The Champions find out what the Dark Mark over Hogwarts means.
The ethereal mark lingered amongst the clouds; an apocalyptic image of Harry's world. He ran to the school, through the gates now lacking wards, and up the path that spilled out onto the vast lawns between the castle and the Quidditch pitch. Krum and Fleur followed, trying to keep up, but Harry paid them no mind, preparing for the black reality that lay ahead and remembering those responsible for what he was about to find;"Lucius, I believe it's time. . . ."
Sprinting towards the bright but silent pitch, he tripped and fell, sliding across the slick grass. Harry looked behind him and saw that he had tripped over the body of a Death Eater. He looked again at the lawn; bodies were lying between the pitch and the Forbidden Forest in two haphazard lines. A battle had taken place; witches and wizards had come out of the stands to form a human wall, facing the approaching Death Eaters. Harry walked towards the heaviest concentration of the dead, steeling himself against the revulsion making his stomach churn as he came upon the smaller bodies of students.
History had repeated itself. Those whom he considered his family, lay dead in front of him. Six heads of red hair stood out as beacons amongst the fallen, their bodies spread across thirty yards of lawn, Death Eaters piled before them, a testimony to the determination and stubbornness of the Weasley family. Bill and Percy were barely recognizable. A few yards away and closer to the forest, Mr. Weasley lay on the ground, the lower half of his body missing.
~ . ~ . ~
Krum and Fleur approached silently as Harry moved down the line. Fleur could see each new recognition taking its toll as she watched him move from body to body, until he stood over the twin redheads still holding scorched wands. They had died as they lived, side by side.
Beyond the twins, lying on the ground were two other redheads and another witch. Fleur stepped towards them and recognized the three bodies. The first was the boy who had helped Harry get Gabrielle back to shore in the second task; the second was the brown, bushy-haired witch who was always with them, the friend whom Fleur had seen comfort Harry on numerous occasions and even teased her about Gabrielle's letters; the third was the little sister, the witch she'd caught Harry stealing glances at during the Yule ball.
Harry fell to his knees, crying, screaming in rage, anger, and pain. Fleur clutched a hand against her chest, fingers digging into her skin as if she was trying to reach in and hold her own heart together.
She didn't realize that she had begun walking towards Harry when Krum stopped her. "Nein, ve need to check the grounds for anyone ve can help. Leafe him to mourn, he doesn't need see anything else."
She opened her mouth to argue, but caught herself. He was right. Regardless of how much Harry was hurting, there was no hope for the redheaded family now.
Krum moved off to the left, checking the shadows and kicking bodies of Death Eaters out of his way. She finally moved to the right, seeing faces she remembered from the Great Hall: a Fourth Year from Harry's House with an Irish accent, next to him his best friend, a young black wizard that was always kind to her.
And I never cared to speak to 'im, to any of zhem. Mon Dieu.
Twins of Indian descent lay next to them. Fleur remembered how pretty she thought they were, walking next to Harry and the redheaded boy at the Yule ball. Lying next to them was a blond witch without a face, or upper chest.
Fleur stopped and closed her eyes as nausea threatened to overtake her. Already, she knew the horrors she was seeing would haunt her dreams. A grunting sound made her spin around and look.
It was Harry, dragging his best-friends' body across the grass. He gently laid him next to his father and kneeled down.
Though faint, Fleur heard him whisper, "Goodbye, Ron. You were the first real friend I ever had, the best mate I could ever hope for."
He stood and walked back to the bushy-haired girl - Hermione, Fleur remembered. Carefully, as if she was made of the most brittle china, he picked her up and carried her body to lie next to Ron.
Fleur couldn't hear what he said this time, but she could see him fighting to hold back the tears, his love for the witch evident in his grief; then she watched as he lost the fight while carrying the youngest of the redheads back to her family.
'E's not much bigger zhen 'er. No boy should 'ave to do zhat, especially alone.
Decided, she hurried to Harry as he reached down and hooked one of the red-headed twins under the arms. Fleur kneeled down to pick up the legs.
"No! Go away! Don't touch him!" Harry yelled, tears flowing freely now as he struggled with the twin, slipping and falling in the slick grass.
"Please 'Arry, let me 'elp."
