One has decided not to be used anymore. The other has no more use. Now, both sides want to catch them. But really, how do you catch two of the best duelists alive? Harry/Bellatrix, Post-seventh...
Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to Jo. A lot of money belong to her, too. I'm poor. The lyrics are from the song "Another sky", performed by Fiddler's Green.
A/N: Thanks to LunaMoon224 for the awesome job she did on this chapter. As always, reviews are appreciated. Many thanks to those of you who have taken the time to drop a review :)
I'm gonna find another sky
I wanna go where no else will go
But I hear another voice,
Telling me to stay.
Harry listened to the voice coming from the wireless and sighed tiredly. It fit his mood perfectly. The singer had a slightly raspy voice, and the words weren't yelled, they were almost whispered, and at times Harry had to strain his ears to catch them.
Once the song ended, and the announcer started speaking, he jabbed his wand at the wireless and it was silenced. He stood and paced for a few minutes, lost in thought, before throwing himself back on his bed with an angry grumble.
He was in his room at the Burrow. What had been supposed to be his seventh year at Hogwarts had ended a few months ago. He, along with Ron and Hermione, had been working closely with the Order towards defeating Voldemort all year long.
They had been allowed to participate in some battles, especially after Harry had out-dueled Bellatrix Lestrange in a Ministry attack. Yet, in the past month, they had done nothing but have meeting after meeting, and nobody would tell him what they were about. Not the truth, anyway.
He wasn't excluded from most meetings. But every now and then, a number of Order members would gather, and they would have a chat, while somebody kept Harry distracted. Nothing official. Nothing he should concern himself with. Or so they said. Usually, Ron and Hermione didn't participate, but they were now, and Harry had been going mad with boredom for the past half-hour.
"Bloody hell," he eventually exclaimed. "I'm going for a fly," he said to the empty room. He grabbed his broom, and left his room, climbing down the stairs while making a lot of noise to alert people that he was arriving. He didn't want to interrupt something he wasn't supposed to.
He needn't have bothered. The second he was off the stairs, a wave of sound literally hit him. Apparently, the silencing charms didn't cover the landing before the kitchen. He was about to enter the room and pass through it as fast as possible, but a shouted argument brought him short.
"He's the Boy-Who-Lived! It's his bloody destiny!"
Destiny? Why were they talking about him? Stepping carefully, senses alert, Harry crept closer to the door, close enough for a See-Through charm to work on the thin wood of the door. The present members of the order were those closest to Harry. Ron, Hermione, even Ginny. Neville was there as well, as one of the senior members of the DA. Tonks was sitting in Remus' lap in a chair at the table. Occupying several other chairs were Kingsley, McGonagall, Mad-Eye Moody, Bill, and Charlie Weasley. The Weasley parents were seated opposite Remus and Tonks. Fred and George were leaning against the counter. Hermione was in a corner, wringing her hands while looking at a thunderous Ron pacing around the table. Of them all, only Ginny, who was casually perched on the edge of the table, looked vaguely amused.
Everybody was talking, yelling at each other, Ron making the most noise, even while Hermione attempted to hush him.
"I don't care, Hermione! In fact, I wish he were here to hear this! Maybe then he could get it into his head to go out there and bloody end this! It's what he was born to do! I don't care what he does or how he does it, as long as he kills Voldemort!"
"Now listen here, Mr. Weasley-" McGonagall began, but Ron cut her off.
"The prophecy says so!" he bellowed. "He's the only one that can kill You-Know-Who!"
The silence was nearly as deafening as the noise had been. Harry was gaping at the charmed hole in the wall, not comprehending the thought of Ron betraying him like that. Apparently, Hermione was close to that feeling too, because she was pale-faced, and was glaring at Ron.
"Prophecy?" Minerva McGonagall asked, her question echoed by several others.
Throwing a stubborn loch at Hermione, Ron nodded. "The prophecy from the Department of Mysteries. Dumbledore knew it all, and he told Harry. And Harry told us."
"And he told us not to tell anybody!" Hermione hissed, but was ignored.
Harry still couldn't believe that Ron would do such a thing. How could Ron do that to him? His attention focused inwards, he didn't see the way Moody's blue, magical eye suddenly focused on his position. But he did see the red light heading for him, and his shield easily deflected it.
Through the - now very real - hole in the door, he could see Ron's white face, Hermione's tearing eyes, Ginny's 'I'm innocent' smile and the various guilty looks sported by the Order members. Keeping his shield up and his back to the wall, he advanced through the room and stopped at the exit.
"So you're saying that I should go and provoke Voldemort into dueling me, Ron?" he asked mockingly, his anger evident in his voice. His knuckles were white, and his jaw was set in a grim line.
Ron didn't comment, although Harry and Hermione, those closest to him, recognized the look that briefly appeared in his eyes. Harry's eyes hardened and Hermione's tears started falling freely.
"Why would I do that, Ron?"
"Why would I fight Voldemort? Why should I risk my life?"
"Harry Potter. Not the bloody-Boy-Who-Lived, not a pawn in a chess game, not a doll you can play with."
