Voldemort versus 4 Aurors. Harry and his group continue fighting the dementors. Rufus Scrimgeour plots his rise to power.
Fair warning - Violence and implied character rape ahead.
Chapter 11 - The Fall of Azkaban
Tonks followed Moody, Dawlish and Shacklebolt back outside the prison. They moved along the rocks away from the path towards the rally point. Moody stopped at a rock and tapped it three times with his wand, muttered something and tapped the rock again twice. The large rock slid aside revealing a small passageway.
"I was assistant warden here in late sixties. You pick up a few things. The house elves will be waiting for us at the end. We will come out in the west corner behind the row of benches. Everyone will disillusion themselves. Tonks, you and Dawlish circle left and take out his two bodyguards. Watch your clumsiness girl! Kingsley, you and I move up the benches and do some big game hunting. I will have the house elves wait thirty seconds and cause a diversion. Everyone clear? Good. Let's finish this."
The passageway was tight only wide enough for one person. Moments later the rock moved back into place plunging them into darkness. Moody lit his wand, but just barely. The quartet moved up along the narrow passage about fifty feet. Tonks began to feel a gnawing in the pit of her stomach. She never put much stock in divination, but this simply did not 'feel' right. Grimacing she pushed those feelings aside and chalked it up to pre-fight jitters. She started going over her mental inventory of spells. Cutters, she would start with cutters. A nice powerful severing charm would do nicely. Consciously, she flattened the muscles and made other body modifications that would cut down on her profile. One of the nice things about her power was the ability to adjust her profile to make her less of a target. It caused her to stumble slightly. She would need a minute to adjust to her reconfiguration, but she knew Moody still needed to talk to the elves and he would use his magic eye to scan the room. She started to think about Remus.
'Shit! What am I thinking? The most powerful wizard in the world is on the other side of that wall and I am doing? Getting all girly over a fur ball!' She thought shaking her head with disgust.
She watched as Moody knelt down and spoke with both the house elves. Dawlish had a thoughtful look on his face and Kingsley - well he always had this stern too serious look on his face. So he looked like his usual self. Moody had more experience, but Kingsley was the superior fighter. In an even up match if Moody was in his prime and still had the rest of his body parts, she would take him. She had seen him duel before. It was more about strategy than power. Alastor Moody was a nasty piece of work in a fight. Though his raw power was nothing to sneeze at, he would conjure and transfigure like Dumbledore. Back him up with Kingsley's raw power and the Dark Lord will be in a spot of trouble. She went ahead and disillusioned her self, shivering as always at the slimy feeling of the disillusionment magic. She took a couple of quick steps back down the tunnel to readjust her senses. There was no room for error at this time.
Moody waited until all the others had disappeared, in a hushed whisper he said, "Alright! This is it! Kingsley you're out first, go when I tap you. Next is Dawlish, wait for my tap. I go after and Tonks you bring up the rear. Count to five after I tap and then follow. He's on the other side of the room. Death Eater number one is in the center of the room. Tonks he's all yours. Number two is looking down the hallway towards the dining area. Finish him quickly Dawlish. Don't waste time being pretty. We will need your help. Kingsley, roll out the heavy artillery. We both cut loose with our best stuff. After our first blast, I'll concentrate on shielding you, while you hit him with everything you've got! You two elves pop right out in the far corner of the room and scream bloody murder! Pop away as soon as the spells start flying." He cast a wide area silencing charm and activated the hidden door mechanism. He took a deep breath and tapped Kingsley on the shoulder.
---- (Scene Break) ----
Harry sagged to the ground. Conjuring his second solid patronus took a great deal out of him. The results were no less spectacular though. Prongs thundered across the grass and slammed into the dementor driving it away from the husk that had once been a wizard named Fletcher. It was confusing as to why he could do this. He doubted that this would be the 'Power the Dark Lord Knows Not', nor did it fit the pattern of his learn something new by experiencing that the Supreme Mugchump brought up. The other two dementors had fled and the two order members watched as his patronus savaged the dementor. It again leaked the dingy smoke everywhere as it struggled to break free. It briefly succeeded and started to fly away. Prongs gave chase. The hell spawn flew for about twenty meters before nose-diving down into the ground. Prongs picked up even more speed and trampled the dementor. It disintegrated less than ten seconds later.
There was a moment of quiet as the foursome looked at the body of the fallen wizard. Finally Emmeline spoke. "We'll come back for his body later. Right now we probably need to move to the next town. You two ready to side along again?"
Bill looked at Harry very concerned, "Harry you don't look so hot. Why don't you lay off the killer patronus and just use a regular one if you can? It looks like it is draining you badly."
"He's right Harry." Susan said coming up next to him. "Don't push yourself too hard."
Harry wanted to protest, but he knew they were right. He felt like old Ollie 'the crazed maniac' Wood himself had just put him through an entire quidditch practice. "I'll try and take it easy."
"That's the answer I was looking for!" Susan said squeezing his hand and smiling at him. She went over to Bill as he partnered up with Emmy for the next apparition. He tried to concentrate on the way the magic felt while it was happening. Earlier, he had been too preoccupied with his own thoughts to think about memorizing what apparition feels like. He didn't really care for the sensation that much. It was memorable to say the least, for a moment you feel like you are suddenly compressed and you feel like there is no air to breath. Next thing you know there you are somewhere else, with hopefully all your body parts. There is usually a loud crack as the air is forced outward. A skilled wizard or witch can muffle the noise to where it is practically nonexistent. It is not recommended to apparate with silencing or disillusioning charms on yourself. The chances of a splinching increase dramatically if you are trying to move yourself and an external magical aura at the same time.
