Chapter 47 : Fallen
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Chapter 47: Fallen
Seven o’clock the next night saw Harry standing alone at the top of the Astronomy tower, his gaze muted as he looked over Hogwarts’s grounds. Yet for his faraway stare, his awareness of his surroundings was not diminished and he soon felt a familiar presence approach.
Smiling wryly he asked softly, “Still sneaking in the shadows like a snake eh?”
Salazar snorted and stood next to him, “Always, it is what I do.” The founder turned a serious face to him, “Harry…I have no words for you for tonight. No one here can know what is going through your mind, what sort of pressure you must be feeling. But-”
“Salazar, I appreciate you trying to pep talk me. But in all seriousness, I don’t need it. I believe that I can kill him tonight.” Harry interrupted.
“Just remember who you are Harry.”
“You have fought in many battles Harry, but you have never truly let the bloodlust get to you; except perhaps the time you engaged that Bellatrix woman after your godfather’s death. With everything that has happened, I do not believe you will be able to remain emotionless this time.” Salazar explained softly, his eyes wandering over the darkened grounds.
Harry grimaced and nodded causing the snake founder to put a hand on his shoulder, “You can do this without losing yourself Harry.”
“Well, before I go and face my doom, there is something I need to say. I wish to apologise for ever thinking that you were an evil bastard. You have been one of the truest friends I could have and a wonderful guide and mentor.” Harry said sincerely.
Salazar gave a smile, “Are you trying to make me cry Harry? Because you know it won’t work.”
Harry grinned back, “Oh well, I can keep trying. Perhaps someday I might actually succeed.”
“Not likely, I am not a Hufflepuff.”
“Here you are Harry! I have been looking everywhere for you!” Ginny’s voice exclaimed as she walked out onto the balcony. Salazar nodded to her and clapped Harry on the back before leaving. She frowned, “That was abrupt. Did I interrupt anything?”
Harry shook his head, “No, just Salazar trying to give me a pep talk before I-” Ginny didn’t let him finish, but kissed him passionately and desperately. He responded for a moment before breaking off, “G-Ginny, I have to ask you something…”
She considered him for a moment before blushing, “If you are going to ask me to marry you Mr Potter, know that I am only 16!”
He gaped at her, “Um, well, I-I.”
Her eyes grew wide, “Were you?”
Wincing he shrugged, “No.”
Her face split into an evil grin, “And why not?”
“Because you are only 16. Ron would kill me if we got engaged before him! Not to mention what your father’s reaction would be.” Harry said lightly.
“Well, what were you going to ask me then?”
“If you are going to be alright leading the Great Hall’s group tonight. I know we discussed having Susan take them, but I think she would be better off on the battlements.” Harry replied.
“Oh, um, well I don’t like that I won’t be at your side, be we all have a job to do. Just promise me that you won’t do anything really stupid.” Ginny said hesitantly.
“Gin, I can walk through killing curses now.”
“Rowena said that you can still be hurt the same as any other person, it’s just you cannot die. I have no intention of nursing you back to health over the course of a few months just because you decided to play macho!” she exclaimed.
His gaze softened, “You know that I won’t be dumb Gin. I have too much to look forward to.”
Catching on quickly she threw her hands around his neck and kissed him again, whispering into his lips, “We both do.” If he had looked up at the door he would have seen a green snake slither away, hissing in satisfaction.
As they both came up for air the first rays of moonlight spilled over into the grounds and Ginny asked, “When will he come?”
Harry raised an eyebrow at her, “Impatient are we?”
She shrugged, “I hate waiting.”
He nodded, wrapping his arm around her, “So do I. He’ll be here soon, I can feel it.”
She started to pull him towards the door, “Then we best get back to the rest of the DA, they will be wondering where we are.”
He let himself be led but said hastily, “I am not making speeches Ginny. Everyone knows what they must do and I am no politician.”
She rolled her eyes, “Then get Amelia to speak to them. But you should at least be there!”
They were met by Ron and Hermione who were outside the door, sharing a kiss. As Harry cleared his throat they broke away, blushing slightly. Ginny raised an eyebrow at her brother who glared at her, “What? I’ll bet you were doing exactly the same with my best friend before you came back here!”
Forestalling an argument, Harry clapped him on the back, “Come on, save your energy for the real battle.” He opened the door and nearly stumbled back at the roar of noise that greeted him. The Room of Requirement was enormous now, nearly twice the size of the Great Hall. The number of people that were packed into the room was staggering and Harry had to blink twice to assure himself that he was imagining it.