"Then what was 'that's what he's been born for' mean, Ron? I believe those were your words?" Harry lowered his wand slightly, one eye on Ron, the other on Moody. "Am I just a tool to you? Something you use to get rid of a menace, and then throw away?"
"Harry, mate-" Ron tried, but Harry wasn't listening anymore. In a quick motion, he was on his Firebolt and was speeding away, easily dodging the few curses sent towards him. The shouts weren't that hard to ignore, but his anger was high, too high for him to turn back.
When had Ron begun to think like that? Had he done anything wrong?
He'd done everything right. He'd been too good. He lowered himself on his broom to minimize wind resistance and accelerated, eyes narrowed to tiny slits. Hot, salty tears started forming themselves in his eyes, as he contemplated the gravity of hat he's just done.
I can't go back, he decided. If he went back, they would take that as a win, and continue to use him.
"I'm not a weapon," he choked out, the words drowned out by the wind and speed. Saying those words brought back memories he'd have preferred to bury.
"Stupefy, Stupefy, Stupefy," Harry chanted, sending the three spells towards a white masked figure. The shield it put up lasted through one spell, and deflected most of the second, but the third hit true and Harry had one less enemy to worry about.
He dived under a sickly yellow light and put up a shield to give him time to see his opponent. He made quick work of this one as well, leaving the Death Eater bound with thick ropes. It was his own tactic. He was still barely able to cast non-verbally, with the exception of some spells. Instead, he cast many random, distracting spells, mixing them with stunners and binding spells. It worked on most people, especially since Harry was a powerful magic user, and he was very fast.
He was squinting to see through the haze of smoke and spell light when somewhere to his left, somebody screamed. He heard a familiar cackle and a cold weight settled in his stomach. In a flash, he was running there, sending curse after curse.
Bellatrix was doing her best to kill him, and he could practically feel her frustration as he deflected her attacks. For a moment, he stopped as he realized that he was dueling the best Death Eater to a standstill. Seeing his hesitation, Bellatrix started running towards him.
He ran away from her, diving behind a statue. He sent a stream of hexes her way, managing to hit her with some of them. He felt immensely satisfied with himself for that, and changed his plans a bit. He threw her one last glance before running into the room behind him. He cast several quick spells over his shoulder, and then stopped to one side. The moment Bellatrix entered into the room, casting curse after curse, he petrified her.
From behind her, he walked towards her, and carefully extracted her wand from her hand. He didn't want her to be armed if she overcame the spell. With a satisfied smirk, he snapped her wand in two pieces.
Then he put his plan into motion. He talked to her, distracting her, making her angry, so she couldn't focus her mind. Easily, he slipped among her thoughts, and left a few of his own memories there. He put in the helplessness he had felt after Sirius' death. The feelings he associated with Dumbledore's death. He put his guilt there.
It had taken him a long time to work thorough his grief and guilt, and he was certain that such feelings, pushed on Bellatrix, would make her unable to act normally. Carefully, he tied the memories into her subconscious, so she would only be able to feel them, not understand them. "Incubo nis," he cast non-verbally. The few mind spells he knew were the only ones he could accurately cast non-verbally.
With a smirking salute, he Apparated away.
He had told Ron and Hermione about it, and Ron had been ecstatic.
"Finally, that b-"
"-witch will get what she deserves. I can't believe you were able to beat her in a duel! You must be better than Moody then, and he was the best Auror for decades!"
Ron trailed off and looked Pensieve for a moment, and then a wide grin split his face. "I can't wait for the war to end. I'm tired of all the fighting."
He should have seen it then, but he hadn't. And now I'm supporting the consequences.
In hindsight, it was clear that from that moment, Ron had slowly replaced Harry with "weapon" in his mind. And he had the rest of the Order convinced of it. He was certain that they were looking for him already, probably blocking all international exit points. If he remained in Britain, they would catch him pretty fast. There were Order informers and members everywhere, thanks to Hermione's organizing.
He thought furiously for a few moments, then decided to drop the broom somewhere, and try to leave the Muggle way. He performed a Point Me charm and headed north. France was too close, and they were probably there already. But if he moved fast enough he might be able to get to Ireland. In their adventures during the year, they had passed through there, but using the magical ferry operated by leprechauns.
He remembered the way to the docks, and he was certain that he's seen passenger ships there as well. If he managed to get there, he might be able to leave Britain.
Flying fast and high, it took him little over and hour to get to the docks in Ireland. He landed with the help of some Muggle-repelling charms and made his way through the throng of people. It was mid-afternoon, and the air was heavy with scents and noise. He was leaning against a large crate when he heard the words "Potter" and he instantly crouched low, ready to bolt.
Through the many passing people, he saw Lupin and Ginny standing at the base of another large crate. Tonks was on the crate, looking around. He quickly turned and walked away, doing his best to blend in with the masses.
I won't be able to go anywhere with them everywhere, he grumbled.
After retrieving his broom, he took to the sky once more and went to London, intent on creating a distraction. If they all come to London to get me, there won't be anybody left to guard the docks.
