A Sixth year (pre-HBP) story: Harry decides the best way to fight back is to take the DA to the next level. He succeeds better than he thought he would. In this chapter, the Battle of Hogwarts.
Easter Sunday, March 30, 1997
Voldemort appeared down the road from Hogwarts, the early morning dawn just brightening the day. "All the attack forces should be in place," he told Wormtail. He handed his servant what looked like a bottle rocket. "Take this over the rise and cast the Dark Mark on the fuse at the correct time."
Wormtail took a deep breath and followed orders, accompanied by Bellatrix Malfoy, who would walk through the wards first, and then invite all in. If all was going according to plan, Hogwarts should be silent on a Sunday morning. This betrayed sloppy intelligence -- Voldemort hadn't asked about any early morning group activities and no one had told him about the jogging club. Even without Harry's spying, the attack wouldn't have been an absolute surprise, although it would have been a near thing.
Wormtail's eyes weren't what they used to be, and the great entrance to Hogwarts was nearly a mile away. It almost appeared as if there were some shining objects in front of the castle, but they didn't appear to be moving.
Wormtail shrugged, and set the bottle rocket into the ground. He checked his watch, and then cast the Dark Mark on the fuse. The rocket instantly launched over three hundred feet above the castle, exploding into a huge Dark Mark.
It was 6:55.
Within seconds, the ground began to shake slightly. Wormtail trembled, but resisted the temptation to turn into a rat. That would be about his worst move under the circumstances. He didn't dare turn around. Peter Pettigrew closed his eyes and hoped the day would soon be over.
"Come on! Come on in!" young Bella called, opening the wards.
Fifteen giants and thirty mountain trolls went past Wormtail. Two other groups, with the same elements, were attacking from more directly out of the Forbidden Forest.
"Come, little Worm," Bellatrix Lestrange said from behind Wormtail. "I have revenge to exact."
Approximately thirty Death Eaters would come up from behind each attack group. At 7:30, all 303 of Voldemort's dementors would appear over the lake, and glide into the attack. "Stay here, my niece, and watch our triumph!"
Atop the small turret over the grand entrance gate. Justin Finch-Fletchley sat, with five younger Muggle-born and Mixed-blood students. Each had experience with the Muggle sport of cricket and/or with firearms. In other words, each had been selected for their excellent aim. There were three other attack teams like this, overlooking the grounds. Justin was the only Sixth-year in a group, leading the team against the force Voldemort should be joining.
"There's the Mark," a Second year Ravenclaw said. He was manning the spyglass. "Wow! I can see why they're called giants! I count . . . fifteen giants and thirty trolls."
"Relay the information," Justin calmly told Luna Lovegood's roommate, Deborah Johnson. "Everyone put on their goggles." Deborah keyed it into her SDA Galleon, modified by Hermione for the purpose. They would launch the attack either when the giants started getting too close, or when they were given the signal giving them a forty-five second warning.
"Giants, a hundred yards," the Second year warned.
"Giants, a hundred feet," he said a few seconds later.
"There the signal!" Deborah announced.
All six students stood, knowing they had just 45 seconds to neutralize the giants. "Wingardiam Leviosa!"
Six water balloons levitated, and then found their marks with perfect accuracy on the giants. The balloons of course contained the Weasleys' sleeping mist. Hitting a giant in the forehead, the balloons released a mist which would put them to sleep for at least a day, unless the antidote was inhaled. The mist started to drift downwards towards the trolls, and the six giants collapsed.
Three more barrages were sent off, the last volley into the core of the Death Eaters, when the sun disappeared, and a near-total darkness descended.
"That was supposed to happen," Justin reminded them. "Don't move; get another balloon if you safely can and wait."
A very dim, soft glow from behind them allowed them to find their next load. "I know the darkness means the Dark Lord is inside the wards," Deborah said, "but why? What does it mean?"
"Somehow, the Headmaster has affected time," Justin told her. "All of Hogwarts is a second out of synch with the universe. So, nothing, not even light, can get in or out. Any of His forces still outside will be cut off, including the dementors. Thank goodness He came in during the first wave!"
"No dementors; that's a relief!"
