Harry talks to Mack, meets with Dumbledore, monologues a bit (sorry folks!) condemns the old man, Fawkes breaks the bond, Harry has last minute meetings meets with Rita and finally faces Voldemort...
“Mack?” Harry called to his father in law. Mackenzie looked up to the door and seeing Harry standing in the doorway, invited him in.
Hermione appeared with her mother. Helen was attending lessons with Kyle and Sarah. Harry hadn’t known that they’d be there, but pressed on.
Winky appeared with her customary teapot and served the four of them, before popping away again.
“What’s on your mind, Harry?”
“Two things. First, I’ve decided that you’re right. Ron’s not going.”
Mackenzie visibly wilted. “As much as I hated to put you on the spot, Harry, that’s the best…actually, the only choice you could have made. It hurts, and I’m sorry, but you’ve just increased our chances.”
“I know. Every one of you lot, has told me the same thing. I just didn’t want to hear it. Ron isn’t a bad bloke, but…”
“He’s just not ready.” Mackenzie finished for him.
“Yeah.” Harry muttered. “Here’s the list.”
Harry passed over the roster. The first thing Mackenzie saw was Ron’s name with a thick line through it. He smiled grimly and began to read the other names.
“These are all good choices. I wonder about Orla, though. She’s awfully young…”
“She’s also the fastest and most flexible person I’ve ever seen and she handles a lightsaber nearly as well as Dobby. She could take you in Makashi, if I’m not mistaken.”
“Well, I have to give you that. What about her age? She’s what…thirteen?”
“She’s almost fifteen. She’s a ‘late starter’ like Hermione and Luna. I hate using her, but she is not only one of the very best with a lightsaber, her maturity level is close to yours.”
“I’m not sure that’s a good thing, Harry.” Mackenzie chuckled. Judith and Hermione also snickered.
Seeing Harry about to second-guess himself, Mackenzie prompted: “What’s the second thing?”
Harry took a moment to understand what Mackenzie meant, before he answered.
“Mack, when I started this, I wasn’t going to ask…but I want you along tomorrow.”
Hermione smiled at Harry’s choice, but Judith wasn’t as happy.
“Why Harry?” She wanted to know. “You have plenty of other adults you could ask, not including your students.”
“Judith, like I said, I hadn’t intended to ask Mack at all. At the beginning, I felt that being without magic would be a disadvantage for him, but he’s proved me wrong so many times, I’ve lost count. He has a stronger connection to the force than almost anybody but me, Dobby and Luna. Even Hermione’s connection isn’t as strong. Only Dobby and I are better qualified, and his nearest competition is Remus, Tonks and Hermione, followed by Luna, Neville, Susan and Hannah, and all of them will be going.
He told me something yesterday that I have to agree with. I need to have my absolute best with me, and he is that. I have to face Voldemort, but my students will deal with the Deez…at least until the Aurors show up. His experience in combat might well prove the deciding factor on this mission.”
Judith stayed quiet. This was not her decision. It was Mack’s. She didn’t like it…in fact; she hated it. Not just that Mack was going into horrible danger, but that both Mack and Hermione were, and she could do nothing to protect either of them. She knew her daughter had long before chosen to stay by Harry’s side, and she knew her husband well enough that his decision was already made. That didn’t mean she had to like it, though!
They sipped their teas for a few tense minutes, before Mack replied. “Alright.”
It was quiet, but they heard it all the same. Judith felt the tears begin to roll down her face. “Harry? Hermione? Would you excuse us, please?” Judith stood and walked stiffly into the kitchen. Mackenzie dutifully followed his wife. They she turned on her husband and asked: “Why, Mack? It’s bad enough Hermione has to go, but why both of you?”
“Sweetheart, you know as well as I do that I have to go. I trained Harry’s troops. I know them better than they know themselves. If they need me, I can rally them. Hopefully, I won’t have to. Hopefully all we have to do, is deal with the leftovers…that’s all. I won’t go looking for trouble, I promise.”
“I know you do, baby, but it’s just like before. You go off to fight a faceless enemy, and again, I have to wait here and hope…pray you come back alive. I hate that!” She cried out, before burying her face in his chest.
Wrapping his arms around her, he quoted: “Those also serve who stand and wait.”
“John - Milton - was - an - arse!” She shot back, tears filling her eyes.
“Judith, I would never lie to you, you know that. I can’t promise to not get hurt, but I will do my absolute best to make sure I come home in one piece.”
“Yes…” She sighed. “I know.” For a long time, he just held his weeping wife.
Eventually they returned to the lounge where an embarrassed Harry and Hermione waited.
“Judith, I’m sorry.” Harry apologized. “I wish it could be another way, but…”
“I understand, Harry…” She replied with tears glistening on her lashes. “Better than you might realize, I do understand. That doesn’t make this any easier. Tomorrow, you, Hermione and Mack all stand a good chance of being killed. You’ll all do your best, I know, but there is still that chance.”
Harry was subdued. “I don’t know what to say.”
“A wise man once said, if you don’t have anything to say, don’t say anything.” Mack piped in, to try to lift the mood.
Harry smiled, tightly. Turning to Hermione he added: “Would you like to spend some time here with your parents?”
“No, Harry.” She replied with a gentle smile. “My place is with you.”
He wrapped his arms around her and whispered: “I love you.”
Hermione returned the hug, and the endearment. As they were turning to the door, Judith called out: “Harry, you bring them back, or don’t come back yourself!”
At five in the evening of the twentieth, Dumbledore activated the portkey with a smirk. In his pocket were a pair of magical binders used to subdue prisoners and several potions to ensure the boy would not only return to his…care, but also never even think of leaving it again.
Thirty-seven repetitions and that ridiculous activation phrase, and he felt the hook behind his navel that indicated portkey travel, as he was whirled away from the Shrieking Shack.
The portkey dropped Dumbledore two feet off the ground and leaning strongly to the left. He fell and wrenched his ankle. Grimacing in pain, he pulled his wand, about to heal his injury, when a voice came from nowhere…and everywhere. A voice he recognized all too well.
“Aah, aah, aah! You promised no wands. If you want to see Harry Potter, you will place the wand and any other magical articles on the side board...without having used them.”
“Miss Granger, You are in a great deal of trouble as it is.” Dumbledore called out in a severe ‘I am the responsible adult and you are the wayward child’ tone.
“That was the deal you agreed to, Dumbledore. This whole conversation is being recorded. Would you like it to go out live? I guarantee we can have it on the WWN within thirty seconds.”
Dumbledore bit back his angry response. He knew that with the damage Harry and his allies had done to his reputation. He was standing on a precipice. Further exposure to ‘unfortunate’ press would do him incalculable damage! He swore and began to remove the magical binders, he’d hoped to capture Harry with. He tried to sit, but a loud, raucous buzzing noise startled him.
“All of them!”
“I assure you, I have no other…”
“Dumbledore, you could assure me the sky was dark and I’d still go out and check!”
Dumbledore paled in alarm. The last time someone had used that phrase, he’d lost a thousand Galleons. A thousand Galleons he could ill afford to lose. Even now, with ‘contributions’ from the Order members, he was just barely hanging on.
Snarling in irritation, he scoured his person and removed every magical artifact he carried…except his family ring. A box appeared and the items floated into it. It shut itself and floated over to the sideboard.
“Thank you.” Granger’s voice taunted smugly. A metal band appeared on the table. Dumbledore blanched once more. He recognized the thing.
“Put it on. It will lock automatically.”
“Miss Granger, surely there is no need for such measures. The only thing I carry now is my family ring, and my glasses.”
“Sensors indicate, your glasses have various charms on them…fortunately non-harmful, though I’m certain the ladies who’ve gone through Hogwarts would be most interested in the one that allows you to see through their clothing. I know I am.”
Dumbledore gaped in horror. His glasses had no such enchantment, but the knew that in his current disfavor, any such accusation would be taken as gospel!
Granger continued. “The ring on the other hand, has three lethal or destructive spells embedded as well as an instantly fatal poison. Put it on or take off the ring, we don’t much care which.”
Not wanting to risk losing three of his fingers, Dumbledore removed the ornate signet. In July, when he’d told the Queen’s people he couldn’t remove it due to ancient family magicks, he had…not told them the whole truth. Though he was head of the family, and the head’s signet would react in such a way, this ring was a copy. It seems his father hadn’t trusted Albus not to do something ‘unfortunate’ to Aberforth, so he’d hidden the true head’s ring under enchantments that not even Albus could breach.
The ring floated through the air and into the box, which slammed closed over it.
