Atonement

This is my very first Harry Potter fanfic! Its alternative universe, and I think it would be R rated (some violence). I hope you like it! :3

A loud and deafening bang blasted through the air, spitting impulse and some flames together with rocks around from a large rocket. A portion of the wall blew off because of that.

I had to duck under the other pillar, but a familiar scream made me subconsciously peak from my hiding spot.

“Cho! Seamus! They got me!” screeched Colin. He was taking cover just beneath that wall which is now blown apart. Seems like his leg is full of blood. I glanced at Collin who nodded. “Cho, suppressing fire!”

Then I shot a few bursts at the general direction from which (I think) the Government forces is shooting from. Seamus darted towards Collin, and tried to drag him towards safety.

From afar I see that the Government forces are advancing while shooting towards their position. “Incoming! Go go go!” I ran towards the wall and started open firing at the enemy who crouched to avoid. There did not seem to be too many of them, but they seem very heavily armed.

On the other hand I have lost Katie and Dean. I dont think Collin could do much after this, but Seamus is a tough one. Still, there seems to be at least half a dozen enemies.

“Aaah!” shouted Seamus as he fell to the ground. I swiftly turned around and shot an enemy who managed to snuck around us. He was not alone, but Collin still had his handgun with him and shot the other guy down.

Seamus did not move even after I shouted his name a couple of times. Collin grabbed Seamus’s rifle. “I’ll cover this side” he said. Not very convincing, though. He is turning very pale from blood loss.

Ratatataa! Ratatatat!

I kept shooting back towards the incoming enemy, changing my clip twice already. Not good, I only got two more clips. I think I hit one of the guys but cant be sure. Too far ahead to check.

The dead government soldier who Collin shot moments ago started to make sounds. Not him, but his handy talky. “One squad coming to aid you. Sit tight.” it said in Arabic. That means another dozen enemy soldiers are coming. And while I was looking at the corpse with the handy talky, I saw Collin motionless. Eyes open, but nothing else.

I guess Im alone then, I thought as I darted across the room avoiding another explosion to the wall. Collin held three clips of ammo, and I managed to snatch them as I darted to the back door. No time to grab from the dead foes.

It was my idea to take shelter in this cottage. Learning the hard way that it was not a good idea. Not my first bad idea, and not my worst.

In fact, Im starting to be unsure of which one was my worst idea. So many bad ideas.

Right when I opened the back door, three government soldiers tried to ambush me but they missed their shot. I didn’t. What luck! I gunned three of them in one go.

Did I just say ‘luck’? I had to leap and duck behind more ruins as heavy fire started to rain on me. Yet, seems that Im getting shot from the other side too man how am I going to get away from this?

I guess I only have one choice.

I lift up both my hands, and I heard cheers from afar “Yaa Husein! Yaa Alii!”

Oh no.. Yet another bad decision I made. There are things worse than death.. They do not take prisoners!

“Zis is a fery byutiful wan. You go ferst kaptein?” said one of them as seven soldiers came close while pointing their gun at me. 

My black robes were very dirty, I no longer had my veil on but I was full of dirt. However, I have always been famous for my looks. When I first switched sides, my companions have always warned me against frontline fighting due to the fear that exactly this might happen.

This is not how Im going to go. If I were to meet my maker, I will do so with full honor! I had left my gun a few steps behind, but I had my knife.

As I drew my knife, a number of things happened at the same time. They have not reacted to my sudden movement, then an explosion blew off nearby which distracted them completely. Gunshots rang out, killing one of the government soldiers instantly. I rolled backwards and grabbed my rifle.

Moments later, the enemy were defeated but my left arm was slightly injured. A bullet scratch, not much. I turned my head to see my savior, but I had to prepare. If it were the rebels or jihadists, good. But if it were ISIS, not so good.

“Cho Chang?”

Worse than ISIS, apparently.

“Harry Potter.”

He looked away. Ahh, yes. My veil. But his gesture no longer offended me.

“Its not that you are disgusting, but it is I who do not have rights to look.” he said, many years ago when we first met. Actually, that was how we first introduced ourselves to each other.

He was one among the leaders of the demonstrators. We had enough with the tyrant, communist, and military regime of Tom Riddle. I led a group of activists from the Southern provinces. I was long educated in the West, not needing to wear such traditional clothing.

