Redemption and resurrection.
Harry watched the body of Voldemort, hanging in mid-slump, not moving, as the others looked back and forth at each other.
"That's it? That's how Voldemort dies? Killed by the remains of that bloody great, dead snake he used against the school?" Ron asked
"DON'T ANYONE MOVE!" Harry shouted. "He's not dead."
Everyone froze, wands pointed at Voldemort's body. Peter Pettigrew took a step towards the figure lying crookedly, impaled on the three foot fang.
"Master?" he whispered. He saw Voldemort's hand tighten on his wand. "Harry, look out!"
Wormtail threw himself on the hand holding the wand just as Voldemort raised up and screamed, " 'AVADA KADAVRA'!"
A flash of green light enveloped Peter and he fell, dead, across his Master's chest and legs. Voldemort struggled against the weight. " 'Expelliarmus'!" Wormtail's body flew into the air and Harry ducked sideways to avoid being hit.
" 'Avada Kadavra!' " bellowed Voldemort.
" 'Avada Kadavra'!" yelled Harry.
The two spells met, as they had in the graveyard, but this time Harry was ready for what would happen. He concentrated on his parents, Cedric, Dumbledore, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Anna, Gwen, Remus, Severus, Neville, Luna, Tonks and Draco...all his friends; on how much he loved them, with every thread of his heart and soul.
Voldemort was livid with rage. He struggled to stand and with a crack the fang broke, as had its twin, in Harry's arm, five years earlier. He stood, the white, broken off fang sticking out of his back, holding his wand rigidly, fighting the vibrations of the 'Priori Incantatum'.
Harry and Voldemort were grasping their wands with both hands and now the golden cage started to form. It was as before; no one could interfere, but this time, it was the Parkinsons and the Malfoy solicitors and some people no one recognized who emerged from the light. They looked at Harry, then at Voldemort. Mrs. Parkinson floated over to Harry and whispered in his ear. He nodded and then glanced at her and smiled.
The wispy figures were circling Voldemort, jeering him. Harry could vaguely hear the watching crowd of his friends outside the golden mesh yelling encouragement and love. His heart warmed with thoughts of them and the ball of light slid, ever so slowly toward Voldemort. He was staggering, from the effects of the fang's venom working its way through his body and the sheer effort of trying to push the ball of light back toward Harry...it wasn't working. Inch by inch the light was getting closer...it was almost to him...his eyes widened with terror.
Then it touched his wand and there was a brilliant burst of green and gold light, the cage exploded in a shower of sparks with such force that everyone in the Chamber was knocked off their feet and momentarily stunned. Draco and Neville were the first to shake their heads and sit up. Looking around they spotted each other and then they both turned to where Harry had been standing.
"Harry!" they yelled, as they scrambled over to where he lay, unmoving on the edge of the pool.
The others kids were rapidly coming to and rushing to join them, even as Anna, Severus, Tonks and Remus stood, wands at the ready, scanning the Chamber...nothing. Where Voldemort had stood was a smoking corpse; all that was left of the Dark Lord. His wand wobbled in the gnarled, blackened hand and fell, clattering, to the stone floor. Severus walked over and picked it up, then stood, looking down at what remained of Voldemort. Remus came up and put a hand on his shoulder.
"It's over, Severus, it's finally over."
"Yes. Harry did it."
"Harry!" cried Ginny.
The two Wizards turned around to see Ginny cradling Harry's limp body in her arms.
"Oh...no...not Harry," whispered Remus.
Ginny was rocking and crying. The others stood there, holding onto each other for comfort. Anna and Tonks silently joined Severus and Remus.
Suddenly, Gwen, who had been digging frantically in her doctor's bag, raised her hand. "Got it! Let me through, guys!"
Draco and Neville parted to let her scramble over to Ginny.
"Ginny, let me see him, please."
Ginny looked up and with a sob, loosened her hold on Harry, his head flopping back in the crook of her arm. Gwen grabbed his chin and pulled his face around. 'snap!' She waved her hand under his nose. It took a few seconds, but Harry jerked and coughed. Everyone gasped.
"Anyone get the tag number of that lorry?" was the weak question that came from his lips, even before he opened his eyes.
Gwen sat back on her heels, grinning, as the kids and adults started cheering and hugging each other, including Ron and Draco and Severus and Remus!