Thus rendered impotent, Dumbledore angrily surveyed the room. It was a plain empty kitchen, simply done in yellows and whites, with a table, two chairs, a sink and chill box, and a kettle steaming on the hob, but nothing to identify it from any other kitchen in Britain.
A few seconds later, Harry silently appeared.
“Hello, Headmaster. Have a seat.” Harry ordered. Dumbledore knew it was just that, but to refuse would appear churlish, especially if what the mudblood had said was true. He sat. Dumbledore watched as his wayward pawn pulled his wand, established some basic security wards and then set it, a leather pouch, and that marvelous magical sword he carried, on the same sideboard, a few feet from Dumbledore’s items.
As he did, Harry reached through the force and gently pressed Dumbledore’s left foot, not coincidentally, his injured foot, to the patch of cyanoacrylic glue there.
Harry puttered around the cooker and quickly had a pot of tea ready. He took some time with the cups but produced an acceptable tray.
“Thank you for meeting with me, Headmaster. Please, have some tea.”
Harry poured two cups and, pushed one, to Albus’ practiced eye, a bit too carefully, toward the old man, and set the other at his own place.
Albus could hardly believe the boy was actually trying to poison him! He searched for a distraction, and seeing no lemon wedges on the tray, asked: “Have you any lemon?”
“Of course.” Harry stood and turned to the chill box. Albus quickly swapped teacups before Harry withdrew the bottle of lemon juice from its place.
Dumbledore just stared. ~Lemon in a bottle! What will the muggles come up with next!~
Harry returned to his seat and handed the bottle across the table, before placing one lump of sugar into his own cup. Seeing as how Dumbledore was not using the lemon, he asked: “May I?” indicating the bottle of juice.
Absently, Dumbledore handed it back. Harry poured a healthy drop into his tea. The foolish boy stirred and then sipped deeply, with a satisfied look in his eye. Dumbledore was certain then. He smiled in return and added a bit of lemon juice to his own tea before sipping. He grimaced. He’d added too much. Aah, well, he’d done as civility required. He need not drink more. He set the cup back in its saucer.
For the first time, Dumbledore noticed Harry was not wearing that outlandish costume he’d affected on the eleventh. No, while he carried that magical sword, he was otherwise dressed as a muggle, including a tight black shirt with yellow lettering that read:
“I CAN ONLY PLEASE ONE PERSON PER DAY. TODAY IS NOT YOUR DAY.”
And in smaller letters: (Tomorrow isn’t looking too good either.)
Were the situation not so serious, Dumbledore would have laughed. He picked up his tea and sipped again, unaware that he did so.
“Why have you asked me here, Harry? You’ve been most inaccessible until now, so why change that?”
“I am about to deal with Voldemort, but before I did, I decided to eliminate the other dark lord.”
“Other dark lord?” Surely his pawn couldn’t suspect…
“You.” The word was quietly spoken, but it seemed to echo throughout the room anyway. Under his concealing beard, Dumbledore paled. ~He does!~
He backpedaled, quickly, pasted on his ‘benevolent grandfather face, number seven’, added a ‘knowing twinkle, version four’ and said: “Harry, I am no dark lord.” He sipped again.
“No?” Harry queried. “I suppose you’re just ‘misguided’ then? Just ‘an old man’s mistakes’?” Now, he was more than disrespectful, he was downright contemptuous!
“I’ve had my people do a great deal of investigating Dumbledore. The laws you’ve written to systematically destroy everyone in the wizarding world, except your pureblood sycophants? Laws intended to strip all rights from those sentient, but other than human, magical beings, or those affected by conditions they had nothing to do with? The development of a war plan to subjugate, first the wizarding world, and then the muggle one? These are the works of a dark lord, Dumbledore.”
“You are imagining things, Harry. I would never do anything of the sort.”
“Your name is on the laws, Dumbledore. It’s right there in the archives.”
“Nonsense, I happen to know that the laws in the Ministry archives are stripped of the originators names to prevent any retaliation by those so affected.”
“I never said the ‘Ministry’ archives. According to the Human/Goblin treaty of 1387 all laws are copied and archived by the goblins in their full, unedited form…including the names of the originators.”
Dumbledore grew positively ashen at the new threat. If that were true, then his ‘little manipulations’ would surely come to light! He had no chance to follow that line of thought, however, as Harry continued.
“On a more personal note, your placing me with the Dursleys, especially when you knew they were never to have a thing to do with me, was a crime in both the magical and mundane worlds. It was also a major violation of magical tradition…and common courtesy. My parents expressly forbad my ever even knowing the Dursleys. You knew that because you witnessed their will. Sirius was supposed to have raised me. That’s what a godfather is for. I suspect, though in this case I cannot prove, that you had something to do with his ‘sudden’ decision to go rat hunting, instead of taking care of me. He told me last year, that Hagrid was already at your cottage in Godric’s Hollow when he got there. Now, why would Hagrid be at a place that was covered by your unfailing Fidelus, when you weren’t the secret keeper? He told me that Hagrid had instructions from you, to take me to Surrey, so you could place me in Durzkaban.”
“Harry, you know why I placed you with your aunt. The blood protections there…”
“Were worthless, and you knew it.” Harry interrupted. “I told you this in July but you never listen to anybody but yourself, so I’ll say it one last time. A blood-sacrifice ward is bonded by blood, but must be sustained by positive emotions. The ‘love’ you’re always banging on about. Problem is, there is no love in that house. Not for themselves, and certainly not for me. The wards were useless, and now, they’re gone.”
“They are not gone, Harry. They are weakened, yes, but they are still there. I understand six Death Eaters tried to breach the wards in December, and were rejected.” Actually Snape’s description of the box filled with the Death Eater’s robes, masks and broken wands told Dumbledore that the Death Eaters were more than ‘rejected’.
Harry confirmed this.
“They weren’t ‘rejected’ Dumbledore, they’re dead.”
“What do you mean…dead?”
“I mean bereft of life, stiff, tits up, deceased, six feet under, pushing up the daisies! They’re buzzard bait! Vulture snacks! Worm food! They’ve kicked the bucket. They’ve shuffled off this mortal coil and gone to sing with the choir invisible. They’ve snuffed it. Passed on. They are no more. They’ve ceased to be!”
Gleefully watching Dumbledore’s increasingly horrified expression at his cavalier euphemisms for death, Harry mentally thanked the Monty Python gang for their priceless inspiration, and added a few more expressions for good measure.
“They’ve expired and gone to meet their maker! They’re encephalographically challenged. Their metabolic processes are history! They rest, hopefully in utter and eternal torment. Unlike Snivellus, they are ‘ex’ Death Eaters!”
“How did that happen?”
“They fell, but that’s not important. What is; is that there were any number of people willing to take me in, but because you wanted an expendable weapon to use against Voldemort, you chose to place me in the care of child abusers. If that’s not dark, then I don’t know what is. Even your old buddy Grindelwald revered children.”
“Harry, I had no way of knowing that the Dursleys would abuse you.”
“Really!” Harry drew out the word in a sneer. “Then the information we pulled from their minds; the letters you sent them every month telling them exactly how I was to be treated? The Antipathus Magi curse you placed on them all; that Rolex watch Vernon always wore, the diamond pendant, around Petunia’s neck…the filling in Dudley’s tooth. Those were just ‘accidents’, right? Somehow, I don’t think so.”
This seemed to be the final straw for Dumbledore. He knew his plans for dominion were ruined! Ruined by this stupid child!
“You cannot prove anything! I am Albus Dumbledore! I am above reproach! Now you will come with me, and I will arrange for you to meet Tom. You will kill him and die in the process, and I will rebuild the wizarding world into a utopia!” Dumbledore’s eyes glowed with a religious fervor unseen since the last of the burning times. “If you fail in any of these instructions, I will have your precious mudblood and her parents killed. Is that quite clear?”
“Oh, it’s clear, all right. And I think I’ll refuse anyway. First off, my wife is more than capable of dealing with you on her own…so is her dad, for that matter.” He broke off, smirking, as he watched Dumbledore almost choke on that little tit bit, then continued.
“As for me, I will destroy Voldemort. The wizarding world needs that, but I’ll do it my own way, thank you very much, and there won’t be another dark lord to take over. I’ve already destroyed that dark lord…or rather you’ve destroyed yourself!”
Harry shot a pointed look at Dumbledore’s now-empty teacup. Dumbledore was surprised to see it empty. He didn’t recall drinking beyond the first sip.
“You drank your own destruction.”
“You only think I did!” The old man sneered. “I switched cups, you fool! You drank whatever poison you’ve given me!”
“Sorry no. The tea was the same.”
“But you would be dead as well.”
“Again, sorry. I’ve developed an immunity to Iocaine powder.” Through the force, Harry could ‘hear’ Hermione’s shocked giggle.
