December 22nd, 2005, 9:41 pm
Okay, so this is my first attempt at writing anything. When you take into acount that I have failed English class (and I was in the class with people who learned English as a second language) you will see that the focus of this is plot, not beautiful writing. Anyhow, this is a crazy stab at an ending for Book 7... of HArry Potter. Yep, I'm wrting an ending only. What happens before this, nobody knows. This is only the first chapter. More will come-
Chapter 1: Werewolves of London
Chapter 2: Black Magic Woman
Chapter 3: Back in Black
Chapter 4: Battle Without Honor or Humanity
Chapter 5: Your Funeral, My Trial
Chapter 6: War is Over
My next post will be Chapter One. By the way: it's fairly long!
December 22nd, 2005, 9:44 pm
Werewolves of London
WHEN HARRY LANDED, the battle was, as Mrs. Weasley had predicted, raging, full swing. He got off his broom and crept toward the flashes and booms. The day’s heat was slowly fading, and he began to miss his jacket. Something flew by his ear, causing him to duck and draw his wand. He ran towards a tall building nearby for cover as bullets rained from on top of a nearby pub.
“Muggles!,” he said, and swore under his breath. He hadn’t counted on the battle drawing in the Muggle population as well. As Harry snuck around the building to find himself in the middle of a shootout. He silently Summoned his broom. It came around the building, and he jumped on. As he took off above the shooters, he saw them fire a few rounds at him, to which he responded with a Stunning spell.
As he flew, his mind strayed towards his friends, probably locked in combat in the streets below. He made one futile glance down at the city from his broom, but saw only explosions rocking the skyscrapers.
After a few minutes, he dove towards a particularly loud city block. Before he even landed, he was forced to swerve and roll to avoid blasts from Death Eaters’ wands. He was, somehow, relieved to be around magic. He leapt of his broom before it stopped and landed, spinning, firing curses at every Death Eater he could see. Two were thrown back into a store window, through which they fell, screaming. One was hit by a blast of magical white flame and fell, unconscious. Three more were frozen in place, fear sculpted on every inch of their shrouded faces. Another was bound in chains, which hung him from a flag post on a flower shop. The last ran, firing hexes over his shoulder at random. Harry turned to the duelists they had been fighting.
Ron Weasley was attempting to heal a Wizard Harry did not recognize, who was bleeding heavily from his shoulder. A third, whom Harry recognized as Dawlish, the Auror Albus Dumbledore had twice jinxed, lay on the ground. Harry kneeled next to him and prodded his eyelids open. There was no life in those eyes.
“Dead?” he asked Ron.
“Yep,” replied his friend. “He got the Killing Curse in the back while he was running from the one you hung.”
Harry thought for a while. Then he said, “Who else is dead?”
“A bunch of people. Someone named Alecto bled to death. Charlie lost his left thumb. Oh, Fudge died.”
“Voldemort. They were dueling in front of a tall, tall building, and Fudge tried to push Umbridge in front of him to-”
“Fudge betrayed Umbridge?”
“Yeah, and she Stunned him and turned to V-Voldemort. He… well, he tortured her and said something about when they were at school. You-Know-Who and Umbridge were at school together!”
“I bet they were pals.”
“I don’t know. But he left her and killed Fudge.”
“Woah. Who else?”
“Nobody I know of.”
The wounded Wizard rasped a response. “Nott. Nott’s dead. And… Crabbe. I killed… Crabbe.”
“Senior?” asked Harry.
“Well, that’s two Death Eaters down, Harry,” said Ron.
“Yeah. Listen, Ron, you stay here. I’m going after Voldemort. Where are Hermione and Ginny?”
“You can’t take him without backup, Harry!” Ron said, abandoning the bleeding Wizard.
“I can do this. Where are-”
“Ginny went after Voldemort, too.”
“WHAT?!” yelled Harry.
“That’s why I’m coming with you.”
“No, that’s ridiculous. You stay. Don’t you trust me?”
“It’s my sister, Harry.”
“No!” said Harry. He was tired of Ron trying to do what he wasn’t powerful enough to do. “I’ll bring her back, I promise! Where’s the rest of the DA?”
“Neville went after Ginny, Luna-”
“Why don’t you tell me these things quickly? Look, let’s simplify this: who went after Voldemort?”
“Ginny, Neville, McGonnagal, and Scrimgeour.”
“Damn it. Four of them?”
“I told them not to, Harry, I swear I did.”
“Well, it’s too late to bring them back.”
And with that, he leapt on his broom.
“Do you have any idea where I should start looking?” he asked of his friend.
“It’s a real tall building. The Death Eaters took it over. It has gargoyles-”
“Yes, the largest one.”
“Right, I should be able to find it.”
“Take care of yourself, Harry. And take care of Ginny.”
“You too, Ron.”
They looked at each other for a long while. Ron was Harry’s best friend, and he so much wanted to see him again, but he could not remove from his mind the feeling that that would be impossible. Then he summoned his courage and took off in search of the man he hated more than anything else. Harry would duel Voldemort tonight, and he knew in his heart that only one would live to see morning.
* * *
Before Harry could find his enemy, lost in a haze of green light cast by Dark Marks in the sky, he heard his name called. For a moment he hesitated. No voice could be that loud. He listened closely, and again it came, rising from the city, but this time he recognized the voice.
Why, he wondered, was Hermione calling him? He swooped down at the sound, constantly on guard for traps. As he drew closer, he was able to direct himself toward the voice. He swerved between buildings, listening. Finally, he found her, standing on the roof of an apartment building. He landed next to her, dismounted, and hugged her.
“Quietus,” she muttered, pointing her wand at her own throat.
“What is it?” Harry asked, worried.
“They chased me up here, Harry. I- I don’t know how long my Charms downstairs will last!”
Not long enough. He could hear explosions from below and footsteps. Someone yelled something about finding the next barrier.
“I’ll stay here until they come. I can’t stay long though. I’m following-”
“Harry, be careful. He’s already killed people. He killed Fudge. Harry, I don’t know if you can do this!”
He bent toward her and smiled. “I’m alright.”
“No! You’ve been lucky before, Harry! Malfoy’s mother was right! Nobody can save you tonight!” moaned Hermione.
“Don’t say that. I have a few tricks up my sleeve.”
“Voldemort is the most powerful wizard alive, Harry! You don’t get another chance this time! You beat Quirrel with Dumbledore’s spell, without Fawkes you and Ginny would have died in the Chamber of Secrets, you had a lucky escape in the graveyard, Dumbledore saved you in the Ministry, and Snape wasn’t even dueling, and you still didn’t-”
“Stop!” said Harry, annoyed. “Show a little faith.”
“I just don’t want to see you hurt!”
At that moment, they heard banging on the door.
“I’m going, Hermione. I’ll help you here, but I can’t stay. You know, don’t you?”
“I-,” she began
“Pugno!” cried someone behind the door, which flew off its hinges and landed at Harry’s feet. He and Hermione drew wands, and turned to face the Death Eaters.
“What’s up, Potter?” came a voice from a tall figure in front.
“Malfoy,” growled Hermione.
Another voice, smoother than silk, floated from the crowd. “The whole family’s here.”
“Lucius,” said Harry. “Your room at Azkaban wasn’t up to expectations?”
“Insolent *******,” came a third voice. He recognized it as the voice of Antonin Dolohov. “You’re not messing with your little school friends anymore, Potter. Show some respect to your superiors.”
“Ah, it’s quite alright, Antonin,” said Lucius Malfoy. “Potter is obviously as untalented at speaking as at spell work. Actions speak so much louder than words. Crucio!”
Caught off guard, Harry did not have time to block the curse. He prepared himself for that immense pain he had felt once before-
But it did not come. Instead, Lucius Malfoy screamed in pain and fell backwards into Dolohov. Harry looked to his right to see Hermione standing, wand raised.
“Thank you,” he whispered.
Two Death Eaters pulled Malfoy to the side, and a third rushed to him. The third pulled her hood off. Narcissa Malfoy.
“Lucius!” she said, bending over her husband. “Lucius, are you alright?”
The other two Death Eaters started towards Harry and Hermione. A quick glance at Hermione’s face told Harry that she was ready to fight.
“Avada Kedavra!” bellowed Draco Malfoy. Hermione dove and rolled out of the way. The blast hit the parapet, which exploded, showering the rooftop with rubble and smoke. Harry fired a Stunner into the mass of Death Eaters and heard one fall with a grunt. He ran to and picked up the door the Death Eaters had blasted off and used it as a shield. He felt the metal vibrate as two Cruciatus Curses bounced off.
“Reducto!” yelled Narcissa. Harry found himself holding nothing but a doorknob. He leapt toward the mass of Death Eaters, now dueling Hermione, as Narcissa sent a Killing Curse at him. He rolled to his feet and used his doorknob to beat the nearest cloaked figure over the head. He pounded repeatedly, and before he could respond with a hex, the Death Eater was unconscious on the roof.
A jet of orange light from Draco’s wand hit Hermione in the left arm, and she flew back. Draco raised his wand.
“Expelliarmus!” yelled Harry. Draco fell onto his face, and his wand flew into the air, over to where his father was sitting. Lucius then stood, a wand in each hand. He pointed them at Harry.
“Avada Kedavra!” he screamed. Harry leapt sideways, away from the two curses flying at the spot where he had been standing, and aimed a curse over his shoulder. He landed on his side and skidded into a large chunk of rubble. He looked back at Malfoy, who was, to Harry’s satisfaction, now holding one wand and a smoking shard of wood and swearing loudly. Harry crawled to Hermione, who was now squirming.
“Hermione, you alright?” asked Harry.
“Yeah, I can’t find my wand.”
Harry looked at her arm. There was a large burn there. He grabbed her wand a few feet away and dropped it on her chest. He rolled over, pointed his wand at Narcissa Malfoy, and thought, “Levicorpus!”
She was jerked into the air, where she hung by her ankle. Lucius sent a curse in his direction and he dropped and rolled. Hermione was already up and dueling Draco, who seemed to have picked up another wand. Dolohov sent a jet of purple fire at Hermione. Her back was turned, and she had no way of knowing about the curse.
Without knowing what he was doing, Harry kicked a piece of rubble. He used his want to make it collide with the flame. The fire all slammed into the little piece of debris, which exploded. Draco was momentarily distracted, which was all the opportunity Hermione needed to blast Draco in the forehead with a Stunning Spell. She then turned to Dolohov. For the first time Harry could recall, Hermione was swearing ruthlessly under her breath.
Harry looked to his right, where Narcissa Malfoy was dangling. She was trying to swing enough to reach her wand. “Stupefy,” muttered Harry, and she hung there, unconscious. Lucius Malfoy had succeeded in waking the Death Eater Harry had beat down with a doorknob. Harry sent a second Stunner towards the Death Eater, which hit him in the throat. He fell backwards.
“Goyle!” growled Lucius. He turned to Harry. “You’ve worn out your welcome, Potter.”
He fired. Harry rolled and jumped to his feet. He was standing behind Dolohov, who was locked in fierce combat with Hermione. Silver curses screamed through the air around the two of them. Hermione spun and danced, and Dolohov was unable to hit her. She was dueling him back, towards the edge of the roof. Harry kicked backwards, hitting Dolohov in the kidney. He jerked, off balance. Hermione spun swinging her wand upward, not noticing Harry’s distraction. Sliver light flashed on Dolohov’s wrist. His right arm was severed from the elbow down. He screamed and stumbled backward, clutching his arm. His feet hit the parapet, and he fell over the side, wailing. Harry, Hermione, and Lucius watched him fall into the side street below, and with a crash, the screams ended. Suddenly a new sound was heard. Draco was awake.
Draco aimed a Killing Curse at Hermione, whom Harry kicked backwards. The spell hit the building next to the one they were on, shattering a window. Harry ran away from Draco, diving again to avoid a Cruciatus Curse from Lucius. He grabbed his broom and mounted it, flying into Draco, who fell backwards onto an unconscious Death Eater. Harry dismounted and, for good measure, clubbed him over the head with his broom. Hermione and Lucius were now fighting. Harry ran to help her. As he approached, Lucius Malfoy sent a Stunning Spell into Hermione’s chest. She fell backwards. Lucius raised his wand to perform the Killing Curse.
“No!” screamed Harry.
Lucius Malfoy turned, and pointed his wand at Harry. Harry raised his own wand and aimed between Lucius’s eyes.
“Avada Kedavra!” said Lucius.
“Impedimenta!” came Draco’s voice from behind Harry.
Harry fell, having no control over his body. As he fell, he rolled, and he could momentarily see Draco still standing, wand raised, grinning. Then, Draco was his in the face by a green jet of light. Harry could move. Suddenly, he understood. Draco’s curse had caused Harry to fall out of the path of Lucius’s spell-
And placed Draco in it. Harry jumped to his feet and turned to resume dueling Lucius.
Lucius, however, was standing still. He had not moved since firing the Killing Curse. Harry looked to see who had cast a Freezing Charm on him, when Lucius Malfoy fell to his knees.
“No!!!” screamed Lucius. “No!!!”
Harry lowered his wand. He hated this man, a man who had tried several times to kill him. However, looking at his sobbing form lying at his feet, he felt pity. He pointed his wand at Lucius’s head. “Stupefy.”
Harry then rushed to Hermione to wake her.
“Harry, are you safe? What happened to me?”
“Malfoy Stunned you. You’re alright now.”
“Wait, are they still-,” she began but Harry cut her off.
“Four are stunned. If they wake up, it’s your job to put them back down. Draco’s dead.”
“What? Harry, you couldn’t have just Stunned him?”
“It wasn’t me. It was his father. He was aiming for me….”
“Yeah, listen, I’ve gotta go.”
He ran to his broom, and prepared to take off.
“I love you, Harry,” called Hermione.
Harry turned to look at her.
“Me too. I’ll be back, alright?”
“I-,” she began, shaking her head. Harry looked away. “I know, Harry.”
Grinning, he took off down the streets of London. Hermione’s faith meant more to him that she could ever know.
He flew low now, not wanting to draw attention to himself. After what felt like half an hour of flying, he heard noises from below. As he turned a corner, he saw a yellow flash. He barely had time to dodge it. The blast hit the brick building behind him. The explosion it caused ripped a hole in the wall large enough for Hagrid to have walked through, and sent shrapnel streaking through the air around Harry. He threw himself off his broom to avoid being impaled and landed on an awning of a bakery. He slid off and landed in the street, wand raised.
The street was full of smoke and debris. Through the blasts and screams, he thought he could hear the voice of Rufus Scrimgeour.
“Stupefy!” bellowed the Minister. “Pugno! Damnatus!”
