July 3, 1997

Filius Flitwick groaned as he sat up in his bed and placed a small hand on his forehead. The pain potion he had been taking before bed the last few nights had begun to wear off. He wondered if the ache in his head was from the spell Snape had used that night or if it was all in his mind. Perhaps a physical manifestation of his guilt? A guilt he knew he shouldn't be carrying, but one he carried, nonetheless. He had fetched Snape from the dungeons that night – and Snape had killed Albus Dumbledore.

With a groan, the Charms professor slid off his bed to don a pair of black dress robes that he always reserved for funerals. There was no denying the number of years he had been on this earth and Filius had been to his fair share of funerals. This one, he feared, would be one that would weigh on his mind for the remainder of his life. With one last look in the mirror, Filius left his quarters to face the day.

The Great Hall was decorated in black for the occasion. The house elves had outdone themselves this time with the décor. Hogwarts was ready for the stately funeral to come. At the head table, Minerva McGonagall, Poppy Pomfrey, and Horace Slughorn were already at their respectable places at the head table. Albus' chair sat empty. And as the rest of the staff filled in for breakfast, Snape's remained that way as well.

The students kept their chatter to a murmur today. It had been so silent the last few days at the school. It was as if all the merriment and hope had fallen from the tower with the Headmaster. Even at his own table, the staff barely spoke. Not that they needed to. Their grief was mutely understood between them.

As the meal came to an end, Minerva stood to speak. She seemed to be holding herself together better than most and she spoke calmly to the students in front of them. His heart broke a little as she steeled herself to lead her Gryffindors out of the Great Hall and out onto the lawn. With a deep breath, he tried to channel her strength as he walked around the table to guide his sorrowful Ravenclaws out next.

A few first years were already beginning to cry, but the older students were taking them under their wings. Such innocence, Filius thought, as he watched the students, the majority of which were underage, support each other in their grief. It was truly the spirit of Albus that brough these children together like this. The thought caused a lump to form in his throat and the feeling did not go away when the Hogwartians began filling their seats among the many friends, diplomats, and he daresay, followers of the great Albus Dumbledore.

When the Ravenclaws were seated in their respectable places, Filius found his own chair next to Pomona Sprout. She was gently sniffling into her sleeve. Her robes didn't have a spec of dirt on them for once, he noted with a small smile. Pomona thought the world of Albus, they all did. He took out his handkerchief and handed it to her.

"There, there, my dear. We shall get through this day like any other without Albus. It is the beginning of many, I am afraid," he said kindly as he patted her softly on the knee.

"I know…" she replied with a tearful sigh, "But he's still gone. It's hard to imagine Hogwarts going on without him. And the students…"

She was overcome with grief and Filius had no reply. He felt his own tears coming as the funeral began. But his tears were not just for Albus or the students, now lost without their Headmaster. His tears were for the war, which was looking very grim indeed; for Harry Potter, who was not only a witness to the dreadful murder, but was also carrying the weight of protecting them all now; for Severus Snape, the one they lost; and for himself, for the loss of a most dear colleague and friend.

August 10, 1997

The summer found Filius in his home in the magical community of Turning Stone. He and his late wife, Cornelia, had made their home here almost forty years ago. Cornelia had always been of ill health, so the little cottage they had bought was the perfect place for her to relax. Filius had always felt guilty when he left for weeks at a time while working at Hogwarts, but she had been so happy here. Cornelia had told him once that this beautiful place always reminded her of their love, so she would hardly miss him when he was gone.

They had never had children due to her ailing health. So for their fifth wedding anniversary, Filius had gifted her a kitten. Cornelia thought their little kitten got lonely sometimes, so they got another one. Then a ferret; an injured Driricawl; a few toads; a half dozen chickens; and a fat hog for good measure. One of their trees was home to a family of bowtruckles and for a few years Cornelia raised a poffle of puffskeins. Their home had always been full of energy and living, breathing things.

