Chapter 18 : The Battle of Scotland Pt II: Lion of Gryffindor
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It took a couple of seconds before it really sunk in. They were here for her and not him. He should have gone to her when he had the chance! His hand trembled as the Solidus charm was raging inside of him, but he dare not draw his sword. He froze for a few moments, his hair coming alive as he felt dangerous magic swirl inside his chest.
Draco felt the medallion suddenly burn hotly against his skin. What the hell happened to Potter? He and Dumbledore were fighting side by side, Remus had fallen, and their numbers decreased as the mindless drones of the Imperius curse continued their onslaught. If he had his way, he would just incinerate them all and let God sort them out. That was out of the question of course, but the way things were looking, he may have no choice. Spinning around to see if could find out what happened to Potter, he deflected another Cruciatus Curse that sizzled towards McMillian. Not having the chance to break concentration, he called out her name.
“Granger! What happened to Potter?” he shouted in her general vicinity. “Granger?” Nothing. “Granger?!” She was not responding, and he quickly dispatched another before he turned to look in her direction. She wasn’t there, and Colin Creevy was on his back, desperately fending off a zombie that had his hands wrapped around his neck Draco cursed under his breath.
“Useless Gryffindors…” Taking aim he pointed through the carnage to help him. “Stu-” Draco paused, he sensed that familiar surge of energy through the medallion, identical to that fateful night not even half a year ago.
Potter was doing it again. Hah, maybe we might have at least a fighting chance. Spinning around once again, he cringed as he saw a body fly away in a large arc as if hit by a wrecking ball. His eyes narrowed as yet another was sent skidding along the bloody grass, then another, bodies flying like rag dolls. Had he lost control?
Harry Potter was beyond incensed, and he had the sword and sheath in a two handed grip as he plowed through the townsfolk, the unforgiving sheath of his sword falling enemies faster than all of them stunning combined. Draco stunned the man choking Colin Creevy, and got out of Potter’s way. The hilt of the sword was glowing hotly, and his eyes shone in the near darkness. Another charged at him, but without breaking stride Harry slammed the blunt sheath in his midsection, definitely breaking ribs. Before the unfortunate victim had fall, he swung in a clean arc to his right, breaking a large man’s leg at the thigh. Falling on one knee, Harry wasted no time and kicked him down hard in the centre of his chest. From the opposite end towards the centre he mowed them down by the twos and threes, his sheathed sword clearing away bodies like a raging giant amongst a forest of goblins. Bodies were being broken, and Draco could sense that the once controlled hero of Hogwarts had finally lost it.
Harry’s his heart pumped liquid fire through his blood. Right now nothing mattered except that he get to Hermione. He bashed and hacked his way to the center of the resistance, and planted his body between Dumbledore, Arthur and one half of the Weasley twins. He spoke soflty, but his voice was completely irrecognizable.
His eyes blazed white, and his hair fluttered restlessly, the cloak of the Order billowing like a cape behind him.
“HARRY! What?” Dumbledore breathed, nursing his shattered right arm. Molly Weasley and Maureen Chang were crouched low with Kenna and Cho, George had a wooden table leg protruding from his stomach. Neville was bleeding profusely from his back, and Ron’s whole face was drenched from a nasty gash on his forehead. The injured lay about them, and from what Draco could see, only about forty of them were still standing -though just barely, but where was Granger?
Harry did not answer as he planted his feet in a strange stance. Lifting the weapon parallel to his eyes, Harry grasped the sheath with his left hand, drawing the weapon inch by inch until it was fully revealed. His eyes shone a blinding white light as muttered incantations escaped his lips.
“Harry!!” Molly screamed. “Get back here! What are you doing?“ Draco smiled evilly.
“Finally! It’s about fucking time! Professor, do as he says! And everyone get ready, this may get a bit dodgy!” Malfoy grinned as he pulled Dumbledore and Arthur Weasley as far away from Potter as possible. “On three, everyone use the Shield Charm at this line!” His eyes flared and a line of fire burned itself across the ground, a visible boundary between them and the horde. They combined their shield charms to form a magical barrier around their sea of wounded, and looked expectantly at Harry Potter. Red stunner spells sizzled towards him, but all of their magic was drawn in towards the Sword of Gryffindor; running through it like scarlet bolts of electricity. His robes were burning off from him from the proximity of the spells, and his hair stirred as if on high charge.
