Blood of Birds

Note: Hi! The following is a 2nd generation Harry Potter fanfiction, with main characters being Rose Weasley, Scorpius Malfoy, and Albus Potter. It will be comprised of four parts, the first of which will follow Rose. There will also be seven one-shots (or side-alongs) following other characters at points throughout the series, each uploaded separately. I've also taken the liberty to include a few re-quotes, courtesy of JK Rowling and Steve Kloves of course, to pay homage to the original books and films. So without further ado, here is Chapter 1. Happy reading!

~ Lauren



39. Tragic Goodnight

The fires were still burning around the edges of the white tarp, its string of Christmas lights sparkling like miniature bombs that were somehow beautiful as they lit up the night sky in floating constellations. A few people – Holly and her father, Luna, Lucy, and the twins, and a group of guests Scorpius didn't recognize – were squirting water from their wands while yelling at each other in question of where the flames had come from. Someone Scorpius didn't see yelled back that the shadow had lit the fire in his wake, a trail of deadly footprints. They said the 'shadow' because they didn't know who it had been to take this innocent life. Somehow, no one had seen him or her, or at least, no one who was still standing on the Quidditch pitch. But Scorpius wasn't thinking about any of that. He was thinking about his sweaty hands.

He wasn't sure when he had gone from standing to kneeling, nor when he had stopped breathing. All he knew was what he could feel – the wooden dance floor beneath him, heat from the fires emanating through his white suit and into the blood of his calves; Rose's face buried in his shoulder, the loose strands of her hair blowing against his neck and chin, her left hand wrapped around his arm and her right clutching the back of his blazer's collar; the chill of Minerva McGonagall's flabby, dead skin freezing the sweat on his hands in a single touch. She looked even more wrinkled now, in sleep, than she had in life, and for some reason, Scorpius was counting them. He was counting every wrinkle he touched, starting from her forehead and running all the way down her arms, almost like he was counting the rings of a tree trunk to see how old it had been. He wanted to acknowledge every year of McGonagall's life in this moment, to know all the memories she had never shared with him before, so that he could make her live on forever.

All around him, people were frightened and confused. They wanted to know what they should do next, or what was going to be done. They wanted to hear that everything was going to be okay, that the shadow would be found, and that vengeance would be met. They wanted a leader, but all Scorpius could think was that their leader was dead. She was lying on the floor in her thick, layered dress, with her eyes shut tight and her wiry fingers clasped around a wand that had been unable to save her. McGonagall had been a leader, but Scorpius was no such thing. He was just a boy...

"Where you going, Mummy?" he asked in a voice that had yet to break. It was high-pitched, squeaky, uncontrolled and not at all controlling.

Astoria looked down at her son with a softness that brought both delight and fear to Scorpius's eyes. "I'm going on a little trip," she told him as she brushed a hand through his light hair that looked so different from her own dark curls. The gesture made him stop shaking momentarily, silencing his nerves with the slightest touch. "I told you about it last night, remember?"

Not daring to move because he wanted to stay curled up in his mother's lap forever, no matter how long forever was in the eyes of a three year-old, Scorpius took a deep breath and asked, "When you come home?"

"As soon as I can, my sweet," she answered cryptically, her eyes on the suitcase that sat by her feet rather than the little boy who was latched onto her arms. Then she turned to the man standing by the luggage, his white hair slicked back and his eyes heavy with an intense need for sleep.

"Take your son, Draco," said Astoria as she tried to stand, Scorpius refusing to let her go.

The boy's father was there in seconds, his hands slipping underneath Scorpius's shoulders and lifting him against his chest, but Scorpius continued to fight back. He bounced off Draco's chest in an attempt to leap into his mother's familiar arms, but then his grandmother intercepted him and put a finger to her mouth, a symbol he knew ordered silence.

He listened to Narcissa instantaneously, having been well-disciplined at a very early age. But as his mother rolled her suitcase to the double doors at the front of Malfoy Manor, and as one of her hands coiled around the snake-shaped doorknob, Scorpius's own hand reached as far his arm could stretch and he whimpered, "Mummy, don't go! Don't go!"

Slowly, Astoria walked back to him, and his hope returned in full stride. Scorpius was ready to pull her back into the kitchen and order one of the cooks to make him beans on toast and then lay in the yard amongst the white peacocks as his mother read him a story from his favorite book, The Tales of Beedle the Bard. But his hope didn't last for long.

Astoria stopped a few paces away from Draco and Scorpius, only extending her hand for him to take one last time. And even that wasn't enough, because Scorpius's tiny hands were shaking and sweaty, and they couldn't hold onto hers for long. She slipped away practically as soon as he'd touched her, and with one blink, she and her suitcase had disappeared.

Scorpius was pulled from his memory when he heard Rose's voice say to someone he hadn't noticed appear, "Give him a moment." She was more commanding than he had ever heard her be before, her face taut as she lifted it from his shoulders.

At first, Scorpius didn't say anything to either contradict Rose or to defend himself. He just sat there, trying to remember what number of wrinkles he'd been on before checking out, balling his hands into fists and growing exponentially frustrated when he found that they had nothing to hold. For the first time since he'd sat down, though, he was listening, for it seemed his ears had made contact with the world even when the rest of him hadn't.

"He is the leader of the Order of the Phoenix, Rosie, and he's already had an hour's worth of moments," said a low voice coming from very far above Scorpius's head. Only two people ever called Rose by that name, so Scorpius didn't need to look up to know that Ron was towering over him as he argued with his daughter. "Harry and Ginny are still looking for your cousins, and I need to rally the Aurors. But I'm not leaving until Malfoy here shows some sign of life."

"Ronald, he's just a boy," said a sweet, female voice from somewhere nearby, but her retort didn't help much."

"So was I when the war started, Hermione," Ron said sharply, almost as if he was biting at his wife. "So was Harry, so was Neville, so were my brothers! Scorpius chose this, not me, and now it's time for him to deliver."

He must have looked at Rose then, because silence swept across the area that Scorpius now realized was still densely crowded with everyone from the wedding, and a moment later Rose's hand was on his face and she was whispering in a way that she only ever did with him, "Say something, Scorpius. Say anything. Say – say my name."

But he couldn't. He had started breathing again, but his eyes still looked at McGonagall's body that he refused to let anyone take away from him, and his mouth couldn't seem to form the word that would always bring Rose back to him. She wasn't the one he wanted back.

