Horrible, rushed coloring - forgive me!
Line-only : [link]
"The piercing bell sounded in the gymnasium, signaling the end of the simulation. Hermione forced her aching legs up, and slowly looked about.
Gaze dragging from one fallen body to the next, Harry stood in the centre of the gym, his whole figure slouched in defeat. His captain’s jacket had come unzipped most of the way, and the grey, ribbed shirt beneath was dark with his sweat. It seemed with each heavy breath, his shoulders and expression sunk impossibly lower.
Hermione swallowed, eyed two of her teammates stiffly getting to their feet, and shouted, with as much command as she could muster, “Meyers! Dhal! – Start moving the injured to hospital!” She saw more movement from the corner of her eye and turned, “McDonnell, Thompson – you too!”
They glanced nervously towards Harry, their leader, who seemed impervious to anything alive, still mournfully riveted on the casualties, but nodded and set to work.
She took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and then headed towards the gym’s centre, careful to walk around the steadily breathing dead. One of the fallen was a young recruit by the name of Williams, who usually favored her with a wink and charming grin, but when she glanced down, his slight smile was apologetic.
Harry had sunk to his knees. Apparently unable to bear looking at his fallen crew, but obligated to stay, he now looked towards the ground. She knelt in front of him.
“I wish they wouldn’t force them to just lie there,” he muttered bitterly.
Hermione didn’t know how to respond to that. It was true that, unseen by any in the gym, was a panel of well seasoned Aurors, taking notes on clip boards and making sure that all the trainees knew the Hell they were in for. Anyone who ‘died’ during simulations had to lie there, even after it was over, and wait to be carried by surviving teammates to Hospital (or, rather, to their Mentors, where they were expected to present why exactly they had died, and how they planned to avoid the same demise in the real world).
It made sense…to a degree. But as she observed the absolute devastation overwhelming Harry’s figure, she couldn’t help but think that in this particular case, it did more to harm than good.
Those who’d never known the ache of loss and the accompanying sense of guilt and responsibility needed to understand what was at stake…But Harry knew. This melodramatic, staged farce was just a reenactment of his blackest times. Because although the chests of the pretend dead rose and fell, she knew that replaced in Harry’s mind were his loved ones lost, disfigured, or severely harmed.
She bit her tongue, furious with those that put Harry through this, and tasted blood.
“Captain, come on,” she reached her bandaged hand to touch his face. Beads of moisture trudged downwards, and she didn’t know if it was just sweat or if tears had joined the mix. No response.
“Captain…” she forced her voice to be steady, “Captain, let’s get these people to hospital, ok?” she searched his face, and slowly, he met her gaze, and when he blinked, her suspicion was confirmed as a solitary tear crept from the corner of his eye.
“Just a little while, Captain,” her voice had developed a tremor, and dropped to a whisper “I’ll take you home, Harry, we’ll get you sorted out…just a little longer,” now she was pleading.
He nodded, and his exhausted gaze left hers to the 2-way mirror, behind which, the panel sat hidden, probably with hard, disapproving expressions.
Together, they stood, and Hermione’s hand slid down his arm, giving his hand a quick squeeze before she summoned a stretcher.