Cornelia had died about ten years ago, but Filius never let anyone pity him for the loss of his beloved wife. When Cornelia had been born, the medi-nurses had told her parents she would not live past the age of eight. Then they thought, not past thirteen. Suddenly, they had been married for almost forty years when she was given three weeks to live. Filius guessed she was finally tired of holding on. She hated being weak and sick, so when she passed away, it was with an understanding heart that Filius buried his wife.

Today, he was sitting in front of an empty fireplace in silence with a book in his hands. It was entitled, Charms of Mine, and had always been a personal favorite of Cornelia's. He made sure to read it at least once a year, and as his school year was rather busy, the summer was the only time he could dedicate the time he thought it deserved. It was only mid-afternoon, but he could feel himself drifting in and out of sleep.

"Filius!" Jumping, the book slid off his lap and onto the floor. Quick as ever, his wand flew from the table beside him and straight into his open hand. Much to his surprise, Minerva was standing in his living room. The fire was blazing and she had just stepped through the grate.

"Minerva, what a surprise! Is there something I can do for you?" His keen observation skills noted that she seemed to be in an uncharacteristic rush and looked a bit, for the lack of a better word, frazzled.

"The Minister and Governors are having a meeting twenty minutes to discuss the future of the school and to name the new Headmaster." She stepped back towards the fireplace and reached for his floo powder.

Filius slid off his chair and summoned his cloak. "Discuss…? But Minerva, you are the next Headmistress."

"Apparently not," came her muttered reply.

It was a bitter subject; he could tell, and he knew better than to push her further. He waited until she had stepped through the fireplace and the green flames ingulfed her. He took his own handful of the powder and shouted "Hogwarts!"

The only fireplace connected to the floo network in Hogwarts was the Headmaster's office. Minerva was hovering next to the desk as he dusted himself off. She looked as anxious as he felt. The Minister had only been in office for a little over a week. Pius Thicknesse had replaced Amelia Bones over a year ago after her murder and now, he became Minister under similar circumstances.

Filius did not believe for a moment that Scrimgeour had resigned as the Daily Prophet reported. By the few interactions he had with the other members of the staff, they didn't either. He had no idea what to expect at this meeting. The Ministry could not be trusted, now more than ever.

"We should go, my dear," he said softly to Minerva who had turned to face Albus' sleeping portrait. "He still hasn't woken?"

She shook her head and then turned to leave the office but stopped before she opened the door. With uncharacteristic hesitation, she said, "I think Charity is dead."

Filius' thought his heart had stopped beating. His voice caught in his throat as he tried to respond. Just like Scrimgeour, so many had disappeared over the summer, especially in the last few days. But what threat did the Muggle Studies professor at Hogwarts have against You-Know-Who? "Why? Why her?"

"She's muggleborn," came the curt reply. Minerva glanced at a clock on the wall and motioned for them to leave before Filius could form a response.

He followed her to the Great Hall where the rest of the staff was hovering outside of the doors. Filius gave them all a weak smile and tried to look confident. The doors opened at Minerva's command and in they filed. The new Minister and fourteen governors were sitting at the Head Table, forcing the staff to fill the seats usually occupied by their students. There were four Aurors standing stoically to the side along with a few who must work at the Ministry in varying departments.

Once they had settled in, Alfred Wooney, the Head of Governors for Hogwarts walked forward. He was ten years older than Filius, the latter being eighty-three years of age. Wooney had been the Arithmancy Professor before Septima Vector had taken over the position. In his youth, Wooney had been tall and proud, but now he seemed to coward over his position. Time had taken its toll; his back was bent with age and his beard and hair were stark white. The old man wasted no time getting to the point.