"If he's not going to start leading his army, then I will," said Ron when Scorpius failed to respond.

He could hear Rose take in a sharp breath as if she was about to argue back, but she didn't get the chance to say anything before Scorpius mumbled subconsciously, "My knight. Get my knight."

His voice had been eerily quiet, but he was sure that Rose had heard him. He could feel her eyes on him, a smile spreading across her cold cheeks, and soon she was asking, "Where is it, Scorpius? I'll go get it for you."

"My knight," he repeated, a little louder this time. His hands were still grasping for something that wasn't there, and the knight that he had broken over a year ago was all they seemed to want. "From my chess set."

He still hadn't given her much to go on, yet Rose stood then to face her father, and Scorpius found his eyes following her. It was the first time he'd looked away from McGonagall, which seemed to help with Rose's plea, for Scorpius's gaze did not go unnoticed by Ron. The latter was looking at him even as he asked Rose, "Are you sure you know where this is?"

"Yes," Rose lied. "It's in the castle. I can go and be back in fifteen minutes at most. It's the only thing that will comfort him." But it wasn't in the castle. The white knight Scorpius spoke of had been crumbled into ash, a pile of which had surely blown away from the shores of the Black Lake by now. He was the only one who knew that it was gone, and that the rest of his chess set had also shattered when he'd left Malfoy Manor for the last time, yet Scorpius couldn't seem to tell Rose any of this. It was as if his heart was telling him that the knight would be there, in the Room of Requirement or the bedside table in Rose's dormitory, so long as she looked for it in his place.

Whether it was Rose's worry or simply his own love for chess that made Ron agree to let her go, Scorpius would never know. But either way, she started running the second Ron nodded his head, and in that same second, Scorpius was able to pull himself to his feet. His hands still felt empty, but now they had hope, and he would live off that hope until it became truth.

All eyes were on him as he came to, and he was now exceedingly aware of just how many people were huddled on this side of the tent, from the newly enlarged Longbottom family, to all the other Hogwarts professors and students who had stayed over break, to the cluster of Weasleys that stood closest to Scorpius. There was something he wanted to do, or rather, something he needed to do, but he knew that it would have to wait. Right now, these people needed him.

For a moment, Scorpius closed his eyes and tried to take in all the energy he possibly could from such momentary rest. When he opened his eyes once more, he knew that that would be the end of it. There would be no more shock, no more sadness, no more hiding. This was the part where he showed his determination that only ever strengthened in the face of perilous pressure.

With this in mind, he finally spoke. His voice was loud and commanding, like Rose's had been, as he slowly turned his head to take in the crowd and said, "I'm sure I don't need to tell you what a tragedy this is for all of us. I, for one, will remember Minerva McGonagall until my last breath, and hopefully well past that time. But I also think you know that this death comes to us as a sign of danger – a sign of war. Now, we must prepare ourselves for what lies ahead. If we don't, tragedy will strike again."

He wished that Rose was there to take his hand as he said the words, but he tried not to think about the fact that he'd sent her away for no good reason; she'd return soon, and perhaps she'd even find a knight for him to hold from one of the library's chess sets. But because she wasn't there, Scorpius found himself looking to Hermione for counsel, and sure enough, she was smiling with the type of genuine pride that only a mother could bear.

Everyone was paying close attention to Scorpius as he took one of his wands from his pant pocket, pointed it at McGonagall's body, and silently procured a clean, white sheet out of thin air that covered her from head to toe. "I'd like to bury her, properly, and without magic," he said as he looked down on the spot where his professor had been, no longer able to count her wrinkles through the sheet. "But for the rest of you, no such time should be wasted."

That was when he started designating the crowd with tasks. He began by telling all the guests that they should head home if they wished to, or if they had family members waiting for them there. Scorpius was thankful when only two wizards actually Disapparated, and when the rest remained glued to the ground that belonged as much to them as it did to him. Then he spoke to Ron, since he was clearly the most restless of all, giving him permission to send word out for the Aurors as well as anyone else in the Order of the Phoenix; they needed to set up a defensive force in case the Flock attempted a second attack on them. (Teddy and Dominique offered their help in sending out the Patronus messages, the former put in charge of notifying the rest of the Ministry.) Scorpius turned next to Neville, asking the groom who seemed just as grief-stricken as he was to take charge of the other professors, most of whom had been preparing for battle since this time last year. Together, they left for the other side of the pitch to discuss their plans and strategies, and Scorpius promised to check in on them within the hour.

Once a fair amount of the crowd had dissipated into smaller groups, Scorpius whispered to Hermione to make sure all those underage found a way to get home, even though he and Hermione both knew that the pursuit was futile for the majority of the kids. He was wondering what to say to the remaining guests when he saw a tall silhouette walking toward the tent from the direction of the castle.

Scorpius quickly excused himself from the crowd to approach the person in hopes that it was Rose, only appearing tall because she'd found her heels. He was disappointed to find that the figure was actually James. The Potter boy stopped just before reaching the pitch so that Scorpius could speak with him, or perhaps he even wanted to speak with Scorpius.

"Where have you been?" asked Scorpius anxiously before James had time to say anything himself. "You didn't see it happen, did you?" Lorcan and Lucy had been nearest to McGonagall and had been the ones to find her dead, but even they hadn't caught a good glimpse of the murderer. They only described the person as being dark and cloaked, and then mentioned the trail of fire that had been left behind.

"No, but I'd wager everything I own on the one culprit I have in mind," said James nonchalantly, lifting his chin in greeting to Lysander and Lorcan, who were approaching them from behind Scorpius. "And I've been with Lily, who's now having a conversation with our parents down in Hagrid's Hut. She has a fair lot to explain, so they could be a while."

The twins were on either side of him when James asked, "What about you? Any word about the Flock's whereabouts?" Whoever had committed tonight's crime had to have been a part of the Forbidden Flock, but they had also been able to penetrate the Hogwarts borders, and James was right about there being only one person they knew of who could do such a thing. As for the rest of Astoria's army, and Astoria herself – they could be anywhere.

"No," Scorpius replied, but he didn't care to elaborate on what he did know. He had been distracted by James's mention of Hagrid, since he hadn't actually seen the half-giant anywhere in the past hour. Curious, he asked James, "If Harry and Ginny are in Hagrid's Hut, where's Hagrid?"

James was shrugging his shoulders when Lorcan answered for him, "He ran off in a defiant rage as soon as McGonagall died. I'm pretty sure he's planning to run all the way to Romania before the night's out."

