Voldemort suffers the wrath of Death's Hunters.
I don't own Harry Potter.
Chapter 12 - The Hammer Falls
Early in the morning, a cloaked figure nervously navigated the labyrinthine halls of Hogwarts, aiming to reach the edge of the school grounds so that he could Apparate away.
"I've got to get out of here," Ron Weasley muttered softly to himself. "I've got to warn the Dark Lord." After stopping to check if anyone was following him, he grumbled, "Why did Harry have to take the Map when he left? It wasn't like he needed it." Weasley finally arrived at the front doors of the castle, and opened them just enough to slip through before closing them again.
Harry lied in his bed, staring at the ceiling. Perhaps it was the anticipation of the mission that he planned to carry out later that day, but he found himself unable to sleep. Hermione was currently facing away from him, so he quietly slipped out of bed and into his uniform before sneaking out of their room. He wandered the empty corridors of the castle, illuminated only by the occasional passing ghost, until he found himself standing atop the Astronomy Tower, gazing up at the stars.
"Interesting that I find you up here tonight, Mister Mortis," a voice said behind Harry, and he turned to see Dumbledore standing behind him.
"Likewise," Harry replied.
"Does something trouble your mind?" Dumbledore asked as he stepped to Harry's side.
"Not really; just came up here to think," Harry said.
"May I ask what?" Dumbledore inquired.
"Stuff," Harry replied vaguely. For several seconds, both wizards simply stood in silence.
"May I ask you something?" Dumbledore asked. Harry briefly turned his head towards him before returning his gaze outwards.
"You just did, but go ahead," Harry acknowledged.
"How do you plan to go about completing your...mission?" Dumbledore asked. Harry sighed as he crossed his arms in thought.
"Well, the Death Eaters control the government, so that's out," Harry said. "Azkaban doesn't affect them, so that's no good either. And, no offense, but I've heard of your forgive-and-forget reputation, so I don't exactly trust you with them, so I guess there's only one option." Dumbledore breathed out a sigh of disappointment.
"Would you really murder dozens of men and women for money?" Dumbledore asked sadly. Harry shook his head, chuckling dryly.
"First of all, I don't consider it murder," Harry replied. "I consider it avenging the countless people that have been tortured and murdered by those twisted bastards, and if I walk away with heavier pockets, then so be it." Harry quickly reined back his emotions before he became too upset.
"And what gives you the right to play judge, jury and executioner, Mister Mortis?" Dumbledore asked darkly, no twinkle to be seen in his eyes. Harry could not help but give a sardonic smile, even though his features were hidden by his helmet.
"The same thing that gives you the right to place a child in an abusive household for almost fifteen years: the so-called Greater Good." Without waiting for Dumbledore to respond, Harry turned around and returned inside the castle.
Neither man noticed the cloaked figure heading towards the edge of the Forbidden Forest.
Once Weasley had entered the Forbidden Forest and exited the wards, he Disapparated, reappearing in front of Riddle Manor.
"I need to speak to the Dark Lord," Weasley said to the two masked Death Eaters guarding the door. "It's urgent." The two guards looked at each other for a moment before shrugging and letting Weasley pass. He quickly strode to Voldemort's throne room and urgently knocked on the door.
"Enter," the dark wizard's sibilant voice said from behind the door. Weasley nervously pushed the door open and scampered to his master's feet, kneeling down and kissing the hem of his robes. "What news do you have that is so urgent?" Voldemort hissed impatiently. Weasley gulped nervously, but managed to muster enough courage to speak.
"Two mercenaries have come in an attempt to assassinate you, my lord," he said. "They claim to be from the group Death's Hunters."
"Death's Hunters, you say?" Voldemort echoed, stroking his chin in thought. "I have heard of the name; they have caused me much grief for my forces on the continent. What else have you learned about them?"
"N-nothing, my lord," Weasley said. "They have been very careful about maintaining their secrets, only telling necessary information to the necessary people." Voldemort rhythmically tapped his fingers against the arm of his throne, pondering the news, while Weasley remained on his knees, anticipating his master's cruciatus curse.
