The end of the matter. Harry has destroyed all of the Horcruxes but one. Now to finish the job. One shot. Made a couple of minor changes to the end - 26Apr09
The Sword of Damocles
June 22, 1998 1:58AM
Harry was thinking. He was waiting. Just a few more minutes and it would all be over. Bellatrix was calling for him. "Wee baby Potty! Come back out to play wif me... Pweeeease?" Harry sat where he was.
His scar was throbbing because Voldemort was angry. Harry'd escaped again when the Priori Incantatem effect had once again rendered their wands useless against each other. Riddle had tried to apparate out following that and found out that he couldn't. Coward.
The Death Eaters were trying to take down the wards. Harry's new wards were holding. They would hold forever. Or at least another two minutes. Same difference.
Nobody was getting off of this rock. No Death Eaters. No Dementors. No Riddle. No Harry.
It didn't have to be this way. But this was the way it ended up. It was for the best.
It all started just about a year ago, after the funeral of the greatest wizard to ever live. Albus Dumbledore. The man that made this all possible. Mentor, guide, protector and companion.
June 22,1997 3:48 PM
The train trip back to London was uneventful. Hermione was not going to be able to stay with Harry because her parents had refused. They hadn't asked Ron's yet. Harry wasn't too worried about it. The Ministry had more important things to do than to send him to Azkaban for underage magic. Now that Hogwarts might not be reopening, Harry thought they would have a huge spurt in the number of underage witches and wizards that would hire a tutor for the summer.
June 29, 1997 12:00 PM
Ron's parents wouldn't allow Ron to stay with Harry either. No big deal. He was getting ready to pack everything up and take it with him to the Burrow on the Knight Bus now. He'd left a note saying that he thought he had stayed long enough to recharge the wards until his birthday. He suggested in the note that his relatives not be around when they went down. He figured they would be attacked as soon as they collapsed. Knowing Vernon, he'd stay just to spite Harry. Oh, well. It meant nothing to him if they died or not. He had seen revelries on a nightly basis, thanks to his link with Voldemort. When Voldy showed him this one, he'd have to send a thank you note. At least when they took Dudley out of the gene pool they would raise the next generation's average IQ by a small but appreciable fraction.
Harry arrived at the Burrow at 12:30 PM, thanks to Ernie. Harry was glad that the distance wasn't any further than it was, or he might not have been able to keep his morning toast down. As he walked up the drive, Harry saw his two best friends coming toward him, arm in arm.
Molly was in the kitchen, working herself into a tizzy for the upcoming wedding. Since Ron had been home, he and Ginny had de-gnomed the garden four times, and she was about to send all of the kids out to do it again before setting out the tables under a conjured tent that covered the back yard. The grass had to be cut just SO, the chairs to be placed in THIS pattern, the flowers had to be in THAT arrangement.
July 1, 1997 1:45 PM
The wedding went off without a hitch. The scars on Bill's face turned out to be simply cursed scars, not the carriers of Lycanthropy, although there were SOME wolfish characteristics brought about. Now, Bill liked his steaks very rare ("just cut it off the cow and slap it on the plate!"), and seemed, according to Fleur, to be highly energized in his love making. ("I tell you zis, Ginnee, 'ermione, you must get Remus scratch or bite your boyfriend! Zix timez last night... ZIX! I wonder 'ow 'e will be on our 'oneymoon!")
As the guests retreated to the shade of the tents, the Death Eaters attacked, in full complement. Everyone was there, from the recent most evacuee's from Azkaban (Note, Stan Shunpike had stayed and died when the Dark Lord demolished the Auror complement stationed there and let his people out. When Voldemort left, there was nothing alive on the island. Stan was posthumously exonerated.), to the newest, rawest recruits. The Dementors were in fine form as well, as all 234 of them were in attendance. Harry tried, but could not stop all of them. One of the victims was the recently reaccepted Percy Weasley. Gabrielle Delacour was another.