Harry felt himself squeeze back into existence in a grocery store parking lot. He got his footing and gasped for a breath. He saw Bill and Susan appear and with a note of satisfaction his girlfriend, who made floo travel look effortless also stumbled about a bit. Taking a moment he got his bearings.
"Harry, can you sense them like you did last time?" Emmeline asked.
He closed his eyes and concentrated. It felt good to close his eyes. He took a moment to consider that this day had started off for him around two thirty in the morning and from the moment he realized Percy was dead, it had been one startling revelation after another. He was an adult now and though he hadn't come out and asked Susan, he was engaged to be married. That should go over even better than his patronus lesson. A nice warm bath would be nice and sleep would be a welcome companion tonight.
"Uh Harry, still with us mate?" Bill asked.
"Oh, I err sorry, just drifted there for a minute. No, I don't feel them anywhere around here. We had better move on."
"Actually, why don't we take five? Now that I can see you in this light, you look like you need a couple of minutes." Bill stated.
"No. We should go on." Harry said firmly.
"Not happening champ! I don't want to pop into a fight and have you fall over. Why don't you and Susan go sit on that bench over there? We'll come get you in a few. Here let me take your brooms." Bill said taking the Cleansweep first and then with a little grumbling protest Harry's Firebolt. Emmeline and Bill watched as Susan led him over to the bench just outside the closed grocery store and sat with him.
"Those two huh? I always thought he had a thing for your kid sister?" Emmeline said playing with a strand of her long black hair.
"Apparently, everyone else had that idea. They just forgot to tell him. Merlin, look at this broom. Makes this other one look like some useless twig! Don't spread this around Emmy, but he's got a marriage clause hanging over him. As if he doesn't already have enough to worry about."
"So are we looking at the future Mr. and Mrs. Potter over there?"
"Could be. I've spent a good part of the day around them and they both seem like they're leaning on each other really hard. It's pretty easy to see how bad she's got it. Harry on the other hand is a bit harder to read. I really think Ginny blew her chance with him."
"I see what you mean. Hell if I were ten years younger, I'd probably take a shot at him. Did you feel his aura when you side-a longed with him? Holy mother of Circe! It felt like I was side-a longing with Dumbledore."
"Yeah, I felt it too. There's a whole lot of raw power in him, that's for sure. Don't laugh, but you and Tonks both got thrown in to the whole marriage clause thing."
"You're kidding me! Oh, you're not kidding me. No wonder Dumbledore asked me what I thought of Harry! How long are you really going to let him rest?"
"Probably a half an hour. He's dead on his feet. I guess doing something no one has done before takes a bit out of you. I bet all of us could use a bit of downtime." Bill said with a bit of a chuckle.
Emmeline watched as Susan started stroking Harry's hair. He had nuzzled his face into her lap and was probably already out. They looked good doing that. She recalled a time long gone when Bill and she used to snuggle like that. She figured since there was a little time to kill she may as well have a bit of fun.
"So Billy, tell me about that little French teenager you're shagging."
---- (Meanwhile on the bench) ----
"Sit." Susan commanded pointing at the bench. Harry was still grumbling, but sat nonetheless. Once seated, he sighed heavily. Susan sat down next to him and put her arm around him.
After a few seconds Harry broke the silence, "Sorry. It's not really much of a first date is it?"
It made her laugh, "Ever the gentleman, I suppose I should be more concerned the next time you want to take me out for a night on the town. Just relax Harry. Take a moment and rest. You don't need to keep me company." Susan pulled him down to where his head was in her lap and started playing with his hair and massaging his scalp.
"Feels good. Thanks!" Harry mumbled.
"Hush now. Just be quiet and rest." She said pulling his glasses off his face and setting them next to her. After two minutes of her ministrations, she noticed his breathing pattern had changed. Taking a moment, she considered how exactly Harry had come to be in her lap. From the moment he arrived in her living room, he had been an unstoppable force and she found her life starting to revolve around him. She didn't need Hannah to point out to her how badly she had been crushing on him. Her emotions had been swirling mess these past couple of days. Oh she put on a brave face when she was outside her bedroom, but behind closed doors it all evaporated. She knew that she was the reason both Hannah and Chelsea agreed to come to the Number 12.
She thought back to her conversation on the way to the will reading. Hannah had been waiting for her, when she came downstairs.
"Are you okay?" She asked.
"You could say that." Susan replied trying to sound vague.
"Spill it!" Hannah ordered.
"Harry came up to see me."
"We talked for a little while. Then he realized why the Leech was being a complete bitch."
"And?" Hannah's voice had a twinge of frustration to it.
"Then he kissed me." Susan said watching her friend's eyes go wide.
"Yes! Not so loud! We aren't going to say anything until after the readings."
"Oh okay." Hannah sounded a bit disappointed. "So how was it?"
"Good, very good. Better than good in fact. Then we came back down from the attic..."
"Susan! Up there? Gross! That place stinks!"