"After the death of a Headmaster who did not choose to retire, it is the duty of the Governors to fill teaching positions as needed. As of the moment the staff of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is as following: Ancient Runes, Bathsheba Babbling; Arithmancy Mistress, Septima Vector; Astronomy Professor, Aurora Sinistra; Care of Magical Creatures Professor and Keeper of Keys, Rubeus Hagrid; Charms Master and Head of House Ravenclaw, Filius Flitwick; Divination Professor, Sybill Trelawney; Flying Instructor, Rolanda Hooch; Herbology Professor and Head of House Hufflepuff, Pomona Sprout; History of Magic Professor, Culbert Binns; Potions Master and Head of House Slytherin, Horace Slughorn; and Transfiguration Mistress and Head of House Gryffindor, Minerva McGonagall. As well as the positions of: Caretaker, Argus Filch; Librarian, Irma Pince; and Matron, Poppy Pomfrey."

He had heard the intake of breath from Pomona behind him when Wooney had read Minerva's name but only now was he realizing why. Her titles should have included Deputy Headmistress. His eyes tried to find hers sitting across from him, but the witch was staring straight at Wooney. He heard murmuring behind him as the other staff was noticing the absence of Charity's name as well as Minerva's demotion.

"And now to announce the newest members of your staff." Filius wondered who could possibly want to join their numbers after the events of last year or the current war. And then reality hit him; the dark forces that had overthrown the Ministry were looking to do the same to Hogwarts. He again looked to Minerva, but her knuckles were white from the strain of clenching her fists. Wooney went on, his voice tight and anxious, "The new Muggle Studies Professor and Deputy Headmistress will be Alecto Carrow."

Filius tried to remember why the name sounded familiar. Behind him, Pomona made a soft whimper and he could see Horace grimace. If they taught her, he must have too. A rough looking woman entered the room dressed in black robes with a gritty smirk on her face. His memory worked this time with the face: there had been siblings, two years apart, Alecto and Amycus Carrow. Both Slytherins and known Death Eaters who had escaped from Azkaban a few years ago. His fear was becoming realized as the seconds ticked by.

"Joining her as the Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor and co-Deputy Headmaster, is Amycus Carrow." A shallow faced man followed his sister in the Great Hall. With sneering looks they looked down at their new colleagues, most of whom taught them when they were in school over a decade ago. Filius turned to his fellow professors trying to mask his apprehension. Pomona had one hand firmly over her mouth, eyes wide with shock and Poppy held her hand. Horace had begun to mutter quietly to himself. The others sat silently staring at the siblings, all except Minerva who sat straight backed, her callous eyes never leaving Wooney.

"The Headmaster of Hogwarts," Wooney was saying and Filius closed his eyes. He seemed to know the name before it was spoken, "will be Severus Snape."

The man who killed Albus Dumbledore would take his place as the head of the school. Filius felt his hands tremble at the thought. Snape had once been a great student and an honorable teacher; one could even venture to say a good friend. Now, he was the enemy. And the ex-dueler did not like having enemies. When he fought, it was for the sport. Filius was a Ravenclaw who valued wisdom, and wise men did not hate or have enemies. But even now, he could feel the anger burning inside of him that he had never felt before. Hogwarts was supposed to be a sanctuary; the one place in a war that would remain unscathed. But not now. This man, he could not condemn himself to call him Headmaster, had broken all its walls.

Wooney moved off the podium to shake Snape's hand when the man made his entrance. Filius didn't know if he thought Snape would look different, but he was met with the same dark eyes and pale skin; perhaps a bit darker and perhaps a bit paler. As Snape looked down at the people he had once called his family, Filius could not help but feel like a prisoner of war.

The Governors were leaving. Perhaps they could not live with the thought of hearing him speak. Snape cleared his throat to get their attention, but there was no need. None of the occupants of the room could say a single word.

"I am making several changes to the way things are run at this school," he began in a dry voice. "First, all disciplinary actions must go through myself and my Deputies. Second, no Muggleborn students will be allowed to attend Hogwarts this year until they have undergone Ministry questioning."

"How dare he…" whispered Pomona from behind him. Most of her students were Muggleborn. The names of the Muggleborn students in his own house flew through his head.

