there had to be slytherin students who didn’t go with the rest of the house and fought in the battle for hogwarts
kids who took off their ties so nobody could clock them, who blended in with the forces
kids who kept their ties on and realised it would be a lonely fight
kids who watched as the other houses recognised them, and stood in silent solidarity with them,
kids who hated slytherin house, but knew anyone who stayed was their ally
a group of school children are not a lost cause, are not rotten to the core, even if they’ve been raised on some poisonous shit. it’s a shame they were treated like they were irredeemable by the canon narrative
And then there also had to be the ones who evacuated with the younger students, looking over their shoulders in case of pursuit, wands in hand and hexes on their tongues.
Who counted heads and made sure, with the memory for faces and names that makes for a budding politician, that the youngest students were there - not only their own house, but the preteens in yellow and blue and red, too.
Who saw a third year about to sneak off to join the battle and stunned him and carried him out to safety, lying through their teeth - he fell and hit his head in the rush, someone make sure he’s ok - because tonight of all nights no one is going to buy that that attack was for the boy’s own good.
Who, when confronted with a girl in a red and gold scarf who is four months short of her seventeenth birthday and full of fire and steel, demanding why they’re here, why they’re hiding like cowards, why they aren’t fighting, could look down their nose at the bloodthirsty little fool and inform her that people will die tonight, good brave, loyal, intelligent people, but people will live tonight, too. And some of those people will be the generation of young students smuggled out of the castle, who we have seen get away safe, no thanks to your lust for battle. And some of those will be the veterans who limp away as the dust clears, and they will need succor - can you brew a bone knitting potion with the contents of your school bag over a tea light? Because I can. And the world will continue to turn and no matter how important the battle that is raging, the wizarding world is bigger than one castle and wizarding society is more than one institution.
Because cunning is not cowardice, and ambition is not a sin, and some day someone in this milling crowd of scared children will sit on the Wizengamot and someone will invent a startlingly effective magical treatment for a common illness and someone will create renowned works of art and it will, in part, be because I helped make sure they were safely clear of Hogwarts before the castle started falling down around our ears.