“What?” Even though he didn’t know what Iocaine powder was, Dumbledore knew this was bad!
“I’m having you on.” Harry chuckled. “It wasn’t Iocaine.”
Then he grew serious. “It’s the second part of a specially engineered biomechanical infection, called ‘nanites’, that was specifically tailored to you…well, you and anyone close enough, genetically speaking. Your brother Aberforth, would also be affected, but we’ve given him a safe place to stay. It’s said that magic is in the blood. Now yours won’t be.”
“Blood magicks!” Dumbledore crowed in triumph. “Lord of three houses or not, I can have you sent to Azkaban for using dark magicks!”
“Gee! Aren’t blood magicks what you set up around the Dursley’s house to keep me prisoner there?” Harry sneered in utter contempt. “Anyway, I thought you wanted me to kill off your other pawn. Y’know, the one who got away from you.”
Harry just smirked as Dumbledore struggled to control his blossoming temper.
“In either case, it doesn’t matter, as I never used blood magicks.”
“You just told me you did.” Albus hissed.
“Nope. It’s not magic at all, blood or otherwise, nor is it anything of the sort…except perhaps by Clarke’s definition. In all your self-deluded omniscience, you’ve convinced yourself that you are magically untouchable. That might or might not be true, but you’ve never once considered that ‘mere’ muggles could come up with something that could harm you. You see, it’s not a poison at all. It’s little machines too tiny to see…even with magic. Of course, without the activator, they’d just be inert particles in your blood. That’s what you drank, by the way. The activator. It’s why your tea tasted so sharp. I knew you’d suspect I was trying to poison you, so I made sure you had plenty of time to switch cups. Just so you know, the tea was perfectly safe…until it was mixed with the lemon juice. The activator was in the tea and the lemon juice was a chemical that allows it to pass through the lining of your stomach wall nearly instantly. The compulsion I placed on the teacups, was all it took to get you to drink the whole thing. You can see I’ve finished mine as well. The activator has already begun to join the other half of the ‘poison’, to use your word, in your bloodstream. Over the course of the next few days, they’ll activate all the nanites in your blood and those nanites will perform their designated tasks. Within ninety days you will have no usable magicks left.”
“But you drank the same thing. I saw you put the lemon in your tea!”
“True, but since I have no nanites in my system, the activator has nothing to ‘activate’. To me it’s as safe as…well…tea with lemon.”
Dumbledore snarled: “I can always have my blood cleansed of your poison!”
“Sorry, no. You see, I started feeding you these nanites about three months ago. In all, I’ve given you around fifty million of them. But they’re so small, that all told, that works up to about a thousandth of an ounce. They’re designed to congregate in the bone marrow where new blood cells are made. Now, once in the marrow, they tend to use the haematopoietic stem cells there for raw materiel, to multiply…rapidly…very rapidly. By now, there are more than twenty trillion…that’s twenty, million, million of them in your blood. They’ve infected your entire system. Did you know it takes about three and a half to four and a half months to fully replenish the entire blood supply of an adult human? It’s one of the many interesting things one can learn from mundane medical books. That’s why I started in February. Almost every single blood cell you own, has a nanite in it, just waiting for the order to eat. What’s more, you ingested them because you didn’t bother to check what you ate. Personally I don’t think you would have recognized them as dangerous if you had.”
“Nonsense! I test everything I eat and drink for poisons.”
“Except for one thing. The one thing you adore, and the one thing you would never bother testing…” Harry paused for a second, just to build the tension. “Because you get them from a muggle candy shop.”
Suddenly Dumbledore’s eyes grew wide. Harry had somehow, tainted his lemon drops!
Almost hearing his thoughts, Harry smirked.
“Mmmhmmm. Didn’t you notice they seemed a bit more tart than normal? Of course, with the heavy compulsions I added to your ‘lucky’ lemon drop bag, it wouldn’t have made any difference. It would have been nice to know but it wouldn’t have changed a thing.”
Dumbledore’s pallor increased as Harry pronounced sentence on him.
“Now that you’ve ingested the second part, it’s begun to activate the dormant nanites in your bloodstream. That means they go to work. As they are activated, they will infiltrate each strand of DNA in each of your blood cells, seek out and destroy the gene sequence that allows you to use magic.
Once they have eliminated a certain percentage of your magic, in this case, ninety-three percent, they’ll go mostly dormant. A certain percentage of them will hang about your marrow and infect each and every new blood cell your body makes…for the rest of your life.
Ironic, isn’t it? After so many years of being thought of as the most powerful wizard in the world, you’ve been brought down by something smaller than a virus. After so may underhanded and quite frankly, illegal acts, intended to prove to everybody around you, that you are the top of the bloody heap, you’ll be at the bottom of the social strata that you designed. After so many harmful things you’ve done to those you consider ‘beneath your station’; you’ll become what you detest the most.”
Albus realized that Harry, with his esoteric knowledge, could have done just what he’d said. He was going to kill the boy! He could just deal with Tom, himself!
He sprang out of his chair to carry out his plan when he felt an agonizing stab from his wrenched ankle, now somehow stuck to the floor.
He cried out in pain and fell forward, as his limb collapsed, slapping his hands onto the tabletop in order to support himself. Seeing Harry’s insolent smirk enraged him all the more. The boy hadn’t moved an inch at his sudden attack. He pushed against the table in order to snatch up his wand and show the little cretin the true meaning of pain!
Only when his hands refused to move, did he realize Harry had outwitted him once again. Harry’s face took on the deadly aspect of a cobra, as Albus struggled. He looked up through rage-hazed eyes to see Harry sitting calmly, his hand held level above the table.
“I’m holding you in place with the force.” The infuriating boy said. “I’ll let you go in about a minute, but it won’t help. You see, I’ve coated that side of the table with a slow-drying, thick formula, cyanoacrylate cement, under a water-soluble glycerin barrier that’s less than fifty microns thick. The superglue is an amino acid-activated, muggle cement, considerably more powerful than any sticking charm. The moisture on your palms disrupted the barrier and at the same time, activated the glue. The glue will bond your skin to the table. Once the glue is set, it’s as hard as glass and strong as metal. Neat, huh?”
Dumbledore could only think: ~How did he grow to be so powerful? The bindings I placed on him should have prevented that!~
“You’ll be released in about three or four days. That’s when the skin on your palms will have begun to exfoliate. By then, Voldemort will be dead, with all his supporters, and so will the rest of your influence.”
Harry ‘called’ the leather pouch from the sidebar, and extracted two silvery bracelets from it. Leaning forward, he latched one around each of Dumbledore’s wrists. Instantly Albus understood what they were. He could feel his magic within, but not in his hands.
“As you’ve probably guessed, these are magical inhibiters. Hermione designed them for me, and a house elf built them. They’re very much like the binders you brought…except better. These ones will actually feed off any power you channel through them, so the harder you try to break through their influence, the better they hold you. They’re also unbreakable, so you can’t just smash them. Don’t worry. They’ll release themselves…in ninety-one days.
You’ll be a prisoner here until then, old man. By the time you’re released, Voldemort will be dead, the news will be out, and you’ll be a squib.
It’s ironic, really. You weren’t satisfied with the power you had. You wanted it all. Like Voldemort, you wanted everything. Like Voldemort, you wanted absolute control over the world, but unlike Voldemort, you didn’t want to be seen as doing it. Instead, you wanted to be ‘the icon of the light’, and so you played your games, and you sacrificed people like pawns on a chessboard, all to get your name in lights. I actually respect that about him. At least he keeps his bullshit up front! The problem with your plan, was that one of your pawns refused to be sacrificed, so now, you’ve lost it all, old man. You have nothing left. I’ve taken your fortunes, your titles, your influence; even your immortality…and now…I’ve taken what makes you, you.”
Harry’s next words were, to Dumbledore, as deadly as a sentence of the Dementors kiss.
“I’ve taken your magic.”
Harry stood and pushed the chair he’d used under the table.
“Think of it as a question of mind over matter. I no longer mind…because you no longer matter.”
“Harry!” Dumbledore croaked. “You can’t do this! You will become just like Riddle!”
“Actually, I’m a lot like Riddle. Your influence there. But unlike him…and you, I might add, I have no desire to rule the world.”
Dumbledore moaned: “How could you be so cruel?” his eyes twinkling sadly.
Harry raised an eyebrow at the old man’s hypocrisy, and then picked up his wand from the sideboard and passed over his teacup, transfiguring it into a mirror with a folding stand. Setting it up on the table so Dumbledore could clearly see his own face, he stuck it in place with a charm, then said: “Look at yourself and ask that same question.”
