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Order of the Phoenix - Take Three
The large group from Hogwarts appeared suddenly in the middle of Diagon Alley, startling many of the shoppers milling around in their general vicinity. Most soon went back to their shopping, but some stopped and stared at the interesting group of people, made up of four Hogwarts students and the Headmaster, several well known teachers, and a collection of Aurors, old and young. The motley group of people caused further stares as they started to spread out around the Alley, hiding themselves in shop doorways and small side alleys. Once they were all in strategic positions, Dumbledore waved his wand over his throat, and with a whispered sonorus charm his voice boomed throughout the wizarding district.
Everybody, I ask for your attention, please. You are all in grave danger. I ask you, please do not panic. At one o'clock, Death Eaters will be arriving to attack Diagon Alley. I ask that anyone that can apparate leaves now and those with children proceed to the nearest fireplace. If you have a portkey, please activate it and take with you as many people as possible. Those who are left, please go inside the shops and lock the doors, if possible. I have brought reinforcements, but to any witch or wizard skilled in Defence Against the Dark Arts, I ask that you help us. Please keep order, as panicking will serve to worsen the problem. We have only ten minutes, please hurry up!
As soon as what the elderly headmaster was saying started to sink in, people began frantically apparating away. Others moved towards the Leaky Cauldron to use the floo network, pushing the children in front of them. Many people, though, stood their ground. When those who were leaving had gone, Dumbledore looked around in fear at those who hadn't moved. He was slightly relieved, though, to see that anyone with young children had left, obviously not wanting to tempt fate.
Why are you all still here? he asked in general.
Why should we believe you? and old witch called out of the crowd, From what the Prophet's been saying over the summer, you're nothing but a cracked old fool. Anyone that goes broadcasting that You-Know-Who is back has got to be mad!
I assure you , Madame, that Voldemort has indeed returned, and his forces will be arriving any minute now, Albus bellowed. No-one moved.
Madness, Bertha Borgin yelled out, a sentiment echoed by everyone else. The headmaster and the other Order members were starting to get a little agitated, knowing the battle could start any minute, and the Alley was still full of civilians. While Dumbledore tried to pacify the crowd, Ron, Ginny and Hermione started weaving spells, which were transporting people out of the Alley to Hogsmeade, one at a time. As people were disappearing from the back of the crowd, nobody but the Order members had noticed. By the time the Death Eaters started to arrive, half the people in the street had been evacuated against their will. As the black robed and masked men started appearing all over the place, those left started to scream, running around in a mad panic. Dumbledore let out a loud sigh and shook his head slightly at some people's stubbornness and stupidity, before starting to hex anything that moved.
Ginny looked around in despair at the chaos in the shopping street. It was the run-up to Christmas, and the Alley had been busier than it usually was, and with the number of people who chose to stay, the place was packed. A cluster of Death Eaters stood near to Gringotts, but they were quickly making their way through the civilians to where the few Order members were fighting. The young redhead knew that they didn't have enough people. If the Order was fully reformed, they would have easily beaten the Dark Wizards, but as it was they were barely holding their own. The people running and screaming didn't help, either.
One obvious difference between this battle and the many she had been in before was the absence of Harry. Previously, the Boy-Who-Lived had been in charge throughout, giving people mental messages and helping to coordinate the Light side's effort. Now, though, it was as if they were fighting blind. Ginny was surprised and shocked to realise how much they had all relied on her boyfriend in the past. It made her consider if the Order would have eventually beaten Voldemort if the time travellers had remained in the seventies. If Harry had been there to help them at the battles, the whole war could have been over long before 1981.
There was no use dwelling on it now, though. Harry wasn't there, and they had to make the most of it. The youngest Weasley knew that she, Hermione, Ron and Glenadade were magnificent fighters in their own right, and Dumbledore and the others were able to hold their own without trouble, but Harry had always been the glue to hold their group together. Over the last few weeks, they had all felt his loss, but this was when they finally realised how important he was, not just as their friend but as their ally. If he ever went evil, she knew for sure they wouldn't stand a chance. The wizarding world would be lost within weeks.
Pushing her whirling thoughts to one side, she moved into a convenient doorway and surveyed the situation. Bodies of shoppers littered the floor, and she could see two of the Aurors she had just met lying dead on the cobbles not far from where she was standing. There were, however, also a large number of downed Death Eaters. The Order didn't seem to be making a dent, though. There were too many of Voldemort's supporters there, and it was only a matter of time before her group was overwhelmed. She spotted a flash of red hair, and watched as her brother ran from one person to the other, healing them the best he could. She could see that he was getting tired, though. On the other side of Diagon Alley, over near Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream parlour, Glen and Hermione were being backed into a corner by a group of seven Death Eaters. The youngest Potter had been doing rather well, considering it was his first battle, but from her vantage point, Ginny could see he was starting to lose it.
