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Branded for Ruin

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Harry Potter woke up to his aunt banging on his cupboard door, screaming to get up to make breakfast. It was the same-old, same-old routine. He hurried to put his Hogwarts uniform on and got out of under the stairs. The 14-year-old made multiple pieces of bacon and even more eggs. Then, him and his cousin, Dudley, walked to school. Same as it was every day.

They got to the school, with no incidents, thankfully, and quickly split ways. Harry sighed and went to meet up with his best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. His own boyfriend wasn’t to be seen. The bell rings and the trio go to class.

Draco was there when they walked in, finishing up homework from other classes. Harry smiles. He sits next to him and softly kiss his cheek. The bell rings again, then 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th periods and soon enough, 5th period, lunch, arrives.

The four all go and get their individual lunches, Draco bringing his own, along with Hermione, and Harry and Ron going and getting their cafeteria lunches. Hermione and Draco talk about school and what the upcoming assignments were. It was all normal.

Ron and Harry sit down soon enough, Harry next to Draco, Ron next to Harry, Hermione next to Draco. It was all normal. Draco ended up in a debate about potatoes with Ron, ending it with, “Your brain is those mashed potatoes,” by Draco and Ron being quiet about it. It was all normal. Harry crammed in his next class’s homework. It was all normal. When did it stop being normal?

It was 12:50 when they went into large space. It was 1:00 when they all collectively ate. It was 1:15 when Hermione threw all their trash away. It was 1:17 when the first gunshot rang. There was a thud. There was silence. Then people screamed. It was deafening to Harry, he looked over. But dead, slumped over, was Dudley Dursley. Harry’s eyes widened in horror as he felt bile come up his throat.

Beside him, Draco pulled out his phone, Harry didn’t know what good that was for. Hermione cried across from him. Behind him, he heard Neville Longbottom pray. There were two more shots. He witnessed Luna Lovegood falling, a hole in her chest, and in her head. Harry’s breath caught in his throat when he saw who the shooter is. His last name was Goyle, he couldn’t think of his first name for the life of him. Harry did know, however that he was never without his fellow goon, Crabbe, who Harry also didn’t know the first name of.

A quick look reveals Crabbe to be on the other exit, smirking. He had shot Cho Chang and Cedric Diggory. Lavender Brown was on her knees, the gun barrel pressed to her head. He fired.
At 1:20 there were 7 on the white linoleum floor. At 1:21 there were 10. The gunshots escalated and at 1:25, there was 20 bodies. Harry hid with Draco, Ron, and Hermione. They hugged each other from under their lunch tables. The comfort didn’t last long as Hermione was taken from their grips. Ron immediately jumped out to protect her. They shot both of them. It was only Draco and him.

At 1:27 there was 30 bodies. At 1:30, there were heavy thuds. At 1:31 and a lot of screaming, four gunshots were heard. The bodies of Goyle and Crabbe were on the ground, dead, staring at Harry. At 1:40 the students were evacuated. He saw George cry for his twin, for Ron, for Ginny. He heard sobs from Neville for Luna. He heard Lavender grieve Padma and Parvati Patil. His head hurt.

He heard calculated apologies from reporters. He watched the policemen try to question him. He heard only silence. His heart thudded, deafening him. He kept thinking of stepping over his friend’s bodies, the floor slick with blood, bodies all over. He remembered hugging Draco’s body, covering himself in Draco’s blood. He cried and understood Neviille’s prayers.

When he came back to reality, he saw Professor McGonagall. He let out weak sob, grateful for someone he knows. He walks over, still deaf. She hugs him, sensing his distress. Harry leans into her. At 2 PM, another reporter comes by. Harry didn’t pay attention to her clothing but knew she was talking to him. Her voice sounded garbled and like he was underwater. He could barely tune in.

“... Blood is that?” She said, suddenly too loud. “Maybe if he wasn’t wearing a red shirt, he wouldn’t have been seen.”

Harry tensed, wishing he was back in his own head. He was their friend’s demise? His boyfriend’s own? He couldn’t breathe. He was back under the table with a gun barrel in his mouth. Sobbing, Draco bleeding in his arms. He was back hearing Neville praying. Luna begging for her life. The laughs of the psychopaths. All he could hear was a gunshot. All he heard was sobbing. All he heard was Draco whispering, “I love you,” and Harry murmuring it back into his ear, his breath gone, panicking.

It was 4 PM when people were sent home. Harry managed to lose his hearing again, spaced out and thinking. He didn’t notice his aunt and uncle, Petunia crying and Vernon screaming. He didn’t notice himself packing. He didn’t notice himself leaving and going to his parent’s graves. He didn’t notice when it turned 7 PM.

When it became 7 PM, Bill Weasley sat by him, as did Percy and as did Charlie. He barely noticed how Bill was talking. Maybe to comfort himself. Molly Weasley and Arthur Weasley were in the back with George, crying on his own. It barely registered when Charlie hugged him. He sat there, thinking.

Harry thought about Draco. His smile, his laugh, his voice. Harry took a gulp of air, trying to process it. A shooting, at his school? Harry never thought it could happen. He heard about them on the news all the time, but he never knew the grisly details as Petunia always turned it off.

Harry turned his mind to who else fell victim. Their faces would forever be ingrained in his memory. Their cries, screams, and pleads would be their only lasting memory of them.

He didn’t notice himself falling asleep, or Bill picking him up, or being put in the family’s minivan. He didn’t know how long he was asleep for, but the next morning, when he woke up, he finally broke. Harry sobbed and screamed, but after much coaxing from Charlie, he sat down to try to calm himself. Maybe he would find peace within himself, but he can’t. He couldn’t.