"No! This is all because of me. I failed them."
"Non 'Arry, you-"
"JUST-" he stopped, and then started again, "just go help Krum, please?"
There was so much desperation in his voice that she found herself walking away, hoping that following his wishes would help, but knowing that hope was futile.
Fleur surveyed the human Maginot line, noticing more bodies thirty yards or so towards the pitch. All but one wore black robes and masks. She concentrated on the one body that lay in the middle of the others . . . and saw it move.
It moved! Fleur ran, her heart hammering in her chest at the thought of finding at least one person alive.
She knew who it was, too. "Professor Dumbledore!" she whispered fervently as she knelt down.
He looked up at her. "Ms. Delacour, tell of the other Champions. Are they safe?"
"You need 'elp. Let me get-"
"I'm afraid," -he struggled to take a breath- "it's too late for that. I have but a few breaths left. Please, tell me, are the Champions safe?"
"Non, Professor. Cedric didn't make it."
Pain lined his face as he heard the news.
"And Harry and Viktor?"
"Viktor is 'ere. 'Arry's 'ere too, but not so good I think."
She saw worry flash across Dumbledore's face. "Non, 'e's safe. But what 'e went through, no boy should 'ave to endure."
"I should like to know," Dumbledore wheezed.
"Zhe cup was a Portkey. It took the four of us to a graveyard. A Death Eater used 'Arry's blood and. . ." -she choked back emotion- ". . . Voldemort is back."
Dumbledore closed his eyes.
When they opened again, he could only whisper. "Ms. Delacour, I need to know the details."
"They bound 'Arry and cut 'is arm, collecting blood. After Voldemort was raised, 'e released 'Arry and used the Cruciatus on 'im. The rest of us were below the 'ill. We rushed to the top to save 'Arry, but Cedric was 'it with the killing curse. Then Voldemort turned to cast it at me, but 'Arry saved my life."
Dumbledore's lips curled slightly in a wispy smile. "I believe that makes three." He laughed quietly, then coughed up blood.
Fleur conjured a cloth and wiped it from the corners of his mouth.
"'Arry cast the Cruciatus. Zhat's what saved me. It was powerful. Voldemort fell to 'is knees."
Dumbledore looked startled.
"But then, zhey cursed each other again and the curses met in the air. They were lifted up and landed a ways away, and zhese golden strands caged zhem in and I 'eard zhe most beautiful song. 'Arry won the duel and I grabbed 'im and Apparated back before Voldemort could attack again."
As she finished her story, Dumbledore moved his hand, laying it on top of hers.
"Then I must charge you with a charge I have no right to lay, but every hope you will accept."
"Protect Harry. Only he can kill Voldemort."
She looked at him, dumbfounded.
"There is a prophecy-"
Fleur's heart sank.
"It was uttered soon before Harry was born. I am the only one who knows it. Now, you must too. If Harry has enough anger and hate to cast a Cruciatus curse powerful enough to injure the darkest of dark wizards, even newly raised, I fear what he will become to exact revenge, but revenge is his destiny, or his destruction. It was foretold before his birth.
"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches ... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies ... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not ... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives ... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies.' There were only two that were born as the seventh month died.Voldemort marked Harry."
"Non! C'est pas vrai!"*
"What is so hard to believe?"
"'E's so young."
"I have not much time left. You must understand, the power the Dark Lord knows not is Harry's love. But what he has endured, that love can be turned to hate for his enemy. It would be powerful, but it would consume him, making him very dark, and when Voldemort was killed, Harry would have no reason left to live."
There were no words to express her shock.
"Please bring Harry to me. I have a wrong I need to right."
"Oui." Fleur found Harry a few minutes later, staring over the lawn, talking to himself.
"They all died, Hufflepuff was loyal to the end, standing side-by-side with Gryffindor. Bodies of first years are in the forest - can't find Professor McGonagall or Mrs. Weasley . . . think they tried to save the younger children. . . but too many of them are dead . . . Ravenclaw was smart, always smart . . . in the trees - able to see better higher up I suppose . . . providing protection for firsties . . . they're all dead. I can't get their bodies down. . . ."
Harry fell silent.
Without saying a word, Fleur took him by the hand and led him to Dumbledore, then backed away, sensing this conversation wasn't for her to overhear.
