Chapter 9: When enemies meet
At last, the time the fifth years have been dreading had arrived. The OWL exams. While Harry remained his usual calm self, there were several who nearly broke down at the mere thought of the OWLs.
The night before their Charms exam, scheduled on Monday morning, Harry had decided to join his house mates for a few more hours after dinner.
"I can't take this anymore. How can you be so calm?" Ron turned to Harry.
"Dunno. I guess it comes natural." Harry grinned.
"Well, I'm going to bed. I can't be tired tomorrow." Ron yawned, and quickly dashed to the dorms, and minutes later, the rest of the year followed.
"I guess I should get some rest too. Goodnight everyone." Harry stood up, and quickly returned to his room, where he spent several hours practicing the Shadow katas, before going to bed.
The following morning after breakfast, they were led back to the Great Hall, where the house tables were removed, and many small tables were now facing the teacher's table.
Once everyone was seated, McGonagall overturned a huge hourglass, and said "You may begin."
Harry turned his test, and began to answer the questions one by one. Two hours later, he met Ron and Hermione outside the hall, Hermione being her usual doubtful self. Ever since she asked to be turned, Harry had observed her closely, trying to assess her psychological state in order to understand her motives.
He noticed that she lacked almost any self-confidence, and despite being known as bossy, she would quickly cave in if you pushed her enough. She also seemed too sensitive to emotions, but this was a Lantrisi opinion.
After lunch, they were taken into a side room of the Great Hall, where they were called alphabetically.
After some time, it was Harry's turn. He walked into the Hall, heard professor Flitwick, who was standing next to the door. "Professor Tofty is free, Mr. Potter."
"Potter, is it?" The old examiner looked trough his notes as Harry approached him.
"Yes sir. Shall we begin?" Harry stood before him.
"That's the spirit. Well, now, please take this egg cup and make it do some cartwheels please..." The practical was in short, perfect, with Harry performing each task exactly.
The rest of the two weeks passed in pretty much the same routine, with exams every day.
Harry was certain he had managed to pass every exam, which was not surprising if one would consider his enhanced memory and strict mental control over all aspects of his body, including his magic.
However, this frantic calmness changed during the practical Astronomy exam. Harry was mostly filling his star chart from memory, occasionally peering trough his telescope to avoid suspicion.
He had most of it done, when he noticed that the door under the tower opened, and several people walked out. He caught the scent of Umbridge, and guessed what she was planning when he looked where they were going.
Turning his attention to his chart now, not really caring if anyone noticed him filing it without looking trough the telescope, he had the chart finished by the time Umbridge and her escort reached Hagrid's hut.
It seemed the action had already started when Harry peered up, and noticed Hagrid's large form surrounded by six people, who were apparently trying to stun him.
'Good luck with that. Even if he's only half giant, his skin is still just as tough.' Harry grinned as Hagrid clobbered one of them.
Harry also saw Hagrid's dog, Fang, trying to protect his master, but was quickly stunned. Seeing this, Hagrid howled in fury, picked up the culprit, and threw him over ten feet away, where he fell, unmoving.
As the fight progressed, Harry noticed a single person sprint towards them, and noticed McGonagall's familiar scent.
"How dare you!" She shouted loudly. "Leave him alone! He has done nothing to warrant such..." However, she was cut mid-sentence as four red beams hit her in the chest.
More then one student jumped up at this, and it seemed even the examiners found such behaviour inadequate.
Seeing this, Hagrid roared, and took two mighty swipes at his attackers, knocking them out, before he picked up Fang and rushed towards the gates, followed by shouts from Umbridge.
Finally, the exam ended, and the students converged to discuss the fight. While the students were greatly abusing Umbridge, Harry contemplated other plans. There were several people in Hogwarts that had gotten on his bad side, and he was determined to eliminate at least one, and Umbridge had just gotten herself picked.
Their final exam, History of Magic, was taking place tomorrow afternoon, and Harry excused himself from the common room, and returned to his own room, where he spent most of the night analyzing possible scenarios to accomplish his plan to take out Umbridge.
