colourful souls

8 - a red, red sky

Ginevra sees me again, for the second time, at the Battle of Hogwarts.

Humans have a way of not getting along. It really doesn't make sense, does it – most animals get along just fine with their own species. And yet, humans are also the only species to truly become one in the face of a common foe. They combine to fight, and they also disperse when combining is most needed.

Humans don't make sense to me. You'd think that I, as Death, would understand them by now. But I must admit that they still confuse me.

Anyway, I digress. Let us return to the present.

The sky is stained with blood.

/

Ginny ran, faster and faster towards the Potions Classroom.

The door was slightly ajar, as if the class had just been dismissed. She slipped inside, and past the empty desks to the Ingredients Cupboard at the back of the room. Opening it, she pulled out the vials, trying to find the Dittany.

She finally found three bottles of it, hiding behind a row of purple vials of Abstract Potion. She remembered brewing the Abstract Potion, way back before Christmas, next to Ella, giggling over the ingredients – 'A pinch of shredded Cornish Pixie excrements'.

Barely thinking, she slipped both the Dittany and a vial of Abstract Potion into her pocket.

She got up and sprinted out of the classroom, her mind reeling. Get to the Hall.

The Hall was filled with aurors and students, discussing plans in hushed voices. The room was filled with a nervous energy that propelled Ginny towards the pink haired auror.

Tonks was talking earnestly to another auror. They both turned at Ginny's approach, and the other auror checked his watch.

"Thanks Ginny." Tonks turned and put the Dittany on a bench nearby. "Now get back to The Room, okay? Your ma will kill me if she founds you out. Get going!"

"Sure," lied Ginny, before sprinting out of the Hall with no intention of returning to the Room.

She hurried through the castle, with no real plan. Twice she ran into teachers who barely noticed her as they rampaged through the halls, sending patronuses down the halls and firing spells at the walls.

Ginny eventually made her way to the front door of Hogwarts. There she found Neville, giving a pep talk to the others in the foyer. She was positive he had noticed her, but he continued to yell. "We will fight! This is what we trained for!"

There was a resounding yell of reply. "FOR THE D.A.!"

People patted each other on the backs and raced off to the towers. Ginny approached Neville, stepping deliberately through the hall. Neville turned from MacMillan, who smiled grimly at her before following Flitwick out, and glared at Ginny. "What on earth do you think you're doing?"

"I'm staying to fight, Neville."

"There's no way I can-"

"You don't get a choice." Ginny spoke bluntly, her eyes shining out of her face like something unearthly. "I'm staying to fight. This is as much of my fight as anyone else. I'm certainly trained enough."

Neville shook his head, acknowledging that he didn't have the time to argue. "Fine. Get moving. Follow Macmillan and look after the Gryffindor Tower."

Ginny nodded, and turned to run to the tower, jolting out of the way as she spotted her parents entering the hall from behind her.

She was ready to fight.

/

The battle of Hogwarts officially begins.

Red seeps out under the black tablecloth that makes up the sky.

I take a deep breath, and begin to work.

/

Ginny Weasley ran and fired spells left and right, jolting in between suits of armour and from behind closed doors. She was desperately aware of everything; every scream, every yell - "The Death Eater's have gotten in!" - every single groan of pain that surrounded her.

She sprinted around a corner, along with Macmillan and one other DA member.

Around the other side were two death eaters, raising their wands ...

Ginny fired stunning spell after stunning spell, shooting rays of pain at the death eaters.

Her feet began to waver - they were just so strong ...

"It's no good," MacMillan was saying, as he barely deflected a particularly nasty Boil hex. Ginny aimed a couple of her bag-bogey hexes, but the death eaters flicked them aside as if they were flies. She shook her head, and raised a shield. Holding it up, she saw out of the corner of her eye Macmillan try to lift up Sinclair - or was it Dustin, she hadn't known him that well - she shook her head and focused, holding the shield, not allowing it to move...

Macmillan yelled, "Hold it, I'll be back!" as he grabbed the unconscious - or worse - DA member and, holding him in middair with his wand, ran as fast as he could, around the corner and out of there.

Ginny's shield crumbled. She pushed harder, aiming all the magic she could muster at holding it up, but she knew that it was hopeless. The Death Eaters were sending curse after curse at it, metres away from her, slowly advancing with cruel smiles etched on their faces.

She acted on instinct, barely thinking. She removed the shield with a flick, and ran back as fast as she could around the opposite corner from where Macmillan had headed. She heard their rapid footsteps following her, as she rounded a second corner - and felt herself lifted up into the air with the force of a great, great wind.

She clutched her wand, her only weapon, and whispered a little goodbye to herself.

The air whooshed about her.

She landed with a thud that made her lose all thought.

/

I step out into the chaos, this ridiculous environment that humans have created.

Once again, I am too early - by a long shot. Fred Weasley is still very much alive, fighting other humans, shooting spells and yelling insults at various Death Eaters.

I sit, in the large space where the four corridors meet, and I wait.

And I hold my breath as Ginevra Weasley came into my vision, flying through the air like an angel.

But she is just human. Just a poor, unfortunate human.

If it wasn't in the Job Description that I am not allowed to prevent humans from dying, I might be tempted to help her.

Luckily, I am not tempted. Ginevra lands behind a pile of rubble, landing out of sight.

She is alive; she is not on the List.

I shake my head and look back at Fred Weasley.

He is about to fall.

/

Ginny opened her eyes, slowly, yet almost reluctantly. It was the sound of a cry that had done it - a terrible, heart-felt cry that made goosebumps appear on her dirty arms.

She was collapsed behind a large pile of rubble, that appeared to have fallen from the ceiling above. Behind her was a corner; a wall. Perfectly sheltered, until she chose to get up and resume her fight.

With an effort, she sat up - still not quite tall enough to see over the wall of rubble, she felt herself all over. She was miraculously unhurt, except for an egg slowly growing on her head, and grazed elbows and knees.

The cry came again. She heard sobs. She figured that she should probably investigate.

She stood up, and nearly fell over again.

She knew.

And immediately, she wanted to forget.

/

It all happens so fast – yet so slow.

It always does.

I feel the call – Fred Weasley is waiting. I roll up my sleeves, and glide over to him.

There he is, lying there, and surrounded by them – the loved ones.

I slip past. I take his soul in my arms – it is still warm.

It is red and green. Festive. Joyful. Ready for a laugh. I smile despite myself. He is happy.

I turn, the soul in my arms. There is still so much work to do.

Something pulls at me, tugging at the edges of my mind. Turn around. Look back. This was such a happy soul – why not look behind me?

So I do, and once again, just like that day ten years before, I deeply regret it.

There they are, the loved ones, huddled around the body. Crying. Salt water. Anger, deep red anger.

And Ginevra rises from her cave of rubble, and looks at Fred.

Her eyes fill with tears. Her mouth opens.

I turn and leave quickly.

The grief of humans is something that I prefer not to witness.

There is still so much work to do.