The Hogwarts Hurricane
Chapter 23: A Blast From the Past
“ROOKWOOD!” the piercing scream went.
Albus had never heard this kind of scream before but it was clear it was based off revenge and madness. It was blood-piercing scream. A scream of ferocity that Albus, though recognizing the voice, had never heard before. It was a scream borne out of revenge and hatred towards the person being yelled at and a true scream of blind madness.
Before any of them knew it, all curses were lifted and the bonds were released. Looking to the side Albus could see Professor Dennis Creevey rushing towards the men and women around them. Rookwood in particular looked up in shock, a look of horror on his face. Horror turned to a grin when he saw who it was. He whipped his wand out and fired a jet of green light. Creevey barely avoided it.
“NO!” Soto yelled.
“Silence, dog!” Rookwood yelled in a raspy voice. “I’m taking charge here!” He fired another jet at the Professor, who ducked that one too.
Then, there was a commotion. Soto might have wanted peace because if it came to a fight, he himself might be captured. Freed from their bonds, Mark and the twins wasted no time. They took their wands out and fired “Expelliarmus.”
Albus and Scorpius gaped at them as Adam seized Jimmy and tried running off. A blonde man with black stripes who went by the name of Rufeus spotted them and quickly used a spell to send them back and had them tied once again. The rest were preoccupied though, and Albus and Scorpius ducked behind a tree. “What’re they nuts?” Albus demanded. “We’re second year!”
“There’s a difference between bravery and stupidity!” Scorpius said breathlessly. “I’m outta here!”
Mark was fighting, back against a tree and the twins were in front. Still, the fight was uneven and a lot of spells had hit them all, making them cough out blood or knocking one of them down. There was only one thing to do. They needed to get a teacher. Professor Era or Phoenix, maybe even Redgrow. Then, Albus saw the greenhouses in the distance.
Albus knew Longbottom had experience with Dark Wizards. He would be more than happy to help. Was it not his job to offer Mark and Albus protection at Hogwarts? “Scorps, we need to get Longbottom. He’s not far off and…”
“Right, let’s g”-
“COWARDS!” a yell that sounded like Eric went. Albus knew he was referring to the aggressors, who were ganging up on the three and quickly winning over them. Still, the very word brought a new memory to Albus’ head. It was a word he was used to hearing many times from Eric and Mark.
Swiftly strike and slither into the little snake hole to hide…
Albus skidded to a halt as Scorpius kept running. The red-head was bloody from the uneven fight he got himself into, and Rookwood got himself off Dennis Creevey and started kicking a bloody Mark Wallader around, blonde hair stained with blood as if his skull itself was bleeding profusely. Mark was not on the floor but leaning against a tree. Albus had never seen him in that state before.
“AL!” Scorpius called incredulously.
Rookwood raised his wand and pointed it at Mark, opening his mouth in a grin, and said words Albus had a feeling he’d never forget. “Avada Kedavra!”
It was instinctive. Albus could not stop himself. His subconscious, inner Gryffindor instincts had taken over and he rushed over just as Rookwood raised the wand. “AL!” Scorpius yelled again just as a high girlish voice screamed in horror, “MARK!”
Albus barely managed to force Mark down. The boy’s eyes were closed bracingly and tearful. Another jet came their way and as Albus looked up to watch it come, it made impact…
…on a shield…
Dennis had taken down the blonde Orgella beside Soto and jumped back in to continue his duel with Rookwood. The former Death Eater had fiery eyes blazing with fury as he parried all the spells.
A jet had impacted both Alex and Eric and they flew off, hitting a tree further in and collapsed to the ground, unmoving, pale and eyes wide open. Looking to his left, towards the opening, Albus saw Laura running in. She must have been with her father when they arrived because she was right there, standing there in shock at a bloodied Mark.
As Soto and the other woman, Stella, finished the twins off they came at Albus and Mark. Laura rushed in and stood in front of them, facing them tremblingly. Soto and Stella stopped and Laura, breathless, bent down to move Mark out of the way. Albus stood up and brushed himself off and then… the cavalry showed up.
“Phoenix!” Soto yelled in half horror half excitement. “Flee! Rookwood, leave him!” he ordered.