The exam proceeded just like the last few, and Harry was just finishing up, when suddenly, his mind was flooded with a vision of a familiar corridor, but this time, he moved on deeper and deeper, until he reached a massive hall with hundreds of shelves and glass orbs. And there, at the end of row ninety-seven, he noticed someone lying on the floor. Once he got there, he noticed that it was Sirius, who was being tortured by Voldemort. Harry watched for several moments, before he noticed something was wrong. Focusing harder on this feeling, he realised that what he was seeing was false, and the true purpose of the vision was to lure him to Voldemort.
'Well, I can't really refuse such a gracious invitation, can I? Good thing I read that book on Legilimency.' Harry's eyes shone with a murderous glint as he finished his test.
The moment the test was over; Harry pulled Ron and Hermione in an empty classroom and cast a privacy charm on the door.
"What's going on, Harry?" Ron asked confused.
"I'll make it short. Voldemort sent me a vision just now. It doesn't matter what it was, I noticed it was fake. It seems he wants me to go to the Department of Mysteries." Harry told them.
"Wha-what are you going to do?" Hermione asked carefully.
"I'm gonna go, of course." Harry grinned evilly.
"You're what? But, but..." Ron stuttered.
"I'll be alright. Just trust me on this, alright? Now, I got a little plan, and if it works, we'll also be rid of Umbridge. Here's what I want you to do. Keep an eye on the Entrance Hall, once you see me leave with Umbridge, wait two hours, then go to my room, the password is Chaotic. You'll find a mirror in the top left desk drawer. It's a contact mirror I got from Sirius. Call him, and tell him where I went. Understood?" Harry stared at them with such fierce determination, that both of them just nodded.
"Good. Then, phase one begins." Harry quickly left the classroom, and got to his room, where he got his daggers, and hid them with a little shape shifting. After that, he went to Umbridge's office, and forced his way in, making sure to trip the detection charms on the door.
He moved to the fireplace, and threw a pinch of floo powder, which made the flame green. Altering his face, he thrust his head in the flame and spoke firmly "Madam Rose's" His head appeared in a fireplace that was standing in a room draped in light pink. A young girl rushed to him.
"Hello, how may I help you?" She smiled.
"I would like to make an appointment, please. Make it five in the morning, for Mr. Daroth." He told her.
"What exactly do you require, sir?" She nodded in acknowledgment.
"Nothing fancy or unusual, what I do want is three girls. And if you're one of them, I'll certainly make it worthwhile." Harry winked.
"I'll see what I can do, sir. You'll pay when you arrive?" She asked.
"Yes. Oh, sorry, I have to leave. See you in a few hours." He winked again, and felt himself being pulled out the fire. He quickly changed his features back before anyone noticed, and he found himself staring in the face of professor Umbridge.
"Do you really think you could break into my office like that boy?" She sneered. "Take his wand." She snapped at one of her Inquisitorial Squad.
Malfoy rushed to do it, but after a minute of searching, he told her he didn't have one.
"I left it in my room." Harry told her.
"Well then, I want you to know what you were doing in my office." She tightened her grip on his hair.
"Let me go and I'll tell you." Harry replied. She did so, but had him held at wand point.
"I was reporting to Dumbledore." Everyone stared at him at this.
"You know where he is?" Umbridge asked greedily.
"Not exactly. I report in a prearranged time and place and it's always changing. I didn't want to use such unreliable methods as Floo, but my usual method of communication was destroyed a few days ago, and what I had to report was far too important." Harry said coldly.
"And what is that?" She stared closely at him.
"Well, I'll tell you. I wanted to tell him that the weapons are ready. He is gathering the men as we speak. Once we're ready, the Ministry will fall before our mighty weapons." Harry laughed coldly once he finished.
"What sort of weapons?" Her eyes were now bugging out.
"It would take too long to explain. I'll just say that you don't stand a chance." Harry replied.
"You will take me to these weapons, right now." Umbridge told him angrily.
"I will not. You can't make me." He grinned.
