousin, leaning against an old wardrobe next to the boxes of books.
"Look," Harry said and held up the portrait of their teenage grandmother. "Her eyes, they're dark. Why is that?"
Sadly, Lora didn't have any good answers to that. They looked through the pictures some more but soon had to give up because Daniel was making a fuss. They made it downstairs just in time for dinner, it would appear, as Charlus met them half way. He readily took his son out of his sister's arms and started humming a soft tune to the baby who immediately calmed down hearing it.
At the dining table they found Grandma Bella, wrapped up in blankets, waiting as the plates and pots settled onto the table in front of her. She got a glimmer of intelligence in her eyes once she caught sight of Lora and what she was wearing. She made no delay in asking for permission to use the dress and was twinkling hopefully at her thoughtful grandmother, who looked back with an adoring expression and a mischievous little grin.
"Emma would have loved for you to have it. She wore it a lot, I remember... it is probably worn out in the seams..."
"Why don't you let the tailor have a look at it on your shopping trip for school supplies tomorrow?" Charlus injected and they all agreed to the idea.
"Grandma Bella, in the attic, I found something else..." Harry said once everyone had had a serving of the steaming hot food. "You see, there were these pictures – and they were black and white, so I'm not sure! But, it looked like you had another eye colour when you were young... Well, did you?"
The old lady stared at him as if he had said the stupidest thing she'd ever heard, her muddy eyes squinting slightly. Harry was about to admit he'd been wrong when she suddenly nodded carefully, her eyes regaining some focus as she did so. "Yes. Brown. Dark brown, they were."
"How is that possible?" Harry breathed out and his two cousins stopped eating as well to listen carefully.
"Magical power," she answered and her clouded eyes seemed to bore into him as she spoke. "Powerful sorcerers with so much grasp on their magic they can see it all around them... Their eyes shift in colour – into the opposite to what they once were. I had dark brown, almost black eyes. As I got stronger, they inverted into their opposite: light, light blue."
"And that is what is happening to you now," Charlus breathed out in slight horror. "Your eyes, they're shifting back to brown. You're growing weaker, aren't you?"
"...yes," Grandma Bella said slowly, the gleam in her eyes disappearing again and she slumped back together. The youngsters looked at each other in worry. Their grandmother was apparently even worse for wear than they'd thought.
Harry was in his own room, starring at his reflection in the wall mirror that hung next to his bedside table. He thought about what his grandmother had said the day before – about how the eyes of powerful witches and wizards changed into their opposite colour.
What colour would his be if he reached that level of power?
"Red, I suppose," he murmured to himself, looking deep into his own eyes as if to find some sort of answer there. "My eyes are light," he realized, taking a slow step back from the reflection. "That means they would be dark red..."
A memory came unbidden to the front of his mind, teasing annoyingly with its quick snapshots and muffled sounds. "No, not Harry!" he heard, and a cold laughter. Then, green light of a curse before... before a pair of blood red eyes staring at him.
"Voldemort's eyes must have been green as well," he murmured to himself distractedly. "Dark green..."
"Harry!" came Lora's shout from downstairs. "Tom's here!"
Letting his train of thought go, he grabbed his ruby red cloak from of his desk stool and made it downstairs. In the hallway, dusting off invisible lint from the sleeves of his shirt, stood Tom waiting for him. "Tom has dark green eyes," Harry mused to himself as he walked down the last few steps of the staircase and his friend looked up from his shirt and at him instead.
"He comes announced," he drawled in good humour and the other smiled back at the irony of their last encounter on Harry's birthday. "What a not-surprise."
"I'm full of not-surprises," Tom answered with a leer and then Lora called for them to stop stalling and follow her through the fireplace to Diagon Alley.
Once there they decided to split up, Lora hurrying with her dress to Twilfit and Tattings while Harry and Tom preferred to look through the smaller shops in the less crowded parts of the alley. They went looking for a new, bigger trunk for Tom, a fresh book bag for Harry and soon found themselves in a little trinket shop selling grimoires, talismans and amulets.
Tom held up a pair of little, golden-rimmed mirrors for Harry to see, smiling softly at the other's confused expression. "Two-way mirrors. They work kind of like you thought the diary did, when we first met. They could be useful – if we were in different classes or in our dorms..."
"Sure," Harry said a bit distractedly, having caught sight of his own eyes again. "Hey, Tom," he said as the other made way to the counter to pay for the mirrors.
"Yes, Harry?" Tom said in a falsely sweet tone, digging out a few sickles to pay with and placing them onto the counter.
"Did you know that the eyes of powerful wizards and witches change in colour? That they turn into their opposite?"
"...No," Tom said, looking sideways at him as they made their way out of the little trinket shop. "That must mean he really is powerful then..." he murmured to himself after a bit of time for consideration.
"Who?" Harry asked a bit distractedly, looking through a shop window at a weird set of brushes, for grooming bigger magical creatures, at the same time.
"Dumbledore," Tom said non-committally, pulling him away from the shop with a tight grip on his left shoulder, a deep sneer on his face in reaction to what Harry had been looking at. "His eyes are an unnatural shade of bright blue, if you haven't noticed. They must have been brown in his youth..."
"Must have..." Harry agreed, not as intrigued by the subject as Tom seemed to be, and straightened up as he saw Lora by the end of the street, walking towards them. She was wearing the green dress now, and it definitely looked much fresher after its trip to the tailor than it had in a long time.
She caught sight of them and broke out in a wide smile, waving happily, quickening her steps.
Harry raised his hand to wave back but froze mid-way in utter horror.
Time seemed to slow down as chaos erupted around them. But Harry couldn't tear his eyes away from the scene in front of him.
Walking towards him with a happy smile on her lips.
Then, in the blink of an eye.
Out of no-where.
A beam of poisonous green light, hitting her in the side of her head.
And she fell, as if in slow motion, down to the cobblestone ground.
She lay there, in the middle of the street, her wild black hair fanning out behind her, her great grandmother's green dress getting muddy from ending up in a grimy puddle. Her dark blue eyes dimmed and lifeless.
Harry felt stupefied. Numb. He couldn't move.
Then, a desperate scream tore its way out of his throat, and he bolted forwards. Tearing at the air around him, chanting desperate cries of "Lora, no, no, Lora, no, please, no".
He didn't get far – people were milling about in terror, blocking his way. They seemed to be under some sort of attack; he heard the people around him screech in fright about Grindelwald and "the dark ones".
Then, there were arms wrapping themselves around his torso, holding him back as he fought bravely to get free of them.
"Harry! Calm down! We need to get out of here!" came a hiss close to his ear, and he realized it was Tom at his back, keeping him from checking on Lora.
He fought even more bravely.
She couldn't be dead – she couldn't!
They were going to Hogwarts together in a few weeks, and it would be alright. She would finally find the kitchens, she would become the captain of the track team and she would keep joking around with her best friends Bree and Rowan.
She had to – had to! She couldn't be dead!
"Let me GO!" Harry snarled desperately, catching little glimpses of Lora's fallen body between the milling legs of the frightened mob of people surrounding them.
"No," Tom stated calmly, looking around him to see where the other sorcerers were running to. Suddenly, there were sharp cracks around them as black clad figures started apparating into the alley, firing off vicious curses rapidly, wasting no time in creating complete destruction.
"The Disapparition Wards, they must be gone," Tom murmured to himself and grabbed a tighter hold around Harry's torso.
And they disappeared from the alley with a hollow crack.
A/N: Here we go again... Hope you liked it!