"Harry?" Ginny whispered.
"Ginny?" His eyes opened, focused, and then he reached up and pulled her down to kiss her, long and hard. More cheers erupted.
"Here, Harry, sit up." Gwen took hold of his arm and helped his right himself. Luna handed him his glasses, luckily unbroken, which he put on and then he looked around.
"What happened? Where's..."
"Over there," Neville pointed, "dead."
"You did it." Hermione smiled through her tears.
"He's really dead?" Harry seemed unable to grasp what had happened.
"Yes, Harry. He's really, truly, totally dead," Anna replied.
"Here, Harry." Severus handed Harry Voldemort's wand. "Dead."
Harry turned the wand over in his hands, gazing intently at it. Then he looked up at Severus and Anna.
"What should I do with it? I don't want it."
"Present it to the Ministry as proof."
"Why? Can't we just show them..."
"There's not much to show, and it's hardly identifiable as human, much less Voldemort," Remus told him.
Just then Nagini slithered over and raising herself, looked Harry in the eye. Everyone backed away a step or two, except Ginny and Gwen.
"My Master is gone," hissed the snake. "Am I to die, also?"
"No, you are safe with me, Nagini. I'll see you're fed and taken good care of by our Magical Creatures Professor. Would that be satisfactory?" Harry hissed softly.
"Oh, yes, young Master." Nagini coiled himself next to Harry.
"I'm not your Master, Nagini, you're free to leave anytime you wish," Harry told her.
"No, Harry Potter, I will be very happy to stay here, as you wish," hissed the snake, bobbing her head up and down.
Gwen reached out and ran her hand along the snake's smooth skin. Nagini turned and regarded Gwen before looking again at Harry.
"The Muggle does not fear me?"
"Gwen." Harry turned his head. "Nagini wants to know why you aren't afraid of her."
"I have a healthy respect for snakes, Harry but she's right, I'm not really 'afraid' of her, I'm just cautious. She just seems friendly, that's all." Gwen smiled at the snake as she continued, "I wouldn't deliberately harm any living creature, Harry; Fenrir being the one exception to that rule. Tell her that would you?"
Harry nodded and hissed the message. Nagini nodded and laid her head on Gwen's knee, enjoying the attention.
Gwen looked at Harry. "She's quite intelligent, isn't she?"
"Harry," Anna interrupted. "We'd better get back to the school; everyone will be worried. Do you feel strong enough, or do you..."
"I'm ok, really, just let me get up. Remus, give me a hand."
Harry grabbed Remus' offered hand and was hoisted off of the floor, and then he turned and pulled Ginny to her feet. Harry glanced down at Nagini, her head resting on her new friend's knee.
"Can you follow us?"
Harry looked past Severus and saw Voldemort's remains. Walking over, he looked down at the blackened corpse, then turning to face everyone, he scratched his head.
"What am I supposed to do now?"
"Well, there are the N.E.W.T.s exams coming up," Remus reminded him, eliciting groans from the boys.
"Thanks for reminding us of that, mate," Ron groused. "Bloody hell!"
"Ah, then my job here is done," Remus smiled, earning him a razzberry from Draco. Harry and the rest broke up laughing.
"We'd better get going, then," said Harry, as he took Ginny's hand and led the way, back to the tunnels.
Emerging from Moaning Myrtle's, it suddenly hit the group that is wasn't totally over. They still had to find out who was hurt, if anyone had been killed, were their plans for the Death Eaters successful?
They approached the marble steps in the entrance hall and were met with a truly remarkable sight; a procession floating Death Eaters, trussed and gagged with duct tape, being brought from the holding area that had been set up in the Room of Requirement by the House-elves. It looked like a conga line of silver cocoons. They burst into laughter and when the rest of the D.A., staff, Order members and Aurors saw them, a mighty cheer arose, but faded just as quickly as Harry stepped forward.
That was all Harry managed to get out before he was engulfed in a wave of people, shaking his hand, hugging him and pounding him on his back. Professor McGonagall made her way through the crowd and caught Harry in a fierce bear hug. Harry looked up into her tear stained face.
"Albus knew you could do it, Harry."
"Where is he?"
"In the hospital wing, but Harry..."