"Potter, you will take me to these weapons, or you'll spend a lot of time in Azkaban." Harry's grin vanished instantly. "Azkaban? You wouldn't." He whispered, and seemed thoughtful for a minute. "Alright, I'll take you." Harry said in a broken tone.
"Excellent. Lead the way, Potter." She opened the door.
"Are you sure you want to lead them to weapons that can destroy the Ministry?" Harry pointed at the group of Slytherin students, who didn't manage to get the expression of greed from their face fast enough.
"I don't think students should see this. We'll just make the two of us. Lead on." Harry inwardly smirked as he led the woman outside, taking notice of a very nervous Ron and Hermione.
"This way professor, in the forest." He told her and walked into the dark forest, while she hesitated for a moment before following.
Harry followed the scent of a few centaurs, and led Umbridge towards them. After about ten minutes, it seemed the centaurs had noticed them, as an arrow landed at his feet, and the sound of hooves surrounded them.
Over fifty centaurs surrounded them, all holding their bows loaded. While Umbridge gave a small whimper, Harry smirked, and walked towards Magorian, who shifted restlessly when he noticed him.
"We meet again." Harry spoke firmly.
"That we do. Why have you come here, beast?" The centaur sounded nervous.
"That doesn't concern you. However, I have a proposition for you." He told them.
"We are listening." Bane joined in.
"If anyone asks, you took her and killed her, understood? In return, I promise not to cause a significant decrease of centaur population in the forest." Harry spoke coldly, and many centaurs shivered, knowing he wasn't making empty threats.
"Very well, beast, we will do what you ask. This human was killed by our kind for insulting us." With that, the centaurs left.
"What was that all about, Potter?" Umbridge finally found her voice.
"Just getting an alibi." Harry turned towards her, now holding a vicious looking dagger in his hand.
She whimpered, and started to frantically cast spells with her shaking wand, but Harry easily dodged them, or deflected them with his dagger. Finally, he reached her, and batted the wand from her hand.
"Time to die, professor. Don't worry, I'll make it quick, I'm in a hurry." Harry said and plunged the blade into her heart.
After a minute, he let her drop on the ground, and after he cleaned himself and the blade, he pulled out his wand, and transfigured her into an old log that he made sure blended with the surroundings. Feeling elated, he apparated to the Ministry, and sneaked down to the Department of Mysteries.
He finally entered a circular room, which he recognized from a book he read about this Department.
"Hall of Prophecies." He stated firmly, and the room seemed to rotate for a few moments, before it stopped, and a door opened.
He walked into what he knew was the room of time, and rushed to the door to the Hall of Prophecies. Once he entered the cavernous room, he rushed to row ninety-seven, and moved to the very end. Like he guessed, there was no one here.
Then, he noticed the reason why he was lured here. Under one of the orbs, he noticed written a date of about sixteen years ago, and under that 'S.P.T. to A.P.W.B.D. Dark Lord and Harry Potter.' Harry sniffed lightly, and caught several human scents. Slightly smirking, he picked up the orb, and pretended to be transfixed by it. Then, he heard a voice speak.
"Very good, Potter. Now turn around, nice and slowly, and give that to me." He turned, and noticed figures in dark robes coming towards him from both sides.
Harry grinned, and put the orb in an inside pocket, where he sealed it, in case they tried to summon it.
"I don't think so." Harry replied.
"Very well then. Accio prophecy." The man Harry recognised as Lucius Malfoy spoke again. Harry's robe seemed to ripple at that, but the orb stayed where it was.
"You really think I'd fall for something so simple, Malfoy?" Harry sneered.
"Give it to me boy, and I might let you leave." Harry grinned at that.
"I could say the same, but it would be a lie." He grinned. "Remind me to thank your master for his generosity." His hands flashed, and two Death Eaters from both sides were flung back with great force. Both sides turned to see what was wrong, and noticed they each had a knife, stuck to the hilt in their hearts. When they turned to face Harry, however, he was gone. A cold voice that seemed to come from everywhere spoke up.