Harry watched in awe as two Death Eaters flew back into the shop on which he had landed, and as a tower of flames screeched into the sky. He crawled closer, trying hard not to look like a Death Eater. Finally, through the chaos, he caught a glimpse of the Minister. Rufus Scrimgeour had his back against a wall, and was firing curses at every Death Eater he could see. He had already dispatched about a dozen, and there were two dead wizards at his side. Two
“Minister!” called Harry. Immediately, three Death Eaters turned to look at Harry, who began firing hexes and jinxes much as the Minister had been. He dove to the Minister, and he heard one of the Death Eaters yelp in pain.
“Harry, what the hell are you doing here?” shouted Scrimgeour, never stopping his spell work.
“Professor McGonnagal said Voldemort had surfaced in London!”
“Yes, but all young Wizards were meant to be at the school!”
“Minister, I think you know I wasn’t going to stay.”
Another Death Eater fell to one of the Minister’s hexes, and another was wrapped in chains from Harry’s wand.
“Minister!” came a voice from down the street. Harry looked, and saw Percy Weasley running down the street. Hexes and bursts of light followed him.
“Stupefy! Avada Kedavra! Balzezhnyad! Pugno! Damnatus!”
Red and green light poured from Rufus Scrimgeour’s wand, followed by a blast of blue lightning, and finally, a tower of fire like the one Harry had seen, which shot up around one unlucky Death Eater.
“Sectumsempra!” cried Harry. He watched one of the Death Eaters fall to the ground, bleeding profusely. All the Death Eaters who had been chasing Percy were down, but there were still six of them approaching from the front. Harry looked at Scrimgeour. His face seemed to glow with the intensity of battle.
“Harry,” he growled, raising his wand, “I want you to run the moment you have a chance to get out of here. Do you understand me?”
“Yes, sir,” replied Harry.
“Percy, I want you to go with Harry.”
“But, Minister, you need-”
“Percy, believe me, I can handle myself.”
The Death Eaters stopped ten feet from Harry. One took his hood down.
“Rabastan,” said the Minister quietly.
“Rufus!” said Rabastan Lestrange, opening his arms as though to hug Scrimgeour. “Oh, it has been a while.”
“I didn’t know you were out of Azkaban.”
“Well, officially, I’m not. But, as long as nobody’s playing guard….”
“Rabastan, how many people have you killed tonight?”
“Oh, I’ve been good, Rufus, I’ve been good,” said Rabastan, grinning. “Only little Ollivander. He tried to warn you that the Dark Lord would be here tonight. He didn’t.”
Rabastan giggled. He pointed his wand at Percy.
“Who’s that, Rufus?”
“I’m Percy Weasley, and I’ll have you know that you are being very disrespectful to the Minister of Magic!”
“Oh, shut up!”
A green jet of light shot from the tip of his wand, and before Harry or the Minister could do anything, Percy was blasted back into the wall.
“Percy!” said the Minister.
“Oh, and who might this be?” said Rabastan, looking at Harry. “Oh, little Harry Potter! What fun! Crucio!”
Harry had no time to react. Before he could even bring his wand up, he was on the ground writhing. He heard the Minister shout something, but he could not understand him, the pain was too great.
Suddenly the pain stopped. He looked up to see Rabastan and Rufus dueling. Harry reached for his wand and aimed a curse at one of the five Death Eaters watching the duel. “Pugno!” he whispered, and two Death Eaters were blasted back with no apparent cause. The three remaining Death Eaters looked around, wands out, looking for the curser. Harry stood and charged them.
“Balzezhnyad!” he shouted. Blue lightning of his own shot into two of the Death Eaters. They screamed and fell to the ground twitching. The final Death Eater backed away slowly, looking around nervously. “Densaugeo!” said Harry grinning.
“Avada Kedavra!” babbled the Death Eater behind his fast-growing teeth. Harry held up his wand, and the feeble curse reflected back into the Death Eater’s wand, igniting it. He smiled at the effect of his jinx. The Death Eater dropped it and turned. He began to run, but Harry sent a Stunning spell after him, and watched him fall. Then he turned to Rabastan and the Minister. Scrimgeour was on the defensive. Rabastan was backing him into a corner. Harry watched as Rabastan landed a kick to Scrimgeour’s chest. The Minister fell, and Rabastan prepared to finish him off.
“Furnunculus!” cried Harry.
Rabastan grunted in pain and dropped his wand as Harry’s hex hit him in the back.
“Balzezhnyad!” the Minister shouted, jabbing his wand at his attacker.
Rabastan screamed and flew backwards, enveloped by Rufus Scrimgeour’s spell. He landed at Harry’s feet, dead.
“Thank you, Harry,” said Scrimgeour, rising.
“Not a problem,” replied Harry, going to help the Minister to his feet. The Moment he was standing, Scrimgeour rushed over to Percy’s body. He knelt next to it and crouched over him. Harry heard him draw a deep breath.
“Dead,” he growled. He breathed deeply and, with rage painted on every inch of his face, spun to face the body of Rabastan Lestrange, into which he fired a blast of blue fire, blowing the corpse back into a wall, flopping like a rag doll. Harry stood over Percy. He had never like Percy much, had always liked the other Weasleys better.
But standing here looking at his face, eternally frozen in a look of fear, with traces of defiance still visible, Harry saw him as his best friend’s brother. Estranged by his own family, forced to fight his way through life using only his ambition and connections. He had a life without love. Harry thought of his own mother. He thought of Sirius. He thought of himself.
Harry fell to his knees as tears formed in the corners of his eyes. Rufus Scrimgeour put his hand on Harry’s shoulder.
“I’ll find him,” said Harry, still looking at Percy’s body. “I’ll find Voldemort, and I’ll kill him. I swear on my life.”
The Minister said nothing, but patted Harry on the shoulder and walked away.
Harry had no idea how long he kneeled in that side street. When he finally rose, the sun was beginning to sink low in the sky. He ran to his broom and flew away from Percy Weasley.
Onward he flew, until he saw a familiar form standing on a warehouse roof. Mad-Eye Moody had, it appeared, engaged upwards of twenty Death Eaters. Harry flew towards him, hoping to help an obviously overwhelmed friend. As he drew closer, he could make out at least three dozen bodies on the ground already. By the time he landed on the roof, he had realized, to hit astonishment, that they were all Death Eaters. He afforded himself a grin at the fact that this one crazy ex-Auror had battled through the better part of sixty attackers and was, from what Harry saw, still fighting strong.
He dismounted and rushed the mob, firing Stunners. Moody was spinning around like the magical eye he wore, blasting Death Eaters left and right. His wooden leg and, Harry had been led to believe, incomplete buttock did not seem to slow him at all.
“Harry!” shouted Alastor Moody. “The hell are you doing here, boy?”
“I thought you could use a hand,” said Harry, blasting a Death Eater onto a lower section of rooftop on the building next to theirs.
“Have I taught you nothing?” shouted Moody. “Stay out of a fight if you can, lad!”
“Yes, sir,” said Harry.
“If I have one-,” he grunted, having just tackled an oncoming Death Eater. “-regret in life, it’s that I missed an opportunity to train you for a year, and that- Stupefy, *******!- you had to face a year of instruction from that idiot Crouch.”
Harry grinned. So, Moody apparently did not regret the part about being locked in a trunk for nine months.
“Yes, sir,” he said.
At that moment, the door leading to the graveled rooftop burst open, and through in ran Remus Lupin, simultaneously dueling three Death Eaters. He forced them over to the diminishing clot being battled by Harry and Moody.
“Moody!” he shouted.
“Evening, Remus,” said Moody conversationally, putting a full body-bind on a Death Eater behind him.
“Harry, what are you doing here? I thought you were at the Burrow!” said Lupin, still dueling.
“I heard about the battle, and I-”
“Harry, I thought you learned your lesson about rushing into battle,” replied Lupin warningly. “That cost Sirius his life.”
Anger renewed in his heart, Harry unleashed a blast of lightning into a small group of fleeing Death Eaters.
It took the three of them only a few minutes to defeat the remaining Dark Wizards. Then cam the difficult part: body disposal.
“Evanesco!” murmured Moody.
A response came in the form of a small geyser of bodily fluids from the body he had been attempting to Vanish.
“Oh, charming,” he muttered, frowning.
They decided thereafter to do their task the Muggle way. They heaped bodies up and pushed them over the edge of the rooftop.
“Er…,” commented Harry, “won’t Muggles notice tomorrow?”
“No, no,” said Lupin. “The Ministry will clear everything up by dawn.”
“And if they lose, bodies are the least of the Muggles’ worries,” said Moody.
“But how will the get rid of all these bodies?” asked Harry surveying the carnage.
“My guess,” growled Moody, grinning wickedly, “is they try to Vanish them.”
Why, Harry wondered, were all his favorite people absolutely out of their minds?
They struggled with the Death Eaters for a while, until the rooftop was clear. The street below was littered with cloaked bodies.
“How many would you guess, Remus?” asked Moody.
“Total? Oh, more than we’d expected, actually. I think he’s been drafting outside of Britain.”
“How many of what?” wondered Harry aloud.
“Death Eaters,” said Lupin. “I was in charge of flying around above the city. I saw the army coming in its full strength. I’d estimate… four hundred, give or take a hundred.”
“Damn. Big party,” said Moody, his blue eye searching the area. “Oh, Remus, it appears a friend of yours is bringing a group of comrades up the stairs.”
Lupin turned to Harry. “Harry, go! Fenrir Greyback does not fight fair.”
“He doesn’t have time, and we’ll need the backup. He has about twenty with him. And, Remus, the moon’s full.”
Lupin looked at the moon, and some shadow of wolf crossed his face.
“Professor Lupin,” asked Harry, “why haven’t you transformed?”
“The Wolfsbane Potion makes the curse turn me into an Animagus. In moonlight, I can choose my form.”
For the second time, the door burst open, and another werewolf strode through it, joined by about twenty others. Fenrir Greyback stood in the front of the pack, blood dribbling down his front.
“Well, Remus!” said Greyback. “I’ve heard a lot about you, you know?”
“Really?” said Remus Lupin in a voice so cold it did not seem possible for it to come from so warm a man.
“Yeah, I had to get very persuasive to get our kind from listening to you.”
“Oh, and Remus,” said Greyback, stepping to the side and pulling a member of the crowd forward. “maybe you remember Miss Hutchins?”
The Death Eater took her hood down. She had brown hair tucked into the back of her cloak, and a small scar over her right eye. Except for the look of anger that seemed to be her natural look, she was a good looking woman.
“Tanya,” said Lupin, wincing. Moody raised his wand and pointed it towards Fenrir.
“Easy, Mad-Eye,” said Greyback. “I’m just re-introducing these two. They haven’t met in a while, ain’t that right, Tanya?”
Tanya Hutchins glared at Lupin.
“Remus, tell me,” she said, speaking for the first time. Her voice was quiet but powerful. “Do you regret what he did?”
“My father did only what he had to,” said Lupin, drawing his wand from his coat pocket. “I’ll do only what I must.”
“He murdered my parents, Remus!”
Harry looked from Tanya to Lupin, shocked.
“Ah, Remus,” said Fenrir, “you always seem to forget the little people.”
“Fenrir, her father was still a murderer and a terrorist.”
“No, Remus!” bellowed Fenrir. “You father took things too far.”
“Need I remind you, Fenrir, that her brother tried to kill my father?”
“Face the facts, Remus,” said Fenrir. He threw his hood back. “Your father murdered her entire family. You can’t dodge a fact.”
“You know as well as I do what it was like back then, Fenrir,” growled Moody, seething. “Every Auror was assigned to fight the Death Eaters. Remus’ father was only doing his job.”
Fenrir snorted. He turned to Tanya and whispered something. She nodded and looked into his face. The two werewolves kissed. Fenrir growled with contentment. Seeing the simple act of affection reminded Harry of Ginny. He was running out of time. He raised his wand to jinx the couple off guard, when Moody’s wooden leg stomped down on his foot.
“He’s expecting it,” whispered Moody out of the corner of his mouth. Sure enough, Harry looked and Fenrir’s right hand, placed on Tanya’s lower back, was clutching his wand.
Finally, the werewolves broke apart, grinning.
“Right, then. Nineteen versus three. Easy enough.”
He raised his wand over his head to send a curse at Harry. Harry, prepared, raised his own wand and waited to see how best to deflect it. In that moment, Moody spun to face Harry and Lupin. Blue light flashed from his wand, hitting Lupin directly in the chest. He flew backwards onto a neighboring roof. Fenrir, distracted by Moody’s sudden spell work, froze halfway through his curse, so he was standing in a ridiculous position, mouth open, wand raised. Before Lupin was even in the air, Moody had turned to Harry and sent him flying after Lupin. He landed on top of his former professor on another roof.
“Moody?!” shouted Harry. “Alastor Moody a Death Eater?!”
“He just saved your life, Harry. Fenrir would’ve slaughtered us.”
“Well, he can’t just sacrifice himself like that!”
“Oh, yes, he can!”
He looked at the rooftop they had been thrown from. Flashes of light were visible in the half-light of dusk. Explosions and Moody’s mad growling wafted through the night. As he watched, the figure of Fenrir Greyback took a running jump onto Harry and Lupin’s roof. He landed, rolled, and clambered to his feet. Before Harry had time to say anything, Lupin and Greyback were engaged in the most intense duel Harry had seen in all his Wizarding experience. Their wands were blurs, their curses flew through the air around them, ricocheting of each other’s wands. Lupin spun and ducked to avoid Fenrir’s brutal cursing. The werewolves dueled very close together, at maximum two feet apart. Harry followed them, sending hexes of his own when he was sure he would not hit Lupin. Their close dueling, however, made interference nearly impossible.
Greyback pushed Lupin back into a factory which rose above the level of roof on which they were dueling. The two entered through an already shattered window, never pausing their fight. Harry followed.
They battled along the abandoned hallways, infrequently breaking apart to Charm machinery into attacking each other. As the duelists and Harry entered the main room of the factory, Harry was forced further away from the fight. As Fenrir and Lupin fought along catwalks and footbridges, Harry tried to keep his distance. Eventually he seated himself on a walkway above the duelists. Lupin was seemingly in control, so Harry felt that the addition of a third fighter would only complicate matters. Fenrir however, felt otherwise. He aimed jinxes at Harry whenever he had the opportunity, and slowly pulled himself further from Lupin. Feeling that it was safe to join, Harry jumped from his catwalk and landed ten feet from Greyback. Lupin, seeing Harry join the battle, Apparated to Greyback’s other side. Harry and Lupin attacked Fenrir from both sides. They managed to duel him back to another set of windows, these two stories above the lower section of rooftop outside them. As they approached the window, Harry found himself trapped between Fenrir and the window. Fortunately, he knew Fenrir’s next move, and was prepared for it. The werewolf kicked him through the window. He fired a curse behind him to break the glass, then silently Summoned a broken pipe from the floor. As the pipe flew to his hand, he yelled, “Portus!”