Instantly Albus went from the weary old man to the impassioned zealot. “Everything I have done has been for the greater good!” He cried, his eyes blazing with a nearly religious light.
“The greater good.” Harry snorted in contempt. “You’ve always claimed that everything you’ve done has been for the greater good, but you forgot something very important. It’s a simple lesson, but one so many self-deluded dictators miss. He slid his wand into his arm holster.
You forgot that the greater good is made up of a bunch of lesser goods. Without those lesser goods, the greater good is neither greater, nor good. Without all those lesser goods, the ‘greater good’, is nothing but the twisted words of a tyrant.”
Harry ‘called’ his lightsaber from the side bar, and hooked it to his belt, and said: “I’ll be leaving now, to destroy your mistake. I’d suggest you use this time to rethink your life. Consider the crimes you have committed, and the people you have harmed, in your pursuit of ‘eternal glory’.”
Harry wafted his hand, and a large metal bowl filled with water floated from the sink to rest on the table before Dumbledore.
“In the meanwhile, you may have this water…just water. Consider not eating for the next few days, a form of penance for the years of torment you’ve put me through. I strongly suggest you not spill it in a temper, because if you do, Winky here, has orders not to replace it. Three days without water and you will die.”
Dumbledore nearly screamed in anger, as with his hands stuck to the table, he would have to drink like a dog!
Harry stepped forward and dug into Albus’ inner pocket, withdrawing the shrunken wooden box containing the blood from those people he’d cast blood-based compulsions on.
“By the way, you won’t be needing these anymore. Don’t worry though, I’ll see to it, they’re used properly.” Harry handed the box to Winky, who vanished and a moment later returned. “The blood is being on your desk Master Harry. Madam Amelia and Healer Jacoby is being looking it over to see who is being held by make-do’s.”
“Thank you, Winky.” Harry returned.
Albus stared in horror. ~How had he known?~
Harry had a bit more to say.
“Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, by the authority granted me, by Her Majesty, Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith; for treason against the crown, and for the many crimes you’ve committed against the wizarding and mundane populations of Great Britain, I sentence you to live the remainder of your life confined to your estate…without magic.”
Then Harry called Dumbledore’s wand to him, and with one hand, snapped it in half, dropping its remains on to the table before the horrified old wizard.
“Good bye, old man.”
He silently vanished.
Dumbledore sat there fuming over the broken wand and his broken plans, when, with a burst of flame, Fawkes appeared. With him was that insane Ravenclaw, Lovegood.
“Fawkes!” He nearly screamed in joy. “Take me away from here!”
Instead, Fawkes alit on the table and immediately burst into flame. Dumbledore gaped in horror. He had to rebind the newly formed phoenix to him, but without his wand, could do nothing! Lovegood stepped forward and gently swept the ashes from the hatchling, cradling him to her breast.
“Let him go! He must rebind himself to me!”
“A creature of the light has no place with you, headmaster.” Luna answered in her dreamlike tone. “With his death, Fawkes has chosen to break the bindings you placed on him, and with his rebirth, he’s offered his bond to me. Good bye, sir.”
And with that, she walked out the door…taking Fawkes along with her.
At this final blow, Dumbledore wept.
For the next nearly five days, before skin on his palms began to slough off, releasing him from the glue that held him to the table, an entirely unsympathetic Winky prepared the most mouthwatering meals, in that small kitchen. She would check and fill Dumbledore’s water-bowl, as needed, but despite his pleadings, and despite the clearly audible rumblings from his belly, she refused to allow him even the smallest morsel to ease the pangs of his hunger. Instead, she would just glare at him and he knew that she would never forgive him the things he’d put her master through.
Another most embarrassing thing occurred on a regular basis, ‘regular’ being the operative word. He was old, and growing frail. As he imagined his magic waning, the situation only got worse. He had no relief when he had to…relieve himself. Winky would banish the mess, but not his clothes.
For nearly five days, Dumbledore sat in his own shit.
As soon as he returned to Potter Castle, Harry went directly to the dining hall, where the students would be finishing up their suppers. There, he stood and called out: “May I have your attention?” Instantly the room became silent. ~Silent as a graveyard.~ The thought came unbidden to his mind. Given what he was about to announce, Harry grimaced at the unconscious comparison. It was all too apt.
“I’ve made my decisions. The following people will be on tonight’s mission. Dobby, Mack, Hermione, Remus, Tonks, Neville, Susan, Hannah, Fred, George, Sally-Ann, Oliver, Ginny, Orla, Li, Adrian, Terrence, Wayne, Anthony, Megan, Daphne, Parvati, Padma, Morag, Kevin, Terry, Derek, Anika and Anna. Everyone I’ve named, report to my office in half an hour.”
Harry turned and left the dining hall, hoping against hope, that he wasn’t condemning his friends to death.
As he expected, Ron was waiting outside his office. He palmed the door control and gestured his first friend into the administrative center of the Potter citadel.
“Harry, I didn’t hear you call my name.”
“That’s because I didn’t.”
“Ron, you’re not going.”
“What!?!” Ron barked. “What the hell d’you mean, I’m not going? I have to go Harry! We’re best mates!”
Harry sighed at his friend’s anger.
“Ron, you’ve advanced more than any of the other students here. I’m prouder of you than you can know, but you’re still careless and undisciplined. You’ve gotten better, but in combat, one careless move could result in your death, or worse, the death of one or more of our friends. I can’t allow that. You are reckless, you’re prone to taking unnecessary chances and if I take you into combat, you will most likely die.”
“The decision is made, Ron. You’re staying behind.” Harry was implacable. “Listen well, Ron, if you fight this, I’ll stun you and leave you here, tied to a hospital bed. The healers have orders that if they find anyone in such a condition, they’re to keep them unconscious until I return.” Inside, Harry was mourning the broken friendship, that he somehow knew would never be repaired, but he had the rest to think about. A commander’s job wasn’t always easy.
The furious redhead spat: “I thought you were my friend!”
“I am your friend, Ron. And as a friend, I don’t want you to die!”
Ron snarled something Harry pretended to not hear and stormed out of the office. Shaking his head at his friend’s anger, Harry made a note to himself to have the house elves drop a sleeping potion into Ron’s food on the twenty-first.
At six thirty, the named students and staff gathered in Harry’s office.
Seeing as how they were all there, he began. “Anybody want to back out, now’s the time. To his pride and regret, none of them moved an inch. Even the infant Fawkes in Luna’s baby sling, was still.
Sighing, Harry briefly went overt the expected dispersal of the Death Eaters and how the Jedi would arrive. “I want you to be in five groups. Four inside, and one outside to deal with the twenty or so werewolves in Voldy’s camp. That group will be Remus, Tonks, and two volunteers. Fred, George? Thanks for volunteering.”
Both Weasleys gaped. Neither had volunteered, but with their recent balls-up, neither of them felt it a good idea to complain at their posting.
Harry smiled thinly, almost hearing their thoughts. He turned to the remainder.
“Now, Dobby has been spying on Tom for a while, and has drawn some maps of the place.” Harry spread some large sheets of poster board with well-done drawings of the place, onto the table, including an accurate floor plan. The room was large with two doors along each of the long walls and one set of entry doors at the end opposite the fireplaces. About two thirds in, there was a circular dais with a chair in its center. Dobby’s drawings shoved them that the chair was an exact copy of the Coronation Throne at Buckingham palace.
“Now, as you can see, Riddle has a throne-room. Cliché, I know, but there it is. That’s most likely where this will take place. The room is about twenty…twenty-five meters by around fifteen and nicely vaulted. He’ll have me before the throne, which is here…” Harry touched the dais. “He’ll want an audience, so most of his Deez will be behind me, but with some to either side.” He used a thick piece of charcoal to scribble in a black mass, to show where he expected the Death Eaters to be.
“That’s to our advantage. They’ll all be focused on us. You lot, will divide into four groups, led by Mack, Hermione, Neville and Luna. How you divide is up to you, but I want a group of you in front of me, behind me and to either side.” Harry touched spots behind Riddle’s throne, behind the expected mass of Death Eaters and to either side.
Nods followed as each person there acknowledged their orders.
“Now, this will be effectively ‘circle: outer’. You’ll have the advantage. The downside is that the Deeters can shoot anywhere and you can only reflect their spells back inward. We’re going to make this fast and brutal and hope they panic, but keep alert! There are five entries to the room…” Harry touched the paper at the doorways. “…and they may have sentries posted. We don’t want them to get a lucky shot. The Aurors should be coming in through these doors here…” He pointed to the main doors. “About two minutes after we start. They’re there to help. Let them! I expect this battle to be over in five minutes or less. Taking more time than that, will start to give them the advantage. Let’s not do that, shall we?”