"Yeah, I know. Anyway, then he came back over to my room after he showered and changed, I was having another of my crying episodes and he just started holding me and cheering me up. Then he said that it was his job as my boyfriend!" Both girls were jumping up and down at this point. She was so excited that she could ignore Ginny following him around like a puppy dog on the way to the will.
Susan had thought that would be the highlight of the day. Nothing could top that - right? Wrong! It wasn't the fairy tale proposal she had dreamed of, but it had been so intense. She still marveled at how he had just been so casual about the two of them getting married! The whole thing seemed so surreal at the moment. Out of the clear blue he had suddenly said that she was his intended and then he made that whole little speech to her in his Aunt's driveway. Susan knew she never stood a chance as soon as he started speaking. One minute they are kissing and the next he is crying out in pain and vomiting on his relative's vehicle. Their relationship seemed to involve an inordinate amount of vomiting so far. 'Not exactly a great foundation.' She thought. Still, she managed to get him back through the floo and clean him up. Then there was that whole thing with her making a patronus. 'That's one way to announce that we are a couple!' At first she was nervous and insecure, but then after a second or two the whole room faded away and it was just the two of them. She didn't even open her eyes when she cast the spell. There might have been a few areas of her body that were not covered by gooseflesh at that particular moment. She was not entirely sure though.
She wondered what Hannah would say when she told her. Her gut feeling was that Hannah wouldn't be as happy about this. She could hear her friend already - telling her that they're moving too fast and to be careful around Harry. Wow! There's a concept! Be careful around Harry Potter! Careful like running out into the middle of the night looking for dementors? That kind of careful? She sighed knowing that Hannah cared more for Susan than Susan's relationship with Harry. It cheered her to know that she had such a good and reliable friend and she would need Hannah to keep her from getting too carried away. There was the irony. He was sweeping her off her feet without even trying. All the while saying he liked her, but wasn't even sure if he could love her. She should be angry, but looking at his sleeping face, she couldn't even muster annoyance, let alone anger.
Quietly she whispered with her trademark smile on her face, "Oh Harry, what am I ever going do with you?"
------ (Scene Break) ----
The central chamber of Azkaban's prison was a large room. In the front of the room was a raised platform with a podium in the center and an ominous looking statue of a dementor. It was here that the prisoners gathered to watch the kiss administered. Rows of uncomfortable benches some with iron rings bolted into the stone floor to shackle the unwilling audience.
Voldemort stood in the corner of the main chamber, Peter was due back in about five minutes from the front. The bulk of the ministries reinforcements should be on hand now and the slaughter should begin. He already heard the sounds of the demolition crew beginning on the High Security Ward. Perhaps when he was victorious, he would have a monument built here to commemorate this day. By tomorrow the all of Wizarding Britain would be in complete chaos. It was interesting to consider how things would proceed from here. There was a risk here that the destruction of this prison might actually cause the masses to grow a backbone, but he doubted it sincerely. He suspected that some of his followers were chafing at his offensive aimed at pureblood families. They were blinded by their hatred of all things muggleborn. In this instance, it made no sense to kill the muggleborn witches and wizards. The reality is that they don't possess the power base. The prominent purebloods do. The Wizengamot couldn't care less about some teenaged muggle witch and her parents. They care about themselves. Otherwise, he may as well start with all the records of magical births in Britain and begin a systematic slaughter. 'No real use if there is no one left to rule now is it?' Still, he knew that he would have to order a series of attacks against muggleborns just to placate his troops. He would need to plan his strikes carefully, to maximize their effectiveness. Muggleborns close to Potter like that Granger girl. She has a bit of fame in her own right. Dual-purpose killings had a nice ring to them. Peter would undoubtedly have some ridiculous term for it.
He was lost in thought standing there. It took him a moment to notice the figures sneaking around the room. One of the first lessons he learned from the Oh-So-Great Dumbledore, was the ability to see invisible objects. It was one of the first skills he acquired and here are these four foolish aurors intending to sneak up on the big bad Dark Lord. Good lord! If such a thing existed it would practically be on the 'Dark Lord Entrance Exams'. Not knowing whether to be insulted, he tried to casually observe them without showing his advantage.
'Let us see, the great and venerable Moody himself. Time to finish what you started, my dear Misha. Oh and he brought his protÃ©gÃ©, Shacklebolt. They're coming after me. There's Fudge's bodyguard who's dangerous only because he is at the rock bottom with nowhere else to go and what a delight, is that Bella's niece the metamorphagus? I haven't seen one of those since that hit wizard in Calcutta. Now, that was a memorable fight! Should I warn my minions? I suppose I should, no sense in wasting resources.'
"Cooper, Jamison; go reinforce Lucius at the front line! There is no immediate threat here. Go now." Voldemort said watching the two death eaters run down the hallway.
He waited five seconds, fondling his yew wand in his hands a wicked smile played across his lips. "Well, are the four of you just going to stand there or are we going to do this?" He enjoyed the shocked looks on their faces.
Wasting no time he animated the statue next to the metamorphagus, which grabbed her, while wandlessly tossing a bench into the path of the moor's blasting curse. Dawlish's cutter went wide left while Moody had fired a second blaster that had finished pulverizing the rest of the stone bench. Voldemort hissed as he raised a reflecting shield sending the second cutter from Dawlish into the cloud of stone debris making Moody dive out of the way. A Perfigo from Shacklebolt hit his vest and the unicorn hide made it feel like nothing more than a love tap, well more like one of Bella's love taps.