Realising that their situation was becoming critical, Ginny decided it was time for her to take charge. She couldn't just stand there and watch, and just because her boyfriend had selfishly run off didn't mean they would lose the battle. Sure, it looked hopeless now, but they just needed the chance to regroup. Coming to a decision, she charged out of her sanctuary, throwing curses in every direction, some hitting their marks and others were bouncing off strong shielding charms. After several minutes, she was behind the black robed group attacking Hermione and Glen, and with the extra help the Dark wizards were soon felled. Rushing over, Ginny grabbed her two friends and pulled them into Florean's, shutting the door behind them, and throwing up the strongest locking spell she knew. The other two stared at her in disbelief and outrage.
Gin! What are you doing? Hermione screeched.
Why are we hiding? Glen added in Anglo-Saxon.
We're regrouping, Ginny said, calmly, In case you hadn't noticed, we're not exactly winning. If anything, we're barely holding our own.
Well, then we should be out there! Hermione yelled, waving her arms around frantically, Ron could be killed. He's the last of us out there, and the other Order members aren't looking too good.
Calm down, `Mione, I know you're worried, I am too. But we have to be practical. We can't beat them, not in the state we're in now. We also have the civilians to consider. I know we've lost a few already, but we need to get them out of here. They're in the way, and they're getting caught in the crossfire.
So, what do you suggest? Glen asked, reasonably.
We haven't got Harry here to contact the troops, so I'm afraid you'll have to do it, Glen, the redhead stated in a matter-of-fact tone.
What! he yelped, Impossible! My father has a lot more practice with his telepathy than I do. I don't know if I can keep up a mental connection with that many people.
You'll have to try, Ginny soothed, I'm confident you can manage it. You are your father's son, and a very powerful wizard.
Glen slumped down to the floor and placed his head in his hands. After a moment, he looked up at the two girls and nodded slowly.
I can try, it's the best you can hope for.
That's all we ask, Hermione said, before turning to her boyfriend's sister, Now what, Gin?
Glen, I need you to tell all of the non Death Eaters out there to gather around the entrance to Diagon Alley. Tell them to make sure there are no Death Eaters in their group, and to get as close together as possible.
What are you planning? Hermione enquired.
Glen, can you do it? the redhead asked, waving off the older girl's question.
Hermione tried to protest and ask more questions, but Ginny shook her head and motioned for her to be quiet. Glenadade would need all the concentration he could muster to pull this off, and they both knew it. Sitting down on the floor, they watched in silence as the Potter heir closed his eyes. After a few minutes, a slight frown creased his forehead, and sweat began to bead on his brow. Ginny reached out her hand and gently took his, squeezing lightly and lending him some of her strength. Several minutes later he let out a deep breath and opened his eyes, looking at the two expectant girls with a satisfied smile on his face.
Without hesitation, Ginny leapt to her feet and started pacing, while the other two followed suit. Several seconds later she turned to them and gave them each an intent look.
Glen, can you cast a bubble shield?
The younger student looked at her in surprise before slowly nodding his head.
Grandmother taught it to me over the summer. She said that no Ravenclaw would ever be caught knowing fewer spells than the other Houses. She used to tutor me over the holidays
That's good, Ginny cut him off, Hermione, I know you know how to do it. What we're going to do when we go out there is try and combine a bubble shield to cover all of our people.
The other two stared at her in shock.
B-but Gin, without Ron and Harry
We have Glen here, and Ron will be needed to heal the injured. We have to do this. If we can keep the shield up long enough for the Order members to be healed, and the innocent bystanders to be evacuated, by the time it fails the Aurors should have arrived. I've no doubt that someone will have informed them of this. It's just a matter of waiting for them to get here. We also need to set up anti apparition wards. Preferably before the Aurors turn up. If we cast them while the Death Eaters think they are beating us, by the time we get backup, they'll be in place and the Death Eaters won't be able to escape.
Ginny, I'm not sure about this. How do you propose we combine a bubble shield? It's never been done before
We'll just have to go on instinct.
This is suicidal, Glen muttered, earning himself a glare from the fiery tempered redhead.
Well if you think you can do any better Glenadade Harold Potter, then I suggest you tell me now.
I thought not. Now, let's go.