"Very well," Voldemort finally said. "You shall be in charge of preventing these mercenaries from entering." Weasley gulped, and gave his appreciation before he stood up to leave. "Oh, and Weasley?" Voldemort said, giving the redhead pause. "If you fail, and I have to kill them myself, this is only a taste of what I will do to you: Crucio!" Weasley fell to the ground, screaming and writhing for several seconds before Voldemort lifted his curse, and he scrambled away.
Weasley ran throughout Riddle Manor, alerting every Death Eater that he came across about the impending threat. After he had assigned two more guards to the front door, and set up patrols throughout the building, he made a quiet retreat back to Hogwarts. If things took a turn for the worst, he did not want to be anywhere near the carnage, and hopefully, Dumbledore would provide protection for him.
Harry briskly walked through the castle for several minutes before turning around to make sure that he was not being followed. After finding a hallway bereft of portraits or other methods of eavesdropping, Harry drew a folded bundle of parchment from his pocket and unfurled it, pressing the tip of his wand on its surface. "I solemnly swear I am up to no good," Harry muttered, and black lines of ink began to creep its way across the parchment, eventually creating a detailed map of Hogwarts. After checking that no one was in his path, Harry cast a disillusionment charm on himself, and made his way towards the sleeping quarters of a certain potion master.
When Harry reached the door leading to the potions classroom, Harry erased the Marauder's Map and slid it back into his pocket. Activating his Mage Sight filter, Harry saw an alarm ward on the door, set to alert Snape when the door was open. Quickly disabling the ward, Harry snuck into Snape's classroom and into his quarters. Raising his finger towards the sleeping man, Harry silently fired a red bolt of light from his fingertip, impacting Snape's still form. Drawing his wand, Harry pointed at Snape's head and whispered, "Legilimens." Stunned, Snape could not draw forth any more occlumency defenses than the latent shields permanently erected, which Harry broke through with ease.
Quickly filtering through Snape's recent memories, Harry pinpointed the locations of the various inner circle Death Eaters, divided between the Ministry of Magic and Riddle Manor, where Voldemort himself was located. After erasing the past few minutes from Snape's memories as a precaution, Harry left his office and pulled the Marauder's map from his pocket, maneuvering his way back to his and Hermione's quarters. Removing his helmet, Harry reached down and gently shook his wife awake.
"What?" Hermione mumbled groggily.
"I found out where our targets are," Harry replied. "Riddle is hiding out at his manor, but most of the high-level Death Eaters are at the Ministry of Magic. How do you want to do it?" Hermione sat up and shook her head to clear the fog of sleepiness from her mind.
"The best thing I can think of is that we hit Riddle, capture a Death Eater, and go to ground for a few days while we fabricate a series of ward stones keyed to a Dark Mark's signature. Then, we can set them around the perimeter of the Ministry building; we can set the ward for one-way entry into the building, but no one with a Dark Mark can get out. After that, we can pick off the Death Eaters at out leisure."
"Sounds good," Harry said as he picked up his helmet. "When do we leave?" Hermione slid off of the bed and walked over to her discarded uniform.
"We're both awake, so we might as well leave now," she said as she stripped down to her undergarments and began to don her uniform. After she had finished and they both performed some basic stretch exercises, they both disappeared with a crack.
Outside the main entrance to Riddle Manor, four more Death Eaters had joined the two guarding the door.
"Remind me again, why we're here?" one of the newcomers asked.
"The weasel's all worried that a couple of mercenaries are going to come through here, and the Dark Lord seems to believe him," another answered. "Personally, I think it's a load of hippogriff shit; two guys against the Dark Lord's entire army? Come on, how much damage can they do?" Immediately after he had spoken, he heard two cracks as Harry and Hermione appeared behind two of the other Death Eaters. The two mercenaries immediately grabbed the guards' heads and snapped their necks before blasting the other four away with their gauntlets before the others even had time to draw their wands.
"We're going to have to do a thorough search of this place," Hermione said as she unlocked the door. "It'd go by quicker if we split up."
