Chapter graphic by PrincessPotter
Prologue by RavenGryffendor
The dark night sky seemed to show the fact that something horrible had happened. Yet, it could never truly tell the atrocities laid forth on that sinister night. Two figures tore along the forgotten roads that led to the deepest fears of most mortals. No words were exchanged, for there were no words that could explain what had just occurred. The most callous act of betrayal was nothing compared to what Harry had just done, even if it was justified.
Harry felt Hermione’s hand tighten around his arm as the two rounded another shadowy corner. There was no time to pause. Harry made a motion to speak, but Hermione quickly silenced him with a single glance. A few moments later, Hermione looked over her shoulder and pulled Harry with her into a dark alley.
“Please tell me you didn’t just kill Snape in cold blood,” Hermione pleaded, her face alight with a look Harry had never seen before.
Harry looked back at her as if he’d never seen her before.
“Answer me, Harry,” she repeated, looking directly into Harry’s eyes.
Harry flinched slightly at her hollowing look but his face remained firm. “He killed Dumbledore and as good as killed my parents, Hermione. The traitor got what he deserved.” Harry held her gaze a moment longer, though his voice softened slightly. “Hermione, I need you to promise not to tell the Order or Ron what happened…not until after I destroy Voldemort or die by his hand…promise me…”
Hermione nodded slowly, not fully comprehending what she had just agreed to.
“Good, let’s go back. I’m not ready to face the others.” Harry pulled Hermione’s arm and started to walk out of the alley. Finally regaining her senses, Hermione stopped, causing Harry to startle slightly and look back at his friend.
“You killed him,” Hermione said in barely a whisper. “He’s really dead.”
“And good riddance,” Harry said sharply, quickly swinging back around.
Hermione continued to look at her friend in a dazed state. “You killed him,” she repeated again.
“Yes, Hermione. That bastard can’t torture or kill anyone again,” Harry said with rising annoyance, an unreadable expression mounting on his face.
“Oh Harry,” Hermione fretted, several emotions flashing across her face. “We have to get out of here before other Death Eaters come,” she said finally snapping out of her initial shock at what had happened.
“I can’t,” Harry answered dully, his mind affected by Hermione’s reaction to what he had done. “I can’t go back. Not yet.”
“We don’t have time for this,” Hermione urged, looking around wildly. “We have to get out of here.”
“I can’t go back after what happened,” he said with quiet desperation ,tilting his head to see where the murder had just taken place. “I can’t face them yet.”
Hermione let out an irritated noise. “You can’t face them?” she challenged. “You left Headquarters to go after Snape and face him, yet you can’t even face your friends?”
Harry remained silent, struggling with himself about what to do. “It wasn’t right,” she continued, meeting Harry’s gaze. “But I suppose it’s easier to face an enemy than your friends.”
“That piece of filth killed Dumbledore!” Harry snarled, his eyes gleaming.
“And you killed him,” Hermione breathed, checking to make sure they were still alone. “He was unarmed, Harry. He didn’t have a chance! You killed him in cold blood.” She felt her body shudder.
“So what?” Harry hissed, glaring at his friend.
“We’ve got to get out of here. Now,” Hermione said, abruptly shifting the conversation.
“I can’t go back,” Harry said firmly, pushing past his friend. “You can go back without me.”
Hermione seized his arm and turned Harry around. Harry wrenched his arm away and narrowed his eyes. “Where will you go?” Hermione demanded.
“Away,” Harry responded in a voice of suppressed anger. “I have to finish this! I have to kill bloody Voldemort or let him kill me. Either way, I will have to commit another murder.”
“You don’t have to do it alone,” she said quietly.
Harry didn’t answer. The longer he stayed here with his friend, the more desperately he wanted to get away.
“You killed him, Harry. What do you expect me to do?” Hermione finally asked in a strained whisper.
“Trust me,” he said sternly, as he pulled his wand out of his robes.
“Do what you need to,” Hermione acquiesced in a low murmur. “But remember Dumbledore said love would help you defeat Voldemort, not revenge.” She fell silent as the worry that was in her eyes spread across her face.
Harry nodded his head. He couldn’t find the words to respond: his mouth was too dry.
Just then there was a soft pop, and a tall, gangly figure appeared out of thin air. Hermione froze, fearing they had been caught.
“The Order’s in a right mess,” Ron blurted in greeting. “What’s going on?” he asked, glancing between Harry’s outstretched wand and Hermione’s shocked expression.
Hermione let out a visible sigh of relief before glancing warily back at Harry. A look of determination stretched across his face. She stood motionless for a moment, staring at him, before shifting her gaze to face Ron. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. “We were a bit delayed.”
“”Did you get what you needed?” Ron asked, giving Harry a confused look.
“Not yet,” Hermione said, gesturing towards Harry, who remained motionless. “There’s one loose end that needs to be dealt with.” At Ron’s inquiring expression, she explained, “Harry said he thought he saw Draco Malfoy and wanted to check it out.”
A look of disgust came across Ron’s face. “Need help dealing with the slimy bastard?”
Harry shook his head, grateful for Hermione’s cover. “It’s easier if only one of us follows,” he began.
“Although we should probably leave him alone and alert the Order,” Hermione argued, giving him a meaningful look.
Ron frowned. “No way, Hermione; we’ve got the advantage. Go on, Harry. We’ll give the Order a heads up.”
“Be careful, Harry…please…” Desperation crept into her voice as her hands shook lightly. She reached out and touched Harry’s hand.
“I’ll be fine,” Harry said slowly, gingerly pulling his hand away from hers. Hermione nodded jerkily, her eyes never leaving Harry’s face.
