Tom and Albus meet over tea, while the battles rage around them.
We've got to stop meeting like this
George and Angelina were starting up the ravine to join Fred and Katie when they saw Professor Dumbledore walking across the stone arched bridge. Swooping down they hovered on either side of him.
"Hello, Headmaster. Out for an evening stroll?" asked George, with a wink.
"Ah, Mister Weasley, Miss Johnson. Yes, as a matter of fact, I 'm just returning from the courtyard...had a small discussion with the Dementors and they were kind enough to vacate the school grounds, with a little incentive from your fellow D.A.s."
"And where are you two heading, if I might inquire?"
"We're going to join Fred and Katie, and then see what else we might be able to do. We saw Harry and that lot flying up over the library wing, so something's going on."
"Indeed, they are taking care of a group of Death Eaters who had been sent to guard the Quidditch gate; we think more to keep anyone from getting out of Hogwarts than keeping people from getting in."
"Well, we might just see if we could lend a hand, then, right Angelina?" George smiled wickedly.
"Too right. Where are you off to then, Professor?"
"I'm going back to the Great Hall to meet with someone and have a small discussion." Albus replied.
"Well, keep you head down, sir, and we'll see you later!" called George, as he and Angelina flew off toward the wooden bridge.
Dumbledore watched them swoop up the ravine and then turned and continued on his way.
Draco spun around, wand out at the sound of a whistle behind him. Colin and Dennis Creevey were approaching them and waving merrily.
"Hello," Anna called, as they stopped next to the group and jumped off of their brooms.
"Hey, Anna! All went well with the giants?" Colin asked.
"Splendidly; all down and out and being taken care of, as we speak."
"Well, guess what!"
"What?" Gwen grinned at the two brothers, ruffling Dennis' hair.
"Death Eaters are right inside that gate, we think to keep people from trying to get out, so, they're not looking this way and won't see you coming. Harry and the others are watching from up there," explained Colin, pointing to the roof top, where they saw the others wave at them, "and will attack them from their side just as you get to the gate."
"Classic crossfire, eh?"
"Yes...we're going to stay with you, if you don't mind."
"Splendid, but what I'd really appreciate, if you don't mind, would be if you two staying between those Death Eaters and Gwen, sort of as her shield, because she can't defend herself, being a Muggle and all."
"Excuse me?" Gwen stood there, hands on her hips. "I've seen how you all do you spells and I can duck when I need to."
"Be THAT as it may...Dennis, Colin would you please stay close to Gwen, just in case,"
"Tell you what," Gwen volunteered, "how about if I carry your brooms, so you've got both hands free?"
Handing over their brooms, they pulled their wands and turned to face Anna, waiting for instructions.
Dolohov and a brutal faced Death Eater led their group past the kitchens, heading for the Hufflepuff common room. Unseen by them, Pomona Sprout, Michael, Ron and Daphne stood silently, watching, waiting until the four huge men had gotten almost to the door.
Raising his slingshot, Ron fired off one of the soft rubber balls, down the hall ahead of the Death Eaters, making it bounce around the corner and pitter-patter down the next hallway.
"Stop!" Dolohov hissed.
The Death Eaters skidded to a halt and listened to the quickly fading thumps.
"What was that?" asked one of the Death Eaters, cocking his head, straining to hear where the sound was coming from.
"Probably one of those House-elves...doesn't matter, it's gone. Come on, we're nearly there. Remember, stun them first, then we'll get them up to that courtyard to the Dementors."
"What if Sprout shows up? What if that elf went off to warn her?" asked the last Death Eater, looking around nervously.
"If she shows up and resists, kill the old cow, but try an 'Imperious' on her first. We'll make her watch," the brutal faced one snickered nastily.
Pomona Sprout's mouth tightened in anger and she clenched her wand; she was dying to blast the intruders through the wall, opposite. But Ron had told her what was going to happen and she waited to see the execution of their plan. It was a short wait.
Albus pushed open the door of the Great Hall and stepped in. He could see, by the dim light of the candles on the staff table, that Voldemort was seated in his chair, waiting.