“What is he doing? He’s going to get killed!” Cho screamed, her wand rotating slowly over Remus Lupin’s chest. Draco eyes burned once again as he felt their connection once again amplify his budding summoning ability. It was now time.
“Gryffindor, lend me your steel.”
Harry charged at the horde with a powerful scream, and at the last possible moment, he jumped.
Cho Chang literally froze as she watched a boy she once thought shy catapult himself fearlessly stories into the air, the weapon in his hands now blinding white. Lifting the sword high above his head, he flipped it over in his hands so that the blade was held in a downwards grip. He shot down into the center of the horde, and plunged his sword into the ground. The earth trembled faintly, and a huge tidal wave of magic erupted from Ground Zero, washing over the whole town with an incredible shockwave of magical energy, buffeting their combined shield charms as the ripple of supercharged air crashed over them.
Pettigrew was sweating profusely, he was in the back of the huge carriage, his restraining bonds wrapped securely around the Granger mudblood. She was still paralyzed, but her eyes burned in defiance at him, and Wormtail knew that he was treading very dangerous ground here. He was beginning to have second thoughts.
What was he doing? Did he really want to anger of the one that defeated The Dark Lord? Maybe he should just bail and run away…
Mulciber and Nott were on top of their getaway vehicle, making good time back up to Hogwarts. Wormtail looked out of the carriage window back at the town; he could still see sparks of red flashes flashing in the night from the little town in the distance. He tried to calm himself, they weren’t going to survive that, and he knew Dumbledore would die instead of disapparate and leave his precious students to the mercy of the Doppelganger curse. Wiping his face with a grimy sleeve, he nervously dug inside his waistcoat to check the timepiece.
“Can’t this thing go any faster?” he wailed out of the window.
“You got something else to go, Pettigrew?” Mulciber said disdainfully. Wormtail put his head back inside, glancing at his timepiece again.
“Grow some bollocks Pettigrew, there’s nothing to worry about. Sooner or later they’ll go down- Lestrange is a freaking genius…” Nott added.
Wormtail paled, they did not see what had happened to Rookwood on stage. Just at that moment the ground shook and Pettigrew felt the carriage shudder as if pushed by a very strong gust of wind.
“What in the bloody hell was that?” Nott said from on top of the carriage, trying his best to keep balance as the Palomino horse quickened its pace, obviously frightened. Wormtail looked back out of the window for the umpteenth time. This time- there were no more flashes coming from the square. The town was now engulfed in total blackness. The fighting had stopped. His anxiety rose another notch, and when he settled back in his seat, he could swear the girl opposite him now had a smug smile on her lips.
He had a bad feeling about this.
Draco coughed loudly, shaking his head to clear the numbness he felt. He was sprawled on his back, his whole body tingling with electricity. He looked about as he came to, the others were also trying to get their bearings, the moans of the injured echoing eerily through the night air. Everyone was flattened to the ground excepting a slightly glowing figure smack dab in the middle of the square.
“Hmph,” Draco muttered, getting to his feet. As soon as he stood up, he fell again, his muscles cramping with the magical energy still pulsing through him. He felt like shit. So much for their supposedly combined shield charms. Taking his time, he stood up, his legs wobbling precariously. Another person had gotten to his feet, and was making his way behind him. He narrowed his eyes to see through the dirt and smoke settling into a dense layer above ground, shrouding them like a cloud. The person cam closer, and his face was now recognizable, but barely. Neville Longbottom tried to speak, but he began coughing instead.