Neville forced his way between Hestia Jones and an excited Colin Creevy to stand next to him, “Hey Harry, looks like Amelia was able to call in more than just Aurors. I think McGonagall got word out to people and whalla…instant army!”
Harry glanced around, “Where are the elves and goblins?”
“The goblins are patrolling the grounds. They said something about the smell of the castle. I believe the elves are currently setting traps along the secret passageways. We tried to block them off, but it seems that Hogwarts doesn’t like being cut off. Our friends are with them, showing them all the places where a Death Eater could get in.” Neville replied hastily as they made their way through the room.
“Mr Potter.” McGonagall called.
Looking at her, Harry walked over, “Yes Professor?”
“I have done what I can to secure Hogwarts, but it is a huge place and we do not know where the Death Eaters are going to be striking from.” She sighed, “I guess we’ll just have to hope for the best.” She was silent for a moment before piercing him with a stare, “After the attack on St Mungo’s you alluded to several people who have trained you. I wish to meet them.”
Harry shook his head, “I am sorry but they are too busy to engage in conversations at the moment.” She looked ready to protest and he held his hands up, “Rest assured though, they will be there at the battle; and be of great assistance.”
Her eyes narrowed, “Are they your spies within You-Know-Who’s ranks?”
“No and as of yesterday, I no longer have a spy.” Harry looked away, “He was discovered and killed by Voldemort. It is thanks to him that we know about today’s attack.”
McGonagall winced, “I-I’m sorry to hear that. May I know his name?”
Her mouth dropped open and for several seconds she looked like a gasping fish. Finally finding her voice she exclaimed, “What? Harry how could you be so stupid!”
He glared at her, “Just because we are now working together to defeat Voldemort, doesn’t mean we have reached the stage where you can insult me without any form of response; don’t push it Professor.”
She stuttered, “B-but he killed Dumbledore! You said you saw it yourself, that he did it without any hesitation. How could he be your spy?”
“I don’t have time for the full story now, but suffice to say that he and Dumbledore had a plan, they stuck to it and Snape has been a faithful spy ever since. I will hear of no insults against him, he died yesterday yet with his dying breaths he sent word to me about the attack. We never would have been prepared if he hadn’t!” Harry snarled.
She stared at the black haired teen for a moment before dropping her head, “I do not know if I believe you Potter, but you are right, we don’t have time for it now.” She turned on her heel and marched off towards where Kingsley was talking to Amelia.
Shaking his head he walked to the front of the hall and performed the sonorous charm “MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE?” instantly the hall went silent and all heads snapped around to look at him. “Thank you. I am not one for pep talks so I’ll simply say good luck. By now you should all have been told where you will be stationed. We don’t know exactly when Voldemort will attack, but it should be soon. Everyone, take your posts.”
Harry didn’t know how many pats on the back he received or whispers of confidence that reached his ears but he was supremely grateful. He turned to the leaders of the DA and instantly Hermione burst into tears and threw her arms around him.
Stumbling back a pace he patted her on the back, “Shhh, it’s alright Hermione.”
“I-I just hate that we won’t be standing next to you when you face him.” She cried.
Ginny spoke up, “It is more important that you lead your groups against his forces; and remember, Harry isn’t going to face him alone.”
Hermione’s face resurfaced as she stared at the younger teen, “How can you be so calm about this Ginny? You aren’t going to be with him either!”
Ginny gave a strained grin, “What good would complaining do? We all have a job to do, jobs which are far more important that our own personal feelings.”
Ron eyed his younger sister, “When did you get so mature Gin?”
Harry chuckled, “She has always been more mature than you Ron, did you only just notice?”
Ron gave him a half-hearted glare before crossing the distance between them and pulling Harry into a rough hug, “Whatever happens, we are with you mate.”
“Whatever happens.” Luna and Neville echoed.
Harry nodded, “Thank you, now your groups are probably wondering where you are.” He paused, before looking them seriously in the eyes, “I am only going to say this once, DO NOT GET KILLED! I do not want to be the person to tell your parents what happened to you.”
Ron grinned, “I don’t think that any of us are actually going to try and die you know.” He clapped Harry on the back before shepherding the others out of the room.
Ginny stepped in front of Harry and stared into his eyes. He kissed her gently, “Keep your head down Gin, that necklace is not a complete protection. I don’t know what I would do if I lost you.”
She smiled, “I will Harry, I promise.” She kissed him again before turning away and following the others out of the room. She missed the flash of pain which crossed Harry’s face as he watched her walk away.