"Good evening, Tom...or should I say good morning."
"Dumbledore! Come in, come in. Join me, won't you?"
"Well, although I can't, in all honesty, say I'm delighted, I will join you for a chat while we wait word of the, shall we say, 'goings on'?"
"I prefer the term 'overthrow', but let's not get bogged down in a duel of semantics." Voldemort cocked his head as he watched the Headmaster advance down the length of the vast room. "I surmise you have news, by your smug remark, so...how goes it?"
"It would seem that your 'diversions' have been dealt with, so it is down to your Death Eaters against my staff and students." Albus waved his hand and a chair slid across the dais and he took a seat across the table from his former student, now almost unrecognizable as Tom Riddle.
Ron, Michael and Daphne heaved their Instant Darkness Powder canisters and grinned when they exploded; inky blackness spread quickly, a total absence of light filling the hallway....UNLESS...like the D.A. members and Professor Sprout, you were wearing you special sunglasses. They could see the Death Eaters bumping into each other, as they shouted in confusion, shooting off spells at random.
Each D.A. circled around until they had their targets in position.
"Now!" Ron shouted.
"Stupify!" The four Death Eaters were knocked off their feet but were quick to try and struggle back up.
"Silencio!" No shouting for help.
"Petrificus Totalus!" Thump, thump..thump..thump! Four Death Eaters were lying frozen and silent on the floor.
"Accio wands!" Pomona Sprout shouted, catching them deftly and ramming them into her pocket.
Daphne, Michael and Ron stood together and blew the remaining powder and its accompanying blackness off down the corridor, clearing the area.
"Wally!" called Ron.
"Yes, Mr. Ron, sir." A House-elf appeared, and then three others joined him. 'pop' 'pop' 'pop' They were armed with Beater Bats and rolls of duct tape.
"You all know what to do?"
"Yes, we is ready."
"Good; get to work and Professor Sprout will help you all get this lot stashed away safely."
"Yes, Mr. Ron, sir."
"You three be careful, please; there's lots more where these came from, I'm afraid," Pomona Sprout warned, looking down at the wizards lying helpless at her feet. " 'Old cow' "am I? We'll see about THAT!"
"Right, we're off then. Daphne...Michael, both of you head for Ravenclaw. I'm off to Gryffindor."
"Good luck, Ron," said Daphne as she gave him a quick kiss on the cheek.
"Later, old man!" Michael called, as he and Daphne headed toward the stairs.
"You sure you'll be ok by yourself, Professor?" Ron asked, standing next to the Herbology teacher, watching the House-elves bind the Death Eaters, hand and foot, with Winky's 'contribution to the cause'.
"I'll be fine, young man! Wally and the others will make sure these four don't try anything and I'm going to personally see them to the holding area!"
"Right. I'm off then."
"Well, the Inferi were a last minute addition, but I hope they provided your 'Army' with a bit of a challenge." The Dark Lord lazily waved his hand.
"Against the Weasleys' and their pyrotechnics? Hardly." Dumbledore chuckled, shaking his head.
"Yes, the Weasleys... I'll deal with them later. And the giants?"
"Never made it to the Quidditch pitch, I'm afraid."
"Really? How extraordinary! And who was responsible for that, if you don't mind my asking?"
"Not at all...Anna Twigg-Jones, Arthur and Percy Weasley, Hagrid, Grawp and Theo Nott were the ground forces and Draco Malfoy, with Gwen Jones were on Buckbeak, administering the drugs that rendered the giants unconscious." Dumbledore beamed as if bragging about his children's good grades.
"Drugs?" Voldemort didn't look quite so pleased at this news. "As in Muggle drugs?"
"Yes; quite quick acting and effective, so I've been told."
"Muggle drugs...in a wizard war? You're not playing fair, Albus." Voldemort wiggled his finger at the Headmaster.
" 'All's fair in love and war' and I doubt if you'd even consider love to be part of the equation." Dumbledore answered back, with a small smile.
