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Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite



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  #61  
Old May 3rd, 2007, 12:59 am
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

Chapter 55 – The Battle of the Forbidden Forest

With the giants scattered and vulnerable to the broom squadrons and dragons, and with the acromantula colony on the way, Harry was able to turn his attentions back to the south battlefield. He found the noose tightening around the dark forces. He continued to evacuate captives and the injured, occasionally now finding dead bodies for both sides. As he shuttled back and forth between the castle and the battlefield, he learned that the students’ army had met on both sides with the goblin army, so that the dark forces had become completely encircled. This was confirmed to Harry as he more and more came across goblin casualties; these were evacuated to the castle where Melony’s goblin clinic was fully equipped with the supplies needed to treat the particular needs of goblins. A number of goblin healers were also brought in from Gringotts as the workload increased. As the morning and then the afternoon wore on, the students and the goblins slowly and carefully confined the dark forces into a smaller and smaller area.

On one of his return trips to the castle, Harry found Ron sitting on the steps, being tended to by Hermione. He immediately ran over.

“Ron, are you okay?”

Ron nodded shakily, and then gave a huge shudder.

“The acromantulas arrived,” explained Hermione, as sympathetically as she could while suppressing laughter. “He freaked out over them.”

“I HATE SPIDERS!” growled Ron, suppressing his desire to scream it out.

“Ron, why did you develop a strategy that required you to call spiders in to the battle where you would be?”

“Because it was the best strategy, Harry. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices. The spiders would be slaughtered if they tried to attack the wizards, but they’re tearing the giants apart – literally. The whole reason for the squadrons was to fight giants. We knew when we formed the squadrons that we’d be target practice if we tried to fight against wizards. I may only be a passable Keeper, but I fly well enough, so I took the squadrons. Ernie isn’t so good on a broom, so he had the army. They needed back-up from a magical force, so that’s where the goblins were asked to help. I just had to stuff my fear and get on with the giants and deal with the spiders as long as I could take it. By Merlin’s beard, I hate spiders! But I’m grateful for the help. When I spied Hagrid arriving at the head of the column, I could have kissed him, until I looked at the host behind him – then I nearly puked.

“For a while, the larger ones were finding the giants that had been first knocked out. Four of them could kill a giant and place him or her on the backs of a team of medium-sized spiders, who started returning them to their lair. But as they cleaned up the scattered giants, they were closer and closer to the squadrons. On a pass about ten minutes ago, I had to dodge a giantess’s club and I hit a tree. I went spinning right into the center of about forty spiders the size of Hagrid. They came at me with their nasty wiggly legs and picked me up. They set me on my feet and I could swear they waved at me. I didn’t care. I almost lost it right there, but I kicked off on my broom and got out of there as quick as I could. I knew I had to get back here; I had nothing more to give as a leader”

“Is anybody in charge of the squadrons now?” asked Harry.

“Yeah, we had a fallback plan all along. I knew I would only be able to take so much. Ginny took over for me and my squadron. She’s not too shabby on strategy herself, and we had already set the plans.”

“Yeah, she’s quite a soldier,” grumbled Harry. “Anything for the victory.”

“She said if I saw you to say thanks for the tornado and what an awesome job that was,” said Ron, clearly not understanding Harry’s tone.

Harry just nodded. “I’ve got to go evacuate some more people. I’ll check on you in a bit.”

“Do that, Harry,” said Ron. “It’s good to see you bearing up so well – and not thinking you have to take all the danger yourself.”

“You people picked the fight. I’m just clean-up,” said Harry with a smirk.

“Yeah, right,” said Ron grinning, “like you wouldn’t jump right in if you saw someone to fight.”

“See you in a few minutes, Harry,” said Hermione.

Harry made another ten evacuation round trips, then checked on Ron again. A potion to relieve his heebie-jeebies had been brought out, which had him back to his usual self.

“Feeling better, Ron?”

“Oh, there you are, Harry. Of course. Never better. Getting the best care possible,” said Ron, affectionately patting Hermione’s hand. “How about a lift?”

“Where to?” asked Harry.

“Fortescue’s – I fancy an ice cream cone right now! The battlefield, you gnome! I can’t fight the giants, but I can make myself useful with Ernie’s platoons.”

“No need to get snippy,” laughed Harry. “Ready?”

“One second,” said Ron, who turned to give Hermione a lingering kiss and hug. Harry didn’t begrudge them this, but it made him feel all the emptier that he didn’t have anyone as he had thought.

“Ready, mate,” said Ron, extending his hand.

Harry grabbed his wrist quite abruptly and disapparated to the hilltop rill from which Ernie was directing the tightening of the cordon.

“Hi, Ron, Coach,” greeted Ernie grimly, then grinning. “I take it the spiders have arrived.”

“Like the cavalry in a cowboy movie,” replied Ron.

“You’ve been to muggle cinemas?” asked Harry.

“Sure, Harry, muggles are good storytellers. I love going into town to catch a flick when I can.”

“Hey, Ernie,” said Harry, “I always pictured Neville with the basilisk wand – why’d you have Dean carry it?”

“Shh, don’t say the ‘b’-word – only the leadership knows what it is. We didn’t want to panic people. As for who’s carrying it, we talked a long while about that. There are two things that turned it. Thomas is much better with his hands: more coordinated and ambidextrous, so he could handle the special wand with one hand and still fight like a wizard with the other. He’s gotten confused a few times and petrified some dark witches and wizards, but we’re none too fussed about that. Also, Longbottom’s not very tall, so when he holds it up, one of us could accidentally look into it. Thomas is nearly two meters tall, so with it angled upward, there’s not a chance any of the rest of us would be looking down the wand, but the dementors are plenty tall to get petrified that way. I’m sure you’ve seen them around – he’s been a busy chap ...”

“Yeah, they’re lined up almost to the edge of the forest from here,” said Harry, “first time I saw one of them, I conjured my patronus before realizing it was petrified. There must be hundreds of them.”

“Yeah, we haven’t seen any in over an hour now. We think we’ve got all that were here. I wonder if that’s all of them.”

“No,” said Harry, “He’s got a contingent guarding the island where he makes his headquarters.”

“Wow, it’s good to have you as a spy, Harry,” said Ernie.

“I’ll trade,” said Harry.

“No, thanks, I’ve enough to deal with.”

Just then there was a massive boom and they saw an outbreak of extremely intense fighting to their far left. It appeared that the remaining dark forces had massed to punch a hole through the weakest spot they could find and try to regroup with the giants, either for a last stand or an escape.

“Harry,” shouted Ernie, “Ron and I will take care of things here. Get back to the castle and mobilize the adults to meet them if they break through to open ground.”

“Right. Be careful,” said Harry as he disapparated.

Arriving at the castle steps, he found Moody, Dawkins and Snape discussing the battle thus far.

“They’re trying to break through. There are only a few hundred left at most,” shouted Harry to them, “but it’s their best. They’re headed northwest toward the castle, around the southwest shore of the lake, but Ernie thinks they’re headed up to the giants!”

Moody reacted first. “We’ve already assembled forces out in the heath, Potter, and we can get some more forces to go out to meet them. You call Lupin and let him know. Then head back out to where they had been and gather some forces to comb for any stragglers – the goblins and centaurs will be excellent for that.”

Snape and Dawkins had already run to raise additional fighters. Harry found a relatively quiet spot and called Remus and told him.

“Thanks for letting us know, Harry. If they get here they won’t find many friends. The giants are nearly all mopped up. As soon as we’re done here, we’ll be there to help.”

Harry apparated to Ernie’s makeshift headquarters to report.

Ernie smiled gravely. “Good. They’ll meet plenty of fresh fighters there. I’m sure all the aurors want to get involved in the fighting to earn rank. Ron, you and Harry get with the goblins to start the mop-up of the forest. We don’t want any surprises while our backs are turned. Let the centaurs know what’s up if you meet with any of them – Moody’s right, they’ll be just as interested in clearing out the forest completely. They probably want to survey the damage to their home anyway.”

With that Ernie took off to the northwest, where most of his platoons had already gone in pursuit of the remaining dark forces, picking them off from the rear.

“It’s gone well, Harry,” said Ron.

“I suppose, but there have been a lot of casualties.”

“Are there many dead?”

“I’ve recovered at least three dozen students’ bodies and about the same of goblin bodies; I’ve passed by ten times that number of enemy bodies, after making sure they were dead. I’ve found a couple of dead centaurs, as well. It’s grisly business.”

“Nobody said it was going to be pretty. But letting them pick us off slowly would have been ten times worse, and there’d be no end in sight.”

“Oh, you’re right, but is there any end in sight?” asked Harry.

“He’s not coming, is he?”

“No, he doesn’t really mind sacrificing pretty much anyone he had sent here. There’s only one wizard that matters to him.”

“It must be sorry to live like that,” said Ron. “I can’t imagine living without my family and you and Hermione and, you know, all our friends.”

“Trust me, it is, and he doesn’t even see how sorry it is. He thinks we’re all idiots to care.”

“Well, let’s go find the goblin forces.”

“I can feel their concentration of magical powers – I’ll apparate us there.”

“Leave a little distance, Harry, I don’t want to surprise those guys – they’re meaner than a teased hippogriff in battle. I’m betting we’ll find hundreds of dead wizards on that side of the battlefield. They don’t believe in taking prisoners.”

“I know. They had a few issues with Voldemort. Let’s go.”

And with that Harry grabbed Ron and apparated a good distance behind the goblin battle lines. They called out from behind a tree and proved who they were. They were then greeted jubilantly. The goblins agreed on the importance of scouring the woods, and even said they would not execute wounded enemy fighters. This went against traditional goblin practice, but they had agreed the year before to work within the Ministry and its rules, and accepted the necessity. The goblins went about the operation as systematically as they pursued banking.

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__________________
Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.
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  #62  
Old May 5th, 2007, 4:25 am
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

Chapter 56 The One He’d Miss the Most

Harry and Ron set off through the woods toward the castle on foot. There was ample force available to meet the remaining enemy fighters. It was about 5 p.m. Enough light filtered through the trees that they only needed to keep the sun at about 10-11 o’clock to guide toward the Hogwarts’ side of the forest. They were wary, but able to maintain something of a stroll. Then as they crested one hill, Harry caught sight of something that made him pull Ron down with him in a crouch.

“LeStrange!” he whispered.

“Bellatrix?” hissed Ron, and Harry nodded. “Why isn’t she with the rest of the vipers?”

“I don’t know, unless she’s hunting me. I’m about the only quarry here that Voldemort really worries about.”

“Well, let’s just apparate away then,” whispered Ron.

“Nope, I’m going to go try and get myself killed,” said Harry.

“Oh, okay, then,” said Ron.

“Aren’t you going to argue with me?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“In the seven years I’ve known you, how many times have you put yourself in a position to get killed?”

“I’ve lost count.”

“And yet you’ve failed every time. It’s the one thing you can’t do. You couldn’t get yourself killed if you were a hog animagus in an abattoir.”

“Very funny,” said Harry. “Well, do you want to know the plan?”

“Should I?”

“Yes,” replied Harry.

“Okay, then – what’s the plan?”

“I’m going to face her and force her to try to kill me. I’ll ward off anything that won’t kill. If she tries to kill me, Voldemort will have to arrive to stop it, because if she kills me, she destroys his power, too.”

“Well, of course! And you were trying to make me think you were going to do something stupid – you’re just challenging the deadliest dark wizard in history to a duel.”

“Exactly.”

“Are you ready for him?”

“Well, I know what’s in his mind, so I can react before he even acts. I’m fast. My stamina is good. I haven’t really tired myself out all day. And Dumbledore says I can do this. After all everyone else has done, I reckon it’s time for me to step up to my destiny.”

“You need me to do anything?’

“Yeah, if she actually succeeds in killing me, fight her; I’m pretty sure you can take her. If Voldemort shows up, same thing – you take her on so I don’t have to fight both. No holding back – if he shows up, we’ll be setting to immediately because we both know what each other are thinking. If I can’t get her to try to kill me, I’ll eventually just disable her.”

“Okey-dokey.”

Harry smiled inwardly. Only Ron could understand him well enough to be flippant about something as insanely dangerous as this. Taking a deep breath, Harry stepped over the crest of the hill.

“Hello, Bella!” Harry called.

She wheeled around and yelled “Stupefy,” but Harry had disapparated before she had finished pronouncing the spell. With a crack, he appeared behind her and as she wheeled around, he kicked her feet out from under her.

“Potter!” she spat, as she jumped up, “How did you do that – I’ve been fighting this anti-apparation spell all day.”

Harry smiled calmly. “Only the strongest sorcerers can overcome it – you just don’t measure up, Bella.”

“So you think you’re better than me, little baby Potter?”

“Oh, I am,” said Harry, disapparating again and appearing again behind her, knocking her off her feet again, this time stepping on her hair when she fell and kicking her hard in the head with the other foot. He wanted her to lose all sense of judgment. She screeched like a banshee, as she tried to get up. “Expelliarmus!” yelled Harry, and her wand flew to him as she was thrown against a tree with an audible thud.

“Hmm!” said Harry. “What a position we’re in now, Bella. How shall I make you suffer before I kill you?”

“Hah, Potter, we both know you haven’t the stomach for the Unforgiveables.”

“I can live with that, Bella, but there are other ways to cause suffering as you so richly deserve. DEBRIDO!” Harry waved his wand at her left hand as he pronounced the spell and all of the skin was stripped from it, leaving raw exposed flesh and nerves. She gasped with the pain of the air hitting the exposed nerves. Then Harry waved his wand at the forest floor, causing dozens of rough sticks to attack her exposed flesh. She could no longer hold back the scream this time.

“So what do you want, Potter, to torture me for killing the animagus?”

“Not really – I want you to kill me.”

“It would be my pleasure!”

“No doubt, but I know you’re under orders not to.”

“What makes you think that!?”

Harry laughed in a very annoyingly superior way. “Because I saw it happen, Bella! I can see anything your master sees and he can see what I see. Don’t you understand? His failed killing curse when I was a baby linked us forever. Our minds are as one.”

“I don’t believe you!”

“You’re lying, Bella, you know it’s so,” said Harry in the same tone Voldemort used when he caught someone in a lie. “You see, I have his powers, too. We share them, we both draw from them. He is a legilemens, so I am a legilemens; he is a parseltongue, so I am a parseltongue. He is watching you through my eyes right now. He sees you for the weak and pitiful failure you are. But there’s something else you should know, something he never wanted any of his pets to know. If one of us dies, except at the hand of the other, the one left alive would lose all his powers. He’d be left at best a squib and probably dead if you killed me. And after today’s battle, even as pitiful as you are, you would probably be the most powerful dark sorcerer in the world.”

Harry let that sink in for a few seconds, and then went on with a knowing smile, “Ah, yes, I can see how that tempts you. After all, Dumbledore can’t live forever, and he’s too noble to take the steps that would allow him to. Once he’s gone, who could stop you doing whatever you wanted? And after all, why would you want to go on serving that deformed half-blood for eternity.”

“Liar!” she screamed.

“No, Bella, and I warn you not to talk to me that way again. I have been patient thus far. DEBRIDO!” said Harry, ripping the skin off her right hand. “Things can get much, much worse. I see what he knows – I know his origins. Not only was his father a muggle, but his father rejected him as unworthy of the family name. And he was and so he remains. And so you pass your time – house-elf for a half-blood! Where’s your tea towel? No wonder he requires you to wear real clothes – your exposed body would make any man vomit. So here you go, servile little house elf: here’s your wand! You can continue as a slave, or kill me and have unchallenged power.”

He threw the wand to her and she caught it, wincing with the pain as it struck her exposed flesh. And the battle was on as she tried to disable him. Harry defended and defended to ward off her attacks, taunting her all the while. Finally he shot steam at her exposed, raw flesh. Then even as she screamed, she began to pronounce “Avada Kedavra!” As she did however, Voldemort appeared between her and Harry and the spell instead struck Nagini, which Voldemort had carried with him as the only sort of shield available to stop the killing curse.

Ron leapt out from behind the hill, yelling “Expelliarmus!” The spell threw LeStrange back, but she was able to hold onto her wand. She and Ron immediately set in to dueling.

“You wanted to call out Lord Voldemort, Potter?” said Voldemort, “Be careful what you wish for.”

“Talk, talk, talk,” taunted Harry to try to rankle him, “You are too much enamored of your own voice, Tom.”

Harry apparated three times in succession, firing stunners in between each. Voldemort had dodged the first two before they had even been cast and tried to reflect the third back at Harry with a Protego before Harry could disapparate, but Harry already knew Voldemort’s intentions, so he had disapparsted before the stunner could even be reflected.

Harry paused a few yards from Voldemort, both unfazed by the exchange. Harry knew as well as Voldemort had that it would take much more than that to catch Voldemort out. Voldemort teased Harry with the formal wizard duel salute. In reply, Harry wrote the name “Tom Riddle” in the air and sent them circling Voldemort. Voldemort disapparated and Harry, knowing where he was going, went right with him. The battle raged across the forest, hither and yon, both sets of opponents evenly matched and trading spell for spell, defense for defense. At some point, the anti-apparation spell was lifted, either because it had finally become unstable or because the decision had been made at the castle because the rest of the battle was over. Both pairs of fighters apparated about, neither pair ever too far from each other, trading spells at blinding speed. The ferocity of the exchange kept others from coming too close. The forest was lit with the glow of the fight as the day waned.

Eventually they reached the north end of the lake. Several members of the squadrons were trying to evacuate fallen comrades from the area, but upon the appearance of this foursome, all had apparated or flown away. This was not a safe place to be. All had left, that is, except for Ginny, who could not bear to leave and watched from behind a boulder. The battle was moving too fast for her to even get involved – she would be as likely to strike Harry or Ron as Voldemort or LeStrange if she tried to jump in.

Voldemort apparated in position that he could disable Ron and Harry could not block it. As the strangling spell was cast, Harry levitated Bellatrix into the path of the spell. At the same time she was casting a cutting spell at Ron – the same one Harry had used on the polyjuice-Hermione - while Ron was distracted by Voldemort’s spell. The cutter caught Ron squarely in the chest. LeStrange collapsed on the spot, barely alive, trying to gasp for breath. Ron’s chest was cut open through the ribs and into the lower part of the lungs and he tumbled down a steep slope. Harry heard a sickening unmistakable hollow crack of skull against rock as Ron reached the bottom.

Filled with the overwhelming desire to attend to the friend he loved the very best, Harry started fighting twice as intensely as before. Voldemort was completely unable to return any spells, but could only fend off the attacks coming from both of Harry’s wands like machine gun fire. At some point, it barely registered in Harry’s mind the crack when Ginny apparated away. Overwhelmed, Voldemort apparated to LeStrange’s side, grabbed her hand and disapparated away to escape to his headquarters.

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__________________
Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.
  #63  
Old May 10th, 2007, 12:40 am
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

Chapter 58 A Time to Heal

With a crack, the Battle of the Forbidden Forest was over. Voldemort’s forces had been eliminated by capture or death, all but Bellatrix LeStrange and the dementors that guarded his headquarters on a rocky outcrop in the North Sea. The forest was now silent of spells, but the evening animals were beginning their chorus. Hagrid was leading the Acromantulas back to their lair as they carried away their booty of giants’ corpses. No doubt there would be several minutes before anyone attempted to return to the area. Harry’s personal duel with Voldemort had been intense, unlike anything the wizarding world had ever seen before.

Harry had not been surprised that Professor Dumbledore had not intervened. Dumbledore believed that Harry had what he needed to defeat Voldemort, but he also said Harry would know what to do at the right time. That sounded like there was an answer other than fighting, but Harry had not figured it out. All Harry had known to do was fight, and it had not succeeded. Voldemort could see into Harry’s mind just as Harry could see into Voldemort’s. Harry ought to be exhilarated that he could match wands with the best, but he was simply tired. They were stalemated. Worse, his best friend had taken injuries that ought to kill him.

Harry wondered if the rest of his life would be like this. Rallying troops, making friends, seeing them injured and killed in battle after battle against whatever allies Voldemort had managed to recruit, ending with battling Voldemort to a draw, only to start the cycle all over again. So long as Voldemort survived, he would find opportunists, idealists, and weak-minded people to follow his commands and resume his terror war. Harry knew he was the one who had to oppose him and could never know peace. This was no way to live, thought Harry.

But Harry would have time to think on it later. First he needed to see to Ron. He apparated down the slope to Ron’s side. Harry’s heart sank, as Ron’s chest was wide open and his skull was split open in the back, showing his brain. Ron had vomited blood, and as he shallowly breathed, a bloody bubble rose and sank from his nostril. Harry dropped to his knees and began to cry. Ron, his first friend, the comrade who had fought by his side through so many dangers, the person correctly chosen in the Triwizard tournament as the one Harry would miss most in the world if lost, couldn’t possibly make it back to the castle. Apparating would be quick, but put too much stress on Ron’s body.

Harry felt he couldn’t bear it. He thought how much he loved Ron, how lost he would be without Ron, how much poorer would be the lives of so many others he loved. He would rather take those injuries himself than to have his friend be lost from them. He felt terrible that he had put Ron up to joining this final fight. In his arrogance he thought he could defeat Voldemort, and in trying, he exposed his best friend to horrible danger. “If only those wounds were mine,” he thought, “I could die from LeStrange’s spell and die in peace, knowing my friends were safe from Voldemort.” He prayed more intently than he ever had before that this were so, that he would bear the wounds rather than Ron. He knew it wasn’t rational, but it was the only image that came to him. Over and over in his mind he thought how much he loved Ron, how much he wished that he had been the one injured, how much better it would be if he could bear them instead of Ron.

Harry heard Ron shudder and opened his eyes to look. There was a strange green glow around Ron, not the harsh glare of the killing curse, but the intense, merry, bright green of new leaves on an oak tree in the Spring. Harry would have turned to look where it came from, but suddenly his chest and the back of his head were struck with such intense pain it took his breath away. He could barely gasp: his lungs would not respond. The back of his head throbbed in ever-increasing waves of pain, like a rough spike was being hammered into it, until Harry thought he would pass out. And then, after what felt like an hour but couldn’t have been more than a couple of minutes, the pain ebbed, quickly, but not as fast as it had come on. As Harry caught his breath, Ron sat up.

“You okay, Harry? You seem pretty fussed.”

“Ron!!’’ Harry yelled, throwing his arms around Ron’s shoulders, “you’re alive!”

“Not for long at this rate. What are you all het up about?” Ron said.

“Don’t you remember getting injured, how your chest was cut open?” Harry asked, letting Ron go and rocking back on his ankles.

“Let’s see. I got hit by some yellow spell, and it really hurt. I flew back and, erm, let’s see, I couldn’t breathe. Oh, and I hit my head real hard and everything winked out. Thought I was a goner. But I must have just had the wind knocked out of me and gotten a little knock on my noggin. I feel great – better than new.”

Harry stood up and looked at him seriously. “If it wasn’t that serious, then where did all that blood and vomit on you and your robe come from?”

Ron looked down at himself. He was bewildered. “Mate, what happened?”

Just then Harry heard a voice some distance behind him. Ginny was up on the ridge he had just come down, calling out grimly.

“Harry, I’ve been up to the castle. I told Hermione and the family about Ron. Haven’t had a chance to see Fred and George yet, but I’ve heard they’re okay - you know those two. Mum and Dad asked me to collect Ron’s body, but I lost track of where I saw him last. I found his wand up here, but …” She sighed deeply, resignedly. “Anyway, have you found him?”

Harry noticed that Ron had quickly lain back onto the ground. Ginny couldn’t see him for a shrub. Ron tapped Harry’s leg and winked, then closed his eyes. Harry caught on, and called sadly to Ginny, “He’s over here!”

Ginny slid down the slope and then walked despondently over. “Oh, Ron.” She dropped on her knees and put her hands on his bloody chest, weeping. Her tears dripped onto his face.

Suddenly Ron poked her in the ribs on both sides, bugged out his eyes, and said goofily, “Hiya, kiddo!”

Ginny screamed, jumped up, and disapparated.

Ron laughed wickedly.

“She’s going to get you for that,” said Harry.

Ron shrugged. “It’s worth it. When do you get a chance like that? So, I was asking, what happened?”

“I’m not really sure. We had fought the battle, and you caught that spell. It ripped your chest open and fell down the slope. I fought off Voldemort, but he escaped with LeStrange. Then I apparated down here to see if there was any hope. I saw you lying there, good as dead. I don’t mind admitting, I was really messed up over it.”

“Thanks, Harry. I know I would be if it were you.”

Harry started to respond, but before he could do more than smile, Ginny had re-apparated with Hermione. They both screamed “Ron” and launched themselves at him.

“Ron Weasley, I’ll get you back for that,” scolded Ginny, with tears streaming from her eyes. “Just you wait! If we didn’t have things to do, you’d have bat wings out your nose right now!”

“Ron, what happened!?” pled Hermione. “Ginny told us about you getting hurt so badly by that spell and splitting your skull against a stone.” She glanced toward a nearby rock the size of a bolster, coated in blood, orangey red hairs stuck to it, clashing violently with the dark red of the blood. She cringed at the sight of it. “She said she even checked your body but had to run away since Harry and Voldemort were fighting so close. Now you haven’t a mark on you.”

“I was just trying to get that out of Harry.” said Ron. “Well, Harry…?”

Harry pursed his lips, and then explained. “You were injured badly, just like Hermione described. I was sure you were going to die any second. I was kneeling over you, and then there was this green light, like an electric torch, it seemed to move with me, or, rather … as I moved my head. Then, I felt, erm,” Harry paused again, not wanting to mention the pain he had felt, “a lot of stress, and after a few minutes, you looked up at me and you were okay.”

Hermione got a thoughtful look, and then asked “Harry, what exactly were you thinking when this green glow started? It sounds like magic, really big magic, so we need to know the precise focus of your mind.”

“Well, I was beside myself really. Ron looked near death and I, uh, was thinking how much I love him,” Harry said, getting a touch of blush to say it - though he knew there was nothing embarrassing about loving your friends, it felt silly to say it like that – “and then was thinking how I would rather be the one with the injury than for him to have it.”

“So, you wished to take the injury from him, right?” said Ginny.

“Right. It was more like a prayer, really.”

“And there was a green glow coming from you?”

“Well, it moved with me, so it was like it came from me.”

“Bright green – like your eyes?”

“Erm, yeah, I guess that is the color.”

“And then after a few minutes like that, Ron’s injuries were gone, taken away from him,” concluded Ginny.

“Yeah, that sounds about right,’ Harry said tentatively.

Ron whistled. “You’ve got Healing magic – glad you found that when you did.”

“It’s probably no accident that you found that power when someone you care for as much as you do Ron was so badly injured. You could always leave it to Madam Pomfrey before, but you knew this time that wasn’t possible. And with your feelings for Ron, you were as focused on the injuries as you could be,” said Hermione. “You know, this is rather like what your mother did.”

“What!? My mother? She could heal!?” Harry stared at her for explanation.

Hermione nodded. “Not exactly healing, but Madam Pomfrey was telling me about it as we were arranging the hospital wing to receive the injured. In my healer training, she hadn’t mentioned it, because it wasn’t something we could use, since your Mum is, well, dead. But today, she was saying how your mother could keep a gravely injured person alive until potions or spells could help them. She would concentrate on them, on helping them, and a very pale green light would shine from her eyes. It would strengthen them and even start the healing. Madame Pomfrey said that’s how she got together with your Dad even. The last Quidditch match in their fifth year had been delayed and took place right after OWLs, Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw. Just as your father got the snitch, both bludgers got him in the head from opposite sides. It looked like he was going to be Hogwart’s first Quidditch fatality, but your mother got to him quickly and kept him alive. She kept her eyes on him all the way from the Quidditch pitch to the hospital wing and kept it up for the better part of a day until Madam Pomfrey felt he was well enough for her to stop.”

Harry thought a second and said, “So that was like a bonding experience for them?”

Hermione gave a little smile. “Actually, no. Your father was unconscious the whole time, so he didn’t even know until someone told him. But what happened is this: Madam Pomfrey said that your father had been quite the bully and the braggart before that, really quite obnoxious. He had been interested in your mother before, but she was only distantly polite. Even after the accident, she didn’t want to be around him, at least at first, not any more than her healer trainee duties required. But after the accident, your father became more and more kind and considerate of others, just as brilliant at Quidditch and sorcery, but he grew to be humble and pleasant and helpful toward others. That’s when your mother took a fancy to him. Some people said he had some sort of near death experience, and some said he had brain damage. A few people even claimed someone had used polyjuice to substitute for the real James Potter, but no one could come up with a reason why. But Madam Pomfrey said it was different; she said ‘Lily Evans was able to find the good in anyone, and bring it out. I think her magical healing was part and parcel with her love of everyone. She could disagree with people, fight with them even if need be, and there were those she didn’t want to be around. But she just couldn’t bring herself to hate anyone. And when she worked with them, they just seemed to come around and start to reach their potential.’”