"No, I have to go and see him...now."
"But..." Harry pushed past her and set off.
Anna took hold of Minerva's elbow. "Let's leave him alone with his grief for a bit, Minerva."
Both Professor McGonagall and Gwen turned to stare at her.
"What grief?" Gwen asked.
"Who died?" Minerva questioned.
"Why, Albus....Voldemort killed him earlier, in the Great Hall."
"But...but..." Minerva sputtered, turning to Gwen for help in explaining.
"I've never seen her at a loss for words!" Remus said to Severus.
"Indeed, it's most extraordinary. Do you have an explanation, Gwen?" Severus asked, seeing his step-daughter smiling and shaking her head.
"Well, as to what she's trying to tell you." Gwen put her arm around Severus' shoulder. "I is a bad girl, step-Daddy, I is. I is playing with Muggle things again, in the middle of Hogwarts, too."
"Gwen..." Anna stood there with her hands on her hips. "Out with it, what did you do?"
"CPR and De-fibbed him."
"What!" Anna's mouth dropped open. "And it worked?!? My God!" Anna's hand flew to her forehead.
"Yep! I kept noticing that when spells went whizzing by me, they felt like huge surges of static electricity, so I took a desperate, maybe stupid, highly improbable, but lucky chance."
"Merlin! Do you have any idea what this could mean to the Wizarding World?" Remus asked, having some knowledge of what she was talking about.
"Unfortunately, the same thing it means in the Muggle world, Remus: if you have a heart attack or are electrocuted and IF you collapse near someone who knows CPR or IF you get prompt medical attention, you might stand a chance of surviving. So," Gwen shrugged, "life's still a crap shoot."
"Wait a minute," Severus said, looking at the gathered crowd. "Remember Sybil's prophesy at Christmas, about 'the dead rising'. What if she didn't mean the Inferi, but real people; Dumbledore is #1."
"So, who's #2? Not Voldemort, surely?" Minerva put her hand on her chest in shock.
"No, even he can't rise from that pile of ashes, he's NOT Fawkes," Anna reassured her.
"I think I might know, eh, Severus?" Remus looked at the Potions Master and winked.
"I believe you are correct, Remus." Severus nodded and turned to look at Draco, who was standing a little up the stairs. "Mister Malfoy, lead us to the hospital wing, please."
Looking puzzled, Draco turned and with Tonks beside him, headed up to the infirmary.
As Harry entered the hospital wing, he saw Artemus Pye being assisted by Cissa Black bandaging a burn on Katie Bell's leg, Madam Pomfrey talking with Penny Clearwater by the bed on which Michael Corner was lying, his arm in a sling, and Molly Weasley was fussing over a table of supplies, Fleur by her side, clipboard and quill in hand. Fleur spotted Harry and her face lit up.
Everyone stopped and turned to look at the exhausted young Wizard standing there, holding onto the door frame.
Molly took a step toward him. "Harry, is he...is it finally over?"
Harry nodded, tears in his eyes and the room erupted in cheers. As he stepped into the room, he was engulfed in Molly's embrace, as she laughed and cried at the same time.
"Oh, Harry! Oh, Harry! This is wonderful news! And there weren't any casualties on our side and, luckily, only minor injuries. Christopher's been keeping us posted but he didn't know where you'd gotten off to until Dobby told him. Is Ginny alright?"
"Yes, Mrs. Weasley, she's fine." Harry decided not to mention the fact he'd slugged Molly's only daughter
"Oh, good. We were so worried. But, now! What a glorious day!"
"I wish I could tell the Headmaster everything's ok," Harry sighed.
"Well, go on, then; he's well enough for visitors. I expect the noise tipped him off, though, to the good news."
"What? I...ah...what did you say?" Harry couldn't process the words. Had he heard correctly?
"Harry?" Molly looked at him, eyebrow raised in question.
"He's well enough? But, Mrs.Weasley, he's dead, I saw Voldemort kill him in the Great Hall!"
"Did you now?" Molly crossed her arms over her bosom. "Well then, I guess I've been talking to a awfully solid ghost." She pointed to the far corner, where there was a screen blocking the view of the last bed. "He's right over there. Go on." She gave him a push.
Not believing his ears, Harry stumbled over to the screen and stuck his head around.