Taking a deep breath, Harry looked around and was surprised to see that he was the last one in the Room of Requirement. He left the room and slowly started to make his way towards the main entrance of the school. The halls were mostly empty and his footfalls echoed around him.
Reaching the entrance he stood alone, waiting for Voldemort to show his face.
Well, almost alone.
“Wonderful speech Harry.” Salazar’s sarcastic voice came from behind him.
He grinned, “I have said it before, I am no politician, I don’t do speeches.”
He felt Helga’s hand on his shoulder as she chuckled, “Obviously. I don’t think it matters though, your army doesn’t need any encouragement for tonight. All of them just want this awful war to be over.”
Rowena walked in front of Harry, peering intently out into the night, “I wonder when he’ll come though. The thought of standing around here for hours with nothing to do is not exactly thrilling.”
“You and Ginny make a fine pair, no patience whatsoever.” Harry laughed.
The four founders’ heads snapped up suddenly and Godric murmured, “I don’t think we’ll be waiting long. The wards at the edge of the forest have been breached.”
Harry raised an eyebrow, “Breached? Or did you lower the wards?”
Salazar gave an amused grin, “Well now that would be telling now wouldn’t it? Let’s just say that if Voldemort tries any form of retreat he is going to find it much more difficult to go out the way he came in.”
“Hopefully the spiders and the centaurs will slow him down a little. It would be good to thin their numbers out a bit before they arrive.” Harry said before turning back towards the Forbidden Forest. They were not waiting long before the ground started to shake slightly. Several giants could be seen bashing their way through the tree line at tremendous speed.
Shouts started wafting through the air and flashes of light caught their attention. Voldemort’s army tumbled out of the forest, shooting off curses as fast as they could at a swarm of acromantula. The spiders were hissing in anger and even from the castle, Harry could tell that they were putting up one hell of a fight.
Arrows were flying through the air, signifying the centaurs’ attack. More than one Death Eater shouted in pain as they felt an arrow pierce their flesh.
Rowena whistled, “At this rate, we won’t have to fight at all, his army looks to be decimated.”
Harry frowned, “You’re right, there aren’t many of them at all.” He glanced up at Salazar, “Diversion?”
He nodded, “Possibly, but we would have felt if any others tried to enter onto the grounds. So far, if Voldemort is keeping the larger part of his army in reserve, they aren’t within our perception yet.”
As the Death Eaters and giants crossed the tree line the centaurs and spiders instantly ceased their attacks, turning back towards the centre of the forest to make sure that no stragglers were left alive.
Suddenly, there was a hiss of astonishment from Helga and Godric groaned. Harry looked at them in askance and Rowena explained, “A larger group of individuals have just entered in through the main gate. And by larger I mean, much larger.”
Nodding in understanding Harry turned his attention to the pathway which lead from the entrance hall to the main gate. He kept a single eye on the Death Eaters and giants that were now pacing the edge of the forest. However, it was obvious that they were not going to attack the castle without their master.
Within minutes, Voldemort’s larger host came into view and even Harry winced at the size of it. It was obvious that he had been doing some pretty impressive recruiting during the weeks when Harry was secluded away in Potter Castle.
He surmised that aside from the 400-odd cloaked Death Eaters, most of the others were werewolves. While Harry did not know how many resided in England, he guessed that most of them were standing before him.
The familiar chill which was caressing his body indicated that Voldemort also had a large number of Dementors, but Harry could not see them yet.
A lone figure walked up towards the castle, standing just outside of spell range. Frowning, Harry watched as Voldemort placed his wand to his throat and spoke, “WITCHES AND WIZARDS OF HOGWARTS, I KNOW THAT YOU INTEND TO FIGHT ME. BUT THERE NEED NOT BE A BATTLE OF SUCH MAGNITUDE. GIVE ME HARRY POTTER AND I AND MY ARMY WILL LEAVE THE GROUNDS. SURRENDER TO MY RULE AND YOU MAY LIVE. HARRY, IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO WATCH YOUR FRIENDS DIE, YOU WILL GIVE YOURSELF TO ME.”
Harry looked at the four founders and shrugged, “Showtime.”
He stepped out of the great hall, the founders flanking him and he slowly made his way towards his enemy. Voldemort fixed his eyes upon Harry and a smirk appeared. Four of his Death Eaters approached him, mirroring the founders so their Lord would not be outnumbered.
As Harry approached Voldemort sneered, “Still unable to face me without better witches and wizards at your back I see.”
Harry glared at him, “I am here aren’t I?”
Running a finger over his lips, Voldemort considered the black haired teen, “Indeed, though I would assume you are not here simply to roll over and die. Mores the pity.”