The moment he grabbed the pipe, he felt himself being pulled out of the air. He landed safely on the rooftop he had been seconds away from hitting, and saw Fenrir jumping down from the window. Greyback rushed Harry, wand in the air. Harry braced himself for another round of dueling, when a wolf leapt from the same window and tackled Fenrir to the ground. Growling, Fenrir Greyback turned himself into a wolf as well, and the two wolves began fighting. Blood spattered the air. The wolves rolled around the rooftop, each wounded now, but Harry could not tell Lupin’s wolf form from Greyback’s. They wrestled each other around the roof, while Harry tried to avoid their talons.
After a few minutes of fighting, the wolves drew back, bloodstained and snarling. They two transformed into Wizards. Lupin stood between Harry and Greyback. As they advanced on each other to resume their Wizard’s duel, a massive explosion rocked the building they had been thrown from by Alastor Moody. A second blast completely destroyed the building, sending it crumbling to she streets below in a cloud of dust and rubble.
“Moody!” screamed Lupin and Harry at the same time.
“Tanya!” shouted Fenrir.
All three stopped dueling and looked over at the wreckage. For a few moments, they were united in their worry and their grief. Then Remus Lupin broke the silence.
“Avada Kedavra!” he roared.
Harry watched without remorse as Fenrir Greyback was blasted off the roof and landed in the debris below.
Lupin drew a deep breath and sat down on the roof, blood running down his robes. Harry looked at him. He had a gash on his right shoulder, tooth marks on his left thigh, a cut under his right eye, and Fenrir’s blood had been splattered down his left side.
“Harry, we should go,” he said slowly. He stood and placed his hand on Harry’s shoulder. “I should thank you. You’re good with a wand.”
“We should get to the street.”
“Oh, and Harry?”
“I want to tell you about my father.”
“What about him?” asked Harry, remembering the conversation between Lupin, Fenrir, and Tanya.
“Well, he was an Auror, Harry, and when I was young… actually, I remember, it was January of 1970. The Death Eaters were just beginning to become a threat. You-Know-Who was still hiding. Fenrir was one of the first to join. His friends, Tanya’s parents, joined with him. The Hutchinses had been charged with murder of a Muggle man, but they refused to appear before the Wizengammot. My father was sent to apprehend them. At first he attempted to reason with Zach, Tanya’s father. But her brother, Ian, attempted to use the Killing Curse on my father. He fought back. Tanya’s mother joined the fight. Only little Tanya, a baby at the time, did not fight. My father was forced to kill all of them. He Stunned Ian, but Tanya’s mother awakened him. All three of them died. Fenrir heard, and he bit me that February.”
Harry was silent. He had never really wondered what Lupin’s father had done to offend Fenrir Greyback, and now he wished he didn’t know.
“Harry, I hope you can forgive me for not telling you this before now.”
“Yeah, it’s fine,” said Harry, not looking at Lupin.
“No, Harry, no it’s not, and you know that. He… well, it’s just like what You-Know-Who did to your family.”
At this, Harry simply walked away toward the factory they had come from. He heard Lupin jogging after him.
“Harry, don’t walk away.”
Lupin caught up with him.
“I don’t want to talk about it, sir,” said Harry, stopping.
“I know. Just so you know, your father reacted the same way,” said Lupin.
They walked on in silence. While they were walking down a dark hallway, Lupin put out his arm. Harry looked at Lupin’s face. He put his finger over his lips and mouthed, “shhh!”
Harry listened and heard the floor creak in a room off the hall. Lupin crept forward, motioning for Harry to stay back. Harry obeyed, and Lupin put his ear to the closed door, to the right and maybe twenty or thirty feet in front of where Harry stood. Lupin raised his wand and, suddenly, kicked down the door.
As Harry heard the crack of the door flying open, he saw a green flash of light, followed by Lupin falling backwards through the doorway.
“No!” he screamed, drawing his wand and sprinting to the door. He leapt over Lupin and into the room, ready to confront the killer.
He saw nobody.
He looked around the room. It was silent. There were three windows in the room to the street outside. Two were intact, and the broken one had thick cobwebs over the opening. Nobody had left through the window. The walls were undamaged, save for a hole in the mopboard. Then Harry turned to look at Lupin’s body.
He saw the door, open, and walked slowly to see who might be hiding behind it. He grabbed the knob, swung the door shut, and screamed, “Sectumsempra!”
Again, he saw nobody.
The hair stood up on the back of his neck. He turned, reassuring himself that the room was, indeed, empty. He could not, however, rid himself of the feeling that he was being watched. He looked out the window. This room was six stories above the street, and across the street was nothing but brick wall. He turned again, fear beginning to gnaw at him. He nearly screamed when he saw Lupin’s face staring at him.
His eyes were open, and nothing but shock was on his face. Harry reached for his wrist. There was no pulse.
Harry was conflicted. What should he do with the body? After a few moments of internal debate, he took Lupin’s wand, put it in his pocket, and left the building checking around corners, and jumping at shadows made by deserted machinery in the moonlight. By the time he had gone through the door into the street, he was running, constantly looking over his shoulder. He ran out into the street, and to the rubble of the building on which he, Lupin, and Moody had fought the Death Eaters.
Halfway down the side street, he saw the body of a Death Eater. He ran to it and looked into the rubble. There ware a dozen more cloaked bodies lying, in various stages of mutilation, on, in, and across the debris. He recognized Tanya Hutchins, and saw two dead wolves lying together. Then, something struck his foot. He looked down to see Mad-Eye Moody’s magical eye, spinning and squirming amongst the bricks, by his right foot. Harry picked it up and walked a little further. Then he saw it.
The body of Alastor Moody, lying under two Death Eaters. Harry tossed the Death Eaters off of Moody and turned the ex-Auror over.
“Professor Moody!” he whispered.
“Evening, Potter,” whispered Moody. He coughed up blood. Harry noticed that most of his teeth were missing. His grizzly hair was streaked with blood, as were his robes. His legs, wooden and human, were bent awkwardly, and his wand was lying in splinters next to him. The feather of a phoenix lay among the shards, unharmed.
“Professor! You’re alive!” said Harry joyfully.
Moody chuckled weakly. “Oh, not for long, so I’m just going to tell you what to tell certain people, alright?”
Harry nodded, trying to hold back tears.
“Okay, tell Lupin-,” began Moody.
Harry sniffed loudly.
Moody sighed. “Tell Nymphadora that she had a hell of a husband. I have a lot of respect for that man. Tell Ron Weasley that he’s stronger than he knows. Tell Hermione Granger that she’s every bit as strong as she knows.”
They laughed quietly together. Moody then instructed Harry to tell Dolores Umbridge to do something neither polite nor possible.
“Tell your friend Neville to be careful. Tell Molly Weasley that she’s a good cook. And… a good person. And tell the Minister that I’m sorry. I’m sorry but I don’t regret what I did. He’ll know what you mean.”
Moody closed his eyes, seeming to think over who else he wanted to have a message delivered to.
“The rest of these people you don’t know. Now, Harry, your father told me to tell you something when you were older. Before they went into hiding, he told me that if he didn’t come out alive to let you know that you were his pride and joy. At that point, Harry, he was proud just because you were alive. Boy, I’m proud of you right now, and damned if it isn’t for the exact same reason. One last person: when you meet Tom Riddle. When you see Voldemort, you tell him two words, alright? Now, listen to me, you sell him that Alastor Moody says, ‘Avada Kedavra.’”
Moody grinned. Harry nodded.
With that, Alastor Moody laid back and, with a sigh, died.
Harry stood, looking down at Moody. Tears were flowing freely from his eyes now. He walked wordlessly to his broom and picked it up. He mounted it and kicked off.
He had watched too many people die tonight. He had a job to do. Lowering himself against the night wind, he soared high in the sky, preparing himself for his final fight.
December 23rd, 2005, 5:22 am
Also, just wondering: when I post Chapter Two, is it customary to post it in this thread, or should I post a new one?
December 26th, 2005, 1:02 am
Critique, criticize, whine, moan, leave an SSN, whatever.
December 30th, 2005, 6:33 pm
Oh, if you want to leave a suggestion, IM me. Or leave one here, but as you can see I'm not around all that often....
January 10th, 2006, 5:02 am
Okay, Chapter Two! It's darker, bloodier, Mugglier, and, best of all: cliffhangier!
Black Magic Woman
THE SKY WAS simply a haze of green. Harry streaked through the sea of Dark Marks, constantly looking for a particularly large one. Only once did he make the mistake of flying through one. His head passed through the neck of the snake, and he nearly passed out. He vomited off him broom.
The night was colder than a usual late-May evening. He drew himself closer to the handle of his broom and breathed through his nose. All this was subconscious. Every bit of his conscious mind was focused on Voldemort.
Finally, he saw it. High above the rest of the Marks, one at least three times the size of the rest shone in the darkness. Harry angled himself toward it, his heart beating fast. As he come closer to the Mark, he saw the building below it. It was a massive skyscraper, with stone gargoyles around the top. Suddenly he realized that Voldemort may well have allowed Ron to know his location. He drew his wand, alert, yet again, for traps.
He flew fast, cold wind stinging his ears. Excitement and anxiety joined with the cold making him shiver.
Harry swerved and rolled, looking for the source of the spell which had just flew by his face. He arced down toward another tall building, hoping to land and search for his attacker out of the light of the Dark Mark. As he approached the rooftop, more curses flew at him. He had found the assailant.
Again, he leapt off his broom and rolled to his feet.
More light flew in his direction. He returned fire, releasing a burst of lightning onto his enemy. In the light of the flash, he saw the Death Eater he was dueling. He was moving backwards, away from Harry, and his body movements suggested nervousness.
So, Harry was feared by Voldemort’s servants. Buoyed by this discovery, Harry charged his opponent, who went into full reverse, until he was at the edge of the rooftop. Then, another broom came streaking out of the night, it’s rider firing Killing curses at Harry. He rolled his eyes and dove out of the way.
The broom landed behind Harry, and he heard the rider dismount.
“What the hell are you doing just standing there? Attack him, Octavius!” shouted the rider, whose voice Harry immediately recognized as his godfather’s murderer’s.
He rolled over and fired curses at Bellatrix Lestrange, who parried each one. Harry then leapt up and approached her, wand pointed at her shrouded face.
“Harry Potter,” she said, raising her own wand. “I do feel bad for the Wizarding community, now that I must kill you. They simply won’t be able to call you the Boy Who Lived anymore, and “the Boy Who Kicked the Bucket” has less of a ring to it, don’t you agree?”
“Crucio!” snarled Harry. He would not let her toy with him.
He had expected the curse simply to shut her up, but it hit its mark, and she fell to the ground, writhing and screaming. He looked over at the other Death Eater, who was crouched in the corner, apparently trying to put as much space as possible between himself and Harry. Grinning, he raised his wand and pointed it at the Death Eater.
“Incarcerous,” he muttered, binding him in magical chains. He turned back to Bellatrix Lestrange, lying, squirming, at his feet. He raised his wand, wondering how bust to execute the woman who had killed Sirius Black.
Suddenly, through a door to the rooftop, came someone else. Harry spun around, shifting his grip on his wand to defend against this new enemy.
It was Neville.
Neville Longbottom ran past Harry, who turned to follow him. He saw that Bellatrix had stood up, and was aiming a shot at Harry’s back. Instead, she turned to Neville. They fired jinxes at the same time, causing a minor explosion, blowing all three of them back. Harry was the first to his feet, followed by Bellatrix. They approached each other, and began dueling. Harry wondered where Neville was, but focused most of his energy and concentration of Bellatrix. They dueled back and forth along the roof. Harry was beginning to worry about Neville.
Just as Harry decided that he should check whether he had fallen off the building, Neville bounded out of the corner, screeching maniacally. He checked Bellatrix with his shoulder, sending her backwards into the small structure leading the stairs from the building up to the roof.
S******ing, Bellatrix began dueling the two boys. She obviously expected to have no competition. As the fight wore on, Bellatrix was not gaining any ground. Harry was fueled by his rage, as was, he presumed, Neville. Her cackling shifted from cocky to nervous. Her movements lost their usual fluidity, which was replaced by a predictable, choppy, and aggressive form.
Harry afforded himself a glance at Neville’s face. The anger there reminded Harry unpleasantly of the face of Voldemort. Neville’s dueling, usually meek and defensive, mirrored that of Voldemort as well, flashy and aggressive. Only Harry was able to channel his anger into focus. His adrenaline amplified his reflexes, and he found himself amazingly able to block and parry. Soon his dueling became a sort of dance as he experimented with his new found power.
Bellatrix, grunting with the effort, eventually broke through Neville’s defense, sending him falling backwards. He landed on his back, growling.
Harry continued to duel Bellatrix. Without having to worry about hitting Neville, Harry’s form became wider and even more elegant. Bellatrix was backing up quickly, and had stopped making remarks and laughing altogether. She removed her outer cloak for greater flexibility and Harry could see shock on her face. She was frightened. She had only now realized that she might lose. She might actually lose to a pair of seventeen-year-olds.
Harry and Bellatrix continued their duel. Harry was enjoying the seemingly magical grace of his motions. Bellatrix’s dueling became choppier still, and more sporadic. Harry had already lit her hair on fire, and Neville had managed to slice her right ear off. Blood was trickling down her face and, when she spun, it flew off her body and hit Harry. His face was now splattered with droplets of blood.
Again, Neville came flying out of nowhere, landing a snap kick on Bellatrix’s throat, Harry stopped his dueling to watch Bellatrix, clutching her throat, stumbling back towards the door to the building. Before Harry could raise his wand again, Bellatrix had jinxed him. “Impedimenta!” she had shouted.
Harry flopped to the ground. He was able to see the rest of the roof from his position. Neville approached and engaged Bellatrix, who seemed to have found her rage. She dueled Neville backwards. He jumped onto the parapet to avoid a blast of green light. Bellatrix cackled, pointing her wand at Neville.
“So, Longbottom,” she began. What was it with this woman and taunting? As Harry pondered this quietly, Bellatrix continued her speech. “I have you at wandpoint. You will die if you go backwards, so your best bet is to beg for mercy.”
Neville looked backwards, down to the streets below. His face twitched. He faced Bellatrix and raised his hands over his head.
“Good boy,” said Bellatrix, nodding. “Now, first things first. Sectumsempra!”
Neville’s right ear was sliced off. His face registered intense pain, but he said nothing.
“An eye for an eye,” she said quietly. “So, Longbottom, I hope you see the severity of my dilemma. I have, at this point, tortured the rest of your immediate family to insanity. I believe that a job halfway done is not done at all. So, I feel that I should complete my task and allow you the same… privilege.”
Neville, Harry saw, closed his eyes and braced himself.
“However,” said Bellatrix, “with every inch of my body, boy, I hate you. I would like nothing more than to kill you here and now. Which should I do, Neville? Have you a wish?”
“You’ll never take me!” he shouted. He pointed his wand at Harry, who felt Bellatrix’s jinx be undone. As Harry leapt to his feet and aimed a curse at Bellatrix, Neville jumped backwards, off the roof.
“No!” shouted Harry. He had seen enough friends die tonight.
