Author name: approximedic
Team: Team Gen
Prompt: ' Memory'
Pairings/Characters: Ron Weasley, Neville Longbottom, Harry Potter
Warnings: Character Death
Summary: What you remember and what actually happened are two things which rarely coincide. Ron finally realises what he had done, the day the prophecy was fulfilled.
Author notes: This is definitely the weirdest prophecy theory I've ever had and came to me when I was sleep deprived, incredibly stressed and craving chocolate. A whole lotta love goes to chesnutella who listened to all the complaining I did about the plot holes and gave helpful and not so helpful suggestions that at least kept me entertained and stopped me trying to kill off all my characters in a fit of writer's wrath. Long live teh Gen! : )
There is a drop of red in a beautiful ocean of green. You close your eyes but you can't shield your mind from the treacherous, dangerous colour.
"I— I won't."
The drop dances and swirls like oil on water, growing slowly and stretching all the while.
- - -
He stands up, picking up his folded coat from the top of the shelf by the bed.
"I have to go now."
His eyes are sad, but there's a strange smile on his face as he picks up his coat.
- - -
The first sign of life from the boy is when he wakes up screaming. The mediwitch on duty shrieks in alarm and runs out of the room, colliding with the two Aurors who are rushing in, tea stains on their robes. His eyes are as wild as his hair. The pale face and the hollows under his eyes combine to give him the haunted look of a madman.
"I didn't do it!" he screams and the restraints cut angry lines into his arms and wrists as he jerks wildly and pulls at them. One of the aurors steps forward while her partner, a tall dark man with a grave face, moves silently to the other side of the room, wand at the ready.
"Mr. Weasley." Her voice is sharp and cold. He ignores her, still shouting and pleading.
"It wasn't me! I'd never do it!"
"Calm down, Mr. Weasley." He notices her at last and his tone becomes more pleading.
"Please, you have to tell them it isn't true. Where's Harry?" he asks, "What happened? Get Harry!"
She sends a curt nod to her partner before moving closer to him with a speed that both takes her partner by surprise and makes the boy flinch.
"Harry Potter was murdered three days ago," she starts, her voice cracking from emotions she is trying hard to conceal. The boy looks at her, his jaw opens in dismay, his eyes widen with shock.
"Don't say that—" he suddenly cuts in, furious. "Haven't you heard me? None of this is true! He's the bloody boy who—"
The woman takes a harsh breath and seems to flare up in anger. The boy is scared, dizzy and confused and stares up in fright as her feature begin to blur and change. Her nose becomes longer, her hair twists and turns as if alive, and the lines of her face are no longer distinct. What scares him most are her eyes that lighten and glow until they are a vivid orange and look to be full of flames.
"Harry Potter is dead." she says again, in a flat voice.
The fire is suddenly gone and Ron stares at the familiar face that seems so old and lined now, the face of a person who has almost given up.
"Tonks," he pleads, "don't say it again—"
She stares across at him and he looks back into what are now dull, dark green eyes.
"Mr. Weasley," she begins, "you have been placed under arrest by the Ministry of Magic,"
"What?" He lifts up his head and looks wildly about the room, searching about for the second Auror.
"—after testing on your wand and a veritaserum controlled eye witness account, you are charged under Section 56 of the Criminal act for the use of an Unforgiveable Curse to cause the wilful murder—"
"IT WASN'T ME!" he shouts, and with a great heave and a bright arc of light that crackles from his body, he finds himself free of one of the restraints.
"—the wilful murder of Harry James Potter on the night of June 26 at approximately eleven thirty seven shortly after he had defeated the Dark Lord and won the Final Battle of the—"
He grabs out wildly, lunging towards her, but she is ready and with a warning hiss, the cords lash out and begin trying to wind themselves back around his arms.
"—Second War. You have been condemned to serve a life sentence in Azkaban, by the Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour. You are to be sentenced without a trial."
"No!" he yells, lashing out again and this time there is an answering shout and red is everywhere, on his face, hand eyes, hair and he stays half seated, half standing, frozen in time.
"Count your blessings," she tells his body as she leaves, "they all wanted your soul."
- - -
Your wand shakes afterwards and your eyes are still tightly shut.
It's all wrong, you think, but then the pain hits you and the thought is torn from your mind.
- - -
"What are you doing here?" you ask, still tired and still aching.
"It's time." His voice is strange, not as tentative and nervous as it used to be, but more tired and regretful. The change makes you sit up slowly, grimacing as you test each of your aching muscles before stretching them out. You sit back as far as you can without the restraints pulling too hard at your wrists and you look at the boy in the doorway.
Neville stands there, hands in his pockets and it suddenly strikes you that you have never realised how tall the boy actually is.
"Time for what?" you asks hesitantly.
Instead of replying, Neville walks into the room, removes his coat and scarf and stands at the foot of your bed.