"So, I go up, you go down?" Harry offered.
"Sure," Hermione said as they entered the manor, wands drawn. Immediately, they both ducked down as several green lights flew over their heads. With a thought, two jets of fire erupted from their wand tips, igniting the robes and wands of their opponents. The two mercenaries were forgotten as the Death Eaters screamed in agony. Standing up, Harry waved his wand in a wide arc, cutting down and mercifully killing the blazing figures. As he and Hermione left in different directions, they both stopped and drew an object from their pocket: A shrunken briefcase that was enlarged and opened to reveal four of the round devices that they had assembled the day before. They both stuck one on their walls before pushing the crystal in the center, causing it to shimmer and fade into the background. Satisfied, they closed the cases and put them back into their pockets before leaving.
Harry was walking down a hallway when he saw a Death Eater emerge from a room. The masked wizard turned to face Harry and raised his wand.
"Hey, you stop right th-" the Death Eater began, but was shot down with a blasting hex mid-sentence. Seeing nothing of importance in the room that the Death Eater emerged from, Harry planted another device in the center of the room and left.
Similar scenes happened as Harry and Hermione navigated the manor, striking down any Death Eaters that opposed them. However, Harry noticed that he had only faced lower-level Death Eaters so far, but none of the Voldemort's inner circle. However, this pattern was broken when he rounded a corner and had to quickly dodge several killings curses sent in his direction. As Harry countered with his own spells, he saw that his opponents were Bellatrix Lestrange, along with her husband and brother-in-law. Ducking down to avoid another volley of killing curses, Harry sent out a banishing hex from his left hand, knocking the three Death Eaters off their feet. He then quickly dispatched them with several well-placed cutting hexes. Sheathing his wand and dusting his hands, Harry casually hopped over the bodies of the three Lestranges, avoiding stepping in the expanding puddle of blood pooling around them.
Having gone throughout the upper levels of Riddle Manor, as well as exhausting his supply of devices, Harry finally found Voldemort's throne room, where the twisted wizard sat patiently.
"Your reputation precedes you," Voldemort said conversationally, "however, I'm afraid that your career as at an end, Avada Kedvara!" he shouted, sending a bolt of green light at Harry, who dodged it. Voldemort threw another killing curse, which Harry dodged again, countering with a blasting curse, which Voldemort blocked. Harry ducked under a third killing curse before reaching out his free hand and clenching; Voldemort screamed in pain as Harry wandlessly crushed his opponent's wand hand. With a swift twist, Voldemort's other arm was snapped in two, disabling his combat abilities. With a wave of his wand, Voldemort was pulled towards Harry, who gripped him by his robes.
"Please," Voldemort begged, his broken arms hanging limply by his sides, "I'll give you anything, anything you want, but please spare me."
"Anything I want?" Harry asked. When the dark lord nodded quickly, Harry raised his wand to his captive's throat, tip glowing ominously. "I want you to go to hell. Diffindo!" With the one word, the head of Lord Voldemort fell to the ground and rolled away. Unfortunately, this also caused the blood from the body's neck to spray up onto the face of Harry's helmet, obscuring his vision. With a disgusted noise, he threw the body away and cleaned the blood off of his face and chest. Conjuring a large box, Harry grabbed Voldemort's head and dropped it in like a piece of garbage before tying it up, shrinking it and shoving it into his pocket. Picturing the empty void above the Earth, Harry vanished the decapitated corpse into outer space, where it could never be recovered, and cleaned the blood off the floors.
"I did it; how far along are you?" Harry asked, contacting Hermione.
"Planting the last one now," Hermione replied. "I'll meet you outside."
"Heading there now," Harry said before Apparating onto a hill several dozen meters away from the manor; a second later, another crack signaled Hermione's arrival. Harry drew the remote from his pocket and silently offered it to his wife, who declined it. Shrugging, he flipped the switch and waited. Moments later, a thunderous explosion rocked the area and Riddle Manor crumbled as the devices that Harry and Hermione planted compromised its structural integrity. The two mercenaries watched the wreckage burn for several seconds before nodding in satisfaction and returning to Hogwarts. When they arrived back in their room, Harry turned to Hermione.