He ran to Bellatrix, swinging his wand around his head. He fired a Killing curse, which missed its mark by inches. She returned fire, and Harry was forced to throw himself sideways to dodge the curse. He stumbled, and his next hex shot off into the sky.
He continued his charge off balance, and was unable to throw himself out of the way of the Cruciatus Curse Bellatrix shot at him next. He crumpled to the ground, but kept his scream to himself. He focused his entire mind into standing. As he rose, the pain disappeared. Bellatrix raised her wand, ready to strike.
Suddenly, something flew up, over the parapet of the roof, hitting Bellatrix hard in the back.
“Son of a krup!” she screeched, keeling over.
Neville stood behind her. He fired a hex at her, but she rolled. Bellatrix jumped to her feet, as Harry and Neville fired Stunners at her back. She performed a Shield Charm over her shoulder, avoiding the hail of spells. She pointed her wand at her broom.
Harry, his wand pointed at Bellatrix’s back, fired a Banishing spell. Bellatrix was pushed forward, over the side of the roof. As she shot forward, she Summoned her broom, which flew to her hand. Harry and Neville looked over the side of the roof. By the time she had mounted it, the broom was only strong enough to slow her fall. She hit the ground with a crunch. Then, Bellatrix ran into the building Harry had been seeking. Gargoyles lined the corners and were around the roof.
“I think she broke her arm, Harry,” said Neville.
“Neville!” said Harry, just realizing that Neville should not, technically, be here speaking to him, as he had just jumped off a skyscraper. “You jumped off a thirty story building! Why aren’t you dead?”
Neville grinned darkly. “Sorry to disappoint.” He pointed to a balcony on the top story of the building.
“You landed on the balcony?”
“And you didn’t break anything?” asked Harry.
“Not a thing,” said Neville, still grinning a most un-Nevilleish grin.
“How’d you jump up here?”
“Little bit of magic my grandmother taught me.”
“How’d you get here in the first place?” asked Harry. “Where’s Voldemort?”
Neville’s grin faded, and his eye twitched again. “In that building where Bellatrix ran. Harry, he took us prisoner. All three of us.”
“All three of who?”
“Well, Ginny was first-,” began Neville.
“Is Ginny okay?” asked Harry, his voice shaking now.
“Fine. Well, she’ll probably have a scar under her eye, but she’s fine. Stunned.”
Harry breathed deeply. “Who else?”
“McGonnagal. She came with me. I think she’s okay, too. They kept us in separate, guarded rooms.”
“So, how’d you escape?” asked Harry.
“I-,” started Neville. He stopped, and his eyes widened. His face twitched again, and his face contorted into a look of evil joy Harry had only before seen in Voldemort. “I killed the guard,” he said breathily.
“I came… behind him,” he said, eyes wild. He was breathing fast. “Once I had his… throat… I could… do what… what I wanted.”
He twitched, his wicked smile spreading wide.
“I took his wand, and I… killed him.”
Harry looked at his friend. “You couldn’t have Stunned him?”
“Yeah. But, Harry, I… I’ve never, ever, had that kind of power before.”
Harry rose. He didn’t want to hear any more. He walked to his broom.
“Hop on,” he told Neville.
Neville got on the back of Harry’s broom. They flew to the front door of Voldemort’s garrisoned building.
They jumped off the broom and ran to the guards at the front door.
The two boys walked to the guards and raised their wands. The guards dropped where they stood.
“When’d you get so good at nonverbal spells, Neville?” wondered Harry aloud as they walked past the unconscious guards and through the front doors.
“Practice makes perfect,” muttered Neville, raising his wand. They were in an ornate, marble foyer. A crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling, and works of art lined the walls. Twelve granite pillars ran the length of the elaborate room. From behind each one, a Death Eater stepped.
“Freeze!” shouted one near the back.
Harry and Neville looked at each other. Neville raised his eyebrows. Harry nodded. They turned to the Death Eaters.
“Balzezhnyad!” cried Harry. Lightning poured from the tip of his wand, crashing into the Death Eater nearest him. The Death Eater went flying, enveloped by blue lightning, into his comrades. Harry steered the electrocuted mass of enemies into the farthest pillar.
“Six down,” he whispered to Neville. “Right side clear. Your move.”
The six remaining Death Eaters, who had been watching in awe as their fellow Wizards were flung about by lightning like a cucumber in a blender, slowly and hesitantly approached Neville and Harry.
Neville raised his wand in the air. A pillar fell, crushing two Death Eaters. One of the remaining four sent a Killing curse at Neville.
“Impedimenta!” barked Neville.
Harry fired a Full-body bind into the crowd, and one Death Eater fell like a board.
The final two Dark Wizards looked at each other and, apparently sensing immanent defeat, fired curses and hexes at random.
Harry and Neville aimed at the Death Eaters as spells flew around them, who went flying into the wall, after which they collapsed to the floor. They did not move again.
“Good trick with the pillar, Neville,” remarked Harry.
“Thanks, Harry!” he said, smiling.
The two walked to the end of the hall, and found themselves at a door which was marked “Stairs.”
“You know,” said Harry, placing his ear to the door, “there’s probably a Death Eater standing just behind this door, waiting to curse us.”
“More than likely.”
“Alright, here’s the plan:...,” said Harry. He whispered his idea to Neville, who nodded. They placed their backs against the walls on both sides of the door, Harry on the left, Neville on the right. Harry pointed his wand at the handle.
“Alohomora,” he muttered. He reached out and pulled the handle, pulling the door open. He retracted his hand just in time to avoid the green blast that came from behind the door. He spun, placing his foot out to stop the closing door, and pointed his wand at the attacker.
“Crucio!” growled the Death Eater.
“Protego!” shouted Harry in return. As the spell ricocheted off Harry’s Shield Charm and into the rubber stairs, a part of which melted, Neville came around the door, and pointed his wand at the Death Eater.
“Stupefy,” he said. Their enemy collapsed against the stairs.
Harry and Neville walked over the Death Eater’s body and began to climb the stairs, when a Killing curse impacted on the wall beside Neville. The two of the dropped and looked upwards and to the left. Higher than them on the staircase was Bellatrix Lestrange, her wand pointed at them. Harry fired back a Stunner, and Neville sent his own Killing curse. Her wand arm seemed to have been fixed.
Harry and Neville moved higher on the stairs, as did Bellatrix. They stayed across from each other for three stories, sending volleys of curses and jinxes back and forth. On the fourth floor, Bellatrix turned and began to run up the stairs. Neville sped ahead of Harry to follow her. Harry sent a slew of hexes up the stairway tower, blasting the stairs from below. That, he figured, would slow Bellatrix down. He rushed upward for what felt like hundreds of floors.
Then, suddenly, a blast of fire came down the tower. He pressed himself to the wall to avoid it, and edged up the stairs. Then he heard a voice.
“Run, Bella!” said Lord Voldemort.
His rage refueled, Harry ignored the flames and sprinted up the staircase. Voldemort send several blasts of fire down from the top of the tower. The fluorescent lights lighting the tower suddenly exploded. As the tower was placed in darkness, Harry heard Voldemort cackling diabolically from the top.
Harry climbed higher still. Soon the stairway was dimly lit by the fires Voldemort had started. The air grew hot, and the tower began to smell of smoke and burning plastic. Harry heard screaming a few floors above him, and remembered the he had to support Neville. He quickened his pace, wondering whether that would be too little too late.
A minute later, he tripped over something. He looked down at his ankles and discovered a body. His heart beat fast. He turned the body over-
And looked into Bellatrix’s face, sneering at a point over his shoulder. Freshly killed, she looked so alive still. He jumped and looked over his shoulder to see only fire and darkness. He proceeded upwards. He knew that sometime soon Neville would approach Voldemort. He had been able to defeat Bellatrix, most likely from behind, but the Dark Lord would not prove so easy a victim. He was arguably the most powerful wizard alive with Dumbledore’s death. Thinking of his old mentor, Harry remembered how much Voldemort had cost him. The faces of loved ones he had lost flashing in his mind, he ran to his battle.
Unless Neville defeated him first. As he ascended the stairway, Harry remembered what Dumbledore had said about the prophecy not necessarily meaning that Harry would, indeed, kill Voldemort. He was shocked to feel a vague shadow of disappointment brewing in his stomach that Lord Voldemort might be dead.
But Lord Voldemort did not disappoint.
“Bella, time is running out, where are you?” he called. His voice was near now. Harry looked up. He could see the ceiling of the tower in the light cast by Voldemort’s fires.
A few moments later, Harry heard his friend Neville’s voice.
“Avada Kedavra!” screamed Neville.
The tower was momentarily lit by green light. Harry was surprised to see a body falling backwards toward him from the top of the stairwell. The body, in fact, was about to crash into him. Just in time, Harry raised his wand and deflected the body to his side. Harry rushed to it, wondering whose body it was. Had Neville won Harry’s battle before Harry had even arrived. He flipped the body over.
For what felt like the millionth time that night, Harry stared down into the face of another dead friend. Neville Longbottom had died with a look which, Harry felt, suited him. Whether because of his vindication of his parents’ torture, or because he had simply accepted his death as it came to him, Neville’s face was frozen in a look of complete peace.
Time seemed to slow. Anger pumped Harry’s veins in a devilish drumline, echoing in his mind. His brain cleared. He knew what he must do and, for the first time, he could envision himself doing it. Vengeance was no longer a fantasy tempting him. He was close now, he could taste it. He drew his wand and looked up the stairway.
He stood and began to climb to Voldemort. Still, time was appearing to struggle keeping up with Harry. He felt as though the world had been plunges into slow motion.
He could see the door behind which he was sure Voldemort waited. A piece of the staircase was missing. He leapt the gap. As he landed, he realized that he had jumped further than he would ever normally have been able to.
He approached the door. As he walked, Harry tested this new magic he seemed to have tapped into. The feeling of unlimited power was consistent with Felix Felicis, but this sensation of time slowing was more than he had ever sensed.
He reached the door. Harry raised his wand to the door. He knew, somehow, that he wouldn’t need to say the spell. Sure enough, before he was even sure of what spell to use, the door flew backwards with a deafening clatter.
He heard Voldemort cackle. “Welcome, Harry,” he said quietly, he voice smoother than silk.
Harry walked down the hall. There were a pair of wooden doors at the end.
“Faster, Harry,” called Voldemort. That voice amplified Harry’s rage. He gritted his teeth, tightened his grip on his wand, and walked more quickly.
Just when he was about to enter, he caught himself. Behind these doors, he told himself, was a man he had spent seven years of his life wishing to kill. This man, however, was among the most talented duelists ever born. He hoped this new magic flowing through him would help him. He had already defeated six sevenths of Voldemort. The seventh part, he thought bitterly, was the one with a wand.
He rammed through the door with his shoulder and dove into the room, firing curses at random. As he rolled to his feet, he looked behind him. Sure enough, Voldemort had shot a Killing curse at the point where Harry had stood seconds ago. Remembering how Voldemort had toyed with him before dueling, making speeches, wasting time, Harry took Voldemort’s attempt to kill him off quickly as a sign that Voldemort considered him a significant threat. Encouraged by this thought, Harry jumped to the side to dodge another jinx and spun to find Voldemort. For the first time, Harry looked at the room in which he was. It was, like the lobby, made of marble. The floor, the ceiling, and the desk against the wall, were marble. The room was half a circle. There was only one wall, made of dark wood, which now had an opening where there had once been doors. What would have been another curved wall was one, long window. Through the window, Harry could see London, and all its buildings. Light from hexes fired miles away lit the horizon. Around the desk were three metal stools. Behind it, a leather chair, in which Voldemort sat, wearing a black cloak and gloves. His wand was pointed at Harry, and an intense look was on his face.
He sent another slew of curses at Harry, cackling evilly. Harry ran toward the opposite side of the room, as Voldemort’s curses impacted on the floor behind him. He winced as shards of marble pecked at his legs, protected only by a pair of jeans. Voldemort rose for the first time, glaring at Harry. Harry reached deep into his mind, calling on the magic he had used twice tonight. Again, time seemed to slow around him. He leapt of the floor and threw a jinx at Voldemort, who deflected it with a subtle twitch of his wrist. The two glowered at each other momentarily, waiting for the other to strike. Voldemort made the first move.
“Crucio!” he cried. Even expecting the curse, Harry was not able to deflect it entirely. He felt pain course through every inch of his body. Unbearable pain.
The window! He must throw himself out the window to escape this pain! His scar felt like a white-hot iron. He began to drop to the floor.
And, for the first time, he stopped himself. The magic was fighting the pain! Harry twitched, but would not fall. He raised his wand.
“P-p-pugno!” groaned Harry. Voldemort was hit by the invisible spell in the shoulder. He flipped over backwards, landing in a heap against the wall. Harry, too, collapsed. He clutched his forehead, trying to shake off the pain.
Breathing heavily, Harry and the Dark Lord stood. The look on Voldemort’s face had changed. Calm, cool, wickedness had been replaced by a vile look of wrath that, some years ago would have caused Harry to scream. Harry bounced on his toes, waiting for Voldemort to attack again.
“No one will save you this time boy,” hissed Voldemort. “You can’t run. And we all know what happens when you hide.”
“This time I won’t need saving,” growled Harry in a fearsome whisper. “You’re going to die tonight.”
“Don’t make promises you cannot keep, dear boy,” he said, shaking his head. Harry and Voldemort circled each other.
“Your Horcruxes are gone,” said Harry, enjoying this opportunity to taunt. The Dark Lord scoffed. “I spent a year hunting them down, and I destroyed them,” Harry continued. “Every… last… one… even the cup,” said Harry slowly.
Voldemort’s snakelike face jerked, and he looked momentarily toward the door. When he looked back to Harry, however, a sneer was back of his face.
“Very good, boy,” he jeered. “But this will take more skill than a treasure hunt.” He smiled, and a look that nearly looked pitying slithered briefly across his features. “Now,” he began, his expression and tone turning businesslike, “you, with much help from your friends, have caused my organization quite a bit of trouble. Mr. Longbottom has… ah-” he chuckled “atoned for his meddling,” he said, gesturing toward the door. “Likewise, I have dealt with Minerva McGonnagal, Cornelius Fudge, Horace Slughorn, Amelia Bones…,” he stopped and gasped. “I’m sorry, Harry,” said Voldemort. “Am I boring you? I must be. Now, tell me. Was it Weasley who directed you to me? I must say, Harry, I was unsure of who to release, the boy or the girl.”
Harry’s grip tightened on his wand.
“Ah, young love,” giggled the Dark Lord. “As you well know, I let young Ronald escape. I had my own uses for… Ginerva, yes?”