A few minutes later, she saw Harry reach into his robe and pull out a vial. Dumbledore was explaining something to him and Harry put his wand to Dumbledore's temple. Fleur read his lips as he instructed Harry on using the incantation, assuring Harry that his own magic would do most of the work.
When Harry pulled his wand back, a long, silvery smoke like substance followed the tip. He put it in the vial and sealed it, but seemed unable or unwilling to put it in his pocket.
Fleur stepped closer to take the vial, and overheard Dumbledore.
"I'm sorry Harry. I know the abuse you suffered with the Dursleys. I know of the beatings, of how they refused to care for you. I was afraid to remove you, trusting the blood wards. But is living mere breath? Or is it allowing the soul to breathe? I have not allowed you to live. Sad that on one's deathbed, sight finally becomes clear. Forgive an old man his foolish mistakes Harry, I beg of you."
"Of, of course, Professor," Harry stuttered.
"Thank you. Now I believe it is time I move on to my next great adventure."
"No! You can't die!"
"I can, and I must. Remember Harry, the greatest magic is love, and you always have a choice, even a choice to love and be loved." Dumbledore closed his eyes, exhaled, and was gone forever.
Fleur saw Harry slowly look up. The way his eyes used to dance, the way they seemed to smile even when he didn't, it was all gone. Emotion drained from his face, his body, leaving him an empty shell.
"I have to go to his office," he informed her in a monotone.
Krum came up behind Fleur as Harry walked away.
"How is he doing?"
"I think, I think 'Arry's 'eart just died."
X O X O X O X
Harry walked down the corridor, whispered a password, then up the spiral stairs and into Dumbledore's office. He pulled the same pensieve he'd seen earlier in the year out of the cabinet and poured the memories into it, then followed them into it. At first, Harry thought he'd done it wrong since he found himself once again standing in the office. Then, looking around, he noticed Dumbledore sitting at his desk, reading. The book contained some of the darkest magic Harry had ever heard of. He watched as Dumbledore took notes, then leaned in and read the word, "Horcruxes."
Harry looked back at the book and found the definition. He was mortified.
The memory dissipated and another came into view. This time, the memory of Harry was standing in Dumbledore's office, explaining what had happened in the Chamber of Secrets. Harry begged for an escape from the pain as he watched himself, Ron, Ginny, and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley all standing before him, safe and alive.
Mercifully, the memory faded and another bled in. Dumbledore was examining the diary, staring at it and reading the same book on the Dark Arts. Then the scene changed again.
The memory of Harry was again in Dumbledore's office. It was the scene from just a few weeks ago. He was telling Dumbledore about his scar. Harry watched as the memory of himself left and Dumbledore leaned back in his seat, removed his glasses, and pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes. Harry continued to watch as Dumbledore mumbled a password, then opened a drawer and pulled out the book again. He thumbed through it to the now worn pages on Horcruxes, then stopped and sighed.
Harry leaned in to read.
Accidental Horcruxes: An accidental Horcrux can be created when, just after a Horcrux has been completed and the remaining soul is still unstable, the wizard murders again. If another powerful element of magic becomes entangled in the killing act (for instance, certain Druid or Gaelic rituals, blood wards, or mimetic magic) a Horcrux may be formed. However, the one who accidentally created the Horcrux most likely will not know of its creation or location, as the soul is already split by the first murder.
He looked up to see Dumbledore staring at the book, shaking his head.
The memory faded out and another began. Now he was in a run-down, dusty room on top of a bar and Dumbledore sat across the table from a young Sybil Trelawney.
As Harry listened to the prophecy, two basic facts stood out. First, he had to kill Voldemort. Second, in order for Voldemort to die, the part of Voldemort's soul in Harry had to die.
Harry winced, remembering how he destroyed the last Horcrux. Would this be his death too?
As he thought about it, the scene flashed again. This memory was hazy, as if it wasn't intended to be passed on. Harry recognized Dumbledore, rushing out of the stadium, but standing behind a line of wizards and witches as they began fighting with black robed entities. At first, Harry couldn't understand why Dumbledore wasn't fighting. But as he looked toward the forest, he noticed first and second years running that way and Dumbledore straining to cast invisibility charms, protective charms, and just about every other charm necessary to get them into the forest, all the while trying to conduct a search for the Champions and also instructing those up front fighting.