The third was Ginny. When the battle was over, Harry stumbled through the bodies that had been his friends and family up until just a few minutes earlier. He saw Ron kneeling down in front of him, with his back to him. Hermione was holding him close. He ran up, and stopped when he saw the lifeless eyes of his first real girlfriend. He dropped down beside Ron, and took her body from him. Without a sound, he walked to the Weasley graveyard, wordlessly used his magic to create a six foot by three foot hole, and gently lowered the body of his first love to the bottom of the grave, right beside that of Gabriel Prewitt, the last of the Prewitts to die from Voldemort; and covered her. He then dropped to the ground in front of the grave. He did not move for three days. He wouldn't eat, he wouldn't drink, he wouldn't sleep.
July 15, 1997 9:48 PM
Harry finally realized who RAB was. He had been staring at the Black Family Tapestry at Grimmauld Place since Ron and Hermione had convinced him that SHE was really gone. Regulus Arcturus Black.
The locket was here. He had seen it when they were cleaning out the place. It wasn't in the dark objects they had pulled out of the house. Harry thought that he would have to buy it back from Aberforth. He assumed that Mundungus Fletcher had "acquired" it as he had so much of the other Black family heirlooms. On a hunch, he checked Kreacher's stash of family "valuables" under the boiler in the pantry.
There it was. Now, how to destroy it. Magic didn't phase it. Brute force with a hammer just bounced. Finally, Harry got up, went to a chemical supply distribution center and picked up Nitric Acid and Hydrochloric Acid. The combination did the trick, just as Basilisk venom did on the diary. Gold doesn't stand up to Aqua Regia no matter what kind of spell is placed on it.
July 28th, 10:45 PM
An abandoned orphanage in downtown London. This had to be where the fourth Horcrux was. Riddle spent all his time growing up here. Several hours of searching revealed a passage to the basement from the armoire on the second floor. Several traps later, and the cup of Hufflepuff was his. More Aqua Regia sealed it's fate.
July 31, 12:01 AM
Pain. Searing pain through his link to Voldemort. "Just thought I would be the first to tell you Happy LAST Birthday, Harry Potter." Evil laughter interspersed with the Cruciatus spell being used on his supposedly faithful followers. Harry screamed until his throat was bleeding and sore. Luckily the silencing charm held, or Ron and Hermione would have had him at St. Mungo's when the screaming began.
July 31, 7:45 AM
Harry was fixing the trio eggs, bacon, and toast for breakfast when the other pair of the Trio walked down the steps and into the kitchen. With a birthday greeting, they each gave him his gifts. Ron got Harry a Cannon's jersey in a hideous orange and the wrong size. Hermione got him a book on occlumency. She said it might help with his sore throat. Ron looked at her cluelessly while Harry thanked his two best friends.
Hedwig came in with a package from Remus and Tonks for Harry. It was a pair of books. The first was on magic summoning rituals. The second was on ward detection and locator spells. One of the locator spells was similar to the "point me" spell Hermione had created to help Harry with the Third Task in the Tri-Wizard Tournament.
When Harry cast it, it turned almost due north. When Hermione cast it, it pointed in a westerly direction. Right at Harry. The same when Ron tried it out. None of the three could figure out what was wrong with the spell. It seemed to work okay for him, but when either of the other two would use it, it would always point to Harry.
Harry apparated to Hogwarts. Now it pointed straight at the Castle. Going in, he soon traced down the special services award from Tom's fifth year. That was the next horcrux. After binding Filch to keep him quiet about the theft, Harry returned to Grimmauld with the Horcrux. Several splashes of Aqua Regia later, and this too was gone. Now when Harry cast the spell, it always pointed back to himself. Always. No matter what direction he faced, how high he could be on his toes, to laying on his back. It always pointed to himself.
Harry was the last Horcrux.