Godric snorted, “Yes I suppose a coward like yourself would be afraid to face a seventeen year old boy in battle. Babies are more your thing aren’t they?”
Fixing his eyes upon the founder, Voldemort snarled, “You are a fool if you think a single teenage boy is going to stop me! Now, who are you?” he demanded.
Salazar, his eyes starting to glint red with fury, spat out in Parstletongue, “We are several extremely angry people who are going to kick your arse and then bury it ten feet under!”
Voldemort’s eyes widened and he took an involuntary step backwards, “How is it you speak it? Only those of Slytherin descent have the ability to commune with the serpent!”
Harry rolled his eyes and grinned at Salazar, “Stupid and arrogant in a single package, how convenient!” He faced Voldemort and smirked at him, “Try using your brains for once Tom.”
The Dark Lord hissed angrily at him, but was still examining Salazar with a confused stare. His eyes flicked across the other three founders and a wave of astonished understanding washed over his face as the final piece clicked into place.
Rowena smirked, “The penny’s dropped I think.”
Harry was nodding, “Yes Voldemort, he is who you think he is. Ironic isn’t it? that the person whose name you have been parading around as the reason for the war actually fights for the other side.”
Snarling in fury Voldemort spat, “Impossible!” Ignoring Harry for the moment, he addressed the snake founder, “Ancestor, I do not know what lies Potter has told you to cause you to join him! But I-your true descendant, have been cleansing the world just as you did, freeing it from the filth of mudbloods and muggles!” the unadulterated pride in his voice was enough to make Harry giggle. It was obvious that no matter how much Voldemort exalted himself in his own eyes, no matter how much he felt he was the one to rule the world, he would still kiss the ground that Salazar walked.
For his part, Salazar was swelling with rage, ferocity written in his stance; however when he spoke it was with a soft, calm and lethal voice, “I don’t know whose history books you have read Thomas Marvolo Riddle, but you have been sadly led astray. You are a disgrace to the Slytherin name and I am ashamed that such a monster could ever have come from my blood!”
Voldemort’s face was a rapidly changing mix of surprise, confusion and anger, but Salazar was not finished, his voice rising with his emotions, “I was never a muggleborn hater, never set out to wipe them from existence!” He raised a finger and jabbed it at Voldemort, “You have taken my family name and twisted it into something purely evil! You used my pet to try and kill innocent children, you have waged an unholy war against the world and worst of all, you have split your soul so many times that you are no longer human! You are simply a monster from hell that deserves nothing more than to be sent back into a fiery pit to be consumed for all eternity!” he thundered.
The Death Eaters behind Voldemort had taken several steps backwards in an attempt to distance themselves from the irate founder. It was obvious that they were fearful of his rage and wanted nothing more than to bolt.
Voldemort however was straightening his back, his eyes glowing red with fury and his mouth twisting in a snarl, “So, it would seem that you were as weak willed as the rest of these fools. Here was me thinking that I came from a noble and proud heritage when really, you should have been stomped into the dust and forgotten with the ages.”
Without warning his wand slashed through the air and a ripple of red flew straight at Harry. For his part, his wand was already moving in an attempt to block the oncoming curse, but he needn’t have worried.
“Claudisha!” three voices bellowed from behind him and the spell dissipated instantly. Godric, Helga and Rowena fanned out around him, their wands pointing directly at Voldemort who eyed them apprehensively.
He sneered at Harry, “So Potter, not even going to face me in a duel? Simply happy to sit back and let others do the dirty work?”
Godric looked indignant, “If you faced him in a real duel perhaps he would. But attacking in the middle of a parley hardly constitutes as a brave action. You are simply a coward yourself!”
Helga nodded in agreement, her eyes glittering with anger, “Indeed. Besides, we all a have a bone to pick with you! Or did you think that your insult to our possessions would simply go unnoticed?”
At the mention of his Horcruxes, Voldemort paled significantly causing Harry to chuckle, “Oh yes, we know all about them. As it stands now, you are purely mortal, ready to be buried six feet under!” With that he exploded into action, his wand shooting out a barrage of curses.
Voldemort dodged most of them, blocking the final and snarling at his followers, “Kill them all, I don’t want a single creature left alive. I want Hogwarts to cry with the ghosts of those who thought they could oppose me!”
Harry stepped back and let the founders take over duelling Voldemort as he sent off several patronuses warning the various groups spread out over the grounds and the castle, telling them what Voldemort had said. Without waiting for a reply, he threw himself back into the battle, letting every single technique taught to him take over his mind.
