Categories > Books > Harry Potter > To Fight the Coming Darkness

Azkaban on the Brink

by JBern 2 reviews

Voldemort begins his assault on Azkaban. See the battle from both sides. Dementors attack the coast. All that and a surprising side of Lavender Brown.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Romance - Characters: Bill Weasley, Harry, Kingsley, Moody, Peter, Tonks, Voldemort, Other - Warnings: [!!] [?] [R] [V] - Published: 2006-03-19 - Updated: 2006-03-19 - 11651 words - Complete

Disclaimer - Alas I still don't own it. I will not profit from this work of fiction, now on with the show.

All must bow before the mighty beta reading talents of FairyQilan.
Special thanks to IP82 and Olorin Stormcrow for their contributions.

Chapter 10 - Azkaban on the brink

Darkness had fallen across the tiny island containing the wizard's prison Azkaban. It was a dark and foreboding place. The prison had its own mystique about it. Until recent times, it was considered impenetrable, escape proof and quite possibly a tiny piece of hell that had been transported into the North Atlantic. After the escape of Sirius Black three years ago and last year's mass escape, the reputation had lost a bit of its luster. Still the hostile weather chilled a person's bones even in the summer. The presence of over 100 dementors reinforced the negative atmosphere. If a normal human being could have perceived the island, they would see the fog and mist surrounding the prison like a thick cloak pulled tight. On the northern side of the island a rusted out hulk of a World War Two German U-boat could be seen. If a creature such as a dementor could celebrate, the day those muggle submariners ran aground was a feast of grand proportions. The aurors manning the prison had been too slow to understand what had happened. By the time they arrived, there was no one left to save. Shortly afterwards, the wards were extended to reach below the surface of the water.

Truly, some thought that structures such as Hogwarts and Azkaban were actually alive. If such were the case, Hogwarts would be a gentle school marm carefully guiding her charges into adulthood. Azkaban was the cruel deviant child, who had a reputation for playing with dead things.

The aurors of Azkaban worked twelve-hour shifts. The extra pay was good. Four days on shift followed by four days off. Shift change from days to nights was every two weeks. The majority of Azkaban's aurors were young, single and inexperienced. There were a few of the older more experienced aurors there as team leaders. Despite the presence of the dementors, most enjoyed their work out here. There was ample time to practice dueling. The team leaders, who for various reasons no longer wished to be a field agent, mentored their subordinates whenever possible passing on tips and tricks of the trade. In fact, the Auror Training Academy would often recommend that some of the less than stellar cadets spend a year or two 'on the rock' to hone their skills, before proceeding to active fieldwork. Since the ministry had acknowledged the Dark Lord's return, they had raised the number of aurors on each shift from twelve to sixteen.

While the aurors handled most of the prisoner interaction, the actual day to day operations were handled by a staff of house elves. They set about their tasks happily, knowing to stay well away from the dementors. Fine meals were prepared for the aurors, not so fine for the prisoners. Every once in a while when a new house elf joined the staff, it would take some time to convince the confused creature that the 'bad witches and wizards' do not deserve the level of service normally expected from a house elf and that they only needed to have their cells cleaned on a weekly basis.

In Azkaban, there were two categories of prisoner - short timers and lifers. The short timers had done something and had been awarded a stint on the island. They were expected at some point to rejoin society and that the stay on the island would correct the criminal behavior that had landed them there in the first place. Generally a short timer's lot in life was better than the lifers. The cells were slightly larger, the food slightly better, meals were served with the other prisoners allowing some interaction and first selection from the limited library; which mostly consisted of history books, herbology guides, fictional tales, and other assorted topics. A significantly smaller number of dementors roamed the hallways, which also seemed to make life a bit more acceptable for the short timers. Once per month, they were allowed to receive correspondence; parchment only, no packages, and it was thoroughly screened by curse breakers on the mainland before being delivered to the island. There was even the possibility of a visit, if the correct ministry personnel were given suitable 'incentive' to allow such.

For the lifer, things were not so good. The cells were much more dank and cramped. They were also on the windward side of the island and the elements were less than forgiving. Benefits were almost non-existent. Meals were given in the cell. Exercise consisted of whatever the prisoner chose to do within the confines of their cell. Visitations were almost unheard of, for they required not only money, but well placed connections. Except for the odd Ministry employee, the last human beings these wretched souls would see were their auror guards. More dementors roamed the hallways and the sounds of the terrified and insane were not silenced beyond their cells. Until recently, the only release for your typical lifer was the sweet embrace of death. The fortunate ones finally expired from pneumonia or other ailments when their magic finally gave up trying to heal them, the not-so fortunate ones were administered 'The Kiss'. Some of the more sadistic wardens had made it a spectacle when one of their charges was kissed. The made all the other prisoners watch as a lesson for the short timers and a promise for the lifers.

Currently there were forty-three short timers and nineteen lifers residing at the prison. Fourteen of the lifers were known Death Eaters. Four of the remaining five were just simply killers; after all, not all killers are Death Eaters. The last lifer was a bit of an enigma, in the muggle world she would be considered a 'political prisoner' a victim of a corrupt ministry. She had been a prime candidate to replace the previous minister, but woefully unprepared for the lengths to which Cornelius Fudge would rise or sink to - depending on one's interpretation. Sadly, there was a scandal involving murder and betrayal. The lady had protested her innocence and decried this as an example of dirty politics at its worst, but the amount of evidence against her was both staggering and well manufactured. Six long years had sapped her of her righteous fury and her frayed grip on sanity could only be described as tentative at best.

Though there were many barred windows in the prison, few bothered to look out them. On the rare occasions when the fog had lifted the water was everywhere to be seen. Perhaps during daylight, if you strained your eyes you might see the tiny black specs of the dementor guardians circling the inside edge of the wards a half mile out to sea. That is what one would see on any other occasion but this one. Tonight would be different. Lord Voldemort was coming to Azkaban.

Had you approached a normal everyday witch or wizard and told them the "Dark Lord" was in Azkaban, it would normally be a cause for many cheers and nights of celebration. Unfortunately, it was the way in which he came that would banish any thoughts of reverie. He was coming willingly, with a point to prove and he most certainly was not coming alone!