"Touche..." Voldemort inclined his head. "That meddlesome Muggle will be hunted down, shortly," was the dismissive reply.
"I don't like this at all," Rookwood said to Rabastan. "Maybe we'd better go back in the school and see what's happening; we can stop anyone trying to get out from inside the hallway just as well as out here in the open."
The other three Death Eaters nodded agreement.
"I think you're right, something is seriously wrong," Rabastan turned and started back toward the school. "It's too quiet, especially considering someone was out here dealing with those Inferi. Where are they hiding? How did we pass them with out seeing or hearing them?"
As the Death Eaters entered the courtyard, they slowed their pace, looking around, trying to see into the corners, listening for any sound. Severus and the D.A.s remained motionless, silent as stones as Voldemort's minions walked past, some within inches, until they reached the center.
'That's far enough, Rabastan," Severus intoned in his deep, unmistakable voice.
"Snape?" Rabastan gasped.
"That's not possible...he's dead," whispered Rookwood, cocking his head, listening.
Silvia, Ginny, Susan started giggling, softly, as they circled the Death Eaters, who whirled around in confusion. Then Justin and Terry started laughing, quietly, behind their hands to muffle the sound, walking in the opposite direction around the courtyard.
"Who's there?" called the witch standing next to Rookwood. "Show yourselves, cowards!"
The kids went silent, which seemed to un-nerve the Death Eaters even more.
"You can surrender now, or I'll give the signal for my group to take you by force."
"It's Snape's ghost!" Rookwood squeaked, grabbing Rabastan's sleeve.
"Fool, he's concealed himself! Come out, come out where ever you are, Severus," he called, mockingly. " 'Finite Incantatum!' "
"As you wish," replied Severus, as he felt the Invisibility spell start to melt away from his body and those of the D.A.s.
"Oh, yes, and I've sent the Dementors to Azkaban, to await the arrival of your followers later this morning." Albus leaned back, smiling serenely. "You didn't really need them for anything, did you?"
"You what? How dare they desert their duties to me! I was going to provide them with a feast of souls!" Voldemort was seething. "Inconceivable!"
"Yes, and now, instead of having your dorms emptied and the students sent to the courtyard to feed the Dementors, the cowards have fled! Unbelievable!"
"You would have sacrificed the students? Even those in Slytherin House?" The Headmaster's voice was low and hard.
"Yes, all of them, except...Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter." Voldemort smiled slightly.
"I shouldn't wonder."
"Well." Voldemort stood, as did the Headmaster. "This means a slight change in plans; we'll just have to kill them all, outright. Busy, busy, busy. If you'll excuse me, I must tell my followers."
"I'm afraid they are engaged at the moment, Tom, so why don't you just wait here for a while...with me ...and we'll see who shows up," suggested Dumbledore, grasping his wand, hidden in the folds of his robe. "I insist, actually."
"You insist? And what makes you think you can stop me, old man? I walked right through your precious school and you didn't even know I was here!"
"You've been under surveillance since you first appeared on the hill across the lake, Tom, so perhaps you should reconsider. Sit down, please."
Was it possible for Voldemort's face to turn paler?
Travers, Macnair and the other three Death Eaters had split from the half dozen heading for Gryffindor House and were headed down the hallway toward the Ravenclaw common room. Kingsley, Neville and Ernie watched them approaching and smiled as they saw Dean and Seamus following them at a distance.
Kingsley watched in fascination as the boys all raised their slingshots and started firing at the Death Eaters.
"OW!" "Hey!" "Ouch!" "Bloody Hell!"
In the dark hall it was impossible to see where their assailants were, but it became immediately apparent that they were caught in a crossfire; being struck from in front and behind. Suddenly,
"OW!" A Death Eater fell over, clutching his kneecap.
"What the... what was..."
"AHHH!" "My foot! My foot!"
Macnair crouched down and spun slowly, realizing what the 'pop' sound had meant...House-elves.
'I'll get the little blighters,' he thought. 'Come on, try it with Uncle Walden, just try!'
