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Harry Potter and the Search for the Soul by minniemcmouse

Format: Novel
Chapters: 28
Word Count: 93,772
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: 12+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence,

Genres: Drama, Action/Adventure, Angst
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Lupin, McGonagall, Snape, Tonks, Voldemort, OC
Pairings:

First Published: 07/27/2005
Last Chapter: 03/22/2007
Last Updated: 06/02/2007

Summary:

Banner by Iced_Cherriez. Harry's sixth year has finally come to an end and he finds that the Order isn't going to let him get away on his own without a fight. So, with much assistance, Harry embarks on his toughest challenge yet - find and destroy Voldemort and the Horcruxes before Voldemort can destroy the Wizarding world. [POST HBP]


Chapter 26: No Warning

Chapter Twenty-Six

They huddled inside the buildings. It was an unnaturally dark and cold evening that wrapped around the small magical village of Hogsmeade. The silence was eerie, but not inflicted by any unnatural presence; it was the product of a large amount of frightened people in spaces too small for them.

Inside the Hog’s Head, many of the locals had gathered to discuss the goings on, but instead, only quiet mutterings from groups of people passed between them. Assembled was more than the usual crowd. Those whose primary location was within the walls of Diagon Alley had appeared suddenly and swiftly to seek refuge and stories pertaining to why quickly spread. The fear of the Dementors was stricken into each and every one of them. Tales of those caught in the attacks began to circulate and became wilder by the minute, whilst many began desperately thinking where to go if Dementors should return again. They could no longer escape to Diagon Alley, and there was no other purely magical village anywhere in the country. Their best bet may have been to hide within Muggle London, but that was the only thing that they had. They had nowhere else to go.

As well as nowhere else to go, they were also given no warning.

Ears had been kept alert for the sudden cracks that would announce the arrival of anyone unexpected or unwanted in the village, but none were heard. Eyes stared into the darkness and lights were lit around the edges of the town to light up the shades at the edges. Only a few people ran from house to house, seeking shelter or family members who had been lost.

Suddenly they came. There was screaming in the streets as a young woman spotted them, emerging slowly from the darkness. A flash of green and a weighty thud heralded their arrival. The Death Eaters had arrived. With them, great numbers of the dark creatures controlled by Voldemort.

Greyback was the first into a building, and the first out. The Death Eaters followed, killing anyone and anything they found, torturing where defiance was found. The vampires turned anyone left unscathed and mocked the magic of those who tried to fight against them. And then the giants came. Thudding in the distance and trampling through the woods that surrounded the town, with a group of luminescent silver ghosts behind them. Though realisation set in when the ghosts cast ice into the hearts of those who spied them, and those who didn’t. The Dementors had returned to join Voldemort’s attack.

Expecto Patronum!” The yell resounded through the chaos and four bright animals leapt past the frightened and the evil, towards the Dementors.

There was a moment of shock and the fighting began again in an instant. Beneath it all, one small voice could be heard to remark, in shock, “Look! It’s Harry Potter!”

*


“—and down in Diagon Alley this evening, the streets are said to be deserted after a Dementor attack. We advise people to stay well away from the area and stay inside.” The Wizarding radio spoke into the silent kitchen in Grimmauld Place. It may have been silent, but it was not empty; the room was filled with everyone who was meant to be going to Hogsmeade that evening to rescue Aberforth from the onslaught of the Death Eaters. Everyone except Harry, Remus and the twins.

“Remus and Harry left the house this afternoon,” Tonks said. “Remus wanted to get out for the afternoon and thought it would be good for Harry to get out and get some fresh air.”

“They could have gone to Diagon Alley to see the twins quite easily,” Arthur said logically. “Anything could have happened.”

Molly looked horror-stricken. “Anything could have happened to them.” She looked close to the verge of tears and Arthur put his arm around her shoulders.

“Remus is no fool, Molly,” Minerva said confidently. “He knows what he’s doing and he’d do anything in his power to keep Harry and the twins alive, you know that. I’m sure that nothing has happened.”

