“Go on now, Harry. The day is still young. Go spend it with your friends.” said Dumbledore, eyes once again twinkling.
“I will. Have a good day Headmaster. Professor’s.” Harry said with a little bow, and with that turned and left the office, not realizing that it wouldn’t be the last time he was there. Nor would most of those times be for pleasant events.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione were in the Great Hall eating lunch when Malfoy and his two half ton goons came strutting over to them. ”Heard you had a run-in with a troll scarhead. Pity those bloody beasts are so stupid or it might have been able to kill you instead of wasting its time on Granger.”
Harry groaned. ”Malfoy, why don’t you and your boyfriend’s go bugger off somewhere? The stench emanating from the amount of crap you put in your hair is making me lose my appetite.” Harry had said it loud enough for the whole table to hear while pushing his plate away from him for dramatic effect, which promptly caused all the Gryffindor’s to burst out laughing.
Malfoy was turning extremely red as the laughter continued, whether it was from anger or embarrassment wasn’t clear. “Midnight, tonight in the Trophy Room, you and I are going to duel.” He half whispered, half hissed.
Harry silently probed Malfoy’s thoughts until he found what he had expected. ‘Come on Potter’ Malfoy thought ‘Accept the duel and while you head to the Trophy Room, I’ll give Filch a tip about an unsanctioned duel going on. You may have gotten out of the last tight jam but you’ll get expelled for sure this time.’
“Why not make it official?” Harry asked standing up and getting right in his face. Then, loudly enough for the entire hall to hear, he said “I Harry James Potter, son of James Dane Potter challenge Draco Tiberius Malfoy, son of Lucius Thomas Malfoy to a formal duel!”
The hall became deathly quiet and Malfoy paled. For a Half-Blood to challenge a Pureblood in such a way was unprecedented. A duel like this one meant that for the sake of the Pureblood’s family name, and the pureblood’s own honor, he had to accept. Since Draco had never intended to go through with the duel in the first place, this made him very nervous and put him in a nearly impossible situation. None the less, for the sake of the Malfoy name, and his own pride, he had no choice.
“I Draco Tiberius Malfoy, son of Lucius Thomas Malfoy accept the challenge of a formal duel. Name a time and a place.”
“Here, in the Great Hall at six, with the Headmaster’s permission of course.” Harry said looking up at the Staff table where Dumbledore gave a quick nod indicating the acceptance of the duel, when, and where it would take place.
The Great Hall erupted in a roar of cheers and applause.
“Rules?” Draco inquired.
“Anything, with the exception of the Unforgivables, goes.” Harry said before he leaned in close so only Malfoy could hear and said “By the way. The last time you tried to get me expelled, I ended up on the Quidditch House team. Keep it up and you might get me the position of Head Boy by third year.” With that he walked out of the Great Hall with Ron, Hermione, and the rest of Gryffindor House; lunch completely forgotten while the remaining students in the Great Hall erupted in a roar of cheers and applause. In his wake, he left an extremely pale and flabbergasted Draco Malfoy.
The day seemed to speed by at an alarming rate, drawing closer and closer to noon. Everywhere you went student, ghost, and even teachers were talking about the upcoming duel. Reports were flooding through the Hogwarts grapevine that Harry and Draco were spending all their time in the library. No one, not even the duelists themselves knew what to expect. Though it hadn’t even happened yet, it was already known as the Duel of the Century. Fred and George Weasley were taking bets and polls as to whom would win the duel. Harry due to his being the Boy-Who-Lived, natural power, as well as creditability he gained facing the troll, had a fifty-one percent chance of winning. Due to Draco being raised in a Pureblood family, a Dark one at that, he had probably been exposed to many dark curses. This gave him a forty-nine percent chance. Either way it was going to be one hell of a duel, as Neville had remarked. Lee Jordan, a friend of the twins, had been named commentator of the duel that he called the ‘Battle Royale’ between good and evil, light and dark, yin and yang, but most importantly, it was the continuation of a thousand year old feud. Gryffindor versus Slytherin. Dumbledore had heard Lee saying this to some of the other students and couldn’t help but think how close to the truth that was.
