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Old November 11th, 2010, 3:21 pm
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Join Date: 02nd August 2007
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 50
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Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era PART II

Chapter 2: Anxiety and Old Fears

Everything seemed to move in slow motion. Harry felt the crates drop from underneath his feet and his body propelled out and away from solid purchase, twisting horizontally in the air. Tendrils of flame, smoke and debris rocketed past him, with pieces of broken crates smacking hard against his torso, forcing the breath from his lungs. Years of experience kicked in as the adrenaline seemed to slow time itself. He twisted his body and willed himself to relax, riding the buffeting shockwave of the explosion down to the ground. He landed atop a pile of rubble and debris with a thud. He rolled and pulled his legs beneath him and rose to a crouch, arm extended, wand aimed outward.

The roof of the warehouse had collapsed, the rain he’d walked through outside cascading through the opening to the sky. He felt an unnatural chill roll through the room accompanied by a familiar sensation he hadn’t had in years. He looked up to see dark thunder clouds that seemed to actually fall beneath the roof line and into the warehouse itself. For the moment, all was quiet, save for a soft, almost lyrical whisper that sounded like a hiss. He froze, the sounds growing louder, more distinct and then he whirled suddenly.

“Expecto Patronum!” His wand glowed with a harsh, bluish white light, and then it emitted a pall of white fog which hardened into the shape of a large, white stallion. The aura emanating from his patronus charm was like a shield, and it immediately began to shudder as figures from the night bounced fruitlessly off its power.

“Dementors.” Harry started picking out the dark, robed ghouls in the night sky, over a score of them circling above. Their hisses were audible against the snap and hiss of their compatriots throwing themselves against his patronus. He was on the defensive, the soul sucking demons were much more powerful than he remembered. Harry felt his will weakening, a seeping sense of despair moved through his body and he was unsure of how much longer he could maintain the stalemate. He couldn’t break away and they couldn’t get to him.

Events served to break the stalemate. The front wall of the warehouse collapsed in fire and fury and Harry hazarded a glance towards the wharf area. Five dark robed figures stood abreast where the wall had once existed. They had skeletal death masks covering their faces. The tallest raised his hand and aimed his wand to the sky. With a sneer, he shouted a spell and the midnight sky was suddenly bright from the figure in the sky.

It was a dark mark, the sign usually left by the Deatheater minions of Voldemort. The new arrivals looked just like the Deatheaters Harry had vanquished so many years before, and yet, they stood before him, as real as he could remember. The lead Deatheater snapped off a blasting curse in Harry’s direction. Harry raised his free hand and put up a shield in barely enough time. He felt the heat and the pressure force from the blast and his feet stumbled as he tried to keep his patronus up against the Dementors while facing the new threat. He knew he couldn’t do both.

Quickly, he reached to a pouch on his belt and drew a small capsule. He threw it to the ground and was quickly enveloped in an inky black cloud, impenetrable to sight and then he ran under the cover the Peruvian Darkness Powder, momentarily displacing himself from the target zone, but knowing full well that he was not out of the woods yet.

“Mr. Potter, ever the coward. Why don’t you just come forward and meet your destiny?” Another familiar voice, and yet Harry’s brain screamed at the impossibility of its existence, in this place, in these circumstances. He’d personally seen to the destruction of the Dark Lord and his followers. How was any of this possible? The voice continued gloat.

“You didn’t really think you could defeat the Dark Lord, did you? You didn’t think that death was the end? Except for you, that is?” The man laughed with gusto at his comment. “Time to die, Mr. Potter, and time for all to be set as it should be. This was always the will of the Dark Lord. You were nothing more than an irritant. The “chosen one”, indeed.”

Harry turned a corner around another row of stacked crates, his eyes searching for a way out. He stopped and concentrated, trying to apparate, but nothing happened. This trap was well set, complete with a counter apparition charm in place. He peered around a corner and studied the room. The main exit was blocked by the Deatheaters while above, another twenty Dementors joined their evil brethren and circled the sky above. He sighed and gripped his wand. There was no other way out, except through the Deatheater blockade, and they knew it. His energy was sapped. He’d been up almost forty eight hours, which in retrospect, had to have been part of the overall plan. He’d been led here to die.

He let his mind wander to Ginny. Despite the circumstances, he smiled, reflecting on his love for her and their love for their kids. He ignored the worry of what was to come, of what the world would be like without him to protect her and the kids. For almost thirty years, their love had flourished and blossomed. They’d created the family he’d only dreamed of and shared a life that he could only call perfect. He wished he could be with her at the end and then the moment passed and once more, the man he was, the wizard, the warrior, the Auror, came forward.

He smiled his warrior smile and stood. They might not be the same Deatheaters he remembered, but he was far from the same fumbling adolescent that they remembered. If they wanted a fight, he’d give them one. He stepped out into the open and faced the man in the middle of the Deatheaters.

“You know what, Lucius? You’re going to wish you’d stayed in Azkaban.” Harry raised his wand, “Let’s dance.”

***

The blast destroyed a large portion of the rotted dance floor, creating a large hole which Ron fell through, where he landed in a sub-basement below the main floor. His combat instincts took over and rolled on the wet concrete floor and came to a halt standing, his wand up. The basement housed the heating and cooling systems of the old asylum. The walls were cinder block and there were large rusted boilers, long dark from the lack of use against all the walls. Above, more explosions rang out, but despite the fire and heat, Ron felt a familiar chill.