Ron jumped in excitedly. “Harry, that’s just like what happened with the DA! We were a bunch of goofuses till you coached us. Remember how Neville could barely do anything?”

Hermione added, “Dean told me that he barely had to fight anyone at all because Neville took out just about anyone who got near him.”

“Not only that,” said Ginny, “after the last of them tried to escape, Neville took on Dolohov soon after he had knocked out McGonagall. Neville was more than a match for him. Don’t tell me that’s just him being a late bloomer.”

Harry frowned. “Hmm, I thought I was just a pretty good coach with some good students.”

“You are, and not just ‘pretty good,’ you git!” said Ginny. “You care about your students, you encourage, you develop our strengths and help us overcome our weaknesses, just as any good coach would do. But you’re also a wizard, a wizard whose magic reaches out to others, to those you care to help, just like your mother did – but apparently much more deeply. I’ll bet that night when you freaked out screaming at Tonks, she got a big burst of that magic – that’s why she could do her patronus!”

Harry nodded thoughtfully. “Now that I think about it, the night when Hedwig was attacked there was a similar green glow around her in Hagrid’s cabin, just not as strong. I thought Dumbledore or Hagrid had conjured it so we could keep an eye on her.”

Hermione snapped her fingers. “And don’t forget Melony. You haven’t wanted to take credit, but I’ll bet you really did keep her alive. I talked to the goblin healers, and they still have no explanation for how someone that far gone could survive.”

Ron spoke up. “This is very interesting and all, but there are people out here who need help now. Let’s get to them. Harry, do you think you can do it for others too? Or,” he said with a smirk, “Am I just special?”

“Oh, yeah, you’re special alright!” Harry said sarcastically, “- in more ways than one. Seriously, I’m willing to try, but I’ve just now healed someone for the very first time, and it was my best friend. It took me months to learn how to focus for a Patronus, and that just takes thinking intensely happy thoughts. Now I’ve got to care enough to take injuries away. I just don’t know how it will go.”

Hermione looked up at him, a sight made all the more effective on him due to the many months he had gone without seeing her eyes. “Trying is all anyone can ask. You’ve never failed to give a go at helping others before. You know – it’s that saving-people thing. Tell you what: if someone can be taken back to the hospital wing and treated there, then that’s what we’ll do. You tend to those who’ve been marked as beyond help, okay? After all, if they would die anyway, then we’re not making things any worse.”

“Sure,” said Harry, with a bit of reluctance.

Ginny put her hands on his shoulders and looked him in the eye. “Harry, no one has faced dangers like you have to save others. You fought a basilisk to save me. You fought a hundred dementors to save Hermione and Sirius. I’ve lost track of how many times you’ve faced Voldemort. You even saved that idiot cousin of yours who’d always been such a bully to you. You can do this.”

Harry smiled weakly. Sure, he thought, but in those cases, he had been fighting, and he had been saving his own skin as well. They didn’t know about the pain. They thought it was like pulling a splinter. It was one thing to take Ron’s pain; he’d do it again if he had to, gladly. But could he do it for others? It wasn’t like trading hits like in boxing or a duel, or even like standing there letting someone hit him; he had to pull the injury into his own body: it went against every instinct of the body for self-preservation.

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__________________
Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.
  #64  
Old May 12th, 2007, 5:32 am
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

Chapter 59 – Challenges

The sun was low. Students had come out in teams to finish the locating and evacuation of the remaining injured and killed from the battlefield. Working in teams, they were busily gathering wands, friends’ and foes’ alike, so that Death Eaters and their allies could not grab them and try to fight their way away or disapparate. Some of those injured had only been knocked out by minor curses, Impedimenta and the like, useful in a battle, especially where you have to watch out for friendly fire, but only temporary. Even the Death Eaters had generally held back from the killing curse because of the risk of hitting their own. Wand-to-wand combat was no place for the avada kedavra. Other teams had been assigned to stand guard against the creatures of the Forbidden Forest, many of whom would make a feast of the injured and dead if given a chance.

Harry spied a location a hundred yards away with both red sparks and purple sparks – an ally dead or dying. He pointed and they all ran over. A woman was lying face down, with one leg pointing off at an angle from a point four inches below the knee. The jagged bone was jutting out, but that was not why she had gotten the purple sparks. She was impaled on the remains of a broomstick, visible sticking out of her back, just inside the right pelvis. It looked like it must have entered from the other side.

Harry knelt close to her and gasped. “Tonks!”

Tonks was shivering, barely breathing. She turned a little and whispered, “Harry? You made it! …I zigged when I … should have zagged; … giant got me …like swatting … a fly … against a tree.” She tried to swallow and then added, “I’m cold, so c-c-cold.”

Harry felt her cheek and she was. She would be dead in no time if he didn’t act quickly. He took a breath and felt that he could do this. He knew the injury would heal in him, if he could only bear the pain. But she was in shock and wasn’t feeling all of it. He would feel it, every bit. He would have to: his feelings for her weren’t the same affection he had for Ron, but he loved Tonks too. He would just have to take this from her.

“Hold onto my shoulders,” he told them. “Hold me up – it’s, uh, pretty stressful magic.”

Ron and Ginny knelt on either side of him and held at the top of his arms. Harry pulled the hood of his robes over his head so they wouldn’t see him grimace with the pain. Harry focused his thoughts on caring for Tonks, reaching out to her, connecting, strengthening, healing. He remembered the very special time they shared the summer before, and the close loving friendship and affection that remained. He told himself he loved her enough to take those injuries from her, he believed he loved her enough to take those injuries from her, and then he knew he loved her enough to take those injuries from her. The green glow fell upon her and the others all caught their breath in surprise.

Tonks breathed deeply. “I’m feeling warmer, must be close to dying now. I wonder if Sirius will be up for Exploding Snap.”

Harry’s eyes teared up. “No!” he screamed, he wasn’t going to let Tonks go as Sirius had. He desperately pled for all those injuries to come to him. He didn’t care how much he hurt. He had seen Sirius die – he wasn’t ready to let someone else go, not if there was anything he could do. The green light became even deeper. The pain set in. He felt his abdomen, intestines and back rip, just as Tonks’ had when the broomstick came through. His innards were on fire and freezing at the same time. He felt like he would heave. He gritted his teeth to keep from breaking his concentration. He felt his leg break and his robe shift as his lower leg angled away and his ankle twisted. He hoped the others would not see that. But what was important was that Tonks was starting to sound stronger. She breathed more deeply. Her leg straightened. The shard of broomstick fell out of her and the wound healed over. Harry’s leg straightened, the gash in his belly healed over, and the pain subsided.

Tonks rolled over. “I just had the strangest dream. I was injured in the battle and…”

She saw their faces and realized it was no dream.

“What happened? I should be dead by now.”

Ginny was the first one who could find words. “Harry can heal,” she said. “You were this close to dead! He took the injury clean away!”

Ron remained staring.

“Ron, what …?” said Tonks, and then she realized. The broomstick crash had torn away the entire front of her robe. She pulled what was left together.

“Uh-oh! Not bad for an ‘older woman’, huh?”

Hermione hit Ron in the arm. “Men!!”

“What!? I was just seeing, erm, how well she had healed.”

He didn’t sound very convincing, and Ginny tittered.

“We don’t have time for play,” said Harry grimly. “There are more purple sparks out there.”

As Harry got up, Hermione said quietly, “Harry, while you were healing Tonks, I thought I saw…”

Harry held up his hand to stop her. “Now’s not the time. We have to get to as many as we can. Look how close we were with her.”

“But Harry …”

“Not now,’ he said in a tone of intense finality.

They set out to the nearest purple sparks, as Hermione gave a little sniffle. When they got to the next location, they found Ernie McMillan. They couldn’t see what was wrong. He wasn’t moving. Hermione checked him several ways: for a pulse, for breath, for pupil dilation. He was dead.

“No!” demanded Harry, as much to himself and Ernie as to the others. “We’ve got to try.”

Harry dropped to his hands and knees over Ernie and soon the green glow bathed him. And just as quickly, it stopped.

“There’s nothing there I can heal.”

Harry cursed. He and Ernie had never really been close friends. Other than DA meetings and the one weekend in the summer he had visited, they hadn’t hung out together. But Ernie was a decent guy and had been a fine and dedicated leader, and it hurt Harry deeply to know with such cold certainty that Ernie was dead.

“Come on. We have to hurry. Every second counts.”

Harry would not allow himself to care about physical pain. Too many people had died. He had the ability to stop it for some, if only he could get to them in time – and find enough care in his heart for them to overcome the body’s aversion to such pain.

The next purple and red sparks they saw led them to a pile of shabby robes that looked familiar. But the shape inside them was not. There was a sharp furry snout projecting. A low furry forehead was deeply indented. Harry looked up at the full moon.

“It’s Remus!” he said. “Hold me up again. Hermione, stand by to stun him as hard as you can. With the full moon, he’ll be dangerous once I’ve healed his injuries. But wait until he’s healed – I don’t think he could take it right now.”

It occurred to Harry that Lupin must have decided to put off taking his wolfsbane potion, which would have left him too weak and docile to fight. If not for the injuries, he would have easily made it back to the castle before the moon rose. Harry knelt on hands and knees, pulling his hood as far forward as it would go again. Ginny and Ron grabbed the shoulders of his robe. The green glow came much quicker now. Harry was getting much better with practice. His skull crushed over the left eye and ear. He felt pain searing through his entire body as fur erupted, his hands became paws, and a snout erupted between his eyes. Lupin’s body transformed back into a human again, with no injuries, and the green light subsided, as Harry painfully became Harry again. It had taken little more than two minutes, but they were two absolutely awful minutes.

Lupin opened his eyes and saw the full moon. He started to yell, “Stun me, bind me, do something before I change to the werewolf!”

“No worry, mate,” said Ron smiling. “You already were. Harry changed you back. He’s learned to heal people.”

Lupin put his hand to his head.

Ron continued glibly. “That’s gone, too. He just draws the injury out.”

Harry knew that it was more than that, but that would do for now. Remus held his face straight-on toward the full moon filtering through the broken branches above, testing to see if he would change again.

Harry waited a few seconds and then, convinced the lycanthropy was over for this month, said, “We’ve got to hurry. If you’re okay, ‘Mooncalf,’ they’ll need you to help get the injured back to the castle. You know what needs to be done. Sorry to be short with you. There are others in need. We’ll talk later.”

Remus remained staring at the moon, speechless. Harry moved on; he couldn’t wait for thanks. It was unnecessary and it took time – time he could ill afford.

“Harry?” Hermione said, catching up to him as he strode on ahead of the others toward the next set of flares.

“Not now,” he said impatiently, “we have others to get to.”

“It’s something different. We’ll talk as we go. When you were healing Remus, I got to feeling quite drained, like I had some sort of illness. And once you and he were healed …” (Harry pursed his lips at the realization that she knew that he had to take on the injury to heal others), “I returned to feeling fine - better than before.”

“Listen, thanks for telling me, but there’s no time to noodle it out. We’ll work on it as we go.”

They found four more, auror Wimbush and three adult volunteers, near each other. Harry remembered two of the volunteers from training camp. At first it was hard to get the healing started. It’s easy to say you love all mankind when it doesn’t cost anything, when it doesn’t mean taking life-threatening injuries and the pain that goes with them into your own body. But these were wizards and witches who had fought alongside his friends. They had people they loved and who loved them. He pictured the gap that would be left in so many lives were these people to die. He remembered the gaps left in his own and others’ lives when people he knew had died. He taught himself the focus needed to heal them. He could heal three, one witch was gone. It haunted him to think that if he had been able to act more quickly, that witch would have survived. He couldn’t bear to let that happen again: pain be damned!

He ran on to other sites with purple sparks, healing three more, finding six more dead.

Just then, quite deep in the forest, they heard a howl. It was a howl they had all heard before.

“That sounds like Hagrid - he must have gotten back from the Acromantula colony.”

“Oh, no!” said Ginny. “This is the area where Madame Maxime ended up fighting some of the remnants of the dark forces. I saw she got hit with a green spell. I was afraid it was the killing curse, but I didn’t know. I had never seen it.”

“Sounds like their way,” said Ron. “And they would have felt safe firing it over their own people’s heads at someone that tall.”

They ran around a dense thicket, where the terrain would support underbrush but not large trees. They saw Hagrid sitting on the ground holding Madame Maxime, his legs splayed out and her shoulders propped against his left thigh, his enormous hands cradling her head. Her whole body looked like it had been beaten severely, giving the intensely bright reddish-purple bruises one gets from breaking both arteries and veins. She had to be very near death from internal bleeding and whatever other injuries the spell had caused; but she was still moving a little – some twitching, some shivering. She wasn’t dead, not just yet. Harry remembered how two years ago Hagrid had been hit by multiple stunners from highly experienced aurors and was still able to run away. Apparently, that tough half-giant hide of hers had protected her as well. For now; sort of: because it was clear she was near death.

“Hagrid, it’s okay, Harry’s got a new power - he can heal anything!” Ron enthused.

Hermione gasped. “Ron, I don’t think …!”

Harry put a hand on her arm to stop her. They both saw Hagrid’s joyous, expectant look. He reminded Harry of a four-year-old waiting for Christmas. Yet Harry was afraid, deeply afraid. Could he heal the Avada Kedavra? Could he take all the injury that her half-giant body could hold?

Quietly he told Hermione, “Hagrid would do anything for us. I’ll do everything I can for him, and Madame Maxime.”

“Be careful, Harry. We need you. We love you.”

Harry sat between Madame Maxime’s body and Hagrid’s other leg and leaned back against Hagrid’s belly.

“Hold me tight, Hagrid, but not too tight,” he said, and Hagrid placed his enormous arm across Harry’s chest. Harry was getting much better at it, and the vivid green light was soon flooding the area. Harry started to feel like every nerve, every cell, was slowly but surely swelling and exploding. His body screamed in pain like he had never known before. Ginny, Ron and Hermione fell over. Still he continued, and his vision went black.

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__________________
Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.
  #65  
Old May 16th, 2007, 3:44 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

Chapter 60 Stag, Doe and Dog

Harry found himself walking through a gently rolling meadow with cool deep woods off to his left, and running out of the woods cutting across the field was a deep, narrow stream, a bit too broad to jump across, even at a run. It was sunny and just being there made him feel exuberant. Crossing the stream was an arched wooden bridge – simple, yet stylish, rather like the Japanese bridges. Lying on the stream bank, near the bridge abutment on the near side, was Madame Maxime’s body. Harry knelt to check her, but her body just twitched and shivered, as it had in the forest. Across the bridge, Harry saw a large stag, and a doe, and a huge black dog. He knew that black dog: it was Sirius. He knew at once who the others must be. He laughed and cried for joy at being so close to them.

As Harry came around the abutment, never taking his eyes off of them, they looked up, and changed into the human form of his parents and Sirius. His parents appeared not much older than him, and Sirius was not the gaunt specter Harry had known in the flesh but a strong, handsome young man. All three could have stepped out of the photographs Hagrid had collected for Harry. Harry felt that this was it – the place he was meant to be, the place that he belonged, where he could at last find peace and happiness. Harry began running around the railing to get to them. He had just placed a foot on the near side of the bridge, when his father held his hands up.

“Stop, Harry!” his father shouted. “There’s no turning back once you come over. It’s not your time to cross. But we have some things to tell you.”

Harry stopped, bewildered. “But … but, I’ve always wanted to have you with me, and now you’re so near.”

“Harry,” his mother said affectionately, “you love the idea of having parents. Anyone would. And you want to have that connection with your past, with your humanity even. But you never knew us, you barely knew Sirius really. There are others, still alive, that have been more than willing to love you like a son and a brother.”

Harry’s mind turned to the Weasleys, and Dumbledore, Hagrid and Professor McGonagall. Even Lupin, Tonks and Moody. They all had looked out for him and shown real care and affection for him. But …

“But it’s not the same as having your own parents.”

“No, son,” his father said sadly. “It’s not. And it’s not fair. You know we would have been there with you if we could. But there are millions of people who grow up without their parents: sometimes death takes them, sometimes parents have their own problems that separate them from their children.”

“Aye,” added Sirius sadly to this, closing his eyes at the thought of his own estrangement from his parents.

Harry’s mother explained, “Life is often not fair. But you have choices as to what you make of your life. And if you choose to cross this bridge now to be with us, there will be many, many more children who lose their parents. Do what you can. Let the people who love you do so. And be loving to all – hatred, blame and anger only lead to self destruction.”

Harry nodded. The thought flitted across his mind that even Voldemort might have been a very different person had he been raised with loving parents. Then he asked, “But what can I do? It seems like from the moment I learned I’m a wizard, I’ve been battling Voldemort. I don’t run from him now - we fight each other to a draw. We see into each other’s minds and know before the other acts what to do.”

Sirius spoke up first: “Think, Harry, darkness is not vanquished by darkness, but by light.”

The bridge began to get longer, and the stream was widening. Harry’s parents and Sirius were retreating with the opposite bank. His mother called across to him, “Consider the Parable of the Cave.”

Sirius shouted, “We’ll be here for you when your time comes.”

And finally, his father added, “We’re so proud of you, Harry.”

Harry removed his foot from the bridge and it crumbled away. In the distance Harry saw them wave, just before they changed back into the stag, the doe and the dog, gamboling about the meadow.

Harry felt a weight on one shoulder. He looked and saw an enormous hand, delicate in its own way, with large opal rings on the fingers. It was Madame Maxime; she had waked while Harry talked.

She spoke much more gently than he had previously known her to. “Harree, it ees time we retairned. People you knew?”

Harry nodded. “Sort of. My parents – you know about their deaths, I’m sure – and Sirius Black. He was my godfather. He died two years ago.”

Maxime nodded in return, and began steering him back in the direction he had come from. “Yes, Hagreed told me about that. He cried for you; he is such a dear. He loves you very much. Thank you for what you have done for me, healing me. It vos very brave and generous.”

Harry blushed a bit. “Oh, well, it’s just what I could do.”

“But no one else can do it. How long have you been doing zis healing?”

“I just discovered it after the battle, only about half an hour before I started healing you. As I look back, I can see little signs, but it took focusing on the injuries of someone I love to make it come out strong.”

Then sounding like the headmistress she was, Maxime explained, “Yas, focus is ze key to powerful mageek – ze Patronus, Transfiguration, ze Summoning Charm, Apparation - all of zem zat are deep. Zat is vot makes ze Unforgiveable curses so unforgiveable – zair are other vays to kill, or hurt, or control people. But ze Unforgiveables involve a total focus on overcoming and destroying a person. Very sad zat anyone should ever feel zat vay. Inhuman.”

She shook her head, then continued, “Do you just think of healing, or is zair something else.”

“Healing is a part of it.” Harry hesitated, and then figured it was either a dream, where it wouldn’t matter, or their souls were indeed in touch, and you ought to be able to say anything to someone you meet like that, and Harry felt a deep desire to tell someone how much it cost him to heal others. “I really have to find love for that person deep enough that I desire to take the injury from them and into my own body.”

She nodded, and then asked sympathetically, “And do you feel ze injury as well?”

Tears welled in Harry’s eyes and he nodded.

She looked sadly at him. “Vith all of zat pain?”

Harry’s shoulders shook, and his lips quivered, and he nodded and bowed his head. Maxime bent down and wrapped her arms around him, picking him up and hugging him into her bosom like a mother with a toddler who had skinned his knee – surprisingly gently for such a thorough hug from such an enormous woman.

“Oh you dear, sweet, amazing boy. I knew how valiant you vere ven you saved Fleur’s sister. But zis!? How could you do zis - for me!?”

Harry had no answer, and no answer was needed. He cried into her massive shoulder for half a minute and then she put him down, and they continued on their way back.

“Do ze uzzers know ze price you pay, ze pain you feel.”

“No, they don’t. Hermione suspects it. She knows I take the injury, but I don’t know if she understands the pain. She tried to ask but I put her off. She might have feared to ask me to heal others, and it’s those with the worst injuries who need me. The others only know that they feel tired while I’m healing – I think I’m drawing strength from them. I think this magic draws healing to me as I need, just as I can give it to others.”

Harry paused and then added, “She tried to stop me from healing you, you know. She was concerned about you, but she turned white when she thought I would take all the injury you had into my body.”

“I understand. I do not blame her. I vould feel ze same vay for someone I love. She loves you, no?”

“Yes. Yes, she does. Only as a friend, or a brother, but in that way, I know it’s as total a love as is possible.”

"Have you tried for ze romance?"

"Not with her. I've had a few relationships. I thought I had something this year that was the real thing, but I learned it was just part of the battle plan."

"Oh, really!?"

"Surely you knew - you were in on the plan, weren't you?"

"I knew some things, not all, like how ze dementors vere to be disabled."

"Well, they needed someone to keep me stable so they had Ginny Weasley pose as my girlfriend."

"Still, Harree, maybe she vos villing because she vanted to be zat way with you, or maybe something has grown?"

Harry nodded. “I doubt it. Everything seemed quite coldly calculated.”

“Were zose messages from your parents and Black about facing Voldemort?”

“Yes, but I’m not quite sure what they mean. Do you know what the Parable of the Cave is?”

“No, I think zat is from ze muggles – your mother vos muggle-born, no? Ve learn too little about muggle culture.”

“Yeah, but then I was raised by muggles and I have no clue. We’re almost back. I’ll need to get on with healing. There are others in grave condition. I’d like you and Hagrid to help me.”

“Of course ve vill – how could ve refuse anything?”

“Also, can you keep all of this discussion a total secret, even from Hagrid?”

“Yes, for a vile at least. I think he vill soon ask me to marry, and I think I vill say yes. And ze only secrets a married couple should have,” Maxime said with a knowing smile and wink, “are ze special plans zey have for each uzzer in zair intimate times. Little surprises are very important zair.”

Harry blushed and laughed. “I’ll keep that in mind. Is this just a dream or are we really speaking?”

“If I told you here, it could just be a part of the dream. You vill know if you hear me use the word ‘goat’ after ve vake up, yes?”

“Why ‘goat’?”

“Zair ees not much cause to say it uzzerwise, ees zair?”

(Chapter continued in next post)


__________________
Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.

Last edited by Dedalus Diggle; May 16th, 2007 at 3:46 pm.
  #66  
Old May 16th, 2007, 3:46 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

Chapter 60 (continued)

They had arrived back at the glade. Everyone but Hagrid was unconscious;
Hagrid was clutching both of them by the shoulders and bawling.

Maxime shook her head and smiled towards Hagrid. “I love a man who can love so deeply.” She hugged Harry again. “And zat goes for you, too, Harree.”

Then Maxime returned to her body.

Harry returned to his body and all the pain returned. He thrashed in agony. Even Hagrid, who stopped bawling when he felt movement, could barely hold on to him. Then the pain eased. Harry blinked his eyes – they had been open this whole time and were quite dry - and breathed deeply.

Hagrid asked, “Harry, what happened? I thought I’d lost yeh.”

Harry smiled. “It’s okay now, Hagrid – look!”

Maxime had opened her eyes and smiled. Hagrid gasped. He lifted Harry to the side and then grabbed Maxime and kissed her all about the face, lifting her up and dancing with her and kissing her more, quite scratching her face up with his steel wool beard.

Maxime laughed and hugged him. “Oh, get off, you old goat.”

Harry had been laughing and watching them generally, but on hearing her call Hagrid a goat, his eyes snapped to her face, poking over Hagrid’s shoulder as they hugged each other. She winked at Harry and gave a little nod. Then Harry knew that not only had it been Maxime he had talked to, but his parents and Sirius as well. That knowledge made him feel warm in itself, but now it was all the more important that he figure out what they were telling him.

Ron, Ginny and Hermione woke, looking very well rested. Ginny and Hermione stretched like they had taken a nice late afternoon nap. Ron sat up, noticed a spider that had crawled onto him, and started gently playing with it, letting it crawl up and down his arms.

Hermione was beyond shocked to see this. “Ron, what are you doing? You loathe spiders.”

“I know. I do, or at least I thought I did, but I saw this little fella on me, and it seemed kind of … cute. Look at the cool way it crawls. I can’t believe I never noticed how fascinating they can be.”

Hermione and Harry both looked at him, and then at each other, puzzled: what could have changed something so deep in him? He had fled from the north battlefield in his terror at spiders and required a potion to get back to the south battlefield, yet here he was playing with one.

“Are all of you okay?” Harry asked. Seeing that they were, he continued, “If you lot are fine now, I need to ask something – do any of you know the Parable of the Cave?”

It was no surprise that it was Hermione who spoke up.

“Isn’t this a curious time to discuss philosophy?” she asked.

“I’m trying to broaden my education,” said Harry, with a touch of sarcasm. “Really, I have reason to ask.”

“Well, there are actually two versions in popular culture. One says that we only see things as tenuous images of their real nature, like shadows cast on a cave wall by some object nearer the mouth. It’s the Platonic concept of the eternal Ideas – there is an Ideal Rock or Tree, but all the rocks and trees we see in real life are just poor approximations of the perfect Form.”

Harry, Ron, Ginny and Hagrid looked at Hermione like she was daft. Even the birds seemed to have gone silent. Maxime was rather more amused at the others’ reactions.

“Well, who knows?” said Harry after several seconds. “That might be what I’m looking for, but humor me – what’s the other version?”

“The second is an allegory about learning, comparing an ignorant person to someone who has been living in a deep cave for a very long time. The long time in the darkness makes him unable to tolerate light. Education was bringing him into the light, toward the entrance. You can bring the person slowly toward the light and his eyes will adjust and grow to accept light again. But if you drag him out immediately into full light, the glare is too much for him and he will not be able to see anything. In fact, they are really different lessons from the same story, as we are all supposed to be mired in the shadow images of the physical world and in need of enlightenment so as to perceive the ultimate reality.”

“Hmm. Okay then, I can make some use of the second part – too much light blinds someone who has lived in darkness,” said Harry. “I can see that as useful – there may be a plan that can come out of that. I know the first step anyway and I’ll piece together the rest as I keep healing. If it looks do-able, I’ll go ahead with those that want to join me. If not I’ll have to start over. I need you people to do some things while I’m at it. If I can put it all together, we’ll want to act right away.”

They all nodded.

“First, keep it quiet about me working on a plan. All most people need to know is that Ron and I are okay and Voldemort escaped from me. Hey, I like the sound of that – ‘Voldemort escaped from Harry,’ not the other way around. Anyway, Hagrid, Hermione and Madame Maxime – help me out here, finding those who need help. Ginny and Ron, I need you to find Tonks and send her to me ASAP. I need her help particularly.”

Ron nodded and said, “Right, mate, how will she know how to find you?”

Harry glanced first at Hagrid and then at Maxime, then back to Ron. “Well, duh!”

“Oh, right, this team won’t be hard to spot.”

“But it is a big battlefield – we’ll be working our way south. She ought to be able to apparate to us guiding on my wands. Next, find me at least ten people with top-notch Patronuses and nerves of steel. They should also be comfortable on a broom. More if you can get ‘em. Remus, if he’s up for it –”

“You know he will be if we say it’s for you,” said Ginny.

“I’m sure we can count on him, unless the moon worries him too much. I want people who are battle-tested and have completely corporeal Patronuses. Fred and George, if they can pull themselves away from setting pranks. There should be some students as well who can handle it.”

“Are you going to include us?” asked Ron.

“After what I just got you into, I’m afraid to say yes. But we’ve all been through so much together: if you’re game, I won’t stop you.”

“Count me in,” said Ron.

“Me, too,” said Ginny.

“You can’t make me stay behind,” said Hermione.

“Is it somethin’ me and Maxime can help with?” asked Hagrid.

“We’ll be traveling by broom, Hagrid, and it will be better if everyone who goes is smaller than a dementor. Just do what you can here, okay?”

“O’ course, Harry.”

“I also want Neville – he’ll need to bring the basilisk wand. We’ll all meet at,” Harry checked his watch, “1:00 a.m. in front of the chapel. See if Reverend MacBoon will see us off with a few words. We need brooms for everyone but Neville. We want him to arrive in one piece, so he’ll ride with me. Bring my Firebolt. Tell everyone it has to be kept quiet and it will be as dangerous as anything I’ve ever done.”

