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Chapter 44 : Fire Falling, Shadows Calling
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A/N: Just letting you all know that this chapter has yet to be proof read, so I do apologise if there are lots more mistakes than normal!!
Chapter 44: Fire Falling, Shadows Calling
Harry and the leaders of the DA had decided that the best way to avoid tipping Tonks off about their plan was to make sure that none of the DA except for the students were aware of the battle plans. The adults were simply going to be called to battle when the time came.
Having set up a series of warnings, Harry knew that as soon as the most urgent one was sent, the rest of the DA would appear almost instantly. They had done everything they could to make sure that the battle went their way but no one was overconfident.
If anything, Harry was getting more nervous as the time passed. The founders tried to reassure him that they would be with him to face Voldemort, but he still was not sure that he could defeat the monster.
The night before the ambush, the four teens had spent their time in each other’s company. They all knew that there was a very real possibility that some of them would not be alive in twenty-four hours time and decided that the best way to spend their night was in the company of friends.
Ginny particularly had made it very clear that no talk of the war or death or sorrow would be tolerated. Harry had agreed with her, wanting to be able to have a single night where he could pretend to be normal with normal teenage dreams and hopes.
They passed many good memories around along with a bottle of firewhisky that Salazar had found. Laughter was shared and they all went to sleep with smiles on their faces, in the embraces of their loved ones, putting aside the fear of what the next day could bring.
But the next day came all too suddenly.
The teens had refused to go to class, instead spending their time with the founders going over last minute plans. Neville and Luna joined them after lunch both indicating that the other student DA members were ready.
The hours sped on, the second hand on the clock moving both too quickly and too slowly. Finally, as curfew passed and the lamps in the castle were extinguished they rose as one and left the Nest. Saying a brief farewell to the others, Harry and Ginny hastened through the castle and out onto the grounds before mounting their brooms and flying to the rendezvous spot out by the forest.
All was silent, not even a breeze whispered through the air. Harry and Ginny looked around carefully, making sure that no one was around. The red head faced Harry and pierced him with a deadly stare, “You had better still be here by the end of this Mr Potter or I swear I will cross over the boundary to drag you back by your ear!”
He smiled, “Same goes to you Gin.”
“I am wearing the Sun Dancer necklace. You aren’t so fortunate as to have one of those!” She rebuffed quietly. She half turned away before launching herself into his arms, “I mean it Harry. I can’t lose you.”
Kissing her fiercely he replied, “I am not going to make some clichéd statement about how you will never lose me Gin. But know that no matter what happens, I love you, and that will never ever change.”
She nodded into his chest before pulling away and composing her face, “Well, since we were supposed to be out here training, how’s about a spar?”
He grinned, “With pleasure, it never hurts to warm up!”
Within seconds their swords were out and flashing, the clanging of the metal echoing through the night air. However, no matter how engrossed they were in their duel, their attention was still very much diverted to their surroundings.
A snap of a twig came from behind Ginny and instantly they stopped fighting, pulling out their wands and pointing it at the sound. “Who’s there?” Ginny demanded.
“Damn my clumsiness!” Tonk’s voice cursed.
Harry eyed Ginny slightly, “Tonks? What are you doing out here?”
Moving out from behind a bush she gave him a familiar grin, “I might ask you the same question! I don’t suppose I could join in?”
Feeling Ginny trembling with rage beside him, Harry intervened smoothly, “I am sorry Tonks, but Ginny and I were wanting some alone time. I am sure you can understand that, after all, you seldom get such time with Remus. Perhaps tomorrow night, but for now, I don’t suppose you could go?”
Tonk’s smile didn’t change, but all of a sudden the twinkle in her eyes turned to a glitter and her stance became aggressive, “Oh Harry, why must you always be so antisocial? I just want to play!”
Feeling his eyes narrow in spite of himself Harry glanced uneasily around him, “Play Tonks? We are training, not engaging in games.”
Her grin turned feral, “For you maybe, that is true!” Suddenly her wand shot out and three green sparks went up. At the same time she threw herself behind one of the large trees, laughing, “So Harry, you going to play with me?”
Before he could respond a noise like the sound of rushing waters filled the air and out of the corner of his eye he could see shapes in the sky. Harry refused to look up, focussing instead on where Tonks had disappeared. Stalking towards her hiding spot he hissed, “Did you honestly think that we were taken in by your act for all this time Nymphadora? You have fallen into a trap and you don’t even realise it.”
A cackle came from the tree, not unlike Bellatrix’s, “Oh no Harry dear, you will find that it is you who have fallen into a trap!”
