A/N: Round 6 of the Quidditch League Fanfiction Competition
Team: Tutshill Tornadoes
Position: Beater 2
Prompts: Post-War w/ opt prompt 'morbid' and 'to lead people, walk behind them'
LEAD FROM BEHIND
Sometimes I wonder whether all of it was a dream. In a way, it was. Everything from Dumbledore's death to the Battle of Hogwarts is a blur…almost as if it never happened.
But it did happen. And it's all over. You-Know-Who – oh bugger it – Voldemort is gone. Any threat we have are from vigilantes running amok in the chaos of a broken organization. That's the price you pay when you want all the power yourself. No one is there to keep things afloat if something should happen.
I'm not complaining. Not at all. In fact, I'm rounding in bruised and defeated Death Eaters one by one, along with the rest of the Order. Me, you say? Neville Longbottom actually grew a pair of gonads overnight? Yes, I did. Of course, I'd like to say it was an ongoing process since the summer, but no one actually listens unless they are interested.
People have thanked me for my help in aiding the weak and desperate during the past school term. I think it's silly of them. Any other person would have done the same. To simply stand by and watch as our teachers brutalized and tortured innocent children…well…that's just morbid. I acted on my moralistic intuition. I was simply lucky Hogwarts created that safe-haven. Lucky that I had a lot of friends that stood by me in the process. Lucky for the Order.
I try to explain this to reporters and spectators, and as I reflect on everything that has happened in my life, I remember that Harry tried to explain to me the very same thing. I finally understand what he meant.
No one really thought I had it in me. I have to admit, I didn't think so, either. I don't think I'm cut out for leadership roles. It was nice when Hermione and Harry were around. They automatically took the head. But when neither one of them (nor Ron) showed up on the Hogwarts Express, everyone started to look towards their closest friends. People asked me daily if I knew where there were; if I heard of a sighting. I answered sincerely, but inside my head I was pleading to them not to see me as a leader. I was a fearful student like they all were who just wanted the nightmare to end.
But it didn't. It only escaladed. The longer the war drew on, and the longer Harry was missing, the angrier everyone else became. I would be included in this category. The D.A. because crumbling. I couldn't let this happen. The opposition was the last thing available to give the students hope, and I wasn't going to let that go. So I pressed on, insisting every individual needed to stand firm. I never made emblazoned speeches or public appearances. I just had passing conversations when I saw a colleague who looked defeated.
The war taught me to never ask unnecessary questions. Amidst the battle inside Hogwarts, Harry and I crossed paths, and he insisted that killing the pet snake was imperative to defeating Voldemort. I thought this was a curious plan…what does a snake have anything to do with a wizard's life. But Harry had told me this, and I accepted it without any inference. Then again, it wasn't like we had a lot of time to chit chat. The walls around us were crumbling, literally.
I had no plan figured out to kill that monster. I didn't even know where it was! All I knew was that it was probably with its Master, but I couldn't just walk up to him and ask politely, 'may I kill your snake?' That wouldn't bode very well. The opportunity presented itself nicely. I was feeling a rush of emotions. Hagrid was carrying Harry's dead body. Voldemort was allowing us to claim defeat. I was angry, upset, mournful, and I was not going down without a fight, so I told the bastard how I truly felt, and that Harry was more than just the Boy Who Lived.
It was a very stupid, but necessary. I was put under a body bind curse, and the bastard threw the Sorting Hat on my head and set it on fire. I couldn't tell you what hurt more: the burning sensation, or the fact a large, piece of metal hit the top of my head as I screamed in pain. For a moment, I thought it was the next stage of torture, but the shock of it all seemed to have given me enough adrenaline to fight through the curse.
I pulled the hat from my head and took the sword by the hilt. Harry had told me about the sword in years past, with the glinting rubies and Gryffindor's insignia on the blade. There was only one more thing to do, and the snake was an easy target now. I didn't see the point, with Harry being dead, to kill the snake, but I needed to kill something to avenge my friend's death.
And then, when Voldemort tried to curse me, and the curse was blocked, I noticed Harry's body was gone, and that he was still alive.
Everything else was a blur. I knew I did was I was destined to do, and now it was up to Harry. It was nice letting go of the reigns and just praying that everything would fall into place. And it finally did, with a few sacrifices and casualties. But they will never be forgotten.
I'm on the fast track for becoming an Auror, they say. I have the courage to fight Dark Magic, the persistence of a fighter, and the leadership to get things done. Leadership? Sure, I can admit I've improved on that aspect since First Year, but enough to make me a good Auror? Then, I thought about it. Maybe the way I lead isn't the conventional method, like Harry or Hermione. Maybe, with me just being myself, and encouraging my colleagues to never give up, it was like leading from behind. They marched forward while I filed in from the back. It probably doesn't work for all people, but it surely was a successful method for me.
Maybe I'll try it for a few years, being an Auror. Merlin knows everyone will pressure me to give it a chance. I don't think I'm destined to make a full career out of it. Fighting one war was enough for me. I'll sooner tend to a greenhouse. Hell, I'll sooner become a potioneer than retire from the Auror office.
Regardless, it's a strange comforting feeling to know I have a future in this world. For a long time during Hogwarts, none of us knew whether we'd make it out alive. But now that the war is done, we can finally take advantage of the life given to us. Might as well make the most of it.