'Fudge's pet seems fond of cutters. Let's see him handle this!' He whipped the bone saw, crushing through the shields of the burly auror, severing both of his legs just above the kneecaps. Voldemort ignored the two screaming house elves that had appeared in the room.
'Two down. Two to go. Time to really enjoy myself.' He felt his blood pumping; it wasn't just Weasley's magical core making him feel young right now. A wave of his wand and three wolves appeared. Moody transfigured two benches into giant scorpions, while Shacklebolt summoned a small black bear. He had to appreciate Moody's tactics; fill the battlefield with clutter and take pot shots. He would have made a fine death eater. Sparing a glance at his fallen opponents he noticed that Dawlish was missing and one of the house elves was trying to free the girl. With a gesture he banished the creature into the wall so hard that it was probably dead.
'Should have killed the house elves the instant they appeared.' He scolded himself. He would remind his forces to kill all the house elves on this island for this affront. He fired a spread of blasters that killed the scorpions allowing his two remaining wolves to attack the bear.
'Time for some good old fashioned taunting.' He thought before continuing aloud. "Nothing like a good brawl to get the blood flowing! Here let me help get your blood flowing!"
He fired an 'Impaler' at the auror, who screamed as it hit his protective vest. It probably didn't do too much damage, but it was enough to stagger the auror making the man's return fire easy to dodge. Moody's bludgeoner required a strong shield and even then, he was still felt the shockwave reverberate through him. Voldemort sent a killing curse towards Shacklebolt only to have Moody summon his partner out of the way of the fatal curse. To the auror's credit, he must have been expecting Moody to do that as he managed to fire a pair of accurate piercing curses as he was dragged out of harms way.
Lord Voldemort shielded himself from the curses not wanting to test the limits of his protective equipment. The first one was blocked, but the second gouged his arm rather painfully ripping a hole in his sleeves and opening a bloody wound on both sides of his upper arm. The last wolf staggered over the bear's corpse, but fell to yet another piercing curse from Shacklebolt. Moments later the conjured animals disappeared in a cloud of smoke. Using the cloud as cover, Voldemort circled to his left firing a specialized strangulation and cutting curse known as "The Ripper", named for Lucius's great grandfather, a spell crafter by trade who went on a muggle killing spree in the late 1800's. The most amazing thing about Jacques Malfoy's actions was that he managed to keep himself out of this very prison. When captured by magical law enforcement at the time, he simply produced the research and development permits the Wizengamot had awarded him. The wording had been carefully crafted and expressly permitted testing of new spells on non-magical entities. The permits were revoked of course, but there was little else the ineffective body could do to the clever wizard. Pity the man's life was cut short in the early days of Grindlewald's first attempt at domination.
The obscure curse further injured the auror, but fell short of its intended goal of killing the man. Maneuvering to put the staggering man between himself and Moody, Voldemort fired an overpowered bludgeoning curse tossing Kingsley Shacklebolt through the air like a rag doll and crashing into the undamaged benches near the raised platform. Moody was forced to dodge out of the way to avoid being hit.
"Moody, how do you like your dark meat? I prefer mine well done!" With that Voldemort used a hellfire curse on the badly injured auror. Shacklebolt screamed while Moody tried to douse him with water spell. It was no use. Senior Auror Kingsley Shacklebolt died seconds later. Retired Senior Auror Alastor Moody spun back to face the Dark Lord, his face had a crazed expression coming from both eyes now. The smell of burnt flesh flooded the room.
"Crucio!" Moody screamed. Voldemort barely dodged in time. He did feel the raw power of the spell as it passed him though and was impressed. He felt the tingling sensation in his arm.
"Oh dear, Unforgiveables! You need to be careful Moody. You might end up, well here!" Voldemort laughed. He saw that Moody had completely lost his composure. The battle was essentially over, a forgone conclusion. Moody continued hurling spells - all of them lethal. Voldemort conjured a serpent in the path of a killing curse. He shielded himself from bludgeoners and cutters and dodged a few that looked a bit too dangerous. It was a rare chance for him to really concentrate on his defensive magic. He continued to taunt the deranged auror gleefully. It wasn't quite Bellatrix, but it wasn't half bad.
"So close Alastor! I could almost feel that one! You're getting sloppy with your wand work there. What do you think of your ambush now?"
Moody's face was a mask of hatred, burning bright red. He fired spell after spell only to see them blocked, dodged or otherwise rendered ineffective. He staggered forward over chunks of broken stonework, tripping on the iron ring bolted into the ground. Moody was preparing for another round of spells when he faltered and clutched his chest. His wand fell uselessly from his hand as he sagged to the ground.
Voldemort banished Moody's wand away from the hyperventilating auror. He cast a wound closing charm on his arm to repair the damage that Shacklebolt had caused. "My, my having a bit of problems with the old ticker? Are all those years paranoia finally catching up to you? Not enough magic left in the old body to compensate for your wear and tear? You should have tried cleaner living. It's worked for me. Well that and dark rituals, but I digress."
Moody looked up at him foaming slightly at the mouth, mouthing curses at him.