Silence descended once again, except for the radio which continued to talk, “Here in Hogsmeade, hundreds from Diagon Alley have gathered for safety from the Dementors and…” Cracks and shouts could be heard in the background. “They’re here. The Death Eaters are here.”

Shouts of horror could be heard in the background of the radio and Mad Eye instinctively turned it up to hear what was going on in the radio station. Laughter filled the kitchen, echoing around the walls from the radio, chilling the Order. One final yell from the radio presenter reached them before the radio was cut off, “Save us, please! Where is the Order of the Phoenix?! Help us!”

Mad Eye crossed the crowded kitchen in three strides and grabbed at any object around them, throwing them at those gathered around. “Portkeys. We’re going.”

“But we don’t even know where the others are!” Charlie argued.

“That’s of no importance now. Everything is ready. Hermione and Bill are at Hogwarts brewing the last of the potion. Ron and Madam Pomfrey are readying the medical reserves at Hogwarts. People are dying and they need our help before it’s too late. With any luck, we’ll find Harry and Remus at Hogsmeade.” Minerva finished and charmed a Portkey charm over the wallet thrust into her hands.

“And if we don’t find them there?”

“They’ll find us there. Harry has a remarkable affinity for finding life and death situations,” Minerva finished just before vanishing into thin air. The rest of the Order followed instinctively. They spun rapidly through the air, and suddenly, their feet touched the ground again. The sight that met them was not one that any would forget any time soon. All around them fire blazed and the screams of people met their ears. In the centre of it all, four figures were desperately fighting for their lives and the lives of all those around them.

“Remus!” Tonks shouted over the noise and ran towards him through the chaos that surrounded her.

*


“I do not believe this,” Severus Snape muttered to himself as the last of the radio broadcast faded from his ears. It had only been a portable radio, and the quality had been poor at best, but he had heard what mattered from the brief minutes he’d been listening. People were dying, and no one was there to save them. Where were Potter and the Order?

He ran towards the small town, having hidden in Hogwarts grounds for long enough now to watch the beginnings of fire blazing through the small village. This was far too much for he alone to handle. Severus had tackled some severe and almost impossible problems in the past without any assistance but this seemed like something else entirely.

He was alone in his knowledge of the Dark Lord’s plans. He was going to Hogwarts that night to reclaim his soul. Meanwhile, the Order’s attention would be taken up trying to reclaim Diagon Alley from the Dementor attacks and hopefully getting to Hogsmeade quickly enough to save it’s inhabitants from certain death. Throughout all that, he was somehow to find Potter, get him to Hogwarts, destroy the Horcruxes before Voldemort reclaimed them, kill Voldemort and keep Harry alive. It was a mammoth of a task and not for the first time, he wanted to know why he kept getting dragged into the messes created by others.

Severus Snape ran. He ran like he’d never run before. Magical transport never crossed one’s mind when in panicked thought, and he was no different to anyone else in that respect. Magical transport would no longer do anyone any good; wards were up, preventing anyone getting back out of the town once they entered it. There was no escape for those trapped within it.

It was only once he reached the very edges of the town that he stopped and realised that he had no idea what he was going to do. He had to keep well away from the feet of giants, keep his soul in tact, avoid the murderous Death Eaters whilst keeping hidden from the civilians, all of whom believed him to be a murderer. After all, the Ministry had had a field day explaining Dumbledore’s murder to the masses.

And then he saw him, in the thick of it all. Harry Potter was flinging spell after spell at Bellatrix LeStrange and somehow staying alive. Harry Potter was also beginning to wonder where Voldemort was. It had been mentioned many a time by the Order that it was to be the night that ended it all. The night in which Voldemort would finally make his appearance, and presumably the night that the two of them would duel to the death, or whatever else may happen. Yet there was no sign. That was the first inkling Harry got that made him wonder whether this was going exactly the way that the Order had expected it would.

If Voldemort was not at the greatest killing and soul-sucking event of the magical world that half-century then where was he…? He ducked swiftly under a hex, and it shot over his head, slamming into a Death Eater behind him. On the edge of the clearing, he could see a figure standing casually. Watching the scene without any trace of emotion and Harry knew without a doubt to whom the figure belonged. What he did not know was just why he had arrived there.

