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Chapter Twenty-Five

It was a strange sense of nervousness which shrouded the Order that day. What would perhaps be one of the largest fights in the history of the magical world was to take place that evening. All were well aware of it; everyone available was to be there that evening. None would remain in the school, bar those few left with the Potion to ensure the final completion of its brewing at eleven that night.

Grimmauld Place afforded no privacy that day. It was full of people, constantly chattering, eating and fighting. Harry compared it to a house party, though one with sinister undertones. As it was, the only way that he could find any escape from the house that day was to lock himself in his room and refuse to leave.

He was also refusing to let anyone enter. This meant that much of the house thought he was worried and nervous about the coming night. The truth was far from it; Harry Potter spent much of his day charming parts of his room out of boredom and reading the occasional book. Nervousness was not something he felt whilst whiling away his day. He had been waiting too long to face Voldemort for him to feel any anxiety over their coming meeting. It may be true that he would die, he may be tortured, he may fail in his attempt to save the Wizarding world. But it would not be long. He would not take long to die, and any intense feelings he may experience in regards to failing his task would not last long, not once he neared his end.

He felt only determination.

Harry had decided in the past that he would do everything he could, not just to keep himself alive, though that could be said to be a large part of the reason he was so determined, but to make sure that people had not died in vain. His parents, Sirius, Dumbledore and countless, nameless others had died to ensure that the fight went on against Voldemort and the Death Eaters. Many of them would have no recognition, but that surely would not have mattered to them upon their death. It was a difficult thing to face, one’s own mortality, but Harry was sure he would not allow those who had to have done so in vain.

There was a knock at his door and the handle turned, but to no avail for the person on the other side.

“Harry, open the door please,” came Remus’s quiet request from the other side. For a moment, Harry internally debated opening the door for him but the decision didn’t remain his own for long. There was some muttering from the other side of the door and the lock clicked open. Harry stared at the lock with a mixture of confusion and uncertainty; he was certain that no one would have been able to unlock the door, and so far, no one else had managed to either.

“Come on, we’re going out for a bit,” Remus said and turned around again.

“Wait, where are we going…?” Harry asked and scrambled off the bed after him. Remus waved his wand over him and changed Harry into what could be considered acceptable robes.

“Out,” Remus replied and left the house through the front door.

“Out where?” Harry demanded for the last time as his own broom was pushed into his hands.

“Out for a fly, to get out of this house before someone drives me mad.”

The weather was perfect for flying. A slight breeze, a slightly cloudy sky and warm, but not too warm. All in all, it was an acceptable summer’s day. It could have been worse; it could have been raining again.

It felt good to be up in the air again, Harry decided, as he flew in circles, looping through the air. Remus followed behind him, a slight smile on his face as he gladly took to the skies himself.

There were, of course, ulterior motives in getting Harry out of the house for the afternoon. Arguments were breaking out in the kitchen for the third time that morning concerning Harry’s role in the current war. Molly was at the forefront with a few other members of the Order backing her up, as to Harry’s suitability to take part in such an offensive that evening.

After all, Ron and Hermione wouldn’t be involved either. Why should Harry? Ron’s lack of action in the fight was also a talking point within the house, mainly because Ron kept bringing it back up. Hermione had been put with Bill (who still had issues with leaving the house, pending his imminent arrest) to brew the last of the potion and maintain it once it had been completed. If they were successful with Voldemort’s capture or murder that night, then the potion would be a vital tool with which they would destroy the remaining parts of his soul.

Ron had been left with Madam Pomfrey to aid the nurse in her nursing of the injured. And it was inevitable that many of the Order would be injured in such a large scale fight with the opposition; it was crucial in such a case for those who had been wounded in any way to be transported back to the castle as fast as possible, where they could then be healed. Ron was not overly thrilled at the idea of being around a stressed Madam Pomfrey for an evening, especially when Hermione would be there when the Horcruxes were destroyed and Harry would be out in the thick of the action, possibly killing Voldemort with his own wand. No, it most certainly was not fair, and that was why he had spent the morning arguing. It was also consequently why he had been locked in the cellar by Charlie; he just wouldn’t shut up.

Harry had no idea as to the arguing which had gone on all around him for the day, and many days prior to that day. He wouldn’t have cared particularly, had anyone bothered to tell him – he was having far too much fun flying. It had been a long time since anyone had given him permission to fly, and for him to be racing Remus through the skies gave him more enjoyment than he had in ages. Especially compared to being locked up in Grimmauld Place.

“So where are we going?” Harry asked finally, when he slowed down and flew next to Remus.

“I was thinking Diagon Alley,” Remus informed him and went into a steep dive before Harry could say anything about it.