Ginny laughed. “Oh, yeah, that’s a good selling point!”

Harry smiled. “Yeah, who wouldn’t jump at that? Now that’s for you and Ron, but Ron, before you do anything else, there’re a few things you need to do.”

“What’s that, Harry?”

“You need to get up to the Hospital Wing and show yourself to your family. They’ve heard you’re okay, but they need to see it. And since you’ll be up there, find out from Madam if there are any survivors up there who won’t make it without my help. I’ll want you to come right back to us with that information. But before you do that even, there’s one thing you have to do for all of us: CHANGE YOUR ROBES! You’re a hideous sight and a worse smell – between the vomit and the blood and the sweat and …,” Harry sniffed, “… Cologne!? You wore cologne to a battle?”

Ron blushed. “Well, it looked like there wasn’t going to be a battle and I was, uh, going to, erm, spend the day with ... someone.”

Harry glanced over at Hermione who was trying to look innocent, glancing around at the trees, and not doing a very good job of it, what with the blush rising on her cheeks.

“What is that scent? Eau de Flobberworm?” Harry laughed. “Right then, once I know if I’m needed at the Hospital Wing later, you can help Ginny round up volunteers. Let’s get to it.”

Feedback? - http://cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=96684


__________________
Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.
  #67  
Old May 19th, 2007, 5:16 am
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

Chapter 61 Badgering

Ginny and Ron disapparated toward the castle, while the remaining four scanned for the purple flares. They moved from person to person. Several victims Harry barely knew, a few not at all. Starting the healing magic kept getting easier and easier for Harry. He found that he could tell himself, “this is a person with family and friends, people that love him, people that would be heart-broken to lose him. This is a person with qualities and hopes and dreams all his own that make him special and wonderful.” And that was enough for Harry to find enough love in his heart to start the healing. Still the pain was always oppressive – they wouldn’t have purple flares if the injuries were not dire.

Twenty minutes later, Ron returned. “I almost needed you again; Mum liked to hug the stuffings out of me.”

Harry looked him in the eye. “Never, ever complain that you have people that care about you that much.”

“Right, mate,” Ron replied, a bit abashed. “No complaint really, just a bit embarrassing there in front of everyone in the hospital wing. I told Madame Pomfrey what was up with you. She was thrilled, of course, ‘Just like his Mum and then some – well, he’s spent enough time filling these beds, he may as well spend some time emptying them.’ She said she and Melony had about a dozen who wouldn’t make it to dawn without something more than what she can do. She wants you as soon as you can make it.”

“Well, we’ll be up pretty soon. Not many purple flares out here any more. A good many of those left are already dead.”

Ron disapparated back toward the castle. Madame Maxime called to Harry. She had found another yet-living student. Harry was surprised to see it was Dennis Creevy.

Hagrid said, “Yeh’ll never get him and his brother to stop takin’ yer picture if yeh save him.”

As Harry knelt he said, “Yeah, but I’ll do it anyway.”

As the green light glowed around Dennis’s body, Tonks showed up. Someone had given her a spare set of robes. She gasped as she saw the changes come upon Dennis’s body. She saw Harry’s body tense and writhe, and started to breathe deeper as Harry drew strength from her, Hermione, Hagrid and Maxime.

“That’s awesome, Harry, but why did I get winded there, too.”

“When I need extra strength for the healing, I draw it from those around me,” replied Harry.

“Ah, well, it’s a good cause – take what ya need,” she replied.

Dennis woke up. He looked up at Harry. “Oh, hiya, Harry. I was in a right state, wasn’t I? Did you give me a potion or something, Harry? Did you invent it yourself? Did you get a chance to fight Voldemort again? Did you …”

“Oh, shut up, Dennis!”

And for once, Dennis did.

Harry continued, a bit more patiently, “Yeah, I healed you. Film at 11.”

Dennis laughed. Being from a muggle family, he knew what the phrase meant. Harry told him to go on up to the castle to check in and see about his brother Colin in the hospital wing. Colin had not been injured badly enough that he couldn’t be moved, so he had been taken up to the castle. Harry didn’t even want to tell Dennis how he had been healed. He knew Dennis would figure it out back at the castle. There would be no stopping people talking about this new-found ability, especially with so many of those who had been guarding the injured having seen it

Once Dennis started scurrying up to the castle, Tonks spoke up. “What’dja want me for, Harry? Remembered what ya been missing? It’s a strange time for a date.”

She giggled and winked.

“I want you to be Voldemort,” said Harry.

Tonks blanched, as only a metamorphmagus can.

“Voldemort!? But why?”

“I need you to look just like him and say everything you can to get me angry, to fill me with hatred, to make me lose my cool. Follow me around as I go to heal people. Distract me, annoy me, insult me and everyone I care about. I have to be totally without the slightest trace of animosity when I go to meet him again in a few hours.”

“If you say so, but I can’t say I fancy ticking off Harry Potter while looking like Voldemort. I remember the last time when I riled you as Aunt Cissie.”

Tonks transformed her appearance into a perfect likeness of Voldemort, muttering as she did how the transformation was going to hurt. Harry realized that rather than the bitter feeling he might have had even a few hours ago about someone complaining about pain when he had gone through so much this night, he was only mildly amused at the relative absurdity of her complaint.

It was well over an hour before they got to all the injuries on the field. In addition to sorcerers, they came across Bane, the centaur, and at least a dozen goblins who would have died, and Harry healed them all. The rest they found were already dead. All those that could be evacuated had been. All the time, Tonks was saying every foul thing she could think of – insulting Harry, Harry’s father, his mother, the Weasleys, Dumbledore, Hagrid, Hermione, Sirius, Lupin, Neville, indeed everyone Harry cared for. She even insulted herself in quite graphic and grotesque terms with what Harry thought was a rather odd enthusiasm – perhaps she thought it was funny.

Finally she hit upon what she thought must have been the lowest thing of all that she could say. She went into a long rant, as Voldemort, about Harry’s mother being glad James was killed, because she desired Voldemort instead, and had begged him to do everything and anything he wanted to with her after James was killed. This did prove to be too much, but for Hagrid, rather then for Harry.

Hagrid seized her around the waist with one hand – a poor fit until he squeezed - and began to shake her violently.

“No one will speak of Lily Potter like that aroun’ me. That woman was the saintliest I…”

“Petrificus Totalis!” shouted Harry, pointing his wand at Hagrid. Then Harry levitated Hagrid so he would not fall and crush Tonks. Tonks resumed her usual shape, which left her small enough to slide out of his grasp.

Harry knelt beside her, as she collapsed. “Tonks, are you okay?”

“I don’t know, Harry. I think he did some real damage to me. I can’t really feel my legs right now. I can’t say as I blame him – I really went over the line there.”

“Nonsense – you did just as I asked.”

Harry then held her hands and, looking gently into her eyes, healed her.

“Wow, Harry, that felt better than just about anything I’ve ever known,” she said, stretching out her legs. Then added with a wink, “and you know I’ve known some pretty nice things.”

Harry smiled. “That’s good to know – everyone else has been unconscious or nearly so when I’ve healed them. I’d hate for it to hurt them.”

Tonks then kissed him warmly. “Everything seems to be back in working order. Thanks, Harry, it’s good to have a friend like you.”

“Harree,” interrupted Madame Maxime. “I think Hagreed would like to be able to move now.”

“Right, Professor, sorry. Okay. Hagrid, I’ll release the spell now, but don’t you be mad at Tonks. She was doing what I asked her to do. Finite Incantatem!”

Hagrid’s movement returned. “Sorry there, Tonks, I kind of lost my head and, well, Lily was such a special lady.”

“I understand, Hagrid. I like men who will defend a lady’s honor – well, within reason,” said Tonks.

Then Hagrid turned to Harry. “Harry, yeh really have grown strong – nobody’s ever stopped me with a single hex like that before.”

“I hated to do it to you, Hagrid, but Tonks couldn’t wait for me to reason with you,” said Harry with a shy smile.

Then he added more seriously, “Actually Tonks was closer than any of you knew,” said Harry, and the others stared at him in shock.

He nodded. “It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with these past few months. I saw it all through Voldemort’s memories. She didn’t want my father dead or anything like that. But when my father had been killed, and Voldemort was coming for me, she was willing to do anything to save me. She begged Voldemort to spare me. She offered to do anything, to be anything for him. And since he never stops using his legilemency, I know that she meant it; she would not have been just giving in but she would have acted enthusiastically – if only I could be spared. It was the closest that Voldemort had come to having a warm human emotion in his entire memory. He had so little human left to him, he couldn’t have accepted her offers anyway, even if he had been willing to spare me, but it did move him to offer to let her live, if only she would move aside so I could be killed. That was the one thing that she would not do.”

“Aw, Harry,” said Hagrid, “that image would be tough enough to carry of anyone, much less yer own mother. I’m so sorry.”

“Well, it’s helped in a way, in that I can see him better now for the sick and depraved individual he is. He’s not a machine, and while he is in some senses a ‘monster,’ he is not totally inhuman. Mostly, he is a person whose soul is twisted almost beyond recognition. And Tonks, in saying these things, has brought that out for me.”

“Well, I’m glad to help, but if you don’t mind, I’d rather not do anything like that ever again,” said Tonks.

“Absolutely. You’ve done an excellent job. I can already feel that I’ve given up virtually all of my negative feelings. And the result now is that I’m shielded from Voldemort. He cannot bear to look where there is nothing but love. Even though he knew my intentions when you started, he doesn’t understand why he can no longer see into my mind. He just knows he can’t. He is deeply disturbed by it. But - he remains open to me, and he doesn’t know that.”

They scoured the battlefield for any more survivors and asked around among the students and adults still removing the dead and those with healable wounds, but there were only a couple who were neither dead nor otherwise recoverable still left. When the area was clear of those, they returned to the castle. Tonks kept her usual form, lest she start a riot in the castle by looking like Voldemort. Harry also didn’t want to give away that he had a plan.

Feedback? - http://cosforums.com/showthread.php?t=96684


__________________
Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.
  #68  
Old May 24th, 2007, 12:24 am
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

Chapter 62 To the Test

Harry and Hermione hurried up to the Hospital Wing and asked Madam Pomfrey about the worst cases. She pointed Harry to the first one, and gave Hermione a list for the rest. The area was crowded with students, healers, the wounded, and families of the wounded. It was chaotic. Harry waved to Mrs. Weasley, sitting in a chair between Bill’s and Charley’s beds, where they were sitting up. She started toward him, a grateful, jubilant look on her face, but Harry waved her off to maintain his concentration as he approached the first patient. He was aware of her and Bill and Charley positioning themselves to see as he approached the bed and saw Professor McGonagall, near death with internal injuries from multiple stunners and cruciatus torture which Dolohov had inflicted when McGonagall was down – just for the fun of it!

Once he recognized his patient, Harry saw nothing but Professor McGonagall. He had no trouble feeling love for his head of house. She had been a surrogate grandmother to him ever since he had arrived at Hogwarts. She had protected him, chastised him, promoted him, cheered for him, disciplined him, and for all of it he was grateful and enamored. He quickly grabbed a washcloth and, rolling it up, put it between his teeth. He pulled his hood up. Almost before he sat by her bed, Hermione grabbing his shoulders to keep him up, the green light emanated from his eyes, as intensely as it had at any time all night. He was barely aware of the hush which had fallen over the cacophonous hospital wing, unconcerned whether the silence was for what he was doing or for the immense respect nearly everyone had for Minerva McGonagall. He scarcely had time to think of it, however, before the pain first of the stunners and then the cruciatus curse set in.

His entire body stiffened as if he were being electrocuted, but it was vastly more painful than that. He became very sweaty and would have screamed if he could have unclenched his jaw at all. He couldn’t count the time he was like this – he could feel the pulse of every beat of his heart and each seemed to take an hour. He just kept thinking of this woman he so loved. And then he heard his name.

“Potter? Are you alright?” he heard Professor McGonagall ask.

The pain subsided and the sense of rejuvenation returned. He blinked and removed the washcloth from his mouth, wiping his eyes and then the rest of his face with it. Now that the pain was gone, the primary emotion he had was gratitude that he could help her.

“Never better, Professor, how are you?”

“I don’t know why you’d ask? Why am I here anyway? I must see Poppy. I have things to do.”

A cheer went up around them and Professor McGonagall looked around, mystified. Someone he hadn’t noticed before from the opposite side of the bed stood up and leaned across toward him.

“Thank you, Potter,” said Professor Snape stiffly.

Harry could hardly believe hearing such words from Snape.

“She is my friend and mentor, too,” Snape continued as he extended his hand.

Harry shook his hand, and Snape’s grip was firm but not overly so – it seemed sincere. Harry was amazed. Then Snape suddenly turned and glided away as if he was afraid he would be injured by showing warmth or gratitude. As he watched, Harry was certain that in the torchlight he saw the reflection of dried tracks of tears down Snape’s cheeks.

He moved through several more, there and in the goblin clinic, and finally Hermione led him to the room where the injured Death Eaters and their allies were being ministered to and guarded. Against the far wall, he saw a too familiar silhouette standing over a bed. Draco Malfoy! Hermione was leading him in that direction, to the bedside of Lucius Malfoy.

Hermione quickly told Harry that the elder Malfoy had been backed into the area of the Whomping Willow, which whipped him badly with smaller branches before crushing his skull. He was barely alive. Hermione could see the reluctant look in Harry’s eyes and understood.

“I know what you’re thinking: after all the evil he’s done; nearly getting you killed who knows how many times; laughing as you were tortured by Voldemort; kicking poor Dobby in a way that we wouldn’t tolerate for pets; slipping the Riddle diary into Ginny’s textbook. But if you are going to heal, you have to be ready to heal everyone. And remember the message in the Egyptian shrine last year, ‘To achieve peace, practice forgiveness and goodwill.’ What does it mean if you don’t practice it with everyone? Haven’t you been working with Reverend MacBoon all year just to be able to do something like this? Somewhere behind that evil façade is a person who might have been, and might still become, a very worthy soul. Don’t you think I would provide the healing you’re being asked to do if I had your power?”

Harry looked at her, gazing into his eyes, wide-eyed and earnestly. “Yeah, I guess you would.”

“Well, you’re wrong, but that just shows you how special you are. You think I would do it because you know down deep you will, and that makes you think everyone would act like that given the chance. I maybe could have taken it for Professor McGonagall and a few others. But could I force myself to love and care as you have for our allies that we have not even personally known? No, not me. I don’t have that strength in me. And as for this lot,” she said, gesturing to the enemy fighters in their beds, “it’s all I can do to provide the care I have to. It’s my duty, so I do it, but I can’t put my heart and soul into the way your healing requires. But you think I could because you have that kind of strength.”

Harry smiled, “That stupid ‘saving-people’ thing, eh?”

“Harry, it’s not a stupid quality. It needed to be tempered a bit, and I think perhaps Sirius’s death did that for you, but it’s most certainly not stupid. It’s what makes you the great wizard I’ve always known you to be – not your power, not your derring-do, but your heart: that great soul inside that never gives up trying to make things right. Malfoy is lucky it’s you he needs, not me – or have I got you wrong?”

Harry was half-turned away, and looked past his shoulder at Lucius Malfoy. He could not afford to loathe. He would soon be facing more intense evil than Malfoy. But Malfoy had for so long been the human face of evil in their midst. And yet - how was Lucius Malfoy really that much different from Sirius? Both had been brought up being told that they were superior solely because they were ‘pure blood,’ that they were a breed apart from the rest of the wizards and far beyond any common muggle, that they were the natural lords of the earth and should cleanse it of all the vermin not like them. Harry had seen Sirius acting quite callously as a youth, and somehow he had turned away. Certainly Sirius’s mother would have preferred the attitude Malfoy exhibited to what her own son came to stand for. “Right, then,” Harry thought, “there’s a person in there little different from Sirius. I’ll do it for Sirius.” Sirius had just told him not to fight the dark with dark, but with light – that is what he would do.

As Harry approached the bedside, Draco Malfoy said, with a bitter sneer, “Potter? What are you doing here, – come to gloat? Finally got ‘im, did you? Or do you think you’ll have the chance to administer the coup de gras?”

Harry couldn’t explain what he was about to do and Draco would not have accepted any words he could say. He just looked into Draco’s eyes with gravity and sorrow, seeing not the angry, petulant, self-absorbed boy that his upbringing had made him, who had so often goaded and hurt Harry over the years, but the frightened child who loves his father, despite everything, and was terribly scared about losing him. Seeing Lucius Malfoy through Draco’s eyes helped Harry harden his resolve.

Though Harry pulled his hood forward as before, Draco could still see Harry’s face. Harry felt Hermione’s hands on his shoulders to steady him as he concentrated. Harry didn’t have to feel love – he had to will himself to love. There was much of ill-will and bad memories to overcome, but he forced himself to forgive Lucius’s misdeeds, bit by bit.

The glow was feeble at first, but it slowly deepened. He squeezed the arms of the chair as first the pain of the whipping of the branches came to him, and he felt deep welts appearing all over his body, and then the sudden crushing to his head. He heard Draco’s brief scream as Harry’s head suddenly deformed, just as Lucius Malfoy’s was. Harry felt something deeper than that – he was filled with the sense of revulsion and fear – he felt all the cruelty and disdain, all the hatred and isolation which had been the sole basis of the elder Malfoy’s existence. He felt all this, but it did not become part of him as the injuries had. No, these feelings washed over, like ocean waves against a basalt outcrop. Harry felt them, but did not take them within.

Then Lucius Malfoy’s skull returned to its proper shape. Harry was panting, and then his head too regained its proper shape. The green glow subsided, and he turned to look into Lucius Malfoy’s pale grey eyes.

Lucius Malfoy looked at him and spoke. “Potter? You – saved me? After all I’ve done to you!?”

Harry nodded slightly. He didn’t know what he could say.

“I could feel you within my mind. My injuries are gone and … I’m seeing things differently, a whole new perspective,” he said warmly and sincerely. “Thank you.”

Harry smiled and nodded again.

Then Lucius Malfoy shuddered. “Ahh, now there’s a whole new kind of pain. I feel … such shame: unh, the things I’ve done. And I am sorry; I’m sorry for it all.” He shook his head regretfully. “There are some changes to be made, aren’t there?”

“Yes, sir, Mr. Malfoy.”

“What’s going on here?” shouted Draco. “What have you done to my father?”

“Let me take it from here – Mr. Potter,” said Lucius. “I’ll talk to him, see if I can’t get him to understand.”

Lucius Malfoy reached over and took his son’s hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze that only seemed to discomfort the younger Malfoy all the more. Harry stood up and he and Hermione walked away.

(continued next post)


__________________
Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.
  #69  
Old May 24th, 2007, 12:25 am
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

Chapter 62 (continued)


She whispered to him. “Harry, what just happened? You were healing his injuries, but he seems to have changed his entire attitude. He was … decent!”

Harry explained quietly and quickly. “The injuries from the tree were not the only illness he bore. Hermione, I’ve been suspecting this over half the night. Remember how Ron could hold that spider? Can you imagine him doing that before? Madame Pomfrey heals the particular condition, but I heal the whole person. Not just their body, but all the wounds of their mind and soul. Remember what happened to my Dad – quite a jerk, not in Malfoy’s class, but bad enough. Then my mother helped to sustain his body and his attitude transformed as well. And it was in that year that followed, when she started spending time with my father and his friends, that Sirius changed as well – the next summer he didn’t even go home. And you’ve seen what happened to Neville. He was hopeless for over four years. He even said he was nearly a squib. I’ve always been fond of him and often thought how I’d like to help him along, and he’s been spectacular since I’ve been coaching the DA. Now there aren’t ten students in the school who could score on him in a duel. And Malfoy - a more diseased and malignant soul you can barely imagine. He became pleasant and … nice, and … aware of the evil he’s done.”

“Harry, are you …? Is that your plan?”

“That’s right, Hermione. The prophecy said that I would have the power to defeat the Dark Lord. He is called the Dark Lord because of the hatred that fills his mind. That darkness is a malignancy of his soul. I can defeat that hatred! That is what I have to vanquish! So what if he wants immortality – so did Nicolas Flamel. But Flamel was not filled with hatred, so he was no dark lord and went on living his happy life with Perenelle, until Voldemort set his sights on having the Philosopher’s Stone. I have been practicing all night allowing myself no other emotions but love and sympathy and kindness. I asked Tonks to try to make me mad so I could test my ability to focus on love rather than hate. A month ago, if she had said those things I probably would have drawn my wand on her, might have even hexed her. Instead, tonight I just laughed it off.

“It never has been a solution to just kill Voldemort’s body. He has too many protections wrought of Dark Magic. His spirit would return to what it was before three years ago, and someone seduced by his power and beguilements would help him recover a body again and it would all begin anew. Hatred is a sickness, a sickness of the soul. My mother gave me the ability to heal, and within me was always a great capacity to love. All the times that I’ve rushed into danger and pain to help others, I’ve exercised that capacity to love and it has grown stronger. All this healing has been tremendous for me. I don’t know if I’m truly braver than the next wizard or witch, but I’ve always felt that there was something greater than myself to fight for. Now my ability to heal can be used as a great weapon – a weapon which will not destroy a person, but will vanquish the darkness within.

“This is the culmination of my Occlumency training. Snape tried to teach me to close off all emotion, but that was wrong. It diminished me. That’s how he has approached life, but I couldn’t do that. Instead I am now filled with light. And just like in the Parable of the Cave, the Dark Lord, who has known only darkness for many decades, cannot look into the bright light that fills me. It burns him. For over an hour now, I have felt it. He can’t look within me, but I can look within him. He has been puzzling over this change and all he knows is that he cannot bear to focus on my thoughts. He has tried to find a path into my mind, but he can’t. Now he has grown very tired. He has a body now and he has worked it and his mind very hard today. I can see even now that he’s preparing a potion to restore Bellatrix, and then they will both sleep. But he’s very worried, because he can no longer see into my mind.”

By now they were out of the Hospital Wing and in a quiet corridor. Hermione gazed up into his eyes. She saw a kindness and comfort beyond anything she could ever remember. The closest she could recall is when her parents had tucked her into bed as a little girl.

“Didn’t you just fight him while looking into his mind?” objected Hermione weakly.

“Yes, but he saw into my mind as well. And this time I won’t be trying to defeat the man, but to vanquish the darkness in him.”

“It will be very dangerous.”

“You don’t have to go.”

“You know the answer to that, Harry. But don’t we all need sleep as well?” This was the last objection she could think of to his plan. If anybody else had proposed doing such a thing, she would have thought of a million problems – but this was Harry and Harry would make it happen.

“Not me,” said Harry. “You know that feeling of vitality you get when you get over a sickness or a wound. I must have gone through that recuperation over sixty times tonight. I think I can cure your tiredness as well. Look into my eyes. If this works for you, we’ll do it for all the others who need it also.”

Hermione faced him and looked up into Harry’s eyes. The green glow began and she closed her eyes. He thought of how much he loved her, how many times they had relied on each other, how she had been patient and understanding with him when he understood very little, when he raged against his fate. Soon it ended and she opened her eyes again and smiled. Harry bent his head down toward hers and gently kissed her. He held it and soon her body shivered and then shook and he felt her face get flush. She quickly began breathing deeply. She pulled away and gasped.

“Harry! We’re not like that with each other. What was that about?”

“Like what?” laughed Harry, jumping and thrusting his arms in the air in exultation. “I’m just so full of feeling good I just had to kiss someone. I’m just glad I’m not explaining all this to Hagrid. I like Hagrid, you know, but you’re a far better snog.”

She hit him in the arm, then laughed and laid her head on his chest for a second. “I’m so glad we’re excellent friends and nothing more. I don’t know if I could stand to be even more involved with someone who finds danger so readily.”

Then she cried out suddenly, “Ooh! Ow!”

“What’s the matter, Hermione?”

“It’s just, erm, womanly pains. Hey, I thought you were healing me – why do I still have cramps?”

“What’s broken?”

“Nothing I guess, but I thought you made things better?”

“I heal what’s sick. You aren’t sick. Your cramps are painful, but they aren’t a symptom of something going wrong, but of a system working correctly. Like sore muscles after a vigorous workout, some pains are not the result of things going wrong, but of things going right. I suppose I can’t tell you to enjoy your cramps, but at least they tell you that things are doing what they ought to be doing.”

“And here I thought I was going to be able to get you to keep me from having pain when I have a baby.”

“Eww, don’t invite me! I’d be too squeamish!” said Harry, laughing. “C’mon, I’m famished. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t eaten since breakfast. Let’s go see what we can scare up before heading down to meet the others.”

Before they could even go to the kitchens, however, they were interrupted by the clomping of heavy goblin shoes on the stone and Melony’s raspy voice. “Harry Potter! Please, come quick! Dobby needs you.”

“What’s the matter, Melony?”

“He’s been in bed for nearly a month now and I’m afraid he might not make it. He couldn’t take the stress of lying to you and yelling at us. Trying to manage it has been tearing him apart. It goes against everything in his being. At first he punished himself for it, but now it’s simply the inner turmoil that keeps him ill. Come help.”

The three of them rushed to Dobby and Melony’s home in the castle, where Harry quickly set to healing Dobby. When Dobby woke up, he blinked his enormous eyes.

“Thank you, Dobby,” said Harry.

“Does Harry Potter then know what we was doing?”

“Yes, Dobby. It must have been harder on you even than it was on me. We have defeated all of Voldemort’s forces but one and some dementors. We could not have done it without you and everyone else tricking that old trickster.”

“Dobby hates to lie, or to say bad things about those he loves.”

“I know, Dobby. It’s one of the things I like best about you. The lying is all over now. I’ll come talk to you later. I have an errand with some friends.”

“Thank you, Harry Potter,” said both Dobby and Melony, as they reached out to each other and held hands.

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Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.
  #70  
Old May 26th, 2007, 3:20 am
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

Chapter 63 Raiding Party

Harry and Hermione were only a few minutes late meeting the others at the front steps of the chapel. Because of the time they had spent with Dobby and Melony, they had not had a chance to get something to eat. This didn’t matter to Hermione, who had been brought food in the Hospital Wing as she worked, but Harry’s stomach rumbled with emptiness. However, there was no time to stop – this was the time to act.

As they hustled across the courtyard, they noticed that the moon, already noticeably lowering on the horizon, was casting long shadows across the courtyard where the chapel was. Waiting for them were Reverend MacBoon and 22 wizards and witches, all chattering and laughing amiably, still enthusiastic over the days’ events. There were adults, like Remus Lupin, aurors Tonks and Dawkins, Katie Bell and Fred and George Weasley, and students, fifth-, sixth- and seventh-years from every house. Harry’s very sober tone contrasted sharply with that of the group waiting for him.

“I suppose you all know why we’re here,” said Harry.

“Of course,” Katie spoke up, “because Ron and Ginny said you needed us.”

Harry rolled his eyes at Ron and Ginny. “Couldn’t you have given them a little more detail?”

“Hey, mate, you said to keep the fact that you had a plan a secret,” replied Ron.

“Well, yeah, but I meant from the rest of the school, not the people who will be risking their necks.”

The joviality of the group immediately became a grim silence.

Harry addressed them all, in the loud under-voice whisper called for by nighttime meetings and secret plans.

“I’m going to Voldemort’s headquarters. It’s a small house on an island out in the North Sea. It’s protected by a disillusionment charm, but with my connection to Voldemort, I can lead in all who choose to go with me. With the brooms I see here, it’ll take about two and a half hours. It’s guarded by dementors, so I need people who can control them. We’re also going to petrify them as we did at the battle. We will face Bellatrix Lestrange and Voldemort. If you’re willing, Neville, I’d like you to carry the basilisk wand and take Lestrange.”

Neville nodded resolutely. “Sure, Coach, but why me? I mean, I understand about the basilisk wand, since I’m the only one here who can’t conjure a patronus, but we have better duelists here than me.”

Harry nodded back. “Perhaps. It’s very close amongst the best anyway. Ron had his turn today: he’s done his part. And I reckon you’ve a score to settle with her. Besides, I’ve got a special plan for dealing with her – I’ll tell you about it as we fly. You’ll just have to tolerate a broom.”

“If you’re asking, Harry, then I’m ready.”

“Harry,” said Lupin, “don’t they expect us already? Voldemort sees into your mind, after all.”

“Not any more. I’ve found a way to close my mind to him,” said Harry quietly.