"I'm sorry, but I couldn't make that out Alastor. Please do me a favor and say hello to Misha for me. Don't worry I will be sending you lots of company soon."
Looking down he picked up a piece of a wrought iron torch holder. A wave of his wand and it became a fairly nice imitation of a Roman short sword called a glaive.
"I grant you a gladiator's death Alastor Moody." He said as he drove the blade into the dying man's chest. A flick of his wand summoned the fallen auror's magical eye to his hand. A handy trinket laden with charms like this shouldn't be buried in the rubble. He wondered how badly injured Walden McNair's eye is, it would make a nice gift. It wasn't exactly a gold pocket watch for years of devoted service, but then again 'Mad Eye McNair' has a catchy ring to it.
Voldemort turned and walked towards the raised platform to where his prisoner struggled helplessly against the statue of the dementor. Walking up the steps he stopped to pickup the metamorphagus's wand. Bruises and cuts lined her arms from where she had struggled to free herself.
"What a glorious duel! You had a front row seat for it no less! Was that not spectacular? It was surely a sight to behold!" He said tossing the magical eye from one hand to the other in front of her.
"Well technically, you are correct. I suppose. Should I send for Bella? We could have a bit of a reunion."
Tonks was screaming incoherent vulgarities at him. He found it amusing to a point. A gesture with his wand silenced her.
"Such language my dear sweet girl. You have the mouth of a sailor." He said laughing as he stepped directly in front of her. She soundlessly screamed at him and slashed her arm with nails that had grown into claws on her elongated forearm. Lord Voldemort managed to leap aside but was still sporting a gash across his legs. A bit slower and he might have become a eunuch. He winced in pain and immediately treated her to a moment of agony under Crucio. He released her after five long seconds. Tending his wounded thigh, he looked at her.
"Well for that alone I should kill you, but I do need you to crawl back to the old man and the boy and show them what I have done. They need to see that they have no hope against me. I am weakened no more! Pity, I could use a talented young witch like you in my legions. Though I doubt you would work willingly and the amount of control you have over your ability would allow you to quickly break free of the Imperius curse. Nonetheless, I do believe you should be punished. Imperio! Now my dear, assume your Aunt Bellatrix's form, but please stay your young and nubile self. Ah yes, she was a majestic beauty back then."
He released her from the statue and mentally commanded her to crawl to him. He forced her to lick the blood of Alastor Moody off of his boots. Pulling her up, he glared down at her and smiled.
"Now my dear. Look into your master's eyes. I am going to cast a spell just for people with your unique talents. It will lock you into your present form for a long, long time. Every time you look in the mirror you will know my power. I do hope no one simply kills you on sight. You do need to show the fools that they have no chance at all. You need to tell them that I am coming for them. You need to tell them to enjoy the precious few days they have left! First, we should have a bit of fun shall we? On your knees bitch!"
He thought to himself, 'It is good to feel young again.'
--- (Scene Break)---
"Harry? Harry? Wake up sleepy head! Bill and Ms. Vance are signaling that its time to go. Come on green eyes." Susan said teasing.
"Mrumph?" Harry replied not really coherent.
"You're not really at your best just waking up are you?"
"Uh, I'm awake."
"Almost, I think."
"How long was I out?"
"About a half an hour. Looked like you could have slept all night. Much as I like having you in my lap like this, I suppose we should get up."
"Oh here you go."
"Thanks. Though you were a pretty blur?" Harry said making her smile and blush a bit.
"Why Mr. Potter aren't you just a little flirt?" She said pushing him upright.
"Just following Fred and George's advice." He said standing up and offering his hand to her. She stumbled a bit because of her legs being slightly asleep.
"What advice did they give you?" She asked showing mock fright.
"Tell a girl she is pretty when she least expects it. It confuses them. What can't believe you are dating someone who takes dating advice from Fred and George Weasley."
Susan looked thoughtful for a second as they started towards Bill and Emmeline. "No. Last I checked, I am marrying a guy who takes advice from Fred and George Weasley."
"Kind of skipped that whole dating part didn't we?" Harry said uncertain of how to proceed.
Susan was suddenly terrified. "You're not having second thoughts are you?"
"No. It's just, I don't know. It's just not the way I imagined it." He said sheepishly.
Susan felt the anger she couldn't find awhile ago suddenly present. "And you think it's the way I planned it?"
"Susan, stop. Let's not get into an argument. We're making the best of a bad situation."
"Is that all I am a 'bad situation'?" She was getting quite loud.
He tried to grab a hold of her hand and she brushed it away roughly. He shook his head at her aware that Bill and Emmeline were now listening intently. "What do you want from me, Susan? What you see is what you get. I meant every word I said to you. I don't have anything else to offer. I won't lie to you and say I am in love with you. When I say it, I want to mean it! You deserve more than that!"
Susan started to say something, but he just started walking. She stood there open mouthed not knowing what to say. He held his hand out to Bill for his broom. After retrieving it, he went stand next to Emmeline.
Looking anywhere but at Susan, he whispered, "C'mon lets go already."
Susan was heading over to Bill as the others apparated away. Bill held on to her broom for a second.
"You shouldn't push him like that. Keep it up and you'll drive him right into my sister's arms."
"You'd like that wouldn't you?" She accused.
"It's not about me. It's about Harry."
