AU, Post OotP, No HBP, Harry knows he must take on Voldemort and finds unexpected allies.
The Ministry September 2
The secretary let in the Unspeakable that Amelia Bones knew as Mr. Smith and she offered him tea.
"No thank you, Minister, I have confirmation that Voldemort is on the continent trying to recruit among the fanatical pureblood groups. One of our contacts spotted him last week in Germany."
"Is he attracting a lot of support?" asked Amelia.
"He doesn't seem to be. Potter's claim last spring in that interview that he is a Halfblood named Tom Riddle and the fact that he hasn't managed to kill Potter and Potter has additionally lost him quite a few of his followers is making the purebloods wary. Voldemort is going to have to either free his followers or kill Potter in order to get much support."
"I guess that is the best we can hope for," said Amelia. "Any news on Potter?"
The unspeakable chuckled, "We have confirmed Potter is not at Hogwarts and Dumbledore still doesn't know where he is. He has set Moody to trying to track him down again. Apparently Dumbledore believes he will be at a school, possibly in the States, where he can play quidditch."
"You don't think so?" Amelia inquired not having an opinion herself.
"No, even if Potter is not aware of the prophecy he knows that he is Voldemort's number one target. He is somewhere training very hard to defend himself," stated the Unspeakable.
Amelia looked thoughtful for a moment and said, "Perhaps we should owl Mr. Potter and offer the services of some of our Auror trainers."
The Unspeakable made a soft noise and smirked slightly, "We've already made an offer, Madam Minister,"
"Very well, keep me posted, please," said Amelia.
Hope you are well, we miss you in the dorm. Your bed in still in our room Ron complained to McGonagall when Seamus started throwing his stuff on it and she made his stop, she said you may be back next term. I hope so.
The DADA teacher is useless so I spoke with Hermione and Ron about the DA, she said I had to ask you if we could continue it? Could you give us some suggestions of what to learn and practice?
Harry batted away the Legilimency attack and smiled at Abercrombie.
"Well, Harry that was excellent. I knew you would do well and our lessons are now finished. I've taken the liberty of completing the paper work for your certification. It is of course confidential but you are now a Master of Occlumency and Legilimency and certified to teach both disciplines," said Abie handing Harry a rolled scroll.
Three Broomsticks, Hogsmeade Oct 31
"Here you go children a round of butterbeer," said Madam Rosmerta placing tankards in front of the students at the largest table.
"Excuse me we didn't order these," said Hermione preventing Ron from drinking his.
"No, but that wizard paid for this round," she answered pointing to the counter where a cloaked wizard with he hood pulled forward watched them.
"I don't think we can-" started Hermione.
The hooded wizard had walked closer to their table and suddenly shouted, "Constant Vigilance!" causing them all to jump and Rosmerta to swat at him.
Then he pushed back the hood and was almost knocked down as Hermione jumped on him.
"Harry!" she squealed. The pub quieted as everyone stared at Harry Potter. Harry just grinned and waved and then Hermione released him to pats on the back and hugs from the rest of his friends.
"You shouldn't be here Harry, what if Dumbledore comes after you again?" said Hermione.
"Don't worry, he doesn't dare try to kidnap me in a pub full of students. Besides I can't stay long but I wanted to see you all," said Harry.
"I can't believe how good you look, Harry," said Ginny and then blushed.
"Physical training will do that to you," laughed Harry.
"Thanks for the books you sent for the DA. They've really helped out," said Neville.
"Well I'm hoping that you won't actually have to use what you're learning," said Harry.
Neville and Ron exchanged a look and Neville said, "Better to know and not have to use it than not know and need it, Harry. Besides there will always be another Dark Lord in training."
Harry opened his mouth to reply when the pub went quiet again and they looked up to Minerva McGonagall enter the pub. She stalked over to the table and stopped in front of Harry.
"Mr. Potter, it is good to see you, you are looking well," she said.
"You too Professor," said Harry standing.
She swept him into a hug and then said, "Albus is on his way."
Harry nodded and said with a grin, "Well I guess I should be going then, take care," and he popped away.
"Would you care for a butterbeer, Professor," invited Neville.
"I think I would, thank you, Mr. Longbottom," said McGonagall seating herself at their table.
Harry entered the training room to find several additional people there with Elmer Fudge.
"Ah Mr. Hart, I called in some help today we will be dueling you will need to show your range of hexes and curses as well as an understanding of the Dark Arts counters," said Fudge, indicating Harry take his place at one end of the room.
Four hours later Harry collapsed into a chair for an in depth discussion of the duel with those he was fighting. All of his duels with Fudge had gone this way so it was nothing new.
By the end of the lesson Fudge was smiling widely.