When he first gave me that look, I protested and that was his response. That answer startled me, but my arrogance made me snap back. I said that my clothes are my own business. He responded coolly by asking who set the rule that clothes is the person’s own business, also complaining how I blindly accepted without question that my ‘American teachers’ hold ‘rights over the claim of modernity’.

And this was what made me fascinated by him back then. I moved to Syria bringing a masters in Philosophy from Harvard, but Harry made me learn new things all the time.

“Finally came around, eh?” he remarked, startling me who was daydreaming back to those past days. He himself was examining the corpse of the government soldiers. I nodded, as I put on my veil.

“The mutilation and murder of that Luna kid did not stop you from joining the government forces. What finally made reality sink in?” he demanded. “I dont know why I was that stupid.” I said, barely audible. “One Luna after the other, tens of thousands by now.”

At first I joined the government forces because my parents did. They forced me. My parents force was stronger than my humanity, I thought. But seeing you in the reports of fallen jihadists, I could not bear it.

“You are alive.. I thought you were dead. The news was broadcasted.” I said. He chuckled. “As do most jihadis and rebels, interestingly. Come, we must keep moving.”

Turns out Harry wasnt alone when he saved me. He had a partner, but did not make it in the gun battle. However we did not have time to bury him, so I just followed Harry as he walked fast towards the ruins. Far behind us, we heard a few gunshots.

“Nothing to worry about. They will be soon enough following a false trail I set.”, he said after noticing that I kept looking back.

A few minutes of silence, then he broke it. “Why did you betray us?” he asked. “I have explained it to you back then.” I said.

Indeed. We were just weeks away from our wedding, when we had that big fight which set us apart. The demonstrations went worse and worse, and people started dying. But just when we thought things could never be worse, the news of Luna came. She allegedly vandalized public property with anti-government slurs. The military responded brutally: they kidnapped her, sexually harasses her, mutilated her, then killed her (in that order). They returned her body to her parents, and then bombed the funeral.

Harry was among those who, upon hearing the news, rose up and shouted “we fight!” and his friends roared in support. As did thousands and tens of thousands others, which snowballed to millions, and the civil war started.

Violently protesting against the government was one thing. Doing so when your parents was a close ally of the government was another thing. Being one among the protester ringleaders was yet another thing. It was very very extremely tough at the time. My parents really believed in the government, and were furious when they knew what I was doing. That, and due to my role my parents were threatened by the government: despite their allegiance towards the government.

When demonstrations broke to riots, then riots broke to war, my spirit broke. We shouted at each other, arguing about whether or not war is the solution. To this day I do not know why I cant just say that my parents are threatened. Why cant I just say I quit. Rather, I even bothered to try to talk Harry out of fighting.

His mind was made up. And, even at that time, deep in the corner of my heart I knew he was right. Why did I even do that? WHY??

That question kept on ringing in my head as I showered bullets towards the rebels, myself wearing a government army uniform. I had some military training back in the USA, so when my parents wanted me to join the army I was accepted very easily in the auxiliary force.

“I heard about your parents.” he said, and my heart skipped a beat. “We all knew they were pro-Riddle. But what made you even go as far as fighting for them?” I cannot respond to that. I was guilty as charged. “Maybe, there was some evil in me.” I gulped. Tears started to roll down my eyes. “A lot. The things I started.. ended up doing… Day by day I knew I was wrong. We were brutal. At first I begged my comrades to stop showering East Lattakia with bombs, when we knew for a fact was mostly full of civilians. Then I stopped begging. Then I started helping carrying the mortar rounds…”

The tears came more heavily, and I cannot continue. Harry just stood there, shocked.

I guess I will never know how much my humanity would have deteriorated. It was the news of his death that made me say “enough”. Two years after fighting for the government, I decided to defect to the rebels.

But I cant blame my parents. After all they have done for me, despite all this. And eventually I made the choice. It was my choice. “I was lost… You ask me why I did that? I am evil!” My knees fell to the ground. I felt Harry walk closer towards me, but stopped just a step away.

“Ronald,” he said, when my crying subsided a bit. I looked up at the mention of the name. “How…” I stopped mid-sentence. How could I ask how he is? They were inseparable, yet Harry is alone now. “No, he did not make it.” Said Harry, as I expected. “Last time we met, was when I set out for recon with Parvati. On our way out, he handed Parvati a bayonet and me a compass.” I said, looking down to the ground. “That was when I made my way to defect to the Government. Made good use of that compass.” We both went silent for a bit.

I murmured, “He must’ve known I’d run out on you.”