He arrived in London shortly before sunset, and he half-ran through Diagon Alley, entering Gringotts under the disapproving stares of several goblins. He quickly secured a goblin and made a trip to his vault, where he filled a bag with Galleons. He put his broom in a corner, and left the vault.
The trip back was the fastest he had ever made, because it was closing hour and the goblins wanted to close the bank. He still insisted on changing half of his Galleons into pounds, giving the goblin a large tip to mollify him.
The moment he stepped out of the white building, the doors swung shut behind him with a booming noise. He winced as everybody turned to look at him, some of them breaking in whispers, others simply nodding at him in recognition. Most people, however, started walking either towards him or away from him. The rumors of him being the "Chosen One" had grown during the past year, and while some people were willing to let him be, most were either afraid of him or in awe of him.
By the looks of those heading towards him, they were part of those who were in awe of him. He hid a grimace and started walking towards the exit from Diagon Alley, nodding at various strangers, but walking away before anybody got to close to him.
As he was passing Florean's, a familiar voice rang out to him, and he hastened his steps.
"Harry, mate, wait up!"
He clenched his jaw shut, resisting the urge to curse Ron. Before the red-head reached him, he was in the Cauldron, stepping into the green flames.
"Three Broomsticks!" he called, right as Ron burst inside the place.
Immediately upon arrival, he cleared the fireplace and Apparated to the docks, in the place where he had landed before. He didn't waste any time in searching for a passenger ship. There was only one, and it looked like it would be taking them to their graves, not Northern Ireland, but he decided it would do.
He walked on board and took a seat on the indicated bench. He raised his hood enough to keep his hair and scar hidden, and settled better on the narrow bench, preparing for the long trip. He'd have preferred to go by broom, but all magical air traffic was monitored at the Ministry and he did not want to risk alerting Scrimgeour of his departure.
Moments before the ship was ready to sail, a cloaked figure climbed on the boat and Harry tensed briefly, recognizing the wizarding cut of the robes. But the stranger simply sat on the other end of the bench.
Harry let out the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding, and sat back. He had to get to his feet to reach the money in his pocket when the man came for the fare. He passed the man a bill, and made to sit down.
At that exact moment, the ship started moving, and the lantern suspended above them swung, blinding him for a moment. He was about to rub his eyes when he heard a shocked gasp.
Bellatrix was there, holding him at wand point. For a few moments, nothing happened, and then he started to dodge, the same time as she intoned "Stupefy."
As the red light burst from her wand, the men on the bench started screaming screaming and a swooshing sound followed by a thump marked a hasty landing of an over-burdened broomstick.
A man pushed Bellatrix away and ran, jumping into the dark waters. Several other men, including most of the crew, were yelling at her and at each other, some of them in fright, others in anger. Amidst the confusion, Harry stumbled to his feet and ran towards the pair that had landed using the broomstick.
Bellatrix was occupied at the moment, and he had to make sure that he wasn't caught. That was why, when he spotted the white masked duo, he stopped and stared din confusion. He was even more confused when both masked figures sent killing curses towards Bellatrix.
The green light of the curse spurred him onto action and he attacked the Death Eaters from the side, launching Stunner after Stunner at them, while Bellatrix used the Cruciatus and other pain curses. It didn't take long for the two Death Eaters to fall to the onslaught, leaving Harry and Bellatrix the only magical people on a ship that was minus half its crew.
Wand steady, shield on his lips, Harry faced Bellatrix who was in a similar position.
"Potter," she said, her tone dry.
"Bellatrix," he replied, his tone an imitation of hers.
For a few minutes, the two faced each other, ignoring the few remaining crew members who were slowly coming to their senses and taking control of the ship. Some of them looked like they wanted to approach Harry and Bellatrix, but didn't want any part of what had just happened.
Both combatants' heads snapped to the voice. Almost at the same time, two voices called "Stupefy!"
Ron Weasley's shield didn't stand a chance. He fell with a thump on the metal deck, his broom crashing into the bodies of the unconscious Death Eaters. Several other brooms were visible in the distance, and Harry forgot about Bellatrix in his haste to get away from them. Apparently, the same was true for the woman, since she didn't spare him a glance as she grabbed the Death Eater's broom.
Harry was already airborne, speeding away from the ship on Ron's Cleansweep. He could hear his heartbeat in his ears, slowly being drowned out by the wind and roar of the sea. He risked a glance behind him, only to jerk in surprise as he saw Bellatrix on a broom, flying alongside him, long dark hair fluttering behind her.
He couldn't reach his wand, and it was almost impossible to cast spells at such a speed anyway. He tried to knock her off her broom, but she easily avoided him the Nimbus she rode more than a match for Ron's old broom.
Eventually, Harry gave up on trying to destabilize her, and focused on reaching the shore before his pursuers could get him. Repeated glances behind him showed him several figures on brooms, only one of them in black, so he supposed they were Order members.
Gritting his teeth, Harry swore not to let them catch him. I will not be their tool anymore. Damn them all to hell.