“Avada Kedavra!” snarled Harry. Voldemort was once again one step ahead of Harry. He flicked his wand upwards, sending Harry’s curse into the ceiling, showering them with stone. With his left hand, he pushed toward Harry, who was pulled up and back, off his feet, toward the window. Harry, who had forgotten his connection with the magic he had experienced, shot a Stunner at Voldemort’s hand. The Dark Lord retracted his hand, and Harry fell to the ground. He slid backwards, hitting the window. He stood again, placing his hand on the glass. The window was angled, leaning in towards the room.
“Please, Harry, we were having a nice talk!” said Voldemort. “I understand you must be anxious to get to the duel. We all like the action scenes, don’t we? That, Harry, was how I spent my time at that filthy Muggle orphanage. I watched Muggles act out the art of war. Oh, how I dreamed of perfecting it, Harry!” For the first time, a glimmer of humanity shone through the bloody tint of Voldemort’s eyes.
“But you had no soldiers to kill. So, instead, you decided to test the military might of Billy Stubbs’ rabbit?”
Voldemort looked puzzled at first, then threw his head back and laughed. It was truly a laugh, not a cackle, and such a human action seemed so alien to Lord Voldemort that it caught Harry off guard.
“Harry, if I weren’t about to kill you, I might just give you a hug.”
“Oh, you’re not about to kill me, Tom,” said Harry. The phrase just escaped him, as though it were alive. He had not meant to say it, nor would he have thought of saying it. It was as though some portion of Dumbledore, clinging to life, had spoken through him. He then realized that this announcement meant the Voldemort “might just give him a hug.” Thoroughly repulsed, Harry shook his head and tried to put the thought out of his mind.
Any shred of life that had been present in Voldemort was stamped out with that comment. His eyes narrowed and he hissed softly, like a snake ready to strike.
“Don’t call me that!” he barked, apparently not realizing how much he sounded like a child having a tantrum. He took a deep breath, calming himself. “As I was saying, I had use for young Miss Weasley. I suppose you remember what happened five years ago, Harry? Lucius Malfoy loosed a portion of my soul on Hogwarts. My second Horcrux terrorized Hogwarts for a year, acting through Ginny Weasley. When I possessed her, I needed to fight through the natural defenses of her mind. Every human mind, Harry, has unique defenses. However, having once navigated the mind of Ginny Weasley, I found it less than difficult to repeat the process. In my first encounter with her, I set… traps, if you will, in her mind. I forged shortcuts through which I could access her thoughts… and manipulate them as I did five years ago. Tonight I used those shortcuts to their fullest, fullest potential. Through her, I discovered some of your weaknesses… including, but not limited to, bursts of anger, to which I am also prone, a disregard for any and all rules, which I shall, in the presence of youngsters such as yourself, refer to as a weakness, though between friends, I find it our best quality, Harry,” said Voldemort, winking, and reminding Harry of Gilderoy Lockheart. “Furthermore, Harry, you are insecure, with a gnawing need to prove yourself, your dueling style has an easily deciphered pattern, and you have a very ticklish spot under your third ribs on both sides,” he finished. Harry blushed. “How, then, will I exploit these weaknesses? Well, I used a combination of the first few to bring you here today. Your predictability in battle is something I have been studying. Unless you have, over the course of this chat, developed an unforeseen streak of spontaneity, I should be able to determine how best to beat you. As of now, I cannot tell whether that will include utilizing your ticklish spots, though I struggle to see how I could take advantage of such a disadvantage.”
“Start, already!” barked Harry. He knew what he had to do. He focused, calling on the magic. The world slowed, his senses intensified.
“Avada Kedavra!” hissed Voldemort, pointing his wand at Harry’s chest. Harry, his reflexes sharpened by the magic, was already jumping to the right. He held his wand out, and performed a Banishing charm on the shards of the window falling on him, having been shattered by Lord Voldemort’s curse. Billions of pieces of broken glass flew out into the London sky, sparkling like stars.
Harry looked up. Since the window had been angled, the floor passed about seven inches beyond the edge of the ceiling. Harry stood on the very edge of the room, balancing the arches of his trainers on the casing which had once held the window. He jumped. As he soared upwards, aided heavily by the magic, another curse flashed by below his feet. His shins hit the parapet. He conjured some rope, which magically flew to the other side of the roof and entwined itself to a gargoyle. Harry held the other end, pulling on which he hauled himself onto the roof. Once on the roof, Harry brushed himself off, Vanished the rope, and prepared for Voldemort’s attack.
The roof was, to Harry’s surprise, square, despite the shape of the top room. Its stone corners jutted out beyond the curve of the office below.
Voldemort, seconds later, flew up through the air, flipped, and rolled to his feet, landing a few feet to Harry’s right. As he rose, he fired a Cruciatus Curse at Harry. This time, Harry was able to defend himself properly. He countered with Levicorpus, and the two went back and forth, sending spells and deflecting them, for a full minute. Then, after a Conjunctivitis Curse from Harry, Voldemort ran at Harry, shouting in Parselmouth.
“Die, boy! You’ve troubled me long enough!”
Their duel began. Voldemort swung wildly, sending bits of roof flying. Harry attempted to find the same rhythm he had achieved versus Bellatrix, but he could not settle into a constant beat. Voldemort was bobbing around the rooftop, avoiding every spell Harry threw at him. Voldemort was winning.
Suddenly, it occurred to Harry what he stood to lose in this battle. He was the Chosen One, and all of Britain- all of the world, even- depended on this duel. Far from strengthening his dueling, he began to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of this fight.
Voldemort, cackling wickedly, hit Harry in the right thigh with a Furnunculus hex. Harry grunted and rolled to the edge of the roof, dropping his wand. He saw Voldemort raise his wand above his head, ready to end the duel. In that moment Harry realized what a loss for him meant. He had failed. All his friends would suffer Voldemort’s oppression unless he could bring himself back and win the duel. Harry rolled out of the way of the Killing Curse and crawled across the roof for his wand. He snatched it up off the roof and rolled onto his back, wondering why Voldemort hadn’t cursed him yet. Voldemort, he saw, had been hit in the head by a chunk of the parapet he had blown away with his cursing. Harry aimed a curse at Voldemort, who regained balance just in time. Voldemort sent the curse back at Harry, who rolled again. Harry jumped to his feet and rushed the Dark Lord. They dueled and dueled, continuing for what felt like weeks. During a stalemate, when Harry and Lord Voldemort were trying to blast each other backwards, Harry glanced at his watch. It was quarter to midnight.
As the duel raged on, Harry began to feel that same rhythm creeping into his fight. Before he made his moves, he was now planning them. He was careful not to be too predictable, predictability having caused the opportunity for Voldemort’s Furnunculus. Neither Harry nor Lord Voldemort seemed to be making any sort of progress. Voldemort was enjoying the battle, and Harry was buoyed by this mysterious magic. Harry began to wonder whether this match would last until morning… or longer.
Harry was being very calculated in his dueling, thinking every attack through before delivering, while Voldemort seemed to be fighting by instinct. He had obviously been preparing for this duel for as long as, if not longer than, Harry. Harry’s attempts to overanalyze the fight were costing him precious time. After a particularly fierce drive by Voldemort, Harry began to lean more on the wandless magic he had been using all evening without knowing how. His attacks became more natural, and he was quicker to defend. He used his natural instincts, as Voldemort did. The two now seemed more evenly matched. Voldemort, sensing Harry’s change in tactic, adjusted his own. He took the defensive, and used spells in ways that seemed impossible to Harry. He swung his wand around in circles. He was graceful and natural. Harry, seeing that he had pushed Voldemort to defend himself, revived a streak of aggressiveness in himself, pushing Voldemort back to the edge of the roof. Too late he realized his mistake, and Voldemort threw him backwards and to the ground. He rolled back and to his feet.
“Hallmark of inexperience,” taunted Voldemort.
Harry’s anger, which had gradually been transfiguring itself into boredom, was restored. He jumped at Voldemort, swinging his wand. Harry, the more physically fit of the duelists, leapt and twirled and used his body to tire Voldemort, who sounded slightly breathless when goading Harry. Within a few minutes, however, Harry was making no visible progress. He put a limit on the jumping and shoving, instead throwing an occasional punch. One of his wild blows hit where Voldemort’s nose would have been had he had one. Instead, his fist impacted on solid bone. Harry yelped and stumbled back as Voldemort chuckled.
“No Muggle dueling for us, Harry,” said Voldemort, shaking a finger at Harry.
A thin rope of fire snaked from the tip of Voldemort’s wand.
“We’re Wizards!” whispered the Dark Lord. He swung his wand around, wielding the fire like a whip. The fire screeched and darted through the air around Harry. As Voldemort approached, Harry backed away, wand out. Then, the strange magic took over his mind, clearly displaying his options. He shot from his wand a jet of blue light, which collided with the flames. The light traveled up the fiery rope, sizzling and popping. Voldemort spun to the side and broke contact with the flames before the light hit his wand. The curving string of light disappeared. Harry looked at Voldemort. His face was contorted with anger. He gripped his wand with both hands and pointed it at Harry’s head.
“Avada Kedavra!” he growled. Harry ducked, and the jet of green light passed over his head. They rushed each other. They now dueled very close together. Voldemort hissed and grunted, evidently trying to mirror Harry’s tactic of being physical. When Harry noticed that Voldemort was making a futile attempt to copy him, he decided to beat Voldemort at the game he had so unwisely chosen to play. Harry crouched and landed a sidekick to the center of Voldemort’s face. Again, on a normal human what Harry hit would have been nose, and the victim would have both been in great pain and most likely be bleeding hard, but Voldemort only fell back, allowing Harry to catch his breath. Voldemort jumped to his feet, fuming. Harry grinned. He decided to stick with his physical tactic for a bit more. He bounded from side to side, dueling circles around Lord Voldemort, who moved only his wand arm, trying in vain to hit Harry. Eventually Voldemort managed to separate himself from Harry and resorted to sending chunks of rubble at Harry with his wand. Harry stood on the opposite side of the roof, deflecting the debris. He used this break to catch his breath and prepare for the next round of dueling. When all the large rocks were on Harry’s side of the roof, Voldemort jumped at Harry, and they resumed dueling. Both Harry and Voldemort seemed refreshed by their little rest, and the fight sped up greatly. To Harry, Voldemort’s wand was but a blur. He heard the sound of his cloak snapping as it fluttered as Voldemort dueled. They were locked together in a sort of dance, occasionally ramming each other with their shoulders. They battled across the rooftop and back again, eventually jumping up onto the parapet and dueling there. As they stood on the thin line of stone, Harry again tapped deep into the magic to keep his balance, and he began to suspect that Lord Voldemort was doing the same. Once back on the rooftop with room to maneuver, they spun and whirled, lighting up the midnight sky with curses and Charms.
Again Harry checked his watch. It was now quarter to one in the morning. As the battle wore on, the duelists slowed. Both Harry and Voldemort became exponentially choppier in their dueling. As before, Harry’s anger was beginning to be replaced by boredom. Finally, Voldemort made a mistake. He tripped over his own foot, falling and rolling. Harry, sensing his enemy weakening, became more aggressive. He swung his wand like a bat, blowing away portions of the parapet. Voldemort, too, seemed to realize he had lost any advantage to Harry, and he ran to the edge of the roof. He pointed his wand at a neighboring roof and muttered a spell that Harry did not hear. A white light flew from his wand to the other building. The wand and the ball of light were connected by a fine string of light. Voldemort jumped off the roof, and swung by this strand of light into an open window of the other building, after which the light disappeared.
Harry had scared off Lord Voldemort. Part of Harry cursed himself for having let Voldemort escape, but somehow he found this reversal of roles fitting, even refreshing. He, Harry, had frightened one of the most powerful Wizards in millennia.
He pointed his wand to the air.
“Accio broom!” he shouted. Within seconds, his Firebolt was in his hand. He mounted it, and left behind the building. He circled the building into which Voldemort had disappeared for a while, but decided that it would be much easier to smoke out his enemy by magic. He aimed his wand at the building.
“Peto Voldemort!” he shouted. A yellow-green ball of light shot from his wand, and entered the building, smashing a window as it went. Harry repeated the spell so six more balls of light zoomed into the building to hunt Voldemort. He squinted to see which direction the lights were going. He saw that green light was moving fast to the right. He flew alongside the light. He was approaching the end of the building. He turned the corner, and flew high. Then, suddenly, a window smashed. He saw Voldemort jump through the window and, in the air, roll over. He fired seven red curses, and rolled again so he was nose-diving (or he would have been, had he had a nose) toward the pavement.
Then, a broom flew to Voldemort, which he mounted stopping his fall. The red curses hit Harry’s lights, which disappeared. As Voldemort landed on his broom, he sent another blue jet of light at Harry’s broom. Harry had already pocketed his wand! Just as Harry pulled his wand from the back pocket of his pants, Voldemort’s curse struck Harry’s Firebolt, and Voldemort had disappeared. As the curse hit, an explosion rocked Harry’s broom. Harry had been flying up, and fire and smoke blinded him. He spiraled, veering hard left. He had lost nearly all control of his broom. As he spun out of control, his wand flew out of his hand. He swore again, gripping his broom hard. The broom was crashing toward a large office building across the street from the building from which Voldemort had emerged. Harry was blinded by smoke, and deafened by the wind screeching in his ears. He felt his broom plummeting toward the street below. Suddenly, something caught around his neck. He was hanging in midair! Harry watched as his beloved Firebolt exploded on impact with the sidewalk. He looked up.
To his dismay, Harry was hanging by his cloak from a flagpole shaped like a spear. If he struggled, he would fall and die. If he didn’t struggle, he would suffocate and die. It was times like this when optimism escaped even Harry Potter. Then, as if someone had sensed that Harry’s depression was not complete, a large hand darted out of a window and closed around his neck. Inches from death, thought Harry, and I’m still wondering how I’ll die. Brilliant.
The hand ripped Harry down and pulled him through the open window. It threw him to the floor. Harry hit the rug hard. His head bashed into a desk, and he heard a voice that was as unexpected as it was unpleasant.
“Boy, what do you think you’re doing?!” the voice bellowed, showering Harry with spit and what Harry, upon inspection, ascertained to be bits of salami. “Of all nights for you to hang yourself outside my office, tonight!”
“Good evening, Uncle Vernon,” murmured Harry.
“Well?” asked Harry’s uncle. “What were you doing?”
“I was fighting Lord Voldemort,” answered Harry, not expecting to be believed.
“Lord… wait, that’s the fellow who killed off your parents, isn’t it?” asked Uncle Vernon walking to his desk. Harry stood.
“Yeah, it is,” he said, upset, though not shocked by his uncle’s lack of tact.
“So, what you mean to tell me is the ruckus going on outside… that’s… m-m-magic, is it?” said Uncle Vernon, eye twitching in rhythm with his vein.
“Yes, Voldemort’s invaded London, and I’m trying to stop him,” explained Harry.
“So, you’re fighting the wizards, are you?”
“Only some of them. See, some Wizards, like Voldemort, hate people who aren’t magic, like you. As Wizards like me try and protect the non-magic people,” explained Harry.