"Surprised, Malfoy? Not what you expected, huh? Did your all-knowing master tell you would die today?" Harry laughed coldly, and watched them frantically trying to locate him, not noticing when he summoned his knives. Moving quickly, he rushed to the one nearest to the entryway, and slashed his throat before vanishing in the shades again. The others noticed this only when they were showered in a torrent of blood as the man fell down.
"We need to get out of here. Scatter, we'll get him yet." Malfoy shouted, and the Death Eaters paired up and left quickly.
'The hunt begins.' Harry grinned and rushed towards one of the pair. The two Death Eaters stopped by one of the doors, and one of them spoke. "Can you believe that, McNair? The brat just killed Jugson and Rookwood just like that. And then killed Rabastan like a bloody lamb..." The other hushed him.
"Be quiet, Dolohov, I..." The other man stopped mid sentence.
"McNair? What's wrong?" Dolohov asked nervously.
"He has a knife in his heart." Harry replied as McNair fell to the floor. Before Dolohov could raise his wand, Harry had him pinned to the wall, and looked at him with blood-red eyes. "Are you scared, Dolohov? Do you fear death? Can you see your life flash before you, reminding you of your sins?" Harry grinned evilly. "The time has come to atone for your crimes." With that, he savagely bit his neck, tearing two massive holes in it, and let the blood gush down his throat, but drank only a little. He let the man fall down, and while he fell, he pointed his wand to the wound he just caused, and said "Reducto." The spell hit, completely blasting the head off the torso, and showered Harry in blood and pieces of flesh.
'Damn, that was too strong. Ah well.' He grinned as he cleaned himself. 'Five down, seven to go.' Once again, he vanished in the shadows, leaving the two bleeding corpses.
Malfoy, Rodolphus and Bellatrix Lestrange finally managed to reach the circular room that served as the entrance to the Department of Mysteries, only to be met with a gruesome spectacle. Two of their fellows were there, only they couldn't help them, as one was currently bleeding on the floor, impaled by his own arm, while the other was missing a significant chunk of his neck.
"Ah, my final prey has arrived at last. I was getting bored." They turned around, and saw Harry, his chin still dripping with blood, his eyes now completely red.
"What sort of a monster are you, Potter?" Malfoy shouted.
"One that you should fear, fool. But lessons are only wasted on the living, not on those who are damned." Harry gave them a maniacal grin.
"You can't kill the three of us, Potter." Malfoy raised his wand.
"That's where you're wrong. But to make things fair, I'll give you a fighting chance. I'll kill you with my bare hands." Harry put his knives back into their sheaths, and took on a fighting stance.
"Shall we?" Harry sneered.
"Avada..." Before Malfoy could finish it, he was hit in the chest with the force of a moving truck, and flew backwards. Not giving them a chance, he grabbed Rodolphus, and snapped his neck with such force that several bones popped out, peppering his face in blood. Bellatrix shrieked like a banshee and rushed towards the exit. Harry rushed towards her, but had to duck an incoming Killing curse.
"Well, well, still alive I see." Harry turned towards Malfoy, who was leaning against a wall and was coughing up blood. "I will enjoy this." Harry shifted his nails into long claws, and once he reached Malfoy, proceeded to tear him apart with unmatched ferocity. Covered in blood, he rushed towards Bellatrix, and got to the Atrium just as she was moving towards the entrance. Quickly summoning her, he held her firmly pressed to him, and spoke in a mockingly calm tone as he stroked her hair.
"Shhh, don't be afraid. It will all be alright now. You don't have to suffer anymore." Gently, he bit on her neck, and slowly drank, leading her into oblivion. Eventually, he let her drop, and he also blasted her neck to cover the bite marks.
"It's just you and me now." Harry said menacingly.
"That was impressive, Potter. I certainly didn't expect a being of your capability." A serpentine voice spoke as a tall, thin man with pale skin and snakelike face, with blood red eyes with slit like pupils.
"We meet at last. I am honoured." Harry gave him a mock bow.