"Hello, Harry! I assume from the shouting, that you bring good tidings?"
"Professor! But... I saw you die...I know I did!" Harry sat down heavily on the nearest chair. "I don't understand. 'Dead is dead', you said so yourself!"
"AH, but I hadn't taken into account the resourcefulness of Doctor Gwen Jones."
"Yes, she used a defibrillator, I believe that was the word, on my old ticker and got it started again. Most remarkable; I don't remember being dead, just waking up with Madam Pomfrey lying on the floor next to me."
"She'd fainted, it seems, when Gwen administered the treatment; most bizarre."
"So, Tom's dead then?"
"Yes. We had another 'Priori Incantatum', when both of us threw the 'Avada Kadavra'. But, he'd fallen and been impaled on that fang of the Basilisk that you warned Ron off of."
"AH, yes, having your blood in his veins made him susceptible to the effects of the venom."
"That and I was able to push the spell back toward him until it connected with his wand and BANG! It knocked everyone right off of their feet. When we got up from the floor and looked, there was nothing left of him but a charred corpse. Here's his wand, sir," said Harry, handing it to Albus, who studied it, much as Harry had, turning it over and over and then he handed it back.
"Remarkable, isn't it Harry, how a simple stick can be used for such evil and another for such good."
Just then a commotion could be heard, as the group Harry had left behind arrived. Molly immediately smothered Ginny and Ron in her embrace.
"Better move the screen, Harry, I sense a celebration about to start."
"Yes, sir," answered Harry, grinning as he folded back the screen and Dumbledore waved merrily at the advancing crowd.
"He did it, Albus!" called Remus.
"So I understand," replied Dumbledore.
"Harry Potter! Harry Potter!" cried Dobby, as he launched himself into Harry arms. "You is safe! Oh, Harry Potter, you is doing it, sir, you is killing that bad old Voldemort! Oh, Harry Potter, you is doing it!"
Harry laughed and hugged the House-elf, who was practically bursting with pride.
"Thanks Dobby, and tell all of the House-elves I'll came and see them in a bit and thank them, personally, for all their help."
"You is too kind, Harry Potter; they is just doing their duty to Hogwarts."
"None the less, please give them my hello and well done."
"Yes, Harry Potter, sir/"
There was a shriek from Molly Weasley when she spotted Nagini. She pulled her wand but Harry jumped up and ran over.
"No! Mrs. Weasley, it's ok; she's with me."
"But that must be the snake that attacked Arthur!
"Voldemort was controlling her, Mrs. Weasley. She's really very smart and friendly."
Nagini had coiled herself around Harry's ankles. He looked down at her and smiled.
"Why does this Witch want to harm me?" she hissed, keeping an eye on Molly.
"It was her husband, her mate, that you attacked in the Ministry of Magic, about two and a half years ago," Harry explained.
"My apologies. I hope he recovered." Nagini nodded at Molly.
"He did, he's just fine." Harry looked over at Molly. "She apologizes and hopes Mister Weasley is in good health."
"What? Really? Well, I, well, yes, ok .But she still scares me, Harry."
"It's ok, she'll not harm anyone and she has agreed to being under Hagrid's care."
"Harry!" Draco called, one arm around him Mother, who was crying softly.
"Yeah?" Harry turned and looked over his shoulder.
"We were talking and, well, remember that Prophesy that Trelawney came out with over the Christmas holiday, about 'the dead rising, more than one'?" Draco asked.
Harry's eyes got wide and he spun around and looked at Dumbledore. "It was you she was talking about, not just the Inferi! Brilliant!" He stood there grinning.
The Headmaster nodded his head. "But, in truth, Harry, we haven't been totally honest with all of you this year, I'm sorry to say. There has been a secret that was, however, necessary, for all your sakes."
"Secret? Out with it, Albus!" Anna asked, arms crossed, foot tapping.
"Not it, Anna dear, but whom." The Headmaster pointed to the other end of the ward, where Poppy was helping Pansy Parkinson walk slowly into the ward.
"Pansy!" Draco gasped, and then he sprinted the length of the room, skidding to a halt in front of her.
"Draco," she said softly, and then smiled weakly at him, opened her arms and was swept off her feet and twirled around.
"Careful! Careful!" Poppy warned. "Mister Malfoy! Please be careful! Put her down, this instant!"