“And… if you stop this Voldermoot, we’re all safe?”
“Exactly,” said Harry, sensing the wonderful place this conversation might lead.
“Right, then,” murmured Vernon Dursley, opening a drawer in his desk. He drew a semiautomatic pistol from the drawer. He held it out to Harry. “Kill him.”
Harry stared at the gun. His uncle was offering him help. “Uncle Vernon,” he began, “I’ll need to fight Voldemort with a wand. Only, I dropped it when I crashed into your window.”
“It’s on the street, is it?”
“Well, I’ll go with you to get it back, then,” said Vernon, loading the gun. Harry was taken aback by his uncle’s willingness to help.
“Er… thanks,” he managed. “Uncle Vernon, why are you here at one in the morning?”
“I had emergency paperwork,” he grunted, and led the way out the office door. In the hall, people were running, frightened, with books over their head. One particularly frightened looking woman stopped Uncle Vernon.
“Vernon! Didn’t you hear? We’re supposed to report to level six! There’s been an uprising! A revolution!”
Vernon looked at Harry. “A revolution?”
“Yes! I hear they have guns!” wailed the nervous woman. Uncle Vernon pulled his pistol out of his pocket.
“Well, so do we!” he growled. With that, he led Harry to the stairs. They hurried down in silence, broken at the bottom by Uncle Vernon. “These… wizards,” he said to Harry, “they’ll have wands, will they?”
“Yes, Uncle Vernon.”
“And… they can… kill people with them?” he asked uncomfortably.
“Yes, Uncle Vernon,” said Harry, looking away. He wasn’t so sure Uncle Vernon would allow Harry to keep the gun now.
“Alright,” said Uncle Vernon. “I’ll give you cover fire, and when you find your wand let me know!”
Harry looked at his uncle and smiled. Of all allies, he would not have expected to fight Death Eaters with cover fire from his Uncle Vernon. He nodded.
Harry and Vernon ran through the lobby to the front door. The Death Eaters were walking down the street, wands out.
“The ones in black cloaks,” whispered Harry, “are the bad guys.”
Uncle Vernon said nothing, but lined up his shot in silence. Then, he whispered, “go!”
Harry sprinted across the street. He heard two shots fired, a scream, and he looked to his left. Both Death Eaters were on the ground. Distracted by the bodies, Harry failed to notice the curse flying in his direction. It slammed into the pavement at his feet, exploding. He fell backwards, avoiding the shrapnel. As he fell, he heard a third shot, and when the third Death Eater hit the pavement moments after Harry. Three more Death Eaters rounded the corner, firing curses at Uncle Vernon, who, displaying agility Harry would have thought impossible for a man of such vastness, quickly heaved his bulk over the stairs’ railing, landing away from the jinxes. Harry spotted his wand. It was lying on the sidewalk not far from the newest cluster of enemies. He hid in the entry of an apartment building as hexes whistled around him. He then realized how much colder the air was. He looked around. Uncle Vernon appeared to be reloading. He could not quite tell through the mist. Wait, he thought, what mist? This wasn’t here before….
Harry could tell something unusual was happening, and it made him distinctly uneasy. Uncle Vernon was motioning for Harry to go. As Harry left his cover, barely dodging a Stunner from the nearest Death Eater, Uncle Vernon popped out of his makeshift bunker. He fired a clip off at the three Death Eaters, who scattered. Harry dove forward to his wand. Once he had it in his hand, he turned to Uncle Vernon, who had just finished reloading.
“Go!” he yelled, sending up green sparks to indicate his wand. Uncle Vernon nodded and looked to Harry’s left. He raised his gun and fired, but too late.
“Crucio!” one of the Death Eaters had screamed, then another. For the first time in his life, Harry, caught off guard, experienced two Cruciatus Curses simultaneously. He screamed and writhed in pain. Then, suddenly, the pain lessened. He could tell one of his attackers had stopped. As quickly as the first had stopped, the second Death Eater ceased his curse. Harry rolled over, and saw the bloody face of a Death Eater peering through a mask. A bullet hole decorated his forehead. Not far off, another cloaked corpse lay. Harry looked up, down the street, and saw the third Death Eater ready to strike.
“Stop, that’s my son!” growled Uncle Vernon. The Death Eater turned to face Uncle Vernon instead. He pre-empted Uncle Vernon’s shot by hurling himself to his left. The bullet smashed through a window. Vernon puller the trigger again, but he was out of ammo. He looked at Harry, who had been so touched and shocked by Uncle Vernon’s last comment that he had not moved since he had uttered it. The Death Eater hit Vernon Dursley with a Cruciatus Curse. Harry’s Uncle sank to his knees and let out a massive cry of pain. Harry broke out of his trance, and sent a Stunner to hit the Death Eater between the eyes. Uncle Vernon and he fell in unison. Harry rushed to his uncle, who immediately rose and brushed himself off.
“Magic!” he growled at Harry. “It’s no good, and never will be!”
“That was the Cruciatus Curse, Uncle Vernon, the most pain magic can inflict, and it’s highly illegal.”
“Damn well better be!”
His next sentence was drowned out by a screech. It sounded almost like Buckbeak, but lower pitched, and slightly throatier. It was followed by the sound of a whip and a coarse cackle floating through the sky. Harry and Uncle Vernon looked to the sky. Harry then looked at hi uncle. Uncle Vernon’s face was filled with fear, for, he knew, the moon seemed to be fading from existence. Harry looked up into the sky. The darkness was near complete. Again, the cackle came. Harry’s mind was blank. What could he do? He knew what was to come, yet knew not how to fight it.
“Run!” he shouted to his uncle.
January 18th, 2006, 10:15 pm
UPDATE: My computer just deleted all my documents, so Chapter 3 won't be here for a while.
July 27th, 2006, 5:05 pm
Hallo, friends. I've receives a few queries about the status of this little story. Basically, I'm trying to get well into the next chapter before I post chapter 3. Back in Black is shorter than the other ones. Battle Without Honor or Humanity will be done in 3 parts, to accomodate two endings. Chapters 5 and 6 will also have two versions as well. Here's a rundown of when you can expect chapters to be posted:
4:1- Early October
4:2- Around Halloween
5:1- Mid December
4:3- Early February
5:2- Late March
6:2- The final chapter should be released by summer '07.
With the release of Order of the Phoenix, the movie, I'm gonna post something I've already written. A second story. It'll be in a separate thread.
For those of you who have, understandibly, forgotten what happened in chapters 1 and 2, Back in Black contains a very brief rundown of what happened. (Harry tells Hagrid where he's been.)
By the way, thanks for your interest!
February 3rd, 2007, 4:35 am
Back in Black
Uncle Vernon, frowning slightly at the fact that he was taking orders from Harry, bolted for cover in the form of a skeletal tree approximately one eight his bodily mass.
Harry looked up into the sky. “Lumos,” he growled. His wand ignited, struggling against the darkness pouring from the sky. In the weak half-light, he saw a chariot, flying. It was pulled by six black hippogriffs, spurred on by a maniacally cackling man, cracking his whip. Behind the chariot, swooping lower and lower, closing in on Harry and Uncle Vernon, floated hundreds of Dementors. Harry swore repeatedly. He turned to his uncle.
“Get the hell out of here!”
Uncle Vernon nodded, babbling incoherently. He began to run up the street, when the chariot landed, cutting off his escape route. Dust flew as hooves and paws slammed into cobblestones. The chariots wooded wheels clacked loudly. The charioteer sent a curse at Vernon, who flew backwards and landed at Harry’s feet. He clutched his throat, and rolled over and over, flailing and screaming. Harry watched in horror as his fat uncle reared onto his knees and began to cry into his hands. He then lurched into Harry’s knee, and left his tears there, using Harry’s jeans as a tissue.
“No, Harry!” he groaned piteously. “No, make this stop! Save me….”
The charioteer was dismounting. Uncle Vernon was squealing like a piglet. Harry turned away from his writhing uncle and closed his eyes. He placed the tip of his wand against Uncle Vernon’s vast bald spot. “Stupefy,” he muttered weakly. Uncle Vernon squeaked, then fell at Harry’s feet, markedly still. Harry steeled himself, ready to fight whoever this cloaked charioteer was. The dementors landed in a circle around the two, and Harry was forcibly reminded of his fourth year duel with Lord Voldemort.
“Is this… Harry Potter? Harry? Dear, me,” spoke the charioteer quietly. “You do get yourself in trouble, son.”
He threw back his Death Eater’s hood, and Harry recognized the hideous face of Rudolphus Lestrange. Harry growled involuntarily at the back of his throat. He threw his wand arm into the air.
“Crucio!” he screamed, but Rudolphus was prepared. With a flick of his wrist, he sent Harry’s curse flying into the side of Uncle Vernon’s office building.
“Wait, Potter. That’s the problem with your side! Shoot first, ask questions later! Aren’t there a few things you’d like to know?”
“It’d be fun to find out what you sound like screaming in pain, Dolph.”
“Rudolphus! Is that so bloody hard?” Rudolphus shouted. He shook himself, regaining his cool. “Look, I’ve just shown up with an entire legion of dementors, and you pretend not to be confused? I doubt this terribly, Harry.”
“Fine, Dolph. Tell me your stupid story. Then we’ll curse each other to shreds,” said Harry, suddenly reminding himself of Snape.
“Oh, good,” said Rudolphus, playing along with Harry’s sarcasm. “Now, you are no doubt aware that the Ministry believed they had all the Dementors safely held prisoner in Azkaban, no?”
“Dolph, you know who I am. I’m Harry bleeding Potter. And you know damn well that I don’t care what the Ministry believes.”
“Clearly, but certainly you noticed a conspicuous lack of your ethereal cloaked friends?”
“Yes, I was a bit lonely, come to think of it.”
“Quite,” said Rudolphus Lestrange, satisfied. “Now, at the Azkaban facility, Dementors were allowed only to feed on the souls and thoughts of prisoners.” He laughed. “Half the dementors’ snacks had horcruxes! And, splintered or not, the soul of a sinner is nowhere near as wholesome as that of an innocent. For example, your soul, enriched as it is with the love of your mother, pathetic as she was, is all too appealing to the Dementors. That is why they were seemingly inexplicably drawn to you. It’s very much the same way you are drawn to the Weasley girl, but that the Dementors’ attraction makes some sense, got it?”
“Dolph, mate, if you’re using story time for childish ribbing I’ll just jinx you into a mound of jelly midway through one of your-,” began Harry, only to be hit with the Cruciatus curse. “Touché,” moaned Harry. “Go on,” he said, resolving to be particularly nasty in this duel.
“Thank you. Now… ah, yes! Souls! So, the walls of Azkaban are magic, you see. They have life of their own. Such suffering is seen in Azkaban that some souls are lost to the prison itself, not the Dementors.”
“So…,” began Harry, disturbed, “the Dementors ate their way out of the world’s most formidable prison?”
“It wasn’t that simple. The souls in the walls were thousands of years old, desparate, and impure. They were to the dementors what… sour milk is to you. We were forced to… ah… supplement. Unfortunately, Muggle souls are not nearly as appetizing to Dementors as magical souls, so we were forced to harvest almost twice the amount of souls.”
“No, that’s creativity!”
“Are you done yet?”
“No, Potter! I’ll tell you when I’m done!” said Rudolphus, frustrated. Harry grinned. The fight had not yet begun, and already Rudolphus was irritated. “Once I broke the Dementors out of prison, I organized them. Yes, Potter. The Dementors are back, and never again will they be forced to feed on putrid, sinning souls. You shall be a feast for them. FEAST!” He barked this order to his Dementor hoarde, and sent a Stunner at Harry.
Harry, however, was a better duelist than Rudolphus had expected. He dove to his left. He Stunner ignited a nearby tree, supplying much needed light. The Dementors near the tree hissed and fled. Harry rolled onto his back and summoned a Patronus. The beautiful stag reared over him. It raced down the street, scattering Dementors. Still, Harry was brutally outnumbered. He recalled a trick of Dumbledore’s and held his wand in the air. A long, thin rope of fire blasted from its tip, swinging wildly around him. It struck three Dementors, lighting them up. Flaming Dementors ran, screeching, around the street.
Rudolphus shouted angrily. He cracked his whip, and his team of hippogriffs charged Harry. He heard a chorus of screeches. They were approaching quickly, now. Suddenly, a hippogriff charged from a new direction. It blasted through the burning tree, swings flapping. Someone was on his back, wearing a long purple cloak, and weilding an ornate sword. As the hippogriff landed between Harry and Rudolphus’s approaching team, Harry recognized it. Buckbeak.
Buckbeak’s rider dismounted, and as he did so, Harry caught a glimpse of a long, grey beard. Long enough to be tucked into the rider’s tassled belt.
“Flamato!” shouted the rider. The chariot was consumed by flames. In the light of the fire, Harry saw Rudolphus fall out of the driver’s seat. His cloak was on fire. Buckbeak’s rider drew the sword over his head, and brought it down upon Rudolphus, who fell to the ground, dead. Harry ran to the rider, who turned, the firelight glinting off his glasses. The rider ran down the street and, with a loud crack, dissapeared.
“Who are you?” Harry shouted pointlessly. He turned back. Buckbeak was wrestling with the other hippogriffs. Harry sent a barrage of Stunners their way. Within seconds, only Buckbeak was standing. Harry ran to him, stopping a few feet away and bowing deeply. Buckbeak did not bow back.
Instead, Buckbeak ran to Harry and licked the blood off a cut off his forhead.
“Great, Buckbeak,” whispered Harry. “Now I’ll have two scars on my face.”
The Dementors were beginning to creep slowly down the street, but Harry was focused on Buckbeak’s mysterious rider. He had looked so much like Professor Dumbledore. Had it been he? His mind wrapped around this thrilling thought, Harry raised his wand in the air. He conjured again a Patronus, which thundered down the street. Again, the Dementors fled. Harry walked over to the crumpled body of Rudolphus Lestrange. He had been skewered by the sword, which was nowhere in sight. Still, it had taken Harry only seconds to identify that sword as the sword of Godric Gryffindor. He found himself even more intrigued by Buckbeak’s rider.
Turning these thoughts over in his mind, Harry approached his unconscious uncle. He pointed his wand at the vast man and magically pulled him into the air. He hovered him above Buckbeak, who shook his massive head.
“I know he’s a bit large, Buckbeak, but you can do this. You’ve got to do this for me, alright?” pleaded Harry. Buckbeak snorted angrily, but stood still. Harry lowered his uncle onto Buckbeak’s back and climbed on the hippogriff himself. With one last look at the Dementors slowly creeping towards him, Harry patted Buckbeak on the back and they took off.
Harry struggled to keep Uncle Vernon on board. Icy air ripped at his face as Buckbeak tore through the British countryside. His fingers were half frozen, lying as flat as possible behind Uncle Vernon, using him as a shield against the the cold.