“Harry! Vampires!” Ginny cried, pointing at the vile creatures.
Harry whirled around, looking towards that rapidly approaching dark shapes, “Damm! We heard that Voldemort was recruiting them, but we never thought he would get them so fast!” In one second all of their plans crashed around them and Harry knew that they were in trouble. Conversations about humans being massacred by vampires flew through Harry’s mind as he stared at the descending dark creatures.
In their moment of inattention, Tonks shot out a cruciatus curse at Ginny. Not quick enough to avoid it, Ginny was knocked off her feet by the force of the spell. However, she merely rolled to her feet and shot of two stunners at the traitor.
Tonks, stunned by Ginny’s immunity to the unforgivable, only barely got out of the way, giving a cry to the sky and the circling vampires.
Instantly, they dove, landing on the ground around the two teens and raised their weapons. Harry glanced at Ginny, “I think it’s time we called in the cavalry!”
She nodded and touched the back of her left hand once summoning the DA. Materialising around them, the vampires were momentarily surprised but quickly attacked the students. The DA were likewise surprised by the appearance of the vampires and were automatically grim. Even as talented as they were, they were hard put to face off against the supernaturally fast and agile creatures.
Harry and Ginny, surrounded by nearly a dozen, could barely keep up with blocking the spells being cast their way. The founders, seeing their situation, fought violently in an attempt to reach the two teens.
At the appearance of the DA, Tonks had retreated to the edge of the forest with three vampire leaders next to her. She watched the progress of the founders as they carved their way through the vampires ranks with awed eyes.
Salazar called out to Harry, “Call in the rest, we are going to need everyone we can get to defeat these bastards!”
Nodding in agreement Harry slapped a hand to his ear and shouted, “Battle on Hogwarts near Forbidden Forest. Vampires. Code Alpha. NOW!” Ducking beneath a whirling blade he decapitated one vampire and lopped of another’s hand with the same stroke.
Cracks started filtering through the air as the other DA member’s earpieces turned themselves into portkeys and transported them to the battle field. Harry could see how many had responded to the summons but he hoped it would be enough.
Harry whipped his head backwards and forwards, trying to see a way to end the battle quickly without enormous loss of life. Hearing his name shouted he turned to see Godric pointing towards the edge of the forest.
Unable to hear him or see what he was pointing at, Harry shook his head and continued fighting. The movements were so native to him now; parry, duck, thrust, twirl, roll and slice all actions that came without thought.
Fighting back to back with Ginny, the two continued working their way towards the larger battle, using sword and spell to disintegrate their many enemies. Hearing a cry, Harry felt Ginny collapse slightly against him and he whirled around, pulling her behind him and intercepting the blade meant for her chest.
Glancing down he saw that she had taken a blade to the ankle, effectively snapping her bone. Hissing in anger she brought up her wand and blasted the vampire backwards as Harry quickly healed her leg. She panted, “I think I know why wizards tend to get their butts kicked by these creatures. They are damn fast!”
Harry nodded, parrying another sword and shooting off a flame curse at the same time. Three vampires rushed him and once and he dropped to the ground in a somersault roll, slashing out at the legs of one of the creatures and stabbing another in the chest on the way up. However, the third brought it’s sword down heavily on Harry’s arm, slicing neatly through battle robe and flesh alike.
Harry winced and staggered backwards, hastily tracing his wand over the wound to close up the worst of it. The vampire sneered, “You bleed red the same as any other, boy! I am going to enjoy draining you of your life force.”
Suddenly the vampire too, staggered forwards and a sword tip appeared through his torso. Godric’s face appeared over his shoulder, “I doubt that very much bloodsucker. You are simply ash and bones!” pulling out his sword he blasted the vampire into dust before hastening over to Harry.
Ginny had been joined by Rowena and Helga and the three of them were attacking a group of five vampires with Ron and Hermione rushing over to help them. A yell, familiar yet terrifying, split the air and Harry felt his attention being diverted to another part of the battle.
Bill was on the ground, a vampire standing over him with a triumphant face, his sword positioned over the man’s neck. Before Harry could even register what was happening, he felt his leg’s moving towards the helpless red head.
A second later a keening shriek rent the air and Harry saw a huge half vulture, half veela woman launch herself at the vampire. Fleur, true to her heritage, had taken on the form of the vicious harpy, tearing the vampire to shreds in an effort to protect her husband.
Eight more vampires turned to face the transformed woman and they hissed with anger. They simultaneously attacked her as Bill dizzily started to get to his feet. For the first time, Harry understood why Fleur was chosen as a Tri-wizard champion.