“Come on, Longbottom. He’s gone and done himself in.” Draco said as he resumed his treacherous course amongst the bodies and furniture strewn about the square like discarded rubbish. Harry Potter was on bended knee, the cloak of the Order of the Phoenix in tatters around his shoulders. His entire weight was propped against the sword embedded halfway into the ground, and he was not moving. His hands were still closely wrapped around the hilt, and the blade glowed warmly as the energy diffused. Draco stumbled over the sea of semi conscious townsfolk, many of them moaning in pain as they came to. Neville and Draco approached; he was leaning too heavily on the hilt of the sword to be conscious.
“Harry!” Neville coughed, and ran to his side. He tried to shake him, but pulled it back at the intense heat emanating from his skin. His clothes had disintegrated, and grey wisps of magical energy rose from his skin. Neville crouched low in front of him and called his name tentatively.
“...Harry? Can you hear me?”
He groaned, his eyes opening a bit. He toppled over unceremoniously, his mouth leaking blood. Draco stooped low, taking a good look at his body. It was almost burnt to a crisp. Muttering an Infernus counter- spell, his eyes glared red and the most severe of his injuries began to slowly heal.
“Wake up Potter, we’ve still got work to do. Granger is gone.” Malfoy ordered him, fully expecting Potter to respond. His eyes opened slightly, and he made out vaguely the faces of Neville and Draco.
“..Worm- wormtail..uhhhh..” he moaned, and sputtered out some blood. “Malfoy, Neville...find her -please...” he whispered, and he pointed to the weapon in the ground. He closed his eyes, and coughed again. They both looked at it, and Draco stood up and made to grab it. He pulled hard on it, but it did not budge. Neville looked from Harry to the weapon in understanding and got up, a firm resolution set in his jaw.
“No. Let me try,” he said firmly. Draco shot him a look, but stepped aside. He gripped the hilt, and pulled. It came out easily, and Draco watched in awe as it changed from the sleek single edged design into a massive Nordic Broadsword. Dumbledore was shuffling slowly towards them, along with Ludo Bagman and Kenna Malfoy. She froze when she saw Harry lying still on the ground, his mouth hanging open, and the first thing that came to her mind was that he was dead.
“No!” she screamed, and knelt at his side. She began to cry once again, and bit down hard on her knuckles. Dumbledore knelt low, and placed his fingers at his pulse.
“He’s alive, but he needs serious attention. Where’s Hermione?” he asked, looking about him.
“They have her. And I know what they want,” Draco said darkly. ”Longbottom, let’s go. They’re headed to Hogwarts.”
They walked off, but Dumbledore stopped them. “What are you talking about? What do they want with her? Is it the Halo?” Draco Malfoy paused, remembering the night his mother died facing the Dark Lord.
“Yeah, that’s what they’re after.”
Professor Dumbledore frowned, his breath coming in short gasps as he nursed his badly damaged right arm. “There’s no time to lose. Draco, Neville, you’ve got to stall them.” He put his good hand on Draco’s shoulder. “Godspeed, and be careful.” Draco flinched from the contact, but did not object.
“Will do, Professor,” Neville nodded. “Harry’s counting on us.” And with those parting words, they turned to leave.
“Any bright ideas, Longbottom?” Malfoy said as they ran towards the town exit. He looked up the incline, the torches lining the towers of Hogwarts twinkling like the stars in the sky. “They’ve got a head start, we need to get airborne somehow.” That triggered Neville’s memory and he began to run towards the northern edge of town.
“The threstrals! Come on!” After sprinting back flat out, they unhooked two threstrals from the carriages, and moments later were speeding over Hogsmeade, flying high above the winding road up to the Hogwarts grounds. Their faces were full of determination, and their mission was clear.
Rescue, at all costs, Hermione Granger, and retrieve the Halo of Life. There was no time to wait for help, everyone else who was fighting were badly injured, or helping those near death to stay alive.
Pettigrew ran along the empty halls of Hogwarts, a motionless Hermione Granger floating behind him. He was sweating profusely, he was basically in the lion’s den, and he had to get that Halo before anyone came back. Now where were the Gryffindor dorms again? Oh yeah, how could he forget? Racing up to the third floor, he found the familiar entryway to the common room.
The fat lady looked at him and recognized him instantly. ”YOU! You dare set foot in here! Professor? Professor!” She screamed.
