thirty-six

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SOMEONE PRESSED THEIR HAND OVER her mouth and she jerked awake. She clawed at the persons hand. For one horrifying, frantic moment, she thought she was back at the house with Moody and Lupin.

But then her dorm room came into focus, and someone was pressing their lips to her ear. "Relax, darling. It's just me."

Instantly, her muscles untensed. Theo removed her hand from her face, and came into her view in the dark of the room.

"What are you doing here?" Celestia whispered. "How are you here?"

"No time to explain. Death Eaters have infiltrated the school, and I have no doubt the Order will be arriving soon," he whispered back. "I think Draco's at the Astronomy Tower."

That had her jumping out of the bed. She was only dressed in a short nightgown, the pendant of her necklace cold against her throat.

"What do you mean? He did it without telling either of us?" she hissed.

He didn't respond straight away, staring up at her from where he was perched on the edge of her bed. She tugged at the ends of her hair and resisted the urge to begin pacing.

"Bloody hell, he told me a couple weeks ago that he was close to finishing whatever it was but I thought he'd tell me when," said Celestia.

"Put on a cloak. We need to go make sure he doesn't get himself killed," decided Theo.

"You don't have to tell me twice," she answered.

Kneeling down, she opened her trunk as quickly and as quietly as possible. She pulled out one of her many cloaks and pulled it around her body. Theo was holding the door to the dorm room opening, waiting for her. Hurriedly, she pushed her feet into a random pair of shoes.

She didn't follow him out of the room straight away. Instead, she went over to her nightstand and pulled out both her wand, and the dagger that Theo had given her a couple weeks ago.

Sliding them into her pockets, she finished buttoning up the rest of her cloak simultaneously while she walked. Theo followed after her as they began making their way out of the common room.

Neither of them talked while they made their way out of the dungeons. The castle was too silent. The halls were empty and dark, seeing as it was far after curfew.

Worry coursed through her veins, the silence digging into her. Theo was a constant presence by her side, reminding her that she wasn't doing this alone.

They had yet to see any signs of Death Eaters, or members of the Order. There weren't even any signs of a possible fight having occurred, or one possibly coming. It made every one of her hairs stand on end.

Finally, they reached the bottom of the Astronomy Tower. They began the long trek up the stairs, their footfalls near silent against the stones. She hoped that Draco was actually up there, and that they weren't making the journey up for nothing.

Anxiously, she reached up and touched her necklace through her cloak. She had worn it nearly every day since Kreacher had given it to her, but usually she remembered to take it off before she slept.

It was when they were three quarters up that they began to hear the murmur of voices. They began moving quicker, but still quiet enough in case it wasn't Draco.

"They met some of your guards. They're having a fight down below. They won't be long... I came on ahead. I—I've got a job to do."

"Well, then, you must get on and do it, my dear boy."

It was definitely both Draco and Dumbledore. Celestia didn't bother keeping her footsteps quiet as she ran the rest of the way up the staircase.

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