Finally, it's time to fight. My friend Mary Hooper and I were both part of Dumbledore's Army and had both already turned seventeen, so we could stay to help in what looked to be the biggest battle of the war so far. I went with Mr. Weasley, my friend Ginny's dad, onto the grounds to fight the Death Eaters in direct combat. This is the story of the last hours of my life, beginning with the death of my love.
BOOM! A wall exploded behind me. I ducked some of the flying rubble and threw another hex at Rookwood, who I was dueling alongside Mary. Then, behind me, I heard a shout that made my heart skip several beats.
"No—no—no! No! Fred! No!"
That was Percy Weasley's voice, which could only mean one thing...
I threw up a shield around me just in case, and spun around. There was Fred, the love of my life, dead. Killed by the explosion. He looked like he was still laughing.
I felt tears running down my face. How could life be so cruel—conspiring with death, making it harder for the rest of us to continue doing what's right? Why must all this affect me so directly? Two of my best friends were already down, and now Fred was too. "It's so unfair!" I screamed aloud. Then, behind me, I heard Percy bellow "ROOKWOOD!" and I launched myself back into action.
The Death Eater chased Mary and I back outside, onto the grounds. Percy was flinging hexes at him from behind, while we sent curses from in front, and Rookwood dueled with Dark Magic alone. Then, while I paused for half a second to catch my breath, he hit me. The knife curse—has the same effect, usually deadly when spoken aloud. It caught me in my midsection, piercing my lung and slicing two of my ribs in half. I went down.
"Emma!" Mary screamed. I yelled at her to watch out, not worry about me, and I saw fire flash into her brown eyes. She turned back to Rookwood and began dueling with such ferocity it scared me. Her fury fueled her, and she hit him with three curses in a row, and he went down, too. Just to be sure, she bound him and took his wand. Then she knelt down beside me, fear for my life clouding her eyes and her judgment.
"Emma—no—don't die, I'll get help—"
"No," I said in a surprisingly clear voice. "Keep fighting—fight so others won't suffer the same fate. I'll be okay, I'm going home. There are some things worth dying for." And, I didn't add, I'll see Fred again…
Tears were falling fast down my best friend's face. She looked like she wanted to argue, but she nodded. "I'll come back and find you later," she said, then ran off to continue the fight.
I don't know how long I lay there, but a short while later, a high, cold voice rang through the grounds. Voldemort.
"You have fought," he said, "valiantly. Lord Voldemort knows how to value bravery.
"Yet you have sustained heavy losses. If you continue to resist me, you will all die, one by one. I do not wish this to happen. Every drop of magical blood spilled is a loss and a waste.
"Lord Voldemort is merciful." At this I snorted. He doesn't—never has, and never will—know the meaning of 'mercy'. "I command my forces to retreat immediately."
The Death Eaters around us scowled, but followed their orders. They all moved towards the Forbidden Forest.
"You have one hour. Dispose of your dead with dignity. Treat your injured.
"I speak now, Harry Potter, directly to you. You have permitted your friends to die for you rather than face me yourself. I shall wait for one hour in the Forbidden Forest. If, at the end of that hour, you have not come to me, have not given yourself up, then battle recommences. This time, I shall enter the fray myself, Harry Potter, and I shall find you, and I shall punish every last man, woman, and child who has tried to conceal you from me. One hour."
The voice rang in my ears, even as it died away.
'I swear, Harry,' I thought, 'If you even think about going and finding that bastard, of giving yourself up, I will kill you!'
"Emma!" Mary shrieked. She knelt by my side and said, "We'll fix you up, Emma, don't worry."
I sighed, then coughed up some blood. "No, Mary. I don't have a chance. It's been too long. Treat the people that have a better chance of surviving. If any of them die because of me, I'll never forgive myself."
"No!" she objected, but I could tell she knew I was right. I glared at her, and she sighed, still crying. "Oh, all right," she sobbed, "but—just know this—Emma, I love you like you were my own sister, you are family to me. Remember in the afterlife that I love you."
I smiled at her, although the pain probably made it more like a grimace. "I love you too."
Mary sobbed, and walked away to try and help others.
I don't know how long it was that I lay there, but eventually I started whispering a prayer, saying that if God could just make sure my mother knew how much I loved her, that I died for a good cause and not to grieve too much, then everything would be okay. Ginny came over to me as I finished.
"Emma!" she exclaimed. I nodded, wanting to save my voice while I could. "What happened?"
"Rookwood," I choked out, "knife curse."
"Oh, my God," she said, "why didn't you call for someone to take you to the Great Hall?"
"Too late," I rasped, "no chance."
"I'm so sorry…" she said, a tear leaking out of her eye.
"It's okay. I'm going home…" I trailed off.
"I understand," she said softly. "Tell Fred…tell him we love him and miss him."
She stayed, holding my hand. I had a sudden idea.
"Ginny," I choked on the word, and coughed up a little more blood. I could tell the end was very near.
"Emma, what is it?" she asked, looking a little worried.
"Tell—tell my mother how and why. And that I love her."
She nodded, understanding. Suddenly she glanced around, as though she had heard someone.
I could feel my eyes slipping shut as she looked back at me. I felt as if my body had seized up, I couldn't move anymore.
"Emma," Ginny whispered, her voice breaking.
And then I was rising, far, far up above the earth. I reached the clouds and everything went black.
I awoke lying down, flat, on some surface. It wasn't warm or cold, just a flat, blank something on which to be. Then I heard voices.
"I will not leave until Emma gets here!"
My heart swelled. That was Fred!
"Insufferable boy! You can see her later!"
I opened my eyes. There he was, standing a little ways away, arguing with a hooded black figure. The figure, which I assumed to be a man, was holding his head in exasperation.
"I seriously regret telling you she was dying."
"Well, you should have thought of that before, shouldn't you?" my boyfriend snapped at him.
"It's okay, Fred," I said, standing up. "I'm here now. Don't give the man a migraine, stick with just a regular headache," I added.
All the pain from the curse was gone. I, like Fred, was wearing simple black pants and a white shirt. I lifted the hem and saw that the wound that should've been there, as well as previous scars from defending my friends and family, though the latter was mostly unsuccessful, in the past, was gone. My skin was as unblemished and perfect as a newborn baby.
Fred did a one-eighty. When he saw me, he ran as fast as he could and enveloped me in a huge bear hug. "Your family said to tell you they miss you, and love you very much." I whispered in his ear. He nodded, and a tear slipped out of the corner of his eye.
"Ah, Miss Emma Breanne Jones, welcome." The man in the black hooded cloak said. "This young man has blatantly refused to decide whether or not to move on until you did, so your arrival has been very anticipated. Now, I must ask you a very important question. Are you ready?" I nodded.
"Do you wish to return to the land of the living as a ghost, or will you move on to the land of the dead?"
I turned and looked into Fred's eyes. We came to a mutual understanding.
"We will move on." Both of us said this in unison. I added, "No one we love would ever become a ghost, and therefore we would miss them for all of eternity after they died, which would suck."
Death nodded in agreement. "Excellent," he said, "then come over here."
He led us to a train that, I swear, had not been there a moment previously. He opened the door and ushered us inside. I turned to look out the window as it started moving. In a corner of the room, just before we turned into the tunnel that would take us beyond, I saw Harry appear, just as I had, lying on the ground. Dumbledore showed up, too.
I had just enough time to think 'Shit, Harry died!' before Fred and I journeyed together into the realm of Death.