Charlie Weasley and his dragons were in Romania, but last time Scorpius checked, Charlie hadn't been very willing to let any of them go, even to the right side. Plus, the fact that Hagrid wasn't allowed to use magic meant that there was no way he could Apparate, and Scorpius would need his sheer physical strength with the rest of the Order if the Flock tried to strike again.

Thinking this, Scorpius asked Lorcan, "Can you call him off? Bring him back? He has to be here to get the giants ready if it comes to war."

"Probably," he said, much to Scorpius's relief. "But we only have so many giants, Scorp. We need those dragons."

"But my uncle will lose the entire sanctuary if he lets go of another dragon after what happened with Astoria," argued James. "It's not worth it."

Considering this, Lorcan suggested an alternative method. "What about wild ones? The Hebridean Blacks aren't far from here!"

"Yeah, they aren't very far from Azkaban Prison, either," Lysander piped in with a scoff. "Plus, aren't those the pirates' dragons? I've heard enough stories from Dad about our crazy pirate aunt to know that we should never go looking for her."

Lorcan argued with his brother on the subject for a few more minutes, but Scorpius was having a tough time keeping up with the Scamander family history lesson and dragon territoriality. When he'd had enough of the topic, he shot his hands up in defense, clenched his eyes shut, and said through his grinding teeth, "ENOUGH."

Three handsome faces were looking at him with wide eyes and silenced mouths as Scorpius added, "It doesn't matter about the pirates; even if we could get past them long enough to steel some of their beasts, we wouldn't have any time to train the dragons. I think we need to stick with what we know, and right now, that's us and the centaurs and the thestrals and the giants."

Nodding, Lorcan remembered his place and said, "I'll let Hagrid know and get him back here as quickly as possible," before heading off for the pitch.

In as non-threatening a tone as he could manage, James put a hand on Scorpius's shoulder and asked, "Have you thought at all about declaring the war now? You could give the Flock a few hours before actually setting the army on them, and that would give us time to prepare as well as send scouts out to look for where they're actually hiding."

Scorpius was eyeing the castle – its windows black as night but for the single lit candle that illuminated McGonagall's office tower – and felt suddenly sure that he knew where the Flock was hiding, but for some reason that knowledge refused to bleed into his conscious mind just yet. Declaring war seemed pointless when he didn't know where Astoria and Al were. After all, they were the ones he was preparing himself to face.

"No," he told James. "The Aurors haven't even arrived yet, and I need to take care of that body." This time it was his turn to put a hand on James's good shoulder as Scorpius looked to him and Lysander and ordered, "Hold the fort, mates."

The world seemed to disappear around him as Scorpius walked beneath the snow storm and back onto the Quidditch pitch. There, his legs led him straight to McGonagall, her body still covered in white and laying atop the wooden dance floor. If anybody needed or wanted him, they suppressed it then, for Scorpius's journey from that point forward was not interrupted. No one called out to him for either want or aid as he lifted the body onto his shoulder and slowly carried her to the shores of the Black Lake.

He was heaving when he finally reached the icy waters, but he held on to his strength long enough to gently release McGonagall onto a large stone that sat atop the frozen sand. After wiping away the beads of sweat that ran down his forehead, Scorpius knelt onto the ground and thrust his hands deep into the snow until he could feel the roughness of the sand scraping against the fingers that he thought had gone numb by now. This was the same place he'd found out about his grandmother's death, Draco having dragged him here from the top floor of the castle in the longest walk of his life. This was the same place his favorite chess piece had been crushed by his own fury and simultaneous pain. This was the same place Rose had held him only last month, when he'd wept for hours upon remembering Narcissa and coming to terms with the fact that he would never see her again.

But now, the tears wouldn't come. Now, when all Scorpius wanted to do was sit here alone and cry, no liquid but sweat penetrated his skin. He was as still, dry, and impermeable as a castle, or a rook. Was that what he had become over the last few years, through his training and through his family's abandonment? A rook to replace what both Narcissa and McGonagall had been for him – strong, supportive, never breaking and never vulnerable? Was he no longer the fast-learning, horse-mounted knight who moved in unexpected directions to pay for the king and queen's mistakes? And as he wondered if this was true, he also asked where his fellow rook was, because like knights, they always came in pairs.

What did manage to penetrate Scorpius's eyes was the white light reflecting off the Black Lake. It was all he could see at first, and the more he considered its speckled color and wind-swept motions, the closer Scorpius came to realizing that this wasn't just moonlight. This light was coming from bulbs or wands, not stars or fires. Looking up, he saw that Hogsmeade was its source, for though the small town couldn't be seen from the Quidditch pitch, Scorpius had a perfect view of it from across the lake.

The Shrieking Shack was the closest to the water, and behind that were Honeydukes and the Three Broomsticks hugging High Street on either side. Both of the shops had lights on through their windows, and both of those lights appeared to be moving through the shapeless dark. Scorpius supposed that the light could just be coming from the workers there, but looking on at the brightness, he couldn't seem to ward off his own fear.

He was just about to stand up and get to work so that he wouldn't have to look toward the light any longer when something even brighter caught his eyes. This light had a discernible shape as it glided atop the lake's glossy surface, its wings long and full of power, even in their ghost-like translucent state. The Patronus was a hawk, and even though Scorpius knew two hawks whom he wasn't currently too keen on seeing, he didn't fear the one he looked on now. This hawk was just as broken as he was...

"Scorpius, it's time for you to get up now. You've been in bed for far too long, and your grandmother wishes to see you." His father's voice was dry, husky, and not at all like his mother's. His mother's was the only voice he wanted to hear, and it was the only one he wanted to listen to.

"No," was all the boy would say. "No. No. No."

After breathing a deep sigh, Draco put a large hand on Scorpius's small arm and said, "Hey, guess what? Your mum sent me a letter this morning; she said she'll be back first thing tomorrow! Don't you want to look nice when you see her? I can buy a suit for you if you come into town with me to try one on."

Scorpius swatted his father away with his free hand. "NO!" he spat. He did like to be well-dressed, even at such a young age, but Draco had used the same tactic to drag him out of bed only yesterday. Yesterday, he had lied. Astoria still hadn't returned home.

At the touch of Scorpius's hand on Draco's, the latter inhaled sharply and then grabbed the little hand that he sometimes wondered if he had really been the one to create. "You're all sticky! I should get you into a bath at once." He tried to tug Scorpius off the king-size mattress that sat in the middle of his parents' giant bedroom, but Scorpius was shaking too much for Draco to keep hold of him. "Stop moving!" he yelled.