He found himself overcome with relief when he spied on the ground the forest clearing the Order of the Phoenix was using as a base from which to muster. Harry raised his head ever so slightly to tell Buckbeak to head for the clearing, but before he could voice his order, Buckbeak dove, streaking for the clearing without being told. Harry slid forward and nearly fell, attempting to stabilize his unconscious uncle.
Soon, they were on the ground. When Buckbeak finally stopped, Harry fell off him, landing on the forest floor.
“Ow,” he said weakly, tugging a pinecone out of his back. “OW!” he said, more forcefully, as Uncle Vernon landed on him, having toppled off of Buckbeak.
Harry watched in amazement as his uncle’s body floated away, as if by… well, magic. Harry sat up, coughing. As he looked up, he realized that Hagrid had, in fact, pulled Uncle Vernon into the air with one arm.
“Harry!” said Hagrid, using his other arm to hoist Harry off the ground. “What the devil are yeh doin’ with yer uncle?”
“Hagrid!” shouted Harry, relieved. He hugged his massive friend. “Hagrid, everyone’s dead!”
“What? Harry, sit down, tell me wha’ ya mean.”
Harry sat on a stump, coughing.
“Lemme see that,” growled Hagrid, kneeling by Harry. He pulled a towel out of his coat pocket and mopped the blood off Harry’s face. “An’ don’ worry, I haven’t used me handkerchief tonight.” He chuckled. “Now, blow yer nose, and tell me what happened.”
Harry blew his nose on the enormous handkerchief, and coughed again. “Hagrid,” he began, not knowing how best to recount his story.
“Alrigh’, Harry. I’ll start.”
Harry nodded, placing his head in his hands.
“Well… you flew on in here, screaming at the top o’ yer lungs, remember? I told ya tha’ the Minister wanted you out of this battle, but no. You wouldn’ hear a word of it. Not that I ‘spected yer to.” He chuckled. “Now, did you find the battle alrigh’?”
Harry nodded. “The Muggles got themselves involved. There were two gangs at war where I landed.”
“Gangs, Harry? Did yeh warn ‘em?”
Harry shook his head. “I couldn’t, Hagrid. I had to find the others. I found Ron first.”
“Alive,” said Harry, not wanting to cause Hagrid to worry. Indeed, his massive friend drew a massive sigh, and sat on the ground, shaking pinecones out of a tree, which peppered Harry on the head. “He was fighting. Dawlish is dead.” There was no remorse in Hagrid’s bearded face. “Um… Charlie’s hurt…,” he started.
“Wha’? Hurt badly?”
“Lost his finger.”
“Oh, dear,” said Hagrid, shaking his head. He mopped his eyes with his handkerchief, and turned back to Harry.
“Hagrid, you’ve got bogeys in your eyebrows.”
Hagrid took a second flowered handkerchief out of his coat and cleaned his forhead. “Go on, Harry.”
“Well, there was another Auror with Ron. Hagrid, the Minister… no, Fudge. He’s dead.”
“Yeah. Voldemort killed him.”
“Harry, don’ say the name! Not tonight.”
“No, Hagrid, tonight of all nights. Tonights when I have to confront him. Voldemort dies tonight.”
Hagrid swallowed, but simply nodded.
“So, Ron told me… Hagrid, Ginny’s gone for Lord Voldemort!”
Hagrid leapt to his feet. “No! Harry, is she okay? I promised Molly!”
“I don’t know, Hagrid! Voldemort’s got her. I found Hermione, though, she’s fine. There… there was a battle. Hermoine killed Dolohov, and….” Harry gulped. He was almost embarassed to say what happened next. “Lucius Malfoy was there. He tried to kill me, but… he got Draco instead. Draco’s dead.”
“No!” said Hagrid. He was, bad as he was, a teacher, and one of his students had been taken. “Who else?”
“Percy’s dead?” asked Hagrid, his eyes filling with tears agin.
“Yeah… he was with the minister, and Rabastan Lestrage did it…. Hagrid, the Minister is… crazy.”
“What do yeh mean, Harry?”
“I’ve… I’ve never seen anyone fight like him. Except Moody.”
Hagrid drew a proud breath. “Alastor’s somethin’, in’t he?”
“He saved my life.” Harry began to cry.
Hagrid pat Harry on the back, having guessed what happened to Mad-Eye Moody. “He was quite a man.”
“He killed all the werewolves. It was… amazing.”
“Is Fenrir dead?”
“Yeah, Lupin got him.”
“And Professor Lupin?”
Between sobs, Harry spilled out his response. “I don’t know how it happened. He just… I don’t know who killed him.”
“Remus Lupin? Oh, Harry,” said Hagrid. He was shaking with grief now.
“And Neville, too,” choked Harry.
“No, Harry! Don’t say tha’!” said Hagrid.
“Killed by Voldemort himself. But he got Bella first, Hagrid. He got what he wanted.”
Hagrid nodded sadly. “Where’s Voldemort now?”
“Ah, I don’t know. We fought for… a long time.”
“You fought You-Know-Who? One on one?”
“Yeah…,” said Harry.
“An’ yeh survived? Harry, only Dumbledore does that.” Through the grief written on ever ench of his face, pride shone down on Harry from Hagrid’s eyes.
“So, then I… I met up with my uncle. I don’t even know what happened there, but… well… Uncle Vernon and I fought Dementors….”
“Wha’? Harry, are you sure?”
“Yes, they’re back.”
“The Minister said they were trapped in Azkaban!”
“Yeah, well… they ate their way out.”
Hagrid stopped moving, pondering this arrestingly disturbing thought.
“Yeah, it’s weird,” muttered Harry. “Then Buckbeak showed up. Mrs. Weasley must have sent him?”
“Yep. She came and told me you’d gone off after the battle. The rest of the underage kids are at Hogwarts with Tonks.”
“I know. Hagrid, I saw Dumbledore!”
Hagrid chuckled sadly. “Harry, men like Dumbledore don’t leave ghosts.”
“No, Hagrid! Not a ghost! He killed Rodolphus Lestrange, then he Disapparated!”
“It must’ve just looked like him, Harry. Dumbledore’s dead.”
“No! He’s alive! I saw him! I did!”
“Alrigh’, Harry. What else happened?”
“I came here. On Buckbeak.”
“Where’s your broom?”
“Voldemort blew it up.”
“I’m sorry, Harry.”
They both stopped in their tracks, having heard an unwelcome sound.
“Avada Kedavra!” someone had screamed.
They looked above the trees. Harry whipped out his wand. Hagrid pulled out his pink umbrella. Suddenly, the night sky was lit by a red flash. In the light, they saw a man on a broomstick barrel rolling upwards. He was chased by two Death Eaters.
Harry pointed his wand at one of the Death Eaters, but Hagrid pushed it away and shook his head. “Quiet!” he whispered.
The man being chased looked over his shoulder. He flipped backwards off his broom. He fell, kicking one of the Death Eaters in the face. With both his hands, he caught the broom. He swung up onto it.
As he did so, another man flew into the battle. This one Harry recognized as Bill Weasley. As the first Death Eater hit the ground next to Harry, screaming, Bill hit the second with a Stunner. It spiraled off into the forest. Bill went off after it. The other man swooped toward the clearing. He dismounted, and Hagrid approached him, umbrella at the weather.
The man removed his hood, revealing the bald head of Kingsley Shacklebolt.
“Hagrid,” said Kingsley, bowing.
“Kingsley!” shouted Hagrid. “What’re yeh doin’?”
“Ah, they tailed us. We didn’t know, honestly.”
“Yeh’re alrigh’, though?”
“Fantastic,” laughed Kingsley.
Harry walked up to Kingsley.
“Hi,” he said weakly.
“Harry! What’re you doing here? I thought you were with Molly!”
“Since when has Harry ever bin where we thought, Kingsley?” asked Hagrid sarcastically.
“How are you, Harry?” said Kingsley, putting his hand out.
“Just fine. You?” asked Harry. He shook Kingsley’s hand.
They all heard a twig snap, and Hagrid, in fright, sent a ball of fire in the direction of the noise.
“Easy, Hagrid!” shouted someone angrily. Bill Weasley walked grumpily out of the forest, carrying an unconscious Death Eater over his shoulder. His robe was singed on the arm.
“Sorry, Bill,” murmured Hagrid.
“Harry? What the hell are you doin’ here, kiddo? Mum said you’d gone off after You-Know-Who!”
“What were yeh doin’ at the Burrow, Bill?” asked Hagrid.
“Dropping Ron off. I found him fighting a little company of Death Eaters.”
“He’s alright, then?” asked Harry.
“Yeah,” said Bill. “He says he saw you. He’s worried about you and Hermione, Harry.”
“Well, we’re both fine.”
“Good to hear,” said Bill cheerily.
“Listen, we’d better get planning. Where do we go from here, Bill?” asked Kingsley, returning to business.
“Harry,” asked Bill, “what was the situation in the city?”
“Chaos,” responded Harry at once. “Mad-Eye Moody took out …lots.”
“You were with Moody? Harry, he was fighting McNair’s legions!”
“Then so much for Mr. McNair. Moody tore apart his troops, as well as Fenrir Greyback’s. He’s dead now.”
“Greyback?” asked Kingsley.
“Well… him too, but I meant Mad-Eye.”
“What?!” shouted Bill. He swore loudly. Harry suddenly remembered something.
“Bill, could I speak to you alone?” he asked.
“Sure, Harry,” said Bill kindly. They walked away, to Uncle Vernon’s body. “What happened to him?” asked Bill pointing to the gigantic body.
“I had to Stun him. He was freaking out.”
“Gotcha. So, what can I do for you?”
“Well,” began Harry, wondering how do do this. “You can listen.”
“Bill, when I was with Minister Scrimgeour, Percy was there.”
Bill snorted. “And how is the little prat?”
Bill was silent. He turned away.
“Thank… thank you, Harry.” Bill walked a few steps away, then turned suddenly back to Harry. “How’d he die, Harry?”
“The Killing Curse,” said Harry simply. “He was trying to protect the Minister, but Rabastan Lestrange cursed him.”
“Where’s Lestrange now?”
“Dead. The Minister killed him.”
Bill walked away silently. Hagrid turned to Harry. Harry told him with his eyes what he had done. Hagrid led Bill away to comfort him.
“What was that about?” asked Kingsley? “Is everything alright?”
“No, it isn’t,” said Harry simply. “Bill’s brother Percy is dead.”
“Oh, no, Harry!” said Kingsley sympathetically. “Oh, I’m sorry.”
“Did you know Frank Longbottom?”
“Not too well, but I knew Alice, why?”
“Voldemort killed their son.”
Harry was surprised to see that Kingsley did not flinch at the mention of the Dark Lord’s name.
“Who else is dead, Harry?”
“Damn. Does Tonks know, Harry?”
“Alright. I should go tell her. I know her pretty well.”
“Yeah,” said Harry.
At that moment, Bill and Hagrid returned. Bill looked slightly cheered.
“Harry, Kingsley, I’m going home,” said Bill quietly.
“And I’m going to Hogwarts,” said Kingsley.
“Why?” asked Bill.
“I need to see Tonks,” said Kingsley, looking at Hagrid to see if he knew. Hagrid nodded sadly.
“It can wait,” said Bill. “For now, we need to focus on-,” he began, but Hagrid cut him off.
“Bill,” he said, “Remus Lupin died.”
Bill was struck silent.
“I’ll stay with her for now.”
“She’ll want ter be alone, Kingsley,” said Hagrid slowly.
“If she does, I’ll come back here.”
“Righ’” said Hagrid.
Kingsley addressed the group. “Look, I understand that there’ve been losses. I lost my parents to Voldemort when I was five, so believe me, I understand.”
“That was years ago, Kingsley,” snapped Bill, irritated.
“This is what Voldemort wants!” shouted Kingsley. “Chaos! Hatred! Distrust! He spreads them all, it’s what he wants! The more we argue, the better his chances are. We can’t be fair weather fighters. We were in this together before tonight, and tonight should do nothing but strengthen our resolve. We’ve got to stick together.”
“He’s right,” grumbled Bill, as though somebody else were in need of lecturing.
“Now that we’re all on the same page, we should figure out what to do next. Harry, it’s safest if you return to the Weasleys’.”
“No, I’m going after Voldemort,” said Harry quickly. He knew nobody would allow him, but he was an adult now, and he was prepared to disobey.
Silence. The four Wizards stared at each other.
“Do you have any idea where you’re going, Harry?” asked Bill, stroking his chin.
“Well, I know where I’m going to start. Tom Riddle’s house. I’ve got a Portkey to there at Godric Hollow. First, though, I’ve got to bring my uncle home.”
“He kin stay here with me,” offered Hagrid.
“Why not ask him?” said Bill.
Harry looked at Bill. He didn’t necessarily want to see Uncle Vernon’s reaction to his current situation, but he knew Bill was right.
“Alright, I’ll wake him,” said Harry, gritting his teeth. He walked over to his uncle, pointing his wand at him. He revived him silently.
Vernon Dursley jumped up suddenly, fists swinging.
“Bloody freaks!” he was shouting. “I’ll stick your hocus-pocus straight up your-,” he paused upon seeing Hagrid, who waved sheepishly. At this point, Uncle Vernon resumed his unconsciousness, fainting onto Harry, who, yet again, was knocked to the ground.
“Uncle Vernon chooses to go home and relieve four Privet Drive of its supply of brandy,” stated Harry.
“Okay, what about… wait!” said Kingsley. He motioned them all into silence.
Suddenly a green jet of light erupted from the forest. The curse slammed into a tree, just above Kingsley’s head. Kingsley dropped to the ground and rolled, pulling out his wand. Someone in the forest unleashed an assortment of curses and profanities. Bill responded in kind, having already joined Kingsley in crouching behind a large stump, using it as a kind of bunker. Harry, who was already on the ground, crawled to Hagrid, who was cowering under his umbrella.
“Isn’t now the time for that fire trick, Hagrid?” asked Harry in desparation.
“Oh!” said Hagrid. He pointed his umbrella in the direction of the disturbances and absolutely incinerated a sizeable secition of forest. Harry then heard a roar from behind him, followed by what sounded like footsteps from some massive beast.
Death Eaters began to pour from the burning forest. Kingsley was ready for them. He flew high into the air and unleashed a flurry of Stunners, downing a half-dozen of the attackers.
Harry ran between trees, hacking through foliage and Death Eaters alike with frequent use of the Sectumsempra curse.
“Amycus, get the boy!”
Harry, deducing that that meant him, sent a volley of curses in the direction of the voice. He was satisfied to hear a scream, followed by a falling body. Harry turned around to see a short, hooded man stumbling through the forest after him. Harry aimed his wand at the little man, when he heard a loud crash from somewhere behind the Death Eater, followed by a roar.
Harry and the Death Eater looked at each other, deeply confused. They shrugged, and send curses at each other. Both of them dove out of the way. Harry crawled behind a burning tree and took aim. The Death Eater turned.