"Mr. Hart I'm most please to congratulate you on achieving your Mastery in the area of Defense. It has truly been a pleasure to teach you. I just need your signature on this paper work. If you touch the end of your wand to this square the parchment will reveal either the name you are using or your real name, which ever you chose," said Fudge with a smirk at Harry's surprise. "I've know for sometime that you're under a glamour but don't worry I can't tell anyone."
"Thank you sir, I've really enjoyed your lessons, do you want to know who I am?" asked Harry.
Fudge shook his head and answered, "Only if you wish to tell me, if you don't it no matter, stop by anytime."
"Very good, Stormbrow, the placement of the runic symbols are perfect and you have finally mastered the intonation of the chant. I believe you may be ready to banish the soul of Voldemort one you have defeated the body," said the ancient goblin.
"I thank you for the instruction, honored elder," said Harry.
After several months of careful negotiations the time came and Narcissa could send word that the goblins were ready for the final phase of the alliance and that the Dark Lord would need to be there.
Voldemort brought twenty newly marked Death Eaters back to Britain with him. He went to Malfoy manor to meet with Narcissa and summoned Snape to him.
"Narcissa, when will the goblins be mine?" demanded the Dark Lord.
"There is only one phase left, Master, a goblin ritual, we must exchange hostages to insure a fair challenge and then three days later you must meet with their Champion, Stormbrow, and kill him in fight," said Narcissa from her knees.
"The Dark Lord smirked and asked, "I only have to kill a goblin to have them as my servants?"
Narcissa winced, "They believe they will be your allies, Master. They have agreed to give you the Ministry gold and to help assault Azkaban and over throw the Ministry."
"Yes, let them and when the Ministry falls I will take their bank and exterminate them like the vermin they are. What else is there in this ritual?" asked Voldemort.
"That is all, Master, Gapetooth who is second only to Ragnok has agreed to be our hostage. If there is trickery his life is forfeit," said Narcissa.
"Excellent, I believe we shall send-" a door on the other end of the room opened and Marcus Flint stepped in and bowed, "what is it Flint?"
"My Lord, Professor Snape is here," answered Flint.
"Let him in I have use for him," said Voldemort.
Snape entered the room and went to his knees before Voldemort.
"Ah Severus, I have need of you, you are my highest ranking Death Eater, did you realize? I will be finalizing an alliance with the goblins in three days time. You are to be hostage to my word, Severus. Narcissa will escort you to Gringotts and you will do whatever they demand while you are their guest. When the goblins become my allies we will take Azkaban and reclaim our brothers. A grand plan is it not, Severus?"
"It is My Lord, but what about my position at Hogwarts?" asked Snape blanching.
It is of no importance, now that Potter is no longer there and Dumbledore has lost so much support. Go now," he commanded the two.
Severus Snape was fuming the Dark Lord had ordered him to be a hostage to his word to the Goblins. Narcissa had taken him by portkey to a small meeting room deep within Gringotts not allowing him time to inform Albus Dumbledore of the planned alliance with the Goblins. He had been imprisoned by the Goblins for twenty fours now, not that he was treated badly, his accommodations were luxurious and he had an elf attending to his needs. The meals were excellent and the elf had brought him parchment, books and the newest potions journal upon request but wouldn't take a note to be owl posted or even directly to Dumbledore. They denied him communications and had taken his wand. A cage however pleasant was still a cage.
Harry, Ragnok and Waverider met in his rooms to discuss the final preparations.
"We placed detection spells on the room Madam Malfoy uses to meet with Gapetooth. She is not marked but the man she brought to be hostage for Voldemort is, I believe that the cleansing ritual could be used to remove the Dark Mark and weaken Voldemort," said Waverider.
"Even if he fights us?" asked Ragnok.
"Yes, willing would be much better as I suspect the ritual will kill him if he fights it. But I also believe that all of his marked Death Eaters will die with him anyway," said Waverider with a shrug.
"Who did they send, maybe he can be swayed?" asked Harry.
Ragnok said, "Severus Snape."
Harry sat up straighter and said, "Dumbledore trusted him, he was supposed to be a spy for the Order. After the tournament Dumbledore sent him to Voldemort. If he truly is on the light side -" he broke off.
"Yes he may well aid us, do you wish to speak with him?" asked Ragnok.
Harry grimaced slightly and answered, "Not really but I suppose I must. If he refuses well we can do it anyway."
"Very well," said Ragnok, "Stormbrow are you quite sure you wished to invite Dumbledore to witness the combat?"
Harry smirked viciously, "Oh yes he'll need to see it to believe and I think it would be good to let him know just how capable I am. It wouldn't do for him to underestimate me when I return to Hogwarts. I won't tolerate any interference with my life after this is over."
"You sound very confident Stormbrow," commented Ragnok approvingly.
"I can do this, I've learned what I needed to," said Harry with an easy grin, "I'm looking forward to getting back to my life. A few phone conversations and one visit aren't enough. I miss my friends."