The assault group hovered thirty feet off the waves, most clinging to their brooms in the swirling wind. A cluster of broom riders circled each of the four magic carpets. Three of the four carried a wizard and a stunned troll. The fourth bore three wizards huddled at the center. Three additional wizards hovered at edges of the carpet on brooms awaiting their instructions. Voldemort laughed at the irony that magic carpets were illegal in Britain. Yet another example of the corrupt government run by professional politicians that represented no significant threat to him. The purebloods possessed virtually all the hereditary votes, but most could not be bothered to actually show up for all the votes and procedures. Instead, they had representatives who voted for them. Some of the more powerful families like the Malfoys and those who wished to dabble in the world of politics represented themselves. Until Lucius's unfortunate capture, he directly or indirectly controlled twenty percent of the hereditary votes. His support ensured a measure's passage and his opposition made the measure's passage dubious at best. These family representatives were well positioned to receive gifts and monetary contributions from influential business concerns seeking favor. One such powerful group consisted of broomstick manufacturers, who through various backroom deals had managed to ban magic carpets from Britain. They had acted quickly to prevent their product from being relegated to sports enthusiasts and speed freaks. Lucius merely reminded executives of the Nimbus Corporation of his firm support for the continuance of that ban and like clockwork, seven brand new Nimbus 2001 brooms were delivered to his estate. Similar agreements for goods and services reigned supreme through the Wizengamot. The Weasley family effectively gave their two family votes to Dumbledore in exchange for free tuition for their children.

Lord Voldemort hovered at perhaps fifty feet. He rode neither broom nor carpet. Twenty years ago the abomination was a dragon, a common welsh green to be precise. Now it was simply the finest bit of necromancy he had ever performed. Though it no longer possessed its flaming breath, it never tired. The other advantage was its complete obedience and absolute lack of concern for its own welfare. It was a thing and as such it could be repaired if damaged. The monster's wings were enchanted to produce not a sound as they beat relentlessly.

Smoothly he guided the undead beast into a slow descent bringing him even with the carpet and the cursebreakers. The six were Bolivian mercenaries - well they actually preferred to be called independent contractors. Most mercenaries were former aurors or other law enforcement types, who hired themselves out as bodyguards or hitwizards. They were abundant across Europe and as the war begins in earnest both sides would pay a premium for their services. Most were keeping an ear to the ground wondering when they should offer their services to the highest bidder. Greed was so very predictable and Lord Voldemort fortunately had deep pockets. The men and women hovering in front of him were slightly more specialized and expensive being cursebreakers. Ex-Gringotts employees, who opted to pool their talents and after several successful tomb expeditions entered the wand for hire business. He hovered near the leader, a thinly mustached man name Enrico Castillo.

"Enrico, would you care to tell me the cause of our delay? I do believe the terms of our agreement stipulated that we would be past this point by now." Lord Voldemort asked tersely.

"Many apologies, the elements are proving to be slightly disruptive and our progress has suffered because of this. It will require a bit more time than originally thought." The man said.

"How much more time? Be certain of your estimate." Voldemort asked taking time to enunciate each word, turning each syllable into a threat enjoying the startled look in the man's eyes. The man gulped noticeably and said nothing for ten seconds

"One hour thirty minutes and we will have bypassed it sufficiently for you to get your forces in. If the weather stays as it is, it will take another six hours to drop the wards completely."

"What time does your watch say?"

"It is eight fifteen pm, my patron." The mercenary said formally.

"Then you shall have until 9:45. I begin killing your people at 9:46. One will die for every 10 additional minutes is required. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes. We will be in long before then. Though I still do not understand why you wish us to completely break the wards. Surely your enemies will simply recast them?"

"Instead of worrying about my reasons you should be worried about your new deadline fool. If you must know, I will tell you this - who says I am going to leave them a prison to reuse? Now my high priced friend, in your case time is like blood flowing from an open wound. When you run out, you die. Best get back to work now."

------------- (Everyone Loves a Good Scene Break!)---------

Hannah Abbott was fidgeting rather than reading. Internally, she chided herself for not staying with her best friend. Now said best friend was somewhere out there on a 'Harry Potter' adventure. The problem with these adventures was that people tended to get injured around Harry - physically and emotionally. Merlin, even watching one of his quidditch matches was dangerous! No, she didn't blame Harry. He was simply a nexus that attracted trouble. Her own crush on Harry had been abandoned in her third year. Justin more than filled that void, rather nicely in fact and with significantly less potential for bodily harm.

She looked around the room. Her sister Chelsea was trying in vain to strike up a conversation with Neville Longbottom. Neville had arrived at the safe house in good spirits. He and Harry were seen talking on a few occasions. Lisa's brother, Kevin said that Harry had even shown Neville the fragment of Rudolphus LeStrange's death eater mask and the two of them shared a morbid laugh over it and the way Neville had summoned the Knight Bus on top of a death eater. However, as the days past his cheerfulness faded and he had withdrawn. The largest blow had been when he had to go identify all of his dead relatives at the hospital's morgue.

Hannah had been too busy helping Susan cope with her losses as well as Lisa and Mandy get over the death of Tony Goldstein. She had to delegate Neville to Chelsea. Her sister's gift was more along the lines of a 'projecting empath', whereas Hannah's limited gift was more like an 'interpretative empath'. Chelsea could actually make people feel better and lift their spirits just by her presence; however in a bad mood her sister could dampen even the Weasley twin's good nature. On the other hand, it was nearly impossible to lie to Hannah. The student body of Hogwarts last year began to refer to her as 'Hitwizard Hannah'. The nickname was well earned by her uncanny ability to catch her fellow students on Prefect patrols. By the middle of the year, her patrol path and schedule were well known to all four houses. She had been the target of an inordinate amount of pranks, few of them actually succeeded. Getting her to eat or drink something that had been tainted was well nigh impossible. She would actually play with a few of her would-be pranksters for awhile. She would almost eat the tainted muffin or drink the spiked drink, only to stop for some reason catching the exasperated look on their face. It was both too easy and too funny. The only ones that had ever managed it were the Weasley twins. Both of them were such accomplished liars they were able to fib without a trace of guilt or remorse. After her second time squawking as a canary, she simply stopped accepting anything from the twins.

As she continued surveying the room she saw Kevin, Lisa, Terry and Mandy engaged in a rather lively muggle card game called "Uno". Mandy Brockelhurst was shooting her boyfriend the 'gaze of impending doom' after she had just been hit with her second consecutive draw four. At least she had a wide variety of cards to choose from now. She envied the quartet. It was a painful reminder of what summer among friends should be like. She closed her eyes momentarily and tried to focus on their positive emotions, hoping for a momentary fix to relieve her own tension. 'We should be laughing and joking. We shouldn't be attending funerals and consoling each other.' She thought with a pang of regret. In all fairness, her parents were not too worried for Hannah and Chelsea. Professor Dumbledore had convinced the Abbotts to come saying how they could use their talents to help lift everyone's spirits at Number 12. Knowing her best friend in the world needed her, was all the encouragement Hannah needed. She knew Justin would understand. The rest of the library was empty. Normally, she would have expected Hermione to be asking for some peace and quiet while she studied. She figured the bossy Gryffindor was more likely to end up as Madam Pince then the minister of magic like everyone else expected. Today was different. She and Ron Weasley were elsewhere exploring their new relationship. Everyone sighed know full well that they did not have the correct day in the betting pool. Someone out there was considerably wealthier. Though Hannah knew the 2 galleon bet she had placed on Susan as a joke was now going to make her 50 galleons richer! The two girls had exchanged a quick conversation on the way to Gringotts. Susan was even able to ignore Ginny 'the Leech' Weasley's attempts to smother poor Harry. Speaking of which, Leech was nowhere to be seen. She must have gone directly to her room to think over her next evil plot. Hannah sincerely hoped that she was there when the trollop got the news. The expression on her face would be worth the wave of anger Hannah would no doubt feel.

