Harry and Voldemort meet at the battle of Ottery St. Catchpole, Harry meets Myrtle in the flesh, sort of . . .
Voldemort stood on a small hill overlooking the Burrow in Ottery St. Catchpole, the goblins had done well, surprisingly well in fact, the wards were down and no one in the house was in any way the wiser, judging by the activities.
"Sheep" he thought aloud.
"Sheep milord?" Draco asked.
The self styled Dark Lord nodded his head, "like sheep in a slaughterhouse, none will survive the day."
"Including Potter, milord?" Draco asked, eagerly.
"Especially Potter! Young Malfoy, take four men to the far side of the house, do not let yourselves be seen, when you see the Dark Mark above the house kill everything in sight, understand?"
"Yes milord, Dark Mark, kill everything!"
He looked at his little sycophant and wondered if maybe he hadn't given him one too many crucios.
"Nott, go to the front of the house with your group, same orders."
Voldemort watched the activity, the bustle, people entering and leaving the house like they hadn't a care in the world or a brain in their heads; the fat lady had already brought out a pan of biscuits, then gone inside with the same pan again. Truly brainless sheep; killing them would be a mercy.
He took a deep breath and said aloud, "no time like the present" and he walked majestically, silken robes flowing behind, down the hill. He fancied himself quite the stirring sight.
As he neared the house no one seemed to notice, 'hell-looooo,' he thought contemptuously /'Dark Lord in our midst!/'
"Enough of this normalcy" he muttered under his breath, "time for a little mayhem!" He threw his wand arm straight up and screamed "/Mosmorde!/"
As the dark green skull appeared, snake writhing from its mouth the wedding preparations stopped and indeed all hell broke loose. People were running and screaming and being mowed down by deadly curses, exploding in satisfying gouts of blood and gore.
The house began to burn and people were hit with deadly curses as they ran out of the flames.
Around the side of the house Draco was seething. No one was coming out his door, no one for him to AK.
Draco's wand went flying; his four death eaters looked around and saw no one. Two black robed DEs stood back to back and scanned for the threat. There was a loud crack and the two fell to the ground, holed by a single bullet. Another was killed by a cutting curse and the last by another crack of the rifle.
Draco looked to the trees behind him and saw part of the forest move in his direction.
"Hi Draco," said one of the pieces of forest, "remember this?"
As he heard this he felt the slash of a scourge. Somehow the complete irony escaped him; being flogged by his own cat o' nine tails. He fell to his hands and knees screaming, bleeding from his face and ruined left eye.
"You used this to torture and scar someone who means the world to me, how do you like it you little /fuck?/"
The cat landed again and again on Draco's back, arms, legs, face, whichever part presented itself. His death eater's cloak afforded little or no protection from the razor sharp barbs embedded in the lead at the end of the strands. His back, arms, legs and face were soon criss-crossed with bloody stripes as the lash descended again and again. He shrieked in agony, the piteous cries changing volume and timbre with each stroke. He lay on the ground, his knees drawn up to his chest, bloody hands over his face in the fetal position.
"That's enough dear," a familiar voice said "please don't descend to his level."
Marietta threw off her Ghillie suit jacket and looked horrified at her own handiwork. She threw down the lash and threw up on the lawn.
"You see my sister wife revenge is, ultimately, unsatisfying." She cast a cleaning spell on her nephew's wounds and another to lessen his pain.
Marietta was on her hands and knees, sobbing ashamedly at what she had done.
"He needed to know what it felt like, he deserved more" she cried.
"Perhaps," Belle rejoined, "but not by you, or even me. If we punish him its revenge, only someone who is impartial can truly serve justice."
She took Draco's bloody face in her hands and said "now you begin to feel the pain you've visited on so many others . . ."
He looked through his remaining good eye and recognized the blurry outline of his aunt's face; he looked down and saw the handle of her wand protruding from its forearm holster. He took his shot, snatching the wand as he pushed her away, he stood and leveled it.
"Avada . . ."
Draco looked confused for a moment then looked down to see the red stain spreading over the front of his shirt. He looked at Belle and opened his mouth to speak then fell face forward onto the lawn.
JosÃ© Cruz chambered another round.
Harry walked over to the remains of his old school rival; he could not bring himself to gloat at Draco's passing, instead he looked saddened, "you would have stolen my wife and child from me so easily. Were you ever given the chance to be a decent human being? Its better this way, I think."
As soon as the dark mark was cast Harry's camouflaged troops began to take out the death eaters, no stupefies, no incarcerous hexes, these were the worst of the worst, orders were shoot to kill. Voldemort was so intent on his own grand entrance that he didn't notice his troops dropping like flies behind him.
"Harry Potter! Come out, come out! We have business to finish here!"