- - -
You wake up and everything around you is dark. Your heart speeds up because this is not your room and you are momentarily confused. Slowly, your eyes adjust to the darkness and you notice the silvery writing that runs continuously across the empty air above your head; the numbers flicking rhythmically and making a soft whirring noise in the room. You don't know how long you lie there staring at them, but you can't tear your eyes away from the hypnotic movement and you have long forgotten whether you are asleep or awake.
The seconds tick by before you notices something is amiss. The light from the numbers seems to be floating in the air, falling like leaves in an invisible breeze. You stare, captivated, and watch as more and more numbers fall free and drift down to settle in a strange pile that hovers just over a foot from your bed. Once upon a time this would have terrified you, but now you have seen too much to be frightened and instead try and stay as still as you can.
Slowly the lights join each other and it looks for all the world, like a piece of the night sky has found its way into your room. More and more fly to join it until you see it transformed into something that is somehow both translucent and solid and, in the faintly glowing light, a face stares back at you.
"Sirius?" you gasp, staring at the man before you.
"You did it, you know." The man leans forward; sour, stale breath running warm over your face. You push yourself as far back into the pillows as you can, trying to get away from it – from him.
"D—did what?" you manage, frightened, regretting the question as soon as it escapes your lips.
"Your best mate." Sirius continues. There is a glint of madness in his eye, an eerie grin on his face as he moves closer to your own. "What sort of person would do that?"
"You're dead." you whisper, wanting badly to wake up from this. "I'm dreaming or I've gone mental but you're dead."
"Not quite dead but not quite alive." grins Sirius, "You can't play with souls and death like you did last June and still expect the veil to behave."
"Leave me alone!" you cry.
"Oh, I can't do that." whispers the Sirius you used to hear you father tell your mother about in grave, hushed tones. A sinister, cold murderer with an unforgiving heart. "Not when I've come all this way to watch you die."
You feel a cold fear grip your heart as you stare into translucent eyes that seem to glitter in the darkness. Your breathing quickens when a ghostly hand comes up and cups your cheek, moving across slowly until the soft glowing fingers rest on your mouth.
You feel powerless, forgotten here in this silent room, haunted by the dead. The cold fingers at your mouth tighten slowly but for some reason you lies as if petrified, unable to move your limbs and making no noise as the fingers clamp down and you start to struggle for breath.
Everything stops and the world goes dark.
By the time you wake, you have already forgotten your dream.
- - -
"I didn't want to." says Neville, but you hardly hear him over your own racing thoughts. I didn't do it, you think, and although you desperately want to believe it, you know it is probably just Neville's unwavering faith in you that has made him say it. For weeks now, you had slowly begun to be convinced that perhaps you were wrong and that everyone around had been telling you the truth and an awful self doubt had begun to haunt you.
"No, you didn't." replies Neville and you look up, startled, because you hadn't said it out loud.
"How did you—"
"I'm sorry," Neville winces and shakes his head apologetically, "I can't stop hearing them."
"They need me at the school now that McGonagall needs rest." He pauses and fidgets and you can almost see your old mate in this stranger before you. "They need help to rebuild it, and they need people to teach."
He looks up at you and you see a determination in him that reminds you strongly of Harry. "I saw everything." he says, and you are confused by the abrupt change in conversation.
"Everything. I was right behind you that night. In London." You feel your mouth goes dry and your palms begin to sweat. You don't want to remember this, but then another thought strikes you.
"You—" you gasp, "You were the eyewitness!"
"I was." replies Neville. "It's not something I'm proud of."
"What?" you reply, "But I was the one – you saw me—"
"You remember Moody." cuts in Neville, "Remember what he said? You've got to have feeling for a curse to work. You would never have been able to kill him."
You sit, mind racing, eyes widening with shock as the truth hits you.
"I had no choice. Harry knew it too. The prophecy, remember? Neither can live while the other survives. I felt Voldemort die. I felt the part of him still alive. That's why I followed you. I knew we had to destroy him and I knew that I had to do it. There were only two names on that prophecy when there should have been three."
Your mind is still reeling as you watch him, struggling to keep up with all he is saying and you don't quite know how to handle this betrayal.
"But you said it was me."
"They need me here," says Neville and he looks almost sad. "They need my magic." At first you are confused by this; after all, why would the Ministry need him when he was never that good at school?
But then you remember what had happened.
"You cast the Imperius curse without a wand."
"I did much more." he says.
"I didn't know what to do when I heard about you. I wanted to confess." He looks at you and your curse yourself for your weakness, but you can't help but believe him. "I was going to confess." he says again. "But then something stopped me and I knew what I was supposed to do."
"What?" you ask and though you're too tired to be angry now, you know the questions you hadn't asked will haunt you later and you will want to know why. He looks down with guilt before pursing his lips and giving a short, sharp whistle. There is a small pop and you stare with astonishment at the brilliant gold plumage, the long feathers and the sad eyes of Fawkes who has perched on Neville's shoulder.
"The need me at the school." he repeats sadly.
He picks up his folded coat from the top of the shelf by the bed.
"I have to go now."
His eyes are sad, but there's a strange smile on his face as he picks up his coat. He stops and turns to you.