“Dementors? What the hell?” There were too many unknowns. The clue had been a trap and now he had to break loose from it. His fall into the basement had bought him time and he began to run down a long, dark tunnel, away from the ballroom above. The old Ron not have used his head, relying on instinct and bravado and not on a sound, tactical mind. His main goal was to get away from the asylum, to regroup with the rest of the Aurors and to figure out what was going on. The passage seemed to mirror the main halls and contours of the building above. He mentally checked his distance until gauged that he was somewhere below where the main lobby was. He aimed his wand at a far wall.

“Redacto!” The wall exploded, revealing dark, wet earth behind it. He cast a tunneling charm and paced himself to try to make sure he surfaced outside the wall of the property. His breath was short and he felt beads of perspiration coursing down his brow as he concentrated on the task. After a few moments, he started angling upward and then stopped the charm as he felt cold air coming from above. Slowly, he moved away the earth and dirt and stuck his head up.

He’d been almost perfect. He’d come up beneath the hedge which lined the outer wall, which offered him ideal cover. He was about a hundred feet from his car, but that was the only good news. There were four robed figures standing next to his car. Ron swore under his breath. He’d tried apparating, with no luck. The skies were filled with Dementors. They’d see him if he tried to make a break on foot. The people around his car were definitely Deatheaters. He’d seen more than his share at the Battle of Hogwarts, that even after all this time, he knew them when he saw them.

Fight or flight, Ron thought to himself. He knew the answer before the question was asked. He felt a momentary pang of regret. Hermione loved that car. Then he offered one more curse. He’d just made the final payment on it. He sighed and then aimed his wand.

“Confrigo!” A garish red light leapt from the end of his wand and struck his car and it exploded, sending the Deatheaters flying through air from the blast. Ron held his arm out and started running towards them, a renewed sense of anger. Suddenly, he just realized, he really had liked that car too.

***

To Harry, the key was to strike fast and hit the Deatheaters hard before the Dementors pounced. There could be no hesitation and no going back. He struck the one on the left with a blasting charm. He showed no mercy. This was a battle to the death (namely his) and he had no time for stunners or binders. The sudden fury of his assault caught the man unawares and the blasting charm struck the hapless minion directly in the chest, shredding his flesh and bone with fire and power and he fell lifelessly to the ground. Harry didn’t waste time or thought on the fallen Deatheater and sent another blast to the next one in line. The charm struck the ground near his target and sent the man flying backward into the rusted hulk of the abandoned freighter. So sudden was the attack that he could not control his landing and he landed on the rusted out lip of a railing. The jagged edge of metal pierced his back and came out his chest. The man shouted in agony and then fell limp, his body suspended in the air, a grotesque talisman to a ruthless fight.

Two were down, but time and numbers worked against Harry. The other three erected barriers to his assault and now they mingled in a charm versus curse fight. Harry held his own, but that wasn’t the problem. Time was working against him. He’d failed. Already, he could sense the Dementors descending on him, yet he could not face them while taking on the wizards in front of him. Now he faced a choice, death by Dementor’s kiss or death at the hands of Lucius Malfoy. He really did not like Malfoy.

The choice suddenly was out of his hands. Two bright lights of powerful patronus charms lit up the sky, sending the Dementors running. Harry smiled and pressed his attack on the Deatheaters. The remaining three saw their trap falling apart. The leader nodded his head and they all apparated. In an instant, the fighting was over. As the Dementors fled, the rain stopped. Soon, all that was left was the ruined hulk of a building and more questions than answers. Harry let his arm fall to his side and then he nodded as two men in jeans walked up from the opposite side of the warehouse.

“Mortimer, you always seem to have a dramatic flair for timing.” Harry smiled at his one time apprentice and current Auror team leader. “I swear, sometimes you wait until the absolute final second before you make your move.”

Mortimer Gafney smiled and held a finger to his lips. “Shush, Harry.” He nodded to the young man walking next to him. He had a youthful face adorned with countless freckles that matched the bright red tint of his hair. His brown eyes danced in merriment and his mouth was twisted in a wry grin. Mortimer laughed. “You wouldn’t want to give away all my secrets to my young student here.”

Harry laughed and then his eyes softened at the younger man. “Thanks, but one thing…”

The young man held up his hand, “I know, I know, Dad, don’t tell Mom how close you came to being a green eyed streak on the wall, right?”

Harry shook his head, “James, get this through your head. Never try to hide things from your mom, or you’ll wish all you had to face were Deatheaters and Dementors. What I was trying to say was that your patronus was still a bit shaky and weak.”

“You’re grading my performance?” James Potter, rookie Auror stared at his father incredulously.

“Of course.” Harry responded with a laugh, then his eyes fell on the body of the Deatheater impaled against the ship and he grew more somber. “You’re going to have to get it right. I have a bad feeling that this is only the beginning."


A/N: Okay, we're still going to see familiar characters, but I'm going to keep them to the core from HOM Pt I...that means I have a bunch that I can kill off, right????

Woo hoo.

Feedback is most appreciated, especially if there are people you want to save...or not.


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Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)
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