Severus Snape was startled when the door to his quarters opened and two goblin guards came in and ordered him to sit at the table. Once there the door opened again and a young man came in. Severus could hardly believe it when he realized that it was Harry bloody Potter, the boy had changed. He wasn't taller but he had put on muscle and it showed, he was dressed like a wealthy pureblood and he no longer wore those hideous glasses. Snape was shocked to realize that with out the glasses he looked much more like his mother than he did his father.
Snape's eyes narrowed and a sneer appeared on his face as Potter sat down across the table and dismissed the goblins in Gobbledegook.
"What are you doing here, Potter?" he snarled.
"Offering you a chance to save your life," replied Harry with a smirk.
"You have nothing I want Potter, run along and continue to hide," said Snape, venom dripping from his words.
Harry's smirk broadened and he spoke the words he knew would make Snape listen.
"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 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." (Trelawney- OP37)
Snape's jaw dropped and he said, "No, I refuse to believe-"
"You'd prefer Neville? He's the other one that fits the first part of the prophecy, of course I'm the one he marked, " said Harry pleasantly.
"You can't possibly think you can defeat the Dark Lord," Snape snarled.
"I know I can. I've been training since the beginning of summer. Do you remember the little incident that uncovered the Death Eaters in the Ministry, that incapacitated them?" asked Harry.
"The ritual that the Dark Lord won't speak of?" said Snape thrown off by the change of subject.
"Yes, my ritual you see, not Voldemort's," said Harry smugly.
"Impossible," roared Snape.
"Did you know that the goblins have a ritual to get rid of the residue of dark magic? They siphon it off. I know that you understand that I have a mental connection with Voldemort. When I underwent the ritual guess what happened?" said Harry with a vicious grin.
"No, no, I-it's not possible," he looked up at Harry, "it hurt the Dark Lord badly, it was weeks before he could cast magic again." His eyes narrowed, "What did you mean a chance to save my life, and how did you come to be here?"
Voldemort is walking into a trap. I'm the 'champion' that he has to defeat to seal an alliance between the goblins and himself. I know that I can defeat him, one on one. However you and all of his marked Death Eaters will die when I do. You are aware of that I hope?"
At Snape's tight nod he continued, "Your mark was analyzed when you entered Gringotts yesterday. We, or rather the Goblin Ritual Master Waverider, believe that your mark can be removed with the cleansing ritual that I hurt him with before. If the ritual is done during our duel it will put Voldemort at a disadvantage and possibly allow you to survive his death."
"Possibly?" snapped Snape.
Harry shrugged carelessly and replied, "If you fight the ritual it may kill you, if you are really loyal to Voldemort it may kill you, if you refuse, well, I'm sorry to say you don't really have that choice."
Snape glared at Harry for a few moments and then shocked him by chuckling in a most un-Snape like way.
"I must admit Potter, that is very Slytherin of you. What must I do?"
Harry sighed with relief and said, "Sorry to disappoint you but the hat really wanted to put me in Slytherin but I'd already met Malfoy."
Snape's eyebrow rose and he asked, "So you forced it to place you in Gryffindor? You hid your Slytherin side very well I commend you."
Harry nodded slightly and said, "You don't have to do much during the ritual, it isn't usually painful however if it pulls magic from Voldemort it will be."
Snape shrugged and said dryly, "I expect dying with the Dark Lord would be painful as well. What will happen after assuming I survive?"
"You'll be free to go back to Hogwarts if you like with full discloser of your role in the destruction of Voldemort or if you'd rather Professor Snape can 'die' and I will see that you have a new identity and funds to start over some where far away. It's your choice," said Harry.
"I will think about it," said Snape.
"Oh one other thing, since you will need to attend the fight I need you to imprint a glamour for us to use," said Harry.
"I can do that, may I have my wand back?" asked Snape.
Harry smiled slightly, "No sir, I'm sorry I can't do that for you. At least not yet,"
Snape grumbled but accepted that answer and Harry left.
Amelia Bones along with two Auror bodyguards and the Unspeakable known as Smith entered Gringotts. Before she could approach a teller, a goblin approached her.
"Minister Bones thank you for coming, I am Safelock if you would come this way," said the Goblin. He escorted her and her party down several very long corridors to a door and motioned them though.
She was surprised to find Albus Dumbledore and Alastor Moody already seated in the room. The seating was all facing one wall instead of around a table or other configuration.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
"If you would be seated," said the goblin, "I can begin to explain."
"Very well," said Bones noticing the armored goblin guards standing around the room.
"You have been invited here to witness the final step of a proposed alliance between the Goblin Nation and the dark wizard known as Voldemort," stated the goblin.
Dumbledore started to stand and object but the guards stepped forward with weapons drawn.