Helga and Rowena engaged the four death eaters, preventing them from assisting their lord whilst Harry, Godric and Salazar duelled Voldemort. The Dark Lord, while outnumbered, was still putting up an impressive fight. Harry supposed that his anger and hatred was fuelling his attacks.
Closing his ears to the resounding roar that filled the grounds, Harry concentrated on his enemy, falling into the familiar patterns of battle. Several times, Voldemort attempted to distract him with a threat or comment, but Harry fought on, completely oblivious to the tactics of the Dark Lord.
When eight more Death Eaters involved themselves in the duel in an effort to distract the founders, Helga and Rowena found themselves struggling to keep up with the multitude of spells being fired at them. Vaguely aware of their plight, Harry shouted to the male founders, “Help them! I can hold him off for a bit!”
Voldemort sneered when he saw the men break off their attack to help their female counterparts, “Fools! Do they honestly think that you, a seventeen year old boy, can hope to hold me off?” his wand flicked towards Harry and a jet of ice white flame shot towards him.
Hastily raising a wall of dirt to intercept the oncoming fire, Harry gritted his teeth and pulled out his sword. As Harry lowered the dirt he was slightly surprised to see Voldemort closing the distance between them, his wand already shooting off a barrage of knives.
Dropping to the ground in a roll to avoid them, Harry fired off a quick bone-breaking curse at his legs, forcing the Dark Lord to jump aside. The split second distraction was enough for Harry to shoot to his legs, shouting “Repsi Sato!” Instantly, the ground on which Voldemort stood exploded, plants bursting through the dirt and encircling his legs. Within moments they had wrapped around his torso, strapping his arms to his body.
Not waiting to see how the Dark Lord would respond, Harry took a run at him and shouted, “Avada Kedavra!”
Voldemort’s eyes went wide at the sight of green shooting towards him before he smirked and disappeared. Harry skidded to a halt, his head snapping around in an effort to see where his adversary had gone. He knew he couldn’t have apparated so he had to be around somewhere.
Raising a defensive shield around himself, Harry slowly walked towards where the Dark Lord had last stood. Not seeing anything that gave away clues, he called out uncertainly to the Founders, “Where is he?”
Engaged in their own duels, only Godric had time to shout over his shoulder, “Around here somewhere!”
Rolling his eyes at the lack of helpful information, Harry kept his wand ready as he continually surveyed the grounds. The DA was putting up an incredible fight with over half of Voldemort’s forces already destroyed. The giants were causing the left flank some trouble, but Harry could see that Neville was leading over some of his group to assist them.
Suddenly there was a cry from somewhere to Harry’s right, “HARRY BEHIND YOU!”
At the same time another voice, this one filled with hatred and vicious satisfaction snarled, “Avada kedavra!”
Harry turned just in time to see a wave of green envelope his body. Instantly his mind went white with agony. He had never felt anything like it before, not even the cruciatus could compare with the all encompassing pain which was tearing his body apart.
Dimly aware of his body falling to the ground, he could only vaguely hear the cries of disbelief by the surrounding DA members. Idly he realised he should have told them that he couldn’t die. As another wave of pain wracked his body, he decided that death would have been preferable.
The ground next to him shook slightly and he knew that Voldemort stood over him. The Dark Lord hissed in satisfaction, “So ends the famous Harry Potter.”
Finally the pain that the killing curse had left started to recede and Harry was able to open his eyes. Voldemort was staring out at the battle with a smug look. Using his moment of inattention to his advantage, Harry gathered what was left of his strength and kicked out, catching the Dark Lord by the legs and toppling him to the ground.
In an instant, Harry was back on his feet, albeit shakily, his wand pointing directly at Voldemort who was looking at him with complete disbelief, “Impossible!”
Snarling, Harry replied, “It wouldn’t be the first time!”
As Voldemort slowly got to his feet, he eyed Harry in apprehension, “How?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know? It’s funny, you have spent your entire life trying to achieve immortality, yet a seventeen year old boy who never even wanted such a thing to happen to him has been granted the ability to walk through killing curses.” Harry said, a smirk crossing his face.
The rain of curses that shot towards Harry was testament to the fury that Voldemort was feeling. Dodging and blocking the spells, Harry started to return fire with the more deadly spells in his arsenal. More than once he saw incredulous surprise on Voldemort’s face as he dodged the curses.
However, Voldemort’s speed in blocking was as impressive as his speed at casting and not one of Harry’s spells landed. Frustrated with his inability to hit his enemy, Harry felt his anger mounting. He just wanted to pin the bastard down and stick him like a pig for all of the pain that he had caused.
