FernWithy (fernwithy) wrote,

Shades, Chapter 41: Unlocked, pt. 2

I will fix the end of the last action sequence at a later point (when I get it ready for SQ, probably). For now, the "further away" scream is toward the end of the corridor, the closer scream is at the base of tower (which is actually pretty far below where Harry and DD are--the towers seem to be about seven floors high). Draco was on the other side of the Order when it happened, and hasn't dashed up the stairs. He has no idea who Bill is. (He might under other cirucmstances, but he's just a tad keyed up here to recognize the oldest brother of a family he's avoided when possible.)

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

"No!" Ginny screamed, and started to run over. Remus managed to break the Impediment Curse someone had thrown at him and hurled himself at her to drive her off-course.

Tonks saw Ron heading over as well, but decided to take direct action instead. She freed herself from the rubble and grabbed her wand. "Abigo!" she shouted, and the Banishing charm was strong enough to toss Greyback physically down the corridor, skidding into the far wall. Bill lay still on the floor, blood seeping into the cracks between the stones. His face had been nearly erased.

Something crashed into Tonks, knocking her off balance, and she saw Draco leap over Bill's still body and run toward the tower.

"Go after him!" Remus yelled.

She was already on the way, but the huge blond Death Eater jumped in front of her, casting a powerful Stunning Spell. She responded with a Shield Charm, and the spell bounced violently off the wall, chipping off a piece of stone. She tried to go around again. The next Curse the Death Eater threw was Cruciatus.

She jumped away from it, landing beside Bill's body. To her relief, she could hear labored, husky breathing. He was alive.

That was all she had time to ascertain.

Four more Death Eaters appeared out of nowhere, younger and fresher than anyone but Draco, who was no longer anywhere in sight.

Tonks ducked a spell from the blond Death Eater, who had latched himself onto her. From the floor, she caught a glimpse of Remus, Ginny, and McGonagall, who had formed a loose line near the stairs. The Death Eaters were trying to push through them. One of them aimed a curse directly at Ginny, but she seemed to sense it coming at her and leapt without even glancing at it. Then Tonks rolled away, close to where Ron and Neville had taken on one of the newcomers.

A curse hit the floor beside her, and she scrambled to her feet.

She had lost track of time entirely--where was Snape? It seemed like hours since McGonagall had sent Flitwick for him. How long ago had Draco gone up to the tower?

At the tower door, Ginny let out a word Tonks was fairly sure she hadn't learned from Molly, and Tonks saw four Death Eaters--including Fenrir Greyback--slip by her. Tonks's opponent disengaged from their fight and followed, knocking Remus out of the way.

Ron pushed back the Death Eater he and Neville were fighting, and Neville--actually roaring--ran at the tower door, only to be thrown viciously back against the wall not far from Tonks.

"They've blocked the stairs!" Ron yelled, then pointed his wand and cried, "Reducto! REDUCTO!"

There was no effect, and Ron was forced back into his own fight.

The huge blond man stopped on the stairs and began to throw Unforgivables in every direction, forcing what was left of the active Order away from the door.

Tonks scrambled over to Neville. "Are you all right?"

He swallowed hard and nodded, but when he tried to get up, he let out an involuntary cry.

"Stay here," Tonks said. "Keep your wand out and blast the hell out of anyone who comes close. We'll get you out when we've got rid of them."

He nodded.

Tonks jumped back into the fight, one of the newcomers pulling away from McGonagall--who was being attacked by two of them--in order to meet her.

The Death Eater Remus whose way to the stairs Remus was blocking cast a Banishing charm, and Remus returned it in full force with a Shield charm, knocking the man away. Remus ran at the stairs, but without even being hit by one of the randomly flying curses, was thrown backward as though he'd hit an invisible wall. He landed better than Neville, rolling neatly and coming up to his knees beside Tonks.

"There's a barrier," he said. "Like on that damned gate that threw Vivian."

"But this time, against us."

He nodded.

There was no time for further conversation, as a blast of green light hit the floor between them. It ricocheted toward Ron, but managed to just miss him.

McGonagall's voice rose above the din. "Severus!"

Tonks looked over and saw the billowing of Snape's black robes. He didn't pause, just headed for the stairs.

"They're barri--" Remus began, but Snape went through without any slowing, shoving the blond Death Eater aside long enough for him to get past.

Later, Tonks tried to tell herself that she was suspicious at that point--that she saw him pass both the barrier and the other Death Eater and though it strange--but in truth, all she felt was relief that his cover hadn't been blown, that they believed him enough to let him pass.