There was an excited whispering, and then Tonks said, “Can I tell them, Harry?”

“Of course, Tonks – you were critical to getting me there.”

“He’s learned to push all the negative thoughts out of his mind – nothing but love is left. Voldemort can’t stand to look into his mind that way.”

The hubbub was even more intense. Cameron smiled.

“But Harry,” said Luna Lovegood, “how can you be filled with love and set out to kill someone.”

“I don’t intend to kill him – I intend to heal him.”

The murmuring was even more intense and not entirely positive.

Ted Nott looked at him suspiciously. “Did I just hear you say you were going to heal the Dark Lord? Do you want to explain that?”

“Of course. I don’t want anyone along who doesn’t understand what he – or she - is getting into. First off, it wouldn’t do to just kill his body. He’s got the same protections he did during the first war to protect him. Someday someone would be seduced by the power he wields and help him return. Also if I went with the intention to kill, my mind would be open to him; then we would be equal fighters again, and just fight to a stalemate. Ask Ron or Ginny what that’s like – they saw it. To truly defeat him, the sickness in his soul must be healed. The healing gift I discovered tonight heals more than just bodies. Ron proves it – he used to lose control around spiders and tonight he was playing with them.”

“So that’s what it was!” exclaimed Ron. “I thought it was strange to be playing with them, but they didn’t seem so horrible anymore.”

“And after Harry healed Lucius Malfoy’s injuries,” added Hermione, “he became gracious, sweet even, and contrite!”

“That viper!?” said Nott. “You wouldn’t believe some of the nasty things I’ve overheard him plotting. If you can turn him around, Harry, then I reckon you can do it.”

“Well, I’m not going to kid you people. He’s not going to just lie down and invite me to do it. He’ll fight in every way possible. Hopefully we’ll have the dementors disposed of already, since he’s gone to bed thinking he can have a long sleep and start plotting again tomorrow. But if not, you may find yourselves having to defend from stray spells while maintaining your patronuses. He’ll be as dangerous as any wild animal when it’s cornered. He won’t trust that I don’t intend to harm him. I can’t say as I would believe it either. I don’t want anyone there who doesn’t want to face that kind of danger. I absolutely will not think less of anyone who leaves.”

“Harry,” said Fred, “if you fail, we’ll all be goners eventually anyway, especially this crowd. I’d rather see how the book’s going to end sooner rather than later.”

“Thanks, George – or is that Fred? Darn, it’s too dark out here,” said Harry, as the rest laughed.

“Seven years!” said George, “and he still can’t tell us apart!”

“There’s one last thing. A battle is always unpredictable. If it should happen that he gets the upper hand on me, I want you all to promise me to kill me before he gets the chance. That will destroy him, but only if someone besides him kills me.”

Luna stepped a bit forward, her eyes rimmed in tears in a rare show of emotion. “Harry, how can you ask that of us? Even if I got the chance, I don’t think I could ever have the intention to make the magic work.”

“We can’t afford to let Voldemort survive, no matter what it takes. I’ve had my hard times, but I’ve had beautiful times in my life, and wonderful friends. I am not afraid to die. Death is but the next great adventure. If you cannot promise me this, I can’t let you come along.”

One by one, they each regretfully, quietly, promised. Remus shook his head, saying, “When James and Lily went into hiding, I promised them that if anything happened to them, I would look out for you. And here I am promising to kill you. When we get back, I’m going to kick your arse for putting us through this.”

Harry smiled at him. “If we both get back, you’re welcome to do it.”

“Reverend MacBoon is going to say a few words now,” said Harry, “and anyone who wants to can just slip away easy. No guilt, no blame, no questions. It’s too dangerous for anyone but true volunteers. Reverend?”

“Right, Harry,” said Cameron. “First, I’d like us all to pray together, at least those of you who would like to. Those that would, could we join hands?”

He said a prayer of thanks for a battle that went as well as could be hoped, for those who had been killed, for those who were still recovering, and for the safety and success of those going on the mission. Then he allowed a full minute of silence for personal prayers.

After the prayer, Cameron continued. “I’d like also to share a few scriptures to contemplate on your long ride. The first is the 23rd Psalm, attributed to King David, who spent his early years as a humble shepherd boy, and found the image of the way the shepherd cares for his sheep comparable to how God watches over all of us: ‘The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever’.”

There was a thoughtful whispering, and the phrase ‘Valley of the Shadow of Death’ was overheard being repeated. After this Cameron turned to the next passage he had marked. He continued, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”

“Peacemakers,” said Remus, closing his eyes, “I like the sound of that.”

Cameron turned to the third passage, but chose to explain the setting before he read it. “When Jesus was preaching, there were those who would try to trick him by showing that his teaching contradicted the religious rules of their society. One day they brought before him in the temple a woman. Then the passage reads ‘And they said unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us that such should be stoned, but what do you say? Jesus stooped down and wrote with his finger in the dirt, as if he had not heard them. But they persisted, demanding a response, and he rose up and said to them, He among you who is without sin, let him cast the first stone at her. Then he stooped again and resumed writing in the dirt. And those who had heard, convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the eldest, until all were gone, leaving Jesus and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus stood again, he saw none but the woman and asked her, Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you? She replied No man, Lord. Then Jesus replied, Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.’”

Finally Cameron read, “In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. He was in the beginning with God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn't make. Life itself was in him, and this life gives light to everyone. The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”

“I think another few minutes for silent prayer or reflection are in order.”

They all bowed their heads and after a couple of minutes, Cameron said “Amen,” and they all added their amens. Harry was standing silently, staring off into the distance, and the others looked at him for a sign that they should get going.

Hermione spoke up. “I’ve seen him like this, last year at the Egyptian shrine. We can get going. Harry? Ready to go?”

Harry glanced around at all of them and nodded without breaking his train of thought and mounted his broom. He waited for the rest to mount theirs, and for Neville to get on Harry’s broom behind him. Then he kicked off, still deep in thought, and the rest followed right behind. None had left. They soared silently eastward into the dark.

(to be continued)

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Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.
  #71  
Old May 30th, 2007, 11:50 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

When they got within twenty miles of Voldemort’s island, Harry motioned for them all to fly near each other so he could give final instructions.

“We’ll come in 5 to 10 feet over wave level. I’ll know if Voldemort’s awake, but not Lestrange. She shouldn’t be: she just got her restorative potion about 4 hours ago. They’re both tired and need rest. The last thing they expect is a counterattack on an unplottable island. Staying low will protect us from spells until we are very close. I’ll take the lead; we’ll all have to form a chain so I can lead you past the island’s disillusionment charm. The rest of you handle the dementors – herd them up and then create an opening in Neville’s direction so he can petrify them. If Lestrange is already out, I’ll handle her. Once the dementors have all been petrified, if Lestrange is still able to fight, Neville will take the lead, but you can all help – just don’t hurt each other. I don’t suppose you have to be convinced to leave Voldemort to me. Once the dementors and Lestrange are out of it, get out – back to Scotland and Hogwarts. Leave me with Voldemort. Ron, you can take Neville.”

“Sorry, Harry, that’s the one part I can’t do. Neville can go with someone else that wants to go, but I’ve stood with you this far, and I won’t be leaving,” said Ron.

The others all insisted on staying as well.

“Besides, Harry,” added Hermione, “with your ability to draw strength from others, you might need us if a spell gets through – we don’t know how far away is too far for that.”

“Alright then,” agreed Harry reluctantly, “but if things start to turn bad, remember you have promised to kill me. And Voldemort won’t accept healing graciously, so hide yourselves as well as you can while I’m facing him.”

The island was a small rocky outcrop, too inaccessible and lacking in natural supplies to meet human needs to even serve as a seasonal fishing outpost, not that the jagged rocks all around it would allow fishing vessels to approach. Near constant wind and frequent storms kept any soil from forming, so if there was any native life on it, it was no more than lichens and well-anchored sealife. It didn’t even provide sufficient cover for nesting seabirds or an accessible shore for seals.

The night was extremely dark – the moon had set, so they had only starlight. The starlight, however, was remarkably brilliant since they were so far from manmade light sources. Even in the rural highlands of Scotland, where Hogwarts was, there was enough manmade light – natural and magical – to reduce the full glory of the stars, but here a person could appreciate the name Milky Way for the star-bejeweled beltway that is our own galaxy as well as the innumerable other stars to either side. And yet the stars seemed lonely, in all their profuse numbers, due to their vast separation from each other.

Because of the darkness, they couldn’t tell how many dementors were there. Harry had told them there were about a hundred dementors, but Voldemort had never precisely counted them himself. Harry and his friends came in and set down silently.

The dementors, having spent long months on the island without any souls with positive emotions available, were ravenous and stampeded toward the group. The invaders could see the onrushing herd and summoned their patronuses; Harry conjured a wind to blow between them and the house so as to minimize the chance that Voldemort and Bellatrix would hear the spells. There were a few so rattled by the onslaught that they could not produce their patronus at first, but on seeing that the other patronuses were in control, they soon overcame that fear, at least enough to conjure their own patronuses.

Neville gave a soft whistle so they knew which way to create an opening. There were several flying patronuses, such as Cho’s swan, Nott’s raven, Lovegood’s luna moth and Parkinson’s vampire bat, that kept the dementors from floating over the barrier of patronuses. When the dementors made their way through the gap, there was Neville with the basilisk wand. As each dementor was petrified, the gap was moved enough to let the next one through. Neville had to keep backing as they kept coming along, prodded by patronuses from behind. Soon there was a closely-spaced hedgerow of petrified dementors.

When they got down to the last ten or so dementors, Neville called quietly to Harry, who was overseeing the process from a high point to the east and could only be seen in the pre-dawn dark for the starless outline he made against the sky, “Now, Harry?”

Harry nodded. “Now, Neville.”

At this point, Neville began shouting ‘petrify’ each time he pointed the wand at another dementor. Although this was not a proper spell and dementors cannot be stopped with a petrification charm, it served its purpose. Lestrange, who had normal ears as opposed to Voldemort’s internal snake ears, was awakened by the shouts. As Harry, Ron and the others had discussed on the flight, she had been asleep and so was still groggy from that, the injuries, and the restorative potion. Clearly she knew something was up and she rushed out with her wand, certain that she would be able to handle the intrusion and unwilling to wake her exhausted master. Harry had explained to them on the way that Voldemort had not revealed to her that he could no longer see into Harry’s mind; as a result, she would think Voldemort would be aware if Harry had come.

Harry crouched out of sight when he heard the creaking of the door and the running footsteps from the house. Lestrange didn’t seem so intimidating in just her knickers, house clogs, and a pink robe she hadn’t taken the time to tie. She stopped for a few seconds, wand at the ready, as she peered about. Seeing in the shine of the patronuses that their guard was being petrified, she ran again toward Neville and, pointing her wand at him, she yelled, “Expelliarmus.”

Neville and Harry had discussed just this possibility. In fact, it was just what they had hoped and prepared for. If she had used any other spell, Harry would have blocked it. Being braced for it, Neville could have resisted. Instead rather than resisting, he made sure the wand slipped out of his hands tip first as he was thrown back. He caught himself with his hands and got some fairly deep cuts from the rough stone. Lestrange triumphantly grabbed the wand to make sure Neville would have no chance to retrieve it and use it. Like a baseball player watching the ball nestle into his glove to make sure it is properly caught, she kept her eye on the wand as it flew to her hand. Consequently, she never realized that she had just brought herself face-to-face with a basilisk behind a crystal. She was immediately petrified, in battle stance, with left hand up to hold her own wand, her right hand up to hold the basilisk wand, and her face frozen in a maniacal stare.

Neville was thrown back, but looked up and in the starlight and patronus glow saw her frozen face. He started to laugh uncontrollably. It was rabid in intensity, such that the rest became concerned that he had become quite unhinged. The rest let their patronuses evaporate as they watched him laugh. However he sobered up immediately when Voldemort appeared.


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__________________
Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.
  #72  
Old June 2nd, 2007, 3:37 am
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

Chapter 64 The Final Showdown


Voldemort ran out from the house, yelling at Neville, the only one immediately in sight in the predawn darkness, “You have lost me my servant, boy!”

Voldemort quickly drew his wand, but Harry apparated in front of him, causing him to draw up short. With an easy smile, Harry called out like he was meeting a neighbor, “Hello, Tom, long time, no see.”

Neville wasted no time ducking behind the petrified dementors. The others followed suit, peeping out from behind. Voldemort was visibly shaken at Harry’s presence and calm manner.

“Potter! How is it we aren’t seeing into each other’s minds? The spell is not completed until one of us is dead.”

Harry knew enough not to tell him the whole answer, so he pleasantly replied, “I decided to close my mind to you. But if it makes you feel better about the spell, I can still see into your mind. I knew you were asleep, I knew that you were worried, and I knew that you hadn’t warned your pet that you could no longer see into my mind” Harry tilted his head, “ - AND I know that you are afraid.”

Voldemort glared at him, peering intently, trying as hard as he could to use either legilemency or the scar connection he was so accustomed to relying on. Harry gave him the chance to try and smiled benignly. Harry could feel Voldemort’s reaction as he tried to look into Harry’s mind – it hurt like trying to look into a floodlight.

Realizing his efforts were futile, Voldemort said, “Potter, we’ve just fought – neither gained the upper hand – why did you come here? Did you think there was something to negotiate?”

“Hmm - a magical contract perhaps? My uncle used to laugh that contracts were made to be broken, and that they only last as long as both sides prefer what they are getting out of them to the alternative. I know you all too well, Tom; you are resourceful enough to find a way to break the charms of a magical contract and go back to your old ways. Besides, we haven’t all that much time as separate beings. All too soon, what separation there is will collapse.”

“Then why are you here – we’re matched. Neither can kill the other, it seems.”

“We fought to a draw before because we could each see each other’s thoughts and act in anticipation. Now only I see into your mind, so I have the advantage.” Harry paused to let the affect of that change in circumstances sink in. “But you needn’t be so afraid - I’m not here to kill you: I’m here to help you.”

“What do you mean by that, Potter?” hissed Voldemort, very obviously rattled.

“You’ve been sick for a long time, Tom. You have been filled with hatred ever since you discovered you were a wizard stuck in a muggle orphanage because your muggle father rejected your witch mother and she failed to get you to a wizarding family before she died. I understand that: I hated the muggle home I was raised in, too. But now I don’t. I understand that they fear magic. And I forgive and accept them for who they are. I was lucky enough to find friends and counselors that helped me see beyond the hate: for whatever reason you were not open to such help. Now I have come to heal you of your hatred. This will also sever the curse between us, for the healed you will not be the same person who cast it.”

“You still think there are such things as ‘hatred’ and ‘love’? You fool! There is only self: when you have power, you take what you want and use whom you have a use for; when you don’t have sufficient power, you protect yourself until you have the power to destroy those who would stop you. To think otherwise is vain. Go then with your sentimentality and leave me alone.”

“You know I can’t do that, Tom,” said Harry benignly. “You have hurt people, and left to your ways, you will continue to. You will continue to try to find ways to kill me. Besides, it is not too long before the final breakdown which will kill one or both of us. I do not desire to destroy you, but I will cure the sickness in your heart.”

Voldemort screamed, “There’s nothing wrong that killing you won’t cure!”

Voldemort flicked his wand at Harry’s feet and a chasm opened up, but before it had even begun to open, Harry had apparated behind him.

“Nice, one, Tom. Some of my friends used that today on your soldiers. But I knew what you were going to do. Relax and let me heal you.”

Voldemort disapparated to a nearby rock and summoned stones on the other side of Harry, but Harry had already conjured a magical shield which deflected all the rocks over Harry to where Voldemort had gone. He in turn disapparated out of the way.

“This is futile, Tom. Relax and let me heal you.”

Next, Harry was attacked with a rapid succession of deadly or disabling curses. Harry reflected those that could be back at Voldemort, and converted the rest or disapparated effortlessly out of the way. As Voldemort scurried to avoid his own reflected curses and to locate Harry to send another curse at him, Harry laughed gently at the efforts. After a reflected cutting curse caught the edge of his leg, Voldemort paused, panting heavily.

“You’re bleeding, Tom,” observed Harry sympathetically. There wasn’t a hint of taunt or sarcasm to the comment, nothing to say other than genuine concern. “Relax and let me heal you.”

“Half-blood scum!”

Harry chuckled. “No more than you, but I’m stronger in that I don’t consider it to be a matter to be ashamed of. Let me heal you of your shame as well.”

Then Harry felt Voldemort searching for a weakness and thinking naturally of Harry’s friends. It would be hard for Harry to protect them, even though he knew the attacks as soon as they were thought of.

“Get off the island!” Harry screamed to his friends.

Voldemort summoned a tidal wave from behind where the others were, such that it either dash them against the rocks or wash them out to sea. But they were quick and resourceful as well. Some of them used Wingardium Leviosa to lift parts of the wall of water so it passed above them, letting it crash on the far side. Others used Thermo to vaporize other parts into steam. Ted Nott, trusting that his comrades would handle the water and wanting to use the distraction, ignored the wave and wound an arm around a petrified dementor’s arm to avoid being washed away as he shouted “Petrificus Totalis” and aimed his wand at Voldemort.

Voldemort blocked the spell and advanced on Nott. They were too close to each other for Harry to block the spell when he aimed his wand and hissed “Avada Kedavra.” However, Harry had sent a spell to levitate a petrified dementor even before the killing curse had been pronounced and it was brought in front of Nott, intercepting the curse just in time. The dementor began to shimmer and evaporate, releasing all of the souls it had ever extracted from their bodies. The souls were rather ghostlike, and yet they were more substantial than ghosts when they were first released and began to fade as they went on to their proper existence. As each was released from the dementor, it got a joyous look of relief on its face and then rushed toward Voldemort, who showed his growing terror with each one, before each disappeared.

The wave conquered, the others each took cover behind a dementor, carefully keeping an eye on Voldemort as the souls rushed at him. As the destroyed dementor finally evaporated completely, Tonks snapped her fingers, and then pointed her wand toward Voldemort, shouting “Expecto Patronum.”

Tonks’s sheep charged at Voldemort, jumping at him. Within seconds the others had also cast their patronuses, which surrounded Voldemort, leaping and flapping at him, blocking his vision and his wand. As soon as he destroyed one with a spell it would be replaced. Harry approached and was allowed by the patronuses to get close enough to begin the healing process. As the green light began to fall on Voldemort, Harry could feel Voldemort seeking deep in the most convoluted recesses of his mind. Harry had never seen a need to explore this portion, but Voldemort had stored a thought magically sealed out of conscious ken which was designed to elicit fear and loathing in Harry, to raise his most visceral and instinctive feelings and resentments. It was stored so as to cause a reflexive response, like an instinct – an action bypassing conscious thought so Harry could not prepare for it.

Voldemort apparated to the low rise from which Harry had overseen the petrification of the dementors, and Harry followed, so that he was facing his friends as well, as he attempted to continue the healing. The patronuses, too, gave chase. Voldemort dropped to his knees and screamed, “Forgive me, Master Severus, I have failed you!”

Harry was momentarily stunned, frozen by the doubt in his mind that perhaps Snape was the true Dark Lord and Voldemort just his servant. Voldemort seized the opportunity – he wheeled around shouting “Avada Kedavra” and pointed his wand at Harry. The bright green spell shot from his wand and as it reached Harry, every one of the raiding party groaned and collapsed, many passing out. However, instead of striking Harry, the spell stopped and held in place.

At first the green light of the spell held stationary between Voldemort’s wand and Harry’s chest and then it climbed up both their bodies until it was a bright green rope connecting both by their foreheads, passing right through Harry’s scar. As it rose it became filled with scintillations that had come out of both of them, and they both realized that this was the power they shared. The Avada Kedavra curse cast over sixteen years earlier was now going to complete itself. They must vie for control of the shared power. And so they both focused their minds on pulling it to them.

They strained and tugged with all their will and might, and at first nothing happened. Then the scintillations started to shift. They started to flow, very slowly at first, toward Voldemort. Harry pulled ever more desperately but they continued their inexorable flow to Voldemort. Harry felt himself being crushed down, even as he struggled with all the strength of his mind and spirit. Harry tried thinking of the people he loved, but it did not give him the extra strength he needed.

The morning twilight started to give Harry a view of the island, and he noticed all his friends still cowering behind the dementors, peeping out. He was sickened that they had not fled and he wanted to scream out to them to escape or kill him, but he could not. He started to look at them, but then he caught himself. He could not bear to look at them: he realized that they must be filled with terror and he was too weak to suppress legilemency. He couldn’t bear to look.

“And so should they be,” he heard Voldemort thinking with a chuckle. “Yes, Potter, your defense is broken. You are filled with fear now and I see your plan. Your friends should be filled with terror, for I will punish them most severely for their defiance of me. Those that can submit to my Imperius may be allowed to live, after suitable chastisement. I need new servants after all. The rest will be killed – after they have suffered suitably. How they must loathe you, Potter, for leading them to this horrible fate. It is, after all, what awaits all who defy me – your parents, the Prewetts, the Longbottoms, the Boneses, so many, many more who have received what is the true reward of those who refuse me. Let’s take a look, shall we? You are facing them – read their fear!”

“No,” Harry shouted in his mind, “I won’t!”

But he could not resist. He was too weak from all that he had lost. Voldemort took control of his body and forced him to look at his friends and read their feelings. There Harry saw it – yes, there was terror, terror such as he had never seen, terror without bottom - but it was not at all the terror or hatred Harry expected, and there was something else.

When Harry realized the nature of their fears, he suddenly understood. Then Harry felt a hand supporting him and lifting him, not by any one part of his body, not even his body so much as his soul. Harry heard a voice ringing through him.

“Come,” the voice said. It was neither male nor female, neither old nor young. Harry couldn’t even say that ‘hearing’ was the right word to describe how he received it.

“Who are you?”

“The word Counselor will do, or perhaps Guide.”

“A guide? For whom?”

“For you,” the voice answered mirthfully.

“Then from whom?” thought Harry.

“From all that is. Come.”

“I’d really like to, but I’m rather busy here, fighting Voldemort.”

“You cannot do it by yourself. I have come to help - let me take your burden.”

“But … I ‘m supposed to vanquish him.”

The voice of the guide laughed gently. “Fret not, Harry, and be not vain. If it is to be, it will be through you, but you need help. Everyone does. All beings rely on each other. Your friends have helped you this far. Now you need my help. At this moment, all things are possible.”

“But … the prophecy.”

“Accept that you need help. You are falling into the trap that ensnares so many of those who come so far on the path of practicing love: you have learned to help others, but not to accept help. You have heard ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive,’ and you have given of yourself magnificently. But it is also blessed to receive, when you have needs, and you give of yourself also in accepting help when needed. It is prideful to deny you have needs and it deprives those others who would do so of the blessings of giving what they can. Martyrdom is only good when there is no other good choice. Let me relieve you of your burden.”

Still Harry hesitated and the voice said, “Let go. It is time.” Harry let go.

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Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.
  #73  
Old June 8th, 2007, 9:43 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

Chapter 65 – Treasure in Heaven

Harry began to relax and he felt the crushing burden of Voldemort bearing down on him lifted. It felt to Harry that the Guide had taken it from him as lightly and lovingly as a parent pulling back covers in a crib to lift a newborn infant. Harry allowed himself to be taken where the voice would have him go. He felt himself leaving his body behind; no, not quite leaving it – expanding beyond it. He expanded beyond the snake-headed man he had been struggling against; he expanded beyond his friends and the island where they all huddled together in terror: he expanded beyond the sea and the Earth and all the stars in their limitless profusion. As he expanded, he encompassed them. He lost all bearing.

“Where are you taking me?”

“Nowhere really, or rather everywhere. To show you things, the things you should see. See now – with your spirit rather than your eyes.”

Everything around Harry had become totally black as he had expanded and then as he allowed his mind to perceive what it could, he began to see a gauziness all around him and through him. It was very dim and insubstantial, but had a definite presence nonetheless. He began to hear a faint music, much like phoenix song, but more so – more strengthening, more hopeful, eternal, the spirit of love reverberating through all Creation. Then as his perceptions adjusted further, he began to see innumerable splendid, shining threads thinner than gossamer, more fine and profusely interconnected than the axons of brain cells. He knew, though he did not know how he knew, that this was something infinitely precious.

The voice explained. “Beings reach out to each other and connect with each other, some intensely with a few others, some to very many. On the spiritual plane, such connections are tangible. Beings’ very reality and existence in the end depends on their connections with each other.”

“The threads are our friendships, and loves, and …?” Harry was at a loss to describe all he thought was meant.

“Yes, that and much more – the kindness and charity we exercise toward others. ‘That which you have done to the least of these, you have done as well for Him.’ The love we share and the good we do toward others is this treasure laid up in heaven, all the more precious when given without thought of return or reward on earth.”

“But, if these are the connections between beings, then at the ends, there must be …” began Harry, as he followed one group of strands to their terminus, and found a tiny pinpoint of light. Then looking through it all, he began to see all the little dots of light throughout. They looked rather like the stars, but they were vastly, vastly more numerous and somehow he knew they were more substantial and far more precious.

“Souls?” he asked, to confirm his perception.

“Yes, souls - of all the beings, where the essence of the universe runs stronger and brighter,” said the voice. “Look over there.”

Harry saw one such pinpoint of light which appeared to be connected to more than any others he had noticed. It was no brighter than any others, but it heartened Harry to see it so thoroughly connected to so many others. It made him feel like laughing for joy. Then his attention was drawn to one particular thread running from it, a thread that was somehow more beautiful and precious than all the others. It led a terribly long distance to another pinpoint of light, no brighter or dimmer than any of the others, although it stood out prominently for being so distantly separated from the others. Harry perceived that it was receding at a tremendous pace and the thread was stretching behind it. It filled Harry with a profound sense of sadness.

“Who …?”

“Tom Riddle.”

“He only reaches out to one person?”

“No, Harry,” intoned the voice solemnly. “He reaches out to no one. Only one person would reach out to him.”

“Only one would …? Then that one is …” Harry was glancing back toward the very-interconnected point.

“Yes, Harry. That is you – you have reached out in care to everyone in need – friend and foe alike.”

Harry looked back to Voldemort’s pinpoint, barely flickering. “What will happen to him?”

“Even now, you care? But of course, I knew you did. Without connection, he will cease, he will have no more meaning or significance. He will not go on, nor return to the Source. He will simply end.”

Harry looked toward Tom Riddle’s pinpoint and felt a horrifying pity. And before his eyes, the thread disconnected and the pinpoint winked out. Harry suddenly felt an incredible sadness from the Guide.

“It was hoped that he would accept the Truth, that all beings are precious, but none more so than any other. The joy would be great over the return and reconciliation of so prodigal a son. Instead, he shattered. He was too brittle to accept being just one among many, no more or less important than any other. And so he has ceased.”

Then Harry felt himself shrinking. He lost sight of the threads, and the pinpoints, and the gauziness; he shrank down and down until he found himself back in his own body, lying on the ridge of the island. Everything had gone silent until he began to hear the sounds of seabirds, waves and weeping. The warm sunshine felt good; the jagged rocks he lay on hurt him, the moist drops falling on his face soothed him. As wondrous as his experience with the Guide had been, this was where he belonged and it was good to feel.

Harry’s head was turned to the side. He barely opened his eyes a slit. Every fiber of his body was aching and it hurt to move anything, even so much as his eyelids. Hermione was leaning over him, crying. He could hear others around crying as well. With effort, he forced his hand to move a bit. The edge of Hermione’s robe was over his hand, so he caught the edge of it and gave a feeble tug. She started to look toward it and gasped.

“I’m thirsty,” Harry feebly rasped. It hurt to even breathe enough to say this, or to move his tongue and lips to make the words.

“Harry!” Hermione screamed joyously and threw herself on him, kissing him all around his face. The others, too, started screaming and piling on to celebrate. Every muscle and joint in Harry’s body felt like it would snap and be ground to powder, but Harry accepted it. He could take some pain for the people he loved.

Once the hubbub had calmed a bit, Harry was able to whisper, “Where is he?”

“Harry,” answered Hermione, “after you collapsed, the spell kept going for what seemed the longest time. But all of a sudden, he just disappeared. Several of us ran up here. I started checking your pulse and your breath and I couldn’t find anything.”

“I checked where he had been,” said Ron, “but all I could find in his robes was his wand, a few bones, a shriveled hand missing a finger, and some brown dust.”

Harry rasped sadly, “I thought I could still heal him.”

Ron laughed, and then said with both admiration and a little exasperation, “You know, Harry, it took Dumbledore until he was over 100 to get that crazy.”