August 3, 1997 12:37 PM
After breakfast, the Trio had received their owls from Hogwarts. Professor McGonagall would be the new Headmistress for the coming term. The Board had seen it her way, and had reopened the school. Harry and Hermione had been selected as Head Boy and Head Girl.
Harry walked into the Black Library to find Hermione poring over yet another dusty tome.
"Hermione, we need to talk."
"I can't right now, Harry. I have to find a spell to transfer that awful thing from you."
"That's what we need to talk about."
"Hermione, I need to know something."
"What is it? I can research anything you like." Hermione replied.
"No." Harry smiled. "No, it's nothing like that." The smile turned bittersweet. "I need to know where you stand. I need to know where your heart is. Me, or Ron." Harry said.
"I..." Hermione stuttered to a stop. She began again after a moment. "I don't know, Harry. I'll always be here for you, you know that."
"That's not an answer, Hermione. I NEED to know if you will marry me, settle down, have kids with me, grow old and die with me."
"I... I can't say that, Harry. I mean, I love you, but Ron..."
"Okay. That's what I needed to know. I need you and Ron to leave. Go back to school. Be a great Head Girl - and be the best damned witch this world has ever seen. Stop looking. Stop worrying about me. It's all going to be over really soon." Harry said, tears rolling down his face.
"WHAT? What do you mean it's going to be over really soon?" Hermione cried.
"I found something. It will take care of Voldemort forever. He'll never come back from where I can send him with this." Harry said. "It'll take a few months, but it'll definitely do the job."
"Harry, NO! You can't do this. It's suicide!" Hermione sobbed, clutching to her best friend.
"Hermione, hon, It's okay. It's suicide no matter what I do. He's got seventy years of experience on me. This is the only sure way I know of to take him out. You won't find a spell for transferring this piece of his soul to something else. There isn't one. Even if there was, there's no guarantee that it would work. He didn't MEAN to make me into this. It just happened. That's why every time I'm in his presence it hurts so much. That piece of soul wants to rejoin with him. I can't fight that kind of pain. This way I won't need to." Harry tried to comfort the first girl he'd ever truly loved.
"Now, you and Ron go back to the Burrow, take care of Molly and Arthur, and then go to school. I'll send the badge back to Minerva and tell her to give it to Ron. I won't be coming back. Just one favor?"
"Name your first kid after me. Well, as long as it's a boy. I wouldn't put any girl through the pain of having 'Harry James' as a given name." Harry said with a smile.
Hermione laughed, and then hiccoughed. "Of course. The first son we have."
"Good. Now, you two get out of here. It's a boring, depressing place. Merlin I hate it here."
"No, Harry. I'm not leaving you." Hermione said.
Those were the last words she spoke as Harry had slipped his wand from it's sheath and stunned her.
He walked back into the sitting room where Ron was looking over a chess board. "Ron, I've just got one thing to say to you." Harry said as he pointed the wand at his other best friend.
"Bloody Hell! What do you think you're doing, Harry?"
"Your best friend is going to tell you this one time and one time only. After you wake up, you are going to tell Hermione that you love her. You are going to marry her, and you are both going to love each other for as long as you live. Got it?" Harry asked.
With a bob of his Adam's apple, Ron gulped and nodded.
Harry packed his friends' trunks, created an illegal portkey, and sent them both to the kitchen table of the Burrow for Molly to deal with. By the time they were awakened, the floo at Number 12, Grimmauld place was sealed. By the time they arrived back into London, it was under a new Fidelius Charm, and no one knew who the secret keeper was. Hermione and Ron were beside themselves.
Harry got out his copy of the Book of Summoning and studied the Ritual. All told, it would be quite easy. The only problem would be the length of time he would be chanting. Three hours. One misstep and he would miss. It had to be perfect. He went upstairs and laid down. He would start it in the early morning, just after he awoke from this long nap.