The wind raced past Harry as he swept down after Remus until they were flying parallel once more. The roof of a building was becoming closer and closer but Remus did not appear ready to pull up. Harry glanced at him, slightly nervously.

“Ah, Remus?”

Too late, Harry realised as they flew into the ceiling. And straight out the other side, through what appeared from the other side, to be very elaborate charm-work. Two grinning identical faces greeted them.

“Great to see you again, Harry!” said one that Harry thought was Fred.

“Hope our trick ceiling didn’t fool you too badly,” George grinned. “Loads of people have been hovering over the top of it until one day the charm broke and they all came flying in. It’s a family only entrance, you see.”

“Meaning that we’ve only told the family that it’s not a real entrance.”

“And Remus, of course,” George continued.

“Not that good when it rains though,” Remus said, noting the wet ground around them.

“Well, if we wanted it to stay dry out here then we’d build a real ceiling, wouldn’t we?” Fred argued. “Anyway, come and see the new stock, Harry. You’ll have loads of fun with some of the stuff we’ve made.”

For the next few hours, all that transpired in that particular shop were several more transactions and the personal tour of Harry Potter round the most successful shop on Diagon Alley. It was just as well that their attention was focused entirely inside the shop; it would not have done well for them to have peered outside into the street.

It was deserted. No one walked the paths there any longer, and a slight mist was beginning to descend upon the area. Only those who had witnessed a Dementor attack first hand knew what was soon to transpire, but it was not long until their word spread round. Soon there was no one in sight.

The last attack had not been long ago, when so many souls had been taken and so many admitted to St. Mungo’s. People did not forget what had happened that day so easily, and even the shops remained empty; no one tried to hide inside the buildings this time round. Their lesson had been learnt, and learnt well.

The street was in this way silent and emptied when the Dementors arrived on the scene. The only lights in the street were those coming from Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes at the end of the long rows of shops. Slowly they began to glide in their eerie fashion towards the only living in the street.

“Getting a bit cold in here, don’t you think, Fred?” George shouted across at his brother. Fred, who was showing Harry the mechanics of a particularly convincing fire breathing dragon did not agree quite so readily.

“Don’t be so pathetic,” Fred said, running over to his twin and then stopped at the foot of the stairs. Down in the main part of the shop, in which most of the customers normally swarmed, there was no one at all. “Where is everyone?”

Harry and Remus both joined the twins soon after, sensing that something was wrong. None of those present knew as to what had lead their customers away, every last one of them.

“It is quite cold though,” Harry said, causing Fred to roll his eyes.

“You’re pathetic, every one of you,” he cried. “Why, it’s a perfectly nice summers day and the three of you are all freezing cold!”

He reached out to the window, flinging open the curtains to demonstrate his point. A wave of icy cold hit the four of them, sending Fred, the closest staggering backwards.

More than a dozen Dementors were pressed against the window, causing it to frost slightly at the edges. Harry slipped backwards, trying to get as far away from them as possible, even as his past horrors were beginning to flood before his eyes.

Expecto Patronum!

Harry didn’t see what it was that had flown out of Remus’ wand, but he didn’t care, as he scrambled up onto the higher floors with Fred and George; Remus running behind them.

It was only when they reached the third floor that the icy cold caught up with them once more. “They’ve got inside the building,” Fred said quietly. They didn’t stop, and they didn’t slow. They kept on running until they reached the top of the fourth floor.

“There isn’t anywhere else to go,” George said quietly and glanced sideways at his brother.

Fred closed his eyes momentarily and a decidedly odd expression appeared on his face, shortly followed by a flash of pain.

“Apparition wards,” Remus told him calmly, or as calmly as one could after realising that magical teleportation was out of the question, now that they were in a building in which their primary exit had been blocked by many soul-sucking monsters.

Harry moved to the window and stared out into the street, and his body began to shake at the mere sight. The street was filled entirely. Dementors had the run of the place now, and no one could possibly get past them, not without dozens of Patronuses.

“What are you doing George?” Fred demanded as he grabbed a nearby candlestick.

“If there are Apparition wards on the street then there are ones which will stop you taking a Portkey,” Remus said as he paced the room, his mind whirring with every possible escape.

It was getting colder and Harry was beginning to lose his vision to more horrifying sights.

“There truly is only one way out,” Fred said, looking meaningfully at George.

“But it’s not been tested yet. It could kill all of us!” George argued, trying to push Fred back, away from whatever it was that lay hidden in the room beyond them.

“Whatever it is that you’re not telling me then I suggest you get it out in the open now,” Remus said quietly. “The Dementors are a floor away, and doors won’t hold them for particularly long, as most people know. If you have a way out of here which doesn’t involve plunging dozens of feet into a mass of waiting Dementors, or waiting here for the Dementors to come to us then I suggest you use it and use it fast.”