The will reading had gone much better than expected. Harry's presence strengthened Susan. It had been the right decision to send him up after Susan when Leech had her tantrum. Hopefully, Susan was able to return the favor during his ordeal. She should have accepted Harry's offer, but even from the next room she could literally feel the tension. Even her mother, who possessed but a tiny hint of the gift frowned and kept to the other side of the room.

'They both have a marriage clause. Urgh! Don't get your hopes up Hannah! It could happen though. Wouldn't it be great? Wait just a sec! If they do, then you get to spend a lot more time worrying about Susan and Harry! They will always be in danger! He will be running off to fight Death Eaters and she is too stubborn to let him go alone. This could be really bad for your emotional wellbeing. Damn! It will be like third year all over again!' Hannah continued arguing with herself on one hand happy and hopeful for her Susan, on the other scared that her friend might get more than she bargained for.

Her debate ended when a series of loud noises could be heard from downstairs. She dropped her book and headed towards the stairs. Already the sounds of Molly Weasley could be heard as she began to fuss over the new arrivals. As she got down into the kitchen, she heard Susan's voice.

"Sit down here Harry. Mrs. Weasley could you get me another washcloth? Harry's scar started bleeding when he had a vision."

"Susan, are you guys okay?" Hannah asked.

"I suppose, but Harry had a vision of Azkaban being attacked. Professor Lupin went to warn the headmaster and Bill went to warn the ministry. We used the floo to get back. Harry, do you want something to drink?"

"Water is fine." Harry said changing out the bloody washcloth on his forehead for the one given to him by Mrs. Weasley. Susan grabbed a glass and filled it from the sink. She paused for a moment and grabbed a potion vial from the holder.

"Here's the water and a headache remedy. Move the cloth and let me see if it has stopped bleeding." The kitchen was slowly filling up with the curious. Hannah thought it was amusing to watch Molly Weasley. She looked a bit flustered, like she wanted to charge right in and take over Harry's care, but Susan wasn't giving her any opening.

"What's the verdict Healer Bones?" Harry asked after washing the potion down with the water.

"It stopped bleeding and closed all by itself. Does it do that often?"

"Every once in a while, but only when the vision is really strong. Normally, I just end up throwing up. I just wish I could have vomited more on Uncle Vernon's car. Wonder if he will like my parting gift?"

"I am sure he will appreciate it Harry. It's the thought that counts. That reminds me, Trixie." Susan said and moments later the house elf appeared. "Can you get us something to eat? Sandwiches perhaps? Harry needs to get something solid in him and I could use a bite just the same."

"Thanks for writing the notes to Mrs. Figg. I hope she finds them and is gone before the protections fail."

"What happened mate?" Ron hopped down the last three steps into the kitchen. A somewhat disheveled Hermione Granger following behind him. He grabbed a roast beef sandwich of the tray Trixie had just appeared with.

"Voldemort is at Azkaban." Harry answered waiting for the gasps to subside taking a bite from his ham and cheese. "Bill is trying to warn the ministry. Mrs. Weasley, could you use the floo and call Madame Pomfrey. She needs to be alerted and she can probably alert St. Mungo's without it looking too suspicious. Better call the twins too, in case he moves on Diagon Alley too." The mention of Molly's boys got her moving towards the fireplace.

There was a popping noise and Bill Weasley arrived. He looked a bit annoyed. He was a bit surprised that Harry had his wand out almost by reflex. "How long did you tell me the wards were going to last?"

"Forty-eight hours." He responded nonchalantly.

"Okay, what did the ministry say?"

"They denied anything was wrong at Azkaban, but from the alarms I could hear and the people running around, they knew. I saw Kingsley and Mad Eye. I offered to help, but they said that the ministry would get a little weird with non-ministry personnel running around their prison. So, if you are planning on a little sight seeing expedition, I would reconsider it."

"I'm a little disappointed, but if the ministry actually wants to take care of its own problems for a change, then who am I to argue? Sandwich?" Harry replied gesturing to the tray.

"Thanks. I'm famished." Bill said, greedily reaching for two.

"How did he get past the dementors?" Lisa asked.

"They probably switched sides. They've just been waiting for the right opportunity. How's every ones Patronus? We might need them in the near future." Harry knew that all the other DA students could make the mist shield except for Hermione's otter and Prongs. Ron had been close to a corporeal one, before they left school. He looked at his girlfriend/fiancée. He was still shocked he had actually done it. Everything he had said to her made complete sense. He had been convincing himself almost as much as he had been convincing her.

"I've never been able to get beyond the mist."

"Well, you're an adult now no time like the present. Let me see."

Susan drew her wand and made the motions. At her verbal command a weak mist emanated from her wand. She tried again this time with a louder voice. By the third effort, she practically screamed the incantation. If anything, the mist looked even feebler. She sagged in defeat.

Harry stood up. "Susan, stop. This is one of the spells where wand movement and verbalization don't mean anything." He drew his wand and held it perfectly still. Focusing on the recent memory of their kisses up in the loft and the smell of her hair. He barely spoke the incantation. Harry was rewarded with his patronus leaping from his wand. It walked around the room and stopped in front of Susan before vanishing.

"It's not about what is here or here, but what is in here." He said tapping his wand on his head, his throat and finally his chest. "Don't just think about your happy memory, try and relive it."

"Okay. I'll try it again." She said sounding a little confident in herself. Her efforts produced a solid looking mist. "Arrgh! So close!"

"What memory are you using? You might want to try a different one." Hermione chimed in.

"Baking with my mom. It usually resulted in a big flour fight." Susan said blowing air out of her mouth straight up at her bangs to vent a bit of frustration.

"Try a different memory. Don't take this the wrong way Susan, but that memory might not work for a while, until you have finished grieving. That might be holding you back." Hermione said carefully not wanting to offend Susan.

"Oh. I guess you are right. This is so frustrating!" She exclaimed.

Harry knew he could help her, but did he have the courage to pull it off. 'What the hell! Only Tommy can kill me.'

"Susan. I have found the best memories are the ones that not only have a feeling attached to them, but also had a touch, taste or smell associated with it. Do you trust me?"

Susan started to blush a bit. "I think I have said that on various occasions as of late." She said nervously.