"Should we deal with the Death Munchers here now or later?" he asked.
"We're still dressed, so might as well do it now," she said. "We can hole up in the Leaky Cauldron again."
"Okay," he said before pulling the Marauder's Map out of his pocket and activating it. He confirmed that Snape was still in his quarters, and then perused the entire map looking for Weasley, who was eventually found near where the Charms classroom used to be. "How about we split up? I'll take Snape and you take...him," he said contemptuously.
"Alright," she said. Harry wiped the map clean and returned it into his pocket before they both left to their respective targets. Harry stunned Snape again for good measure, and bound him. Before Disapparating, Harry took out the box containing Voldemort's head and placed it on Snape's bed. He also hastily scribbled a note and used a sticking charm to attach it to the box. Hermione did the same, although she left a crystal and a slip of parchment addressed to Dumbledore before she left. When they arrived at the Leaky Cauldron, they stripped them down to their undergarments (Harry noted sickly that Snape seemed to use the same gray underwear that he wore in his fifth year), conjured fresh robes for them and casted anti-apparation and anti-portkey charms in the room that they were held in before Harry and Hermione went into their own room and stripped down before collapsing onto the bed.
Weasley groaned as he stirred awake, his mind still fuzzy.
"Oh good, you're awake," a voice said. As Weasley's vision cleared, he saw two figures sitting in front of him, a man and a woman.
"Who're you?" he mumbled groggily.
"I'm not surprised that you don't remember us," the man said, leaning closer to him, "it's been twelve years since we've last seen each other. However, I'm sure that there's something at least somewhat familiar in us." Weasley looked at the man again, and noticed the piercing green eyes and messed up hair.
"Harry? Hermione?" he asked. "Where have you been? Why am I tied up?"
"We've been here and there," Harry said, waving his hand casually. "As for why you're tied up, I think you know." He tapped his left forearm, and Weasley suddenly felt a chill creep down his spine. "What we want to know is why? Why did you join Voldemort?"
"Please, you have to understand," Weasley said, "he tortured me. He threatened to kill me!"
"Sounds like a certain rat," Hermione said, speaking for the first time. Weasley gulped at her cold tone.
"Wh-what are you going to do to me?" he asked.
"The same thing that we did to all the Death Eaters we ran across in Riddle Manor," Harry said, picking up a distinctive black wand. Weasley whimpered in fright as Harry pressed the cold tip of his wand against the redhead's forehead.
"You wouldn't kill your friend, would you Harry?" Weasley asked desperately.
"Our friend wouldn't have betrayed us," Harry said coldly. The look of steely determination on his face was the last thing that Weasley ever saw before his world went black.
When the sun had finally risen, Dumbledore went through his morning routine with a fluidity that came with a hundred and fifty years of practice. When he saw neither Snape nor Weasley, Dumbledore dismissed it as the early hour. But when time passed and neither of them appeared, he grew concerned; when noon came, and neither they nor the two agents from Death's Hunters had been seen by anyone, he began to worry. He sent house elves to inspect their quarters, and the returned with a box with a note attached to it and a familiar crystal. Taking the crystal, Dumbledore tapped it with his wand, and a tiny image of Miss Grayson appeared.
"This is a pre-recorded message, so don't bother asking any questions," the image said before Dumbledore could ask anything. "We at Death's Hunters would like to thank you for housing our agents for the duration of their mission. If you're wondering where Severus Snape is, he has been apprehended by our agents, as per our contract with Mister Potter, along with any other Death Eaters within your midst.
"Perhaps in time, we will find ourselves in a situation where we'll need each other's services again. But until that time, thank you for your cooperation." The recording complete, the image flickered and died. Dumbledore turned to the box and opened it, gasping in shock when he saw the decapitated head of Voldemort inside. He removed the note and read it before he collapsed into a nearby chair as he suddenly felt every bit his age. The note read:
One more chapter left, and that'll be the end of this story. I'm thinking about making a sequel, but haven't set anything in stone yet.
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