"The honour is all mine. I guess you have my prophecy?" Voldemort stared at him.
"I have it. It's yours, if you can take it." Harry pulled out a dagger and his metalite wand.
"Then prepare yourself, Potter. Avada Kedavra." The green beam flew towards Harry, who deflected it with his blade.
"Surprised? The blade is made of a magical isolator. It can deflect any spell." Harry grinned, and then quickly said "Krotesh." A bluish orb the size of a fist flew towards Voldemort, who raised a shield, but the orb simply passed trough, and struck him in the shoulder, where it exploded with great force.
"That wasn't a magical attack, Voldemort. How do you like your first taste of antimatter?" Harry approached the fallen man, but was shocked to see that the wound was healing, far faster than it was supposed to be. Moments later, a fully healed Voldemort faced him again.
"Impressive. This turned out to be a lot more fun then I guessed. I do wonder how, however." Harry took a fighting stance once more.
"Now, now, Potter, do you really expect me to tell you? Like you, I am now much more then I once was." Voldemort sneered, and the duel began in earnest.
Twenty minutes later, the pair was once again having a stare off. "I underestimated you, Voldemort. You are certainly a much greater challenge then I believed. I will enjoy killing you." Harry grinned.
"Likewise Potter. You are too strong to be left alive. And I know I can't tempt you to join me." Voldemort replied and continued to throw spells at him.
They were suddenly interrupted by loud voices and flashes of green flame.
"We shall finish this another time, Potter." Voldemort sneered and vanished.
"I look forward to it." Harry spoke coldly. He then turned towards the arrivals, and noticed that Dumbledore was currently having a discussion with Fudge.
"Ah, Harry, please come over. Perhaps you can tell us what had happened tonight." Dumbledore said serenely.
"I was lured here by Voldemort, hoping to have me retrieve a prophecy for him. However, it didn't turn out as they hoped." Harry grinned.
"What do you mean, Potter?" Fudge glared at him.
"I'll just say that whoever goes down to the Department of Mysteries better take a mop." Harry returned the glare, and smirked as the man looked away.
"Wha-how, you..." Fudge did a very good goldfish impression.
"All you have to know is that there are a dozen Death Eaters less to worry about." Harry replied coldly. 'And one less of your cronies, but I'll let you find that out on your own.'
"Well, Harry, I think you should return to Hogwarts." Dumbledore told him.
"Not yet professor. There are a few things I'd like to do. Minister, a word, if you please." Harry approached the man.
"What is it now Potter?" Fudge sighed tiredly.
"I believe the Ministry owes me some money." Fudge stared dumbly at him.
"What are you talking about, Potter?" Fudge said angrily.
"I believe a law that is still valid said that any witch or wizard that takes in a Death Eater, dead or alive shall receive five hundred galleons as bounty. I took out twelve of them, so the ministry owes me six thousand galleons. If you don't mind, I'd like five hundred now, please. I have an appointment at five that I don't want to miss." Harry told him calmly, ignoring the stares from the surrounding people when he said he took out twelve Death Eaters.
"Alright, Potter. You're right, the law is still valid. Dawlish, get Mr. Potter five hundred galleons from the treasury." Fudge ordered the same Auror that was there the night Dumbledore left Hogwarts, and the man rushed to comply.
"We should really go back to Hogwarts, Harry." Dumbledore asked again.
"You go ahead, professor. I have one more thing to take care off. I'll floo back around ten. I guess we'll have a lot to talk about." Harry replied just as Dawlish returned with a sack of coins.
"Thank you. Minister, I hope you will pass on my sincerest apologies to the Unspeakables for messing up their department." Harry gave a small bow and left trough the entrance, then immediately apparated for his appointment in the most exclusive brothel in magical Britain.
Several hours later, a much happier and relaxed Harry flooed into the Headmaster's office.
"Harry, welcome. I suppose you heard the prophecy?" Dumbledore went straight to the point.
"I have. It doesn't really change anything. I'll kill the bastard, destiny or not." Harry said coldly as he sat down.