"Stupify!" shouted Macnair, only to hear a grunt and a thud as Travers keeled over.
Macnair went down, clutching his wand hand, screaming.
"Stupify!" cried Seamus and Dean, as they caught up with the Death Eaters.
"Silencio!" said Kingsley, thereby cutting the sound level of the Death Eaters moaning down to nothing, even as they lay there, clutching their injuries, mouths open.
"Accio Wands!" Neville caught the wands and handed them to Kingsley.
"Barty!" Ernie yelled.
"Yes, sir, Mr. Ernie?"
"What, exactly, do you lot think you were doing, attacking these Death Eaters?"
'pop' 'pop' 'pop, pop' the other house-elves appeared, holding their Beater Bats.
"We is sorry sir, but when we see it is the bad one," pointing to Macnair, "we is have to attack him, sir, he kills creatures....not because it is his job, sir, but because he is liking it, sir. Even House-elves, sir."
"I see, bit of a vendetta, eh?"
"Yes, sir, but we is not sorry sir, we is proud." Sunny piped up, Wally and the other two house-elves nodding agreement.
"Very well, point taken and good job of it, too, we might add," Dean shook his head. "Bloody dangerous, you lot!"
The house elves smiled, puffing up a bit.
"Listen, Kingsley, can you and Ernie and the House-elves take care of these Death Eaters? Seamus and Dean and I want to go check how Harry is doing," asked Neville.
"Sure, go ahead and good luck!" answered the Auror.
"No problems, mate," added Ernie, shooing them on their way.
Harry watched as Anna, Draco, Theo, the Creevey brothers and Gwen closed the distance to the gate.
"Alright, everybody, let's get them."
Whooping loudly, the six D.A.s took off and streaked down toward the gate. The Death Eaters were watching the doors of the school and failed to look up until it was too late, as spell started flying. Avery and a big blond wizard quickly realized how vulnerable they were, standing out on the lawn.
"They're going too fast, I can't hit them!" shouted another, as he managed to duck a flash of green.
"Quick, into the gate house!" Avery shouted, backing toward the dubious shelter of the stone arch; they might be sheltered, but they would also be trapped. There wasn't much choice, though, so the Death Eaters kept trying to hit the broom riders even as they entered the covered path to the gates.
Suddenly, spells started hitting the walls by their heads, but they were coming from behind!
"What the...?" Avery spun around.
Anna, Draco, Theo, Dennis and Colin had them covered and Harry and the others had landed on the lawn and were advancing on the gate house from the other side.
"Now what do we do?" asked the big blond.
"Fight! Because the Dark Lord will kill us if we surrender," he added grimly, even as he ran out and started dueling with Anna.
Fenrir was pacing the hallway like a caged animal, the Death Eaters in his group watching him nervously. He stopped and looked out the door across the bridge to the dorm building.
"Hummph...fools. How hard can it be to round up children and deliver them to us? I don't like this waiting. You fools follow me; we're going to see what's taking them so long."
With that he stomped off over the bridge only to see George and Angelina, off to his right, swooping around the far tower.
He quickened his pace, as the others looked up the ravine, trying to see what Fenrir had spotted. .
The staircase was suddenly full of spells and shouts as the combatants ducked below the banisters to avoid being hit. Remus, Minerva, Hermione and Blaze had been joined by Luna, who had used a secret passage to get past the approaching wizards. They were waiting when six Death Eaters, led by Jugson and Mulciber, had comes tearing up the ever shifting stairs. It was a wild battle in the dark, the portraits shouting encouragement, Christopher shouting the loudest, adding to the din and confusion. Michael and Daphne who had met up with Dean, Seamus and Neville, arrived and readily joined in.
Now there were four battles taking place inside Hogwarts: in the Slytherin common room, the moving staircase tower, the Clock Tower courtyard and at the gate house.
Avery and the big blond Death Eater had fought their way out of the gate house onto the lawn inside the gatehouse, but when Pavarti tripped and fell backwards over a broom, they seized the opportunity to make a run for the castle. Anna, Draco and Theo pushed the other four back through the gatehouse and Harry and Zach, with some well placed 'Jelly Legs' jinxes from the Creevey brothers, soon had them bound securely.