"No," retorted Scorpius once more. His father's eyes were furious and appeared to seep into the pit of Scorpius's head like an arrow piercing the heart of its target. Knowing that Draco was frustrated even though he didn't completely understand why, Scorpius finally changed his words. "No," he said, followed closely by, "I can't."

He couldn't help his shaking. The young Scorpius wasn't pleading for attention or dramatizing his own emotional pain; he was simply scared. He was scared that the shaking would never stop. He was scared that this trip that Astoria had taken – one trip of the many she took every year for her work and for her secrets, but the first of which Scorpius had truly been aware of – would be the last. He was scared that he would never be able to hold his mother's hands again.

"That's okay," said Draco as he let Scorpius's hand drop back onto the sheet and instead rubbed his back, which Scorpius had curled on its side. "I'm scared, too."

Though Scorpius's mouth didn't make a sound, his eyes asked all that his father needed to hear. They were wide, hopeful, and childish in the best possible way.

"Can I show you something? Something magical?" Draco smiled when Scorpius nodded vigorously. Finally, a yes. Then he shifted in his seat on the bed so that he could grab his white wand that he'd only ever showed his son once before. He had even let Scorpius hold it that first time, but then the boy had blown out a window, and Draco hadn't been so angry in years. Now was different, though. Now, Scorpius wasn't going to touch the wand.

Thinking of his family – Astoria in the hospital and holding Scorpius on his first day in the world, before Draco had taken him home and Astoria had had to wait in the hospital for months to heal from a dreadful labor; before all that, when everything had been perfectly peaceful – Draco pointed his wand in front of Scorpius's line of vision and whispered, "Expecto Patronum!"

A hawk of dark silver shot from his wand and spread its wings in the middle of the room, flying up and over Scorpius's head and around the ceiling's border, before ducking under the doorway and vanishing into the distance. Scorpius had seen the Patronus animal before, since Astoria had always liked to show him her magic, but he'd never seen it from Draco.

"Same as Mummy," mumbled Scorpius while he pointed to where the big bird had disappeared. "Why same?"

"Because I love her. I love her just as much as you do," Draco explained. His Patronus hadn't always been a hawk, but throughout Scorpius's lifetime and even a few years before that, it had withheld its new form.

"You want Mummy back?" asked Scorpius, his tone almost desperate, being that it was hitched and groggy.

"Yes. More than anything, I want her back. I'm always going to want her back."

When Scorpius turned around, the hawk faded away and his father stood before him, his skin rugged yet sagging as if he'd aged thirty years since Scorpius's memory, as opposed to the actual fifteen that it had been. He was dressed in his usual suit, black with a white shirt and a tie that was as stiffly knotted as Scorpius's. In each if his hands was a large, steel shovel. They came in a pair.

Scorpius didn't say so much as hello to his father, but he knew that he didn't need to. Instead, he looked straight into Draco's icy eyes as he walked toward him and asked, "Falcons are supposed to fly, so why did I drown?"

Draco was close enough to hand his son one of the shovels when he answered, "You didn't drown, boy. And you won't, because you haven't lifted off yet."

It had been a day less than a year since Scorpius had last seen his father. He had no idea what Draco had been doing all that time, while he had either been at school and training under McGonagall or staying with the Weasleys and training under Rose's family. It had been impossible to host another full core alliance meeting that summer, because the last thing Scorpius had wanted to do was put all of his most powerful allies into one room for Astoria to blow up at her leisure. And Scorpius had never even considered paying a visit to Malfoy Manor; that house was filled with his mother in every imaginable way.

Now, when he stared at his father, Scorpius wasn't even sure if he recognized him. Draco still had Astoria's Patronus, but why? Hadn't he let her go yet? Didn't he realize that she was already gone? He was silent and stoic as he scooped piles of snow and sand up with his shovel and tossed it aside with a simple flick of his wrist. Could it be that he was stronger now, or was it still his own grave that he was digging?

Scorpius was scooping in unison with Draco, and together they had made a six-foot long pit that was nearly three feet deep when Scorpius finally found the nerve to ask, "Have you? Have you lifted off yet?"

For a moment, it seemed as though Draco was thinking about his answer, which was a practice he was normally not well versed in. After a minute of quiet, he said, "No, I dare say I haven't. I suppose I'm waiting for the command."

"Yeah, as is everybody else," grunted Scorpius, the pile atop his shovel suddenly feeling heavier than it did only moments ago. "It's their commander who's too terrified to let them fight."

"You look fairly steady to me," Draco said with a glance at Scorpius. He hadn't seen Scorpius a few hours ago, but in that moment, Draco was right. His son's hands, though beginning to throb and blister, weren't making his shovel shake, nor was the rate of his breathing any faster than normal.

"Only because I refuse to let them all see me the way I feel right now," Scorpius admitted. "But the truth is that I have no idea what I'm doing. McGonagall was always the one who told me what I should say at those meetings, and she was the one who taught me how I'm going to win this battle, but she never taught me how to start it.

"I mean, I don't even know who killed her, because I wasn't there. I was off with Rose, because she needed me and I needed her, but where was I when McGonagall needed someone?" He was shoveling so quickly at this point that Draco could barely make out his words through his exhausted grunting, and there was no longer any room for Draco to help him with the grave. "I wasn't even there. Now, I don't know where the Flock is hiding, I don't know where Rose went, and I really don't know where I'm going to tell all those people up there to go."

Slowly and carefully, Draco reached for the handle of Scorpius's shovel and ripped it from his bleeding hands. Scorpius didn't seem to notice the blood, but it was all Draco could see as he told him, "That's enough. You've done enough."

Shaking his head, Scorpius said the one word he'd always said to Draco when he was younger. "No. No, it's never enough." Running a hand through his hair, he added, "I'm never in the right place when it happens, and I can never get there quickly enough to save them."

Astoria had attacked the Creeveys when Scorpius had hidden away behind Godric's Hollow, Narcissa had been killed at Malfoy Manor when he was at school, Astoria had infiltrated Arthur Weasley's funeral and attempted to capture Rose when he had already returned to Hogwarts, and now McGonagall had been killed when he had only been a wall away. Scorpius was getting closer, but still he could never quite save the ones he loved before they were taken from him.