"Furthermore, the Deputies will be responsible for your patrolling schedules. If one of them gives you an order, it is as good as my own and I expect you to follow it. We will have staff meetings once a week until the school year comes to a start and then they will be twice a week until we settle into our new…roles." This was standard during a normal year but coming from Snape it sounded inflexible. Filius noticed that Snape was staring more at the table they were sitting at than any individual. Perhaps he couldn't look them in the eye. "Any questions?"

Filius could think of a million questions he wanted to ask. Top on his list was: How could you have murdered him in cold blood? He bit back all the rage that threatened to overwhelm his small body. Now was not the time for biting words or accusing questions. Now was the time for silence; silence to keep his job and protect his students.

"Why must we turn in all disciplinary cases to you?" Minerva's voice was strong and clear when she broke the delicate silence. Filius straightened to pierce her with a warning look, but she still stared forward. Minerva may have been one of the most competent witches of her generation, but she had a quick temper and even quicker tongue. A proud Gryffindor had to learn the time and place for a fight.

"We will make sure the proper action is taken against those who feel the need…" Snape looked at her directly this time. "…not to follow the school rules."

She stiffened at his answer but did not back down. Filius reached into his robes to touch the wood of his wand. He may be determined to take the high and silent road, but he would not let Minerva drudge her way through the rougher terrain alone. "These orders from your, ah, Deputies. What could these consist of?"

"Anything."

"Work related?" she pressed on. The Carrows were scolding in the corner and Filius could see their patience was running out rather fast.

"Of course," came the terse reply. The lie rolled off Snape's tongue effortlessly, but it was unneeded. Everyone in this room knew the truth. They knew the lies they would be fed for the rest of the year. They also knew they didn't have a choice.

November 1, 1997

Filius loathed patrolling the corridors during the night. Not that he had ever been particularly fond of it in the past, as he liked to get a full night's rest before teaching the next day. When Albus was Headmaster, teachers merely tried to keep students from sneaking off in the middle of the night or wreaking havoc that could prove to be problematic. Now, it felt like a military patrol. The staff had been instructed to turn over any students out of bed immediately to the Carrows instead of simply taking House Points or assigning their own detentions.

Over the past few months, fewer students ventured out after hours and if they did, the non-Death Eaters on the staff had found themselves turning a blind eye. Filius couldn't recall a time that he had given out fewer detentions. For the most part, the students were keeping their heads down due to the new standards for punishment. Filius had seen too many children walking around the castle and coming to his classes with bruises, cuts, and broken bones. He knew Poppy had her hands full; the poor woman was in tears nearly at the end of every day.

It was the Gryffindors who were suffering the most. Most of the Hufflepuffs and his Ravenclaws had backed down after the first few weeks, or at least made their opposition a little quieter. Minerva, however, was having problems keeping her Lions at bay. They were putting up quite the fight and causing a ruckus that only seemed to be making matters worse. He had to admit thought, that occasionally seeing the words Dumbledore's Army – Still Recruiting graffitied onto a wall was uplifting.

So far, his night had been uneventful. That was until he rounded a corner heading to the library. Huddled not too far away from the entrance were Messrs. Longbottom and Finnegan, as well as Misses Weasley and Lovegood. His Luna Lovegood; one of his precious Ravenclaws. And one of the most outspoken Ravenclaws at that. She had been going out of her way to help the Gryffindors cause trouble for Snape and rally her fellow Ravenclaws. Even though he has remained silent in his position and encourages his students to do the same – just endure – he was immensely proud of Miss Lovegood.

"Shouldn't you four be in your beds?" His voice startled them.

"Sorry, Professor." Miss Weasley handed something to Mr. Longbottom to quickly shove in a bag while Mr. Finnegan smiled back at him.

"We were only-" began Miss Lovegood, but Filius raised his hand to stop her. It was better if he didn't know what they were up to. If there was something that may be dangerous, Dumbledore's Army had a way of hinting that their favorite teachers might want to avoid being somewhere at a particular time. Miss Lovegood bounced on her heels and cryptically, "Only, we weren't finished, sir."

