The Shield

Parvati was, once again, acting on pure instinct. She wasn't afraid anymore; she was too absorbed in the battle to feel fear and cowardice. Racing through the corridor, spells were thrown at her left and right as the dust and debris of Hogwarts fell around her, shrouding her vision and clogging up her throat, but she had no time to blink or cough. The place that had been her home for almost seven years was rapidly falling to pieces. She dodged and ducked, retaliating with frenzied cries of all the deadliest hexes and jinxes she knew, but every time a curse narrowly missed her, she couldn't help but worry where Padma was.

Since the night of the Yule Ball, Padma had never spoken to Parvati again. For the first few weeks, Parvati had tried countless times to reconcile with her, dismissing her homework and waiting outside the Ravenclaw common room, just to see her twin and perhaps try to explain. Her attempts were to no avail; Padma only reserved three reactions for her sister, and that was either a look of utmost contempt, unadulterated loathing, or acting as if she wasn't there. After a few months of the same treatment and many sleepless, tearful nights, Parvati realised that she had to accept the reality that her twin was ignoring her once and for all. And in the midst of the Final Battle, Parvati realised she had never missed her twin more dearly.

The floor shook as yet another wall collapsed into rubble. Parvati heard people screaming, but she knew she couldn't stop it from happening; her feeling of helplessness drastically increased. The air was filled with chaos, cries of the fallen and the victors standing over them, Death Eaters screaming Unforgivables in all directions, the unmistakable rushing sound of spells as they were directed towards their victims. Even the portraits were yelling amidst the havoc, shaking their fists and shouting words of encouragement no one could hear in the midst of utter confusion. But where was Padma?

Her senses were working in overdrive; her hand seemed to be moving of its own accord, shooting spells whenever she saw a Death Eater, the jets of light emitting from her wand often hitting their mark. Parvati had always had a sharp eye for aiming. Meanwhile, Dean was next to her, furiously dueling with Dolohov, who had Travers by his side. In an unspoken agreement, they separated slightly, Dolohov snarling as he hit Dean with multiple curses, while Travers took Parvati on. She only managed to duck as slashed his wand through the air. She and Dean had no time to look at each other or even help each other out, but both of them acknowledged that they were in this together, as were the entire DA and the rest of Hogwarts, fighting for their lives. But she couldn't see Padma amongst the crowd that was Dumbledore's Army… her twin had to be here!

Parvati realised with a jolt that Travers was a better dueler than the rest, casting curse after curse in rapid succession, and Parvati could only block him with mediocre attempts at Shield Charms, which she had never managed to perfect. Her movements slowed as exhaustion enveloped her thoughts; she couldn't think straight.

Just as she was about to lose hope, Peeves swooped overheard with a gleeful shout, dropping Snargaluff pods down onto the Death Eaters. Parvati had time to get out of the way as the wriggling plants rained upon the Death Eaters, who screamed and scratched at their heads as they fell. Parvati only had time to catch her breath just for a second, and suddenly noticed one of the pods wriggling in mid-air. She instantly knew, looking down and seeing three pairs of feet, that Harry, Ron and Hermione were by her side, hiding under the Invisibility Cloak. Her heart leapt and she began to duel furiously again, suddenly consumed with a new energy, her blows full of renewed vigour.

"Someone's invisible there!" shouted a masked Death Eater, pointing at the air space where Harry, Ron and Hermione stood. Dean reacted quickly and shouted, "Stupefy!" before the Death Eater could snap his attention back to whoever he was trying to attack. The Death Eater fell with an audible crunch as he landed on a fallen brick. Dolohov yelled in anger and disbelief; Parvati spotted her chance and cried, "Petrificus Totalus!" Travers toppled backwards and lay on the floor, stiff as a rod, and was promptly trampled upon by a crowd of friends and foes who had just come storming in, as they, too, began to duel.

"LET'S GO!" Harry bellowed. Parvati could see the desperation in his features, his fearlessness. His hair was in his face, and his glasses were half-shattered, but he didn't seem to care. He ran in the other direction, Ron and Hermione following suit, charging towards a crowd of Death Eaters and blasting curses at them in his outrage. Parvati made to follow them, but stopped in her tracks. Then she saw it.

Padma was backed up against a shattered window, one hand raised to defend herself, the other swishing frantically at Thorfinn Rowle, who had his wand pointed towards her, poised and ready to strike. Parvati could tell her sister was panicking from the spells she was failing to cast; Padma was so overcome with terror, her hands were shaking, her spells failing to work as they spilled in a jumble from her trembling lips. Parvati saw the Death Eater's mouth curve up into a sneer, and saw him raise his wand…

Before she knew what she was doing, Parvati was running towards them, screaming a strangled battle cry…

Time slowed. The noise around her reached a rapid decrescendo; she couldn't hear her own voice anymore…

Then she was in midair as she jumped and threw out her chest, spreading her arms wide and landing to face her sister. Padma cowered against the window, disrupting several small glass shards, which promptly toppled over the windowsill and fell into the depths below. Her twin's wide, terrified brown eyes stared back into Parvati's, and she thought with amusement that after all this time, Padma was finally playing the role of the younger sister. As their eyes met, Parvati suddenly thought back to that last time they had done so, all those years ago after they had been parted by the Sorting Hat. It seemed so far away now, a distant, hazy memory.

But it didn't matter anymore. She didn't care. She was beyond caring.

In that split second when their gazes had connected, Padma had suddenly recognized her, suddenly realised what Parvati was doing, and her mouth fell open in shock, in protest, in horror. Padma looked over Parvati's shoulder and saw something Parvati couldn't see behind her, and she heard the high-pitched scream, "PAR! NO!" Then, a pair of thin arms wrapped tightly around her waist as Padma tried to pull her away from their impending fate.

Parvati heard Rowle shout indistinctly, and knew the end was near. But nothing else would register in her mind, which had gone completely blank except for one, solitary thought.

She called me Par. And she's holding me.

In spite of herself, she smiled.

That's all I need.

She closed her eyes and held on tight as time sped up again, and her last thought was of Padma as the world grew dark, then glowed a blinding green, and she felt herself floating away as the world dissipated into nothingness.

fin

Author's Note:

If you want more Parvati, try my other story The Remembrall, in which Parvati visits Neville in the Hospital Wing so she can give him his Remembrall back, as well as share a few comforting words.

I just love tragedies, though. I spent ages deciding whether to kill Parvati or Padma off, because both seemed to end with similar impacts, but decided on Parvati in the end, simply so I could write that last paragraph which I'm extremely proud of.