"We'd better follow those other two," said Padma, pointing to the door the Death Eaters had entered, "Before they get too far."
"Sorry I let them get past, Harry," Pavarti hung her head.
"Just a bit of bad luck." Harry put his arm around her and hugged her, giving her an encouraging smile.
"At least no one was hurt badly, eh?"
"Just a couple of scratches, Harry," said Anna, checking everyone quickly,
"I skinned my elbow on the wall." Dennis held up his arm and proudly showed his torn sleeve. "See!"
"Well, at least madam Pomfrey will have something to do, then. Can't disappoint, can we?" laughed Draco.
"Hey, sounds like something's happening over by the clock tower and there goes Fred...or George" Gwen pointed toward the distant tower. Four figures on brooms were strafing the courtyard will spells as they streaked through the night sky.
"Severus!" Anna gasped and took off running.
"Anna, wait!" Harry called, looking around for his broom. "Accio broom!"
Just as he caught it, 'pop', Dobby was standing in front of him.
"Mister Harry Potter, sir, Professor Dumbledore is telling Dobby to give this to you, sir."
"What? Oh, the Map. Great. Thanks Dobby."
"You is welcome, Harry Potter, sir."
"Hold on!" Draco grabbed Harry's arm. "Dobby, why isn't Professor Dumbledore keeping a eye on things with the Map?" Draco asked. "I thought that was why he asked for it in the first place."
"He is saying Harry would need it and he is being busy talking with someone."
"I is not knowing, Mister Draco, sir. Dobby is seeing him when Professor Dumbledore is going back to the Great Hall, sir."
"Never mind, right now, Draco, we have to catch up with Anna!" Gwen urged them.
"I'm heading for Slytherin," Draco told Harry. "Coming Theo?"
"Right with you, Draco; wouldn't miss it for the world." Theo grinned, pushing up his sleeves.
"Ok, then." Harry looked around. "Zack, Pavarti and I will head for the clock tower courtyard. Colin, you and Dennis stick with Gwen. Take her to the Great Hall to stay with Professor Dumbledore, she'll be safe there. Cut straight through the Fountain courtyard and across the stone arch bridge, and then come find us, or help out where ever you can. Anthony, can you, Lavender and Padma take care of these Death Eaters?"
"Got it covered, and when we get them put away, we'll rejoin you."
"Sounds like a plan to me," Gwen agreed. "Ok, you two, you are my official body guards, but I'll cover your back, too, ok?"
"Let's go everyone!"
The Slytherin common room was virtually destroyed. There wasn't a chair standing, much less in one piece, the sofas were ripped apart and smoldering, windows were blasted out, chandeliers were lying broken to bits where they had crashed to the stone floor, tapestries torn and burnt, but the drinks cabinet was still intact. Mad-eye had already decided to see exactly what spells young Malfoy had used, once hr had a chance to speak to him.
'Damn good spell work, that!' he'd thought, the first time it had saved him being hit by a nasty spell from Rodolphus Lestrange.
Bella and Narcissa, however, had moved out into the corridor next to the Potions classroom and were trading spells, totally disregarding the others. Rodolphus had his hands full with Bill Weasley and couldn't get out the door to help his wife. Three Death Eaters lay motionless on the floor and Tonks and Mad-eye were keeping the others pinned in a corner, blocking their escape. All had been wounded to some extent; cuts, bruises and some blood covering both Death Eaters and defenders.
"When are you going to realize you can't win, Bella, much less escape?" Cissa asked , as she ducked and spun.
"I'm deliberately not doing anything to harm you, on my Master's orders, sister dear. He has his own plans for you and your blood traitor son," came the reply as Bella whirled around a pillar.
"Plans can change, as you can see. We've known when you were coming and we were ready. All of the others are being captured as I speak. Even the giants will be stopped by now, thanks in part to Draco."