“Expelliarmus!” he hissed. Harry’s wand flew out of sight. Harry dove for his wand, when he heard a scream, followed by a crash, and that roar again. He saw the witch Alecto come running at him. Harry rolled out of the way, but Alecto ignored him and ran to where her brother was standing.
Or… had been standing.
Now Amycus was lying on the ground, moaning. Alecto knelt by him.
“Who did this to you?” she asked frantically.
Amycus simply pointed up. His arm dropped, and Alecto screamed in grief. She looked up, pointing her wand skyward, looking for her brother’s attacker.
She stopped, shocked. Then came that roar again. Harry traced her gaze skyward and grinned, truly happy to see Hagrid’s big little brother, Grawp.
“AVADA KEDAVRA!” bellowed Alecto. The jet of green light hit Grawp square between the eyes. The giant paused. He grunted to himself, and held a massive hand to his forhead. He scratched his head. When he pulled his hand away, there was blood on it. Harry looked closely, and located a tiny cut on Grawp’s massive, boulder-like head. The giant frowned down at Alecto, who was frozen in shock.
“Dzur vensh aluzzkyk!” grunted Grawp. He rubbed his wound, and turned away from Alecto. He spied Harry, whom he flashed a two-meter wide smile. “Harry!” he said happily.
Alecto turned to Harry. She sent a second Killing Curse at Harry, who ducked behind his shrub. To Harry’s great dismay, his protective bush was incinerated by Alecto’s curse.
“Hey!” grunted Grawp. “No hurt Harry!”
With this, Grawp lifted Alecto into the air. He calmly threw her, far beyond where Harry could see, though in his mind’s eye, he saw Alecto smash into some distant tree like an overripe tomato.
“Thanks, Grawp,” said Harry.
Grawp only roared, and thundered off through the woods, presumably to finish off Alecto.
Harry was then startled by two more people landing on broomstick, not ten feet away from him. They walked in Harry’s general direction, and Harry drew his wand. He pointed it at the head of the taller of the two, shouting, “don’t move!”
The two stopped quickly, putting their hands in the air. “Alright, who are you two?”
“I’m Aodhan Murphy, this is my cousin Jack St. Pierre,” said the shorter one in an Irish accent.
“Hey,” said Jack.
“What are you doing here?” asked Harry.
“Here in England, or here in this little clearing?” asked Aodhan.
“This… well… we’ll start with England,” said Harry, beginning, despite his hostages’ cooperation, to become frustrated.
“Ah, excellent question,” said Jack. “See, we’re students over in my neck of the woods, Academy of Magic of Acadia. Our year ends before yours, at Hogwarts, so… you know how it goes, yeah? We thought we’d hang out in London, wait for your schoolyear to end.”
Harry sighed. “You know something, Jack, I don’t think it’s ever been that simple at Hogwarts. I don’t think I’ve ever just seen a schoolyear end. It’s always chaotic in June.”
“Apparently,” quipped Aodhan.
“Anyhow, we were over here with our cousin, Liam. We were hanging out in London, and all of a sudden, all these freaks in black cloaks come marching out of everywhere,” said Jack. He gestured that Aodhan should pick up the story from here.
He did. “I told them, I said, ‘these are Death Eaters! Run like hell!’”
“And we did!” said Jack.
“Oh, yeah, did we! We didn’t even know were we were going. Now, we’re getting to the part about being at this clearing.”
“So… wait, are you Death Eaters?” asked Harry.
“What? No!” said Jack. “The freaks who’ve been blowing up the city?”
“I was saying!” Aodhan said loudly over his cousin. “Ahem. Like I was saying, Liam said he was going to split off and do some lone wolf stuff. He told us to get out of the city.”
“And you just happened to come here?” asked Harry, suspicious.
“Well,” replied Aodhan, “we just happened to be flying by, yes. And then, all of a sudden, we see one of the Death Eaters launched into the air a good solid half-kilometer, and smash into a tree.”
“And so we landed here to investigate,” finished Jack hastily.
Harry stopped to think about this. “And where is your cousin now?”
“We… ah…. We don’t know.”
“You lost him?”
“Well,” began Aodhan, sheepish, “he more or less lost us. See… he’s a year or two older. We’re sixteen, he’s… Jack, how old is Liam?”
“Yeah. And he figured one of him could do as much as two of us, so he split.”
“Does he know his way around the city?”
“What?” asked Aodhan, distracted.
“Can he find his way around London?”
Jack said, “No, he’s from Boston!”
“He’s American! Look, none of us live here, and we’re confused, and tonight basically takes the cake as far as people trying to kill me is concerned,” ranted Jack.
“Yeah,” said Aodhan. “You guys need to do something about these guys….”
“Well,” said Harry, irritated, “we’re trying, alright?”
As he was saying this, a third person shot from the sky on his broom. He landed, and pushed past Harry. He grabbed Jack and pulled him aside.
“Where the hell have you been?” he asked in a distinctly New England accent. “Do you realize how hard I’ve been lookin’ for you two? How many spells have I been doing, how many tracking charms… dear God… it was a mistake to bring you two, I’ve said it a million times.”
“This is Liam,” whispered Aodhan.
Liam turned around and looked at Harry, then at his raised wand.
“Care to try something, kid?” he said gruffly.
Harry lowered his wand. “What are you doing here?” he asked.
Liam walked toward Harry, with his hand out. “Liam Poirier, Magical Defense Guild of Salem. What I’m doing here is bailing you all out. Now, what are you doing here.”
Harry shook his hand. “My name’s Potter. Harry Potter.”
Liam laughed. He donned a Scottish accent, “Potter, Harry Potter.” He paused. “Wait a sec, kiddo. Harry Potter? Harry frickin’ Potter?”
“Good to meet you, too,” said Harry dryly.
“Harry, I’ve heard a lot about you. A lot,” he said, smiling. “But, look, I still don’t get why you’re here, exactly.”
“Same thing you are,” piped up Jack.
Liam whipped around to face him. “You stay out of this,” he growled, pointing an accusing finger at Jack. “If you’d just stayed in the hotel room like I said….”
“This is all quite confusing,” said Harry loudly.
“Right,” said Liam. “Look, your Minister, Scrimgeour, he hired a bunch of witches and wizards from Salem to come and help fight your Lord Voldemort. To be perfectly honest, Harry, I thought you’d be a bit older. Scrimgeour’s got a lot of respect for you. Hell, your whole Ministry’s crazy about you. But this last guy in charge? Fudge?”
“Yeah,” said Harry, understanding. “But he’s dead now.”
“Oh?” said Liam, raising an eyebrow. “Well, that’s too bad, seemed like a nice guy.”
Harry thought back to a particularly unfriendly between himself, Fudge, and Dumbledore in his fifth year. “Sometimes.”
“Aren’t we all,” said Liam. “Okay, well… look, they tell me you’re basically our go-to guy. Here’s what I’m gonna do: I’m gonna put you in charge, Harry. My force is spread all over England right now, so I don’t really have anybody to take orders from.”
Three Death Eaters emerging from the forest chose this moment to fire a diverse assortment of nasty jinxes at Liam and Harry. They blocked these, and responded in kind.
“Stupefy,” bellowed Harry. A Death Eater slumped unconscious against a tree.
“Aborior!” growled Liam. A blast of red light slammed into a Death Eater, who slowly, twitching, was pulled to the ground.
“I’ve never seen that one before,” commented Harry.
Liam pointed his wand at the third, escaping Death Eater. In mid stride, the Death Eater was pulled as if by a rope back to Harry’s feet. “Try it,” he said.
Harry pointed his wand at the Death Eater. “Stupefy. That would be sadistic.”
Liam snorted. “Well, once I stop being able to count the number of times in one night I’ve seen friends subjected to the Cruciatus Curse… your sense of morality becomes a little more malleable. So!” he said stepping over the unconscious Death Eater. “Where to from here, captain?” he asked of Harry.
“I don’t know what you should do, but I’ve got to get my uncle home,” he said, looking through the forest at the place where his unconscious uncle lay.
“Mind if I come with?” asked Liam, leaning against a tree. He ran a hand through his thick, brown hair. “We can regroup at their house. Make some sort of battle plan, you know what I mean?”
“Right… ah… well,” began Harry, “my family… well, not mine, exactly… but… well, my uncle and his wife… that is, my aunt and uncle… they’re not tremendously big fans of… magic,” he managed.
“They’re Muggles?” he asked, irritated.
“Yeah,” said Harry.
“Okay, well here’s part one of the battle plan: me and Jack and Aodhan will stick around their house for protection. Is that where Voldemort’s thugs’d come looking for you?”
“They’ve already tried,” said Harry.
“Alright, then. We’ll hang out there. Take us to him.”
“He’s… uh,” began Harry, again unable to say what he needed to. “He’s quite large.”
There was a pause. A very uncomfortable pause.
“You mean he’s fat?”
“Remarkably so,” conceded Harry, sublimating a grin.
“Okay, well… Harry, you’ll have to help-,” said Liam, but he was cut off. They were surrounded by a pack of maybe a dozen Death Eaters. “We really,” whispered Liam, “need to learn not to hold conversations in the middle of a battle.”
“What about Jack and Aodhan?” asked Harry, looking at the scared kids with their backs against a tall oak tree.
“They can handle themselves,” said Liam simply.
One Death Eater, apparently the leader, stepped forth. He removed his hood. He had an immensely fat, square face, with small, black, beady eyes. From the flabby folds of his grotesque face jutted a sharp, knifelike chin, appearing like a rock from a stormy sea.
“To surrender your vonds!” bellowed this squat little man in a thick Russian accent. His voice was unnervingly squeaky. Harry and Liam dropped their wands. Harry sighed.
Just then, a tremendous crash broke the silence. From the woods came a tremendous roar, and Hagrid came barreling through the woods. Harry had never seen such a look of rage on his face before. Standing there in the darkened forest, tears and blood streaming down his face, Hagrid was the very embodiment of terror.
“You!” he shouted, pointing his pink umbrella at the fat Death Eater. “It’s you, your fault! How could you do that?”
A second Death Eater stepped forth and revealed his face. He, unlike his comrade, had a long, thin, wrinkly face, which seemed to continue into a long, greasy, black, thin beard, and a thin, curly moustache, of equal greasiness. “Hagrid,” he croaked, “you damned stupid oaf. Only you would care about some beast like that. It’s sad really, but it goes to show…. Birds of a feather….”
“P-p-professer Rasputin? Yeh’re with the Death Eaters?”
“Of course. You think I want my thousand year family history spoiled by some Muggle scum? My God, I’m amazed their blood doesn’t just curdle up inside them!”
Hagrid shouted and swung his umbrella in the air. From its tip came a massive fireball, which flew and exploded, right in front of the main cluster of Death Eaters. They were all tossed backward, scattered pall-mall among the trees, moaning. Rasputin simply grinned and cackled wickedly, the flames merely smoldering at the bottom of his black robe. He flicked his wand. A long, black, tentacle-like appendage shot from it. The tentacle stabbed Hagrid in the arm, then retreated into Rasputin’s wand. Hagrid fell to the ground, screaming. Harry had never seen Hagrid taken down, never mind with such ease.
Again, Rasputin cackled, walking slowly over to Hagrid to finish him off.
“You idealistic fools,” he spat in his raspy voice, still laughing. “Temperance and morality are no match for the fathomless powers of wrath and will to torment. These sophomoric views of compassion will only bring you defeat.”
Liam nudged Harry, and pointed at his own wrist, and then at Rasputin’s feet. Harry did not understand. He could only imagine that this had something to do with the fact that the hem of Rasputin’s robe was still smoldering insidiously.
Then, from out of Liam’s sleeve came a second wand. He took careful aim at the bottom of the robe, but Rasputin had already raised his wand.
“IMPENSIUS!” shouted Liam, dropping to the ground, and grabbing the other wand.
The embers burst violently into life, consuming Rasputin in a vicious inferno. Liam pointed his first wand at Rasputin and, almost reluctantly, muttered “Sinignibus.”
The flames froze, forming a sort of glowing statue, with Rasputin trapped in the middle. The other Death Eaters were dispersing into the woods.
“We’ll go after them, take care of him!” shouted Liam, already heading off after the Death Eaters with Jack and Aodhan. Harry picked up his wand and rushed to Hagrid. The half-giant lay still and pale upon the ground.
“No!” grunted Harry, pounding his head upon Hagrid’s massive chest. “Wake up! Not you, too, Hagrid. Not you, too.”
Hagrid twitched. Harry’s heart leapt. He placed the tip of his wand on Hagrid’s forhead, and muttered a spell. Hagrid stirred.
“C’mon, Hagrid, get up. I need you.”
Hagrid’s big, black eyes opened, full of tears. “Ouch, Harry,” he said through his tears. “Tha’ smarts,” he groaned, touching the place on his arm where he had been stung. It was very inflamed now.
“I’m gonna get you out of here, alright?” said Harry urgently, his hands shaking. “He’s gonna be alright,” thought Harry, argumentatively.
Hagrid almost laughed. “Don’ bother, Harry,” he managed. “I’m fine. It’s… it’s….” He could not go on.
“What?” prodded Harry.
“GRAWP!” cried Hagrid. He began to sob onto Harry’s shoulder, soaking it. “’e’s dead, Harry. Aw, he’s deaaaaaaad!” Tears and blood flowed freely from his face.
Harry’s stomach sank. Grawp had becoming increasingly… well, cultured. He could even read some simple sentences. And all of that, gone.
“I’m really, really sorry, Hagrid,” he whispered over Hagrid’s thunderous wails of grief.
There was yet another loud noise, and Harry peered through the forest for the source.
“Jus’… jus’ leave me here, Harry,” groaned Hagrid.
“Yeah… yeah, sure,” said Harry, preoccupied.
Just then, a battered pickup truck came barging through the woods. Liam waved at him from the driver’s seat.
“Uh… hold on Hagrid,” muttered Harry. He walked to the window. Liam rolled it down.
“Alright, check in the back, see if that’s your uncle. If it is, hop in front.” With those simple directions, he raised the window. Jack jumped out of the back of the truck.
“I’m going to wait here with him. You show Liam how to find your house.” He walked over to Hagrid, and spoke to him quietly. Harry shook himself and went to look in the bed of the pickup. There lay Vernon Dursley, quite unconscious, strapped down by ropes conjured by Aodhan, who jumped out and followed Jack with a smile.
“See ya, Harry,” he said, rushing by.
Harry entered the cab of the truck.
“That’s the guy?” asked Liam.
“Yeah, that’s him,” muttered Harry, still upset about Grawp.
“Good,” said Liam, accelerating. “I can get us to a road, you’ll have to show me which way to go, alright?”
“I can get you going in the right direction,” said Harry, never having paid attention to road signs.
February 3rd, 2007, 4:39 am
Okay, new chapter posted, first of 2007!
(And, if I say so myself, "Back in Black" sounds a tad cooler than "Deathly HAllows". Heh.)