He was either there because he had organised this evil himself and was watching them all struggling for their lives, in which case he would probably kill or torture Harry once he got the chance, or he was there either to help or to try and see which side was the one winning at present. If he was there to help he wasn’t doing much of a job though, thought Harry.

He flung a series of curses at Bellatrix and sprinted past her, whilst she collapsed to the floor in a daze. It was no easy matter, getting past the masses that stood between him and Snape, but he managed to avoid being trampled by giants, turned into a vampire or werewolf, and fought off a good few Death Eaters along the way.

“Oh good, you saw me,” Snape muttered by way of greeting and dragged Harry behind the closest house he could find.

“What the hell is going on and what are you doing here?” Harry demanded.

“Shut up and listen to me for once,” Snape snarled. “This is all a decoy. Voldemort is going for his soul tonight in Hogwarts. He doesn’t care about the masses. Once he has his power back then nothing you can do will ever overcome him. Now get back to that castle before it’s too late!”

Harry stared at him for a moment. He had no idea whether he should even be believing this or not. Snape had not been a man to trust in the past, though he had done well for the Order. He could quite easily have been setting them up for something huge, such as this, or for some trap from which Harry would never be able to escape. Without Remus or Minerva here to help guide him, he had no idea what to do any longer.

He stared back into the thick of battle, watching all those he cared about fighting desperately and then his gaze wandered up to the castle. His chest tightened considerably when he saw the figures moving across the grounds. They were barely visible, but they were certainly there, and they had purpose. They were not the usual students wandering round the school in the night time.

“But how did they get in…?” Harry asked, his voice sounding hollow even to himself.

“I neither know nor care,” Snape said, tersely. “What matters now is getting back up there as fast as possible before it’s too late. Now get moving!”

Harry needed no more encouragement than that. Suddenly he was sprinting back up towards the school, aware of Severus Snape running behind him as fast as he could, trying to keep up but slowly beginning to fall behind. With all forms of magical transport out of use, there was no other way for them to reach the castle before it was too late. All Harry could hope for was that Hogwarts herself would be strong enough to resist the dark magic and to prevent Voldemort and whomever he had brought with him from reaching the room of requirement before he had chance to get there first.

Behind them, Remus strained against the spells that were binding him from all angles, whilst Kingsley cut through them, dragging him back to his feet and keeping him from further harm, at least for the moment. “Harry’s running back up to the castle,” Remus gasped at Kingsley turned to see the truth in his words. “It looks like that’s Snape with him.”

Kingsley stared at him long and hard. “Voldemort isn’t here yet and Harry’s sprinting up towards the school with Snape in tow? Then this must be a distraction, or that’s a distraction. I don’t know which.”

“Then I’ll go after them to the school,” Remus gasped, pushing Death Eaters back as he moved towards the edge of the town.

“No, I’m not risking you and Harry there tonight. You stay here and get as many people out as you can. Take them into Muggle London, take them anywhere, just not here and not Diagon. I’ll take Minerva and Mad Eye up to the castle,” Kingsley said quickly before Remus could object. “I’m counting on you tonight, Remus. Come to the castle as soon as you can.”

Remus caught a glimpse of the three of them racing after Harry and Snape up to the castle before his attention turned back to more important matters. “Here, take my hand,” he said quickly to a young mother with her child in her arms. He pressed a Portkey into her hand and a moment later she and several others disappeared from the scene.

Patronus after Patronus shot out of his wand and people were constantly disappearing from the scene, to be sent anywhere else in the country just as long as they weren’t in Hogsmeade any longer. Lives were being saves just as quickly as they were being lost, and the Order milled around, destroying dark creatures and trying to fight off the giants, but all Remus could think about throughout it all was just what was happening up at the castle. Voldemort had made no appearance at Hogsmeade, so he must be at the castle. He had to be at the castle. With Harry.