Then Harry did something he has never done before, even when approaching the days of our marriage. He put his hand on my shoulder, and that shocked me. I looked up to him, and to my amazement he was smiling.

“No,” Harry corrected me. “He must’ve known you’d always want to come back.”

I blinked in confusion.

“Some months before he died, he gave me this rifle.” He showed me a standard M4A1 assault rifle. Nothing special, except the ‘Al-Mukhtar’ painted on it. “I know he often gives gifts to people, but before he died he told me something. He said ‘Whenever I give a gift, I always give a prayer.”

I always had that compass, I have it now. I did use it once in a while –including when I ran away from the government to finally defect to the rebels.

“I knew he gave you a compass.” He said. Of course he remembered that. That was the last time we met. Well, before this, that was.

“So, come.” Harry said, gesturing me to get up. He did not help me get up, as expected. But I somehow felt some warmth in him now. “Should you not check me, to make sure Im not being a double agent?”

“I completely trust you.” Says Harry. “And Im sure they have done some checking when you first defected back, correct?” he chuckled. I nodded.

“Where are we going, though?” I asked. “We are going to one of our outposts. We are working with the rebels and about to launch an offensive against Dabbayah. This area was considered as one of our alternative supply lines, so I was scouting the area. Seems that it is no longer a viable option, apparently.” He said. “So, I have reported and am instructed to return for further instructions.”

“You were an important commander, Harry. I heard that you died, the government forces boasted about it. How did you return unnoticed?” I asked. “That was precisely the point. The government forces really cornered my battalion in Abu Hilal. I really thought they would get us good. I thought I was lucky when I survived the bombardment, deep under ruins. But then Ronald survived that too. I then found out that over a hundred of us actually survived, but the government doesn’t know that.”

“All the government knew was that they –finally—put an end to that annoying Harry Potter Battalion.” I said, amazed. “Well, they did kill more than three quarters of us in that battle. Nothing compared to what we took away from them! But when I reported to Sheikh Dumbledore, he said that we should lay low for a while. Hide among civilians, cease any military operations.” He explained. Then it hit me.

“Wait. Closest rebel forces are in Rabdah, that’s where I was heading before the government forces caught up with me. And we are going…” I opened my compass –the one Ronald gave me—“East. That’s exactly the other way round. Are you saying…?” Harry nodded and cut me short. “Yep, rebels will attack them from the front and we will beat them from the buttocks! When the rebels attack Dabbayah, Abu Hayyah will be even more weakly defended and we will take that first before striking Dabbayah. Then, by the will of God, we press southwards. You are now under my command.”

I am so happy now that I am under his command, yet again. However, for the first time, in a fighter squad. I wish Seamus, Collin, Padma, and the others were here with me. “So how did you get here?” Harry asked me.

“After some troop rotation, I was pulled back to Rasm al-Hajal. We were supposed to rest. I had a gang of friends who were already appalled by what we were doing, but never dared to do anything. We just had secret conversations where we just complained, but that’s it. But a few months ago, I heard…” that was when I heard that Harry died.. I cant admit this, though “… my heart finally refusing to go on. I spoke rather strongly in front of these friends, and apparently Seamus.. He did something stupid. He blew up the ammunition storage. But that was the moment. It was now or never, we ran away. The government forces chased us for months, we played cat and mouse for some time. Well, they caught us finally. I am the sole survivor of that group, and God sent you –of all people—to save me.”

Harry shook his head. “Martyrs, they were. But I thank God for sending me in the right time. You are very beautiful, they would take your honor before your life.” He said, but I only managed to hear until “beautiful” when my heartbeat made me unable to hear what came after.

“Harry…” I said. “Hating what the Government did took much time to build, but what pulled the last string was you.” Harry stopped. He looked at me, a bit puzzled. “It was hearing about your death. That was my limit.” I took the leap of faith.

“All that cruelty. All that inhumaneness. And THAT was what made you stop?” Harry asked, his face shocked with disbelief. His response also shocked me. “I got all the way here, risking my life! And this is what you tell me?” I shot at him. “After all you have told me, how can I not?” he shot back.

He made perfect sense. Objectively speaking, how can he not ask that question. It was valid. I cannot respond to that. I was struck dumb.

“You think your death was a small deal for me?” I finally found my voice back, but realized immediately how stupid it sounded. Stupid. Stupid. STUPID!!