Knowing that it was not a good sign that his emotions were starting to get the better of him, Harry tried clearing his head but the red eyes that stared at him mockingly were making it extremely hard.
Suddenly, the faint chill that had felt earlier intensified and he instinctively looked up. The sky seemed to be moving as hundreds of dementors descended onto Hogwarts’ grounds. However, his moment of inattention cost him as a curse slammed into his chest, throwing him back a few metres. Placing a hand to his torso he was not surprised to see his fingers stained red from blood.
Looking up at a sneering Voldemort he got to his feet as quickly as he could just as a resounding “EXPECTO PATRONUM” went up around the battlefield. Instantly the grounds were illuminated in silver as over 100 patronuses burst from their owner’s wands and rushed at the oncoming dementors.
Obviously in spite of himself, Voldemort looked impressed at the magic displayed by the DA. Harry used his shock to his advantage, rolling to his feet and crying, “Shavasta!” The parstletongue spell shot from his wand like a striking snake and Harry nearly gasped at the energy that the curse pulled from him. Voldemort’s eyes widened as he dropped to the ground, only missing the smoky green curse by a hairsbreadth.
Not waiting for him to get up, Harry whirled his wand again in an intricate pattern, “Tissinya Ssssothassh.” When no spell came out of his wand, Voldemort looked a cross between satisfied, relieved and smug. Harry saw him raise his wand in slow motion; Harry’s own body was battered and exhausted he but gave a slight smile, whispering, “Visshh”
Instantly the air around Voldemort came alive as if the streams of oxygen themselves were determined to wipe his life from existence. Visibly moving around, the air snapped into ropes around his body, choking his throat and forcing his wand away from Harry.
Harry knew that he wouldn’t be able to keep the spell up for long, that the energy required to maintain a full parstletongue curse for any longer than a few seconds could knock him out for a week. Still, he was running out of options and Voldemort did not seem to be weakening against normal curses.
The Dark Lord was obviously struggling to understand the nature of the spell, particularly since his ability to breathe was being hampered. It was a race between his capacity to maintain consciousness and Harry’s ability to sustain the spell.
Obviously one of his Death Eaters had noticed their Lord’s peril and started to run towards him, hurling curse after curse at Harry in an effort to distract him. Able to dodge most of them, Harry knew he couldn’t maintain the curse and duel another enemy at once.
The Death Eater was almost upon him when out of nowhere a voice snarled, “Bombarda!” The cloaked figure was thrown back nearly twenty metres and didn’t get up. Harry gave a swift smile to the fiery red haired girl that rushed up to him.
Ginny’s face was dirt covered and there were several long gashes running down the length of her neck but the fire in her eyes still burned brightly as she examined the still struggling Dark Lord. She raised her wand at him and tilted her head, “Are you sure you can’t let me do it? I still owe him for my first year you know.”
Placing a trembling hand on her shoulder Harry shook his head, “No Gin.” He whispered. He turned back, intent on finishing it quickly but before he could utter a word Voldemort gave a triumphant grin and spat out something in parstletongue.
Feeling his control over the curse snap, Harry instantly pushed Ginny out of the way and dove to the side as a killing curse shot out at them. Rolling over, Harry felt his legs shake as he got to his feet. The curse had taken more out of him than he had expected and only now did he realise why Salazar had cautioned against using them. He honestly didn’t know if he could keep up fighting for much longer without collapsing.
Ginny had intercepted three Death Eaters who had come over to assist their Lord and Harry could see the founders fighting their way over in an effort to assist them. Voldemort also saw them and he grimaced slightly backing away towards the gates of Hogwarts.
Harry mirrored his movements, spitting, “What is the matter Tom? Why are you running away like a scared little girl? Too afraid to face the people you have wronged now that you know you can be killed like them? How does it feel to have the tables turned?”
Red eyes narrowed and Harry’s wand went up in a defensive manner, ready to block whatever was sent his way. Sure enough, Voldemort waved his wand snarling “Avada Kedavra.”
Harry’s body was already moving to dodge the spell when he realised his mistake.
The curse was not aimed at him.
As green shot towards red, Harry felt a scream tear itself from his throat, “GINNY!”
Her brown eyes looked up to see death rapidly approaching. There was nowhere for her to run, nowhere to dodge and no way to block the spell.
Terror and helplessness gripped Harry as he watched, not even aware of the shouts of the founders or the triumphant laughter of the Dark Lord.
As he locked eyes with his beloved he saw something flicker in her brown depths and suddenly time slowed. While he had a natural aptitude for the technique, he had never seen Ginny use it. However, as the bolt of green reached her, she transformed.