"Are we prisoners?" asked Bones.
"No, I will personally guarantee your safety today, Minister. As is our custom we seal agreements and treaties with ritual combat to prove the worthiness and honor of an ally. Voldemort believes that he must defeat our champion to gain our participation in reclaiming his slaves from Azkaban and attacking the Ministry," he held up a hand to forestall their comments, "we however, even if our champion fails, will not join him."
"Then why have you done this?" asked Bones.
"To give our champion a chance to kill Voldemort, of course," said Safelock.
"You must stop this, you can't possibly win," said Dumbledore in a strained voice.
"Why not?" asked Bones, turning to Dumbledore.
He shook his head and said, "I'm sorry I can't tell you but I know that no Goblin warrior can defeat Voldemort."
Safelock merely turned to the wall behind him a ran a nail down the center, the rock parted to show a view of an arena lined will rows of stone seats surrounding a round raised dais some twenty feet across. The seats were already beginning to fill with goblins.
"He will destroy you for your treachery," whispered Dumbledore.
"Perhaps, but we believe that our Champion, Stormbrow can vanquish him. We are risking the Goblin Nation on it,"
Dumbledore flinched at the word 'vanquish' and Bones and the Unspeakable both stared at him.
"How do expect to keep the spectators from being cursed?" asked Moody eyeing the arena.
"Once both Voldemort and Stormbrow have stepped onto the dais a ward will be raised, no spells will be able to get through however we will still be able to see. It will not fall until one of the champions is dead," said Safelock.
There was a commotion as half a dozen armored figures entered from the right and milled about at the base of the dais. At the same time Voldemort, followed by Narcissa and Flint, entered from the left.
"That's Potter," said Moody pointing to a taller, armored figure in the group at the right of the dais.
"No, you must stop this, he isn't ready," shouted Dumbledore jumping to his feet. "I haven't taught him what he must know, I haven't told him."
Moody dragged Dumbledore back into his seat with one hand as the guards bristled and Safelock glared at the old man.
"You haven't taught him or told him, why not? You've had fifteen years. You left him with abusers for ten years and then did nothing when he came to your school," said Safelock coldly.
"You must stop this, he is our only hope but he is just a boy. I wanted to him to be happy to enjoy his childhood. You'll doom us all if you allow this," whispered Dumbledore gray faced.
"Harry Potter is not now, and has not been for a very long time, a child Mr. Dumbledore. Your actions did not allow it," said the goblin.
Then it was too late as Voldemort stepped up on to the dais and a moment later as Harry stepped up too the wards went up insuring a duel to the death.
Voldemort turned to his foe wand drawn and only then realized he was facing a wizard rather than a goblin a particular wizard that he would enjoy killing.
"Potter, I see my friends the goblins have delivered you up to me. Are you prepared to die?" said Voldemort in a gleeful tone.
"I'm not the one to die today, Tom. The prophecy assures that," said Harry with a smirk.
Voldemort hesitated a moment red eyes narrowing and spate, "You lie, Potter, tell me the prophecy."
Harry just smirked more and shook his head. Voldemort raised his wand and hissed, "Legilimens!"
Harry's shields held through the crushing pressure and he raised his wand casting a banishing hex at Voldemort. The contact broke as Voldemort reacted to the spell and the duel began. Spells and shields flashing as they danced and wove across the dais. The barrier ward flaring as it absorbed the energy from the spells.
"You can't win Potter," hissed Voldemort.
"I can't lose," Harry hissed back.
Voldemort fired off a killing curse, the green splashing harmlessly against the ward shield, as Harry dodged and shot string of deadly spells from his wand, Voldemort dancing and shielding and then spitting a Legilimens curse again attempting to crush Harry's mind. Harry sank to his knees with the effort of blocking the assault and just as Harry thought his mental shield would collapse the contact broke as Voldemort dropped his wand convulsing in pain.
Harry took several deep breathes in an attempt to get his bearings and then rushed across to the convulsing, screaming Voldemort, binding him and drawing a thick, long goblin blade. He made a shallow slash of his left palm with the blade and then drew a rune on Voldemort's forehead with his blood.
Voldemort's red eyes speared up at him in fury as he fought to free himself of the binding spell, hissing depredations in Parseltongue. Harry only smirked down at for a moment then traced a flaming rune in the air above Voldemort's body and began to chant in Gobbledegook.
Voldemort began to shriek again and convulse, as the air grew thick with magic. Harry was sweating and shaking as he continued to chant and white lightning crawled over Voldemort's body, seeming to restrain him while Harry drew the knife up ward above Voldemort's chest. He drove the blade down as the chant ended with a final word of power ending the half-life of the re-embodied Dark Lord and fulfilling the prophecy.
AN:Thanks for all the wonderful review. I am still writing the next chapter but hope to have it up in three or four days.