August 4, 1997 3:52 AM
Success! He could feel the drain on his magic and knew that it would happen. Exactly 2:00 AM GMT on June 22, 1998. He could wait. Actually, he knew he needed the time to prepare.
August 5, 1997 12:32 AM
At Hogwarts, for no apparent reason, Professor Carmen Sinestra fainted while looking in her telescope. When she came to, she once again looked in the telescope. It was confirmed. She fainted again.
September 3, 1997
Harry Potter received a dog eared copy of The Anarchist's Cookbook from Seamus Finnegan's second cousin. He used to be in the IRA, but when the troubles in Belfast died down to a dull roar, he opted out as the heat was getting to him. Opening to the table of contents, he easily found the proper ratio of diesel to fertilizer for a nice, satisfying explosion. He picked up several empty 200 liter barrels, enough fertilizer to open a green house, several dozen remote control switches, and enough diesel fuel to fuel half the lorries in London. While he was at it, he picked up several landscaping rocks; and, after a trip through Diagon Alley, enough dragon bones to rebuild the entire skeleton.
Back at Grimmauld Place, Harry began carving. When his hands tired of holding the chisel and swinging the hammer, he switched to being a bathtub chemist. When he tired of that, he rewired the remotes.
September 4, 1997 12:30 AM
Professor Carmen Sinestra rechecked the blob in her telescope. Still there. Bigger than ever, and moving faster than ever as well. She took measurements.
Nothing came in or out of Grimmauld Place for several weeks. All owls got lost trying to go in. No one could find the structure that they knew was there. It was as if it had just vanished from the face of the earth.
December 22, 1997 12:30 AM
Professor Sinestra took one last measurement. Still there, and moving at a respectable speed now. One mile wide. Half mile high. Four miles deep. This is it. The planet killer. And it was headed straight in. The last one of these had hit in what was now the Gulf of Mexico and left a crater that was miles across. The one before that, was in what is now Arizona. Crater size three miles across. It killed ninety percent of the animal life on the planet, and ninety eight percent of the plant life. It took years for the fires to die out. It took decades for the ground to cool. It took centuries for the particulate matter to settle. It took millions of years for a planet to recover from one of those. And if her calculations were correct, this one would be hitting somewhere in the U.K.. It was going to land somewhere between midnight and 3:00 AM on June 22, 1998.
She woke up the Headmistress to apprise her of the situation. Other than turning pale and telling her to carry on, there was nothing Professor McGonagall could do. It wasn't like you could HIDE from something like this. Either you would live, or you wouldn't.
June 20, 1998 10:24 PM
Harry performed a similar summoning routine on Nagini and killed it with dispatch. Not trusting that it would remain dead, he soaked the monstrous snake corpse in diesel fuel and burned it to ash. Just in case the beast had swallowed a horcrux, he loaded the mess with Aqua Regia.
June 21, 1998 12:57 PM
Nothing had been seen of Harry since September 3, 1997. Hedwig came into Professor Vector's NEWT Level Arithmancy class and settled on Hermione's shoulder with a note. Unknown to anyone but the owl and Harry, this was her second and final stop. The note simply said "Hermione, please keep watch over Hedwig. Love her as I did, and you won't go wrong. You get the money and everything else. Love, Harry. P.S. Remember your promise." Hermione ran from the class, straight to the Hospital wing. She got enough Dreamless sleep potion to put her in a coma for the next week. With her new mistress sleeping, Hedwig went to the owlery for a nap.
The first stop had been to Riddle Manor in Little Hangleton. It was a howler. She hadn't stuck around for a reply.
By the time Hedwig got to Hogwarts, Harry had already blown the controller runes and half of the prison away. He'd stunned all the Aurors at the prison and portkeyed them back to London with a note not to try to come back. Just to be safe, he'd erected anti-apparation, anti portkey wards, and blocked off the floo access. They wouldn't hold long, but they would hold long enough to get his own runes in place. By 6:00 PM, Harry was the only one on the island, and would remain so until midnight. By Midnight, nothing could leave the island. Nothing.