"Okay, close your eyes." He said walking over to her. She complied. He waited for a moment and kissed her. He could feel the heat of her blush spreading. He was pretty sure he was blushing right now too, but he didn't care. A few gasps could be heard. After about five seconds he slid down and kissed her neck a little. She had her free hand on the back of his head and made a little gurgling noise. Keeping his hands on her waist he slid around behind her and continued kissing her neck. He moved up to her earlobe and in between nibbles he gave her his instructions.

"Keep your eyes closed. Focus on my voice. Feel my breath on your neck. Now, quit screwing around, stick your wand out and say the incantation."

"Expecto Patronum!" Harry heard the murmur in the room. He didn't have to open his eyes to know it worked. He did anyway and was rewarded with a misty looking stallion. When it snorted the vapors seemed to come out of its nostrils. Inside he felt slightly guilty. He hoped he would never have to admit to the fantasies he had last year where he had planned to use this technique to teach Cho how to do a patronus.

"Very nice, Susan. You just needed a little prompting in the right direction." Susan's normal half smile had changed into for lack of a better description a stupid grin.

Lisa broke the silence. In a teasing voice she asked, "So Harry. When we get back to school can you help me with my patronus?"

"Urm, ah, well ..." Harry stammered.

Susan answered for him. "He's taken. Get your own private instructor. Perhaps Ernie?" She was trying really hard to keep herself from looking directly at Ginny. Hannah had no such qualms. Ginny's face was flushed her mouth was open and she looked pretty angry. Sure enough, Hannah could feel the anger radiating off of her as Ginny ran upstairs. It was worth it to see her face. She would have to tell Susan later.

Ron asked the question everyone was dying to know. "How long have you to, ah well, been doing that?"

Harry squeezed her side and casually avoided the question. He had turned Susan around and was looking in her eyes. "If you ask me, not long enough, but I am working on fixing that." Susan rewarded him with another kiss.

While Ron was listening, he snuck a glance over at his mother. Today at the will reading, Ron had caught a rare glimpse of his mother's scheming nature. There were only a few times in his life that he recalled genuine anger on his mother's part. Mostly those had been directed at the twins. Though there was the very memorable instance of when Charlie had informed the family that he was giving up the chance to play professional quidditch. This initially made a huge smile appear on his mother's face only to fade when he started talking so enthusiastically about dragon handling. That was the same look he saw on her face now. Ron knew everyone considered him a bit thick - he was okay with it, but having roomed with Harry for the last five years he had come to know him pretty well. From the way he was acting at the will reading today. There was about as much chance of him dating Ginny right now as there was of him dating Pansy Parkinson. In between their 'snogging' time upstairs he had questioned his new girlfriend about her role in his mother's and sister's plans. She admitted that she was hoping Ginny and Harry would end up together, when she had asked him to say something to Harry on train at the end of school. Ron had gone along with it easily, because it meant that Hermione was not interested in Harry that way.

Hermione was trying to hide her thunderstruck expression. She knew Ginny was going to be irate. This was probably going to be a long night, which wasn't going to get a lot of sleep. She wanted to be happy for Harry, but she hope he wasn't doing this to just rebel against the headmaster. Hermione didn't want to jump to any conclusions until she had a chance to speak to Harry in private. That might be a problem; given that Harry wasn't too happy with her right now and that she didn't know how secure Susan was. After all Cho's jealousy imploded Harry's previous attempt at having a girlfriend. Hermione didn't have anything against Susan. She was a nice person. She could be good for Harry. They certainly seemed to have a bit of chemistry going there. It reminded her of the chemistry experiment she and Ron engaged in for the last hour. She came to the conclusion that her dazzling intellect might not be able to solve this problem. Ginny, Harry and Susan may very well have to sort this on their own. Hermione glanced over at Ron. In typical Ron fashion, he shrugged his shoulders and grabbed the last sandwich off the tray.

"Well Harry, Fleur has been trying to get me to teach her the Patronus. I may need to borrow that technique. Glad my teacher didn't want to do that though. There was a rumor that he played for the other team, but that is just gross." Bill said chuckling. He too was worried about his mother and sister. He knew he was going to have to make some 'big brother time' soon for 'Lil Red'. He could probably sneak up there under the pretense of going to the bathroom.

While Bill was considering his options, the fireplace roared to life. In the flames, he could see his old high school flame, Emmeline Vance. "Bill! We've got problems! The dementors have gone wild. They are attacking the coastal towns. The ministry isn't responding and I am having problems getting in touch with Dumbledore. Can you assist?"

Bill looked over at Harry who nodded. "Keep the floo open. We will be there in a minute."

His mother immediately started protesting. Bill just looked over at Harry. Harry was getting good at ignoring the Weasley matriarch. Bill decided he might want to borrow another of Harry's lessons.

"Susan, its not the same summoning a patronus when there is a dementor right in front of you. Are you sure you are up for this?" Harry asked stopping her with a firm hand on her shoulder.

"Where you go, I follow. Any other silly questions?" Harry shook his head impressed with her resolve. He turned his gaze to his bushy haired friend.

"Hermione? Are you coming?"

"Harry, I am still underage. I can't." She said in exasperation. Something snapped inside of Harry.

"Of course you can! Do you think the ministry is going to try and come after you with so much to answer for right now? Their dementors are out there attacking people!" Harry felt the irony. Normally he couldn't keep Ron or Hermione away. Now for a change, he was asking for her help. Maybe she felt vulnerable after her injury at the ministry? Maybe she was just scared? Harry no longer had time for maybes.

"Harry, I ...." She started looking uncomfortable with everyone's gaze on her.

"Fine! You're not coming. I get it. Accio Firebolt! Susan you and I need brooms. Bill and Emmeline can apparate. We can cover more ground that way. Stay low though and dismount to actually fight them. Stick to my flank. Don't get separated. If you do red sparks! I don't want you to get knocked off." Susan nodded and summoned her Cleansweep Seven.

Harry knew he shouldn't do it. Everyone said how he was acting more mature than he had ever been before. Unfortunately, he was still a teenager. As he headed towards the fireplace he shot Hermione a look. It was a look of betrayal - a look of friendship damaged. His words were an icy slap in her face.

"Come on. No one else is going to help us save the muggles. Let's go. Must be my saving people thing." He said heading into the floo knowing his verbal arrow had struck true.

--------- (Scene Break Poor Hermione!)-----------

"The wards have been bypassed. You are free to proceed!" Enrico said smiling, knowing he still had thirty minutes left on his estimate.

Lord Voldemort gestured to his followers and issued a simple command, "Attack!"

He watched the broom riders and carpets surge forward. He moved the dragon close to the cursebreaker's carpet. Enrico's smile faded as the dragons head hovered but two meters from him. Lifeless eyes stared at him.

"As a token of my good faith, I will not impose any of the penalties as stipulated Mr. Castillo. I suspect I will need your services again. However, I expect that the next time we do business together that your rates will be the same and not shall we say inflated."

