Based on a true story as recounted by Zoë @SnitchesWitch
Justice for Melinda. Part Thirteen.
The unexpected incursion
“Dementors,” Weasley said. “They’re in the Ministry.”
As soon as Weasley said those words, I realised that feeling of dread wasn’t just coming from what had happened to my team. It was as if all the hope to rescue them was leaving my body. But I understood what was happening, so I tried to not let the feeling take over.
“They have to be looking for the Sand, I said to Weasley, and he nodded.”
“Breaking in here is a dangerous move. They must be running out of time.”
“What’s going on, boss?” asked Adeel.
“The creatures that killed Melinda, we think they’re turning into Dementors. They are looking for what’s in this box, and they clearly won’t stop until they find it. I don’t know if they are alone, but from the damage done down here I think it’s safe to assume they brought a few Dementors along.”
“How do we stop them?” asked Michelle, wand at the ready, eyes alert.
“You can all cast a corporeal Patronus, yes?” Weasley asked them, and they all nodded.
“Never needed to use one against a real Dementor, though,” said Naman. “I don’t know if I can do this.”
“You’re just feeling their effect, I think there are quite a few Dementors here, I’ve felt this way before. We’ll be fine, just remember the feeling is not real, and get ready to use the Patronus Charm when you run into one.” Weasley closed his eyes for a second and took a deep breath. “We can’t stay here. Others might need our help.”
Face your fears
“You’re right. First of all, we need to get some backup,” I said. “Adeel, get back to your old department. Get someone to take down the wards, reopen the Floo Network and get an emergency call for help out. Anyone out on the field needs to come.”
“Weasley, can you get the rest of the team released? You know most of the Aurors, they might listen to you.”
“If they won’t help, find another way to get them out. We’ll need them. Michelle, search the rest of the Department, see if there’s anyone we can help, or if there’s anyone left who can help us. Mia, go with Michelle. If there’s anything here that we can use you get it to me.”
“Naman, you need to get to Potter and tell him what’s going on. Tell him the Dementors and the creatures that killed Portas want the Sand. Tell him to meet me at the atrium. Use the rest of the Polyjuice, just get to him. In fact,” I said, as I reached over and pulled a hair off Weasley’s head, “use this. It might make convincing him a little easier.”
“What are you going to do?” Weasley asked, as he rubbed the spot where I’d pulled his hair.
“I’ll draw them to me, try to give you all some time to get help. We can’t let them roam free and attack anyone they find.”
“We don’t know how many of them there are?”
“So get our backup fast and come help me before the Dementors kill me,” I said.
I grabbed the box with the Sand, put a protective charm on it and shrank it enough to fit into my pocket. I would need my hands free.
It’s not fun to be the bait
Weasley, Naman and Adeel joined me as we made our way out of the Department of Mysteries. As we reached the entrance Naman took a large gulp of Polyjuice and grimaced as his body transformed.
“Ready?” I asked. They hesitated for a second before nodding. If the Dementors were affecting them even half as much as they were affecting me then they definitely didn’t feel ready. “We can do this. We have to do this. For Melinda.”
There was much less hesitation in their nod this time. We were as ready as we were ever going to be.
I pushed the door opened just enough to peek outside. “Let’s go.”
“Be careful,” Weasley, the real one, said.
“Get backup fast, or I will haunt you for the rest of your life,” I said, as I marched on.
I walked forward, feeling much worse now that I knew what I had to do. But I it was important, we needed time to get backup, and it was my job to provide it.
While the rest of my team set to work, I made my way to the Atrium. I didn’t know if the Dementors or the revived Death Eaters could sense the Sand, perhaps they were somehow tracking it. I certainly hoped so. But just in case I cast a very weak Patronus and kept it next to me, hoping it might attract their attention.
The Ministry Atrium
I started up the stairs, unsure of what I would find. The Department of Mysteries was on level nine and the Atrium on level eight. I was hoping at least some of the Dementors were gathered there, perhaps guarding the exits. I didn’t think I could waste time searching for them.
When I reached level eight I was surprised by how eerily quiet everything seemed. Then I began noticing the figures lying on the floor. More Ministry workers who had been given the Kiss. I tried not to focus on them, not to search for familiar faces. Instead I took a deep breath and moved forward. I had to do this.
As I got closer to the Atrium I knew I was in the right place. At first I heard some loud explosions. Then some screams. The feeling of dread inside me worsened, and the Patronus next to me flickered and disappeared. It was time to act.
There were nine Dementors in the Atrium, surrounded by about a dozen of witches and wizards. I could see a few threads of silver coming out of some wands, but it seemed as if the Dementors were too strong for them. I had no idea how long they had been fighting. But after the amount of bodies I’d seen, I was willing to bet these Dementors were especially strong by now.
Whatever it takes
Without even thinking, I reached into my pocket and pulled out the box containing the Sand of Time. I returned it to its original size, lifted the protective charm and opened it.
“Is this what you’re looking for?” I shouted. I don’t know if it was what I said, or if they sensed the box, but all six Dementors turned to me as one. Then they started gliding closer, completely ignoring the witches and wizards still trying to attack them. A second later four figures appeared in front of the Dementors. I knew who they were. I had seen them before. The four Death Eaters who had killed Melinda.
With their attention on me, the sense of dread and hopelessness increased tenfold. I fell to my knees, trying to understand why I was doing this, why I was fighting. We could never win. We could never stop them. They were too strong, and we were too weak.
I tried to cast the Patronus Charm, but there was nothing happy left inside me. Not a memory, not a thought. The room was getting darker. It was as if those four creatures made out of darkness were expanding towards me, surrounding me and making everything else disappear.
I tightened my grip on the wand and pulled the box closer to me. Even in this state I knew I couldn’t let them take it.