More nods, and he dismissed them. In the hall, he could hear Hermione calling the people to another room to decide which team they’d be on.
“Remus, Tonks, stick around. Fred…George…come here.”
“I didn’t pick on you two because I’m hacked off at you. Your lightsabers are distracting as hell and though it pains me no end to say this, we can use that to our advantage. If it comes to battle with the werewolves, that distraction will slow them down. Remus? What do you think?”
“Well, lupines aren’t normally light based hunters, but you’re right. Those blades are distracting to say the very least.
“It’s not much of an advantage but we’ll take what we can get. By the way, you two, when we get back, you two are going back into the forge room and this time, you’re going to do it right! Understand me?”
Both Weasleys nodded.
A half an hour later, Tonks, Harry, Hermione and Dobby, all escorted Remus to his temporary prison. Remus was fortunate, the full moon would be in a bit over an hour, and since nightfall wouldn’t be until almost nine thirty that evening, he’d miss most of its effects. This time, Tonks refused to leave.
Remus objected strenuously but for every argument he made, Tonks had a counter. He could bite her…She was safely outside the cage. He could break the bars…they were solid steel and had been charmed to be unbreakable. The wards could fail…she had an emergency portkey. He was embarrassed…she loved him anyway.
In the end, she got her way. Hermione handed Remus the Wolfsbane through the bars of the cage, and as he drank it down, his eyes popped open with a shock. It didn’t taste like liquid sludge! In fact, there was a strong hint of peppermint!
He commented and she blushed. “I found a reference to the mint in an old potions book I have. She didn’t mention that the book in which she’d found the potion, was the misappropriated copy of ‘Eine Abhandlung auf die Kreation der ungewöhnlich wirkungsvollen medizinischen Tränke.’ That had been intended as a gift for Severus Snape.
That evening, before Harry had tuned in, he answered a floo call from Amelia. At his nod, she, Moody and Shack all spun through.
“We’ve questioned that filth under Veritaserum and he spilled his guts!” Moody growled, smiling happily.
“So what did you get?” Harry wanted to know. Hermione walked in and sat on his lap.
“Well we got a bunch on Voldemort’s activities, most of that corroborates other sources, but we did get one tit bit that deals with you specifically. Two, actually.”
Amelia broke in. If Moody had his way, he’d make Harry fight for every word that came out of his mouth.
“We discovered that the connection between you and Voldemort is still active.”
“Active?” Harry touched his scar. He hadn’t ‘felt’ anything from Voldemort since…since he’d begun practicing Occlumency the previous July.
“Oh don’t worry. It’s nothing like the connection you used to have. He thinks that Fawkes’ interference in Voldemort’s attempt to possess you in the ministry atrium last year, broke the connection…except for a small part that allows him to feel your emotions.” She grinned nastily. “Apparently you two have been giving him a rather nasty headache for the past ten months!”
Amelia snickered, Shack laughed out loud, Harry and Hermione both blushed brilliantly and Moody just sat and howled. When he heard the noise, Mack, who was on his way back to his flat, poked his head in and asked what the fuss was all about. When they’d explained, he also fell apart laughing. Hermione gave them all her patented: ‘Glare of Immanent Death and/or Agonizing Dismemberment, number five.’ but this time, it had no effect whatsoever, so she just grinned in embarrassment.
The second piece of news Amelia gave him was that Voldemort was addicted to pain-relieving potions, and that addiction had made him both less predictable and more prone to self-aggrandizement. Harry grinned like Christmas had come early.
Thanking the minister, Harry escorted his visitors to the floo and then took his wife to bed.
She pulled off her clothing and in a sultry voice whispered: “He gets a migraine whenever we make love, huh?”
At Harry’s nod, she snarled: “Let's see how much we can hurt that bastard!”
And they did. That night, on the other side of the country, two more Death Eaters died because their master was in a pain-induced temper.
Remus and Tonks discovered that night, what Hermione’s tinkering had done to the Wolfsbane potion. Tonks was ashamed and annoyed, that she’d not thought to bring a camera…though until that night, she’d ever thought she’d need one. The images of Remus romping around his steel cage like a hyperactive puppy would have made all of their days.
Then again, given the twins’ recreational proclivities, it was probably just as well she hadn’t.
On the morning of the twenty first, as he got out of bed, Harry knelt down beside it, clasped his hands and whispered: “Please God. Don’t let me fuck this up!”
“Hermione looked at him oddly and chuckled: “I don’t think I’ve ever heard that particular prayer before, Harry. What was it?”
“Oh, that was the Shepard’s prayer.”
“The Shepard’s prayer?”
“Alan Shepard. The American astronaut.”
Hermione laughed out loud and they rose to prepare themselves for the day. Dressing for their morning’s run, they headed down to the dungeon to release their dear friends from their confinement.
Harry knew that Tonks, as much as she loved Remus, was anything but stupid. She’d never allow herself to be bitten. That’s why she’d approached him the day before, for the emergency portkey. Now, he could sense them through the force. Remus’ transformation had just ended some minutes before, and Tonks was…laughing?
Poor Remus came out of the transformation, mortified and blushing furiously at what he’d done the night before, but in surprisingly good condition. Harry, Hermione and Dobby entered the dungeon as had become their habit, to release him from the cage and remove the security wards from around the dungeon. When Tonks had described her ‘Ickle Woofums’ and his playtime the night before, the three of them had also fallen over laughing.
Too tired to growl at Hermione for her potion’s modification, Remus swore eternal revenge on her…and all her progeny. Then he and Tonks stumbled their way up the stone steps and into their shared flat, where they showered together, and made love before he fell asleep. That evening when he woke, he confessed it was the easiest transformation and the best sleep he’d ever had.
At lunch, Harry instructed all those going, to get as much sleep as they could. He’d arranged for mild calming draughts to help them relax, and pepper up potions to be made available for when they woke, to ensure they were at peak efficiency that night. He also ordered the house elves to lace Ron’s meal with a sleeping potion.
“What about you, Harry?” Hermione asked, noticing he hadn’t prepared for sleep.
“I’ll be back soon. Just now, I have to go speak to a beetle.”
“Hermione, I want the wizarding population to know about this. Just now, Rita works for me. I’ll have her tag along, and act as our ‘eyewitness’. If necessary, we can ‘edit’ her story before it’s printed. Either way, I want them to know the terror is over.”
“Then, I’m coming with you.”
“That’s not necessary. I’ll be back in fifteen minutes or less. Please, Hermione. Trust me.”
Hermione sighed. “All right, Harry, but you’d better not stop off at the pub. I have an itch, and you’re the only one I want scratching it!”
Harry smiled. “I’ll be right back.”
He kissed her soundly, and left the castle.
Harry appeared in Rita’s back garden, and knocked on her door. Minuard opened it.
“Hello, Minuard. It’s time.”
“Thank you sir.”
Minuard gestured Harry inside where Rita was waiting.
“Harry, dear!” She gushed. “Whatever brings you to my humble abode…”
“We have work to do.” He interrupted. “You recall I promised you the you the biggest exclusive of your entire life, including an eyewitness account of Voldemort’s destruction?”
At her shaky nod, his smiled grimly and then said: “Tonight, I’m facing Voldemort. You’re coming along. ”
Rita made the connection. She paled in fear.
“That’s right. You…will be the eyewitness.” Rita thought Harry was being unnecessarily cruel when he added: “You can refuse, of course, but if you do, it’ll still get out. I have assurances from both Euwings and Xeno that they’ll print the story regardless who writes it. You don’t want someone else to write this do you…someone like say, Anita Scrivener, or Allie Goric?”
Rita knew she’d made a deal with the devil himself. Being there, she could write the story of her life…a story that would pay her enough o retire on in high style, but being there could also get her killed…in a most unpleasant manner. People had threatened her life in the past, but only the Dark lord and his minions had ever come close to succeeding. In fact, it was only the intervention of the man in front of her, and his friends that had kept her from being buried in an unmarked grave.
What was more, if she did refuse, he would certainly tell Bones, and Bones already didn’t like her!
Harry tried to reassure her. “Don’t worry, Rita. Tonight I’ll pick you up and apparate us both to Godric’s Hollow. You just ride in on my collar, and when things get interesting, you get out of the way…or you can go there yourself if you want. Either way works for me. Now, I have to warn you, I expect two battles tonight. One in Godric’s Hollow, and one in Little Hangleton.”
“Where’s Little Hangleton?”
“Beats the hell out of me, but that’s where Voldy lives. When I’m captured in Godric’s Hollow, just buzz into my hair and the Deez will take us to see Voldemort. When we get there, fly away and find a nice portrait frame to watch from. Look out for spiders, though. It is an old house.”