But even Field Marshals die in war. Dementors descended out of the skies, most of them focusing on Dumbledore. Death Eaters had looped around the end of the line of students and parents, coming at him from one side while others had broken through the wall, coming at him from another.
He had a choice to save himself, or save more students. He took the latter, and was hit with numerous curses.
The memory dissipated and Harry found himself clutching Dumbledore's desk for support, the pensieve before him. He quickly searched the desk and found Dumbledore's notes and the book in the bottom drawer, guarded by the same password he heard the Headmaster speak in the memory. He put both in his pocket and retrieved the memory before heading to the library.
Harry lowered his wand and blasted the library doors off the hinges, then went straight to the restricted section where he pulled out every book he could find on Dark Magic. He looked through them for Horcruxes, but also read other spells and articles that concerned revenge, visiting death on the enemy, and empowering magic through anger and hate.
They made him think about what happened in the graveyard, how his magic increased when he wanted revenge against Voldemort and Wormtail. With an arm full of the darkest books he could find to research both Horcruxes and the affects of his anger on his magic, Harry left.
He wandered in the corridor, not knowing what to do, but flashes of light on the lawns below caught his eye. He looked out the window and saw Fleur and Krum dueling Death Eaters.
Harry pulled out his wand. "Accio Firebolt!"
He sent a blasting curse through the window. As soon as his broom arrived, he mounted it, but as he went to kick off, most of the books fell out of his hand. There was no time to pick them up, but the two he still held, were the most promising.
A Dark Journey to Power was the first one, a biography of the darkest wizards through the ages. The author had been a little (well, actually far more than a little) too descriptive in explaining their methods.
The second book was Gebringang-pínere, "Birther of torment." An Old English book that had sat on the shelves of the Hogwarts library since Salazar Slytherin himself put it there out of his own personal library.
Harry left the rest of the books behind, shrunk these two, and slid them into his robes with the other book, then kicked off and flew through the broken window and straight at the Death Eaters whose backs were turned to him.
He cast the spell three times, stunning three of the seven Death Eaters before two others turned, the last two still engaging the other Champions. Harry pushed down on the broom, diving to the ground at tremendous speed and then pulled to the right. Finally, he pulled back on the broom and went ballistic, straight up into the night. Multiple colors of curses followed him, but the Death Eaters were too slow. Now hidden by the clouds, Harry flattened out, turned, shot back over a hundred yards, spun underneath the broom and then pulled, dropping the nose of the broom and diving back to the ground behind the Death Eaters again in a not so wide arc.
As he came level to the ground and raised his wand, Krum took a green curse in the face. He fell backwards, joining Cedric and others in death.
"Incendio!" screamed Harry. The curse erupted out of his wand and the first Death Eater lit up the night, his robes burning like a torch, the screams were short lived and he too fell over dead.
The compunction to exact revenge surged through Harry as he prepared to cast the next curse. He'd never cast it before. Mad-eye had only taught them about it a few months earlier. But somehow, as if an intimate knowledge awoke, Harry completely understood the killing curse.
What he didn't know, what he couldn't know, was that he did know the curse intimately. Since he was the only one who had ever survived it, no one else knew the consequences of surviving the curse, knew that if a person did survive, the protection mechanism in the deepest part of a human's soul would remember the curse, in case he or she was ever faced with the need to use it or be killed by it again, like tonight. That knowledge also awoke the Horcrux and it too fed Harry's rage and hate.
He screamed the words.
Another Death Eater would fight no more.
Clearing the rest of them by a few feet, Harry raced to Fleur, turned and landed, wand in the air. He threw his broom to Fleur.
"Go, take my broom and leave."
He was met with a trilling, half-spoken, half-whistled response punctuated with sharp clicks. Harry risked a glance to his left and saw Fleur, no longer beautiful, and no longer truly able to be called human. She had transformed nearly as much as the full-blooded Veela, though she sadly lack the ability to cast fire.
Fleur saw him glance over and responded, in English this time. "One bee makes no swarm. I am not leaving."