The dark sky gave a great rumble as the clouds began to build. Harry took a narrow breath as he thought about his next destination. “Best be off,” he said, looking at Ron.
“Right, Mate. Good luck,” Ron agreed, pulling out his wand and looking around. Hermione took one last fleeting look at Harry before Disapparating.
“Merlin, protect him,” Hermione prayed, as she watched his face blur.
Harry let out a shaky breath as the words Hermione uttered reached his ears. The wind howled loudly as if it were answering Hermione’s prayer. A distant rumble of thunder seemed to break the barriers of time. He knew he could not run from the Dark Lord, but perhaps his time would soon come to a close and he would face fate. As if chance’s humour had run thin, a sharp pain burned through his scar. He slowly lifted his fringe from his forehead and revealed the charred flesh that formed a lightening bolt scar on his head.
“Soon,” he answered, closing his eyes and his mind, leaving behind all traces of the past few moments and going to the place where it all began. Godric’s Hollow.
Harry was being crushed from all around, his ears popping and his chest being squeezed by invisible wires. After a long time, Harry felt his feet hit the ground, and he stumbled into a sharp wooden fence standing lopsided on the edge of a lawn.
He gazed around at the empty cobblestone road, and the several small cottages around them. Each house was many yards and acres away from each other, divided by long, wooden fences that seemed to go on for several blocks.
Harry stepped off the dirt and gravel of Checkered Lane, and onto the smooth, dark flagstones that led to the well-kept cottage in front of him. It was surrounded by a picket fence, and he felt a little bit of surprise with how fresh the fence looked. White was impossible to keep clean. It almost reminded him of the Dursleys’ house.
The fence wasn’t just a delicate boundary against the world. There was a fractional pause as Harry ran a fingertip along the latch of the gate, and felt a defiant spark of magic against his finger. If the wards had been activated, he could have wrecked the whole fence and gotten no closer to the cottage. However, this particular cottage was located in Godric’s Hollow and the wards recognised the Potter blood running through his veins.
He looked over his shoulder, making sure he wasn’t being followed. After a few moments, he craned his neck back around, carefully opened the gate, closed it behind him, and walked up the path, soundlessly walking past the cottage. This particular one did not belong to his parents, but the ruins of his first home were not far behind.
“Guess my aim was off,” he said to himself, looking around and holding out his wand. He had been here once with Lupin, after Bill and Fleur’s wedding. He hadn’t been able to see his parents’ graves, but Lupin had pointed them out and Harry vaguely recalled the details. Harry began to walk down the cobblestone road towards a dark covering of trees where the road twisted and turned before him. Soon he was surrounded in darkness and he lit his wand. He raised his arm a fraction and the light illuminated a small church just ahead. From the angle he was standing in the square, he noticed a small graveyard behind the building.
Taking a steadying breath, he crossed the square and passed the church before stopping in front of the graveyard. He took another deep breath. The air was cool and fresh. He pushed open the iron gates leading into Godric’s Hollow Cemetery, and walked between the first rows of headstones, scanning the names. He recognised one or two- Abbott, Dumbledore. Names of people who, like he was about to, had fought Voldemort. Hopefully his fate wouldn’t be the same as theirs. He clutched his right fist as he walked along.
After walking a ways, he stopped in front of a grave whose headstone seemed a little out of place next to some of the more simple ones. This one was made of white marble. Harry vaguely recalled it resembling the magnificent memorial of Dumbledore’s own tomb at Hogwarts. Harry raised his hand and ran it along the smooth marble, slowly tracing over the letters engraved on it.
Born 27 March 1960 Born 30 January 1960
Died 31 October 1981 Died 31 October 1981
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
Harry took a step back, burying his hands deep in his pockets as he contemplated the meaning of the words he had just read. “That last enemy that shall be destroyed is death,” he said slowly, saying the words out loud. “Guess that means I’ll be joining you soon.” Harry sniffed the air and shifted his weight from foot to foot.
“I’ve got to kill him, you know. Voldemort. And you know what? He won’t be the first one I’ve killed.” He hung his head slightly at this confession, but somehow felt slightly relieved in admitting what he had done, and feeling rather unsettled by it. He bit his lower lip, not sure what else to say. “I don’t know how to defeat him,” he muttered, staring intently at the sky as if it would suddenly give him the answer.
A breeze caused the willows encircling the cemetery to sway; Harry shivered slightly and drew a great, shuddering breath.
“I’ve got to kill him, or else more people will die,” he said, more to himself than anyone else. He looked back up at the two headstones in front of him, standing tall from the earth. The stone was slightly worn even though it had only been there for sixteen years. Harry thought of his friends that were usually by his side, but were not this time. Recalling the look of repulsion reflected in Hermione’s face, Harry got to his feet, clenching his fist.
“I can’t let that happen to any one else,” he said in a stronger voice. “Even if I have to face him alone…” He stared at his parents’ headstone a moment longer, soaking in the morose silence that usually accompanied a graveyard. Although his face wore a determined expression, he could not prevent a single tear from trailing down his jaw and into the soil at the foot of his mother’s grave.
Harry turned away, taking the significant steps back to the head of the cemetery, willows whispering all around him. The early autumn wind ruffled his raven-black hair, revealing the lightning bolt that would always be etched on his forehead. Harry closed the gates gently behind him with a scrape of rusted iron. He paused outside of the gate, not able to speak. He seemed more uncertain now than when he had first entered the graveyard. Harry tried to collect thoughts, but merely gave a jerky nod of his head as he set off to do what he must do. Soon, he would meet his last enemy, and they would both be destroyed in death.
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