"Now, could you explain how he can heal almost as fast as I can?" Harry asked.
"Ah, I'm afraid I can only speculate, as I've had little proof to back up my theory. My guess is that the Mark that brands his followers is a lot more versatile then anyone believes. I think that Tom can draw power and life from his followers at will, using it to replenish his magic and heal himself. I am also guessing that the marks also serve as an anchor to his soul, preventing it from departing." Dumbledore replied.
"So, what you're saying is, I have to hunt down and kill each and everyone of his followers in order to kill him permanently?" Harry asked with tear-filled eyes.
"Yes, as much as I am unwilling to confirm it." Dumbledore frowned at his tears.
"And here I thought you'll give me some bad news. Headmaster, you just made me a very happy man. One question though. Do I kill Snape now or wait a while?" Harry smiled.
"I am hoping that we could find a way to remove the mark from those who wish it. And either way, I don't want Severus killed." Dumbledore frowned even deeper.
"Alright. I'll wait until we have a way to remove the mark. Just so you know I kill everyone who refuses to have it removed." Harry said in a firm tone.
"I guess I can't stop you doing that. Well, I suppose you could leave now. I'm sure your friends are anxious to see you." Harry nodded and left for Gryffindor tower, where he was assaulted by a nervous Hermione.
"Harry, you're alright. I was so worried. We did as you said; did they reach you in time?"
"Yes, everything worked out fine." Harry told her.
"Oh, what happened to Umbridge, mate?" Ron asked, a little too cheerfully.
"The centaurs dragged her off. There was nothing I could do." Harry told them with a fake frown.
"A pity. She was a great teacher." Ron said with a smile that quickly spread.
"Hey Harry, you should have seen Malfoy when he read the Prophet this morning. He spit pumpkin juice all over it." Ron laughed.
"Ron, don't laugh, how would you feel if you read in the paper your father was killed?" Hermione snapped.
"Oh, they have a story in the Prophet already? What did they say? Did they manage to find all the pieces of Malfoy?" Harry asked calmly, and everyone just stared at him, while a few of the younger students were looking a little green.
"Mate, remind me never to get on your bad side." Ron said with a shudder.
"Don't worry. Hermione, we need to talk. Could you come with me?" She nodded, and they quickly left for his room.
Once they were there, Harry turned to her. "You asked to be turned a few weeks ago. Do you still wish it?"
"Yes, I do." She replied at once.
"I have thought about it, and before I give you an answer, I want to know exactly why you ask this." Harry told her.
"Well, it's not easy telling you this, but I know you won't tell anyone. All my life I have been an outsider, I never fit in, and everyone just pushed me around. I tried my best to fight this, but it's too strong for me. I can't live like this anymore. And now that V-Voldemort is back, it will just become harder for me. It's too much Harry; I can't take this on my own." She had broken down mid-way, and now had large tears streaking down her face.
"I see my assumptions were correct. You do understand that should I do this, there is no going back?" Harry told her.
"I don't care. Just tell me you'll do it." She sobbed.
"Alright. I shall. I'll need a few days to arrange everything though. Let's meet at Headquarters a week after school ends. I'll have everything ready by then, and you'll have enough time to inform your parents." Harry told her gently.
"My parents?" She stared at him in question.
"You don't think they deserve to know what you're going to do? You should tell them as soon as you can." Harry told her.
"You're right. I will tell them once I get a chance." Hermione nodded.
"Alright. Now, I have to ask you to leave, I need to get some sleep. I've had a long night." Harry told the still weeping girl, who hastily wiped her tears and left.
'Am I doing the right thing?' Was Harry's last thought as he went to sleep.
A/n Well, I finally got a new chapter, and I think I got a good replacement for Horcuxes, even though it might have been used in an other fic. I finaly decided to turn Hermione, but I won't pair her with Harry. That might happen, but then again, it might not. I'll leave that to you to decide. The fight scenes are a bit less graphic then I planned, but I didn't feel like getting too descriptive. Anyway, I hope you like the story, and I hope you leave a review or two.
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