"We all want to be heroes, Ron. All noble, righteous and brave."
"Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart." you whisper. "That bloody hat knows too much." He smiles.
"You were brave to believe he could still be saved. A hero, perhaps. But bravery is not always wise." he says slowly, "Sometimes you have to do what has to be done." He leans over and squeezes your hand and you squeeze back, despite knowing what he will do, because he was once your friend, because he had lost his innocence to pay for his crime.
"If you keep saying that enough times, you might actually make it sound convincing." you say, a weak joke because you both know it is true.
You look at him; his back straight, head bowed, Fawkes perched magnificently on his shoulder. For a second you see what a young Dumbledore might have looked like and you find yourself laughing even though you don't quite know why.
"Goodbye, then." you say.
He looks back with a sad grin on his face.
- - -
You rush into the room, heart pounding, mouth dry, wand held close. The bruise on your cheek is all but forgotten, as is the wound on your side and the slowly growing patch of red that stains your robes. You almost stumble over the first body, but keep your balance and you move further and further into the room, past the huge stone columns that line the hall.
You find him crouching in a roomful of bodies, drenched in sweat, dirt and blood, with a lost expression on his face.
"Harry!" you yell, feeling a surge of relief wash over you. You stumble over to him, pulling him close and then pushing him away to look at him better. Your friend is hurt; scratches and burns along his arms, but you know instinctively that something is wrong when you feel him shivering despite the heat of the flames.
"Harry you did it!" you exclaim again, wanting to ignore the unsettling feeling that something isn't right. You think, instead, of why you have come here and a warm rush of joy comes over you. "You did it!" You can't help but throw back your head and laugh.
Harry is still crouching and you see him pressing his hands to his chest and head, a lost expression still on his face. Your elation vanishes, only to be replaced with worry.
"What's wrong, mate?" you ask, shaking him. Harry gasps then, a dry, raking noise that startles you and makes you almost let go. The vacant expression is gone and as you look into those eyes, you can see a faint glimmer of your old friend.
"Ron, it's not over." Harry wheezes, hand still clasped to his forehead.
"What are you on about?" you exclaim, "You followed that sodding prophecy! You did all that 'die at the hand of the other' and gave us all a scare while you were at it!"
"Ron—" cuts in Harry, "Ron, he's not dead yet."
This stops you cold. You feel the hairs rise on your arms and you let go of Harry so abruptly that he sways. "What are you saying?"
"Ron, it's me." says Harry, "the last part of his soul. The bastard put it in me."
"But," you start, horrified, "how can we destroy it without—" you stop, you can't finish the sentence. Not when it's almost laughable and stupid and completely ridiculous.
"I can feel him, Ron. He's in... my head. And... he's strong." Harry holds his head and gives what sounds like half a laugh and half a sob, "I never did get those fucking occlumency less—" he stops again and looks up at you. "I can't risk it, Ron, not after what everyone's gone through."
You look at him, not comprehending what he is saying. As it dawns on you, you shake your head. "No." you say emphatically. "You're in shock, mate, no idea what you're saying. We need to get you some help." You pull at Harry and stifle a cry of surprise when he just falls to the ground. "Harry!" you yell, pulling him up.
Harry's head is bowed, but as he raises his head, you can see the vacant expression is almost back. He raises his eyes.
"Do it, Ron."
Avada. You know the words. You've heard them far too often these past few months and you'll be perfectly happy if you never hear them ever again.
"Don't be stupid!" you hiss, feeling angry that Harry would even think of asking you this. You almost drop Harry again when you look back at him, because you see something that chills you to your very core.
"Harry," you whisper, suddenly feeling very alone and very afraid. "Harry, your eyes."
Green. You know they should be green. Perhaps if you blink they will be green again and you can get out of this nightmare and be safe back in the headquarters and your mum will give you a nice strong cup of tea and tell you to go to bed. You close your eyes but you can't shield your mind from the treacherous, dangerous colour and you open them again and find it is still there.
"I— I won't."
"Do it!" yells Harry. He looks over your shoulder and you can feel him brace himself. You feel numb and you can't look away from that traitorous stain that has begun to spread. You feel something dripping down your cheeks and blurring your vision. You close your eyes, trying to clear them and wish as hard as you can that you are miles away from here.
You clutch at your wand, shutting your eyes tightly and take a deep breath.
The drop dances and swirls like oil on water, growing slowly and stretching all the while.
- - -
Your hair, the only colour in this pale, drab room, has been mussed since it was last neatly combed and there is a tired, defeated expression on your face. You listen to the soothing voice that quietly tells you to place your hand over your chest. As you feel your fingers grow warm under the channelled magic, you close your eyes and smile as it apologises again and again, whispering that everything will soon be over.
The room is suddenly filled with a brilliant light; a blaze of colour that washes over everything, lighting up every shadow, shining so brightly around you that you are almost lost in its glow.
- - -
In a white room with white sheets and silver numbers above the door, there is an ocean of green and only a drop where once there lay a boy.
- - -
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