-- (The Great Hall, half past six p.m.)--
The duel had been going on for a half an hour with Draco Malfoy getting angrier and angrier by the second. It was obvious to anyone watching that Harry Potter wasn’t even trying. In fact he was toying with the Malfoy heir, dodging and reflecting every spell, curse, hex, and jinx that was sent his way. Finally, Draco Malfoy snapped and using a complex wand movement, he roared with an evil smirk playing across his face, “Aquilus Avis Ignigena Ignipotens!” Harry’s eyes widened. He had heard of the curse before. Having briefly read about it, he therefore knew that even if his back hadn’t been to the curse, [due to the way his dodging of the last spell that had come his way] there would be no use trying to put up a shield or dodging this curse. By now it would have already locked onto his magical signature and would follow him to the ends of the Earth. There was no escaping it. There was no stopping it. Directly translated from Latin to English, Aquilus Avis Ignigena Ignipotens, essentially meant ‘black bird born of fire, ruler of fire’. It was the Black Phoenix Curse and if performed correctly, there was no surviving it. At least no one to date had survived it. The spell would make the person cursed extremely sick over the course of about a year’s time before entering the final stage. The curse blasted Harry in the back and he cried out. Pain beyond anything he could remember in recent years consumed him. His robes were shredded and the smell of burnt flesh filled the air as he fell to one knee. Across his now bare back, one could plainly see a tattoo of a black phoenix burned into his skin. His breathing was hard and erratic as he coughed up some blood. His eyes began to once again glow a deep venomous green in pure uncontrolled anger as he got up and turned on his foe. The air sizzled and crackled throughout the Great Hall as Harry’s power level began to skyrocket. The ground began to shake and the magically bewitched ceiling above turned from a clear sunny day, to cloudy and stormy with bolts lighting every now and then. He summoned a column of fire with a circumference of four meters to engulf Malfoy, who was knocked to his feet due to the force. The column knocked him out, disarmed him, as well as engulfed him in flames and in the process ended the duel. Harry couldn’t hold the flames in place as his energy was rapidly failing, so he extinguished them. Harry promptly fell back to one knee due to sheer exhaustion and pain. Hermione, Ron, and professor’s Dumbledore and McGonagall ran towards Harry while Snape and Madam Pomfrey ran towards Malfoy.
Hermione reached Harry first, tears flowing freely from her eyes, she was followed closely by both professors who were extremely pale, and Ron behind them was looking confused as always but was no less concerned.
The students were stunned but slowly the Gryffindor’s and the Slytherin’s began to make their way to their respective Housemates. Snape began to levitate Malfoy off to the Hospital Wing as Madam Pomfrey made her way over to check on Harry. With Hermione’s help, he was able to stand and he shared a look with the Headmaster whose eyes were shinning with tears. Harry just smiled wearily, trying to show he was all right. Madam Pomfrey began to heal his minor cuts and bruises, while Professor McGonagall conjured another robe for Harry to put on. Madam Pomfrey declared that he was healed and did not need to go to the Hospital Wing, but to have someone bring him there when the symptoms started to show. She then turned around and headed off to go heal Malfoy. She stopped only once at the door to give Harry one last sad look before hurrying off. All the other teachers, minus Snape, gathered around him with looks of sympathy.
Harry finally broke the silence by saying, “Let’s go back to the Common Room,” and turning to leave with Ron and Hermione on either side of him. It was with a heavy heart that Albus Dumbledore let them go but he knew there was nothing more that even Merlin could do. The best thing for Harry would be to spend time with his friends and his sister. The Gryffindor’s soon followed the trio. And slowly the remaining students left as well. Unsurprisingly, a majority of the Ravenclaw’s looked sick, sad, shocked, angry, or a combination of the four. With the Sorcerer’s Stone hidden at Hogwart’s and The-Boy-Who-Lived being infected with the most dangerous curse outside of an Unforgivable, Albus Dumbledore sighed, it was going to be a long year.
A/N: Yeah, I know this a weird chapter, so are the next two (I think). Bare with me, it gets better.
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