"I'm right here Tom" Harry said calmly "no need to shout."
Voldemort was amazed, where had the skinny 14 year old gone that he had held captive in the graveyard? This young man looked like an athlete, no, a warrior! He looked very imposing in the robes of an Auror Corps officer.
"Well Harry, you're looking fit . . ."
"Wish I could say the same for you Tom."
Voldemort closed his eyes, trying to contain his anger, then went on to say "an officer and a gentleman, I see I've had a positive influence on your life, for what else would have driven you so?"
"Oh yeah, Tom, a bloody regular recruiting poster child you are, you should get a stipend from the Corps."
"Enough Harry, you will refer to me as Lord Voldemort or 'My Lord,' there is no more Tom Riddle."
Myrtle looked around the castle, with the defeat of Voldemort's forces the wedding preparations were in full swing, but she sensed that she needed to go to Harry, quickly, she spied Ron Weasley.
"Ron, Harry needs our help, he's at the burrow; do you know where the nearest fireplace floo is?"
"Um, hospital wing I think . . ."
"He needs us NOW Ronald!"
"All right, all right, I'm goin.' How're you gonna get there?"
"Just go Ron!"
He ran, she floated to the hospital fireplace, just as Ron said "The Burrow" and stepped into the flames Myrtle phased into him. As they both exited the Burrow's fireplace she said, "sorry Ron" and stepped out of him, "but I need to be here." Ron looked around and saw the place was on fire, but wait, not on fire, it was an illusion and there was Hermione, in an auror's cloak sitting cross-legged on the floor, maintaining the illusion of flames.
Her concentration broken the flames winked out of existence.
Outside, near the front of the building Theodore Nott marveled at the skill of the illusionist. The house had been burning; there was heat and acrid smelling smoke and very convincing flames. He walked around the corner and saw the Dark Lord having a discussion with Harry Potter; he drew his wand and leveled it at the Potter brat.
"Put the wand down Theodore and you may live a little longer."
He knew that voice, but the beautiful redhead who spoke was like no one he knew. Still, the voice was unmistakable.
"Bellatrix? They said you was dead!"
"Bellatrix Lestrange is dead, I am someone else."
She had an air of serenity about her in the face of all this death and seemed very content; completely self-assured. Nott grew furious at her calm.
"Yew don' know what the Dark Lord did, didja?"
Belle shook her head no.
"E' blamed me f'you escapin' dinnee? He crucio'd me f' half an hour e' did then yew know whot?" Nott was screaming now "E' castrates me! Says I kin' have me balls back when I don't use em f' thinkin' no more!"
Then Nott saw that she didn't even have a wand. Who did this bint think she was? Thinkin' she could tell him what to do with no wand or weapon to back her up. He raised his wand in her direction.
"I think you should put the wand down now, Theodore, there is a weapon pointed at you right now and if you even look like you're about to cast a curse you will die."
He sneered "bluffin', yer just bluffin'!"
Belle closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose with her thumb and forefinger, "I tried, Goddess knows I tried . . ."
"Avada . . ."
Harry and Voldemort turned at the sound of the rifle just in time to see Theodore Nott's head explode in a spray of blood and brain tissue. The Dark Lord spied Belle and recognized her in spite of her disguise. His red, cat-like eyes grew wide and he laughed.
"You have masked her mark well young Harry, I still cannot sense her." He was still convinced that his mark could only be removed by himself "and I sense another presence here . . . the littlest Potter forming nicely my pet?"
Voldemort was experiencing the nearest thing to joy that he could, Bellatrix was here, the Issue of Mine Enemy ritual was again possible, probable even; because there was no way in Hell Potter would be walking away from here. He would be stupefied then carried out and kept alive so that he could see everyone he ever cared about being butchered before his very green eyes.
"I'm over here Tom," Harry said, proud that the desperation didn't come through his voice, he needed Belle out of the snake's field of vision "I brought you some prezzies."
Voldemort turned back to Harry, "presents?"
Harry removed the small bag from his inner pocket and flung it in the Dark One's direction. He caught the bag handily in his over-long white fingertips and up-ended it, allowing the shrunken trinkets to fall to the ground. He then cast the finite and looked in horror at the horcruxes at his feet. All of them except. . .
"You don't have them all Potter!"
Harry flipped the left half of his cloak over his shoulder, revealing the Sword of Gryffindor and more importantly to Riddle, the scabbard.
Voldemort could sense no connection to any of the objects, they were truly dead.
For the first time in over sixteen years Lord Voldemort felt real fear.
Harry felt a presence tell him 'now' and he began casting.
"Imper . . ."
". . . perio!"