Harry forced a weak smile. “I must be in the NEWT class in insanity."

“Harry, can you get up?” asked Remus. “I can’t believe you’re comfortable lying on those rocks.”

“Give me a hand, gently, I hurt terribly,” said Harry, as Remus and Dean Thomas bent and took Harry’s hands and slowly pulled him upward. Harry was unsteady on his feet and grasped Remus’s robe to steady himself.

“Oi, mate,” said Dean. “You’re the healer, can’t you heal yourself?”

“I can’t move enough to even try.”

“You said you were thirsty?” asked Dawkins. “What’s in the bottle you had with you?” Dawkins bent down and picked up a small green bottle and a brown-wrapped package from where Harry had been lying. “Looks like a wine bottle,” he said.

Harry barely shook his head. “I didn’t bring wine,” he rasped.

Dawkins tapped the top of the bottle with his wand and the cork gently eased out. He took the cork and gave a sniff. “Smells like wine to me,” he said. “Really good wine at that.” Handing the brown package to Tonks, he said, “Here you go, Harry.”

Then he raised it to Harry’s lips to help Harry drink. Harry drank deeply and kept drinking. He was surprised at how much the bottle held. It warmed him and made him feel whole and peaceful. When he had enough, he stopped the flow and nodded. He could still barely move, but he felt like he was recuperating. Dawkins lowered the bottle and put the cork back in the top.

“Are you hungry, Harry?” asked Tonks.

“Yes, famished. Did you bring something?”

“Not me – that package you had is a loaf of crusty bread.” She broke off a bite and put it in his mouth.

Harry chewed it deliberately and savored it. “That’s good. More, please.” She kept breaking off chunks and feeding him. When he nodded, she stopped and wrapped up the bread again.

“Hey, Potter,” said Dawkins, holding up the bottle. “I thought you were thirsty – this bottle’s full.”

“Really? I drank more than I thought the bottle would hold. It must be a magic wine bottle. What does the label say?”

“Let’s see, it says, ‘So long as I am shared, all who thirst shall be satisfied’.”

“Well, it says to shared,” said Harry. “Pass it around. I’m sure most of you are thirsty, too, after that long flight and the battle, and it makes you feel wonderful.”

“Harry,” said Tonks, “The label on the bread says ‘Wholeness comes, so long as I am shared.’ Look at this – the loaf is complete again.”

“I guess we should do as it says and share it, but I don’t think it is just itself that it makes whole. I am feeling my body healing as we speak,” said Harry, and the loaf was passed around, and they all took as much as they needed. When the loaf came around to Tonks again, it was still a whole loaf.

Tonks wrapped up the bread again and took the bottle from Dawkins. She helped Harry put them in a couple of inner pockets of his robes. “Here, Harry. It seems these were meant for you.”

“I’m just the caretaker. They were meant for anyone who needs them.” Then Harry looked around to his friends. “We have to get Lestrange back to the Ministry. Tonks, she’s your kin: how about you and Remus taking her?”

“It was bad enough playing HIM last night,” she replied, then added with a sigh, “but I owe you too much to say no.”

Then Fred and George, who had been whispering and giggling in the back stepped forward, and George said, “We’ll get her back to Hogwarts, Harry. From there the aurors can collect her by Floo.”

“Why am I suspicious of offers from you two? You’ll get her to Hogwarts?”

They nodded, grinning.

“In one piece?”

They nodded.

“You’re not going to DO anything to her?”

“Harry, if you can’t trust us who can you trust?” said Fred. Harry enjoyed laughing along with the others at that.

“Anyway, Harry,” said George, “What’s it to you, really? How many times would you have been willing to kill her? Ron said you were none too gentle with her yesterday.”

“That was to serve a purpose. Now she’s helpless, so we have a responsibility.”

“Ron’s right, you are crazy,” said George, “but I like the ways you’re crazy.”

Harry accepted this with another pained smile. “Maybe the Ministry will decide to just keep her as she is - that’s out of my hands - but we’ve won, and we should at least act with some dignity about it. Ach, what am I thinking, talking to you two about dignity?”

They grinned, then said together, with hands over their hearts, “That hurts, Harry Potter – no one’s more dignified than we.”

“Well, if the twins are going to take her, then you’re off the hook, Tonks. But I think when you get back, you and Dawkins ought to take care of her. For a couple of aurors, she should be quite a prize to bring back. For now you can wrap up Riddle’s remains – the hand should be offered to Pettigrew’s mother, that’s all that will be left for a burial. The other bones should be taken to the cemetery in Little Hangleton and buried in the grave marked Thomas Riddle. I’ll take the wand and discuss what to do with it with Dumbledore.”

Then Harry turned to Luna Lovegood. “Can you get some sea water, Luna?”

“Sure, Harry,” she said, conjuring a bucket with a long rope, which she used to draw the bucket back in after tossing it into the sea.

When Luna brought the sea water, Harry told Neville to lay the basilisk wand on the ground. Then everyone closed their eyes, while Luna poured sea water over the wand. The wand turned into a rooster, while the basilisk popped free. The rooster immediately began crowing at the dawn sun, killing the basilisk. Hermione conjured a protective cover around the basilisk so it could be studied later. Hannah Abbott offered to carry the rooster back to Hogwarts.

“Well, then,” said Harry, checking his watch, “Darn, it’s frozen.” Then he looked at the height of the sun. “I think you’ll all have just about enough time to make it back to Hogwarts before the Final Feast, given that Fred and George won’t be able to travel so fast with their passenger suspended. Neville and I have an errand to run, so we might be a bit late, even though we can travel as fast as my broom will go. I’ll keep in touch with Remus by mirror. It’d be nice if we can all arrive together, but if not, you can report in ahead of me.”

“Harry, what kind of errand do we have to run?” asked Neville.

Harry smiled. “I’d rather not say. Just trust me – you won’t regret it.”

“I do trust you, Harry, but can we use the Floo network this time. I’d even take being apparated.”

“Sorry, Neville, I need the time to think about what’s happened here this morning. Besides, I’m feeling a bit shaky, so I don’t want to try apparating so far with a person. Can you bear with me for a few more hours of flight time?”

Neville sighed. “If you say so, Coach.”

“Harry, are you up to flying? You’re still not moving so well,” asked Hermione.

“I can handle a broom, and I’m healing, so I think I should be as good as new by the time I see you all again.”

Remus then asked, “Before you go, Harry, are you going to tell us what was going on that whole time when the green light was holding between you two?”

Harry creakily put a hand on Lupin’s shoulder and looked him gently in the eye. “I’m not ready at the moment. It was … I need to think it through. Just let me say this for now: for whatever guilt you may have felt over the ‘phony curse’ deception everyone kept up all year, for the lies that were told, and for setting up a situation as dangerous as this past day has been, to the extent you think you may need my forgiveness, you have it. That goes for all of you. Be at peace.”

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__________________
Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.
  #74  
Old June 15th, 2007, 11:39 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

Chapter 66 Report to Headquarters

Harry didn’t know if his ears or his chest hurt more. He was determined to get back to Hogwarts for the year-end feast for his last year. He had Neville Longbottom sitting behind him on the broom. Neville had his arms locked around Harry’s chest as hard as he could. Every so often Neville would open his eyes, look around and scream in terror. He could hardly be blamed, thought Harry, since Neville had never mastered flying, and Harry was traveling as fast and high as his world-class racing broom would carry them.

Harry could have taken both Neville and the Firebolt and hopscotched up Britain by apparation, arriving at Hogwarts’ grounds in a few minutes. However, as much as apparition felt good to Harry, flying a broom was the ultimate and Harry felt like he had earned doing something he enjoyed. He told Neville he was not certain he could take both Neville and his Firebolt broomstick that far by apparition without splinching, and he had no intention of leaving either behind. They also could have taken the Floo Network, but Harry was not sure his broom would not be damaged in transit, so he asked Neville to put up with the broom for one more flight.

“I don’t have to like it,” said Neville.

“”No one could make you like it, Neville. I’ll keep it as brief as possible.”

“Well, that’s something, I guess,” replied Neville. “Well, let’s get going – the sooner we leave, the sooner it will be over.”

What Neville hadn’t reckoned on was that making the time of flight short required making the speed of flight extraordinarily great. They had passed a fair number of muggle jet aircraft flying to America already. Harry knew he and Neville would not show up on the jets’ radar since he and Neville were both too high and too small. This was little comfort to Neville. Neville had been uncomfortable with heights ever since he first showed he was a wizard when his uncle dropped him out of a window and he bounced; Harry had to agree with Neville that bouncing was not likely if Neville happened to fall from this height. Harry tried to explain that to travel at top speed they had to be high enough that there was nothing to run into, since he couldn’t steer around much at this speed. Harry had conjured an aerodynamic bubble around them to reduce wind drag, as well as to capture oxygen for them to breathe. This also did not comfort Neville. The only thing Neville found tolerable about flying at this speed was the notion that it would be over all that much sooner.

Harry thought it best not to mention that the muggle governments had radar arrays watching the skies over Britain and that in response to an object as large as the two of them traveling at this speed which did not respond to radio contacts would probably either scramble NATO aircraft or attempt to shoot them down by anti-missile missiles. Harry had placed a Disillusionment Charm on them as they ascended, so he knew the fighter pilots would not be able to see them, but he was not so sure that the instruments would be affected by the charm. Just in case, Harry kept craning his neck about looking for something gaining on them, but he told Neville he was just looking for landmarks.

“They should just about be there now,” Harry called to Neville after they passed the Firth of Forth. “We’re not too far either.”

Neville just clutched tighter.

Harry took out his mirror. “Remus?” he called into it.

A few seconds later, he saw Lupin’s smiling face. “Harry! On your way then? Ho, Neville doesn’t look too happy.”

“He’s not keen on brooms, but he’s actually the happiest you’ve ever seen him. I’ll tell you all about it when I get there,” said Harry. “Are you there yet?”

“Yeah, we circled the Great Hall and looked in the windows before setting down out front. Everyone was inside, but they hadn’t started the feast yet. I could’ve sworn Dumbledore glanced up and winked at the window. I think he’s on to us. Hold on, George has got an extendable ear through the door. George, let me hear – it’s Harry on the mirror.”

“Hi Harry,” came a chorus of voices.

“Harry,” Lupin came back, “he’s speaking now: he’s saying what an extraordinary year this has been, with an attack on Hogwarts and all; how proud he is of all the students and staff. Now he’s remembering all who were killed, naming each one – oh, oh, this is very sad,…” There was a long pause, then Lupin sighed and continued, “It’s taking so long, … I hadn’t realized there were so many. There must be over fifty, and that’s not counting goblins and adults.”

“Yeah,” said Harry sadly. “That sounds about right. I came across far more than I would have liked.”

“I’m sorry, Harry, that must have been hard, sorting through the living and the dead that way. Now he’s asking for a minute of silence for them. … Aah, now he’s calling attention to the fact that a number who survived are not at the feast – oh, I can hear it in his voice: he knows we’re here – how does he do that? Well, time for our grand entrance. I’ll hang the mirror in my robe so you can hear.”

Harry heard the big doors to the Great Hall open and susurration from the students. Distantly he heard Professor Dumbledore welcoming them and asking them for an explanation, “and this had better be a good one!” he added in mock-stern remonstrance.

It was up to Hermione, as Head Girl, to speak up. “It is a good one, Headmaster, the best. Last night, Harry asked for volunteers to fly with him to finish it with Voldemort.”

The school’s hubbub could be heard as Hermione paused for it to abate.

“He had a plan and we left at 1:30. Harry led us to the North Sea island where Voldemort was.”

“Yes,” spoke up Professor Snape, “but didn’t the Dark Lord look through Potter’s mind and know you were coming? You’d be sitting ducks on broomsticks over the open sea.”

“That would be true, Professor,” said Hermione respectfully, “except Harry learned to block his mind to Voldemort.”

“Really!? He finally worked on his Occlumency?”

“Sort of. As he told it to me, he could never block out all emotions the way he said you wanted. But he learned to give up all negative emotions. With only kindly emotions in Harry’s mind, Voldemort could not see into it, but Harry could see into Voldemort’s. Harry knew this from looking into Voldemort’s mind, so Harry knew Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange were asleep after Voldemort had given her a potion to restore her from the spells that hit her in battle.”

Hermione went on to describe the petrifying of the dementors. When she got to the part where Neville was shouting ‘Petrify’, she was interrupted.

“Now hold on a second, Miss Granger,” said Professor McGonagall. “That just brings up something I’ve been wondering since yesterday when Mr. Thomas was petrifying dementors. A petrification curse would not work on one, and Longbottom wasn’t doing it properly anyway - so why were the dementors petrified?”

“Because the wand that first Dean and then Neville used was a fake wand with a quartz cap at the end …”

“Trick wand, courtesy of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, 10% discount for Hogwarts students,” piped in Fred and George together, as they had obviously practiced all too often, and then did a silly dance together with Ginny.

“And inside the fake wand,” continued Hermione, after a quick grin at them, “was a baby basilisk staring out at them.”

Everyone who had not been in on the secret gasped.

Professor McGonagall, eyes wide and face livid, responded first. “That is an incredibly dangerous sort of beast – WHO in his right mind would hatch such a thing!? WHY am I asking that question? Hagrid!!!”

She looked down the table at Hagrid, who was doing a remarkable job of shrinking for a twelve-foot tall man.

“Well, erm, they said they wanted a pet, and Longbottom already had the toad to hatch it under. Anyways, Harry could talk to it in parseltongue and we got it to crawl up that tube – I thought it was a pet carrier. I didn’ realize it was a fake wand. I … I made sure they fed it and cleaned up after it right.”

Dumbledore smiled and said, “While I appreciate the results, Hagrid, I believe you may have taken ‘Care of Magical Creatures’ a bit too far. I do believe we are going to have to make out a list of forbidden pets.”

Professor McGonagall pointed out the obvious. “Headmaster, we have had such a roster for years – it appears he views it as a shopping list instead!”

Professor Dumbledore continued smiling and agreed. “Ahh, then, this time, at the end of the list we’ll add ‘and we really mean it.’ Getting back to present matters, it seems that they prepared carefully, in that it appears there were no deaths or unintended petrifications. Do go on, Miss Granger.”

Hermione continued. “Well, sir, almost none. Once we had the baby, we tested whether a basilisk peering through quartz would petrify dementors by testing it on the lethifold that we use for patronus practice. We also brewed a depetrification potion, just in case there were mistakes.”

This time she rolled her eyes toward Hagrid, who surveyed the ceiling and walls and blushed furiously, with Madame Maxime next to him, rubbing his back and laughing.

“Well, then, just as we finished petrifying all the dementors, Bellatrix Lestrange came running out of the house there. Seeing that their guards were being destroyed, she ran out yelling ‘Expelliarmus’ and pointing her wand at Neville’s. Well, of course, Harry had figured that would be the first thing she would try, so Neville let the wand he was holding go to her. Neville’s wand came flying right at her, basilisk and all. She never knew what hit her – petrified in that maniacal stare of hers.”

The whole school laughed and cheered at that.

Hermione continued describing how Voldemort came running out and Harry had confronted him so serenely, how Harry had tried to heal Voldemort even when Voldemort was fighting back and how Voldemort had attacked the raiding party and they had responded with their patronuses to give Harry a chance to heal him. Then she described Voldemort’s cry of “Forgive me, Master Severus, I have failed you.”

All eyes turned to Professor Severus Snape, who looked dumbfounded, opening and closing his mouth like a trout out of water.

“Headmaster, no matter how much you trusted Professor Snape, Harry could not stop harboring suspicions. He had always been so harshly treated by Professor Snape, in class and out, that no matter how many times Professor Snape had helped the forces fighting Voldemort, even saving Harry’s life several times, which Harry acknowledged, he could still not totally block out his suspicion that Professor Snape was really still on the Dark side. Voldemort had sensed that one remaining well of resentment in Harry and had made preparations to exploit it perfectly. Harry was momentarily stunned and Voldemort seized the opportunity – he wheeled around shouting ‘Av-,’ erm, the killing curse, and pointing his wand at Harry.”

“The bright green spell shot from his wand and as it reached Harry, every one of us felt a pain like we had been kicked by a centaur – we all were knocked over, and some actually passed out. As we got up, we weren’t close enough to see all that well, as we were behind the dementors and it was very dark. We could see that instead of hitting Harry and disappearing, as spells normally do, the harsh green light just held and lingered between them for the longest time. Then the sky started to lighten, and we saw one of them turn his head our way.”

“Then the wizard who looked our way – it turned out to be Harry – crumpled to the ground. Voldemort continued to bear down on him even then. I don’t know how Harry held out, but after what seemed such a long time, there was a massive flash of green light. I blinked and Voldemort was no longer there. The enormous red rim of the sun was just over the horizon of the sea, and we cautiously made our way up to Harry. Next to him was a pile of robes. The aurors with us, Mr. Dawkins and Miss Tonks, checked the robes and found a wand, some dry bones, a shriveled hand and dark brown powder in it. Most of the rest of us rushed to Harry instead. He wasn’t moving, so I checked for a pulse, and breathing, and …”

Hermione’s voice had cracked, so she stopped to compose herself. She went on sadly. “There were no signs of life. It was … horrible. After all he had done for us, after all we had put him through, after all he had risked and sacrificed to secure our lives and safety, I could find no signs of life in him. I don’t think there was anyone there who wasn’t crying. I don’t know how long I knelt beside him there, but then I felt a tug at the edge of my robes, and I looked up and saw his hand moving. He said he was thirsty. And the crying redoubled, but this time for joy. It was marvelous. We gave him some bread and wine that were there. Luna Lovegood conjured a bucket to get sea water to douse the trick wand with.”

Fred and George again piped in. “Trick wand, courtesy of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, 10% discount for Hogwarts students.” And again they did a silly dance together with Ginny, with Luna Lovegood joining as well.

“AHEM! We doused the wand with the bucket of sea water, and it turned into a rooster, which began to crow. Of course the crowing killed the basilisk. The rooster was about to eat it, but we weren’t too sure about how poisonous a dead basilisk would be, so I encased it until we could get it disposed of properly – or even studied.”

Just then Hermione’s presentation was interrupted by a sound like an approaching siren from beyond the main doors. Ted Nott and Susan Bones broke from the returning raiding party and opened the doors and in came Harry and Neville from the entry hall on the Firebolt. Harry was doing barrel rolls and corkscrews and loopdeloops and slow rolls and every manner of maneuver available. Neville was hanging on for dear life. It was immediately apparent that the siren sound was Neville’s scream.

Finally Harry set down and Neville staggered to the nearest table, where several of the Hufflepuffs scooted down to make room. Such was the change within the school over the last two years that Harry could and did step to the Slytherin side and leaned against their table, as it was the nearest one to him, and he was as welcome as if he had leaned on Gryffindor’s table.

Professor McGonagall saw Neville’s distress and asked him if he was all right.

“Professor, that GIT has been flying like that for the last 15 miles, ever since he saw Hogsmeade!” gasped Neville. He grasped the glass of wine that appeared on the table, saying a blessing for Hogwarts’ wonderful house elves, and took a deep drink. Most of the students, particularly the younger ones, tittered at hearing the great Harry Potter called a git.

Professor Dumbledore smiled at him, and asked, “And what has detained the two of you? You missed a delightful story from Miss Granger.”

That seemed to perk Neville up.

“Actually we didn’t miss it, Headmaster,” he said, standing up again. “We’ve been listening on Harry’s communicating mirror. We’ve been to London. Harry insisted on going there first. He’s that kind of guy,” said Neville.

“What kind of ‘guy’ is that, Longbottom? Late?” sneered Professor Snape.

And Neville walked right up to Professor Snape with total confidence, and spoke across the staff table more firmly than anyone had ever heard any student address Snape.

“No, sir, Professor Snape! He’s the kind that could have come back here to the hero’s welcome and celebration that he so much deserved, but insisted on taking his friend to London first so that he could use his new-found healing ability to restore that friend’s parents to health! And so, Professor Snape, YOU can think of Harry Potter the way you will – this is always the way I will remember him.”

Harry looked down, feeling his cheeks warming.

“So that’s what you two were off to do. Why didncha say so?” said Ron.

“Good show!” said Lupin.

But Hermione was not congratulatory; she was aghast. “Oh, no, oh NO! Oh, Harry, you …, you great FOOL!!” she yelled through growing sobs.

She buried her face in Ron’s chest. Ron looked completely perplexed.

“Now, now,” said Professor McGonagall. “What brings on an outburst like that? I’d like to think a kindly deed like that is in keeping with the highest of Hogwarts – particularly Gryffindor – ideals.”

“I believe I understand, Professor McGonagall, and I think you will too, soon enough,” said Professor Dumbledore, his voice cracking a bit, “but let us hear Mr. Longbottom’s tale first, while Miss Granger collects herself.”

Neville went on, a bit bewildered by Hermione’s reaction. “We got to St. Mungo’s about 9:30. We went up to my parents’ ward. They were just as vacant as ever. Harry told me to go get my Gran by the Floo Network. When I came back he set to healing my Mum. He sat in a chair, and he asked me to sit behind him and grab as tight as I could to hold him up facing her. I had heard about the green light he has, but it was still amazing to see. It must be very draining because Harry alternately got very, very tense and then started writhing. He was very hard to hold onto. And then it stopped, and my mother focused on the two of us, and looked past Harry to me and said ‘Oh my, oh my, this has got to be my Neville.’ And she hugged me, for the first time in sixteen years, and we cried.

“Then Harry did the healing thing for my Dad and it was even worse. Harry got very pale and dripped with sweat. He looked like he would just fall over and die. But after several minutes, Harry looked up and said ‘Mr. Longbottom, there’s someone here who’d like to meet you.’ I always thought he’d be a tough guy, you know, he’s an auror and all, but he laughed and cried and hugged me too. Then he hugged my Mum and Gran and then started back in on me. Harry went off awhile, but after we had gotten most of that out of our system, he showed back up and we told them what had been happening the past couple of days. We kept it brief. We knew my parents had sixteen years to catch up on, but I didn’t want to keep Harry too long.”

Professor McGonagall then asked, “But if you were trying not to keep Mr. Potter, why did you come as well? Surely you wanted to spend time with them?”

Neville stammered a bit, clearly looking for what to say.

“Well, Professor, they said they would have to go through getting a check-up and getting checked out and back home and that Gran could catch them up on things over the past sixteen years. They said I should be here for the year-end feast my final year here.”

“Neville, that’s not all they said!” Harry verbally prodded. “Tell them, Neville. Tell them what your Dad told you.”

Neville looked pleadingly at Harry, who would not back down. “Hrmm. Right, Coach,” Neville reluctantly agreed. He crossed his arms loosely and looked off a bit, composing himself and, pursing his lips, finally said, “Right, then! My father told me, … he told me that, … an auror’s mission isn’t over till he’s reported back to his HQ.”

Neville raised one hand to cover his eyes, but everyone could see his shoulders shaking.

“Yes, yes,” said Professor Sprout. “Doesn’t that sound like Frank Longbottom – motivating his people by building them up!”

Harry started up. “Neville!” Something had occurred to him. “Neville, show us your patronus.”

Neville sniffed a second and looked at Harry. “Harry, you know I’ve never gotten more than a large cloud.”

“But Neville – you’ve never had a truly happy thought, have you? Don’t you think you could do it now?”

Neville thought a second and, flashing an enormous toothy smile, straightened up. Pushing back his sleeves, he pulled out his wand and, pointing it, roared “EXPECTO PATRONUM.” Out of his wand shot a silvery substance which formed into the shape of a thirty-foot Hebridean Black dragon. The students near the front had to duck under the tables as its tail swished. Then it belched a ball of silver flame at Hagrid, who was already in ecstasy at the sight of it. As it was a patronus rather than a real dragon, the ‘flame’ left Hagrid’s masses of tangled hair frosted like snow on a pine. The great dragon then bowed to Harry, who bowed back. It nuzzled Neville, who was breathing deeply and staring wide-eyed, barely believing he had produced such a protector. Then the dragon unfurled its wings, took off and circled the great hall before disappearing into silver vapors as it headed for the ceiling.

“Neville,” gibbered Hagrid, “that uz beautiful.”

“Show-off,” teased Ron.

“I didn’t know I had it in me!”

“Mr. Longbottom,” said Professor Dumbledore, with a warm smile on his face, “I happen to know that the primary impediment to your being awarded a NEWT in Defense Against the Dark Arts was the poor quality of your patronus. I do not know if the matter can be reconsidered, but I will see to it that the NEWT committee is aware of this, as well as the events of the past thirty-six hours.”

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Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.
  #75  
Old June 19th, 2007, 10:57 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

Chapter 67 The Final Feast

“I believe we have a few loose ends to clear up,” said Professor McGonagall. “First off, what did you do with all those petrified bodies from the island?”

Ron spoke up this time. “The dementors we left. If anybody wants ‘em, or can figure out what to do with ‘em, they’re easy enough to find. Well, not really, since the island is unplottable, you’d have to have Harry guiding you there.”

Harry interrupted. “Knowing how to release the souls in them, we’ll need to do that, if we can enlist someone who can perform the killing curse.” He glanced toward Professor Snape.

“Severus?” asked Professor Dumbledore.

“Potter has the Dark Lord’s knowledge and can get to the island – let him do it.”

“He hasn’t the spirit to perform that curse.”

“And I do?” replied Snape coldly.

“It is why I have always sought someone else to be the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Severus. Perhaps performing the darkest curse for a positive purpose will help you deal with that side of yourself.”

“I thought never to perform such abomination again,” he responded, “but for this purpose, if the Ministry will approve it, I will do my part in the endeavour.”

With that, Ron continued about the petrified bodies. “Fred and George carried Bellatrix Lestrange back here.”

Fred had a massive attack of the giggles, so George explained, “Well, we knew she was an old mate of Professor Snape’s, so we stood her up in his office. She’s right decorative there in her knickers and bathrobe.”

Then Fred nudged George. Laughing even more loudly, he pulled the knickers and pink bathrobe from a pocket of his robes.

Snape’s face went ashen, and he looked sicker than usual. All the adults and seventh years of the raiding party laughed uproariously, and were joined by the seated students and the teachers, but the fifth and sixth years of the raiding party, who still faced classes with Snape in the coming years, held up their hands to say that they hadn’t been a part of it.

Dumbledore quieted them.

“As amusing as that may be, I think she can be draped and removed to the spare room near the Potions classroom until aurors can remove her. Mr. Filch, if you would ask a couple of house elves to assist you with that and ask one of them to guard her. Now, Mr. Potter, Miss Granger has said that just before you collapsed, you turned your head toward them – would I be wrong in guessing you were using legilemency?”

“It was not my choice, Professor, but yes, I was nearly defeated and Riddle took control of my body to make me look at the terror in my friends' minds.”

“Was it what you saw in them that gave you the strength to win?”

“Sort of, Professor.”

“If you can tell us, I think it would be instructive for us all to know what it was about seeing into your friends’ thoughts that assisted you to overcome Voldemort.”

“I think I can do that now. It will necessarily be only sketchy, but here goes. I hated to look: I was certain I would see intense terror at what fate would be meted out to each of them. But when I looked, that was not the terror at all. They were terrified at what was happening to me. And they felt tremendous guilt at having participated in the ruse with the phony curse that had led me to that point.”

“Ahh,” said Professor Flitwick, “so seeing how you were loved gave you strength?”

“Not exactly, sir. My thoughts were actually how foolish they were to feel guilt when they had just done their best to fight this terrible evil. How could they feel guilty for that, for doing the best they could? They had caused me no harm – some great frustration, but no real harm. And then it hit me – I was just as foolish. I had never accepted that I was not the cause of all the miserable things that had happened around me. I had made some mistakes certainly, but nothing unforgivable, but I had never been able to accept that for myself. Seeing that, I finally learned to practice forgiveness and goodwill for all, including myself.”

Cameron, sitting down at the end of the table, smiled and nodded.

“Do go on,” said Dumbledore, eyes glistening.

“With that understanding, I was reconciled to the Source of all that is and able to accept help. A voice came to me and sheltered me from the attack. Then it showed me everything – the entirety of all that is, the Eternal: all Creation as the manifestation of the mind of God. And I saw all the spirits of all beings, although I couldn’t tell them apart, not even my own and Voldemort’s until those two were indicated to me. All the spirits had connections between them, like silver threads. Those threads were the bonds of love and caring between each. Some of the threads were stronger and some more tenuous, some simple and some ornately braided, but they and the spirits they connected were beautiful and precious beyond any material objects, which were vague and gauzy by comparison.