"What about him?"
"I watched the two of you over there. I've never seen him drop his guard before and let someone hold him like that. Watch when my mother tries to hug him or anyone else and he looks like a trapped animal. I asked Ron too. He said that he's like that all the time, but he is trying for you. Don't back him into a corner. Don't pressure him for more than he can give or you will lose him."
"You're right. I shouldn't have. I was just ..."
"You were just projecting your own insecurities. You're young it happens. Hell, take it from me it still happens later in life too." Bill said handing Susan her broom and reaching for her hand. "We'd better go. They might start worrying."
As Harry reappeared in the next town, he stepped away from Emmeline and closed his eyes to concentrate. He felt them. Two separate groups. One was to the East and the other due North. It seemed to be easier to focus when he was angry. Why did she have to be like that?
"Don't beat yourself up. She's scared. I was a teenaged witch once too, so I should know." Emmeline said scanning the clouds. "Anything?"
"Two groups. One is that way. The other one is this way. I'll go ahead. You bring the others." He said mounting his broom.
"No wait for Bill and Susan. Don't go...." It was too late already.
Harry kicked off hard and brought the firebolt up to speed. He didn't remember for thirty seconds to recast the Notice Me Not glamour on himself. He was approaching a downtown city block. It looked like the cinema had let out the late show into a group of hungry dementors. Harry could hear their screams. Flying faster he concentrated on just casting a regular patronus. He landed and dismounted his broom. Pointing at the dementors he sent his patronus out. He was relieved that it was just the regular one. Maybe his anger was holding him back, or maybe he could control it. He watched as Prongs scattered the dementors. He looked over at the man kneeling on top of a woman. A quick look about and their were three others checking people.
"It's too late she's gone." Harry said as the man looked up at him, frothy blood coming from his mouth. He started lunging towards Harry.
'Shit Vampires!' Harry thought.
--- (Scene Break) ---
Rufus Scrimgeour appeared in his office. He was one of the few that were keyed into the wards and authorized apparating rights into Auror Headquarters. He had not moved his items into Amelia's office at the Ministry yet. If he played his cards right, he might have an even larger office waiting for him. He had just gotten off the floo with Amos Diggory and immediately went to his office. Opening the door, he looked out into a somewhat empty room. He had hoped that Anders or Tompkins would be here to brief him, but all he saw was a couple of junior aurors and the 'floo kiddies'. He looked at one of the female aurors, because he actually could match her face to her name.
"Sanders, what is the status?"
She responded with a trapped animal look. "I don't know sir. I only just got here."
One of the female 'floo kiddies' looked at him and held a clipboard. "Director, I have the current status. At nine twenty-five this evening, we received two alarms from Azkaban. The rapid response team was immediately dispatched and we began using the alert bill to call all available agents. At nine thirty-seven, we received a report that a major assault was underway at the prison. Only one of the rally points was usable and there was confirmation of three trolls and one dragon. The auror reported that the prisoners in the high security ward had been freed and armed. There were unconfirmed reports that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is there. Auror Moody led all available resources to the departure pad. He left with approximately twenty aurors at nine forty-five. There have been no reports from Azkaban since then. Since their departure, eight additional aurors have arrived. I asked the first three to wait by the arrival pad in case of injuries. The next three are waiting at the departure pad for further instruction. I recommended that they wait until there are at least ten on hand. At nine fifty-seven, we began receiving reports that the dementors were attacking the coastal towns near the prison. At that time I had my grade one's contact both the Ministry and St. Mungo's to make them aware of the situation."
He was impressed by the professionalism of the teenager and the manner in which she reported them as she handed him the dispatcher's clipboard. "What are we doing about the dementors?"
The girl looked hesitant for a moment, "Well without any available personnel, I called my cousin."
His eyes narrowed, "and your cousin is?"
"Emmeline Vance, she sort of works for Professor Dumbledore." Lavender said slowly.
"Oh, one of his people. Yes, I know about his group as well. What did she say?"
"She said she would get what people she could and get out there."
"If they can make a difference good for them. We have bigger problems at the moment. Contact the prison and get me a status. No one else goes there until we know what is going on. You two get down to the arrival and departure pads. Get a statement for anyone that comes back and get it up to me. I will be in my office on the floo with the Ministry."
He watched the aurors head down to the staging areas for a moment and turned back to the senior 'floo kiddie'. "You are in charge out here. Send any further arrivals down to the staging areas. If the media gets wind of this, you are to refer them to the Ministry floo switchboard. If you get any contact from Dumbledore or his people, keep them on the floo and come and get me. I will need one of your people to be a runner."
Lavendar pointed to Eddie and said, "Go with the Director, Eddie." She turned back to her 'people' and told them to get back to work.
Rufus headed back to his office trailed by the intern. He told the boy to wait outside and he would call when needed. Once inside the office he started his fire and contacted Amos Diggory. It took several minutes to update him on the situation. He left out the part about Dumbledore's people, saying only that a small private group of wizards and witches were investigating. He recommended that Director Diggory draft a press release that an attack at Azkaban was underway and that the coastal areas near the prison should be on guard. Rufus warned his counterpart to be careful not to start a panic with the statement.