Her spell work was flawless, her curses deadly and accurate. Vampire after vampire fell to her wand as she stood by her injured husband. Bill staggered up and raised his wand, trying to assist her in any way he could. Blood dripped from an open chest wound, signifying a more serious injury within.
Harry, desperate to reach them, blasted enemies away from him like leaves caught in an autumn wind. He knew that no matter how talented they were, no amount of luck could protect them from that number of vampires and he was the closest to them.
Suddenly a dark shadow slinked up behind them, a mere silhouette against the trees. Harry barely saw it but he felt the scream torn from throat as he yelled, “BILL, FLEUR, BEHIND YOU!”
The warning came too late however, as the shadow materialised into a grinning Tonks who didn’t even wait for them to turn around, merely casting two killing curses into their backs. Her work done she turned and fled for the trees. Harry felt his breath leave him as Bill and Fleur collapsed to the ground, side by side as in life.
Harry, knowing what would happen if he let his emotions get the better of him, slammed down a wall on his heart, refusing to even look at his friends. He glanced at Godric who was finishing dispatching the vampires around Bill and Fleur.
The lion founder turned sad eyes to the black haired teen who merely said firmly, “She has got to die. Watch my back?”
Godric nodded and together they ran after a fleeing Tonks. They were quickly joined by Fawkes whose normally beautiful voice was taunt with anger and grief “I will help Godric, even he cannot take on three vampire leaders alone”
Around them the cries of pain from several of his friends reached Harry’s ears and blank faces stared up at him from the ground. Turning his eyes away he focussed on Tonks as she ran into the forest. Concealment may have been her strength at training, but not even she could hide from an angry Godric and an emotionless, cold-hearted Harry.
Knowing that running would not help her, she turned and faced them a sneer plastered over her face. Out from behind her, three dark shapes appeared, forming the figures of three vampire leaders. Their bodies were covered in silver armour which glittered in the starlight and their swords, glowing red like their eyes, were raised to attack.
Harry glanced at Godric again, “She is mine.”
Nodding in understanding, Godric drew his sword and lunged at the nearest vampire, distracting them from Harry. At the same instant Fawkes gave a great cry and dove at another of the vampires, his claws aimed straight for the creatures’ eyes. Tonks, slightly startled by the bold play, didn’t even notice Harry throwing a spell at her.
It slammed into her chest, throwing her backwards into the ground, causing her to cough slightly in pain. Rolling to her feet and ducking to avoid another spell she snarled out several killing curses.
Harry sneered, “Curses? Is that all you’ve got? My dear Nymphadora you truly need to learn how to duel properly! Let me show you.” Running directly at her he slashed his sword down, causing her to duck and roll again.
Directly into another spell, this one snapping her left leg in three places. She screamed in pain, her hands clutching at the leg in an effort to relieve some of the agony. She looked up at Harry, pure hatred glittering in her eyes.
So transformed from the sweet woman that he had known, Harry could not help but be momentarily taken aback. Snatching up her wand she yelled, “Sectumsempra!”
The spell, well aimed shot straight towards Harry’s head. He managed to turn his face in time to stop it from blinding him, but he still felt a lance of fire lash itself across his skin from forehead to chin. Staggering back a couple of steps, he blinked his eyes in an effort to clear the blood pouring down his face.
His fingers sought the open wound, automatically holding the skin together as he surveyed Tonks through narrowed eyes. She was still on the ground, her left hand holding her leg whilst her right held her wand. She sneered, “Not so pretty now are you Potter! Your little girlfriend may not want you know that you are deformed. No amount of dittany is going to fix that!”
Harry rolled his eyes, tracing the wound quickly with his wand to sew the skin roughly together. Glancing over towards Godric he was reassured to see that the lion founder was holding his own against two of the vampire leaders whilst Fawkes was desperately trying to set alight the other one. He turned back to Tonks and his gaze hardened as he raised his wand.
Instantly a wave of fear washed over her face and she shot off several curses in an effort to ward him off. He snickered, “Is that the best you can do? Pitiful, and to think you were considered one of the best duellists of the Aurors. Voldemort should be embarrassed that one of his followers could be overcome so easily.”
He continued to stalk towards her, his wand blocking all her spells and his sword held casually in his left hand. She started to pull herself backwards, trying to put distance between them but he steadily continued on. When he was within arm’s reach of her he raised an eyebrow, “You know, I said that if I was the one to come across you then I was going to pull your head off and use it as a soccer ball. How does that suit you my old friend? Care to partake in a muggle sport?”
She snarled and slashed her wand backwards and forwards, as if trying to use it as a sword to fend the impassive Harry off. He gave a mirthless grin and with the speed of an attacking cobra slashed his sword through her, slicing her open from neck to navel.