“The spirits were all splendid: on that scale, they all seemed very simple and pure, like gems, with any flaws insignificantly small, at least as compared to the wondrousness of the whole soul. They were all equal from that view: none was greater or lesser than another. That filled my heart with joy, since I often have felt that I wasn’t worthy. I guess that’s the result of how I was brought up or maybe because the title The Boy Who Lived always seemed like an ill-fitting suit on me.

“On the other hand, Voldemort did not take it that way. He saw all of these things through my vision; he knew they were real because he too felt how effortlessly the guide staved off his attack. He could resist the view no more than I could, but as joyously as I received it was how appalled he was at it. He was of the mind that he was the brightest star in the sky, brighter than the sun compared to the dim, distant stars of the night sky. Seeing that that he was not the greatest of all, that indeed he was no more significant than any other being, he was shattered. Of course, magic depends on the focus of the spirit. When his spirit was shattered, his ability to perform magic collapsed. Even the spells which maintained his conjured body were undone, leaving only the components: the bones from his father’s grave, Peter Pettigrew’s hand, and a bit of my blood. And with that, I returned to my body.”

Dumbledore looked over his glasses. “And the power that you and Voldemort had been sharing?”

Harry smiled sheepishly. “Erm, yes, when his earthly existence ceased, the powers we shared came back to me. It is very nice not to be sharing that with Voldemort; but more importantly, my mind no longer has anyone else in it.”

“With all the kind, generous and brave things you have done, I doubt anyone here would have suspected that your biggest stumbling block was simply learning to accept love for yourself,” said Dumbledore.

“Well, hardly anyone,” said Harry, glancing with a smile toward Cameron, “but one is not resolved with the Eternal through works, but through Grace. Who among us is so free from error as to achieve unity on his own? – certainly not I.”

“Well, your victory is certainly good news.”

“Yes. I only wish that everyone here could experience what I did, and that is perhaps the most wonderful thing I learned, that it is available to any of us. If we set about actually practicing universal love, any of us can have reconciliation with the Eternal in our lives.”

Then Cameron smiled and said, “Tryin’ to put me out of a job, eh, Potter?”

Harry smiled back warmly. “Never, Reverend. I know who’s the teacher and who’s the student.”

Then Snape spoke up. “Potter, after all I had done in the Order, after all the risks you know I’ve taken to fight the Dark Lord, after all the times I’ve acted to save your life, you still suspect me?”

“Professor, my mind knew all those facts, but my heart hadn’t accepted them. Matters between us have been, erm, difficult, so when I was surprised by Voldemort like that, it played on my doubts.”

“That was a specialty of his,” muttered Snape with a slight slow nod.

“Is that really so different from what you’ve done? You know I’m not the swaggering arrogant bully you saw in my father. And yet for some reason – perhaps my appearance or my name – you couldn’t see past what your heart was saying about those ‘awful Potter boys.’”

“Fairly stated, Potter. I’ll give that some thought. It seems that there is both cause and opportunity for reflection now.”

“So, Potter,” said Professor McGonagall, “you said your heart hadn’t accepted that Professor Snape was against Voldemort. That is past tense: do you still suspect him?”

“No, Professor. Not at all,” said Harry firmly.

“What’s turned you around?”

“When I healed you, Professor, Professor Snape was there, and I saw that he had been crying. It took all day to sink in, but my heart tells me this: I’ll trust anyone who sheds tears for you, Professor McGonagall,” said Harry.

Snape nodded and sort of smiled – it looked like it pained him. “As would I, Potter, as would I. Well put.”

Professor McGonagall placed her hand over her mouth and was barely controlling herself.

“Headmaster, there’s one more thing,’ said Hermione.

“Hermione, please, no!” pled Harry, anticipating what she intended.

“Harry, if what I suspect is true, then everyone must be told. First, they don’t know the full extent of what you’ve done: just as Neville described, they think healing was just stressful because it was such deep magic. They don’t know the depth of it. And soon, the glow of the day will wear off, and people will start to think of those you didn’t heal, who will recuperate in their time. People will come to think you were being thoughtless or lazy in not healing others as well.

“Harry, everyone expects powerful magic like that to be stressful, but when you healed Tonks, I saw your leg break, and then repair. And when you healed Professor Lupin, I saw you make the werewolf transformation. And …, well there were just too many things you went through. It just went on and on and on and on. I was horrified and sickened. It seemed like each was more awful than the last. I don’t think Voldemort himself could have put you through more than what you put yourself through. And each time I could see the reluctance in your eyes. When Madam Pomfrey administers a healing potion, she has no reluctance – she knows it has to be done - but she doesn’t feel it. And this reluctance wasn’t you getting focused – I could see the fear.

“Harry, this healing magic is not like more common types, where at most we get worn out by the deep concentration required: you actually took into yourself, and felt, and suffered, every injury you healed, didn’t you?”

Harry looked down. His secret was out. He gave a small nod, and nearly every face in the Hall registered shock. Even Dumbledore, who had suspected this, seemed unable to comprehend the amount of pain Harry had endured over the previous 24 hours. Neville and Lupin sat down, weak-kneed, mouths agape, not having suspected the pain Harry had taken on their behalf. Madame Maxime beamed at Harry, her eyes glistening.

Hermione continued, addressing the faculty table. "That's why I got so upset about Harry healing Mr. and Mrs. Longbottom. It's not that I wouldn't want them healed - that's wonderful and Harry's doing that is simply beautiful - but he had already been through so much pain and injury for so many people. I'm sure he felt he had to do it right then before he lost his nerve to bear it."

Professor McGonagall had tears down her cheeks already. “Potter,” she said, then more throatily, “Harry – you took all those injuries, all those curses, you bore them for … for so many of us? Why? How?”

“I reckon everybody just had to pitch in and do what they could do. And...” he breathed deeply, “that’s the most helpful thing I could do right then. All of them would have died if I hadn’t acted. I’m sure anyone else would have done the same.”

But no one believed that this was so.

“But, Harry,” said Hermione, “Mr. and Mrs. Longbottom weren’t dying. It’s wonderful that they’re healed, but you had taken so much pain already …”

“They may not have been dying, but you can’t say that they were living either – you saw them. Neville and I both lost our parents to Voldemort. I’ll never have mine back, and I’ve come to accept that, but I had it in my power to restore his. If there were any way to avoid that pain, I would have, I can assure you. The healers had their chance. What else could I do?”

Hermione came up to him and said quietly, “If I had known, I would have stopped you.”

“Yeah, you and what army?” said Harry with a gentle laugh.

“But, Harry, can’t you take some care for yourself?”

“I want to. I’m not sure I know how.”

“Then let someone help you.”

“I believe,” added Professor Dumbledore, interrupting this private discussion, “that there is one more matter to address while we still have an assembly. Mr. Potter, would I be right in assuming that Voldemort’s final attempt to kill you occurred at just about 20 minutes after five?”

Harry was amazed. “Yes, Professor Dumbledore, I know that was the time - it froze my watch. How did you know?”

“Because, Mr. Potter, you remember how I told you that there is a life bond when one wizard saves another’s life? I believe you were not drawing strength merely from those who happened to be nearby, but from all those who had such a life bond with you, although it may have been more pronounced among those nearest. Only magic at its deepest could provide the support you needed. Such a life bond is formed whether you or the person whose life has been preserved knows that your actions have protected them.

“Miss Granger described a ‘centaur kick’ that the rest of your volunteers felt when you were attacked. That was the sudden marshalling of the extra strength you needed to repel a very powerful curse – probably the most focused curse ever cast by the most powerful dark wizard in modern times, perhaps of all time. They were not the only ones to feel that kick. I want to ask everyone who was beset with a sudden severe pain at that time to rise, so we can all see what a difference Mr. Potter’s efforts have made.”

With that Dumbledore himself rose, followed quickly by Hagrid, Madame Maxime and Professor McGonagall, then the rest of the staff, even Snape (with some reluctance). This was followed by the scraping of the benches at the tables, as the entire school rose. Harry turned slowly, surveying the spectacle. Tears welled in his eyes, as the enormity of it pressed in on him. He felt very, very small.

“I just tried to do what I could.”

“Yes, exactly, Harry. You did. You tried to do what you could. Again and again, you did what was right rather than what was easy – and this, this is the fruit of your labors.”

Harry was overwhelmed. “I … I didn’t know. Thank you, thank you all.”

Professor McGonagall lifted her goblet. “Thank you, Mr. Potter. To Harry Potter.”

And all the school raised their goblets and chimed, “To Harry Potter.”

After the school had sat again, Professor Dumbledore gestured to the open spaces amongst the tables, inviting the returned raiding party to take seats. This they did without regard for which houses they were or had been in.

“Well, well,” said Professor Dumbledore. “I had already made arrangements to put off the Hogwarts’ Express for a day so that it could take more of our recuperating students. However, it appears that this gives us the extra time to accommodate a celebration. I do not believe I could prevent one if I wanted to, and I most certainly do not. We have paid respects to those who were lost; we will grieve; we will erect memorials; but celebration is the order of the day. We are having owls sent to all of your families to explain events and invite them, as well as having notified the Ministry of Magic and the various wizard wireless stations. Arrangements will also be made to assist muggle families who would care to join our festivities.”

“In the meantime, some arrangements. There will be no House Cup this year, or rather it is awarded to all Houses, as all participated valiantly and admirably in the defense of the school and this victory.”

With that, Dumbledore clapped his hands and the decorations took on the various colours of all the houses. The castle had a delightful rainbow of hues that was far merrier than any one house’s colours alone could be.

Dumbledore went on. “Tragically, we have lost our Head Boy. Although it is something of a formality, I am asking Mr. Potter to accept that office for the remainder of the term.”

Harry nodded his agreement. Dumbledore continued, “We have some guests here who may want to get some rest before the celebration begins in earnest: please accommodate them appropriately in your various dormitories and give them an opportunity to actually rest if they so desire. I also would like to ask the proprietors of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes if they could be commissioned for one of their wonderful fireworks demonstrations, starting at, say, midnight, at the lake?”

Fred and George rose and looked at each other and exchanged mischievous grins and nodded.

George replied, “No, sir, you may not. We will accept no such commission. We will, however, treat the school and guests to a show. We would appreciate ten or so volunteers to come with us after the feast to our Hogsmeade shop to help us bring supplies over and set things up.”

Dumbledore smiled. “I’m sure you will have all the help you need. All students assisting Fred and George Weasley may leave the grounds for that purpose. The fireworks volunteers may meet on the front steps. Now I think the time has come for the feast to begin, or we shall raise too high the ire of the house elves. Begin.”

Dumbledore clapped his hands and the serving dishes filled with all manner of delicious foods. Harry doubted that they were any better prepared than they had ever been, but they certainly tasted fresher, more savory, altogether better to Harry than anything had in years. The feast proceeded quite slowly, as the students were wont to mill about and visit with the members of the raiding party and their friends made in other houses. Harry endured congratulations more times than he could count and no matter how many times he tried to protest that it was everyone’s victory, he was reminded that it was he who had prepared them all.

He was approached by the Patil sisters, who said they had unfinished business with him from the summer before. Before Harry could respond, Harry heard each of them cry “Oh,” and put their hands over their faces. Between their fingers he could see bat wings. As they ran off, he looked around and saw Ginny turning back toward the Ravenclaw table, where she was sitting.

Despite Harry’s great appetite, eating was a difficult matter, as he was so often interrupted by back slaps, handshakes, more than a few kisses. For tonight, Harry was public property. Some people would have become annoyed through all this, but to Harry it was as refreshing and welcome as a cool butterbeer after a very long training session.

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Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.
  #76  
Old June 22nd, 2007, 11:48 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

Chapter 68 For the Time Being

When the Hall started to clear, Professor Dumbledore caught Harry’s eye and nodded for Harry to come with him. Dumbledore led Harry through a passage behind a tapestry, pressed his nose against a door which then opened for him, and in less than a minute, they emerged into Dumbledore’s office, where Professor McGonagall and Cameron were waiting for them. The fireplace had a very pleasant and cheery fire crackling. Fawkes cooed on their arrival.

“Harry,” began a beaming Dumbledore, “I thought we had better talk before the press of the wizarding community becomes too great. They have already begun to arrive. First, I hope it scarce needs be said how pleased and proud I am.”

“And Potter,” added McGonagall, “I have to give you my personal thank you again. When I awoke in the Hospital Wing, I had not had my wits about me yet to remember why I was there. Later, I was told how you had saved my life, but I’d no idea that you had taken that torture upon yourself. I simply cannot imagine freely electing to bear that and I find it difficult to express my awe that you could even make such a choice.”

Harry looked fondly at her. “Professor, I hope you know I mean it when I say that I would do it for you anytime. You and Mrs. Weasley have been the nearest I have had my whole life to a mother.”

“Oh … Harry.” She started to reach out toward him, then held back and put her hand over her mouth and sobbed.

“It’s okay, Minerva,” comforted Dumbledore. “It’s just the four of us and he’s not a student any longer: you can unbend a bit at a time like this.”

With that, she abandoned all restraint and threw her arms around Harry’s shoulders, crying uncontrollably. After a minute or so, she straightened up, holding his shoulders with her hands and looking up into Harry’s eyes.

“I was there, Potter, when Hagrid brought you to your aunt and uncle’s house nearly 17 years ago. I thought Albus was daft to leave you with those people, but I understood what he was saying about the importance of being brought up without being a celebrity, to say nothing of the protection afforded there. I have no idea how you came through it so well, but I am so proud to have had a part in raising and teaching a boy, a man, of such remarkable character.”

“Thank you, Professor,” replied Harry. “I hope I’ll be able to live up to what you’re saying.”

“My boy,” said Dumbledore, “your humility is delightful, and you wear it well. But don’t ever let it be false. You know that you are a powerful and talented wizard who has already done great things – you needn’t hide your light.”

“Yes, Professor,” Harry said. Then he turned to Reverend MacBoon. “Cameron, couldn’t you have told me what the purpose of that reading about the woman was?”

Cameron got a sly smile. “And what would that be, Harry?”

“When you first read about that woman, I thought it was to remind us of how forgiving we needed to be toward Voldemort, but on the way to London, as I thought about what happened on the island, I realized that I was like that woman – I was in need of accepting forgiveness, so that I could walk in peace. Couldn’t you have told me that?”

“Sometimes, Harry, seeds have to be planted and allowed to grow. It’s a thought I have been trying to gently get you to grasp all year. If I had tried to transplant the idea into your head full-grown, you never would have accepted it, maybe as an abstract idea, but not within your heart. Besides, at times, we are in all three positions – accused, accuser and forgiver.”

Harry hugged Cameron. “Thank you, Cameron. You’ve been a wonderful teacher.”

“A person can only hope to ever have such a fine student. Can you tell me something, Harry? It seems you actually saw the entirety of creation as a whole. How was it?”

“Good,” said Harry, with a mischievous grin. “It’s good.”

Cameron laughed. “I guess I should have expected that – what more can someone say? But did your experience show you anything about – the Eternal, as you described it – that you can tell us?”

“I reckon I can try. The best way to describe it is to say that I saw how we are all an interconnected part of the Eternal. We exist, therefore we are part of all which exists. The Eternal encompasses all things. It, or He if you prefer, is more than merely immortal – he IS all time and all things. I can now appreciate the irony that in seeking immortality and power, Voldemort shut himself off from both, and I, in being willing to give up all the power and life that I had, experienced both.

“I realize now that I was being given the opportunity to have at least a portion of God’s own view of us – all of us special, all precious, but none above any others. What is most delightful to him, because his nature is love for his creation, is the ways and extent to which we reach out to our fellow beings. Love of Creation, love of God, love of others, love of self – they really are all part of the same thing, once you understand their unity: if someone tries to love part without loving the rest, he really is deluding himself and rejecting even that which he believes he loves.

“I found that we beings are a special part of the Eternal, for we experience pain, and joy, and love, and anguish and happiness uniquely, and as a part of the Whole and on behalf of the Whole.”

“You sound as if you embrace this specialness of beings to experience these things – I thought maybe you had experienced enough pain. I was concerned that by now you would want to avoid all emotions and feelings.”

“Oh, I daresay I’ve had my share of pain and frustration, and then some, but that’s life! I was willing to die if need be, but I was afraid to really live. Now, so long as I can deal with it, I don’t intend to avoid it at the expense of allowing unnecessary suffering. However, I learned that it is important that I accept and know pleasures and happiness, and I’ve fallen short in that.”

“Do something about that, will you?”

“I certainly intend to.” Then Harry turned to Dumbledore. “Professor Dumbledore, may I ask something?”

“Of course, Harry, in fact, I wish you had done so more often all along - and you can also call me Albus, if you’d like.”

“’Albus’ will take some getting used to. Why healing? Was that the ‘power to vanquish the Dark Lord’ the prophecy foretold?”

“Actually, Harry, I don’t think so, at least, not by itself. Remember the prophecy had two different descriptions of power – one, as you say, ‘power to vanquish the Dark Lord,’ but another description was of a power the Dark Lord knew not. He of course knows the power of healing, but as with all his efforts only for himself. Even muggles have rather sturdy abilities to heal themselves. Wizards even more so. I quite suspect that this is what gave rise to and preserved magical abilities, until those abilities became strong enough and varied enough to branch out to other functions.

“Consider this. Muggles who know me estimate my age as 70 or 80, some guess even younger as I am really quite vigorous, as you well know. But I am over 150 years old. And I am far from the oldest sorcerer around: I believe you know Madame Marchbanks, who gave me my NEWT and OWL tests on several subjects – obviously she is substantially older than I, but we won’t speculate on a woman’s age, eh? When Miss Granger looked up registered animagi and found Professor McGonagall, she overlooked me because she only checked the twentieth century. Being muggle-born, she could not imagine the need to check further back for living animagi. But barring some unforeseen incident, I have years to go.

“Why can I expect to live so long? Because wizards have such remarkable healing ability – it’s part of what makes us magical. A muggle who had been through what you have would likely be dead, or at best crippled. A good bit of our magical abilities are turned inward to our own benefit. There’s nothing wrong with that, any more than it is for muggles to be able to heal their own wounds in their slower way.

“No, what is unique about you and to a lesser extent your mother’s healing ability is that you are able – and willing - to project it beyond yourself. Your mother needed her wand to extend it far enough to help others, so she was never without it once she discovered her ability. She considered it irresponsible to take a chance on being unable to help someone who needed it when she had the ability to do so. Most students don’t bring their wands to quidditch matches, but she had hers and was able to save your father. Apparently her efforts not only saved his life, but also began the process of curing him of some rather unpleasant traits he had developed at the time. The Potters were very decent and caring people, but as I believe you have discovered, your father had learned the overbearing arrogance that too many talented performers do. He matured remarkably in the year after his accident, to where he had grown from being merely the powerful wizard and quidditch hero he had been to being respected and honored as a good man. It was halfway through his sixth year that he learned of Sirius’s nasty trick on Professor Snape and risked being bitten by Lupin to save him.”

“But Snape, uh, Professor Snape, still blames my father for that incident!”

“Yes, Harry,” admitted Dumbledore. “He still cannot understand it. He turned from Voldemort, but he has trouble believing that anyone else could mend their ways. He is not a bad man, Harry, but he is almost entirely unable to trust people, due to his upbringing.”

“That’s very sad.”

“It is indeed,” agreed Dumbledore, and he hung his head sadly.

“Actually, what may be more to the point in the prophecy is your humility, Harry,” said Cameron.

“Interesting suggestion, Cameron,” said Dumbledore. “Can you explain what you mean?”

“It’s just this, Albus: when he learned that he could do this for people, he didn’t feel so self-important that he would keep it just for himself or his close friends. He willingly accepted the burden entailed on behalf of anyone who needed it, putting his own temporary discomfort – right, more than mere discomfort – behind others’ great needs. And what ultimately defeated Voldemort was the two of them seeing the true nature of beings. Harry felt ennobled at being an equal part of the whole collection of beings, where Voldemort was shattered to know that from the viewpoint of eternity, he was truly nothing special. His pride was his undoing, where Harry’s humility was his shield.”

“That makes sense, Cameron,” said Harry. “I know the way his mind worked from the inside out and I know for a fact that humility was not to be found.”

“It never ceases to amaze me, after all my years, to see how much I have to learn,” said Dumbledore, “but I think you’ve hit the nail on the head that humility is the ‘power the Dark Lord knows not.’ I don’t think I ever would have viewed it as a power, but in the right circumstances, I see how it is. I would suggest, however, that it is another side to Harry’s ability to love without reservation – it allowed him to close his mind to Voldemort and to inspire the loyalty of so many who rallied around him and stuck with him in the darkest of times.”

“Agreed, Albus,” said Cameron. “Too many people fail to grasp that humility is love for oneself, as much for others. It is an embrace of our humanity – the ties which bind us all together as beings.”

“The guide who helped me said that reaching out to others was ‘treasure in heaven,’” said Harry.

“I’m so glad you remembered that, Harry,” said Cameron. “That concept is rarely made as palpable as your description of what you saw makes it.”

After a few seconds, Dumbledore continued in a new vein. “Now before we release you to the celebration, Harry, I’d like to talk to you about your future. First, though, Minerva, could you see to the trappings of the celebration – accommodations, refreshments, some entertainments. This looks to be a bigger hootenanny than the first time Voldemort fell.”

“That would indeed be my pleasure.”

“Before you go, if any of you see any of the Weasleys, tell them to welcome Percy when he arrives. I informed Arthur and Molly this evening that he has been serving as a spy for the Order for these past three years. He has been invaluable to me keeping an eye first on Fudge and then on the Department of Mysteries.”

Professor McGonagall smiled. “It would be my pleasure to get those hard feelings set aside. I’ll make a priority of it: we wouldn’t want any unfortunate accidents when he shows up.”

With that, Professor McGonagall left through the main door.

“Now Harry,” continued Dumbledore, “let’s consider some options for your immediate future. First, I believe you know that Sirius left his house and other belongings to you. There is quite a fortune in his Gringotts’ vault and also a number of investment documents there which are now yours. Have Fred and George Weasley yet told you that you are a partner in their business? No? Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything yet, but the goblins Hogwarts employs to handle our finances and accounting have also been handling accounts for the twins. The twins have treated your Triwizard winnings an investment, not a gift. They have been setting aside one third of everything not plowed back into the business for your account. It’s worth quite a tidy sum now and grows daily. For all their shenanigans, the twins are both good businessmen and good men. I think I am as proud of them as I am of any of my students – except maybe one.

“And you should probably capitalize on your current fame and popularity – if you don’t, somebody will without you.”

“Professor Dumbledore, isn’t that a little, erm, tacky?”

“Hah, you’re asking that of a man who has his portrait on chocolate frog cards. Indeed, those cards would be a good start – the company has to pay royalties to living wizards on the cards, and yours will be some of the most popular cards for years to come. There are certain advantages, as well. Tell them I said you should get a sickle per card.”

“That’s a lot, isn’t it? The whole pack usually costs just a couple of sickles.”

“Of course you deserve that much and much more from the wizarding community. Of course, you’re right - the price of the chocolate frogs will not allow such a high compensation. But you tell the company representative I said you should get a sickle, and you’ll be able to get them at least up to 9 knuts per card. I only get 5 knuts per card, but the packs didn’t cost as much when I negotiated that. Also this is very important: insist that you keep the original photographs. Here’s where the real advantage lies – you can use them to communicate with all the Harry Potter cards out there. You’d be amazed at how valuable that can be as a resource. There’s even a charm for looking into the photograph to see and hear what the prints on the cards see and hear. I’ll teach you that one.”

“Next, Harry, you will be offered book deals. Just see me when someone approaches you about that. There are few things worse than seeing your whole life’s work made into a colossal bore by some hack who fancies himself a writer.”

Harry cocked his head. “Maybe I could find a muggle writer who could do versions for muggle publishers.”

“And risk exposure of the wizarding world?”

Harry smiled. “What muggle would take all this seriously? Muggles don’t see magic in the world unless you bring them right up to it and hold it for them.”

“True. There could be some money in that as well, if you can find someone trustworthy. Now how about quidditch – do you still want to play?”

That really caught Harry’s attention. “I’d love to play more quidditch – am I good enough for professional?”

“Yes, Harry, you’re as good a seeker as anyone playing. You could use a little training on strategy, particularly resisting other Seekers’ tricks, but no one finds the snitch and flies a broom like you do. You would be paid ridiculously just because of who you are, but all the more so for being good at it, for what is still very much a part-time job, particularly for a seeker. With a bit of work, I think you would make the English national team for the World Cup.

“And that brings me to my last suggestion. I’d like you to stay at Hogwarts as a teacher or, more accurately, a coach. Madame Hooch has wanted to leave for some time, and has only stayed at my insistence. You could teach flying and apparation. Madam Hooch and Madam Pomfrey will teach you all you need to know about magical reversal. You have also well proven that you are uniquely able to coach the DA as well. I would love to see an entire generation or more of sorcerers as brave, decent and skillful as your students have become.

“I would rather you do those things than be a classroom teacher because I want you to have sufficient free time for a special project that needs doing. You are presently the only known person with access to the Chamber of Secrets, since you are the only known parselmouth. We really ought to find out what else is down there besides an enormous basilisk carcass and loads of basilisk skins. And as for that, I’d like to work with you on finding what magical properties there are to basilisk parts, just as I worked on dragon blood over a century ago. To explore, I would recommend that you take Dobby with you. In fact I believe I’ll assign him to you full time as your helper so long as you are here. He will be thrilled, and you couldn’t possibly have a more loyal assistant. There may be a number of traps and curses down there, and the powerful magic of the goblins and elves will see him through nicely. He’ll even be able to apparate you out of there, so long as the entrance is open, rather than you having to rely on Fawkes or trying to steer a broom through that narrow passage.

“So, how does all that sound to you?”

“Overwhelming, but wonderful. Hogwarts is the first place that ever felt like home to me. It would be great to stay, at least for awhile, while I learn what it’s like to live without some madman trying to kill me. I had kind of thought of becoming an auror, though.” said Harry.

Dumbledore nodded. “It’s good to keep an eye on your options. I think you’ll find that the auror program will wait for you – they usually like a wizard or witch to have some experience out of school before joining the program anyway.”

Harry nodded. “Well, that makes sense. I know Professor Moody would be appalled if I was an auror without being much more suspicious. And honestly, I’m a bit tired of fighting. Okay, for now, I’ll say yes, but if something else interesting pops up …”

Dumbledore laughed. “Yes, by all means talk to me. If there is anything that has frustrated me more than your habit of stubbornly failing to go to people who care about you for help, I don’t know what it is. Is there anything else on your mind? You seem a bit pensive.”

Harry knit his brow and then explained, “Yes, but I’m not sure how to explain it. You see, I feel like I have to use my power to heal when it may be needed. That’s not the problem; I want to do it. I know no one will force me to, but it’s just wrong not to do so when you can.”

“Harry,” interrupted Cameron, “I remember you saying that the ability to provide healing would be a terrible burden, because you couldn’t see how to say no. Are you still feeling that way?”

“Not exactly. Well, it is a burden, of course, in that I will be responding whenever needed, but I tell myself that it’s a gift that I really must use. I think I’ve come to see service to others as less a burden and more of an opportunity. I don’t expect to be a healer and use it for every little problem a person can be healed from - just like, well, what I’ve done so far, life-threatening or unresponsive conditions. How can I say no to people who will have no life, or no real living?

“The problem is that I’m afraid I’ll lose my nerve. It hurts - a lot. I’ve faced a lot of pain already – it’s fair to say I’ve experienced more pain than most people do in a lifetime, and I’m not yet 18. It gets very old.”

“I’m sure,” said Cameron, with utmost sympathy.

“Maybe my body someday will just not let me do it anymore. I was really inspired and enthusiastic when I healed the Longbottoms: I’m not sure that if I tried to do it even now, a few hours later, I could do it, particularly knowing just how much pain was involved.”

“Harry,” Dumbledore replied, shaking his head sadly, “I wish I had an answer for you. My first inclination is to tell you to refuse, because I’ve grown to love you and I want to protect you from pain. But I also know you – it would hurt you more to leave people suffering and dying than it would to take their pain on yourself to cure it. I don’t actually know what to tell you. You see, I’ve faced danger many times, but not so much of pain. Perhaps you should seek counsel with those who have known pain. However, I know this much – you need to be willing to allow yourself to take some sweetness in life to balance out the sour.”