“Compared to all else?? Of course! Are you even serious right now?!” he shot back, with a very judgmental look in his face. As expected. Of course. “How do I even know that this is a legit reason?”

I felt my knees weak again, and eyes starting to go wet.

 “How many times do I have to reiterate how stupid and evil I am.” I said, tears at the verge of falling. “You know what, you might as well execute me now.”

He looked at me for a while, as if considering something. “No spy would think I would fall for that.” I looked at him, and our eyes exchanged glares for a few moments.

“What if I tell you that I am already with somebody else?” he asked.

My heart sank. But  what did I expect, though? We separated and ditched our wedding plans, due to my betrayal, and it has been two years since. And, did I even expect to coincidentally bump into him like this out of nowhere? As if my story was written by a cheap and inexperienced writer?

But, against all odds, I actually did bump into him. Was it wrong for my heart to wish?

“Its not like you have to choose.” I retorted, and he chuckled. “You are against those kind of things. Remember when we did our pre-marital talk?” I chuckled too. “Yes, but…” I cannot continue further.

 “Ginny Weasley. We are married. I have a son.” Harry said. “Ronald’s sister, I see.” I remembered her. Among all the women in our circle back then, she was not in it. She was not in the picture much, not even in the demonstrations. Well, I thought, she was very young at the time. Maybe Ronald let her join in eventually?

“But if.. I changed my mind on that issue.” I demanded. Harry chuckled. “If you are doing this for me, you cannot have me. So what then?” he said. He knew that I knew the implication of this question. I did tell him that I did it for him.

At first it felt like my heart, after it sank, has just shattered into pieces. Hundreds of pieces. My head starts buzzing, and that’s when he smiled. “Cho.” He said, as he lifted his hand. Then he lifted his index finger.

Then I realized that from those pieces emerged a thousand pieces of puzzles. Pieces of things that Harry has every told me, and all that has happened between us and around us. The pieces are putting themselves into place and I am closer and closer to see the big picture but I cannot see it yet but almost but… then it hit me.

Harry’s death was what finally triggered the explosion, but it was not the fuel and gunpowder. My betrayal towards Harry was nothing compared to my true betrayal.

Then a mortar shell hit a tree just next to us, the impact and blast missed us but some small pieces of wood hit us. We ducked and hid behind a wall of a ruined house next to that tree. The Government forces have managed to catch up with us. Rapid gunfire pins us down in that position. There seems to be dozens of them, probably 300-400 meters ahead.

“This is where we are.” Harry pointed at a point in his map, “and this is where the base is. Take this route, but spin around here, my pickup waits there. Show them this.” He pulled out a ring. “Hey you..” I protested, but he cut me short with what I already knew “one of us must stay to stall them, or else they can follow us to our base and attack us and make our operation fail. You go! I will hold them off.” All while we take turns shooting at the enemy.

“This is suicide!” I told him, considering the circumstances it is true. It is very unlikely to survive anything like this. “It is martyrdom! Go, this is an order!” he shouted back at me.

My mind went back to our pre-marital talk. “I wish to be with you for the rest of my life, until death do us apart.” I told him back then. He laughed, and said “If I were to marry you, I do not want even death to part us. Death is not the end, my dear.”

“If you die, your entire battalion will be crippled!” I retorted. He cannot argue, but his face shows that he really wants to. Instead, he sprang up and shot a few rounds at the enemy. He ducked again to change clips. I grabbed him by the front of his shirt, and told him “If I die, this is my atonement.” “I will not let you!” he retorted, but I smiled.

I get it now.

“You said that I cannot have you. Do not dare to tell me that. I will have you. But not now.” I said, smiling. I ran out of my hiding, shot a few rounds as I darted forwards from cover to cover. “NOOO COME BACK!!” bellowed Harry, but I said “NOW IS YOUR CHANCE!! GO NOW!!!” as my rifle spat hot lead to the enemy positions.

I ducked behind another wall, just in time to narrowly miss a bullet from the other side. They are getting closer and closer, but I shoot while getting myself lost in the sea of ruins rather than the jungle.

Great, they are following me! They don’t know exactly where Im hiding, but they are coming close. I am best at close quarters like this. But me alone against that many foes? Ahh, what does it matter now.

“Death is not the end, my dear.” I whispered. It was meant to Harry, but surely he is nowhere to hear it. Nonetheless, I smiled. When I felt them close enough, I leaped out of my hiding with my weapons.

I get it now.

There is only one way to be with him.

“I am doing this for You, and only You.”

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