The last two remaining Death Eaters, caught off guard by Fleur's transformation and Harry's appearance, went back on the attack. But Harry had already acted.
"Serpensortia," he yelled.
The largest snake he had ever seen shot out of his wand. He gave it a command in Parseltongue and the snake coiled, then launched at the nearest Death Eater, biting him in the arm.
Fleur's trilling and whistling increased dramatically.
The Death Eater cast two more curses before seizing and falling to the ground.
Fleur blocked a curse headed for Harry, then sidestepped another.
"Go, leave me to this, it's not your battle," Harry yelled again.
Without knowing how he did it, Harry gathered the magic within him and held it back, damming it up, and then released it in a curse that knocked the last Death Eater out cold.
Fleur grabbed Harry by the arm and shoved his broom back in his hand. "You're coming with me and we're leaving, now!"
Harry decided not to argue and instead, mounted the broom again with Fleur sitting behind him, and the two of them kicked off, flying toward the lake. He skimmed over it, then turned to the right and gained altitude, flying over Hogsmeade and into the mountains where he guided them to a small opening in the rocks. He landed, slipped off the broom, and disappeared into the shadows.
Fleur followed, hearing him quietly calling out, "Sirius? Are you here?"
Harry knelt down at the back of the cave; he picked up a newspaper that had a full story about the last task, including the date. Sirius would have been there to watch his godson.
"Oh god, not you too!"
"'Arry, what is zhis place, who is Sirius?"
It took Harry a few moments before he found his voice.
"Black. Sirius Black."
"'E's zhe Muggle murderer, no?"
Harry threw the newspaper down. "NO! He was not a murderer! Sirius Black was my Godfather."
Fleur looked at him as if he were a five year old spinning a fanciful tale.
"I don't care if you believe me or not!" Harry barked.
He couldn't say anything else. Everyone he loved was dead and the one who killed them was once again alive. There was much vengeance to be had, even if Harry had to die getting it. But how could he do it? He was just one person, one fourteen year old wizard.
But what had just happened? Something had almost taken over inside of him when he cast-
Harry's eyes went wide at the realization of what he had done. He had killed someone. More than one, and used the killing curse to do it. Did his soul split? What was happening to him?
Harry fretted over the question, until he realized the key word he had read in the book earlier. It had come up in other articles as well. Murder. Not self-defense, murder split the soul. Tonight, he was fighting in defense of himself and two others.
But what did happen? Where did the infusion of power come from? The Horcrux? Was that it? he wondered.
Harry felt himself shaking and realized that Fleur was standing in front of him, her hands on his shoulders. Harry didn't answer. He was too overwhelmed and had no one to go to now, not Dumbledore, nor Ron, nor Hermione, nor even Sirius. Harry slid down the wall to the floor, unable to move in the realization that he was truly alone again.
X O X O X O X
An hour later, Fleur was sitting close to a small fire she had conjured to keep warm. Basic wards were set at the entrance, enough to stop any sound, or the light of the fire from giving them away. Harry never moved nor said a word.
"I zhink we should Apparate out of England, no?" Fleur ask, but she didn't expect Harry to answer as she gazed into the fire, thinking about her new responsibility. How will I protect a leetle. . . non, not leetle. Everything she saw and learned about Harry over the last three hours rushed back into her thoughts. Harry had faced some very dark magic twice before this year; then this year, he was forced compete in a tournament that should have been way above his skill level; he had just faced down Voldemort and won in a duel of wills, if not wands; he was a Parseltongue who could cast and control monstrous snakes at will in battle; finally, he had just killed two Death Eaters; and most of his magic this evening was done after being Cruciated repeatedly by the darkest wizard in generations.
Fleur shivered at the thought of what Harry had endured during his life, let alone over the last few hours. 'E's so powerful, but so young and seen so much. I can't let 'im suffer through it 'imself.
After another half an hour of chasing her thoughts around and around, Fleur gave up, exhausted. She stood up and shook the dust from her cloak. "I zhink we should get some sleep."
Harry didn't respond, though he began to shiver. Fleur decided on heat over modesty. She transfigured two rocks into pillows and a few others into blankets, placing one on the floor of the cave and three others on top of it. Then she took her robe, laid it on the very top, and crawled in between the sheets, looking at Harry.