"Oh certainly, my patron. You are most generous. The wards will be completely down in another five hours."

"They may also fail when the prison is destroyed. We shall do business again Mr. Castillo - until then."

Lord Voldemort steered his mount away from the cursebreakers and towards the shimmering glow indicating where the wards had been compromised. He urged his monster forward and through. They were making a straight approach towards the high security area. He could already see the shapes of the dementors leaving the island. The ones still inside would soon begin attacking the aurors. The main objective was to free his captive followers. The secondary objective was to destroy the prison. One of his followers actually carried a magical camera. The destruction of Azkaban would be preserved for posterity and serve to demoralize his enemies. Voldemort figured that the only way he could send a stronger message would be either to sack the ministry or Hogwarts itself, all in due time. The pictures would find their way to the newspapers. The sheep would huddle in front of their wireless sets as they listened to the commentators speculate on the ramifications. They would cry out for someone to deliver them. He actually toyed with the idea of offering a truce to the wizarding world in exchange for the head of Harry Potter, just to see if they would go for it.

He approached the rocky shore hovered watching some of his servants circle in front of the prisoners windows. Inside, Lucius, Antonin and the rest would be breaking down their doors using their smuggled wands. He could already hear the faint detonations. He commanded his dragon to smash a hole into the prison wall at the base. He and five death eaters would enter here at the lower level to prevent reinforcements from the medium security ward. Intelligence told him that there were always three to four aurors on duty in the high security ward. The escapees or the dementors would see to them.

"Peter, take two and cutoff the next passageway! We want to control the central chamber. That will force them to portkey reinforcements to the other side of the prison. Move now!" He said watching Wormtail comply. He heard the alarms begin to sound. From tracking the response of the auror units back in London, Voldemort knew that it would be at least five minutes before the first aurors from the ministry would arrive. It was also nice to have a complete layout of the 'invulnerable prison'; Lucius's money was well spent.

He dismounted from his steed. When he sent word again the creature would begin to attack the structure in earnest to topple the north tower. That would block any apparitions and further restrict the areas where the ministry could deploy their aurors. Shaking his head for a moment, he felt the boy. The stupid whelp dropped his defenses. In their mental tug of war, Potter effectively let go of the rope causing both to stagger in their mind's eye. Reestablishing his shields, he sent a forceful probe through the connection. His adversary's hastily erected defenses buckled and he took a moment to enjoy the agony he was inflicting, but it was a mere distraction. He would not allow the boy to waylay him from tonight's goal. There would be time to batter and abuse him later.

A cruel smile crossed his lips as he led the two death eaters towards the central chamber. Up ahead he heard screams and a couple of cries for a patronus spell. There in the central chamber were four aurors driving off the dementors in the hall, the lead one cursing in Spanish between his castings. Voldemort snapped his wand in an arc and loosed 'The Bone Saw'. The auror must have sensed the magic, but it was too late. His feeble shield shattered and seconds later his wand arm was twitching on the ground with little sparks coming out of the wand as the appendage convulsed. The Dark Lord finished him off with a blasting curse as he casually conjured an absorbing shield for a reductor aimed at him. Before he could return the favor, the female auror fell to a killing curse cast by Peter. Voldemort looked for another opponent, but the two remaining aurors were already being double-teamed by his remaining followers.

--------- (Scene Break)------------

At least Nymphadora Tonks' day had gotten better. The will reading had been awful. She had practically bit Harry's head off and Remus let her know that in no uncertain terms. She had meant to apologize to him, but he had run off with Bill, Remus and the Bones girl after laying into Dumbledore. Her werewolf would have some explaining to do and it was doubtful that he could resist her interrogation skills.

It had been years since she had spoken to Aunt Narcissa. Her mom was always telling her that she acted a lot like her aunt. She actually saw a bit of it today and realized that her mom hadn't been putting one over on her. When she grabbed poor Charlie's arse like that, Tonks darn near lost it. Oh he could handle dragons alright, but he looked completely out of his league.

She had left the reading and gone straight to auror headquarters with the information provided by her aunt. Second shift was on and the watch captain sent the rapid response team with her to the Malfoy mansion. Disguised as her aunt, she was able to capture the two death eaters that had been waiting for Narcissa's return. They had spent the next two hours recovering a veritable trove of dark artifacts. If he wasn't already in prison, her uncle would be hard pressed to explain all this. The Unspeakables were practically peeing their collective pants when they dropped that load of stuff off. She had returned to headquarters. The worst part of her job was the paperwork. She never seemed to catch up on it. After her tenth report, she was almost wishing for some kind of distraction to come along.

Be careful what you wish for ....

"Alarms at Azkaban!" Lars Anders shouted into the ready room. Dawlish looked up from the magazine he was reading.


"Don't think so. First shift would've tipped me off."

"Saddle up kiddies! We're taking a trip to the rock. Get hot and loose. Standard deployment from rally point Merlin. Taber and Spinnet on point." Dawlish said grabbing his dragonhide vest off the back of his chair.

"Dawlish, need an extra body?" Tonks asked.

Dawlish was about to turn her down when the second set of klaxons sounded. Dawlish, Tonks and Anders locked eyes as they recognized the significance. A second set of alarms signified prison breach and that the situation was deteriorating quickly. There was a slight pang of fear in his gut.

"Right glad to have you Tonks! Change of plans. Rally point is Circe. Full combat deployment. I'm on point. Edwards, you are with me. You four advance in two by two. Curse on sight. Tonks, you any good on a broom? Good; you and Taber are on air patrol. One lap around and report back."

Dawlish looked at the burly Swede, whom he constantly butted heads with. "Better get us some backup."

"Marcia is already on it. Be safe out there." Anders said watching the rapid response unit step onto the departure pad. The seven aurors formed a circle. Dawlish grabbed one of the three portkeys labeled 'Circe' and held it to the rest of them. Five seconds later they disappeared. Watch Captain Anders bolted into the next room where his assistant was already on the main floo with Auror Headquarters. From their six operators, mostly summer interns would begin floo calling all available aurors to respond to the emergency at Azkaban.

The team reappeared at rally point Circe. A sheltered area designed to allow them protection while they moved into position. Rally point Merlin was at the central hall and Le Fey was closer to the high security ward. Tonks and Karen Taber each grabbed a comet out of the broom locker and went airborne. Dawlish led the other four on approach to the medium security entrance. A house elf was waiting by the entrance for them.

"Bad Wizards all over the prison! All really bad wizards are free! Not so bad wizards are still locked away! Warden Fulton need more help than this!"

Dawlish looked at the terrified creature. "Is He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named here?"

The wide-eyed stare and furious shaking head of the house elf was all the confirmation Conrad Dawlish needed.