Somehow, she wasn’t much reassured.
Harry returned to the castle with Rita’s promise to be waiting. She also reaffirmed her previous oath that she wouldn’t reveal any of what she knew until he gave her leave.
Before heading to bed, he took a walk through the dorms. Many of those not going greeted him, as they attended to their own pursuits.
Looking into Ron’s quarters, he found his first friend snoring away. The sleeping potion he’d had the elves put into his food was somewhat stronger than what he’d given the others. Smiling grimly, he turned from the doorway to find himself face to face with the esoteric blond.
“That was rather underhanded, you know.” She chided gently.
“Yeah. I know.” He replied sadly. “But this way he’ll be alive to hate me. Go get some sleep.”
Harry turned away to check on his other troops.
He missed Luna’s tears as they rolled down her cheeks. She rubbed her belly and whispered: “His fate is already written.”
Harry woke at around nine, to find Hermione awake as well. “Good morn…evening, love.” He whispered.
“Hi.” She smiled a teary smile.
“Hey now, none of that. In a few hours, it’ll all be over.”
“But which way?”
Harry sat up, and said: “Hermione, you know I love you with all my heart, all my soul and all my…everything. You, and the little one you’re carrying, mean more to me, than anything in the universe. That’s why I have to do this. Either way, he’s gone. If I die, it’s a small price, isn’t it?”
“Not to me, Harry!” Her eyes flashed angrily. “I’m not as willing as you are, to sacrifice yourself on the altar of Dumbledore’s stupidity! I want my husband to come back, safe and whole! I want my baby to know his father! I want my baby’s father to see his child grow up! I love you, Harry! If you died, my life would be empty. I’d go on, I’d make your academy work, but my life would be without meaning.”
“Then I’ll just have to make you a promise.” He raised his hand and intoned: “I swear on my magic that I will come back alive.”
In the blink of an eye, a swirl of light flashed from him to her and back, leaving her astounded and not a little angry.
“Harry!” She yelped. “Don’t you know how dangerous that was? If you died you’d lose all your magic!” She suddenly flushed a bright red when she realized what she’d just said.
Harry chuckled and pulled her close. “Let’s hurt him some more!” and he tumbled them back onto the bed.
There was nothing gentle about their lovemaking this time. It was passionate and violent. It was desperate and fierce and powerful. Their bodies slammed together, their hands clawed and gripped, legs twined and held, mouths clung, and lips were bruised.
In Little Hangleton, Voldemort drained the last of his potions. He knew this was the end of his relief, and his spy refused to respond to his summons! He downed a good four fingers of Old Ogden's, on top of the potions. Instantly drowsy he headed for his bed.
His last coherent thought before he succumbed to the narcotic effect was that he’d have to punish the potion’s master properly when this was all over.
At nearly ten O’clock that evening, a sweaty Harry rolled out of bed and stepped into the bath for a quick shower. Beside him, Hermione also sat up, her nude form more than enticing as she followed him. Under the spray, she clung to him tightly as he gently washed, first her hair and then her body. Hermione moaned in pleasure, as his fingers scrubbed her scalp, and when he was done, she returned the favor, gently laving her man clean. Done that, he toweled them off and carried her to the bedroom where he began to dress.
She smiled a tearful smile, and began to pull on her own clothing.
Harry fastened his lightsaber to his belt and then picked up his spare, and tucked it into the loops he’d had Winky sew into his tunic, at the small of his back. The weapon was well-hidden by the folded and arranged emergency blanket behind his back. Donning his long brown cloak, he turned to find his wife waiting. She was also dressed and wore her own cloak.
Together, they walked from their quarters to the dining hall, where they both knew the Jedi students and staff all waited to wish him well, in the first part of the plan. Amelia Augusta, Andromeda, Carolyn, Shack, and Moody stood there as well, all with proud smiles on their faces. Ron was notably absent, but Harry knew the potion he’d ordered, would keep him asleep until the next morning.
At ten thirty, on the front steps of the ancient citadel, Harry tenderly kissed his wife good-bye.
Her chin trembled and she couldn’t keep the tears from falling.
“Hermione.” He tried to soothe her. “Voldemort won’t let me be harmed before he arrives. He’s rather predictable that way. You lot will be waiting and I swear, the very second he gets there, I’ll call for you.”
“Harry, It’s not Voldemort I’m worried about. It’s the Death Eaters.” She sniffed back her tears.
“If Snape’s information is anywhere near correct, Voldy is hooked on potions. He’s going to be so strung out he can’t think straight, and his ego is going to be boiling over. Please, trust me on this. He won’t allow them to touch me, until he gets there. He wants that pleasure for himself.”
He smirked. “Besides…I have this nifty portkey for ‘just in case’.” He lifted a gold medallion depending from a thin gold chain around his neck. “Then if I have to leave in a hurry, the activation phrase is: “Fuck you, arsehole!” Harry aped Schwartzenegger’s voice perfectly. “Whaddya think?”
Hermione actually giggled.
Harry left his new wife and his friends, knowing he might never see them again. His portkey was real but he knew the wards around Riddle manor would prevent its use.
Unfortunately, Hermione knew that too.
Barely containing her tears, she walked back inside…to come face to face with her father.
“Daddy?” She moaned. Mack wrapped his arms around his baby.
Hermione nestled into her father’s embrace as they stood on the steps of Potter Castle.
“It’s the burden of anyone who loves a warrior, sweetie. Your mother knows better than anyone what it’s like.”
Judith appeared then and also wrapped her arms around her weeping daughter. She spoke softly: “You’ve done everything possible honey. None of you could be any more prepared. Now its up to the bad guys. My advice? Trust him.”
Harry appeared in Rita’s lounge. “Are you ready?”
“Harry, I prefer to apparate on my own, if you don’t mind.”
“OK by me.”
Minuard approached, carrying a satchel and a long thin metal case, about the right size for an electric guitar. “Lord Potter…Harry. I have requested permission from the government to accompany you. As you already know, I’m well qualified in…this sort of thing.”
“As much as I appreciate it, that’s not a good idea. For one thing, I have to go in alone at first, and second, none of my people know you or your capabilities. They’re not used to fighting with you, they don’t know your strengths or weaknesses. If you get involved, it would throw them off and I can’t have that.”
“How about background support?” Rocheleau set the longish case on the table and opened it to show an L-96 sniper rifle.
Harry smiled widely. “Now that is a very good idea and it won’t interfere with my people. I’ll tell you what. I’ll give you coordinates to Little Hangleton and…”
“Not necessary, sir. I was born in Greater Hangleton. I know exactly where ‘Little’ is.”
“Outfuckinstanding!” Do you know where Riddle Manor is?”
“Big, moldy old place, grey stonework, peeling paint, busted windows, about ready to fall to pieces?”
“That’s the place. There’s a hill about five hundred meters south of the house and facing the door…well, you know your business better than I do. Be careful; thought, He’s got apparation wards about a half-mile out that will kill anyone not marked.”
“Good enough. I can get to ‘Little’ and hoof it from there.”
“OK. Just don’t shoot anybody wearing Auror’s uniforms or clothing like I am. Your targets are all wearing black.”
“I think the lightsabers will be a good indication…” Minuard smiled.
Harry laughed. “I suppose so. Still there will be some twenty or thirty Aurors arriving a bit after midnight. Their uniforms will be marked with white around their waists, necks and sleeve cuffs.
“Gotit. I’ll see you there.”
Rocheleau closed the case, hoisted it, and his duffle, and apparated away. Harry looked at the frightened Rita.
“Don’t worry, Rita. One way or another, it’ll be over tonight. Whether I die or not, you’ll have a ringside seat to the end of Voldemort. Now, if you’re going to apparate on your own, I want you to meet me at the Potter memorial in Godric’s Hollow.”
Rita nodded, and with a loud pop, vanished. Harry apparated away with considerably less noise.
At just before eleven that night, Harry entered the little village of Godric’s Hollow, for the first time since his parent’s murder. He could 'feel' Rita’s presence through the force. Standing in the middle of the square was the memorial to his parents. Harry sighed at the ostentatious statue…clearly Dumbledore’s idea. People needed to learn to rely upon themselves, not hope for a savior.
He walked down the street, knowing the noisome reporter was following, to find the small lane leading to the ruined cottage. A plaque appeared as he touched the graffiti-covered stile, proclaiming this to be the place where Voldemort met his downfall. Harry snorted in contempt. He couldn’t care less about the destroyed building as it had belonged to Dumbledore, anyway. His only interest in the place was that it was where his parents had died...for nothing. He turned to the right and followed the road out of town.