Tonks's current opponent leaned in too close for wand-work; she bent her leg and kicked him in the stomach. The force pushed her gently back into the wall, and as she glanced up, she saw something fall past the window too quickly to identify.

Something gave a horrendous crash, and Tonks turned to see the blond Death Eater standing on the stairs with his wand upraised and a wild look in his eyes. Half the ceiling had collapsed.

"The barrier!" she called to Remus. "Try the--"

The Order was already on the move, past the first few steps, past the edge of the invisible wall, but it didn't matter. Snape swooped down, guarding Draco Malfoy from the three Death Eaters who were following behind. He must have disabled one of them up there. Good.

Tonks meant to take her wand and go for Fenrir Greyback, who was running up on Ginny, but the big Death Eater she'd been fighting before was in her way again, pushing her back.

"It's over, time to go!" Snape yelled somewhere, and Tonks heard something thud to the ground.

Fenrir snarled, and a new voice called, "Petrificus Totalis!" and, a moment later, "Impedimenta!" Tonks couldn't see at whom the second spell was directed.

Ginny Weasley cried, "Harry, where did you come from?"

"Take that!" McGonagall yelled, and Tonks saw a flurry of motion as a Death Eater was sent running from her.

The corridor was emptying out.

The Death Eater gave Tonks a huge shove, and as she moved, she saw Harry leaning down to talk to Neville, but by the time she landed, Harry was gone.

"Dora!" Remus yelled, running over. The Death Eater he'd been fighting had either gone down or run away. He knocked the big one to one side, aiming a curse at him as he ran. "Are you all right?"

"Fine. Remus--"

"They're running. We've got them."

"Are you... watch out!"

Behind him, she saw the big Death Eater stirring, but he didn't draw his wand. He looked around, panicked, at seeing his comrades gone, and before anyone could Stun him again, he'd rolled down the stairs toward the sixth floor. Ginny ran after him.

"I'll get her," McGonagall said. "Remus, Ron, get Bill and Neville to the hospital wing. Tonks, get that thing ready for Azkaban." She grimaced at Greyback's prone body, and for a second, Tonks was certain she meant to kick him. Instead, she just sniffed. "Send for your colleagues to take him away. The barriers are down."

Tonks let her mind recuperate as she went through the administrative motions of the aftermath, sending school owls to Robards and Dawlish, binding up Greyback and a stranger who was frozen on top of the Astronomy Tower. She set them beside the fallen Gibbon.

She unfroze Greyback's face. "Is this all of you?" she asked.

"You barely got any of us, did you?"

"Is this everyone who is here?"

"Guess you'll find out. You think you can keep me on that rock?

"Look on the bright side," she said. "You're about to get most of your pack back."

"I'll have Lupin back as well."

"You never had him in the first place."

"I've always had him, little girl. You never will."

Tonks froze him again; he wasn't going to give her any more information.

Robards arrived with two Aurors in tow, coming down from the Astronomy Tower with brooms in hand. "Dammit, Tonks, why didn't you send word earlier? We--"

"There wasn't time after it started, Gawain. They need to go to Azkaban."

He nodded and set the others to the task.

"There's a big crowd down at the bottom of the tower. And there's smoke coming up," he said. "I think it's Hagrid's place."

Tonks took a shaky breath. "I should check on him."

"Tonks, you're black and blue from head to toe. What you should do is get down to the hospital wing and have Madam Pomfrey make sure you're not seriously injured."


"We have it under control, Tonks. And Dumbledore will need to get those protective spells back up soon. It's not safe to be open like this."

"I haven't seen him."

"Right, well, when you do. I'm sure he'll be by the hospital wing to check on you. Now, go."

Thus dismissed, she felt empty and at loose ends. Nothing seemed accomplished except for the capture of Greyback, and she took no joy in that, because Bill had paid so dearly for it.

Slowly, she made her way down the stairs, the night's injuries catching up with her on every step. Madam Pomfrey was too busy with Bill to attend to anyone else's injuries. Neville Longbottom was sleeping in a bed near the door. Ron and Remus were near a bed in the back of the room, and as Tonks hobbled through the door, Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood brushed past her to join them. Hermione turned, recognizing her, and came back, offering an arm to lean on. Together, they made their way over to the rest of the weakened army.

Shoot, couldn't avoid being specific about Greyback's fate--I'm in an Auror's POV, and if he didn't escape, she'd definitely have been the one left in charge of him. Grrr. Oh, well. I still think all the DEs will be busted out of Azkaban before much of book 7 has gone by. (If Voldie were brighter than he is, he'd just go to Azkaban, take it over, and use it as a base of operations, but I have a feeling he's just going to take over Hogwarts instead.)

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