-- (Shift POV to Tonks)-

She circled the island counterclockwise. Karen would be circling clockwise. Tonks was no slouch in the sky, but Karen had been a chaser on Charlie Weasley's cup winning team. The broom was a late model comet, no better than the ones from her days from Hogwarts. She pushed herself up to around fifty feet as she passed over the rusted submarine. She was on the backside of the prison and sheltered from the elements. Up ahead she spotted something, several somethings. Three of them were trolls or small giants. They didn't bother her near as much as the dragon she spotted next to them. Three smaller shapes must be death eaters. They hadn't seen her yet. She dived down to the deck and picked up her speed. Her plan was to pop up at a high-speed throw the most destructive curse in her inventory and bank right down the cliff. If the dragon followed her straight down, she might be able to splash it. Tonks pulled up about fifteen meters out and fired off 'Ptolemy's sledgehammer' a powerful blasting curse. She could see two of the death eaters were hurt in the resulting explosion, but the larger targets were unaffected. To her horror, Karen rounded the corner a second later at high speed and was smacked out of the air like a rag doll by the dragon. Her body careened down the cliff and impacted on the rocks below. Tonks didn't have much time to mourn her as she saw the reason Karen had been flying so fast. The death eaters had a pair of wizards flying air guard and they had been chasing her right into the dragon. They banked left and turned on her tail. One went high and the other went low. Tonks knew from the tactic that the two had training. The wizard on the faster broom was the one who went low. He was going to chase her into the field of fire for the wizard who went high. She weaved and dived towards the rocks below, knowing that her pursuers were not flying late model comets like she was.

She dodged two curses and tried to build some speed. When she rounded to the windward side of the island her broom bucked hard as the strong winds hit her. Smiling, she realized this could work to her advantage as the faster brooms would be more disrupted. It also didn't hurt that she could become double jointed at will. She did a half roll and clamped her knees and ankles tight to the broom shaft, so that she was flying upside down and fired a spread of stunners right as the lead pursuer hit the wall of wind and struggled to control his broom. One clipped the death eater in the shoulder. He fell from the sky to join Karen on the rocks below. 'That's for you freckles. Now let's see how good bogey number two is.'

She pushed his broom into a weaving climb as the pursuer's curses reached out for her each promising death. She swung around and headed towards the towers. Bricks and mortar exploded from the blasting curses, one of the chunks caught her in the head as she tried to shield herself from the shrapnel. Using her natural talents, she bent her arm at an impossible angle backwards and fired a jet of flame. Had the death eater flown straight through it probably would not have hurt that much. Far less than Tonks's throbbing head, but human instinct is a powerful force to counteract. The death eater went low as she fired an Incarcerous spell sending ropes from her wand forcing the death eater to overcorrect again. He was moving too fast and lost control slamming into the north tower. If the impact didn't kill him the fall was going to. 'Splat two.' She thought.

Tonks resisted the urge to do a victory barrel roll as she headed back towards the rally point. Dawlish would need to know what they were up against. The sooner she reported, the sooner she could check to see if Karen might still be alive. Concentrating on her talent she forced the gash on her head to close.

---- (Shift POV Lavender Brown - Intern Auror Dispatcher Grade 2) ---

For a gossip queen like Lavender Brown, there simply was no better job than Auror Floo Dispatcher. Parvati said she should have tried to intern at Madame Malkin's, but the information she picked up here was amazing! Hopefully, she would be able to continue this after school. Supervisor Tompkins was very pleased with her work. Her job was to answer the floo calls as they came in, and alert her supervisor to the nature of the caller's emergency. She took a great deal of pride in her work and felt that she was really doing something important.

Lavender had heard some very amusing stories, but also some that had scared her. The dispatcher next to her had taken the floo call from the Smith residence the night Zachariah was killed. It was horrible! She never really liked the Hufflepuff boy, but to hear the screams coming from the fireplace were really disturbing. The aurors were too late to save anyone. It was three nights (well actually days, since her shift ended at six in the morning) before she got any sleep worth mentioning.

Tonight was very busy. She was currently using something called the alert bill. This parchment contained all the names and floo addresses of law enforcement personnel to be called in an emergency. She had actually talked to Professor Moody! He didn't remember her from class though. She stood aside as he came through her fireplace. Despite the protocol that he shouldn't! She sighed and waited for the disconnection, so that she could call the next name on her list, but the fire roared to life. She was about to pull the manual disconnect lever, but something stopped her.

"Priority one call from Azkaban Rally Point Circe!" Moody spun around and pushed Lavender back into her chair. He pulled the lever that her supervisor told her to never, ever pull. They call it the squawk box. It lets that conversation be heard by everyone in headquarter.

"Go ahead." Moody shouted.

"This is Tonks. Situation is out of control! Repeat situation is out of control! Death Eaters control the high security ward and the central chambers. Believe all high security prisoners are free and armed! Count one dragon and three trolls on east shore. Dawlish and the Warden are trying to hold at medium security dining area. Have received reports that Dark Lord is here! Request all available backup! Rally Point Circe is only staging area still in friendly hands. Merlin and Le Fey have been overrun! Moody we're in deep shit here!"

"Hold them girl! We will get there as soon as we can! Alright listen up! I want every auror who can sling a wand on the departure pad in two minutes! Move it you squibs!" Lavender had to admit that her professor had a way with words.

There was a mad scramble as people sitting behind desk pulled protective hide vests and caps on. Some were grabbing brooms off of a rack on the wall. Lavender watched the chaos. Moody waved to a tall black man who was talking to man who looked a bit like Ron Weasley. 'Yup they must be related.' She thought. 'Ron always gets that look in his face when he is left out of something.'

She turned back to her fireplace and grabbed her list and placed the next fire call. Almost mechanically she made the next three calls. She was interrupted again when her fellow Gryffindor Colin Creevey called out to her from his fireplace. He had that 'I'm going to pee my pants' look on his face.

"Lavender! I just got a call from the coast near the prison! The dementors are attacking!"

"Ohmigod! Wait why are you telling me this?" She asked hesitantly fearing the answer.

"Uh Mr. Tompkins went with the others. The rest of us are only grade ones."
Lavender turned around to see the entire room empty. The knot in her throat dropped like a stone into her stomach. The other five interns looked at her expectantly. She didn't like this situation one bit. Even the woman who had been working the front desk for walk-ins was gone. She never wanted to be a leader, but she was put into Gryffindor for a reason.

"Okay here is what we are going to do. You three keep calling the people on the alert list. Colin, you keep an eye on the front desk. Becky, get a hold of the on duty department head at the ministry and let him know about the dementors as well as the prison. I think it is Amos Diggory tonight, check Mr. Tompkins desk. Colin, if you have to go handle something at the desk give your list to Eddie. Where did you say they were spotted? I know someone I can call. Eddie firecall St. Mungo's, they need to know."