As the three seventh years ran out of Florean Fortescue's, they split off in three directions, turning themselves invisible as they did so. Ginny started to circle the Alley, silently casting anti apparition wards, and reinforcing them with unbreakable charms. Hermione was moving around, checking the people lying on the ground to see who was still alive. Those who were injured or unconscious she cast invisibility charms and mobilicorpus on, taking them over to the gathered Order members. Meanwhile, Glen was organising those to be included in the bubble. The onlookers and injured were at the back, with a ring of Order members and the skilled amongst the shoppers holding off the Death Eaters. The Ravenclaw heir took up his position right in the middle of the front line, starting to chant quietly, spreading his arms out to either side of him. Many of those fighting on both sides stopped to stare at the strange sight. The bubble shield was slowly forming, and after a moment was joined by two more of slightly different colours, one either side. The confusing part, though, was that the casters were still invisible, so the shields seemed to be appearing out of nowhere. By the time the sheets of magic met each other and began to merge, everyone had stopped what they were doing and were gaping in awe at the spectacle. By the time the Death Eaters regained their senses, the dome was complete, a perfect bubble of merging colours, all swirling together where they joined. The Order members sighed in relief, and Dumbledore had regained the twinkle in his eyes. Moments later, three figures seemed to appear at the barrier, each sweating profusely as waves of magic continued to flow from their hands, sustaining the life saving shield. The elderly headmaster turned to Ginny, who happened to be nearest, and cleared his throat.
Miss Weasley, I don't know how the three of you did it, but thank you. We needed the opportunity to regroup.
I know, Headmaster, and I'm glad it's appreciated, but we can't keep this up forever. Anyone with healing experience needs to help the injured. Hermione, as far as I know, got all of those still alive off the battlefield. The rest of you need to start making portkeys. Get anyone who is injured or can't fight out of here as quickly as possible. The Aurors will be here eventually, but I don't know if we can hold the shield until they get here.
How long do we have?
At this rate, about ten minutes, so you'd better not waste it.
Would it help if your brother joined you?
Probably, but he's needed for healing. That's the main concern. If we can get some people fit to fight, it will be more useful than an extra few minutes under the shield. The main concern is getting the civilians out of here. We've lost enough as it is.
Quite true, Dumbledore said, before whirling around and shouting out orders to everyone. Hermione, Ginny and Glen watched over their shoulders as the remaining people were organised into groups, some disappearing every now and again as portkeys became available. In one corner, they could see Ron almost collapsing in exhaustion as he healed as many as he could, concentrating on the more seriously injured and those who were to rejoin the fight. Eventually, they were forced to look back at the shield and concentrate harder on maintaining it. The Death Eaters, it appeared, had come out of their stupor and were firing dark curses at the barrier. Each of the three could feel the extra strain put on them as the curses impacted. Although they knew the shield couldn't be broken, even by the Unforgivables, the Death Eaters could find a weakness in it and possibly crack it.
Three minutes later, the enormous bubble started to pale in colour, becoming more and more translucent. Dumbledore noticed, and hastily joined the party making portkeys to get the last of the bystanders to safety. They only had twenty of so left, but Ginny could see that the shield was failing fast. Her eyes widened in fear as the Death Eaters seemed to come to a decision, all pointing their wands at the same point. The young redhead knew that the concentrated attack would shatter the failing shield without any trouble.
Just as the spells were spoken and the horrifying beams of colour sped towards the dome, the air was filled with dozens of *pop*s. Everyone looked behind the Death Eaters as the bubble exploded in a flash of brilliant purple light to see scores of Aurors attacking the Death Eaters. Ginny smiled to herself as they tried to apparate away, only to find that they couldn't. She had set the wards to allow people to apparate in, but not out, knowing that the Aurors would be using that particular method of transportation. Everyone sighed in relief as the Dark wizards, one by one, fell to the new forces.
The battle was over.
As soon as the Order members were debriefed by the Aurors, they wearily headed back to Domus Corvus Corax. The still injured went straight up to the medical wing, where Madame Pomfrey was waiting for them to arrive. The rest went into the ball room and sat around the familiar round table. Dumbledore appeared, hunched over, not the usual proud and imposing figure everyone was used to. Eventually, he looked up at all of the expectant faces and let out a long, tired sigh.
I believe it is time for me to call a full Order meeting. We need to reform the Order of the Phoenix, once and for all. We have too few members, and those I still have not been in contact with may be dead for all I know. I believe it is time to summon everyone, and see what forces we have left. From there, we can start recruiting again, just like twenty years ago
I agree, came a voice from a shadowed corner, and a tall, imposing figure dressed all in black stepped forward, a smirk on his face, eliciting gasps from most people present. Ginny looked into emerald green eyes and gasped out one word.
In the flesh, he said with a wink.
Where have you been, mate? Ron asked. The smirk turned into a wicked smile, and a dangerous glint appeared in the sharp eyes.