“Tonks!” Remus shouted over the noise and the chaos that surrounded them. “Tonks, keep an eye on things here. I can’t keep up any longer.” Remus gasped for breath and pulled up his robe high enough to show a huge gash down the side of his leg. “I can barely walk.”

She nodded automatically and ushered him out of the battle scene. Once Remus was certain that she wasn’t watching any longer, he waved his wand quickly over his leg and set off at a sprint towards the castle. All the lights were blazing within the castle, and figures could be seen moving within all the windows. The school was awake, but was it awake to what was going on within it. Something had woken them all, and hopefully it wasn’t the knowledge that the Dark Lord walked within its walls that night. Remus could only hope that Hogwarts had managed to keep students separate from the evil there that night; no one else had the power to keep him away.

*


Voldemort stalked through the corridors of the school. It was silent, though all around him he sensed there was panic. There were people running round the corridors and passageways of the school, frantically looking for teachers and friends alike, but none crossed his path. This was the school working against him once again, preventing him from getting where he needed to go and keeping the students well away from him. Hogwarts could not manipulate Voldemort with great skill, but the students were very easy to direct, and most of them found themselves back in their dorms with no real hassle to anyone made. The teachers found themselves gathered within the staffroom, whilst the Order that were already within the walls moved in their own way, unhindered by the school. Hogwarts had learnt by now to let them do their own thing.

He could feel his soul pulling towards him, from the higher ground in the school and fought against the building that tried to misdirect him and persuade him to go in other directions. He did not know the school that well, other than the dungeons, but his soul would guide him towards it. He would be there soon enough.

And his being there soon enough was exactly what the New Order feared. Bill and Hermione were sitting nervously in the Room of Requirement. They were perhaps the most worried of all those in the school at that moment, for they knew where Voldemort was heading, and they were sitting right there, intending to destroy what it was he came to retrieve. The potion wasn’t finished. The final stages of the brewing had yet to be completed and all they would need was fifteen more minutes. Neither of them thought that was time they had, and both were worrying about the consequences

Meanwhile, Minerva, Mad Eye and Kingsley were scouring the school for any sign of the Death Eaters and Voldemort. They were out to find him and to stall him as long as possible. They knew as well as Bill and Hermione the amount of time they needed to brew the potion and even if it cost them their lives, it would be worth it if they could only keep him at bay for long enough to destroy the remnants of his soul. Then it would be up to Harry to finish the job, sixteen years after he had first become involved.

Harry, at that moment was racing through the school with Snape, up towards the Room of Requirement. They remained outside, in ambush, knowing that to go in was to provide no assistance, nor was it to run into Voldemort’s arms. It would waste more time, allowing him to travel the lengthy route through the school that Hogwarts would provide.

A figure crossed the hallway and Snape’s eyes widened. The figure froze for a split second and Snape leapt out from their hiding place and onto him. There was a mad struggle, and suddenly Harry cast light upon them.

“Snape, get off him!” Harry snarled and helped Remus to his feet. Remus brushed him down and there was a hissed argument between the two former teachers, before Harry shoved them back into the passageway behind a large tapestry.

“Werewolves should not prowl the school on such dangerous evenings,” Snape sneered.

“You knew that was him,” Harry hissed and elbowed Snape hard in the ribs, earning him a crack around the head in return.

“Keep your mouth shut, Potter, someone’s coming.” Snape was right. The lights along the walls lit up, giving those who traversed the school some light in the darkness. It appeared that Voldemort had arrived rather more quickly than previously expected. Harry could feel his heart hammering in his chest and he pressed further back into the passageway, his back against Snape and Remus, suddenly all too aware that the passageway would not go back far enough if they needed to run.

It was then that Harry realised it didn’t matter. They would not be running away that night. They had nowhere to go and they could not leave the school. Everything he had was right here, and everything he had to destroy was in the next room. All he had to do was stop Voldemort from getting in before it was too late, preferably ending the Dark Lord’s life in the process. His resolution built, and Voldemort turned the corner. There was a ghastly smile upon his face, and he raised his wand. It was aimed right at the tapestry behind which the three of them were hiding.

“Good evening, Harry. It’s been quite some time since last we met.”


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