A minute later she was speaking to her favorite cousin Emmeline Vance.

----- (Scene Break - Everyone still with me?)-----

Harry stumbled out of the floo connection, but not nearly as bad as usual. Maybe being angry helps your balance, either way he didn't care at the moment. Ms. Vance was looking out the window and talking with an older female. She looked at Harry rather with a confused expression on her face. The fireplace roared to life and Susan casually stepped out and brushed a tiny bit of soot off her arms. Harry would need to ask her for her secret at some point in time. Of course, his introduction to new modes of magical travel usually had about as much instruction as Occulmency with the greasy bastard. 'Here Harry grab this, it's a portkey.', or 'this is floo powder do this.'

"Harry, you shouldn't be here. What is Bill thinking?" Emmeline asked.

Harry started to answer, but Bill beat him to it. "Harry and Susan are both emancipated. Both can cast a corporeal patronus. I also have it on good authority that Harry's once drove away over a hundred by itself. Since Professor Dumbledore isn't available, he's the next best thing. Plus his instructional technique is rather unique." Bill couldn't resist adding with a grin making Susan blush and look away. Harry was more surprised at the compliment than embarrassed. He never gave much thought about how powerful some of his spells could be.

"Okay, you're the dark creature specialist. If you're satisfied with them, so am I. Dung will be here in a minute. Anyone else?" She asked not noticing the dark look crossing Harry's face.

"No. Just us." Bill said quickly. "Susan and Harry brought brooms. We can take them side-along up to the coast. Let's go ahead. Dung can catch up to us."

Emmeline said goodbye to her aunt and they apparated away. The town they apparated to was a sleepy coastal town. It was already after 10 pm. The town seemed a bit too quiet. The first few houses they approached showed no signs of life. They moved on cautiously. Harry stopped and closed his eyes. He could feel them, almost like one feels the atmospheric pressure drop before a storm. It was a small cluster of them maybe a dozen.

"Come on. About a kilometer that way." He pointed towards the center of town, while he mounted his broom. Susan followed suit, while the other two disappeared with popping noises. Harry slowed and let Susan catch up to him. He dropped quick 'Notice Me Not' glamour on the two of them, hoping that the muggles they might encounter would be affected. Drawing closer they saw the flashes of light and heard screaming. Bill and Emmeline were already fighting. Harry had to consciously fight against himself to make sure he didn't leave Susan by herself.

In the middle of an intersection is where they found the two order members. It was the scene of an auto wreck complete with two police cars, a fire truck and two ambulances. Victims lay strewn on the ground. From the screaming he knew they all hadn't been kissed. At least there was someone left to save. Bill was doing okay, but Ms. Vance was struggling. He couldn't quite make out her patronus, it looked like a small bird of some sort and it was barely corporeal. As he got closer, he summoned Prongs to charge into the fray. It was a good thing as the bird disappeared leaving Emmeline mostly defenseless. The quartet of dementors approached her but they faltered and scattered under the fierce charge of Harry's patronus. He gestured to Susan to help Bill, who was fending most of the rest with a very determined dog patronus. Harry knew from his conversations with Bill that it was an Irish wolfhound after his favorite long deceased family pet. He spared a glance at Susan to make sure her patronus formed. It did, though it looked about as solid as the bird, but Harry was proud anyway. By contrast Prongs almost looked real. Harry then checked on the muggles that were nearest to them. The female ambulance driver was still conscious, though it looked as if she was clawing at her face madly and foaming at the mouth. He stunned her and cast a series of healing spells to close the cuts on her face. She might have faint scars, but otherwise Madame Pomfrey would be proud of her most frequent guest. Her partner was gone as were both police officers four of the six firefighters. The other two were simply unconscious. Escorted by the ethereal manifestation of his father he moved up to check the auto wreck. From the tire marks the car had swerved violently into the van. He ran to the van. The man was still breathing and moaned when Harry got there. The fact he was unconscious probably helped spare him. Harry looked him over and fired off a diagnostic spell. He had lacerations on his arms and face from broken glass. Several of the man's ribs were either broken or bruised badly and his left leg where the impact was probably broken.

"What are you doing to my daddy?" He heard a voice ask. Harry had been so intent on checking on the man that he didn't see the young boy in the back seat.

"I am checking him for injuries."

"Bloody hell! Harry Potter?"

"Uh yeah who are you?"

"Jason Higgins. I'm in Ravenclaw. Were those dementors? All the policemen and firefighters just started screaming and running around." The boy sniffed.

"What year are you in?"

"Going into my second year, sir." Harry cringed at being called sir. That explained why he didn't know what a dementor was.

"How are you able to do magic out of school?"

"Long story. Don't you have you wand with you?" Harry said noticing that the father was awake and eyeing him through bleary unfocused eyes. Jason shook his head no.

"What are you talking about boy? What happened here? What's with the light show?

"Sir. I go to Jason's school. See my friends over there. They are driving off the monsters. Your boy can see them even though you can't. It's not safe to be out and about tonight. We need to get you out of here."

"Okay." With that he cast the cleaning charm and all the glass fragments disappeared. He then cast several wound closing spells and the cuts on the man closed much to the father's astonishment.

"I am going to try and fix the dent and we should be able to open the door. I can get your leg after that." The man just nodded dumbly.

"Reparo!" He incanted while the deformed metal returned to its pristine condition. Harry turned and recast his patronus directing him to attack the few remaining dementors. The boy cried out while the man looked on in amazement. Harry shrugged and opened the driver side door.

"Okay this is going to hurt a bit. Are you ready? Okay here goes. Ferula!" The man screamed but his leg slowly went back into its original shape. Harry cast a few more wound closing spells and recast the diagnostic charm. He told the man about his ribs and that he didn't want to risk doing anything about them right now. Madame Pomfrey always said that 'Ribs are tricky things'. His second diagnostic spell indicated that it was only bruising with no breakage.

"Blimey! You weren't kidding when you said that was gonna hurt! You said little Jay will be able to do all this one day?" Mr. Higgins grunted.

"Yes with a lot of studying and practice, but that's what Ravenclaws are good at. Listen I would love to answer your questions. For now if your van will start you need to get out of here and I need to check on the other people. You seem okay, but tomorrow go see a doctor and get checked out, especially the ribs. Be careful driving. Jason, I need you to be a big helper to your dad. Keep an eye out for the dementors. Tell him if you see any so he can drive away from them. Make sure you carry your wand with you and start practicing stunners and full body binds, or at least the wand motions."

"I'll do it sir!" Harry cringed again.

"Thank you son." Mr. Higgins turned the engine over and pulled away. Jason was waving madly to him. Harry turned around to check the other vehicle.

The people in the car had already been kissed. It sickened Harry to look at the infant still in a car seat. He hoped and prayed, but several shakes didn't cause the child to wake, cry or even move. They were all still breathing. It would take several days for the body to just give up and die.