Rookwood ducked behind a tree from a jet of lethal black light from Creevey and fired one last spell before he tried fleeing. Professor Creevey flicked his wand fiercely and he was pulled back and bound against a tree himself. Albus took the picture in more clearly.
Phoenix had indeed showed up and right beside him was Professors Era and Redgrow. Longbottom and Ackerly were behind him, wands pointed readily. Standing at the front, arms crossed and smirking in a very proud way was Scorpius Malfoy. Walter and Samantha were at the back, closely beside a revived Malcolm Mold who watched the battle evolve.
“Calmness!” Soto ordered, hands up.
“Release them!” Phoenix ordered.
Soto rushed up and had his wand on Adam’s neck threateningly. The boy was still tied up. “You want him safe, right? You’ll lose your job, Phoenix. Back away, now, or he dies. That’s a promise! You, release Rookwood,” he ordered to Professor Creevey.
“He’s beside you, you release him,” Creevey breathed heavily. He sounded angry and shaken. Though he had never taught Albus, he was study supervisor and Albus had never saw him that way. He was always a timid and shy Professor deeply caring for his son and especially his daughter Laura who was right now over Mark. “I dare you.”
“You know as well as I that these are enchanted ropes,” Soto laughed. “He might very well die if I try to release him. If you want these exchange students to live, you’ll free Rookwood immediately.”
“He’s bluffing!” Phoenix told his companions as Stella gasped. “You won’t, or you lose the hostage, the battle commences and you are outgunned. Plus, you certainly don’t want their deaths on your conscience,” he said, pointing to Alex and Eric who were still unmoving.”
“Don’t we now?” Soto laughed nervously. “Wand down, Phoenix and maybe we can settle this.”
Phoenix lowered his wand compliantly just as a jet of red light zoomed from behind him, seemingly from thin air. It looked like it until Professor Macmillan rushed in, taking his position beside Dennis and eyeing Soto threateningly. His spells barely missed but it seemed Soto had gotten the message. He eyed them all, taking in the situation he was in.
Rookwood had gone rogue and nearly messed the plan up as he tried killing both a student and a teacher. If that had happened, everything would have gone to waste. Orgella was unconscious, Rookwood was bound and Stella was guarding the fallen twins. Only Rufeus and Soto were ready to freely fight. Laura was hardly a fight but she counted in terms of number and so did Albus and even Scorpius. Then, there were the teachers.
“Free them,” he ordered Rufeus.
The man obliged and Adam and Jimmy fell to the ground, weakened. Both were bloody as well. Stella stepped off to clear the way for Professors Macmillan and Ackerly to take the twins. They ran in to pick them up slowly and delicately. Albus did not know if they were already dead and when he looked over at Mark to see if he noticed, he saw him laying face down. He was unconscious and Redgrow was over him, taking a screaming Laura away with her.
“We’re leaving!” Soto announced.
“I don’t think so,” Phoenix yelled, stepping forward.
“I think so,” Soto refuted. “And I don’t think you want a war, Headmaster. This isn’t the last time we meet, I assure you and I have plenty of others ready to do battle with you. You, my friend are outnumbered and if you have a death on your conscience, your job is as good as dead. Stand down, immediately.”
“How did you get in to these grounds?” Phoenix demanded calmly.
“Well, if I answered that, I’d be giving myself and my associates away,” Soto laughed.
“A spy,” Longbottom muttered.
“Perhaps… or perhaps there are holes in your protection. Then again, the forest is a protection in itself against most people. Unfortunately for you, I am not most people. We’ll just say I managed to bypass your precious protections. I have my ways, Phoenix.”
“And I suppose you’ll put better ones up in the future,” Rookwood sneered from his binds.
Dennis Creevey flicked his wand and the ropes binding Rookwood seared hot, making Rookwood yell in pain. He might have done more if Macmillan had not held his own hands out and forced him back. Professor Creevey looked furious. Soto bowed in goodbye and turned to his followers. “We’re leaving. Phoenix, I bid you goodbye… unless you want more blood on your hands. Free Rookwood, and we leave you unscathed.”
Macmillan stared after them before turning to Phoenix. “Let us after them. We’re in enough trouble as it is. We could at least defend ourselves with a capture.”
“I must protest, Headmaster,” Ackerly said seriously. “The exchange students were injured. They’ll be sent away. The only way we can save the situation is to take at least one of them.”