Where a scared teenager had stood, a growling wolf now crouched.
Time returned to normal and the curse of death shot harmlessly over her furred head and collided with one of the Death Eaters. Snarling in fury, Ginny started running towards a very surprised and shocked Voldemort. In a single howl of anger, she leapt at him and latched onto his wand arm.
Her strong jaws snapped his wand in half before she sank her sharp teeth into his arm. The force of her leap had knocked him over and he screamed with pain as she tore at his arm.
The terror that Harry had felt suddenly disappeared as blinding fury took its place. The sight of Ginny nearly dying which was branded on the inside of his eyelids, caused him to shout with rage. He started to run towards the two of them before changing into his bear form.
The roar that emanated from his throat caused Voldemort to look up with astonished fear. In a single fluid motion he kicked Ginny off and she gave a slight yip of pain. The Dark Lord shot to his feet and started to flee with unabashed terror at the sight of the eight-foot, wrathful grizzly bear.
Harry watched him for a moment before starting to lope after him. Slowly at first then faster, his legs pounded the earth causing it to shake. Catching up with Voldemort as he reached the edge of the Forbidden Forest he lifted his front paw and lightly batted the monster. Sent sprawling, Voldemort rolled several times before coming to a stop against a tree trunk. He half sat up, his red eyes wide with fear as Harry reared up onto his hind legs, roaring with satisfaction.
“H-Harry – please don’t kill me!” he pleaded, terror evident in every feature.
Harry sank back to four paws and looked at the Dark Lord. Even in animal form, the incredulity that was written in his green eyes was obvious. So was the unadulterated fury and without a moment’s hesitation he sprang forward and raked his claws down Voldemort’s left leg.
Claws met bone and Voldemort let out an unearthly scream, his hands desperately trying to pull himself away from the giant bear. Harry watched his progress for a moment before letting out an undignified snort and placing a heavy paw on the back of the man.
Exerting slight pressure, Harry stopped his breathing before sniffing him slightly. Shaking his head at the decayed smell he let out another growl before snapping his jaws down on Voldemort’s arm and tossing him back towards the battlefield. Blood ran freely down the man’s body, coating the grass around him. Again and again in an animalistic fury Harry grabbed him, throwing him to and fro; the Dark Lord’s bones snapped liked twigs in a gale and the smell of blood filled the air.
As the Dark Lord’s screams became whimpers of pain, Harry’s growls of satisfaction became more pronounced and his attacks became more vicious. Standing over his fallen enemy, Harry roared with triumph. The rage and adrenaline in his chest was pounding so hard that he thought his heart would burst.
Raising his paw again to claw Voldemort, Harry paused when he heard someone call his name. Looking up he saw Salazar standing only a few paces from him. Lowering his paw so that it pressed against Voldemort’s back, he cocked his head at the snake founder.
Salazar eyed the blood coating the bear’s fur, the grass and Voldemort’s body calmly before turning back to Harry. He walked over slowly, ignoring Harry’s growl and the protective curling of his claw on the Dark Lord’s cloak. He placed a calming hand on his furry shoulder, “Remember who you are Harry.”
Harry snarled, the fury in his system roaring for more blood. Voldemort’s helplessness was only further enticing his bloodlust and he tossed his head from Salazar. The snake founder, unafraid, grabbed Harry’s massive head and stared deep into his emerald green eyes, “Remember WHO YOU ARE! This is not you Harry!”
The emotion in Salazar’s voice was enough to cause Harry to blink and look around. Ginny and the other three founders had approached and were surveying the scene with wide eyes. Ginny looked like she was deciding if she was satisfied or terrified that her boyfriend had literally torn Voldemort to shreds.
Looking back at Salazar, Harry let out another growl, this one questioning. The anger he was feeling was still running rampant through his system and he was not willing to let it go. Salazar could see the internal struggle within the teen and sighed, “What would Fawkes say? What would he want you to do?”
It was if someone had thrown a bucket of ice water over the enormous bear. Blinking twice in shock, Harry yowled in grief, the anger in his eyes being doused with guilt and remorse. As if in slow motion he reverted back to human form, a shrunken black haired teen, crouching by his whimpering enemy with his hand on his back.
Pulling his hand off Voldemort, Harry sat back on his haunches and looked up at Salazar. His eyes, empty and haunted, caused the snake founder to shiver. However, he knelt by the teen and gently raised his head, “No guilt Harry, you have no reason for it. You didn’t kill him in anger or hatred, you stopped in time.” In a rare show of affection he embraced him, whispering softly, “I am proud of you.”