Draco stopped and lowered Pansy gently to her feet, staring into her face in total disbelief. Dumbledore waved his wand and the memory charm lifted. Draco smiled, looked over at him and nodded. Then he took Pansy's face in his hands and kissed her, while everyone cheered and clapped, even as they began demanding an explanation.
Twenty minutes later, the story told, Draco was sitting with Pansy on his lap next to Albus' bed, with the group ranged out around them, sitting on chairs, beds and the floor. The rest of the D.A. and Order had found their way to the hospital wing, having left the Aurors and Ministry personnel to deal with the Death Eaters.
Narcissa had been shocked and thrilled to see Pansy, but she wasn't so sure about Pansy sitting on Draco's lap. Artemus reminded her that she had been young once, and about her own second chance at love. He put his arm around Cissa's shoulder and they kissed, unseen by the group listening intently to Albus.
As the sun came up, Poppy got the ward back under her control and threw out all of the visitors, except Draco. He sat on a chair next to Pansy's bed, where she was propped up, drinking a strengthening potion.
"Well, Miss Parkinson, it seems we will be 'roomies' for the next few days, or until Poppy declares us fit to resume our lives." Albus smiled at her from the next bed.
"I'll come to see you as often as Madam Pomfrey will let me and catch you up on what's been happening since..." Draco stopped, not wanting Pansy to think too much about her parents.
She looked at him and smiled. "It's ok, Draco, you can talk about what happened; I've had nothing to do but think about it for the past ten months."
"Really, Miss Parkinson? You were aware of what was going on around you?" Albus asked, furrowing his brow. He was intrigued at having the opportunity to talk with a survivor of the 'Draught of the Living Death' potion.
"Not aware, really, it was more like dreaming. But I could control what was being shown to me, so I replayed what happened and what was said...and done." Looking at Dumbledore, she added. "All of it."
"Poppy tried to place a memory charm, but we weren't sure if it would be successful. I'm sorry, Pansy."
"It's alright, Headmaster, even as it happened, I was able to block my mind. I just thought of Draco," she looked at him, "and that I loved him. And I could hear someone, probably Madam Pomfrey, talking to me, as if from a distance, so I realized you might have figured out what had happened to me."
"Perhaps that saved your sanity and gave you hope." Dumbledore replied, nodding his head.
"Love is all you need," said Draco, smiling.
"What?" Pansy asked.
"I'll tell you the whole story later, but we used that phrase down in the Chamber; drove old Tom bonkers!" Draco laughed. "A Muggle love song helped do him in."
"Among other things, I understand."
"Yes, Pettigrew saved Harry's life, Headmaster, repaid his Wizard's debt by throwing himself on Voldemort's wand when he tried to curse Harry."
"Ah, redemption; well done, Peter."
"When Harry and Voldemort's wands connected, it was just as Father told me happened in the graveyard. It was bizarre. I saw your parents, Pansy, and why I didn't think to wonder why you didn't appear, I don't know, but everything was happening so fast."
"Oh, I wish I could have seen them." Pansy's eyes filled with tears.
Draco moved to sit on the bed and gathered her into his arms.
"Go on and cry, Pansy; you'll feel loads better."
He held her and rocked her gently as she sobbed. Dumbledore held out a box of tissues and Draco took a few to give to Pansy. She dried here eyes and blew her nose.
"Thank you, Draco; I do feel a bit better."
"Good...hold on...if you're here, who's buried out there," he pointed out the window, "in the cemetery with your parents?" He swiveled to look at Dumbledore.
"A hundred pound log," Albus answered.
"Oh, yes; we had to weight the coffin but we'll remove you headstone, of course."
"Good," replied Pansy, smiling. "I don't plan on using it anytime soon."
"I should bloody well hope not, especially if I have anything to say about it!" Draco bent and kissed her.
Pansy put her arms around his neck and kissed him back...about ten months worth. Suddenly, it occurred to both of them that they weren't alone. Glancing sheepishly toward Dumbledore, they found him with his nose in a book, which was, unfortunately, upside-down. He peeked over the top/bottom, eyes twinkling.
"I was thinking you two would like some privacy?" He conjured the screen to slide between the two beds.
"Thank you, Headmaster."