“Yes. That part I know - being willing to accept good things as well as bad was a great part of what I learned this morning was needful.”

“Excellent, Harry – take some time to enjoy; you have truly earned it! And accept the wisdom you need wherever you might find it. Well, if that’s settled – tentatively, of course – we had better get moving along.”

“I’d like to go to the hospital wing first, if I could. I haven’t had a chance to talk to anyone there. Are you going that way, Cameron?”

“I’ve spent time with all of the injured and their families, Harry, while you were off flitting about. I may make rounds again later, but I need to be in the dungeon where families are retrieving their deceased kin. Some won’t be ready for it yet, but many will want spiritual comfort and counseling now.”

“Yes, Cameron,” said Dumbledore, “Your work in this war is far from over, isn’t it? Come, Harry. I’ll take you a quicker way.”

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__________________
Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.
  #77  
Old June 27th, 2007, 12:17 am
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

Chapter 69 - Celebration

Dumbledore led Harry through a back passage to avoid the crowds in the Entry and Great Halls. Harry was glad to see that the population of the hospital wing was thinning. Madame Pomfrey’s potions and Melony’s goblin remedies had been at work all day bringing people and goblins up to snuff. The Death Eaters had all been taken out to Azkaban and other secured facilities. This included Lucius Malfoy: although he had a change of heart, he had still done terrible things, and the laws were going to be observed.

Harry stopped by Bill Weasley’s bed for a cheery chat. Charlie had already been released and was returning Norbert to Romania for rest and veterinary care for minor injuries, mostly cracked scales. They all laughed as Bill retold what he had heard about Hagrid’s efforts to get Charlie and his co-workers to let the dragons stay at Hogwarts for a while. Even before the Feast, Madame Pomfrey had chased away the rest of the Weasleys so that Bill could recuperate. He didn’t seem to mind too much, as Fleur Delacour was allowed to stay and was giving him the hero treatment. They both thanked him for healing Ron and Madame Maxime, and they all hung their heads together sadly at the thought of the many good people and goblins lost in the past year. Harry explained about Percy and they all laughed about how scarily convincing he had been in his role.

Harry went around greeting the other few students still in bed, until he came to the Creeveys. Colin was still confined to bed and Dennis was allowed to visit, so long as he didn’t pester the other patients.

“Hiya, Harry,” Colin called, “some battle, that, huh? Sure glad we could be in on it! Sorry I couldn’t make it with you and the rest this morning: sounds like a grand adventure! Dennis has just been telling me all about it. I wish someone had taken a camera, but then cameras and basilisks don’t mix, do they, Harry, don’t I know that?”

Harry couldn’t help but laugh at Colin’s enthusiasm. “So you’re not upset with me?”

“About what, Harry? You only made both of us fit to be in a battle for the ages, saved Dennis’s life, and got rid of Voldemort! How can anyone be mad?”

“Oh, I just felt like maybe you felt I should have healed you, too.” said Harry.

“Harry, you worry too much. Not surprising, after all, you know, with all the times someone’s tried to kill you, carrying the fate of the world on your shoulders, and stuff. But I wouldn’t ask you to take my injuries unless it was a matter of life and death, especially now that I know you have to actually feel them. Don’t get me wrong. I’m really grateful for your saving Dennis and all – I’d be heartbroken to lose my brother - but these are my injuries: you can’t have ‘em.”

“It’s not that I really want your injuries.”

“Maybe not, but you’re too accustomed to doing for everyone. This wasn’t just your fight, though. Those people would have been doing stuff to the rest of us whether Voldemort was obsessed with you or not. That obsession allowed us to call them out where we had the upper hand, but it was our choice far more than yours to face them. We’re the ones that ought to be taking care of you, but you seem to have come through pretty well.”

“Well, physically, but I’m still pretty annoyed with being tricked all year. I see the need, but I was really put through the wringer with all that.”

“We knew you were Harry,” said Dennis, “but we couldn’t come up with a better way to make the terror attacks stop and draw them into a pitched battle.”

“I know. I see it, but it’s not nice being put through all that.”

Dennis turned his side toward Harry. “If it’ll make you feel better, Harry – hit me, hard as you want! Break a bone if it helps – I’m in the best place for it!”

Harry laughed gently. “Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t think that’s the way I need to deal with it.”

“Well, we’re honestly sorry for the frustration it caused you, Harry,” said Colin, “but not for the results. Now as for my injuries, I need them – they’re my Red Badge of Courage – ever read that one in muggle school? They’re my proof that I fought bravely, too. You have plenty of stories of great adventures: I’ve just got this and the Battle of Gringotts, and let’s face it, I spent all of the Battle of Gringott’s on the roof of Madame Malkin’s, safely hidden. I’ll be telling grandchildren about my injuries in the Battle of the Forbidden Forest. If you take them away, it just wouldn’t be the same.”

“Not that I won’t be doing the same,” said Dennis. “After all, I was saved from sure death on the battlefield by the Great and Awesome Harry Potter.”

“Oh, knock that off,” said Harry, grinning.

Dennis put on a small child’s voice: “Oh Granddad, tell us how you were saved by ‘The Boy Who Lived’!”

Harry gave Dennis a playful slap on the head, and they laughed.

“Besides,” continued Colin, “you were a mite busy, after all, saving those that wouldn’t have made it. Madame Pomfrey will have me all fixed up by tomorrow, and she said I could watch the fireworks from the portico.”

“That’s great, then,” said Harry.

“There is one thing you could do, though, Harry,” bubbled Colin.

“Name it,” said Harry.

Together Dennis and Colin lifted up their cameras and piped, “Pictures!” Harry grinned and agreed. He sat for pictures with Dennis, and pictures with Colin, and pictures by himself, and pictures with both Creeveys (taken by Fleur). When they had finished their rolls of film, Dennis said he’d go back to the Gryffindor dorm to develop these and get more film. Harry then made his exit and went back down to the Great Hall.

Harry barely got through the door before he was inundated with celebrants. Dumbledore was on the far side and seemed mightily amused as Harry was surrounded, his hand constantly pumped, and his cheek variously pinched or kissed, depending on the age of the witch in front of him. A few were even more familiar with him than that. It seemed like the entire Great Hall was filled shoulder to shoulder, none of them students or teachers. Nearly everyone added that they too had been awakened by severe pain at 5:20 that morning – Dumbledore must have put something about that in the letters.

After about 45 minutes of the press of people, few of whom Harry recognized, he saw Porphyrio MacMillan working his way through the crowd. Harry thought of all that Porphyrio had lost this year – his wife left a soulless shell and his only son killed; it saddened Harry greatly. Surprisingly Porphyrio was wearing mirrored sunglasses, even though no one had been required to since Harry took to the battlefield.

When Porphyrio worked his way through to Harry, he reared back and punched Harry squarely in the face, throwing Harry to the floor and starting a severe nosebleed. With all his boxing experience with Dudley, Harry could have dodged it if he had been in any way anticipating it, but he was utterly taken aback by Porphyrio’s reaction.

Ripping off his shades, Porphyrio shouted in the suddenly hushed hall, “That’s for you and your bloody war, Mr. Potter!

Before Harry could even respond, Porphyrio was grabbed by a dozen wizards and witches, who began to drag him off.

“DON’T HURT HIM,” shouted Harry after them. “HE’S ALREADY LOST TOO MUCH!”

Harry hung his head. The people around him tried to comfort him that it was not really his fault. Harry knew that; finally he really knew that. It was just overwhelming to see the results of the war from Porphyrio’s view. Perhaps, he thought, the punch would help Porphyrio see the futility of striking out at others and help him on the road toward mending. He made a mental note to write a long letter to Porphyrio in the days to come. An older wizard handed him a large handkerchief to stanch the blood flow, as a thirtyish witch with a motherly demeanour performed a clean-up spell to remove the blood from his face and front, and then patted one cheek kindly while she kissed the other.

Soon the crowd had forgotten Porphyrio and had resumed their celebrating, as well as congratulating and thanking Harry. When Harry thought he had had as much as he could stand, Dumbledore seemed to read his mind and steered him out through the crowd. The crush was little better outside, but at least Harry could breathe fresher air. He was quickly separated from Dumbledore, who gave him a hearty and bemused wave as Harry was swept away by the crowd. Harry could move nowhere without attracting a throng like a magnet collecting iron filings. The entire grounds were filled with celebration. There were various wizard and goblin bands distributed around, with various beings dancing all around them. It was a celebration like none before

It was near 11:15 when he finally could meet up with people he knew. Ron, Hermione, Luna and Ginny had helped cut through the crowd to give Harry a break. Neville, he was told, had gone home early to be with his parents, who were still too disoriented from missing sixteen years to join a celebration.

“Hey, mate, we were wondering when you were going to spend a little time with your friends,” enthused Ron, rosy-cheeked from celebrating.

“Well, it hasn’t been my choice. I suppose I can’t blame people, being rid of Voldemort and all, but sheesh, what’s a guy got to do to get a break.”

“Here! Have a butterbeer,” said Ron, producing a bottle from his robe pockets.

“We actually were very relieved when you made it outside,” said Luna.

“Missed me, didja?” said Harry with a Lockhart smile.

“Not really – you just got people off of us,” teased Ginny.

“All of Hogsmeade’s just as crowded as this,” said Hermione. “We went down with Fred and George to get the fireworks they needed. We really weren’t needed - half the school wanted a chance to see the backroom of their shop. Harry, I’m afraid they are planning something you might not be fully, erm, comfortable with.”

Harry shrugged. “I know those two – the only way to stop them once they have a notion is to fight them. I’m not game for that. Oh, well, it probably won’t hurt me anyway.”

“Harry,” said Ginny, “you also ought to know that the Daily Prophet has already come out with a special edition, all about the Battle of the Forbidden Forest and our raid on Voldemort’s island. They reprinted your Rita Skeeter interview. Only this time …, Oh, I don’t want to say it, but you’ve got to know. She’s given you a new nickname – ‘The Boy Who Loved’.”

“Oh, just great!” said Harry sarcastically, but with a laugh. “I thought I’d got past The Boy Who Lived tag and they go and pin that on me.”

Luna howled. “Oh, I missed that – it’s so funny.”

“You know, Luna,” offered Hermione, “you probably wouldn’t miss so much if you would read the paper right side up.”

“And you miss things reading them your way. Harry, it’ll pass.”

Harry smiled. “Oh, I know. Right now they could call me a leprechaun and I wouldn’t care. I can’t control Skeeter or the Daily Prophet or the twins, or … an awful lot of things. And I don’t want to – I’d rather just let ‘em flow on by the way they will. It’s right crowded out here, isn’t it?”

Hermione nodded agreement. “Luckily, it’s a happy crowd and very little use of magic with all these people around or the muggles here would be really spooked. My parents were feeling rather overwhelmed, so I had to park them with Hagrid and Maxime over at his cabin.”

“Well, let’s head over there,” said Harry. “A few minutes of peace and quiet before the fireworks would be nice.”

They had to pound very hard to get themselves heard above the revelry, but finally Hagrid came to the door and fairly scooped them all in. There were greetings all around, and Harry was picked up and hugged in turn by both Maxime and Hagrid.

“Harry, I’ve got a bone to pick with yeh,” Hagrid said. “When yeh came upon me and Olympe in the Fores’ las’ nigh’, yeh didn’ tell me how dangerous or painful it was gonna be to heal ‘er.”

“Hagrid, over the past seven years, you’ve had me dealing with juvenile dragons, blast-ended skrewts, acromantulas as big as elephants, hippogriffs, a full-blooded giant and any number of other life-threatening beasts and beings. NOW you’re worried about exposing me to a bit of danger!?”

“Harry, it was more than a bit of danger,” reminded Hagrid. “Olympe said yeh actually saw yer parents and Sirius – yeh was as close to dead as yeh can get and come back.”

“‘Olympe said?’ Madam Maxime, what happened to secrets? Unless…? That must mean – Hey, you’re getting married! Congratulations!” said Harry.

On this announcement, acknowledged with grins by both half-giants, the whole house cheered.

“Yeh’re not changin’ the subject that fast, Harry Potter!” broke in Hagrid after a reasonable period.

“You know I could never say no to you, Hagrid.”

“Was it awful, Harry?” Hagrid said quietly.

“Honestly, Hagrid, at first it was. The pain was worse than stunners or even a well-focused cruciatus curse; but after a bit it receded and it was wonderful to see my parents and Sirius. Seeing them, though, made me realize that what was done is done. We can’t live in the past, full of regrets, fretting over ‘might have been.’ We’ve just got to move on, know where we’ve come from, but look to the future doing what we can to make things better. Coming back was just as painful, but I didn’t mind it so, because I was coming back to the people I love. It was my love for all of you that drew me back and saved me - and as it turns out, I needed to know that and some other things through that experience to defeat Voldemort.”

“Well, Harry,” said Hagrid, “I gotta say yer a bigger man than me to go through all that.”

“And that’s saying something,” added Ron.

“Harry,” spoke up Mr. Granger. “I need a word with you as well. When Hermione used to describe you as sort of a dangerous boy, I thought she meant you were the sort to try and get at her knickers and like that, and that she was flattered by it.”

“Dad! I told you we’re friends, not, uhh, … get me out of this, Harry.”

“Not so hasty, Cupcake,” her father continued. “Harry, I could have dealt with that – I’m no innocent about the temptations of teenagers in mixed boarding schools - but Professor Hagrid here has been filling us in on the dangers you’ve led my little angel into. What have you got to say for yourself?”

Harry smiled. “Well, first, I’m glad that Hagrid doesn’t know the half of it.”

“Harry, that’s not helping!” Hermione warned.

Harry continued, grinning. “I don’t remember ever twisting her arm to walk into dangers. More often I was trying to tell her to stay back, because I didn’t want her to get hurt. But I’ve always been glad she’s been on my team. I hope Hagrid’s also made it clear that there is not a more resourceful and clever witch – I know he admires her as much as I do. Do you have an image of Hermione up in the castle as a damsel in distress?”

“Well, I’m not sure,” said Mr. Granger. “She’s my little girl after all.”

The witches and wizards in Hagrid’s cabin had a good laugh. “Little girl, hah!” “Dainty little princess, hee-hee.”

“Now you all just stop!” whined Hermione.

“C’mon, Hermione,” said Harry. “It’s time your parents know what you’re capable of: out to the paddock, 10-second training drills, Level 1 spells.”

“Must we, Harry?”

“They should know what you’re capable of in a set-to.”

They all went out to the paddock behind Hagrid’s cabin. Harry and Hermione squared off against each other. Hermione was to attack first. As soon as Ron called go, Hermione began muttering curses, and Harry muttered countercurses and blocks and jumped or apparated out of the way of others. By the time Ron stopped the spar ten seconds later, the Grangers had seen over fifteen spells cast at Harry, all deflected or avoided. Harry assured them that very few other sorcerers could have dealt with that attack. The witches and wizards in the area had watched and were cheering and agreeing with Harry.

Then it was Hermione’s turn to defend. In the ten seconds of the spar, Harry hurled some two dozen minor temporary curses at her, and only the last, an Impedimenta, got through. This tripped her backwards into the mud. More cheers, some ‘Ah’s, with a bit of laughter as well.

“Harry, you’ve got me dirty,” Hermione moaned.

“Until last night, Mr. Granger, there were less than a dozen sorcerers who could square off against Hermione and get anything through. Now there are two less, unless someone unpetrifies LeStrange. So I hope you can see that while Hermione is indeed a young lady (Hermione just then pushed herself up from the mud and she promptly fell face forward) – and a beautiful one at that,” he added with a bemused smirk, “– she is no frail flower unable to protect herself. Let me help you, Hermione.”

Harry took out his wand and levitated Hermione to the edge of the paddock. The Impedimenta had by now worn off, and Harry said a little spell to clean off the mud.

“Well that’s most of it – Tonks was my teacher, so a clean-up won’t be perfect.”

Harry checked his watch, which reminded him it was broken, and then looked in Hagrid’s window to check the clock.

“It’s time to find a spot. Mr. and Mrs. Granger, you have to come with us: wizard fireworks are like nothing you have ever seen before.”

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__________________
Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.
  #78  
Old June 30th, 2007, 2:29 am
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

Chapter 70 The Harry Potter Show

They all headed to the lake, and saw an open patch of ground near one of the trees. They wondered why it was open since it was such a perfect place and there were so many people around. As they made their way over, they saw two people in the open area. It looked like Remus Lupin sharing the space with Voldemort. Lupin waved.

“Harry, Hagrid, all of you, come on over. Tonks and I’ve been saving a space for you.”

Ron looked into the blood red eyes in the snakelike skull Tonks was displaying and said, “Tonks, you’re a sick, sick woman. I am not going to try and watch fireworks with Lord Voldemort, so unless you’re game for a duel, just choose some other freaky look!”

“You’d be surprised how wide a berth I get like that,” Tonks laughed. Then she changed herself to look like a smaller version of Ron. “This’ll probably scare ‘em even further away.”

The rest all had a good laugh at Ron’s expense, and then Tonks changed back into a more normal appearance, at least for her.

They all grabbed places to sit while waiting for the show to start. Harry was next to Lupin.

“It’s truly magical,” said Lupin to Harry. He was looking up at the sky.

“What d’you mean, Remus? It hasn’t even started,” said Harry.

“I mean the moon. It’s nearly full. Even as an adult, seeing the moon that near to full would scare me to tears before. Harry,” Lupin looked at him, “Madame Pomfrey had to examine me. She checked my spine, my ribs, my nostrils, my eyes – I’ve got a clean bill of health. I thought maybe you had just changed me back for this month, but that next month, it would be a choice of either the same old transformation to a werewolf or drinking that awful potion and being doped up for days. Nope. I’m not a werewolf. I’m not a werewolf anymore!”

“That’s great, Remus. I can’t be happier than to know that,” said Harry.

“Yeah, me too,” said Ron, with a laugh. “You were a beast at that time of the month.”

Hermione stared at him. “Ron! I can’t believe you said that!”

“Yeah, like no one else ever thought of that line – I may never get to use it again!”

While trying to tell Harry about being cured, Remus had begun crying with joy. Tonks gave Harry a playful shove.

“Thanks a lot, Potter: I just had him calmed down, and you go setting him off again. I’ve been dealing with this since he came from Pomfrey’s office.”

Smiling, Lupin composed himself. “I wouldn’t have asked you to do it. When I heard Hermione say in the Great Hall that you actually underwent the werewolf transformation, I nearly fainted. It’s an awful thing to go through,” he said, shaking his head.

“Yeah, it’s bad enough – I’m glad I don’t have to keep coming back every full moon,” said Harry.

“I wouldn’t let you! Just keeping me from dying was plenty,” said Lupin. “I’ve lived my life hoping not to cause anyone else to suffer what I have.”

Harry thought a second and said, “Well, for one thing, I can’t fine-tune it like that, at least not so far. When I heal, I heal everything that’s ailing. Too bad, you’ll just have to take your cure. But even if I could have held back, I wouldn’t have. I was in enough pain from your injuries – what’s a little werewolf transformation for a friend then. Besides, that wasn’t even the most painful cure I did last night.”

“Still, I can’t help but think how fortunate I’ve been, considering the circumstances. Dumbledore let me get my magical training, I had friends and they became animagi to keep me company and help me through it, and now you’ve gone to great pains – very literally - to cure me. It’s quite overwhelming.”

“Remus, we all found you worth it. I know I don’t regret it. Just don’t let yourself get bitten again, okay?” said Harry with a smile.

“You can count on it,” Remus laughed. “I can’t imagine why I’m laughing - that’s just too sick a thought to be funny - but I feel too good not to laugh.”

Harry then got more serious. “Remus, can I talk to you about something? I have a concern, and I want to ask someone who has known pain. I’m afraid that one of these days, I’ll lose my nerve, that I’ll look at someone who really needs help, and my mind will say ‘I really want to help that person,’ but there’ll be this nagging doubt about taking the pain, and I won’t be able to do it. I’ve got to be able to freely accept it all to make it work.”

All of a sudden, there were gales of laughter behind Harry, from both Luna and Ginny.

“That’ll be the day!” cackled Luna.

“Poor ickle Hawwy Potter, afwaid to be a hewo!” added Ginny, giggling.

That was more than enough for Harry: he stood, lifted Ginny up and tossed her into the lake. However, he hadn’t realized that she had grabbed hold of the hood of his robe, so he was pulled in face-first as well. They fell together, then bobbed up waist-deep laughing. They tried to walk up the muddy lake-bottom, but Ginny slipped and grabbed Harry’s robe again. This time they fell holding each other. And when Harry lifted her up, she was standing so close that her body, in her soaking Hogwarts robe, was right against his. They were no longer laughing.

They looked at each other a few seconds, then Harry said, “Erm, would you, … do you have your wand?”

“It’s right here,” she said distractedly, patting near her left shoulder, causing some jiggling in her noticeably feminine body. “Do you?”

“Erm, no.” said Harry, patting around. “Accio wands” he said without a second thought, and they rose from about ten feet away and leapt into his hand. The surrounding witches and wizards goggled at his wandless wand retrieval, but Harry wasn’t paying attention.

“Alrigh’ now, you two,” said Hagrid, laughing and stepping into the lake with one leg in its enormous boot so he could lift them out in turns by their shoulders. “The show’s supposed to be over the lake, not in it.”

As Hagrid set them on the bank in turns, Tonks dried them with a quick charm. Just then fireworks figures that looked just like Fred and George, except for glowing and being over 100 feet tall, came striding out over the lake. It was like something between a muggle laser show and a well-drawn cartoon, thought Harry, except the figures were three dimensional and moved more naturally. The stars, moon, and mountain made an awe-inspiring backdrop. One of the twins was using the Sonorus charm to amplify his voice.

“Muggles and magicals, beings of all types and species, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes is thrilled to present for your evening entertainment the following fireworks show, based on the exploits of our favorite wizard not named Weasley. This entire show may be purchased as a box set, ready to activate by charm for display, in various sizes: room, backyard, field and WOW, and may we say it would be the perfect display every year on THIS day, which we recommend be named Potter Day.

“However before we begin the main event, we have a special tribute to another good friend. His name is Remus Lupin. He fought brilliantly alongside all of us yesterday and today. He has just this day learned that he has been cured of lycanthropy. That’s right, folks, he WAS a werewolf, but he’s not anymore, and consequently, he no longer fears a full moon. So Remus, we have a question for you – if you’re not afraid of ONE full moon, how about TWO full moons?”

And with that the fireworks Fred and George turned around, bent over and dropped their trousers, waving their twenty-foot wide bare ends in a coordinated waggling routine. Almost the whole crowd began to roar, none more so than Lupin. The one holdout from the amusement was soon heard over the entire tumult, as Molly Weasley’s voice was heard shrieking, “I’ll kill them!”

The fireworks twins then peeped between their legs and said, “Oh, hi, Mum. So without further ado, we present to you The Adventures of Harry Potter.” Then the fireworks twins faded away.

“Oh, no!” said Harry, aghast. “I need this like I need flobberworm earmuffs.”

“Ooooh!” squealed Ginny, Luna, Tonks, and Hermione, laughing and kicking their feet. “Our hero!”

“Oh, shut up,” said Harry, not harshly, but a bit exasperated.

“Quiet, you lot,” said Ron. “I want to see how this comes out. No spoilers, hear?”

Just then the main show started. It began with a modified version of the Dark Mark – even the twins were not so cheeky as to make the actual sign. But it was near enough to cause scattered screams amongst those who had lived through the horror of Voldemort’s reigns of terror.

The depiction of Voldemort’s attack on Harry’s family was not exactly as his memories had it, as he had never described all the details he remembered, but was quite dramatic. The whole crowd gasped as Harry’s father fought with Voldemort, spells blazing back and forth until he finally was killed, and then his mother pled with Voldemort for Harry’s life and was killed. The real Harry put his forearms across his knees and rested his forehead on them, while Remus put an arm around his shoulder and whispered, ‘It’s alright, Harry, let it out; it gets to me too,’ and Ginny and Tonks rubbed his back.

Next the firework Voldemort turned to baby Harry. The wizards and witches in the audience knew what had to happen and many were jovially shouting “No! No!” Despite their protestations, a bolt of green light shot at the toddler’s head, but it bounced back and the firework Voldemort became a silvery wisp and then disappeared. The magical folk in the audience cheered, knowing that this meant the first downfall of Voldemort, but the Grangers were appalled.

“Oh, my word,” said Mrs. Granger, aghast. “Bad enough he attacked those adults, Hermione, but an infant!?”

Quietly Hermione responded. “Mum, that child was Harry.”

The Grangers glanced over toward Harry and then just stared upwards in shock, as the tiny lightning bolt scar on baby Harry’s head grew and grew till it was the only light in the show. Then the twin’s voice boomed out again.

“Ten years passed, and Harry came to Hogwarts, where the Philosopher’s Stone of Nicolas Flamel had been moved from Gringott’s for safekeeping. Headmaster Dumbledore had been reading the signs and knew that what was left of You-Know-Who was seeking it. Harry and his friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, (figures of the three appeared in fireworks battling a troll – or more accurately dodging a troll) figured out that an attempt was going to be made to steal the stone.”

The firework figures then passed through a door which had appeared and were confronted with the giant three-headed dog.

“My word, Hermione!” exclaimed Mr. Granger loudly. “You fought Cerberus!?”

“No, no, Dad, that’s Fluffy, one of Hagrid’s pets.” (Mr. Granger glared at Hagrid, who grinned proudly at him). “And we didn’t fight it: we played music to make it sleep.”

And sure enough, first fireworks-Harry, then fireworks-Hermione played a flute and the dog slept, as the three figures dropped through the trapdoor into the Devil’s Snare. The crowd cheered as fireworks-Hermione conjured a fire to make the plant retreat, and the Grangers beamed with pride. The key chase was absolutely stunning with thousands of swirling glittering lights like a school of herring being first chased by and then chasing the three figures. They darted through a door which appeared.

The narration then returned. “Luckily the next hazard, a troll, had already been disposed of by the wizard whom Voldemort – sorry folks, we’ve learned to say it and especially now that he’s gone, we’re not going to stop - had possessed. Then they faced a life-size wizard’s chess set, only they had to play the roles of pieces. Luckily Ron Weasley is quite the chess whiz - Way to go, little Bro!”

Then figures of an entire wizard chess set appeared above the lake, with the figures of Ron, Harry and Hermione taking the places of three pieces. The game was quite spectacular, as wizard chess played at high speed in fireworks must be, and when fireworks-Ron sacrificed himself, wincing as the queen’s blow came down, so that fireworks-Harry could gain a checkmate, the whole crowd gasped and applauded. The real Ron stood and bowed all around, until Hermione kicked his legs out from under him.

More narration: “Next was a barrier of potions and logic which would make a nice read, but quite a poor show, so we just show some bottles flying around their heads and give due credit – Hermione Granger solved the logic puzzle. But only one could go on. Hermione returned to help Ron and try to get help for Harry. Harry then proceeded.”

The fireworks then showed the whole confrontation with Professor Quirrell, the unwrapping of the turban (everyone screamed very nicely) and the final fight, with the fireworks-Quirrell screaming in pain as it touched Harry. It ended with fireworks-Harry standing alone, holding up the Philosopher’s Stone. Harry groaned at that, knowing he had been knocked out by the fight, but he had to allow for dramatic license.

“The next year,” the narration continued, “Voldemort’s 16-year-old self was released through the medium of an enchanted diary and opened the Chamber of Secrets at Hogwarts. Several students were petrified by the monster released, including Hermione Granger (and with this the fireworks-Hermione was shown going flat as a board, then floating down like a leaf to rest on the surface of the lake), but not before she figured out that the monster of the Chamber was a thousand-year-old basilisk. Armed with this knowledge, Ron Weasley and Harry Potter entered the Chamber with Gilderoy Lockhart when our sister Ginny Weasley was taken by the diary-Voldemort into the Chamber so that he could become a physical being.”

The figures of Ron, Harry and Lockhart appeared, with fireworks-Harry hissing at the loo sinks to open the Chamber and the three of them sliding down. The real Ginny had her face covered with her hands, but looked through her fingers at the show.

Fireworks-Lockhart tripped fireworks-Ron and then tried to curse fireworks-Harry, with the wand backfiring and collapsing the tunnel between them. The cave-in was awesome in fireworks. Fireworks-Harry went on and found the unconscious fireworks-Ginny. The real Ginny began sobbing openly. Harry put his arm around her and she rested her head on his shoulder. The fireworks showed the entire confrontation with Tom Riddle and the basilisk.