There was a momentary silence and then a slight scratching at the door which made their blood run cold.

“You grab Harry,” said Fred. “There isn’t much time.”

Remus turned suddenly to see Harry slumped on the floor, his head pressed into his hands. Utilising the strength he had inside him, which was something the werewolf rarely did, Remus lifted Harry easily off the ground and carried him through the doorway and into the next room, just as the wood behind them began to splinter.

“What the hell is this thing?” Remus demanded as he stared at a huge contraption in front of him. It appeared to be a large stone doorway, with a curtain fluttering within it. It looked slightly like the archway in the Department of Mysteries, but very different at the same time.

“It’s a portal we’ve been working on. We’ve been using as much teleportation magic as we could get our hands on but we’re not sure if it works yet. We’ve not got round to the live testing stage,” Fred explained quickly.

“The live testing stage…?” Remus asked dubiously, casting a glance behind them. Another door in the way of the Dementors, and a little more time for them.

“The stage at which we test it on live animals. Objects get through okay,” George said, as if to reassure Remus, “but we don’t know whether they go through some kind of killing process to get to that point…”

There was a vague look of horror and disbelief on Remus’ face. “So where exactly does this come out?”

“The Hog’s Head,” George told him. “Or at least the objects have come out there, we don’t really know what’ll happen to us.”

The curtain was beginning to flutter more madly as Fred cast spells of awakening upon it.

“And what happens when we run into the Hog’s Head, followed by hundreds of Dementors?” Remus demanded as Fred stopped his spellwork.

“That’s the beauty of it,” Fred grinned briefly. “Souls only.”

With a push from behind him, Remus suddenly found himself pushed through the curtain, still holding onto Harry, and darkness wrapped around him, smothering him. Smothering all of them.


It was a blank mind that Severus Snape entered with suspicious ease. Voldemort had not bothered to protect his mind more so than necessary to keep the most basic Legilimency from entering. It was unsettling, but Severus suspected that it had been made that way to let him enter. To let him see what was about to happen.

“My friends,” Voldemort began, “tonight we will have some fun. I shall be on a venture of self discovery—” Severus went suddenly cold with realisation “—and you shall be on a mission to kill all you can and wish. I’d preferably like any of the Order alive so that they can be interrogated, but if they should end up dead then that is no particular loss.”

Snape pulled back out of Voldemort’s mind and relaxed in his room inside Hogwarts. He was safe there, at least for now, until he realised what it was that he had to do. Voldemort was on a mission of self discovery, which meant he was going to try and get his soul back, his Horcruxes. Which were all being held inside Hogwarts.

Which would be entirely unguarded that night.

Severus had had the misfortune of another evening of Potter’s company the previous evening, during which he had been told of their plans to save Aberforth from imminent death and torture on the very night that the potion would be destroyed. It was all so convenient. All a little too convenient, and now things were becoming rather too clear as well.

Unfortunately, he was also the only one who knew of the Dark Lord’s plans. Was it too late to get Potter out of Hogsmeade and back into Hogwarts, before Voldemort reached the castle? Or was he somewhere else entirely, being kept safe against his will by those who ‘cared’ for him?

He had to find out, one way or another, and he had to make sure that Potter was there to fight Voldemort when he reached the castle. He could not allow for them to come to close to victory, and then to fall. He had given up too much for Potter for him to mess up now. Harry would be there, with Severus, and the two would work together, just for once, to make sure that the world was rid of Voldemort once more. The sun would shine upon Hogwarts again before they were done.

It was so that he turned and ran out of the room. He raced down the halls of Hogwarts. He ignored the startled gasps that came from those out of bed who saw him and ordered them straight back without a backwards glance. Most of the students who had spied him were too much in shock to register the fact that a man who no longer worked there had ordered them to their dorms. They would not realise until the next morning, and many would not realise at all.

Severus felt the school changing shape and altering slightly to get him where he needed to be as fast as possible. He smiled slightly and thanked Hogwarts for the slight assistance she gave as he almost fell down the stairs towards the main entrance to the school. He had been entirely unhindered, and not even Filch or his cat had made an appearance. Hogwarts was certainly getting good at this.

The evening was cold but clear, and the last of the sun was disappearing over the horizon. In the distance, through the Hogwarts gates he could see faint lights in the village of Hogsmeade. For now, all seemed relatively quiet, but there was something wrong there. Something was not right, and it was only when he peered more closely through the darkness that he realised the lights were not that of the village at all. The lights were torches held by figures. Hundreds of figures lining the streets. Whatever was happening there was already occurring, and it was too late for him to stop it.

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