About three miles from the little hamlet, was a very old cemetery, ringed by a spear-topped iron fence. A kissing gate swung under a wrought iron sign, which proclaimed this to be the final resting place of the citizens of Godric’s Hollow.
He sensed the thirty or so Death Eaters that were closing in around him.
He passed through the gate at eleven thirty, and walked toward the double grave that ‘somehow’ seemed to be more important than all the rest. Harry could feel the compulsive magicks on the stone…and more, he recognized the signature. Dumbledore had charmed the marker to attract the visitor’s attention, to the detriment of the rest.
Harry stepped forward and looked over the large monolith.
His parent’s names and dates of birth and death were there, along with the inscription:
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
“What idiot came up with that?” He growled, to no one in particular.
He had little time to ponder the question when a familiar voice hissed: “Come with us, Potter! The dark lord wants to…talk to you!”
Whirling, Harry laid down an impressive stream of fire. Three Death Eaters exploded from within, and over the next few minutes, nine more died, from such nasty curses as blood boiling and organ expelling curses. Just to make the right impression, Harry even hit one more with an old mummification curse Bill had described to him some years before.
They swarmed him and bore him to the ground by sheer weight of numbers.
Not a few wanted to torture him on the spot, but Lucius’ voice rang out.
“NO! The master wants him alive…and unharmed! Bind him and bring him!”
None of the Deez were quite stupid enough to defy their clearly psychotic master.
Harry could ‘feel’ Rita as she landed on his head and burrowed into his hair.
Harry’s troops mustered at eleven thirty with the elves and waited to be taken to Riddle Manor. They had split into their five distinct teams. As Harry had instructed, Mack would lead one, Hermione the second, Neville the third, Luna the fourth and Tonks, Remus and the Weasley twins would be outside to deal with the werewolves Voldemort had conscripted.
Unseen, Ron stood there in the background, smirking. He’d figured Harry would give him a sleeping potion during lunch and so; he’d sent an owl to the apothecary in Diagon Alley for a wide range antidote and some pepper-up potion. It had arrived just before lunch and he’d taken it before he ate. The potion put him to sleep for a couple hours instead of overnight. When he woke, he downed a pepper up potion and he had another in his belt in case he was feeling drowsy.
Now he was about to fight some Death Eaters. When Harry saw how he’d saved them all, he’d eat his words! Arrogant! Feh! Careless! Feh! He’d show Harry! He’d show them all! He’d never be in anyone’s shadow, ever again! The world would know of Ronald Bilius Weasley!
A notice-me-not charm around him kept anybody who knew he shouldn’t be there, from knowing that he was.
“Master!” Draco called gently. When the mutated wizard didn’t respond, the blond idiot reached out and shook him. He still didn’t wake so Draco shook harder, loudly calling: “Master!”
Instantly Voldemort was awake and not pleased at the way he was wakened.
“Crucio! He snarled. Draco fell screaming to the tiles.
“Why have you disturbed us?” He demanded.
“Draco stammered: “Ma…mas…ter. Th…the…Potter!”
“What of Potter?” Voldemort queried. “If your father has failed me in this I shall kill him, your mother and you!”
“Please, master!” The former leader of the Slytherin students wailed. “Potter…Potter…has been…captured. He’s here!” Then he collapsed, panting against the pain.
“Here, eh?” Riddle sneered. “Well…we shall have to see to it, he is well-greeted!”
Voldemort stood and had Draco robe him properly.
June 21st, approaching midnight:
Harry’s plan had worked as he’d expected. He stood in Voldemort’s stronghold, his hands bound behind his back…two inches from his spare lightsaber. As some wit once said: “We have them right where they want us.” As expected, the overconfident Death Eaters had captured him in Godric’s hollow, and brought him straight to Little Hangleton. He’d fought just enough to make him think he was serious. That resistance had cost them more than a few of their number. Still, they had plenty of spares. Now, he waited. The rest of his Jedi were stationed just out of range of Voldemort’s wards. Harry could feel their presence through the force. As he’d explained, the arrogant bastard had decided nobody would dare to attack him, especially here, in his lair, and so, he didn’t bother with improving his wards. That arrogance would serve the Jedi-trained wizards well.
Voldemort arrived at precisely two minutes before, midnight. He gloated at the sight of Harry’s bound form. The Death Eaters surrounding Harry preened at their master’s praise.
“Harry Potter!” He sneered. “The - Boy - Who - Lived!”
“You’ve managed to escape us for long enough, Harry. Tonight we shall fulfill that prophecy and when you are dead, we shall be known as the greatest wizard in the world!”
The Death Eaters cheered slavishly.
Voldemort paced back and forth as he emoted on the virtues of pure blood and Harry’s lack of it, of manners and of the common grace to die when Lord Voldemort commanded it. He’d just begun taunting Harry for the ease of his capture, and Harry was about to tell him to ‘get on with it already’, when the mutated wizard noticed Harry’s lightsaber.
“Well, well, well. What have we here?”
Strutting forward he reached out and snatched the weapon from Harry’s belt. Harry actually had to give him a hand by using the force to unlatch the lightsaber from its clip, otherwise Voldemort would never have managed it. Snarling in anger at the fools who’d missed the weapon, he gleefully dispensed a rousing round of Cruciatus curses to remind them to ‘be more observant’.
Satisfied for the time being, the scaly creature decided to postpone Harry’s torture for a moment while he examined the deadly device.
Using the force, Harry released his bonds and activated the locator beacon on his comlink. He immediately felt the response. A warm feeling encompassed him as his friends appeared around the edges of the room, disillusioned and hidden in the force. Nobody who did not have a connection to the cosmic energy field could detect them.
At midnight the elves approached and held out their hands. Ron had chosen his target well. Kevin Entwhistle didn’t know about the ‘last minute addition’. He did know that Harry and Ron were the best of friends, and so didn’t object, when three minutes later, the elf brought them both through the wards around Riddle Manor.
At the Burrow, Molly and Arthur watched sadly as their youngest children’s hand’s all moved from ‘School’ to ‘Mortal Peril’.
“Arthur?” She moaned. Her husband wrapped loving arms around his wife and said: “All we can do is pray, my love. Pray they succeed, and pray they come home to us.”
At the ministry of magic, Amelia whistled for attention. The more than thirty hand selected Aurors instantly turned their eyes to her.
“We’ve got the signal. Assume your places. Portkeys everyone!”
As they grabbed hold of the hoop shaped portkeys, she began a count down from one hundred twenty. As she reached zero, she yelled the goblin phrase: “Terrak Nok!”
The dark lord held the force weapon in both hands, turning it over and over, examining it closely from all angles. “What magic is this?” He mused. “I’ve heard about this sword, but how does it work? I can feel great power within, but I cannot fathom its operation!”
All in all, Voldemort’s death was rather anticlimactic.
Just as he turned the emitter toward his chest, Harry leaned into the force and began to tug the weapon to him. Voldemort immediately felt the lightsaber try to leave his grip and held all the more tightly. A further tug and the emitter was in position. With a push though the force, Harry activated the weapon. Voldemort gasped in overwhelming agony as the energy blade erupted from the emitter and speared through his blackened heart. As the weapon slipped from suddenly-nerveless fingers, Harry, reached out with the force, stabilized the hilt and maintained the pressure as it slid through Voldemort’s body, bisecting it. With a thought, he called the lightsaber to him and held it at low guard. The Death Eaters that remained, stared in horrified shock, as their master fell, literally split in half by the emerald beam, then at Harry, who was both loose…and armed.
Harry offered them quarter…once. He snarled: “If you wish to live, surrender now!”
Around the edges of the room, all the Jedi trained troops appeared…as if by magic. Lancets of brilliant energy flared to life…including an orange one he never expected to see.
~Shit!~ Harry cursed inwardly, but then he was far too busy.
Instead, Voldemort’s minions attacked. From the rear, Draco Malfoy howled: “For the dark lord! For blood purity! Avada Kedavra!”
He cast the deadly curse at Harry, whose blade automatically intercepted the ugly green flash and deflected it right back at the aristocratic bigot. Less than two seconds into the battle, Draco Malfoy fell.
His death was entirely meaningless.
His mother screamed out her outrage and flung another killing curse at Harry, Again, he intercepted the foul spell and sent it into the black-clad Mulciber. Somersaulting over several people’s heads, he alit behind the blond woman and removed her head, for her troubles.
Narcissa’s body tumbled to the floor and her head rolled to a stop next to her son’s lifeless form.
Each Death Eater who attacked…died. Harry’s lightsaber flashed and flashed again as it reflected spells, curses, and hexes, and cleaved through body after body. Tears of regret flowed freely down Harry’s face as he killed. His troops waded into the Death Eaters with deadly effect.