"And we have forces outside to mop up," Justin said. The townspeople and visitors would take care of the forces between Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, and there was a special squad from the European Ministries to deal with the dementors. While Justin didn't know the full plans for any Death Eaters left in the forest, the centaurs had agreed to take care of one area. Hagrid, Grawp, and Aragog's children would take care of the rest. Justin had shivered when he learned there were giant spiders that close to Hogwarts.
"Ah," Justin said, "they're lighting fires. Make certain anyone you aim for hasn't got a bubblehead charm on! We can't waste these."
Five of the students sent their balloons. Justin, seeing Voldemort had produced the charm, left fly a "Stupefy!" At that distance, the curse, coming from a young wizard of at best average power, wouldn't stun the Dark Lord, and Justin knew it. It still gave the Dark Lord a sharp sting, and knocked him down for a second.
And at that moment, the suits of armor (six sets on either side of the door) started banging swords on their shields in unison. The other suites of armor did the same around the parameter of the castle, signaling everyone to be prepared to fight. While they couldn't actually do anything, Harry said the students liked the noise. Within five beats, the very castle echoed the sound.
"YOU CANNOT ESCAPE," Dumbledore's voice proclaimed. "YOUR ONLY CHANCE IS TO SURRENDER!"
"Give us the girl, and we won't attack!" Voldemort cried back, standing.
"FIND HER, IF YOU CAN, TOM!"
12 Minutes Earlier
"Let's hope He comes over the wards soon," Ron grumbled.
"He will," Luna answered.
Harry ignored the by-play around him, and after he made certain everyone had taken the antidote for the mist, he addressed Winky and Dobby.
"All house elves are ready, Commander Potter, sir," Winky interrupted before Harry could even say anything.
"Good," Harry said, not caring if she meant all the elves or just the six with his attack group. "Winky, please look after Hermione."
"Winky will do her best."
"Dobby. . . ."
"Dobby will protect Commander Harry!"
"No, Dobby," Harry said firmly. The two elves stared at Harry in puzzlement. "Dobby, if you feel you owe me any favors, please, look after Luna."
Dobby looked at Harry for a second, then smiled. "Dobby understands."
"Thank you both; Luna and Hermione mean everything to me."
"Dobby and Winky understand," Winky agreed.
Harry smiled and went to address the rest of the group. Including himself, there were eight Gryffindors (three Seventh years, four Sixth years, and Ginny from the Fifth year) and Luna. There were six aurors and hit wizards, although the only one Harry knew was Tonks, four of Zoric's operatives, and Zoric and Remus.
Harry moved everyone into position. Ron would be on the extreme right, Hermione on the left. They would be in charge of calling out cues to the others. Harry positioned Neville and Ginny together, then went to Tonks.
"Can you AK someone, Tonks?" Harry asked.
"I've never killed a person, but I'm well acquainted with using it," she answered, uncharacteristically serious. "Someone in particular?"
"Bellatrix or Narcissa?"
Tonks' face hardened. "She tortured my father once. She killed Sirius. Her, I can kill."
Harry nodded and positioned her between Neville and Ginny, then addressed the group. "When the signal is given, I'll suspend the anti-portkey wards for a moment and we'll be transported into battle. We'll be behind the enemy. All students, 'stupefy'! The rest of you, this is the one sure chance you'll have to AK anyone, but it's up to you."
He was looking at Tonks, who nodded. That trio would appear behind Bellatrix. "Put on your goggles!" Harry called. These special goggles would allow the defenders to see in the darkish area outside; plus their robes, still colored from the day before, would should up more clearly, making it less likely they would hit each other in error.
Harry knelt on one knee between Lupin and Zoric. "I'll send an AK right down the middle at Him. If we're very lucky, one of us will hit the bastard."
The trio nodded.
"Remember," Harry called out, "if Riddle's and my wands connect, don't try to interfere! In fact, the phoenix song cage will deflect any spell upwards! Feel free to use it as a safe backstop to fight from!"
The signal came that the time spell was engaged. A few moments later, the group portkeyed out, all the adults and Harry screaming "AVADA KEDAVRA" within a second of materialization.
There was only one direction Voldemort could have gone without being hit by one of the three Death spells, and that was to fling himself straight down on the ground. Unfortunately, he did just that.