He considered them for a moment and then softly said, "I am going to walk to the end of the hallway and back. By that time, you will be done."

Four eager heads nodded at his words and he turned around to wander back down the corridor. He began counting his steps to make the journey slower. One. Two. Three…

…Fifty-three. Fifty-four. fifty-five…

Once at the end of the hall, Filius checked in both directions. Satisfied there was no one else out and about, he turned around. Seventy-seven. Seventy-eight. Seventy-nine…

…One hundred six. One hundred seven. One hundred eight…

"We're done, Professor." The four were standing shoulder to shoulder in front of the library door, but there did not appear to be any damage. Filius still made a mental note not to come down the corridor tomorrow.

"Very well, now come along. Gryffindor tower first, then I'll take Miss Lovegood back on my way to my own rooms." They set off on their dangerous trek to the tower. To Filius' relief, they met no one on the way. Mr. Longbottom, Mr. Finnegan, and Miss Weasley promised to stay the rest of the night in their dorms. He knew better than to ask them to stay out of trouble for more than one night.

"Thanks again, Professor," said Miss Lovegood in her airy voice. "It was kind of you to let us finish what we have planned. We know you are all on our side, you know."

She smiled down at her Head of House, but before he could reply, he heard the sound of footsteps. Filius was quick to flick his wand, pushing the young woman into a nearby classroom. He hoped she would take the hit and stay quiet. Hopefully, it would not be Alecto Carrow, who was also on duty tonight.

Hope was hard to find. Carrow rounded the corner and sneered, "Flitwick."

"Madame Carrow," he returned and was met with a suspicious glare.

"I thought I heard speaking."

"It must have been the portraits," Filius answered quickly.

"Yes, Professor Flitwick and I were just having an enlightening conversation," came a weak female voice to his right. A portrait of two witches hung just above his eye level. The Bashbore twins, he remembered, famous for their Elfin Rights Movement.

"You see, I was discussing the Theory of Charms with him. It was written by our great-uncle. You wouldn't have happened to read it, would you?" asked the second woman with more confidence.

Alecto let out a growl. "No. And I don't care too."

"Yes, we were discussing how I use the book with my first year students." Filius thanked whoever was listening that the portraits were on their side of this awful fight.

"Well, good night then," Alecto huffed and turned on her heel to barge back down the hallway.

Once he was sure she was gone, Filius opened the door to the classroom he had banished Miss Lovegood into. The young woman toppled out nearly on top of him. Apparently, she had been listening at the keyhole. He raised an eyebrow but turned his attention back to the portrait. "Thank you, Madams. I owe you greatly."

Miss Lovegood murmured her thanks as well with a small bow. After all, it would have been she who would have been punished if they had been caught, not the Charms Professor. The twin sisters in the portrait beamed back at them. "We will do anything to protect the students of Hogwarts!"

Not to push their luck and risk the return of a Carrow, they pushed on to the Ravenclaw Tower. Filius walked her all the way into the Common Room to check on the status of his other students. All was quiet and it seemed all were tucked soundly in bed. He knew this peacefulness would disappear in the morning, but it was nice to take solace in.

Someday, these sleeping Ravenclaws would grow tired of ignoring all the horrible changes to their school. Someday, they would shout out their opposition to You-Know-Who. Someday the Gryffindors would not stand alone in their Fight. Ravenclaw would have its day; brave and courageous lions were noting compared to the wit and intelligence of the young men and women in his house.

They would be a sight to behold, his Ravenclaws. For an angry Ravenclaw bides their time, waiting until the enemy thinks they are safe. They learn their enemy's strengths and weaknesses, studying their every decision. A plan is formed, and actions plotted. And then, and only then, will they strike with everything they have.

Someday, Filius Flitwick will break his silence. He will not stand to see murder happen again within the walls of his home, this great school. But for now, his silence is his strength: a steady hand in a very, very long fight.