"Well, neither can I," said Draco as he turned to get a better look at Scorpius. The grave was as deep as they were tall, the blond of their hair just sticking out above the beach. "I couldn't be there when my mother died, and I haven't been there for you on countless occasions. Nobody can predict the future, Scorpius, not even one of those proclaimed Seers. And I'm afraid that the Malfoy name only seems to dampen one's luck."

The men took a few deep breaths together, both of them cursing the name they were born with, and then Draco jumped out from the grave and offered a hand for Scorpius. Once back on the beach, they walked over to McGonagall's body and carried her into the pit, Draco's hands around her ankles and Scorpius's protecting her head. She was laid peacefully in the ground, almost like the grave was dug just for her, even though in actuality, Scorpius had dug it for everyone he'd ever left behind, and everyone he would leave behind in the future.

"What do I do now, Dad?" asked Scorpius when yet again, the tears refused to come, no matter how long he stared down at his teacher's corpse.

He hadn't called Draco by such a name in many years, and while the elder Malfoy did love the sound of that three-letter word, he knew that he had done nothing to deserve it. In an effort to make Scorpius listen to those who truly understood him and therefore understood how to council him, Draco said, "You walk back to that decrepit Quidditch pitch, you take the head of your alliance's table, and you point somewhere on that map they've got. They're all waiting for you, Scorpius. All you have to do is go to them." He had been called here by Ron Weasley himself, along with all of the other Order of the Phoenix members, the majority of whom must have arrived by now.

Scorpius didn't want to leave McGonagall, especially with the open grave, but he understood from the promise in Draco's eyes that his father would fill the pit for him. To pay his respects one last time, though, Scorpius found himself reaching for his shovel, scooping up a pile of the sand that he'd just dug from the earth, and letting it cascade onto that white sheet like raindrops bouncing on the ice. Then he let Draco take care of the rest, whether by hand or by magic he did not care, heading for the pitch the way he needed to get there: alone.

Sure enough, the core alliance was waiting for him by the time Scorpius reached the pitch, whose borders were now patrolled by questioning Aurors. The soldiers were standing in a circle around one of the wedding tables, all leaning over some sort of large paper that was covering the table's surface and pointing to its different spots in abject haste. The current argument seemed to lay between Teddy and Hermione from across their respective spots on opposite ends of the table, with Ron butting in every now and again to defend his wife. Neville (who had parted from the his professor colleagues in order to join the core alliance) and Luna were simply trying to stay awake through their night that never seemed to end, and Dennis and Natalie Creevey had arrived and were just peeking their heads over the others to check on their sons, who were sitting at a table not too far away. Then there was James and Mercy, who were silently staring at each other without daring to speak their minds on any subject. But Scorpius was less interested in who was there than who wasn't. Harry and Ginny must have still been with Lily, and where Rose was, he didn't know.

He tried not to worry about her as he went to face his alliance just as his father had advised him to do. It turned out that the paper on the table was an enlarged copy of James's map, with color-coded tacks pinned across it to represent both the Order and the Flock. Teddy kept moving the largest white peg to the Great Hall of the castle, arguing that the Aurors should take center stage, but Hermione disagreed. She claimed that they should spread out along the army's vanguard, standing firm all across the Hogwarts border.

"Hermione's right," Scorpius spoke as he took his spot in between Ron and Neville. Everyone but Teddy looked to him in relief, happy to see their leader rise above the ashes of McGonagall's death. "Our frontline should be strong, and they'll have the giants with them for defense. The farther the Flock fights through the castle, the farther into its center we'll retreat – if and when the time comes."

Regardless of how much they seemed to argue with each other, nobody argued with Scorpius. Somehow, even in his absence and theirs, they had all learned their place within the Order, and they all understood that his words were final. But as Scorpius's eyes spanned the rest of the table, he could tell that there were others who had things to say.

It was Teddy who gave the bad news that Scorpius hadn't expected to hear. "I sent word to the Ministry, of McGonagall's death as well as our decision to remain where we are and fight back if need be," he said, and at this point Scorpius already had his head cocked to the side in disappointment, because he could sense the 'but' coming. "But we received no reply, from Shacklebolt nor anyone else."

Teddy and Hermione were the only two in the alliance who actually worked in the building's offices. The Creeveys, along with the Aurors like Ron and Mercy, were all employed through the Ministry, but they only checked in with their departments when they needed to. And since both Teddy and Hermione had attended the wedding ceremony here at Hogwarts, neither of them could say what was going on at the Ministry now.

Somebody cleared their throat from across the table, and as Scorpius looked up to find its source, it was Mercy who asked, "Is it possible that Astoria's taken control of the Ministry, like she did with the Auror Department?"

Scorpius didn't know the answer to that, except that he wouldn't put it past Astoria's capabilities. She was not a witch to be underestimated. Luckily, though, Luna answered for him with an explanation that actually seemed quite sound. "What she did with the Aurors didn't really give her control; it simply gave her access. In order to get full control, she'd have to infiltrate the minds of thousands of workers."

"She's still done something," said James, causing Mercy to glance at him with squinted wonder. She probably thought that he was disagreeing with Luna to support her claim, but Scorpius knew better than she did. James would argue with anyone if he thought he could win.

"Yeah, yet another something we should kill her for," muttered Ron so quietly that Scorpius wouldn't have heard him if they hadn't been standing right next to each other. Ron probably also wouldn't have said it if he'd given his words any real thought before voicing them; the look he received from Hermione was enough to make anyone feel guilty for a lifetime.

Scorpius knew that Hermione was only angry at Ron for his defense, but Ron's threat didn't actually hurt Scorpius. Perhaps he'd been hurt enough as it was, or perhaps he evenagreed with Ron. Either way, Scorpius wasn't afraid of the idea of his mother being killed. It was the actuality of it happening that would scare him.

He also knew that Astoria wasn't the only person Ron was referring to when he spoke of killing. The core alliance, mainly Ron and Draco, had disputed over proper punishment of the Forbidden Flock before. Scorpius had moved them all away from the subject with the promise to return to it one day, and it seemed as if that day had come.

Still, Scorpius knew exactly what everyone at this table thought on the matter thanks to their previous discussion: Teddy, James, Dennis, and Natalie didn't believe in killing when the Flock members could simply be sentenced to a life in prison, and Mercy most likely agreed with them; Neville and Luna agreed with Ron in that they wouldn't have a choice but to kill once the battles ensued; Hermione knew where she stood on the matter but didn't want to admit it, and Scorpius felt the same. If death could be avoided, then he would pay any cost necessary to protect both innocent and guilty lives.