Harry was ready for the priori incantatum this time and knew to hold onto his wand with both hands, the combined spells raced back to Tom Riddle's wand and the shades of several people came out, men, women and a white haired child began to surround the Dark one shouting and pointing accusatory fingers at him. He screamed at the top of his lungs as Harry began to strip him of his magic. The magic needed somewhere to go but Harry would not accept it so it flowed out of Voldemort like black bile and began to dissipate into the air. Some of the magic formed a cohesive charcoal-black vapor that attempted to get under Harry's defenses but the shades from the evil wand held the blackness at bay. Harry didn't know how much longer he could hold on, but he knew he had to win this time, or history would repeat itself in an endless loop of resurrected dark power and death and battle and sorrow.
"Not again Tom, never again!" Harry shouted over the roar of voices and raw power.
The magic surrounding them seemed to fall in on itself forming a tiny mystic singularity, followed by a sound like the clap of thunder and a shockwave that knocked everyone within sight of it off their feet. Those closest to the epicenter were hit hardest; Harry and Tom were flung in opposite directions to land bonelessly at least fifty feet from each other.
Harry saw a bright white light and then his world went dark.
He woke lying face up in the grass feeling his forehead being caressed by soft, gentle hands. As his senses returned he felt rather than saw that his head was in a lap and a young girl's voice was singing softly.
"Give me five minutes more, only five minutes more
Let me stay, let me stay in your arms
Here am I, begging for, only five minutes more
Only five minutes more of your charms . . ."
Harry opened his eyes and looked into the smiling eyes of Myrtle Frisbee Potter.
"Hello Mrs. Potter."
"Hello Mr. Potter."
"This feels nice" they both said simultaneously; then laughed.
"I didn't think I'd feel anything when I crossed over, but I'm glad you're here."
"We haven't crossed over quite yet, I am going to be the guide on this crossing" a serenely smiling Myrtle said, "we can stay a while longer, go ahead and rest my husband; everything and everyone else can wait a while."
Harry closed his eyes and had the most restful sleep he'd had in, well, ever!
He woke to find himself lying on a soft blanket, Myrtle spooned against his back as he lay on his side. His cloak had been removed and made for a nice pillow.
"Rested now love?" His newly corporal wife asked.
Harry looked around and nodded, "yeah, I feel great!"
Then he looked into her eyes and said, "I suppose we'll have to get up now?"
"Only if you want to, we have all the time in the world."
"Well in that case" Harry laughed and spun around so that he faced his wife, then rolled onto his back pulling her on top of him in the process.
"I love my sister wives, but I'm feeling just a bit selfish right now and I'd like you all to myself Mister Potter."
"Whatever you say Misses Potter."
They made love in the green grass, completely lost in each other. She was unbelievably soft and fragrant and she knew how to please her man. When they were both sated with each other she gave him a tumbler of cool, clear water. He drank and felt completely full.
He felt, rather than heard something over the top of the grassy slope.
"I would like to look around, will you be with me?"
"Of course, silly!"
He stood and then helped her to her feet. She felt so warm and soft and real he had to kiss her, tenderly. They stood entwined, locked in their tender kiss for what seemed like days until he finally, regretfully broke the kiss.
"Maybe we should lie down again" he suggested with a roguish wiggle of his eyebrows.
"Time for more of that later, lover!" she chided.
He looked around at the green expanses, they stood halfway up the slope of a gentle hill and he could see trees in the distance. The sky was a deep blue with just a few clouds to break the monotony.
"Which way?" he asked.
"Which way do you want to go?" she rejoined.
"I'd like to see what's over that hill."
Myrtle laughed and took his hand "I knew you would; come along then!"
When they crested the hill they saw a bewildered looking young man, not long out of school from the looks of him. Harry recognized the Tom Riddle from Hogwart's fifty years before.
"Oh thank Merlin," the young man said "I thought I was all alone here!"
Harry remembered something Myrtle had said; was it weeks or months ago, he couldn't quite remember, how she wanted to be the one to escort Tom to the next great adventure. And further how everyone had the same destination, but not the same destiny.
Harry was at peace with his destiny, Tom was evidently not.
Was that all there was? Was that the only difference between Heaven and Hell, one's perception of it? If so then the powers that be had a divine sense irony. Harry approved, of course.
"Harry," Myrtle said, "I need you to go back for a while my love, I promise I'll be waiting right here when you return. I need to guide Tom over the next hill."
"Will you be right here when I come back?" Harry asked, his voice betraying a little worry.
"Harry, remember this, time has no meaning here, to me it will be as though you just stepped out for a moment then came back. Remember, I'll be right here. Don't weep for me, my husband, I'll be right here. Remember that and remember that I'll always love you.
"Just a kiss before I go?"
She smiled and kissed him, pouring all the love she had into his being, giving him something that he'd always have with him for as long as he lived.