Harry's sailed six inches over the Dark Wizard and struck a dozing giant. It wasn't quite strong enough to kill the giant, but it was enough to keep him in a coma for a week.
Zoric's Avada struck and killed two trolls. Lupin's hit a very surprised Wormtail.
Harry just had time to see three curses striking Bellatrix Lestrange before attempting to stupefy Voldemort, who had rolled to his knees and who had done the same. As they had over 21 months before, their spells locked and within seconds the glowing tendrils of phoenix song surrounded them, cutting them off from the battle.
"Well, boy," Voldemort sneered, "I'm surprised to see you have the courage to face me, now that I am at my full strength!"
"I have no reason to fear you," Harry exaggerated, but with as much conviction in his voice as if it was the absolute truth. "I know the full prophecy -- I know I'm the one chosen to destroy you, to kill you in fact."
"You think I can die?"
"Prophecy says so, and you certainly tried to verify it!"
"I MUST NOT DIE!"
"Oh, even if I fell dead right now, you'll die some day, Riddle! The only question is when? It might be in five or ten thousand million years, when the sun expands and engulfs the Earth." Harry smiled, ignoring the growing heat in his wand. "What would you do for ten thousand million years, Riddle? By then you'd have long killed off everyone, because you'd be afraid someone or something would evolve that could kill you. And you'd be all alone, and you'd still die, fried slowly by the expanding radiation from the sun."
Harry's smile widened. "Or you might die in the next five minutes. Either way, you ARE going to die. That's the one universal truth. In thirty thousand million years or so, even the universe is going to die. What? You didn't know that? Not kept up with the latest in astronomical news, huh? Well, that's not surprising, since this was all work done by Muggles."
"You try me, boy!"
"So," Harry went on, "you ARE going to die. Why be afraid? YOU aren't a full Muggle, after all. You know there are ghosts and echoes, so there has to be something, we just don't know what, or how long it lasts or if it leads to something eternal. For a Muggle, it's just a matter of faith that when we die we just don't blip out. What's the old expression? Eternal sleep? Sleep without dreaming and never waking up? In short, non-existence? That's what you fear, isn't it?"
Harry's face hardened. "Well, get used to the idea that you're doing to die. You might get lucky and last a while, but even a million million years comes to pass sometime. You're meat, and in a few minutes, you're dead meat."
"Brave words, boy," Voldemort tried to sneer.
"I nearly killed you twice, you slimy bastard; don't count on staying lucky!"
On the face of it, it should have been an unequal contest. Voldemort was an incredibly experienced, even more incredibly powerful and ruthless wizard. He had been living soft of late, however, caught up in what had been even for him an amazingly sadistic and sick plan. He had been caught by surprise that the attack had been anticipated, and that his retreat had been so completely, and inexplicably, cut off. And worst of all, Harry had triggered the one fear Voldemort had, that of non-existence.
Harry was in near-perfect training, and if currently perhaps slightly less-powerful, at least equally driven.
For nearly five minutes, their contest was a draw. Both fighters were concentrating on the seven beads of power that had accumulated along their conjoined streams of power. Neither took any real notice of the figures outside of the shell of phoenix song.
Until Harry noticed that one was Luna. Harry didn't dare take a full glance in her direction, but he saw her hair moving from the corner of his eye.
Risking a quick glance, Harry saw it wasn't just Luna fighting to his left. It was Luna and Hermione, standing over an obviously injured Ginny, with no sign of Neville in sight.
"My, my," Voldemort said, the strain in his voice belaying the mocking words. "That's the little Weasley girl, isn't it? I shall have to make her direct acquaintance. She already knows me, doesn't she?"
Harry said nothing.
"Do you fancy one?" Voldemort asked. "I shall have to have all three to dinner, after the battle."
"You sound like a mad, bad film," Harry muttered.
"Which do you love, boy?" Voldemort taunted. "Think about it, and if I defeat you without killing you, she'll be the last, and slowest, to go."
Harry felt the pressure from Voldemort's mind, but he fought admitting him for a moment. He used his training to fight Voldemort while thinking about Voldemort had asked. Who did he love?