"Splendid, that keeps him out of the way for a bit, but when he returns, it will be right into Great Hall for the both of you."
"Don't count on it."
With that their battle recommenced, spells and curses filling the air.
As Draco and Theo ran across the stone arch bridge, a movement from their right caused them to skid to a halt. Through the large archway leading to the cobblestone courtyard, they saw a group of Death Eaters heading for the Clock tower courtyard, with Fenrir in the lead.
"Damn, Severus' group will be trapped!" Theo quickly realized. "TOBY!"
"Yes, Mister Theo?"
"Go to Professor Snape, right now and tell him there's a group of Death Eaters coming up behind them from the cobblestone courtyard. Hurry!"
"That should help," Draco agreed, "but Anna's going to run into them, too, if she's not careful. TYKEY!"
"Find Missy Anna and tell her to watch out going through the Clock tower; there are Death Eaters between her and Professor Snape's group."
"She is knowing that, Mister Draco, sir, she is just over there, sir, waiting for Harry Potter, sir," replied the house-elf, pointing to the far bridge, just past the Dark Tower.
Anna was, indeed, standing in the door way, waving at them. Draco and Theo waved back.
"Ok, then, we're off. Thanks, Tykey. Hey, how's it going down in Slytherin? Is Mother alright?" Draco was suddenly aware he hadn't a clue what was happening down in the dungeons.
"Her and Bella Lestrange is fighting, Mister Draco, in the corridor."
"Shit!" Draco and Theo took off running at top speed across the rest of the bridge and into the hallway where the stairs to Slytherin House were located. Without hesitation, both boys leapt down the wide steps.
"Oh, Anna, here you are!" Harry was relieved to find his friend waiting for them at the door to the short swinging bridge that led to the Clock Tower.
"I got here just as a group of Death Eaters were going in." She pointed across to the open archway on the other end of the bridge. "Thought it was prudent to wait for re-enforcements, eh?"
"Let me check the map first," suggested Harry, unfolding the magical parchment. "I solemnly swear I am up to no good."
Inky lines immediately spread across the wrinkled surface.
Anna peered down at the Marauder's Map, pointing to the dot labeled SEVERUS SNAPE
"There! Looks like he's aware of their presence, too; see how he's got everyone spread out, but with a pillar of something at their back for protection?"
"Yeah, well, I bet this lot," Harry pointed to the group of Death Eaters across the bridge, "won't expect us to trap them from behind, so we'd better hurry."
"Wait!" Anna stepped out and whistled shrilly. Sure enough Fred, George, Katie and Angelina came zooming up.
"Hey, Anna, Harry," called Fred.
"Wotcher, Zack, Pavarti!" added George.
"Come back to join the fun, eh?" Fred did a barrel roll, laughing.
Angelina and Katie shook their heads.
"They just won't take this seriously, Anna!" exclaimed Katie.
"They're lucky they're still on their brooms, the stunts they've pulled!" agreed Angelina.
"Be that as it may," Fred waved his hand, dismissively, "We're doing just fine, thank you and now, with you lot here we can wrap this up."
"Not quite," inserted Harry, pointing to the map. "Fenrir and his bunch are right over there, about to come through to the courtyard."
"Fenrir! Holy hippogriff! We'd better go warn Severus." Angelina backed her broom up, preparing to fly off.
"Wait, I think he knows, I saw a House-elf talking to him and pointing into the school." George informed them. "I wondered what was going on."
"Ok, then, you four go back and engage the ones in the courtyard and we'll get behind Fenrir's group and attack from that side." Anna instructed them.
"Right-o!" "Ta!" "Good hunting!" "Hey, wait for me!"
As the four flew off Harry started to touch the map with his wand to erase the markings when he spotted something that made his heart lurch.
Someone was in the great hall with Professor Dumbledore...TOM RIDDLE!
"Ah, I just felt Harry's heart lurch. He must know I'm here...maybe he'll join us for some light refreshments." Voldemort waved his hand and a tea service appeared, set for three. "Care for a spot, old man?"
"Thank you, no...maybe later."