They never stood a chance.
Hermione sliced Dolohov diagonally in half with her sapphire bladed lightsaber, before turning to McNair and repeating the lesson. Ginny killed Amycus Carrow with two sweeps of her amethyst blade. Together they felled others of Voldemort’s inner circle.
Dobby, bearing his dark green blade, killed Lucius with a deft slice across his chest, followed up by a jab through the heart. Lucius fell, in the act of aiming his serpent-headed wand at Orla Quirke, who was just then, slicing through Theodore Nott. The ebony staff, which had, for so long, been his symbol of status, lay in pieces. Dobby’s blade had cleaved the gleaming black shaft in two. The two halves of Lucius’ wand clattered to the tiles, next to his body.
Neville killed the Lestrange brothers, with a feeling of completion flowing through him as they fell. He knew he shouldn’t exult in the death of another, but the injury these two did to his parents was a powerful motivator. As it was, he made a note to himself to meditate…reflect on what this feeling, or risk it turning him to the dark side. A spell from Vincent Crabbe forced his return to the battle.
They all fought ferociously, but Ron was truly in his element. He fought several Death Eaters at once, with his ‘Chudley Orange’ blade, taking chance after unnecessary chance, until he saw the Deeter aiming for Harry. He did the only thing he could. Throwing himself into the force, he summoned the power and leaped from where he’d been to where the curse would be. Landing behind Harry, he threw Susan and Hannah off balance and swung his weapon. They dove to the floor to avoid being cut in half. Ron successfully deflected the curse back to the terrorist, who shrieked as he began to dissolve. Alas, he had far too little warning as two viridian curses flew as one. Had he stayed where he was, Susan and Hannah would have been in position to defend Harry…and themselves, but as it was, his mistake cost them all, dearly. Whirling, he sliced into the first killing curse, reflecting it into Gregory Goyle, but the second curse, unnoticed behind the first, found its mark.
With a look of grim victory on his face, Ron Weasley fell. He finally got what he’d always wanted.
A moment in the sun.
In Ottery St Catchpole, Arthur watched in horror as Ron’s hand fell from the family clock. Molly had just lifted her teacup to her lips, and saw it as well.
The teacup shattered as it struck the floor.
“RON!” she shrieked, knowing that her youngest son had just died. Arthur wrapped his arms around her, and tried to comfort his distraught wife.
Harry felt his friend die, but he had no time to grieve. He was reflecting the curses of several Death Eaters into their comrades. Rookwood sent the killing curse at him and gaped in shock as Harry returned it. Lucritus Parkinson stepped up and died just as quickly.
Neville felt his friend die, but he had no time to grieve. Travers was more skillful than most and fought as though his life depended upon it.
Hermione saw her friend die, but she had no time to grieve. Just then, she was facing an enraged Miles Bletchley, who was slinging a fire whip through the air. She tangled it with the blade of her lightsaber, and jerked toward herself. Bletchley’s wand flew from his grasp but before he could draw his other...illegal…wand, she speared him through the heart.
Luna felt her beloved die, but she had no time to grieve. Her blade swung of it’s own accord and reflected an ugly spell back to its caster. Jugson died in horrible agony.
As with her friends, she would eventually allow herself to grieve for her fallen lover. The newly formed babe she carried within would allow her to remember him more with pleasure than pain.
Ginny saw her brother die, but she had no time to grieve. She was being double-teamed by Pansy and Tracy. A deft twist and thrust and Pansy’s curse deflected off her Amethyst blade into Tracy Davis…the blond girl would die in agony as her lungs began to dissolve. Ginny completed her circle and thrust her blade through Pansy’s chest. The black haired Slytherin gaped in horror as her heart stopped.
The huge, green-enameled doors exploded inward, as the Aurors arrived, and the battle was joined in full. More Death Eaters fell as the Aurors struck.
Dark spells and deadly curses flew as the Death Eaters fought desperately. They were no longer fighting for an ideal…but simply to survive.
Outside the manor, the twins felt Ron’s death, but they had no time to grieve. Even then, they, Remus and Tonks were facing the pack of werewolves who had supported Voldemort.
Fenrir Greyback sneered, throwing his Death Eater mask aside, and advanced on one of his very first victims. Remus paled, seeing the fiend who’d caused him his life-long torment. Beside him, Tonks, spoke softly. “Remus…no quarter! Unleash your inner wolf. You’re gonna need him.”
Remus smiled grimly and as quietly, returned: “Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war!” Then, with an animal snarl, he leaped at his opponent.
Fenrir smirked, seeing the younger and lighter man rush to the attack. He’d crush this foolish upstart easily. Gesturing his werewolves to hold where they were, he leisurely lifted his wand and fired off a nasty spell. “Fleche’s Argentum”.
His fellows all gaped in horror. That a werewolf would launch a ‘silver darts’ spell against one of their own, was nothing less than pure blasphemy!
Greyback’s eyes widened in sudden fear as a shaft of brilliant silvery-white light erupted from Remus’ hand. Faster than any of them could see, the light intercepted all of the silver darts, obliterating them instantly. In the next second, it didn’t matter.
It is said that only silver will slay a werewolf. Whoever said that hadn’t considered the effects of a lightsaber blade against the neck of the self-same werewolf. Greyback’s head tumbled to the ground, followed by his body, thus demonstrating that decapitation is also an effective method.
As Fenrir’s body settled to the rocky earth, Remus addressed the gathered lycanthropes. Behind him stood Tonks, Fred, and George, all holding glowing shafts of colored energy.
“That was ridiculously simple. You, who have pledged yourselves to the monster inside, will have exactly one chance to surrender. If you do, we shall treat you well, though you will be prisoners. You will be tried for your own actions, and if found guilty, you will be punished accordingly, but it will be you that is tried, not Voldemort. You will be fed, and given to drink. You will have privacy, and on the full moon, you will have a safe place to transform. Wolfsbane potion will be provided without cost.”
One male, most likely Greyback’s senior-most beta, snarled: “And if we refuse?”
“You will die. If you are marked, you will also die. It will be quick. It’ll most likely painful, but it will be quick.”
“The dark lord will protect us!”
“Tripe!” Remus barked out. His distain was more than evident. “Even now, Voldemort is meeting his end at the hands of the one prophesized to slay him! He can’t protect you any more than he can protect himself! In all the time you have been his slaves, for slaves - you - were, has he ever ‘protected’ you? How many of your brothers, your sisters, your daughter’s and sons, has he allowed to be hunted down and killed for sport? How many of us have fallen to Lucius Malfoy…Voldemort’s - chief - lieutenant? When Voldemort freed his Death Eaters from Azkaban, how many of your kin did he leave behind? Protect you? Faugh!”
Harry Potter wearily stepped out of the abbatoir he’d christened, carrying the head of his enemy in a bag. Inside were the bodies of nearly three hundred Death Eaters. His troops carried the few of their friends who had fallen. Ron Weasley and three Aurors. It had been a slaughter. Like Remus, Harry had wanted to spare his enemies. Unlike the werewolves, however, the Death Eaters inside had ignored his message. They learned to their misfortune that twenty-six Jedi, armed with their traditional weapons were more than a force to be reckoned with. They died to the last.
Three had tried to flee. Minuard dealt with them.
Amelia met him outside. Seeing the bodies she asked: “Casualties?”
“Four.” Harry replied sadly as he handed over the bag. “That’s a touch over one percent.”
“A military victory.”
“A personal tragedy.”
“Clarke’s definition: “To the primitive mind, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable form magic.”
Haematopoietic (He-mat-o-poy-et-ik) the stem cells the produce blood cells…specifically red blood cells.
The average straight, blond, human child’s hair is seventy microns thick.
I stole the idea of the mint in the Wolfsbane and the effects on Remus from a story, I cannot recall the name of. In that story, it was Harry who made the potion and he was unaware of its side effects. If it was your idea, please let me know and I’ll credit you.
Eine Abhandlung auf die Kreation der ungewöhnlich wirkungsvollen medizinischen Tränke. (A treatise on the creation of unusually effective medical potions) by the esteemed Potions Master Emeritus Rudolph Schwartz. Is the book Dobby swiped from Snape’s Christmas gifts. There was a reason I included it.
Shepard’s prayer was actually: “Dear Lord, please don’t let me fuck up!”
Terrak Nok!: I needed a sufficiently guttural sounding phrase. Interestingly ‘Terrak Nor’ from Star Trek; DS-9, sounded almost exactly like what I wanted. Anyway, it was either that or ‘Larath Turak’,
The difference between ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ casualties is the casualty himself. In other words, if that casualty is your friend, brother or son, then his death is never ‘acceptable’.