Afterwards, he sat back in his large leather chair and summoned his old protective vest from the closet. He had been eager at Fudge's downfall and the possibilities ahead. Amelia's death hit him hard though. He had figured Madame Bones was a shoo in for Minister and he would be elevated into Director of Magical Law Enforcement. Now there was the distinct possibility that he could end up as Minister of Magic. The question was did he want it? His conclusion was that if he was going to fight a war, he may as well be in charge of this war, rather than have to follow the directives from above. With luck, he would move Shacklebolt into Chief of Aurors and though it was tempting to offer DMLE to Moody, the man was borderline insane. Lars Anders or Ada Dawson would be a much better choice. He called for the boy and told him to contact the Mrs. Dawson, the day shift watch captain and have her report to his office immediately. He also instructed the boy to get a head count on the aurors in the building.
Five minutes passed before his door opened. It wasn't the boy, but one his aurors helping a second wounded auror into the room. The wounded auror's protective vest was tattered and frayed. He had curse burns on his left arm and left leg.
"Director, we brought Spinnet up for a report. The rest we sent on to St. Mungo's."
"How many came back with you son?"
The young man looked up with haunted eyes. "Only seven of us came back sir. The prison has fallen!"
Rufus listened in disbelief. Sixteen aurors on duty at the prison, six from the rapid response team and twenty plus who went to reinforce and only seven came back! The wounded auror was from the rapid response team. He reported everything he saw from the time he got there. The reinforcements held their ground until a dragon smashed into the dining area. Anders had ordered 'SauvÃ© Qui Peut', but died on the retreat to rally point Circe. Spinnet said he ordered the aurors at the arrival pad to erect bars around the arrival pad in case death eaters or prison escapees tried to follow. The other auror said the rest had taken up crossfire positions around the pad until the cursebreakers could disconnect Azkaban accessing the Headquarters.
He looked for his runner and ordered the boy to get in contact with the senior goblins at Gringotts and get a priority team of cursebreakers here to modify the wards. Also the floo operators needed to contact the day shift workers at the prison and have them report here immediately. Rufus watched as the boy ran like a dementor was behind him. He dismissed the two aurors and instructed Spinnet to get patched up at St. Mungo's and get back here as soon as possible. He turned back to the fireplace; the loss of nearly one third of his aurors weighing heavily on his mind. This was a new tactic from the Dark Lord. He was either going to capture the prison or raze it. Neither one was a good sign for the Ministry. Sighing, he tossed some powder into the flames to inform the Ministry that one way or another the prison was a lost cause.
--- (Scene Break) ---
Voldemort played with his 'toy' for about fifteen minutes. He did not even stop his activities while Peter delivered his report. He enjoyed the confused look on Peter's face, before explaining that it was Bella's niece rather than the 'Lady of Pain' as she was also known. Peter's report was most pleasing. A paltry handful of aurors escaped and casualties among his forces were within planned estimates. A most successful day indeed! He instructed a passing dementor to begin rounding up the remaining prisoners.
He finished with the subjugated witch and left her lying half naked on the platform. Voldemort had finished making himself presentable and watched as his forces filed back into the central chamber. Lucius bowed before him and reported that he had left Rookwood and six others to watch the staging area. Bellatrix was keenly interested in her naked doppelganger, especially after he explained that it was her niece. It somewhat shocked Voldemort that Bella looked like she was actually interested in literally having a go with herself.
'Self love is a wonderful thing! Merlin, she is one crazy bitch!' He mused.
"By all means my dear. Place your own Imperius on her. I am done with her. My only instructions are that she survive and retain her memories. I need her to carry the tale of my complete victory to the old fool she serves. Beyond that you may indulge yourself. Take her down by the rocks. I have bound her abilities so do not be surprised if she can't perform for you. When you are finished use a sticking charm and leave her stuck to the rocks with a view of the final destruction of Azkaban."
"You are so generous my lord. Your will is mine." Bella bowed deeply before leading her niece outside. The males were clearly ogling the metamorph. Some of his inner circle were gathered around the corpse of Alastor Moody. They were smiling and laughing. Voldemort knew that outside of Bella, Antonin and maybe Lucius that the dead auror was more than a match for any of them. The new recruits were basically pathetic. He would need to get them more experience, the sooner the better. He instructed Peter to lead the newer death eaters around the castle and kill any house elf they find.
Voldemort watched as the dementors led the prisoners from the medium security ward into the central chambers. He could almost smell their fear. Some of them would have to die to prove a point, but they should swell his number by easily thirty-five. He had a good idea of the person he would need to kill first.
"Greetings to all of you. Now which of you happens to be Sturgis Podmore?"
--- (Shift POV Sturgis Podmore) ---
He was two weeks away from release. Just two more weeks and he would be out of here. When the alarms began to sound he put his book down and tried to look out his door first and then out the window. He realized that there was trouble when a woman on a broom came flying by and a curse smashed into the wall. He could hear people screaming already.
For the next forty-five minutes, he craned his neck and tried to see and hear anything that he could. The rumblings in the floor, told him that this was no ordinary attack. One of the prisoners with a better view shouted that there was a dragon destroying the lifer side! This was bad, really bad. He would have to chance an escape. Dumbledore would understand. Merlin! He still saw the old man's face saying that he had called in favors and that Sturgis would only have to spend six months in Azkaban. Maybe six months wasn't a long time to Albus Dumbledore, but it felt like a real long time to him! No, he couldn't be bothered to explain why Sturgis had been in the Department of Mysteries. If he ever caught up to Lucius Malfoy, he would make that bastard pay for putting him under the Imperius curse.