Shortly before midnight, he brought down the apparation wards, but left the disapparation wards in place. Now people could come in, but they couldn't go out.
Come in they did. They came in waves. A few at first, then a dozen, then two dozen. Soon, the prison was crawling with Death Eaters. Finally Tom Riddle a.k.a. Lord Voldemort, a.k.a. He-who-must-not-be-named arrived to see what was taking so long. He KNEW Harry was here. He could FEEL him! And Harry could feel Tom.
June 22, 1998 1:53 AM
Finally. He had arrived. Harry pulled his invisibility cloak off and called out "Tommy! Peek-A-Boo!"
"Well, BOY! What is the Prophecy?" Tom asked.
Harry told him. Then he told him that no one was leaving the island alive. Especially Tom Riddle. Lord Voldemort pulled his wand, but was slower than Harry. Harry sent a reductor curse to the half-blood's knee, shattering it and half the femur. Even down on the ground and in pain, Harry couldn't finish off the Dark Lord in battle. The brother wands once again locked up.
In the West, the sky was lightening as if a new sun had arisen from the wrong direction. After it had passed over New York City, the sonic boom destroyed glass for miles around. The meteor named by Harry -and strangely enough, Carmen Sinestra- as The Sword of Damocles continued on at miles per second in the upper atmosphere. Over the North Atlantic, pieces of superheated nickel dropped away, trimming the size of it. But not enough. There wasn't enough atmosphere to stop it. Jupiter wouldn't have enough atmosphere to stop it.
Harry laughed at the sight of it. It would be perfect. "Hey, Tommy! Guess what! You know those little trinkets you made? They're gone. I took care of them before I sent you the note. The Diary. The Ring. The Locket. The Cup. The Award. Hell, even the Snake. All gone. Now, there's just you and me. Did you know that you made me into that last Horcrux? I guess that's what happens when you get old and senile. It's the little things that slip your mind. 'Now, where did I put that last piece of my soul?'" The once immortal Tom Riddle screamed in anguish, rage, and fear. He summoned all of his power and forced it through the connection. It wasn't enough. The best he managed was to halt the progression for a few seconds.
Harry broke the hold of the wands, and rolled away. Putting his cloak back on, he had dodged through the throngs of Death Eaters to his current resting spot. It was a tower room of the prison with a window facing the oncoming destruction.
June 22, 1998 2:00:00 AM
The wards held the inferno in place as the millions of tons of molten nickel crashed into the island. Having no where to go but down, the heat and impetus combined to drill through to the molten magma miles beneath the surface of the island. In an instant, Mount Azkaban was created. A volcanic caldera to rival Mount Pinatubo on the other side of the world. A new volcano had formed, and, in forming, washed away both the worst and the best that the wizarding world would ever see in a flash of light and searing heat.
The atmosphere was so polluted by the dust, the average temperature dropped by two degrees Celsius, staving off the threat of global warming for the next century and guaranteeing that the next decade's sunsets would be spectacular.
Now the environmental scientists would be worried about the possibility of a new ice age. Millions of pounds would be required for the research grants.
June 22, 1998 2:00:01 AM
Hermione Jane Granger sat up in the Head Girl's bedroom and screamed.
An explosion rocked downtown London, covering dozens of city blocks in bits and pieces of building material. Strangely enough, no bomb site was ever found.
Unknown Time, Unknown place.
Harry James Potter opened his eyes and looked into eyes that matched his own. He didn't know how he got here, or why, but he accepted that he was.
Thinking back on his prior life, he realized he wouldn't have changed a thing. He wouldn't have put anyone else through the hell that had been the life of Harry James Potter, nor would he have wanted to have missed out on Ron, Ginny, or Hermione. Truly, it WAS better to have loved and lost, than to have never have loved at all. In doing so, he had gained everything, including love that had been denied.