That was what made him say so fiercely that he was sure no one would dare to object, "We're not killing anyone. That's a last resort, in all cases." Though now that he'd decreed such, Scorpius wasn't sure what the first resort would be.

Looking back at the faces he was surrounded by, all of whom were looking down and waiting for the moment when they might ask him what he was already asking himself, Scorpius's eyes kept focusing back on the Creevey couple. They were just as quiet now as they had been at last Christmas's meeting, when Scorpius had met them for the first time, and he knew exactly why they always seemed so unimpressionable. They were Obliviators, memory erasers, and their skills with mind penetration made their own minds that much more difficult to penetrate.

Scorpius was still staring at Dennis and Natalie's mutual mousy brown hair and simple facial features when he said more confidently than he'd felt all night, "We'll wipe their memories instead."

That seemed to be all he'd needed to say for Scorpius to feel like he could check out again. His focus could only remain for so long. It wasn't that he felt tired (though surely he was), but he currently had so many things on his mind, and he couldn't deal with more than one of them at once. So, as the core alliance dove into argumentation yet again, Dennis and Natalie informing everyone that obliviation wasn't as easy as it seemed while Ron and Mercy boasted about being skilled enough to make it happen, Scorpius excused himself by saying to them all, "Please, by all means, discuss. I'll be back before you come to a conclusion, I'm sure."

Then he began to make the rounds at all the other tables. He started with the professors, where Lysander, Lorcan, and Colin had also stationed themselves. Most of the teachers were still busy trying to figure out how anyone had broken through the protective barriers, strengthening the charms as they went. Pontner, the Potions professor, had decided that the Quidditch pitch may just be a better location for her enlarged hospital wing than the one that was already in the castle. Trelawney and Patil had taken post just outside the pitch and were currently stargazing, as if the night sky held premonitions for them to read. Smethley and Lysander were in the middle of a heated discussion regarding the underage students who refused to go home and were adamant about fighting, Smethley saying that they would never survive and Lysander trying to make her give them a chance, specifically using Lily as an example of a young witch who was already stronger in DADA than most seventeen year-olds.

The person Scorpius had been looking for, however, was just walking back to the table in the direction of his two assistants. Hagrid was fuming as he passed one of the Auror guards without stopping to answer his questions, pounding onto the wooden floor and yelling at Lorcan and Colin, "D'yeh really 'spect me ter come back 'ere after gettin' halfway to Romania, yeh barmpots?!"

Scorpius was standing next to him when Colin crossed his arms and told Hagrid, "Well it worked, didn't it?"

The giant's expression turned completely blank for a moment, and then suddenly Hagrid was furrowing his forest of eyebrows and saying, "On'y 'cause yer letter said me house was on fire, but's right well NOT!"

Laughing for the first time since he'd found McGonagall, Scorpius whispered in Lorcan's ear, "You told him the Hut was on fire?"

Lorcan shrugged. "You wanted him back."

Still chuckling and deciding not to let Lorcan or Colin take the blame for Hagrid's wrath, Scorpius said to the giant, "It was my idea, Hagrid. I needed you back here so that you could prepare the giants. Where have you been hiding them, anyway?"

Quickly forgetting why he'd ever been angry, Hagrid answered, "Well, in the Cleeves Cove caves, o' course; 's the on'y place big enough fer 'em!"

"Good," said Scorpius, though he had no idea how close those caves were. Since he didn't want Colin fighting in battle if it came to that (and surely the Squib would try) and because Lorcan would never leave Lucy behind, Scorpius added, "Take Colin and go get those giants, as quickly as you can."

Colin obliged and was packing a bag of supplies when Hagrid shook his heavy head until he was too tired to move it anymore, yelling, "Wait, hold off a minute-"

But Scorpius interrupted him before he could finish, thinking about something that Harry had told him once when he'd needed to realize the direness of a situation. "No, Hagrid. This needs to be done now, and you know it does. You know it because it feels like it did the last time. It feels like a storm's coming."

This time, Hagrid nodded. "An' we all bes' be ready when she does," he said.

Scorpius was smiling as he watched Hagrid grow determined once more. He and Colin were quick to set off, Holly wishing the latter good luck with a kiss on the cheek. Once they were gone, Scorpius told Lorcan that he was now in charge of the Hogwarts game, so he soon set off to rally the centaurs. At that point, Scorpius had done all he could think to do in leading the Order, at least until a second attack came. His next priority was Rose.

It had been two or three hours since McGonagall had died and Rose had gone up to the castle, the moon now at its highest point in the sky and serving as a signal of midnight rapidly approaching. Just to be sure that he wasn't missing anything, Scorpius turned to Lysander as the latter was about to walk away from Professor Smethley to ask if he'd seen Rose, but of course he hadn't. Even Lysander would tell Scorpius if he knew something; their competition over Rose had come and gone a long time ago now.

Next, he turned to the underage student table, where Hugo, Nigel, Roxanne, and Holly were all still seated, most of them half-asleep as they waited for something interesting to happen. "Have any of you seen Rose?" Scorpius asked them.

Each of them shook their heads, but when Scorpius started to walk away, Hugo ran after him, Nigel in his wake. "Wait, where are you going?" asked the taller of the two.

"To look for your sister," Scorpius replied. He didn't stop walking to chat. In fact, he did just the opposite, speeding up so that his legs matched his racing heartbeat. He was beginning to get a bad feeling about Rose's whereabouts.

"Well, we're coming with you, then," announced Nigel as he struggled to keep up.

"Fine," said Scorpius, figuring that there was nothing he could do to shake them off. They were already past the guards and half-way to the Whomping Willow. "But get your wands ready." He agreed with Lysander about the underage wizards being capable enough to fight in the war if they wanted to, but Scorpius wasn't about to take any chances with one of Ron Weasley's children. Plus, he genuinely liked Nigel.

Such was even further proven when Nigel said, "Trust me, we're way ahead of you," and Scorpius looked back at him to find the boy taking a long, narrow pouch from his suit pocket and pulling six hand-made wands from inside it. Hiding them away once more, Nigel added, "There are plenty more where those came from. Hugo put a charm on the bag to make it bigger inside."

"One of my mum's favorite," said Hugo. "I counted fifty wands when Nigel was loading the bag – one for every member of the core alliance, one for every professor, and about twentyfor me."