Fortunately, Warden Fulton had been a classmate at Hogwarts. He had for the most part kept the dementors away from Sturgis. He was even kind enough to stop forcing the restrictor potion on him each night. One of the downsides to being a registered animage was that they knew to prevent him from making his change. Not that his animagus form was really all that impressive, but who doesn't love a hamster. Hel,l he used to entertain his little boys by doing the little plastic habitrail they got him for Christmas in 1985. The treadmill was actually good exercise. Jeff Fulton stopped by and let him know that he wouldn't feed his old friend that crap anymore. They chatted nightly when he was supposed to be giving him his restrictor potion and after a while he would dump it out.
When the dementor opened the door and gestured for him to leave, he could feel the terrifying aura emanating from the creature. He could here the shouts of others. Getting by the monster in front of him, he saw no aurors in the hall.
'Oh hell, I don't think the aurors are in charge anymore.' He thought.
As soon as Sturgis found an opening where he didn't think he would be trampled, he shifted into his little brown hamster body and scurried down the corridor. Rounding the corner he caught his first glimpse of a death eater.
'Definitely not good.' He though as he darted past out towards the ocean air.
--- (Last Scene Break) ---
His name was Coedus. It was not the name he had been born with, rather the name he had been reborn with. It was like a long lost dream to remember what life had been like for Darius Longbottom, oh so talented auror and dark creature eliminator extraordinaire. His classmate Albus took the honors in Charms and Transfiguration, but he had ruled Defense Against the Dark Arts. The aurors were practically begging him to join. He had not disappointed them until the night he arrogantly tried to wipe out a group of Vampire's single handedly. It proved to be his undoing. When next his eyes opened blood no longer flowed through his veins. His ability to wield magic diminished to nearly that of a squib. Vampires could only use wandless magic. The ability to use a wand or other magical focus gone, like grains of sand through clenched fingers. It was the tradeoff for minor increases in strength speed and the dual animage form of wolf and bat.
When he tried to make contact with his wife, children and family, they renounced him. Albus pitied him and offered a few token gestures of help. Mostly, he learned the new lessons that all the newly undead learn. The living both fear and despise you. He had a meager existence for the next few decades. He found a new family amongst the small clans of Vampires in Britain. It was more an association of mutual defense and need for some companionship in a world that would rather them just be dead and gone. He became Coedus as Darius Longbottom disappeared into forgotten history.
The Vampire clans of Britain sought something better for themselves and collectively threw their lot in with Grindlewald. His former colleagues, the aurors of Britain hunted them into extinction and what few remained sought sanctuary from their cousins on the continent. He hadn't been back to the land where he last walked among the living since Grindlewald used the Imperius curse on that Serbian wizard named Princip. In truth, Grindlewald was not overwhelming in power. If Coedus had still possessed Darius's powers, he may have very well been a match for the wizard. He was, however, a master manipulator who wielded his charisma like an unforgivable curse.
He watched with some interest as his former classmate and his new liege treated Europe like a giant chess board. Their manipulations and Byzantine schemes unfolded in dramatic fashion. Often, the line between who was exactly the Dark Lord seemed a bit blurred in Coedus's opinion. Eventually, Albus prevailed and reaped the rewards and adoration of Wizarding Europe. It was moments like that where he cursed his existence knowing full well that it may have been his feet the Wizarding World prostrated itself before.
Instead he watched from his forest hideouts and bolt holes, living off what fortune the cruel and uncaring world had to offer. The years went by. Whispers of new Dark Lords would pass through the infrequent channels of communication. It was not until the one who called himself Voldemort surfaced that the Vampire clans of Europe took note. They were prepared to join him when he conquered Britain. Unfortunately, he met his end before he could meet their requirements. At least that was what the clans thought for over a decade.
Now there was word of his return and so it was that Coedus found himself back in England again for the first time since 1914. He was there as an 'advisor'. His role to determine if Voldemort truly has the power to back his claims. Tonight, the Dark Lord would turn the dementors of Azkaban to his side and destroy the prison Coedus once worked at. Crossing the open water was painful for his kind, so he and three other kinsmen waited here along the coast to watch the results of his control over the dementors. The fact they were going to get a free meal was an added bonus.
Thus the small group of 'military observers' found themselves dining on the bodies of the soulless outside a muggle theater. The food was adequate. There was a running joke among his kind that English blood was like English cuisine - it will fill you up, but not really impress you. The girl he currently was dining on had a wonderfully fragrant smell to her. Too bad she would never be able to tell him what perfume she wore.
"Its too late, she's gone."
Coedus looked up and saw a young wizard. In the boy's eyes, he saw the same arrogant expression that Darius Longbottom once wore. There were four of his kind and only one little boy. He would show this boy pain before he killed the little wizard. Maybe he would turn him as well to teach the whelp the price of his arrogance. The same lesson he learned over a hundred years ago, besides magical blood has such a wonderful taste to it.
Author's notes - Visit the discussion thread on Darklordpotter for my full version of Author's notes. As always thanks to FairyQilan, IP82 and Sirius009 for their help in guiding the direction of this tale.