"Zhis is for you too, 'Arry. Come, you are freezing."
Harry didn't move. "I'll sleep here," he mumbled, shivering again.
"Zhat's foolish, 'Arry. You'll get sick."
And Fleur cheated.
"Please 'Arry, come lay down," she said again in a soft, velvet type voice with a slight echo. She looked more beautiful than Harry had ever seen.
It wasn't as strong as the previous summer, when Harry almost threw himself from the box he was sitting in at the World Cup, thanks to the dancing Veela, but the Veela magic entranced Harry again, drawing him to her.
He hesitated, fighting the magic. Fleur raised an eyebrow, surprised at his ability to resist and let out more of her Veela magic. "Come 'Arry, it will be okay."
Harry stood and took two steps, then stopped again, fixing her with a glare. "Do you always lure leetle boys to bed with your Veela magic?"
The Veela attraction ceased immediately. Fleur's look hardened and she turned over to face the wall. "Zhen go ahead an' get sick and die if you don't know the difference between zhose who care and zhose who would 'arm you."
Harry snorted again, but this time Fleur heard so much more in it, remembering what she had overhead; Dumbledore had asked his forgiveness for putting Harry with that family. They must have been relations if there were blood wards involved, but why would they abuse him? Didn't they know what happened? Didn't they care?
She decided that Harry's life was beyond her and something she would not be able to understand; not her. Fleur had to deal with . . . what? People thinking she was beautiful? Wizards asking her to dances? How dare she feel so put upon when Harry suffered so much, and still had cared so much for others?
She pushed the blankets back, stood up and walked over to Harry.
"Zhat was foolish for me to say. I just . . ." but she ran out of words and for the first time in her life, realized how much rejection hurt.
It must have been evident on her face as well, because what Fleur's Veela magic couldn't do, the raw pain accomplished. Harry stood up and walked over to the makeshift bed and lay down, though still not saying a word.
Fleur lay next to him, then leaned into him and put her arm over him and pulled him into her to stop his shivering. "I zhink Gabrielle would be jealous, no? Don't worry 'Arry, I won't tell her if you don't. Anyway, it's for your body 'eat, not your body."
In the light of the fire, she saw him blush, despite his anger. No matter how dreadful the day was, no matter the amount of loss he had experienced, underneath it all, Harry was a fourteen-year-old wizard being spooned by a seventeen-year-old beautiful Veela in a cave, alone, in a makeshift bed. Harry's body started reacting in ways that took him by surprise, physical longings made themselves known throughout his body for the first time.
"Comfortable, 'Arry?" Fleur asked, with a hint of humor. Her Veela heritage gave her the ability to smell the hormones that she was setting off in him. She could guess the rest of his reactions.
Harry grunted in response, but a few minutes later, he surprised her by talking.
"Tomorrow, I want you to take my broom and go back to France."
"What about you?" she asked.
"I've been on my own since I was a child and I'm not dead yet, I'll take care of myself."
"Zhat is not an option. You saved my life today, no? I'm not going to leave you."
"I saved your life?"
Fleur was surprised at the hostility in his voice as he continued.
"I saved no one's life. I got Cedric and Krum murdered. The whole of Hogwarts is dead because of me."
"Non, 'Arry, you can't blame yourself."
"My mum died because of me, my best friend almost died in a real life game of chess because of me and Voldemort, the next year his little sister was almost killed by Voldemort so I could be blamed for being a part of Dark Magic. Now, they're all dead. What do you mean I can't blame myself?"
"'Arry. . . wait, this was the third time you faced 'im?" Her voice was thick with surprise as she wondered how he could face him, three different times and live.
"You can't keep zhis up very long 'Arry."
"I don't need to," said Harry cryptically.
Fleur put her hand on Harry's arm. "What are you saying?"
"Zhen why did . . . ow! what is zhat?" Fleur felt under her hip for what she thought was a rock. Instead, she found that she had leaned against the pocket of Harry's robe.
"What is in the pocket of your robe, 'Arry?"
"Just some things. . . Fleur, don't!"
It was too late. She had already pulled the books out and was inspecting them by the light of her wand. Fleur countered the shrinking charm to see them better, then shot a glare at Harry.