Harry was mad now. Closing his eyes he tried to sense more dementors. They had moved a couple of blocks away and were beginning to regroup, unwilling to give up on their denied feast. Bill was asking Harry what he told the man and the two witches were scanning the sky for more signs of trouble. Harry ignored them. He summoned his firebolt. If he had been paying attention, he would have noticed that he used his non-wand hand to do so. In a single fluid motion he mounted the finely crafted broom and shot over the houses. Again he ignored their shouts. The image of the soulless baby etched on his brain. Three streets over he saw them hovering like the avatars of death they were. Harry stopped about ten meters in front of them and hovered on his racing broom. There were no thoughts of happiness on his mind only righteous anger that these things even exist. He leveled his wand at them. No incantation came from his lips, but he felt a surge in his magic. The air around him crackled. There was a visual sensation like that when the lights flicker during a brown out. Harry felt his entire wand arm jerk as his patronus shot out and hit the ground running. The clatter of Prong's hooves echoed off the asphalt. That wasn't right. Patroni don't make any noise. The group of shadows began to disburse, but one moved too slowly. It was impaled on the antlers of the avenging stag. The foul creature began to thrash wildly as wisps of smoke curled around the wounds. The other dementors stopped in midair and looked on at their wounded counterpart. It clawed frantically at Prongs and managed to push itself off of the antlers. The dementor collapsed to the street.

Prongs wasn't done with the dementor, by a long shot. The stag began to repeatedly trample it. The dingy black and gray smoke was pouring out of the dementor now. It stretched a bony hand up to its comrades like a desperate cry for help. The appendage fell uselessly to the road as Prongs reared and brought both front hooves down on its head. The body lay there momentarily and then disintegrated in a column of smoke, which billowed around the patronus. It stepped through the cloud and raised its head in challenge towards the dementors floating above. That act was all that was required to send the remaining dementors fleeing in all directions. Harry could feel their terror. It tasted good.

Harry noticed the others next to him staring wide-eyed. They had just witnessed the impossible. Harry didn't care. He didn't care how drained he felt or that it felt like his shoulder had been hit by a bludger. Prongs walked back over to him as he dismounted and landed on unsteady legs. He looked bigger than usual and far more intimidating. Harry reached his hand out to touch it like he always does, knowing that it would pass through and the avatar of his father would disappear.

Instead he felt fur as he touched the snout, soft delicate fur. He ran his hand alongside the side of Prong's head and touched the antlers. They were as solid as the rest of him. He wrapped his arms around the neck and performed an act he never thought possible. It wasn't quite real, but somewhere between reality and the fantastic, however on that deserted street Harry Potter gave his father a hug. A minute later the stag began to fade from view.

Susan spoke after a moment, "Harry that was amazing! How did you do that?"

"I don't know. I just wanted them gone."

"Your patronus was solid! I have never heard of that before." Emmeline said.

"Bet the dementors have never heard of it either. I told you Harry was the next best thing." Bill said smiling. "How did you know where they were?"

"When I close my eyes and concentrate, I can sense them. Can't you?"

"Uh no. Not unless they are real close. You were a kilometer away and tracked them like a bloodhound."

All four pondered this in silence for a minute. This was interrupted by Bill spotting red sparks in the sky. "Come on! It's Dung! Harry mounted his broom and shot into the night. Susan lagging far behind. It took a minute to get there. The two order members were already fighting off the dementors. It was too late for Mundungus Fletcher. He had already been kissed. Harry dived off his broom. Whatever he could do it didn't require a fancy incantation or wand movement. He simply pointed his wand at the dementor, felt that same draining pulse of energy and said the only thing that came to mind.


------- (Scene Break - See my author's notes on DLP for an explanation.)------------

"Lucius, Walden so good to see you. I trust you have been well." Lord Voldemort greeted some of his freed minions. His forces firmly controlled two thirds of the prison. All the high security prisoners had been released. The ones who were not already his servants had been brought before him.

"I have a simple choice for you, join my service or I kill you. Not to be rude, but I am in a hurry. You have one minute to decide."

The four men who had been sentenced for murder immediately opted for service. The woman was carefully regarding her decision. After twenty seconds she asked a question.

"Can I kill Fudge?" There was a gleam in her eyes.

"Ah Madame Faircloth, I suspect had you been my adversary at the ministry this would not have been so easy. I do not care what happens to the buffoon. Is that all you require?"

"Well, I will probably need to kill his wife and children in front of him, before he dies."

"Understandable. You have a deal."

"Thank you my lord." Voldemort applied his mark to her knowing that several of his inner circle had assisted in her frame up, but her diminished faculties were fixated on the useless oaf Fudge. The witch was dangerous and broken. He could reassemble the pieces in his own design.

"Lucius reinforce Peter at the front line. Kill them make them bleed, but do not completely over run them. They will send more reinforcements. When those reinforcements arrive slaughter them. We have the advantage here and the fools won't know it until it is too late. The rocks will run red with their blood. Walden find my servants outside and have the trolls and dragon commence destroying the North towers. Antonin, take the rest and control the outside of the island. Voldemort watched his death eaters disburse. Two guards remained to cover the Merlin rally point.

--- (Last Scene Break)---------

"Dammit! We're getting slaughtered here! Spinnet keep cursing. Tonks! Where are the goddamn reinforcements?"

"Moody's bringing them!" Tonks shot back checking the Warden's body. "Fulton's gone!"

Tonks did a quick survey, counting her there were only six aurors left crouching behind the overturned oak tables. The situation looked grim. If she were in charge, she would order a retreat. It was after all just a rock in the middle of an ocean. She spun around a table and fired two quick reductors not even caring whether they had any effect. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a shimmer of movement. Acting on instinct she snapped off a cutter. She was rewarded with a scream from the disillusioned death eater. Dawlish's bludgeoner slammed into him a moment later and the enemy fell.

Alastor Moody's voice boomed through the hall, "Take up defensive positions and concentrate your firepower. Let's push them back!" Tonks had never been happier to hear the clank of Moody's artificial leg.

The death eater advance faltered in the face of the twenty new arrivals. Curses crossed the room in waves. It was pretty much a stalemate at this point. She was taking cover with Kingsley and Dawlish, one of them would shield the two firing curses. Moody came up behind them.

"Okay you three, there's a secret passage that will take us to the main hall." He said tapping his magic eye. "The house elves say that he's there with only two of his lackeys. I talked two of the elves into creating a little diversion right before we attack. We can get the drop on him and end this once and for all. Anders, you take command. You three follow me this way."

Author's notes - Sorry chapter was running long. I had wanted the big duel to take place in this chapter. Guess you'll just have to wait. Visit my profile for links to my discussion forum. I will post my author's notes there.
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