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"Is he alive...?" A whispered voice asks.

Harry and I lay facedown, his glasses askew. I open my eyes a millimeter, finding Narcissa's face swimming in the dawn's muted light, eyeing my brother and I with a strange intensity: the question, I realize, was posed to us.

"My lord, let me help you-" I hear Bellatrix say.

"I do not require assistance." Across the clearing, Voldemort rises shakily, Bellatrix at his elbow. The Death Eaters watch, stirring uncertainly. Voldemort glances toward Narcissa, towards Harry and I. Bellatrix detects the wary glint in his eyes.

"The twins. Are they dead?"

My eyes shift, meeting Narcissa's once again. Something in her expression... I close my eyes. She places her fingers over my heart.

"Is he alive? Draco?"

I hesitate, then nod so subtly it's barely perceptible. Narcissa withdraws her hand and looks to Harry, checking his vitals.

"He is too." She faintly whispers. Her words meant more to me then she will ever know. Narcissa turns to where Bellatrix stands alongside Voldemort. Nods. "Dead."

The Death Eaters cheer. Hagrid howls in misery. The news seems to rejuvenate Voldemort. A fierce glint returns to his eyes. His stature grows. He eyes the Elder Wand... and smiles.

"You... giant!" Yaxley shouts. "Pick them up. You will carry them back to the castle."

"Yes." Voldemort beams with glee. "We shall show the others what has become of their precious saviors."

Moments later, I feel a pair of huge arms hoist me up, along with my brother. I can feel the warmth of Hagrids chest as he continues to grieve for Harry and I.

As they walk back out of the Forbidden Forest, Harry and I in tow, my fingers twitch. Ever so slightly feeling around for Harry's hand, I grab it and intertwine his fingers with mine, letting him know I'm okay. He squeezes my hand with the tiniest bit of pressure, returning the favor. My heart leaps for joy.

Harry and I made it.

Neville, battle-scared and weary, perches atop a fallen statue in the chill morning air. Reaching into his pocket, he removes his wand, holds it to the light and watches the tip drop like the head of a drowsy child. Broken. He tosses it away.

He kicks through the rubble. One could reconstruct the history of Hogwarts from the detritus before him: spell books, trophies, potion boxes. But Neville's expression remains stoic, unsentimental. He's seen too much in the last twelve hours. Then, he spots something black under a pile of rocks.

Neville crouches down, studies it. Reaching out, he wiggles it free, slaps it against his thigh to chase the dust. The Sorting Hat.

He ponders it, regarding its ragged surface, singed and torn, then pops it on his head, a beaten jester. Again, his face remains blank. He squints, peering vaguely into the distance. As his gaze falls on the bridge, he stops. An odd procession approaches.

Hagrid lurches forward awkwardly, clutching two bodies in his arms, ropes extending in three directions from his neck as a trio of Death Eaters, one in front, two behind, jerk him along like a tethered beast. From Hagrid, Neville's gaze drifts to Bellatrix and Narcissa and then to Voldemort himself, dark, fierce, before settling on the most unnerving sight: a giant wending snake. Suddenly a whisper fills Neville's ears.

"Don't despair, Longbottom. I put you in Gryffindor for good reason..." The Hat coughs then, raining dust over Neville's brow and he whips it off, studies it warily.

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