"Entirely my pleasure; I've been anticipating you reunion for some time."
Before breakfast, each Head of House held a short meeting in their respective common rooms to explain to the students what had occurred during the night. As they walked to the Great Hall, the students could see evidence of the battle, being repaired by a special squad of Wizards from the Ministry, under Mister Filch's supervision. However, they knew they'd see none of the people responsible for the victory over the Dark Lord, as the D.A.s and the members of the Order were getting some much deserved sleep.
Anna, Severus and Gwen, along with Penny and Artemus and Dobby had returned to Greystone Manor and fallen, gratefully, into their beds. Only the necessity of feeding the babies could and did, rouse Anna and Cissa from their slumber.
The D.A.s and the Order members, similarly, slept the morning away, secure in the knowledge that it would truly be a peaceful sleep.
Luncheon at Hogwarts that day, however, was a different matter. The students and faculty who had not been involved in the defense of the school felt they should show their appreciation and thanks, so to say the Great Hall was decorated for a celebration and heroes welcome would rank right up there as top 'understatement of the year'!
Under Christopher's direction, a great number of the largest picture frames from the staircase tower were temporarily re-hung in the great hall, so that all of the castles inhabitants could join in. A space was cleared in one corner for Grawp to have a place to sit and watch. Hagrid sat with him, waving to everyone and introducing his brother to those brave enough to walk over to them.
When it was time for lunch the students and staff were at their tables, facing the doors, waiting for the defenders of Hogwarts to appear. First came the Order of the Phoenix: Mad-eye, Minerva, Flitwick, Arthur and Molly Weasley, Remus, Bill and Fleur, Kingsley and Tonks. Then Madam Pomfrey, Penny, Artemus, Pomona Sprout and Mr. Filch. Clapping and shouts of thanks filled the air.
Peeves and Moaning Myrtle led the ghosts in a high flying processional around the rafters and even Buckbeak made a brief appearance at the doors, to receive bows from those assembled, and after he bowed back, he was a bit startled to receive a thunderous ovation. Beaky did, however, prefer to return to the outdoors for his meal.
Then the D.A.s came in: Hannah, Ernie, Zack, Anthony, Susan, Lavender, Luna, Michael, Draco, Theo, Blaze, Daphne, Dean, Seamus, Colin, Dennis, Padma, Pavarti, Justin, Terry, Silvia, Ginny, Neville, Ron, Hermione, Fred, George, Angelina and Katie. Each was accompanied by their House-elf, with the remaining House-elves following as a group. The applause was getting louder.
Next to appear were Gwen and Cissa, with Lyn on her hip, Gran Longbottom entered leading Frank and Alice, carrying Po. When Anna and Severus, carrying their babies, entered the Great Hall, there was a moment of stunned silence before Anna held up her left hand and showed off her wedding ring. Wild clapping and whistles erupted again.
Finally, Headmaster Dumbledore, with Harry by his side. Albus stopped and let Harry walk ahead, up to his seat at the Gryffindor table. By the time Dumbledore had walked to his chair, the noise level had fallen considerably. He motioned for all to sit.
"It is with the great...relief...that I announce the death, early this morning of Tom Riddle, also know as Lord Voldemort."
Shouts and cries of joy exploded from the listening throng. It was true! It was really true! Voldemort was gone! Dumbledore held up his hand and the noise quieted down for him to continue.
"Harry Potter would be the first to say this was a collaborative effort, and he would be correct. Many students, faculty and friends lent their talents and energies to this battle. And it truly was a battle. We, thanks to Madam Pomfrey and her colleagues, especially Doctor Gwen Jones, suffered no loss of life. And actually, we 'gained' one....Mister Malfoy, if you would."
The entire room watched as Draco walked out of the doors, only to return, seconds later, with Pansy on his arm. There were gasps and a few screams, but Pansy just smiled.
"Welcome back, Miss Parkinson," called the Headmaster.
"It's good to be back. Hello everyone, sorry I'm late."
Draco and Pansy walked to their seats, where Daphne and Silvia threw their arms around their classmate, crying and laughing at the same time.
"So, before the owls from your parents start arriving, asking if you are all safe and sound, and demanding details of what happened last night, I say we raise a toast or two."
Everyone stood, raising their goblets.
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