"Are you sure that will be enough?" asked Scorpius. "You are rather prone to breaking them, as I recall."

Hugo gave him a scowling look as he pouted, "Oh, shut it, Scorpion. Let's just focus on finding our Rosie."

It was difficult for Scorpius to crack jokes when he was so worried, but a part of him hoped that doing so might make it easier to breathe. It didn't, at least not until Hugo had referred to Rose as 'ours,' as in both his and Scorpius's. That did the trick.

They were hopping up the path leading to the stone sundial when Nigel asked, "My parents seemed worried when we left the pitch. What were you discussing in that meeting of yours?"

Hugo must have given him the same scowl Scorpius had just received, since before Scorpius could respond, Nigel shrugged his shoulders and whispered crossly in a different pair of ears, "What? Just because I didn't let you spy on them doesn't mean I'm not curious to know what they said, so long as Scorpius is willing to tell us."

"It's all right, Nigel," said Scorpius, if only to end the bickering. "The core alliance was just discussing the battle, and what people should do if they were to find themselves in a...compromising position with a member of the Forbidden Flock." He knew that Hugo could handle the subject, but Nigel was so much more naïve, and so much more vulnerable.

"Compromising?" Nigel asked, Hugo having gone silent beside him. "I – I don't understand."

"He means in a duel," Hugo explained. "No one can seem to agree whether those duels should end in death or simply lifelong misery while rotting away in Azkaban."

"Your parents made me realize that we should just Obliviate them," Scorpius said before Hugo could make Nigel even more uncomfortable than he already had.

At first, Nigel didn't respond, but just as the trio was coming to the end of the wooden bridge, he said almost solemnly, "I asked my parents to wipe my memory once."

Scorpius had promised himself that they wouldn't stop walking until he found Rose, but he hadn't expected to hear such a thing come from his friend. Deciding to let Nigel catch his breath and to listen to what he only assumed would be a troubling story, Scorpius stopped and faced Nigel head-on, Hugo standing by his boyfriend's side.

"It was just after Astoria attacked our house two summers ago," Nigel started. Looking to Hugo, he went on, "I didn't really have you yet, at least not the way I wanted you. Nothing seemed to be going right, and when you left to stay at the hospital with your dad, I wondered if you'd ever tell him about me. I wondered if you'd ever stop seeing your secret – oursecret – as something that would hurt him the same way Astoria had hurt him. And I supposed I thought that if I couldn't have you, then I'd rather just forget."

He was smiling, Hugo's eyes watering as they looked at Nigel's, when he finished, "But I'm pretty glad that they wouldn't do it. It doesn't really matter how many people around us get hurt or die, because we adapt. We tell people what we never thought we could, we accept pain as a pathway instead of a barrier, and we laugh in the midst of grief. Most of the time, we don't actually need to forget."

Scorpius could hear Hugo's choked breathing and could just barely make out his tears shining in the night, but he looked away when Hugo walked up to Nigel, grabbed hold of his red ears, and kissed him. They broke apart quickly, Hugo pausing to say, "I'm yours, Nigel Creevey. I hope you know that I always have been. I've always loved you."

Scorpius was still looking off into the distance, his eyes following a dark shadow that was dancing across the courtyard that the bridge opened into, when Hugo's proclamation made him think of Rose. He had been thinking about her all day, much like he always was, but not like this. Now, he was envisioning her the way he'd seen her after the wedding, the way she'd made love to him in the most tender yet bravest way he could have imagined. The place and time hadn't been what he would have planned it to be – the rain had come from a shower instead of the clouds, and there had been no maple leaves falling around them – but in those moments, he'd been happier than he'd ever been. And as he fought through his current grief to think of that happiness, the shadow floated ever closer to the bridge.

"RUN!" he yelled at Hugo and Nigel as the dementor started to smell them. Scorpius could have fought off one dementor easily enough, but he knew that there would be more of them where the one had come from.

Hugo and Nigel were very obedient, running across the bridge just as quickly as Scorpius until the three of them were back on the ground, crouched behind one of the sundial stones in hiding. Once safe, Hugo whispered anxiously, "What was it, Scorp?"

"A shadow," were all the words he could make out; he was too busy trying to understand how there could be a dementor at the castle again, long after Ron had banished them from the premises back in September.

"McGonagall's shadow?" asked Nigel.

"No," Scorpius shook his head. McGonagall's frozen body made it easy to tell that she had been the victim of a Killing Curse, meaning that her shadow had to have been a real person. "No, it was just a dementor, but I didn't want to risk being seen."

Hugo shivered at the thought of dementors flying around nearby; as far as Scorpius knew, he still couldn't produce a Patronus Charm. But as soon as his fear was gone, his quick thinking returned to him, and he said, "But if dementors are out guarding the castle, who's inside being guarded?"

Scorpius already knew the answer, and he was pretty sure both Hugo and Nigel did too. Even so, he was thrilled when Hugo stood up and said, "Let's try the main entrance." Just because they all knew what was going on didn't mean that any of them wanted to believe it.

The Entrance Hall was closer to the Boathouse, so to get there, Scorpius and company had to run down to the Black Lake, jog along its shores, and then climb up the winding steps that met up with the road from Hogsmeade. It took them ten minutes to get there, which was a full ten minutes fewer than it usually did, and during this journey, no one spoke.

All three boys attempted to open the double doors once they reached them. Scorpius tried without magic, Nigel tried after using an Unlocking Charm, and Hugo tried blasting it open with the Reductor Curse. Nothing worked. Nothing was going to work. Nobody was getting into the castle, and nobody was coming out.

Nigel was the first to speak, Scorpius and Hugo far too concerned for Rose's safety to even consider what this meant in the grander sense. "You don't think she's in there, do you?" he asked, and he wasn't talking about Rose.

"I dunno'," said Scorpius as he stared up at the layers of stone that towered above him and collided with the stars. "But I'm going to find out."

Hugo and Nigel had no idea what was going on when Scorpius didn't say another word, and instead starting running away from the door until his legs were moving fast enough for him to transform. He no longer cared to keep his falcon form a secret, especially from two people he knew for certain that he could trust, so he turned into a bird and flapped his boundless wings until he was high enough in the blackness to turn around and fly to the Headmaster tower.