He woke again to the sound of crying, the smell of burnt flesh and pain. Pain in his arm, pain in his head and ringing in his ears.
"Ouch?" he whispered hoarsely.
The crying stopped abruptly, "Harry?"
"My - own, my own knee, Mione?" he croaked
The crying began again but this time it was joyful, "Oh Harry, Harry, Harry . . ."
He heard Ron say, "we thought we'd lost you mate, lie still, all right?"
"Can't" he said as he struggled to sit up before standing, "I have to do something first." He groaned as his head spun "how bout a hand?"
Ron and Hermione helped him to his feet.
"Tom?" he asked.
"That's him over there" Ron pointed to a charred husk of a man, his left arm blown off clear to the elbow. His breathing was labored and ragged as if he seemed intent on getting one more breath before giving up. Harry cast a stasis spell on the dying wizard.
"I need to get back to Hogwart's, there's something I have to do, quickly." He instinctively knew the field would hold for no more than an hour, then Tom would be truly dead and gone.
The trio stumbled into the kitchen and then through the fireplace to Hogwart's
They popped through the green flames to see Marietta and Belle practically man-handling Healer Dumphries and Madame Pomfrey toward the fireplace.
Marietta was the first to see Harry and she fainted.
"My Lord!" Belle screamed as she launched herself at her husband, "oh My Lord, I thought you were, you were . . ."
"Dead?" Harry offered. "I think I was, but Mrs. Potter sent me back, apparently I have to do some things here first."
Marietta was being helped to a bed by the same healer she was trying to kidnap just moments before.
Belle looked stricken, "how long before you . . ."
"Have to go back? No telling. Could be today, could be tomorrow, could be a few centuries from now. How much time do any of us have, really? One thing I remember, time has no meaning there, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. But the parts of it I saw were beautiful!"
Harry remembered why he needed to get back quickly, "where can I find Jack and the other novices?"
"They're in the transfiguration classroom getting debriefed" Marietta offered, sitting on the edge of the hospital bed.
I have to see them. I have to do something before Riddle's soul can be released.
Belle and Marietta each took an arm to help him down to the Great Hall, Hermione let them take their husband, it was, after all their right, and walked behind alongside Ron.
Harry stopped suddenly, "Belle, is Narcissa marked?"
Her eyes grew suddenly wide, "yes milord!"
"No milord husband, she was under compulsion."
He thought for just a moment, and then said "go find her, bring her back here."
She hugged him fiercely and sobbed, "thank you milord" then ran to the nearest Floo connection.
As they entered the classroom John Rolfe shouted "Thank Merlin, he's here!" The thirty six grey robed men and women in the room all fell to their knees and bared their left arms. Each one bore the hated tattoo.
Harry stretched out his hand "Where there was darkness, let there be light! Where there was fear, let there be hope! And where there was emptiness, let there be love, absum obscurum animum!"
Three dozen men and women stiffened at the incantation and some shrieked as the tattoo and the darkness binding their souls dissipated in a blinding light. Those that didn't close their eyes were seeing spots for days afterward. Everyone present noted that the release spell had been preformed wandlessly.
Every grey-robed former death eater, save one, remained on their knees to offer undying fealty to the Noble House of Potter.
Harry looked at the one standing and said, "Snape, we're done with each other," the potion's master looked as though he were about to speak, Harry stopped him with a gesture "don't say anything, just go, if I see you again I'll have to kill you and that would disappoint my wives."
For once in his life Severus Snape had the presence of mind to just turn and leave. Harry had already given his attention to the former death eaters kneeling before him "I offer you the friendship and protection of the House of Potter, you have done a great service here and I will not forget you."
He looked up just in time to see a dazed and confused Narcissa Malfoy staring at the newly unmarked arms. She looked up at Harry and fell to her knees, baring her left arm as well.
One final ". . ./absum obscurum animum/" and they were done. Those who wanted to be free of the dark mark were. Those who clung to it would receive their due because after the fall of the dark lord anyone found bearing a dark mark, freely taken, would be summarily kissed.
As Harry turned around he saw Hermione and Ron on their knees as well. He smiled and shook his head. Reaching down to lift each to their feet he said "I have enough liegemen and women, but what I need are two best friends, please?"
Hermione broke first and grabbed Harry in a rib cracking hug.
"Um, Hermione?" he squeaked.
"Breathing is good!"
"Oh!" she squeaked, then loosened the embrace but didn't let go.
Harry looked over to Belle and Marie, who smiled their approval.
He rested his chin on the top of her head and said gently, "Hermione, love, we have a wedding to go to . . ."
"If that's a proposal the answer is yes" she said and raised her head so that she could lock lips with the love of her life. She poured six years of love and longing into that, their first kiss with the promise of many, many more.
One more chapter to go boys and girls; aptly titled "Loose Ends."