“Cor, mate,” said Ron. “Was that beast really that big?”

Harry glanced up again as the twins’ representation of phoenixsong was heard (nice, but nothing like the real thing) and the fireworks-Fawkes pecked out the eyes of the basilisk. “Actually a good bit bigger.”

Ginny kept sobbing as she peeked up at the show, becoming more rapt as the fireworks-Harry thrust the sword through the roof of the basilisk’s mouth, then withdrew with a fang in his arm, followed by Fawkes’s healing tears and Harry’s destruction of the diary with the fang. As the fireworks-Harry comforted the fireworks-Ginny and helped her up, the real Harry did the same.

“C’mon, Ginny, that’s all of this I can take, too. Let’s have a walk.”

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__________________
Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.
  #79  
Old July 2nd, 2007, 11:34 pm
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

Chapter 71 Resolutions

Harry had his arm around Ginny and she continued to sob as they wended their way through the seated crowd. Most recognized Harry and waved or gave a thumbs-up, which Harry returned with his free hand. Luckily all were so enjoying the show they chose not to pester Harry. He and Ginny made their way back up to the castle and found a secluded bench to sit on.

“Harry, I hadn’t thought much about that over the years. I mean, sometimes, I gave some thought to being possessed, and whether there was any lingering damage, but, well, when I woke up in the Chamber, there was just a bit of the basilisk visible and you were there – a right sight. I was too shaken up that evening to remember what you said. I had no idea what you had faced. For me!”

“Yeah, well, you know, I had to give it a go. I couldn’t just walk away.”

Ginny threw her arms around his neck. “Please don’t ever leave me,” she cried.

Harry hugged her back, and then pushed away a bit to look in her eyes. “Ginny, I don’t want a life with someone because she’s afraid, or grateful, or pities herself or me. That won’t last and we’d end up miserable. You’re quite the fighter now yourself. You don’t need to be taken care of.”

“But Harry, …” she began and he quieted her.

“I’ve sort of been avoiding you since the battle. You see, there’s something I need to confess. I know I had promised never to use legilemency on my friends, but when we were on the island, I wasn’t in control when Voldemort made me read your minds. I fought it, but had no strength. In addition to seeing the foolishness of the guilt you all felt, I saw how you really felt about me. I had never felt such relief or joy in my life as when I saw how much you really cared.”

“Oh, Harry, why would you have been in doubt about that?”

“Well, the way Hermione made it sound yesterday morning, it was all part of the plan – you volunteered, you got detentions so you could study Occlumency to hide your mind from me, you got roped into exploring the caves with me, you knew when I was going to be most vulnerable and then you came to me willing to be my support and share your eyes and, well, all the things we’ve shared. She showed how it was all a piece of the plan. You see, it sounded like it was just a job you had to do to make the plan work. I thought you had been remarkably convincing, and I was terribly hurt, angry and confused. I just accepted it, though, as part of what I deserved, as the guy who made all the bad things happen, but was key to putting a stop to it. I can’t begin to tell you how overjoyed I was to find that all you were hiding was the plan, and that you really did love me.”

“Oh, Harry, I’m sorry that you had to be put through that, and a bit annoyed that you ever doubted, but I am glad that you’ve seen the truth. Of all people, I can certainly forgive doing something while under Voldemort’s control. But don’t you dare look in my mind ever again – that excuse is gone!”

Harry laughed. “I won’t.”

"Well!?"

"Well what?"

"You know how I feel about you. We've been very close and affectionate, but you haven't really said how you feel."

“How about if I show you?”

Ginny smiled on one side of her mouth. “Do you think I’m the sort of turnip who’d fall for a line like that?”

“I didn’t mean to show you that way. I meant with a kiss.”

“Well, we’ve kissed plenty, Harry, but if you think you can make it more special, I’ll let you have a go.”

Harry looked deeply in her eyes. He bent down and, putting his entire concentration and powers into his feelings for her, he began to kiss her. After a long kiss, he said very quietly, "I love you, too."

Ginny gasped, and responded quietly, "Lucky for you, buster: you can't give a girl a kiss like that and just walk away."

"I have no intention of walking away.”

“Yeah,” said Ginny, still catching her breath, ‘you say that, but you’ll be off at auror school or some-such next year, forgetting all about schoolgirls.”

Harry shook his head. “I'll be here next year as instructor. I’ll be working with Dumbledore on research and skills. It’ll give me some time to figure out how to live life without someone trying to kill me. One of the great attractions of that arrangement is that you’ll still be here."

Harry and Ginny spent a nice long time, just holding each other. They hugged, made meaningless conversation, just enjoyed being together. After a time they noticed the sounds of people moving in the area and realized that the show must have ended. Soon they heard a deep voiced man pointedly clearing his throat to catch their attention. Harry turned to him.

“May I help you?” inquired Harry.

“Yes, Mr. Potter, I’d like to talk to you about appearing on our famous wizard cards, the ones that come with chocolate frogs,” explained the wizard, dressed in robes and grossly oversized tam, all the garments bright orange and covered with images of chocolate frogs, which were actively hopping and crawling all around them.

“I never would have guessed: not exactly subtle, are you?” said Harry, indicating the robes, at which the man just grinned. “Ginny, Professor Dumbledore told me to expect this. I need to do a bit of negotiation here. Will you be okay?”

Ginny smiled mischievously at him and pointed her wand at the sky, shouting “Valentina!” Red sparks shot from the tip of her wand, erupting into an enormous red
heart in the sky which lingered, pulsing.

“Don’t be too long,” she said, walking off.

The man grinned and jerked a thumb toward the display in the sky. “Like love potions – all the witches pick that one up by third year, and we wizards haven’t got a clue.”

Harry and the man went into the entry hall and talked, working out the details. After settling the terms, the man took some fresh pictures. Harry then saw Ron and
Hermione getting a butterbeer. He called them over, put his arm around their shoulders and said “Shoot.” The man took a picture.

“What was that about?” asked Ron.

“Oh, that was your picture for a Chocolate Frog card.”

“What!?” cried Hermione. “My hair’s a fright.”

“How else would you be recognized?” laughed Harry. “Listen, there’s going to be a series of ‘Harry Potter’ cards with different things I’ve gotten into. There had to be at least a couple with you two also. I couldn’t have survived without you.”

“That’s cool,” said Ron. “Any gold in it for us?”

“Yeah,” said Harry. “I’m getting 12 knuts for every Potter card, except the ones with the three of us – we each get 4 knuts for those. You’ll be owled a contract and release next week. They plan the new cards to be released in a couple of weeks.”

“Well, you know me, Harry,” said Ron, “I don’t mind a bit of gold coming in.”

“Do we get to review what the card will say?” said Hermione. “I don’t want it to make me out to be some Harry Potter flunky, or worse, a groupie.”

“Oh, do I have groupies?”

“Actually, Harry, there have been a number of times that girls have fairly thrown themselves at you, and not just the ones who were at training camp,” said Hermione, with Ron nodding. “We couldn’t tell for sure if you were too noble or too dense to take advantage.”

“Erm, let’s go with the first explanation” said Harry, and they all laughed.

Just then, Remus and Tonks came in.

“Out all this time,” said Ron, suggestively smirking, “what have you two been up to?”

“Now, now, Ron.” said Remus. “Actually, the moon’s just now gone down. I couldn’t tear myself away. I’ve always been afraid before and now to be able to look at it, it’s just beautiful.”

“Yup, that’s right!” said Tonks with unmistakable disappointment and annoyance in her voice. “That’s all he was interested in.”

“Say,” said Lupin, after a glance and smile at Tonks, “I didn’t get to tell you three my other big news. Now that I’m no longer a werewolf, Dumbledore wants me back as Defense Against the Darks Arts teacher. Maxime is returning to Beauxbatons; unfortunately it looks like Hagrid will be going there, too. Anyway it seems I had good recommendations from some students Dumbledore really respects. Ah, finally, a real job I should be able to stick with.”

“Great,” said Harry, “I’ll be here coaching the DA and teaching flying and apparation. We can coordinate Defense lessons with DA practices – get the theory and the practice together. Not worried about the jinx, are you?”

“Nope. I have a feeling a lot of old problems are melting away now,” said Lupin with a broad smile.

“Hey, Remus,” said Ron, “let’s go find a boggart!”

Lupin laughed. “Now why would we want to do that? I might need them for classes next year.”

“Aah, but now that I like spiders and you like the moon, we don’t know what to be afraid of. The boggart’ll show us what we really fear now.”

Lupin thought a second and said, “You know, Ron, that’s not a half-bad idea. It should be fun, in a weird way. Let’s go.”

Before they could go, an enormous shout was heard echoing throughout the entry hall. At first it sounded like Molly Weasley in a towering fit, but then they realized it was Ginny shouting “GRANGER!!!!!”

Ron quickly grabbed Harry, Lupin and Tonks and shoved them away toward the wall. “Duck,” he hissed at them, pulling them down behind a bench.

“Ron, how can you just abandon Hermione out there like that?” asked Remus.

“Because I know what Ginny’s like when she’s angry. They had her in mind when they made up the phrase ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman!’”

“I believe that’s ‘… a woman scorned,’ Ron,” corrected Tonks.

“I know what I’m talking about!”

“Granger!!!” shouted Ginny again, red-faced. She had her wand aimed right at Hermione. “What were you thinking telling Harry I didn’t care for him!”

“I didn’t say that!” said Hermione, shaking in the face of Ginny’s obvious rage. “I told him how hard you worked at the plan and volunteered to pose as his girlfriend, and, oh, erm, …” She turned toward Harry to explain. “Harry, I didn’t mean, ... that is, what I was saying is she volunteered because, … You know, she worked at it, … and …” Hermione sounded ever more panicky as she realized how she had misled Harry, though unintentionally.

“Not only did you come near to screwing up our relationship, but you almost ruined the plan – Harry felt like he wasn’t worth loving because of what you said!”

“Really?” said Ron with a bemused smile quietly to Harry.

“I had kind of a self-image problem,” admitted Harry, taking up the joke.

“Probably explains why you were handing out signed photos in second-year.”

“Would you two shut up,” said Tonks. “This is serious. There aren’t many things more dangerous than a woman when another woman has threatened her relationship with her boyfriend – especially when that woman’s as powerful as Ginny. Harry, go take her wand from her.”

“No, thanks. I’ve done my fighting for a while,” said Harry. “You’re the auror – you do it.”

“Granger, draw your wand,” dared Ginny.

“You aren’t really going to let them hurt each other, are you, Harry?” whispered Tonks.

“I’m afraid anything I do might make things worse. Since Voldemort’s gone, I have undiluted control of the power we had shared, so I really don’t know my own strength. The only magic I’ve done since then is healing, flying, a bit of conjuring, and that duel at Hagrid’s when I was holding back. You go stop them.”

Hermione tried to calm the situation. “Now, Ginny, you know I’m sorry about that. I get overexcited at times. You see, that’s why you were so much better for it, erm, not that you weren’t the best anyway, because, …, I mean, I certainly didn’t want to pose as …, I mean,…”

“Ron, that’s your sister and your girlfriend. Go stop them,” said Tonks.

“Pft! Yeah, right!”

“Granger, draw your wand,” growled Ginny.

“Remus, you stop them.”

“Harry’s right – you’re the auror.”

“Yeah, but I’ve seen what those two can do – I’m not going out there.”

“But you’d send me!?”

Hermione stared at Ginny. She started to crouch like she was about to fight, and then she straightened up.

“No, Ginny, I won’t.” She gingerly pulled her wand out with two fingers and dropped it. “There’s been enough fighting. You’re angry and I understand that. You have a right to be. I made a terrible mistake – but that’s all it was, a mistake. I was very excited with the battle beginning and I wasn’t clear about what I was telling Harry. Sometimes when I get wound up, I don’t express myself so well. So if you’re going to hex me, go on and do it. In fact, you choose the hex, and I’ll bear with it until it wears off – anything you want to do to punish me for my mistake.”

“Whoa, that’s brave,” whispered Ron, “but then she didn’t grow up with Ginny.”

“Do you think she’ll hex her?” asked Remus quietly.

“No doubt,” said Ron. “She’s just trying to choose one.”

The seconds ticked by and the Hall was silent. Suddenly Ginny flicked her wand and shouted “DEPILLIATE!” The red and white spell flew at Hermione and wound around her.

“Huh!?” said Ron. “Never heard of that one.”

“I have,” said Harry. “It removes all hair from a person. Tonks is great at it.”

“Ooh, thanks, Harry,” said Tonks.

“But it didn’t do anything,” said Ron aloud, as they all stood up.

Hermione turned her head and glared at him, and Ron gave a shocked ‘Eep!’ as her head turned independently of her big bushy hair. Then the hair lost balance and fell down the back of her robes, all as one, showing that she was as bald as a dragon’s egg. Ron came walking up slowly and looked closely at her.

“Whoa, got your eyebrows and eyelashes, too,” said Ron. “That’s freaky.”

Hermione grimaced and glared at him. Then she turned to Ginny, “Are we even now?”

“You’re not going to do anything to hide it or make it grow back, are you?”

“No, Ginny, I made the offer and I accept it. I was hoping it would just be the bat-wing bogey hex, but at least it wasn’t something that causes permanent harm. Thank you for that.”

“Alright then,” said Ginny. “Next time think before you speak!”

“Yes, Ginny, you’re right.”

Ron was gently tugging at Hermione’s arm to talk to her.

“What IS it, Ron?”

He whispered a bit in her ear.

“Yes, Ron, ALL,” she said peevishly.

He whispered some more.

“Really, Ron?” she said quietly.

He whispered more.

“Really, Ron?” she said breathily.

He whispered again.

“Really, Ron?” she purred. Then she said hurriedly, “Um, Ginny, you certainly have taught me a hard, erm, stern, lesson and I’ll never forget it. Got to go now!”

With that, Hermione snatched up her wand and grabbed Ron’s hand as they went running up the stairs.

Ginny began to laugh uproariously.

“What?” asked Harry, “What was all that about?”

“Oh, gosh, Harry, you really have missed out on a lot of things, haven’t you? I’ll explain it later,” said Ginny with a relaxed smile.

Then Ginny started to squint and glower at Harry. “You know, Potter, I just realized that you thought I was selling my affections to make a battle plan work. Just what kind of a girl do you think I am!?”

“Ginny,” gently interrupted Tonks. “Let me tell you what kind of a girl – Harry told me last night about it, or I guess it’s two nights now. He has Voldemort’s memories of Harry’s mother willing, begging, to do anything and everything for Voldemort to save one life – Harry’s. If he thought you were willing to give a bit of affection to save thousands of lives, I’d say he’s putting you in pretty good company.”

Ginny looked at him and he nodded. “Oh, well, when you put it like that…” said Ginny.

“Besides,” said Tonks boisterously, “he’s pretty good to lay some affection on – I know!”

Harry, Ginny and Remus all glared at Tonks. Remus spoke first, “You just had to add that one last bit too much, didn’t you? We’d better get out of here while the getting’s good. Help me find that boggart - maybe we’ll both get good and scared and have to comfort each other.”

“Ooh, that sounds like a plan,” giggled Tonks, “but who needs the boggart?”

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__________________
Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.
  #80  
Old July 6th, 2007, 12:56 am
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Re: Harry Potter and the War Within - Rewrite

Chapter 72 The Man in the Mirror

After Remus and Tonks left, Harry and Ginny were about to go get a butterbeer when they heard Arthur Weasley’s voice. “Aah, you two were able to evade the crowd quicker than I was.”

“Hi, Mr. Weasley.”

“Hi, Dad,” added Ginny, giving him a hug. “Harry and I were about to have a butterbeer. Shall I get you one, too?”

“Yes, dear, that would be very nice. I’m parched. It’s been a very long couple of days.”

After she left, Arthur continued. “Dumbledore’s filled us all in on your escapade this past morning. When we heard that so many of you had gone missing after the battle, Molly and I were worried sick. We’re so relieved that everyone came back safely.”

“Thank you, Mr. Weasley. I’m thrilled too, perhaps most because it’s all over. Although I had really hoped I could heal him.”

“I suppose it’s proper that you feel that way, but I hope you understand that none of us are too fussed that he’s dead. We’ve most all suffered terrible losses because of him. Erm, he is truly, finally dead, isn’t he?”

Harry nodded.

“Good. I’ll trust that you’re certain about that. Who would know better? But after what happened with him returning after the last time his body was destroyed, I had to be sure.” said Arthur.

“I’m sure the aurors should be searching the Death Eaters’ homes for objects like the Riddle diary to be extra sure of no unpleasant accidents. I’ll be checking out the Chamber of Secrets for interesting magic and I’ll watch for that sort of hazard.”

“Hopefully you’ll be better prepared for resisting it than you and Ginny were before. By the way, Harry, if there’s any way I can help you out, let me know. It wouldn’t even be pulling strings to get you a job in the Ministry. Every department wants you.”

“Well, maybe in a few years I’ll be ready to try for auror. I have a little experience in the field. Or maybe the Department of Mysteries, if I don’t feel like fighting. For right now, I’m going to work here and get some additional training. Dumbledore wants to teach me some things. I’d be a fool to turn that down.” Then Harry looked at him craftily and said, “By the way, now that you’re officially the Minister of Magic, what should I call you – Lord Minister?”

Arthur laughed. “Oh, you know you can call me anything you like, Harry.”

“Really?” said Harry, very earnestly, “because for some time now, I’ve been thinking how much I’d like to call Mrs. Weasley and you Mum and Dad – if you
wouldn’t mind. I’ve always wanted to be able to call someone that and, well, that’s rather much how I’ve come to think of you. Ron and Ginny said they thought it was okay.”

Arthur pursed his lips. “Harry, being called Dad has always meant far more to me than any other title I could have. To think that such a fine young man as yourself would choose to call me that – well, I’m overwhelmed - but of course, please do. Molly would be tickled by it as well.”

“When I met my parents last night, …” Harry began.

Arthur gasped. “Harry, you don’t mean to say that you actually met your parents, do you?”

Harry nodded. “It was while I was healing Madame Maxime. There was a lot of injury. I was very near to death myself. I have, erm, reasons to be confident I actually met them. For one thing they gave me advice that helped me figure out how to defeat Voldemort. Anyway, my Mum told me that there are people willing to love me like a son. And I thought of you and Mrs. Weasley. My Dad told me to let the people who love me do so. I haven’t been doing that very well. I’d like to set things right.”

“There’s nothing to fix, Harry. For several years now, you’ve been like a son to us. You’re welcome to call us parents. Come stay with us anytime – it’s not a visit,
it’s coming home,” said Arthur, giving Harry a hug.

“I like the sound of that,” said Harry, “ – ‘coming home’.”

Suddenly they were interrupted by Molly Weasley. “Harry Potter!!! You’ve been leading my little lambs into danger again!?” She was storming toward them with an expression Harry could not read. He was unwilling to use legilemency.

Then she threw her arms around him and hugged with all her strength. “Aah, Harry, I’m so proud of you and all of you who’ve ended this once and for all. And you’ve found a power beyond anything any of us ever imagined – healing! Now, that is indeed special. Thank you so much for what you did for Ron I don’t know if I could bear to lose him.”

“Molly, dear, Harry here was just asking if he could call us Mum and Dad. I said you’d be tickled,” said Arthur.

“Oh. Oh, of course!” Molly began to tear up and hugged Harry once again. “I’d been hoping for some time that you would. I knew though that you had a lot on your mind.”

“It’s more than I could tell you,” said Harry. “I really thought that to destroy Voldemort’s power, I would have to get myself killed. I was really rather disappointed when Mr. Wea, uh, er, Dad, refused to do it.”

“What!! Arthur, I didn’t hear about this!”

“Oh, well, Molly, we might have discussed that in the Order meeting in August whilst you were making coffee.”

“Well, why didn’t you let me know? You certainly didn’t give the notion any consideration, did you?”

“Um, well, er, Molly, I had the whole wizarding world to think about, and …”

“Mum,” said Harry, gently, “I made a very good case for it. Even Dumbledore was ready to let him do it – at least I think he was. There were a lot of lives at stake. By the way, the offer’s off, Dad.”

“I already figured that out, Harry,” said Arthur with a smile.

Ginny came up handing Harry and her father each one of the butterbeers she was carrying.

Molly took the other one from her, “Thank you, dear.” When Ginny started to open her mouth in protest, Molly stopped her and said, “Didn’t I already see you with a butterbeer earlier – you’re too young to be drinking more.”

Harry winked and smiled at her. “I’ll share, Ginny.” He took a swig and handed the bottle to her. She sneered at her mother and pointedly took a large swallow, but it bubbled up into her nose, making her choke and sneeze. The others covered their mouths as they laughed.

“Mum, Dad,” said Harry, “there is something I would like to talk with you about. I’m concerned about the responsibilities of this new power to heal I have.”

“What do you mean, dear?” asked Mrs. Weasley.

“Well, how much do you know about how the healing works?” responded Harry.

“Well, I saw you in the Hospital Wing last night, but you were so focused, we weren’t even sure if you noticed us – oh, we all understood, don’t worry. We saw you with Minerva McGonagall, but all we could really tell is that you concentrated very hard, then there was that green glow all over her, and your body got very tense, and after the longest 2 or 3 minutes ever, she was okay. Later last night, Ron said that you have to think very intensely about removing the person’s injury to get the green glow in your eyes. Oh, he also said it seems to tire you out while it happens and if you need more strength, you draw it from others nearby,” explained Mrs. Weasley.

And Arthur Weasley added, “Dumbledore was just telling me this evening it involves caring very deeply for the person you’re healing, and taking the injury away, but then he got choked up and couldn’t finish. Very odd that; he’s usually so completely self-composed.”

“That’s mostly it. I have to find it in myself to love that person enough to desire that the injury become mine instead of the other person’s, and that’s what actually happens. When Tonks’ leg and belly were being healed, my leg broke and my belly tore open. When I healed Ron, my chest was sliced and my skull split open, and with Professor McGonagall, I felt every stunner that hit her, every bit of the cruciatus curse inflicted. When I was healing Mr. and Mrs. Longbottom, the pain was so intense I think I would have killed anyone if I thought it would make the pain stop: the only thing that got me through it without going insane as they did was the knowledge that it would soon end. Well, that and knowing I was bearing it for an excellent reason. I even felt the emotions each felt as they watched the other being tortured alternately.” Harry closed his eyes and shuddered at the memory of that.

“If I hadn’t been able to draw strength from others, I would have died when I tried to heal Madame Maxime from the killing curse. That ability to draw on others also saved me, of course, when Voldemort tried to kill me this morning. What I’m afraid of now is this: that some day my body will overrule my mind and I’ll say ‘no, I know this person is hurting terribly and will die, but I just don’t want to hurt like that anymore, even for a little while. Let someone else hurt, not me.’ My mind might say one thing, but the body could say the other, and someone could die because of that. I would be very sad and ashamed of myself if that happened.”

Arthur shook his head sympathetically. “I hadn’t realized what a precious price you were paying for what you did, Harry. You’ve done an awful lot already. Don’t worry about the future. I’m sure that when you see a person in need, you won’t have any hesitation. You never have before. Most people have no problem refusing to help. Muggles die every day because too few of them will bear the pain of a pinprick to donate a pint of blood – they don’t have blood restorer potion, so they depend on the care of their neighbor to donate needed blood, and too often it’s just not available. You already know that you would feel shame over acting like that. You just care too much to do otherwise. You’ll find the strength and it’ll see you through.”

“You know, Harry,” added Molly, “in some ways that’s not so different from what women go through. Look at me – after every baby, I swore I’d never have another. But then, I’d forget the pain, remember the joy of each new person I had given life to, and, well, I just found it in me to keep going.” She grabbed Ginny by the shoulders: “And aren’t you glad I persisted! I gave life in my way: you give life in yours. The pains you’ve had have been more intense, but trust me - the memory will fade soon enough, and when you’re asked to give someone a chance to live, you’ll rise to the occasion.”

“I guess you’re right. The memory of the pain is already getting a little dull. And one of the things I learned last night was the importance of mixing plenty of fun and joy in with the pain. One problem though is that I’ve spent so long obsessing about fighting, I’m rather rusty at knowing how to have fun - I think I’m going to see about finding someone who can coach me at that, someone to teach me to enjoy living.”

Ginny responded immediately, squaring toward him, with feet set at shoulder width and fists on her hips. “Well, if you don’t have me in mind for that job, Harry Potter, you’re going to be reminded what pain is like!”

Harry laughed; he held her head with both hands and kissed her on the forehead. “Don’t worry, you fiery redhead – you’re exactly who I had in mind.”

“Good choice, Harry,” said Arthur, placing an arm around Molly and drawing her close. “She’s very much her mother’s daughter, and Molly’s never failed to bring joy into my life, not once.”

Molly giggled and hugged Arthur back.

Harry smiled. “Mmm. I wish we had some music: I’d really like to dance with you, Ginny. It’s time to start enjoying.”

“Oh, Harry, I’d love that. Dad, can you conjure something?” Ginny asked.

Before Arthur could answer, music filled the entry hall – it was haunting, tender, joyous, calming and invigorating at the same time.

“What is that music?” said Ginny.

“This is phoenixsong,” said Harry.

Ginny sighed contentedly. “It makes me feel almost as good as Harry’s kisses.”

“Almost!?” asked Molly. “This is heavenly, and if it’s only second-best, then you really are in trouble, sweetheart. But it’s wonderful trouble to be in with the right man.” Then she added, “I know,” and hugged up again to Arthur.

Harry looked around the Hall. “Fawkes must have heard my wish for music. Dumbledore always says that music is one of the most wondrous and powerful forms of magic. I can’t tell you how phoenixsong has carried me over the worst of times.” He breathed deep, like he was smelling the first warm day of spring. “It’s just as magical in happy times. Ginny, let’s dance.”

“Well, if we don’t dance together, I’ll be dancing all alone. I wouldn’t be able to stop myself.”

Harry took her by the hand and they stepped out to an open area. Then they held each other, with Ginny’s head against Harry’s chest, and his cheek against the top of her head, and they began dancing closely and tenderly. After watching for a minute, Arthur and Molly too began to dance. Other couples soon joined them; then others and still others.

At some point Harry became aware of Professor Dumbledore trying to catch his attention. Harry glanced up and saw that Dumbledore had brought the Mirror of Erised into the Hall and was nodding his head sideways toward it. Harry didn’t want to interrupt his dance with Ginny, so he very gradually led that direction. As he looked at first, at an angle, all he could see is the reflection of the others dancing in the Hall. Then as he got closer, he saw his mother and father dancing just as he and Ginny were.

“That’s nice,” thought Harry, “but was that really that important? The only real surprise there is that I don’t feel so fascinated at seeing my parents as I used to.”

Then Harry looked in the mirror again, and the light was now right for him to notice that the man in the mirror had green eyes. It wasn’t James Potter: it was Harry. And the witch in the mirror had red hair that was too bright for her to be Lily Potter: it was Ginny. He saw nothing that wasn’t as it really was in the Hall.

“Harry?” said Ginny. “You seem distracted. Is something wrong?”

“Nothing at all, Ginny. I was just realizing that right now, being in this place, with the war finally over, surrounded by all these good people, and most importantly, holding you close in my arms, there is not a happier man in the entire world.”

“Oh! Well, you just keep holding that thought.”

“And you?”

“What?”

“I told you how I was feeling. How about you?”

She smiled and nuzzled her face even closer to his chest. “I feel the same, and I’m thinking of ways we can be happier still.”

“Right, then. You’re the coach.”

“And don’t you forget it.”

Harry thought about things and realized that he didn’t need to be so intense, the habit of years under attack. Without the war, there really shouldn’t be that many times when he would be called on to heal someone injured beyond the healers’ abilities. He’d take it as it came. For now, there was no mad sociopath trying to murder him, he had people that loved him and that he loved, he had interesting and fun work to do for several years at least, and right this moment he had in his arms a beautiful and delightful witch, whose hair smelled of - he sniffed, okay, well, battle sweat and lake water - but she was holding him and he was holding her, and they both cared very much for each other. For right now there was nothing to worry about. It was time to really start living.

THE END

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__________________
Where are they now? (part 42)
(an occasional series following wizardry after the Second Voldemort War)
Rubeus Hagrid continued as groundskeeper and Professor of Magical Beasts.

Here he is on a summer vacation trip to the Canary Islands with Fluffy, his second favorite dog.

Last edited by Dedalus Diggle; July 6th, 2007 at 12:58 am.
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