Her French accident deepened at the shot of emotion that jolted through her. "What ees zees 'Arry? I 'ave zeen zhis book. Eet ees not for good wizards."
"There are things happening here that you have no idea about; blood wards and dreams, to begin with. I can't run from this. Voldemort and I are linked in ways you'll never understand.
He paused and then continued in a quiet but resolute voice. "I am the only one that can kill Voldemort. Dumbledore knew it too."
Fleur was transfixed by his depth of commitment to what amounted to a path of suicide, all because of a stupid prophecy. But she was also a quick learner, continuing this discussion would only incite him more.
"Let's go to sleep. Tomorrow, we'll figure out what we're doing, yes? But I will not leave you 'ere if I go back to France, whatever we decide."
Harry finally agreed to go to sleep and deal with it in the morning. He lay down again and she put her arm back over him, drawing him in to her to make sure he didn't leave in the middle of the night. To make doubly sure, she draped a leg over him too, aware of the reaction she was also drawing from his body.
But that was fine with her. After what he'd seen today, she knew she had to chase away the memories from his dreams so he could rest, at least for tonight.
Dream, Harry did, but none of them included Voldemort, the graveyard, or the scene at Hogwarts; Fleur made sure of it. She let her Veela magic out just a little, to keep his mind on her instead of the hell that his life had become.
X O X O X O X
"Come 'Arry, it's time to wake up," someone whispered softly the next morning.
"Hmfffted. Leave me alone Ron," Harry answered and buried his head in his pillow.
Only, it didn't feel like a pillow. Whatever he was currently nuzzling into didn't smell like a pillow either. It smelled wonderful, and felt wonder-oh dear god no!
Harry opened an eye to find himself using Fleur as his pillow.
She bit back her laughter as Harry turned white, then looked up at her with fear in his eyes.
"Did you sleep well?"
"I, uh, I think," he stammered, then quickly pulled away and stood up.
A small chuckle slipped out and she stood up. They retrieved their robes and began to plan their next step.
Harry squeezed his eyes shut, knowing how much pain his next sentence was about to bring him. "We should go to the Burrow."
"What is zhat?"
"Remember the family of redheads that looked like they had taken on half the Death Eaters last night?"
"Yeah. He was zhe young man who helped you save my sister."
Harry grimaced. "The Burrow is where they lived and it might still be warded. They keyed them to recognize me last summer. I think we should go there. We can eat, get cleaned up, and decide what to do next."
Fleur nodded. "That sounds good, but 'ow are we going to get there?"
"It's back in England, too far to fly by broom, especially in daylight. If you trust your Apparition enough, we can Apparate to the field behind the Burrow."
The two of them went about trying to erase any sign they had been there, putting out the fire, and removing the wards.
Finally, After Harry had described the field in detail; he took a hold of his broom and Fleur put his arm under hers. She concentrated on the field behind the Burrow, a place she had never seen before. With a crack, the two of them Disapparated from the cave. . . .
. . . And were now standing in a field. Harry turned around, and was hit square in the chest with grief. He struggled to gain his breath as tears threatened to break through. In front of him stood the Burrow. He could still see the makeshift Quidditch goals that Ron, the twins, and he had used the previous summer. The back fence that they had sent many a gnome flying over stood as a testimony to how life should have been, secure and in place. Harry forced himself to swallow the pain, to store it in order to feed off it later.
He led off with wand in hand, walking through the back gate and crossing the backyard. Slowly, carefully, he opened the backdoor and walked into the kitchen. Harry turned back to look at Fleur, but a quick flurry of movement brought his attention forward and he found himself staring down the business end of two wands leveled at his face.
Neither owner had red hair.
*For you French grammarians out there, yes, the proper phrase is "Ce n'est pas vrai!"But since I wrote as an informal gasp of disbelief, I decided to follow the common phrasing, "C'est pas vrai." If however, you noticed this and knew what I was doing, please get in touch with me, because obviously, there is going to be quite a bit of French in this writing, and I need a bit of help with phrases.
A/N Every time I upload, a whole host of formatting issues develop. It's getting pretty frustrating to format this work, then upload it, then have to spend an hour or two re-formatting. If you find formatting issues, let me know. I think I've caught them all but. . . .