A Most Special Task Force
Then something broke through the clouds in my head – and in my vision. It was a silver stag running towards me, followed by a small dog. They stopped in front of me, clearing my mind. Suddenly I felt a sliver of hope. Just enough to cast my own Patronus.
My silver Polecat jumped between the stag and the dog, keeping the Dementors at bay. At least for a few moments.
Then I heard familiar voices coming closer. My team was free, and they were by my side. Our job was to contain the Calamity. We were the best of the best. We could do this.
More Patronus joined mine, almost surrounding the Dementors. I somehow managed to get back on my feet. Weasley stood next to me. He had Potter by his side.
“This looks bad,” he said. There were maybe twenty of us there, my team, Potter and a few Aurors. Facing off against nine well-fed Dementors. And the four still transforming.
“We can do this,” I said. Trying to sound more convincing than I felt.
“That’s what they want, isn’t it?” Potter asked, looking at the box in my hand.
“We can give you cover while you take it somewhere safe.”
“They won’t stop searching for it. We’ll only get more people killed. We need to destroy them now. But if I run I think they will follow,” I said, taking a step back. “Could buy us some time. Maybe enough to get some people out of here.”
This is where we stand
“That’s not how we work,” said Weasley. “This is where we’ll stop them.”
I saw Adeel run towards me. “Anti-Apparition wards are down. And we sent every owl in the building to get some help.”
“See? No need to do something bloody stupid like running away hoping the Dementors won’t catch you,” said Weasley.
“Then we have to attack. Now,” I said.
With a flick of my wand I sent my Patronus running towards the Dementors. The others followed suit. Then I noticed the witches and wizards who had been fighting the Dementors when I arrived were running towards us, their own Patronus corporeal again.
The Dementors closed ranks, trying to force their way past the Patronus to get to the Sand. But they were not strong enough.
Then there was a loud sound, like a rumbling roar from deep in the chest. One of the Dementors raised its bony hands, opened his mouth, and took a deep breath. The loud roar came again, and the Dementors glided closer to the one making the noise. Then they started to change, as if taken over by the darkness. Until they disappeared.
“Is this what happened the last time, isn’t it?” I asked, as I watched our Patronus begin to fade.
“Yes,” Weasley said. There was a tremble in his voice.
In a matter of seconds, there were only five figures in front of us. The four former Death Eaters and an almost gigantic Dementor.
“What just happened?” Adeel asked. He sounded so very far away.
“We have to keep fighting,” I said, as if in slow motion.
The Dementor opened its mouth again and took a deep breath, and it felt as if it was taking the air out of my lungs. My legs shook, barely holding me. The room around me started spinning. Going dark. I could only see blurry shapes. There was a buzzing in my ears. I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think.
Then the five hooded figures were standing right in front of me. One of them reached forward with its hand made of shadows. It was reaching for the box. The Sand of Time. They had killed Melinda for this. I wouldn’t let them take it.
Suddenly there was one thought clear in my mind. They would not win.
Someone somewhere shouted “No.” It might’ve been me.
With strength I didn’t know I had I pulled away from the creature and tightened my hold on the box containing the Sand. I scrambled backwards, trying to focus. This was my only chance to get it right.
I thought about Melinda. Thought about the times I’d shared with her. She had been smart, and kind, always ready to help anyone who needed it. And they had killed her.
Justice for Melinda
A thread of silver shot out of my wand. Just enough to startle the creature closest to me. I tried the spell again and saw a shimmer of light in front of me. If was slowly taking shape.
I thought of the day I met Melinda. Thought of all the hours we spent with our noses buried in books as we tried to figure out what had caused the Calamity. I thought of the night she invited our whole team to her house for a ‘family dinner.’
The silver light in front of me shone brighter, and suddenly I could see again. My Polecat stood in front of me. Hissed at the creatures still standing there.
Then there was another little cloud of silver light. And another. And another.
Soon, I began seeing more corporeal Patronus circling the five creatures. They were shining brighter by the second.
The Dementor moved back and took another deep breath, trying to weaken us again. But it was too late. Witches and wizards began Apparating around us. Our backup was here.
So instead it turned to the four figures in front of it. And this time its roar was louder as it pulled them closer.
The former Death Eaters struggled, tried to pull away, but the Dementor was too strong for them.
They seemed to dissolve as the Dementor grew larger.
Then it kept changing, just as Weasley had described. And its feet suddenly touched the floor. It was corporeal. It was incredibly powerful. But it was also mortal.
The last Dementor
Although our Patronus weakened, there were too many of us now. Too many for it to fight. I focused on every memory of Melinda as I tried to give my Patronus more power. More of my strength. I somehow stood tall and walked closer, my Polecat in front of me.
And then something stranger still happened. My Patronus leaped forward and landed on the Dementor, its claws seemingly sinking into the creature. Then the dog I’d seen before bit into its leg. In a matter of seconds, the Dementor was covered in Patronus, both corporeal and not. It stumbled back as they grew brighter.
Then, just like the one Weasley had told me about, it exploded in a mixture of silver light and pure darkness. Pieces of cloth, of flesh, of bone and who knew what else shot in every direction, the power of the explosion throwing all of us off our feet.
But once my vision cleared and I managed to sit up, I saw the Dementor was gone.
“We did it boss,” Adeel said from somewhere behind me.
“Yes, we did,” I replied. I had no idea how, but we’d managed to destroy the Dementor. And those four creatures who had killed my friend.
“I think I’m too old for this,” groaned Weasley, as he offered me a hand and helped me to my feet. “Might have to go back into retirement.”
“I don’t know about retiring,” said Potter as he patted his shoulder. “But I could definitely do with some time off. You did good, Bones.”
“She sure did,” added Weasley, as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small box. Then he offered it to me with a smile. “Chocolate Frog?”