“Take Rookwood!” Creevey yelled furiously, near tears. “He’s a murderer and a Death Eater. Only one group of people knew how to bypass the protections. If anyone knew how to get in, he did. I say we”-
Phoenix held his hand up to silence him. He eyed Phoenix as if to say you know what my demands are. Even for Soto, the offer was tempting. Rookwood was rogue and giving him up would bode well. Soto looked at Professor Creevey, smirked and looked up at Phoenix. “I see. So, you want to attempt to save yourself and your precious job. This will do nothing to keep those students here. It will only save you.”
No one said or did anything except for Professor Creevey who rushed forward once again. Rookwood was defenseless and the Professor struck. Rookwood was yelling in protest, cursing at Soto and Phoenix just as Creevey silenced him. Professors Macmillan and Longbottom rushed to his aid but Creevey hardly needed it. He had Rookwood petrified and bound by the burning robes. With Rookwood silenced, he could not scream in pain or struggle. He could not express his pain in any way. He was forced to stay still.
“Go, and pray we do not meet again!” Phoenix ordered.
“We’re leaving,” Soto said, now shaken considerably from the battle. He lost Rookwood and indeed, did nothing to stop it. He led his remaining followers away, deeper into the forest. Slowly, they disappeared into the darkness and the injured students were rounded up, particular care being given to the internally injured Mark and the motionless Wallaby twins.
As they walked to the castle, Phoenix said nothing. Absolutely nothing. He led Professors Ackerly, Macmillan, Era, Redgrow and Longbottom back to the castle. Macmillan and Ackerly were supporting the twins who were at that time semi-conscious, barely alive. Redgrow and Laura were supporting a bloody Mark, Redgrow assuring a hysterical Laura that his bleeding had stopped and just needed medical care. Longbottom kept his eyes at the back to make sure they were not being followed and Phoenix was muttering a tense conversation with Era.
The students were in worse condition. Albus and Scorpius walked in silence. Albus was shaken from what he knew was Mark’s near-death experience. Mark himself was shaken and unconscious and the twins were thankfully semi conscious. Scorpius was silent but still half angry with Albus for not running off with him and then probably feeling guilty that he himself had not participated.
Only one feeling had entered all of them, teachers and student alike. All of them were shaken. The protections around Hogwarts had been breached and through the forest itself. Albus would not feel safe in the courtyard for a long time to come, especially since a duel had taken place just outside the castle between Malcolm and James. James’ ambitions had held no meaning at that point.
Then, Professor Creevey stopped. Macmillan looked over at him concernedly. Creevey did not answer but looked far to a point by the lake where Albus knew a grave site was. The graves of those who died during the Battle of Hogwarts. He took a deep breath and looked at Macmillan. “Take Rookwood. Tie him up in any top floor room. Lock the door, charm it hot, take off its doorknob, take away his wand and make sure the room has no windows. I’ll want to talk to him later.”
“Where are you”-
“Take Laura to the hospital wing,” he added to Redgrow. And before anyone could ask him anything, he walked off, trudging through the grassy mud toward the graves.
Scorpius looked up at Redgrow questioningly but she shook her head coldly and said, “Don’t ask.”
As they opened the doors to the castle, as the teachers went in first, parrying questions from concerned students about the state of Mark and the twins, Albus could see Professor Creevey kneeling in front of a grave stone, practically hugging it and Albus was sure that if he could see Creevey’s face, he’d be crying. Albus walked inside, pacing to catch up with Scorpius and the others.
Before Albus could step into the castle, a hand touched his shoulder in a tight grip. It was Malcolm and he stared at Albus through cold, merciless eyes. Albus had a bad feeling. And then…
“Potter is in the lake. Last I saw the idiot he was being wrapped, possibly strangled by a bunch of tentacles. So I’d run off and pick a fight with the giant squid if I were you.”
Albus stopped. James. Did the battle continue? Albus paled and Malcolm smirked, “No regrets either. Leave the scum with the teachers… scum.”
Albus was torn. He looked over at the lake. At a side of the lake adjacent to Professor Creevey’s side, he could see from afar. He looked like he was on his back and two figures were beside him. A bunch of tentacles were visible on the surface, still floating along, almost gliding gracefully in innocence. The giant squid wasn’t known to kill students. Slowly, Albus walked back in the castle, following Scorpius and the others.