Scorpius knew that he would find her there long before he actually glided past the illuminated window, but he couldn't put a word on his fury when he saw Astoria sitting in the chair that used to be McGonagall's, behind a desk that used to be his second home. He had to convince himself not to crash through the window and attack Astoria right there and then, but he knew it wasn't time yet. Plus, Rose wasn't there with her. As far as Scorpius could see, Astoria was alone in the circular room, sitting there just as calmly and comfortably as she used to sit in the dining room at Malfoy Manor, with a black chess piece curled up in her hand...

"She's home!" his call echoed down the second floor hallway and down the marble staircase, into the massive dining hall and sending vibrations through the ancient chandelier that hung above the empty space where a table would sit when the Malfoys hosted dinner parties, which was very rarely. Scorpius kept saying the words as he slid down the staircase railing, ignoring Draco's worried yelling from behind him.

The boy reached the ground floor in the same moment that his mother did, Astoria scooping him up in her arms as the speed of his ride flew him off the railing and into the air. "I'm home," she concluded for him.

For a long while, Scorpius buried himself in her chest, closing his eyes and clawing his hands around his shoulders so that he could get as close to her as possible. He rubbed his cheek against her velvet witch's cloak, twirled his fingers through her black hair, and inhaled the smell of a nighttime fire. Her signature scent was cold around the edges, sending crispy chills down his nose and into his throat, but its core was so hot it burned his tongue. He was far too happy to feel the pain.

Scorpius only backed away when Astoria's chin moved atop his head so that she could tell him, "I brought something for you, you know. Do you want to see it?"

Once his head was free, Scorpius nodded with all his might. His mother took a moment to find his gift within the depths of her bag that sat on the floor, and in the meantime, he repositioned himself on her lap so that he could see her face. He had feared that he hadn't looked at it long enough before she'd left, and he wanted to remember every part of it in case she left him again. He wanted to remember the skin that was the color of snow just before it browned and turned to mud. He wanted to remember the eyes that were the kind of ice that was so thick it never broke, far too thick to the see the water it hid. He wanted to remember that the shape of her face reminded him of a river: how it was long and pointed, twisted and eternal.

"This," said Astoria as she unraveled one of his hands from her clothes and wrapped it around a strangely shaped stone, "Is a chess piece called a knight. And whenever you feel scared or sad, whenever your hands start to sweat or shake, whenever somebody leaves you, I want you to hold onto this knight and remember that you're strong and that you're not alone."

When Scorpius looked away from her eyes and down at his hand, he found that the pure white stone was carved to look like a horse ready to gallop. Astoria had a carbon copy of the stone in her own hand, only hers was black.

Using her free hand to pet Scorpius's cheek, she said, "Now tell me, son, what does a knight do?"

At first, Scorpius didn't know the answer to her question, but when he glanced around the room and looked from his father's hawk-like stance at the top of the stairs to the double doors at the front of the hall, it came to him clear as day. His eyes were back on his mother's when he told her, "He brings people home."

Scorpius landed as a human a few yards away from the Quidditch pitch, just far enough from the guards that they wouldn't have seen him transform. His thoughts were spinning as he knelt down to bring himself back to earth. Just as he had done countless times before, he cursed himself for not understanding his mother's motives sooner and wished that he could turn back time so that he might change the present. But even a time-turner wouldn't change anything. Whatever happened, happened.

He had let Rose go even after promising not to, and Astoria had known that he would. That was why she'd had McGonagall killed, whether by herself or by one of her faithful followers – because she knew that it was the only thing that would make Scorpius forget. It made him forget about what he had broken and what he needed to protect, because all he had wanted was that knight. Astoria must have hoped that he'd tell Rose to get it for him, even if it had already been gone, which would drive her into the castle. Astoria would be waiting for her there, no doubt having been let inside by Al, and she'd snatch her prey and then lock the doors for the night, waiting to see how long it would take for Scorpius to figure out her plan.

Now, he had finally figured it out. Now, it was time to make his own plan. Now, it was time to become a knight. It was time to bring his people home. That was what Scorpius told himself as he made his way back onto that chiseled wooden floor just as Hugo and Nigel were returning on foot, walking straight into the middle of the conglomeration of tables to say as loudly as he could to anyone who would listen, "ASTORIA'S TAKEN THE CASTLE."

Ron was the first to react. Everyone was jaw-dropped and turning to their neighbors with panicked whispers, but Ron was loud when he asked from the closest table, "The castle?Rose is in the castle!"

It took all the courage Scorpius had ever known to say, "Astoria has her too."

He was expecting the punch that Ron plastered across his face, though it came much faster than he'd thought it would. Ron's legs were really long. It didn't hurt all that much, since his face was already numb from the cold and his own inner agony, but it did make Scorpius dizzy. He was still spinning atop his feet when Ron yelled, "You promised to protect her!"

"And I will!" said Scorpius once he regained his footing and noticed that both Draco and Harry were at his side, ready and willing to fight Ron if he tried something again. Seeing that Harry was there, Scorpius looked around for Lily, finding her hiding behind Ginny and James and looking as bruised and battered as Scorpius felt inside, but for once, she wasn't wearing any make-up. Her guilty tears must have washed it all away.

Thinking that he needed to be as strong as she had been through her first months of lycanthropy, Scorpius stood tall and said to Ron, "Believe me, I will fight for her. We all will." When Ron calmed, Scorpius turned his head to address the rest of the crowd as he added, "We will all fight for what is rightfully ours. We will fight for our families. We will fight for our blood. We will fight for our home. And whatever the Flock tries to steal from us, we'll take right back with something far stronger than vengeance. We'll take it with hope."

All eyes were on him as Scorpius looked for Nigel, and the youngest Creevey seemed to understand what his leader wanted without any oral explanation. Wordlessly, he took that pouch from his pocket, handed Scorpius about ten of his wands, and then told everyone to back away. Scorpius was in the center of a circle with a three yard radius, his army standing on all sides of him, as he held the wands in his hands, pointed them at his neck, and announced with a voice that was sure to reach the castle, the Ministry, and quite possibly the white cliffs of Dover, "THIS IS THE LEADER OF THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX SPEAKING ON BEHALF OF WITCHES AND WIZARDS WHO FIGHT FOR FREEDOM. ASTORIA, IT IS TIME TO END YOUR THIRST FOR BLOOD. RETURN YOUR CAPTIVE TO US, UNHARMED, BY SUNRISE, OR WE WILL BREAK OPEN YOUR DOORS AND SHATTER YOUR WINDOWS AND BURN YOU ALIVE."

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