He loved Luna Lovegood. With her, he felt whole, complete. Harry knew little of poetry except what he had been forced to memorize as a Muggle student, and he knew less about music -- but just knowing Luna made him want to burst into song and poetry. He loved her with passion. Even though they had not had full sex, when he looked at her he was reminded of the phrase from the old marriage ceremony, 'with my body, I thee worship.'
He loved Hermione. He couldn't fully define how he felt; she had really grown into 'non-sexual partner and twin.' He just knew that he hadn't been shocked when Luna had said the night before, "No matter what happens tomorrow, we can never let Hermione be alone; she needs love and, in the future, children."
While Harry could not imagine being married to Hermione, somehow a vision of a little girl with Hermione's old teeth and even wilder, darker hair had appeared in his mind, countered by a vision of what his and Luna's children might someday look like.
He loved Ginny. She had been more his little sister than Ron's that year, and she was by far his most loyal follower. He loved her as a sister; fondly, protectively.
The three loves of Harry's life were battling for their lives twenty feet away from him. Worry about them was buried by the deep feelings he had for those three girls.
Harry loved Sirius; he would have loved his parents had he had the chance. He cared for Ron Weasley, although he never would dare use the word 'love' in connection to Ron, let alone Neville, Fred, George, Tonks, Gin, Georgia, Padma, Parvati, Sudipta, Irena, Susan, Hannah, or his other friends. To himself, he might admit to loving Remus and Hagrid, and perhaps Master Tomas and his wife, Mister and Mrs. Weasley, and even Dumbledore.
In the back of Harry's mind, he realized his mistake the previous October -- he had tried to destroy Voldemort with pain. Voldemort was the master of pain. The previous June, he had defeated Voldemort with love, just has his mother had in 1981, and just as his mother's love had defeated Voldemort/Quirrell in 1992.
Harry thought of all his loves, brought all those feelings fully to the forefront, and then let the floodgates of his love rush through him. The beads of power shot along the stream and exploded Voldemort's wand. His feelings rushed into Voldemort's mind, and burned out his synapses faster than touching Harry's skin had burned the Quirrell/Voldemort hybrid's skin at the end of his first year.
This time, there was no ghost. There was no essence of evil.
There was just a husk that fell to the ground.
Voldemort was dead.
Harry quickly noticed that the battle wasn't over when a hex flashed past his ear. He heard a scream, and saw both Hermione and Luna fall to the ground, partially covering Ginny. Harry didn't register the scream of anger from behind him, let alone recognize it as coming from Ron. Nor did he hear Ron, Winky, and Dobby all stun whomever it had been who had hexed Luna and Hermione.
Instead, Harry saw red. Literally.
He was never certain what happened next. Harry could never explain it, and neither could anyone else, but he absorbed all the surplus magic available to him through the castle. For over a minute, even the paintings would be stilled.
Suddenly, Harry was standing in the middle of the rolling lawn, his arms up-raised in anger. He was also towering 195 feet above himself. Both Harrys screamed out in anger and anguish, each movement mirrored in both.
While those fighting in the front had stopped when confronted by a 195 foot tall Harry Potter, it took the thunderous scream to draw everyone else's attention, at least of those outdoors. Six of the remaining conscious trolls soiled themselves and passed out.
Harry later said he could see from both perspectives, and that it was difficult to coordinate his movements. This probably saved lives, as both Harrys were obviously angry and looking to crush something. As the projected 195 foot Harry reached down to crush a Death Eater, Goyle senior threw his wand down and begged for mercy.
The other remaining Death Eaters in all three groups threw their wands down as well. From a window in the astronomy tower, Argus Filch decided to go ahead and submit his resignation, effective at the end of the term.
Harry just managed to restrain his giant self from crushing Goyle like a cigarette butt. He saw the pro-Dumbledore group collect the wands and bind the Death Eaters.
Seeing the Death Eaters captured, both Harrys let out another scream. Giant Harry disappeared, and Harry collapsed on the ground, crying. Since he found himself near the obviously dead body of Jacqui Spenser and the still forms of Ginny, Luna, and Hermione, Harry could not muster enough energy to fight the feeling of vertigo that swept over him. He followed the feeling into darkness.
Harry passed out.