Ginny rushed over and threw her arms around the two of them, tears of relief pouring down her face as the other three slowly walked over. Harry surfaced from Salazar’s embrace and wrapped shaking arms around Ginny’s diminutive frame.
Rowena looked at Voldemort’s shaking form with distaste, “So, what do we do about him? I reckon one of us should do it.”
Helga gave a slight smile, “Still determined to prove prophecies wrong hey Rowena?”
The black haired woman sniffed, “Always. Self-fulfilling pieces of poetry, that is all they will ever be to me and if I can have the opportunity to prove them wrong I will!”
“An admirable goal I suppose, though it looks to me like his well and truly defeated. His body is mangled, his forces are destroyed and all of his Horcruxes are gone. He has nothing left except what remains of his pitiful life.” Salazar said, pulling out his wand and levelling it at the Dark Lord, “Something I intend to deprive him of.”
Godric’s arm shot out of nowhere, “Hold up, how come you get to do it?”
Ginny’s eyebrow rose, “Are you seriously telling me that you four are going to fight over who gets to kill him? After everything that we have been through tonight?”
Harry interrupted, “Besides, I should still be the one to kill him.”
Godric grinned, “Yes and no.” his wand went up as did the other three founders and with a glance at each other, they shouted, “AVADA KEDAVRA.”
Harry blinked in astonishment as the four killing curses impacted with Voldemort’s back, illuminating his pale, terrified face. Instantly the tenseness in his body disappeared and the shaking stopped as his life fled from him.
Silence rang through the air, even the wind seemed to hold its breath as Harry took a ginger step towards the still body. Kneeling down he reached out and touched the face that had haunted his dreams for all of his life. He looked up with emerald eyes swimming with emotion, “He’s dead.”
The statement, barely whispered into the night was like the trigger to ever single person’s voice on the battlefield. A resounding cheer of joy, relief and elation went up around them, echoing in the starlight night as the DA celebrated the death of the monster that had walked caused so much heartache over three decades.
Harry met Salazar’s eyes, “You never meant for me to kill him did you? All that time you trained me, you still intended to be the one to end his life. Even with the prophecy and all.”
The snake founder didn’t reply for a moment, simply staring calmly at Harry. Helga broke the silence, “We made a decision at the beginning of the year that if we could take this burden off your shoulders then we would. You could just as easily have killed him tonight, but fate worked in our favour and we were able to deliver the final blow.”
A ghost of a smile appeared on Harry’s face, “I’m not angry, more relieved.”
Ginny tightened her grip around his waist, “And now it is over. You can live life without looking over your shoulder every few minutes.”
Harry looked out at the battlefield, his eyes scanning the multitude of bodies that were strewn across the grounds and the celebrating crowds, “We still have to clean up the mess.”
Ginny’s gaze fixed itself on something in the distance and she gave a happy cheer, “At least your friends will be there with you all the way.”
Harry followed her sight and felt an enormous breath of relief leave his chest at the sight of Ron, Hermione, Neville and Luna all making their way over to him. Neville was carrying Luna and Hermione had a firm grip around Ron’s waist as he leaned on her shoulder, but all four had grins plastered over their faces.
As soon as they reached them, Hermione let go of Ron and threw herself at Harry, wrapping her arms around him tightly. Harry couldn’t make out the unintelligible babbling that came from her mouth, but he got the gist of it, “It’s all over Hermione, it’s all right.”
When she finally released him he looked around to see that many of the other DA members had joined them, standing a respectful distance back; their eyes showed a mixture of pure joy and exhaustion. A few had their gazes fixed upon the founders, awe written on their faces.
Harry, seeing their expressions grinned at Salazar, “I think that the history books are going to be re-written my friend. I doubt very much that you will be considered an evil wizard anymore.”
The snake founder rolled his eyes, “You think?”
Harry chuckled before wincing and putting a hand to his still bleeding chest. Ginny noticed and frowned, “We need to get that seen to Harry. You are losing an impressive amount of blood from that and I can’t imagine what the killing curse did to your insides!”
Harry winced and nodded. He looked out at the assembled DA, “It’s over, but now we must work to rebuild our world; and this time, we need to build it better!”
He started to move off towards the castle with the founders and the leaders of the DA surrounding him. The others started cheering once more as the reality that the war was over truly sank in. Harry knew that in the morning there would be more tears than cheers as the realisation of the cost sank in, but for the moment he was glad for the celebration.
A/N: One word - PHEW! Hope you all enjoyed it! Only one chapter left to go! Please leave a review!
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