A hiss of triumph was realised from his voice but was quickly drowned out by an abruptly cut of yell of pain. He half turned and felt himself freeze as Godric sank to the ground. How badly the lion founder was hurt he couldn’t tell, but one of the vampire leaders was already running over to him and whirling his blade at the black haired teen.
Harry spun, pulling his blade out of Tonks as he turned. He parried a slash from a sword and half ducked under it. He lunged at the vampire leader’s belly but the armour held. The vampire leapt back then whipped his sword forward in a motion too fast to see. The weapon caught Harry across the arm, reopening the wound and further tattering the sleeve of his battle robes.
Harry hugged his bloody arm to his chest as the vampire leader laughed. He brought his sword to his lips and licked Harry’s blood off it. Rising to his full height, standing there glorious and terrible before him, the vampire smirked, insulting Harry in his own language.
Narrowing his eyes at the vampire Harry shot a spell out, taking the creature by surprise and knocking his feet out from under him He landed hard on his chest and face, splashing mud in all directions. As he pulled his head back and up, Harry caught him with a snap kick that instantly broke his neck. Following the movement with a clean swipe of his sword, the vampire was decapitated.
Spinning around quickly he saw one of the other vampires throw a ball of light at Fawkes, effectively knocking the bird out of the way. Holding his sword forward, with the hilt near his belly and the blade pointing down at the ground, Harry eyed the two remaining leaders calmly.
He could see that both of them were looking at him contemptuously and he impatiently flicked his blade up a centimetre or two, inviting them to attack him.
They obliged, with the left vampire whirling his sword above his head. Lightning flashed down from the sky, striking his sword and illuminating the warrior. The vampire started forward and Harry feinted towards him, kicking a lump of wet mud in his direction. The vampire hesitated giving Harry all the moments he needed.
Pivoting on his right foot, he lunged at the right vampire. The warrior leapt back, only to somersault forwards over Harry’s head. As that warrior was flying through the air, Harry dodged to his left, taking a step towards the other leader.
Not too keen on exposing his back to the vampire behind him he reversed his grip on his sword and stabbed it backward, past his right hip and impaling the approaching warrior on the blade. Again, the armour held, preventing Harry from opening him up, but the vampire did double over from the force of the blow. For his part, Harry used some of the collision against the blade to drive himself forward. He rolled into a somersault, then spun to the right and brought his sword around in a waist high cut that caught the vampire before him across the thighs.
The armour, too strong to be sliced, stopped Harry from cutting through flesh and muscle. However, the force of the blow was enough to push the legs of the vampire out from under him, dumping him to the floor.
Harry lashed out with a foot, catching the fallen warrior in the side of the head. The vampire’s head snapped to the right, but the warrior still gathered his limbs beneath him and heaved himself to his feet quickly.
Harry cut to the left, to kick the vampire’s sword away, but felt his other leg being kicked out from under him by the other vampire. At the same instant a lancing fire pierced his sides causing him to double over in agony.
Glancing down he was astonished to see the tip of a sword poking through where he imagined his stomach would be. The weapon was yanked out of him, causing him to cry out with pain. Collapsing to the ground, he half turned his head to see the other vampire smirking at him in triumph before being kicked onto his back.
Grasping his sword Harry slashed at the vampire’s legs, but the warrior leapt clear above the cut and then came down with a foot heavily on Harry’s right wrist. Pain shot through it and the black haired teen was certain he heard something snap. His hand went numb and his sword flew from his grip.
One vampire towered above him, whilst the other stood by eyeing the battlefield with a calm look of interest. The leader standing above Harry whipped his sword down in a slash that would cut him from head to navel.
If it landed.
The clang of metal signified Salazar’s interjection, his sword catching the death bringing blade and parrying it away. The vampire hissed in anger, brining his sword to bear against the snake founder. Salazar merely sneered back and slid his sword down the creature’s weapon, slipping under it and slashing through the vampire’s armpit. As the sword reached his heart, the vampire screamed, spun away and disintegrated.
Harry, seeing the other vampire move towards Salazar through fading eyes coughed out, “B-behind you!”
Salazar spun and rolled, avoiding the enemy’s sword by a hairsbreadth. Standing over Harry protectively he glared at the vampire, “Come on! Embrace the death that awaits you and your master!”
A voice rang out, “Salazar! Duck!”
Not even bothering to turn around, Salazar dropped to his knees, straddling Harry as a knife whizzed through the air. It imbedded itself into the vampire’s face, knocking the creature back a couple of paces. The knife, sticking through the left eye, glowed red and the vampire screamed before catching alight and burning to ash in an instant.
Salazar rolled off Harry and turned to Rowena who was rushing over, “Nice throw.” Without even waiting for a response he turned to Harry who was starting to lose the battle to remain conscious.
Looking at the gaping wound in the teen’s torso Salazar called out desperately, “Fawkes!”
The beautiful red and gold bird flew over hastily, blood dripping from one of his wings, indicating at least one injury. He landed beside Harry and crooned softly, tears already welling in his eyes as he dipped his head over the mortal wound.
Helga and Godric whom she had revived, limped over, keeping a look out for any other vampires that might threaten them. However, it seemed that with the death of their leaders, the remaining vampires had decided to flee the grounds.
Ginny, noticing the founders and Fawkes gave a slight cry and took off across the ground towards them. Collapsing next to a prone and gasping Harry she clasped his hands, “It’s alright Harry, it’s alright. Fawkes will heal you, you’ll be fine.”
Tears continued to drip from the phoenix’s eyes to Harry’s chest, however, the wound was not healing. Salazar pursed his lips, “Why is it not working?”
Fawkes looked up and great sadness was in his eyes as he made eye contact with Rowena. She gasped, “No! That cannot be!”
Ginny held Harry’s hand even tighter, “What? What’s wrong?”
“The wound is poisoned with Kallikantzaroi venom.”
“I don’t understand. What is that?” Ginny asked desperately as Harry’s arms started to tremble.
Salazar put his face in his hands, “The only known poison that is immune to phoenix tears. Fawkes cannot heal him. What are the chances?”
Rowena muttered, “Voldemort knew that Fawkes was still around even after Dumbledore’s death.”
Ginny shook her head, “But surely you have an antidote? Someone must have come up with something!”
Harry gasped out, “It takes a full six months to brew Gin, we have none in stock and I am not going to last longer than a few minutes. The poison itself is not deadly but because the wound is so large, I am going to die anyway.”
She burst out, tears running down her face, “Don’t you dare say that Harry Potter! Don’t you say that to me! You are NOT going to die!”
Fawkes gave a keening cry, grief echoing through his call. Harry gave Ginny a pained smile, “I am afraid nothing can stop that now Ginny.” He gave a choked chuckle, “So much for prophecy.”
Other members of the DA were approaching, most covered in wounds and blood, some carrying fallen friends. All were crying as they saw their leader dying on the ground. Harry looked deep into Ginny’s distraught eyes and sighed, feeling tears gather at the corner of his own. He reached a trembling hand and put it around her face, “I wouldn’t leave you if I had a choice love.”
Watching the two for a moment, Fawkes struggled to his feet, blood running more freely from under his wing and he hopped up onto Harry’s chest. The black haired teen focussed his gaze on the bird as he gasped out, “Uh Fawkes? That kinda hurts!”
The bird ignored him, merely staring deep into Harry’s eyes and breathing deeply. Behind them, Rowena gave a choked sob and Harry’s mind clicked.
“Fawkes – don’t!” Harry coughed, realizing what the phoenix was doing.
It was too late however and a golden mist passed from the bird to Harry, merging with him. His body glowed for a second before dying away, leaving a healed chest. Fawkes lay his head down on Harry’s chest breathing heavily.
Tears were falling from Harry’s eyes, “Why?” He choked, “I’m not worth it, I never was.”
“Nonsense young Harry.” He replied wearily, “You are worth it a hundred fold and I embrace my choice. My path is of my own choosing. Regret not your actions tonight, I am proud of you, and I know Albus is as well.” His breathing became more ragged as he struggled to continue, “Harry, feel no guilt for my death, you and I will meet again.”
“What, how? When?” Harry begged, desperate to believe that the phoenix would live.
“When you join me in a place where no shadows fall.” He replied, his sunset eyes darkening rapidly.
“I don’t understand”. Harry said, the tears finally breaking free, and streaming down his face.
“You will, young Harry, you will.”
And with that, Fawkes, the true founder of the Order; friend, confidant and guide, died.
Harry wrapped his arms around the beautiful bird’s body, his own wracking with sobs. While the gaping hole in his chest was repaired, an even larger one was ripped open in his mind where the thoughts of the phoenix would never again fill.
A/N: *Peeks over the top of her chair before ducking hastily* “I’m sorry! Please stop throwing things at me! I had to do it!”
This was the first chapter that I ever planned out; Fawkes was always going to die. But I’ll admit I cried when I wrote it!
Pretty please leave a review since this chapter was fairly close to my heart!!
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