“Shut up, you fat cow…L-l-let me in!” he ordered, glancing behind him to make sure no one was actually answering her screams.
“Someone! Help! It’s Peter Pettigrew!!”
Pettigrew swore, and took out his wand. “Silencio! Now, open this door before I get nasty.”
The fat lady put her hands on her hips, and resolutely turned her face to the side. “Fine. Have it your way.” He pointed it again, and incanted. “Reducto Exertimus!” The whole wall blew apart, and tatters of the painting fluttered about. Ah he loved that spell, remembering the time he faced Sirius back all those years ago. Marching up into the girls’ dormitory, he found the trunk labeled ‘Hermione Granger’ and opened it. Something glowed amongst the books and other school items in it, and he fished around with his hand, finally making contact with the cool metal.
Pulling out the Halo of Life, he grinned.
“Come to papa,” he giggled, and departed. Hopefully Macnair would be on time.
They rode in silence, and they spotted the huge carriage parked outside the front doors.
“They’re still here….” Draco said, pulling up on the Threstral’s mane. Neville remained quiet, something was in the air, and he tilted his head to the side.
“Do you hear that?” he said, and Malfoy paused, allowing his senses to stretch out.
“What is that?” Draco asked in alarm. At the same moment, there was a faint crushing noise at the Gryffindor tower; someone had just blown a large whole through the steeped roof. Hermione was levitated through the opening, and Wormtail climbed up close behind her.
“There they are!” Neville shouted, and sped off towards the castle.
“Neville wait-!“ Draco said. He now remembered what that sound of rushing air was. “DRAGONS!” Three immense dragons swooped up from behind the castle, filling up the whole sky. Neville was flying straight towards Wormtail and Hermione when a huge stream of flame shot out towards him.
“Holy cow!” he yanked hard on the threstral’s mane, changing direction sharply to his left. He felt the heat of the fire singe his skin as it blazed past him. One African Sand Dragon and a Ridgeback took chase after him, their fangs bared impressively from their smoldering mouths. Neville shot off like a hummingbird, and the dragons soared after him, their massive wings flapping powerfully. He zipped between the high parapets of Hogwarts, skimming low over the rooftops as blasts of napalm sprayed the castle rooftops and walls, setting the school ablaze.
“Nott! You circle around! I will lead the little pest to you!” Mulciber said from on top of his monstrous steed. Nott grabbed the reins of his reddish brown Sand Dragon and pulled up, the animal screeching in protest, it wanted to continue chasing its prey. Macnair laughed at the cat and mouse scenario playing in front of his eyes. He sat on triumphantly on top of the Sea-Green Ice Dragon; which he had affectionately named Frosty. The air about him was chilled to nearly freezing temperatures, and his breath clouded every time he spoke.
“Wormtail, Hurry up! Send the girl, we have not whole night!” Macnair laughed, watching Pettigrew struggle to move across the slippery surface.
“Coming!” Peter huffed, his pudgy bulk proving to be a disadvantage as he scaled the parapets of the Gryffindor tower. He was relieved that Dumbledore neither young Potter had arrived, and very much wanted to be far away from here when they came back. Taking his time, he hoped to God that he didn’t slip and fall at this inopportune moment.
Neville was scared shitless, that Dragon was huge. He zipped in and out between the towers, the mane of the speedy threstral gripped in his left hand; the Nordic Broadsword of Godric Gryffindor in his right. Draco was speeding towards Hermione and the even bigger green dragon, and he hoped that somehow the both of them would conjure up a miracle and survive, and if the fates were with them, be able to save her.
Dumbledore, Remus and Molly Weasley were kneeling over an unconscious Harry Potter, trying their best to enervate him. Dumbledore had conjured clothes for him, and he felt the medallion against his chest ebb and dip in power as Harry lay unnaturally still in the crater. His wand alongside Molly’s spun slowly over his chest, but once again their magic was ineffective when he was in such a critical state.
“Where’s Granger?” Remus breathed, fighting off the Imperius curse so many times and the numerous Reductor blasts he took rendering him temporarily crippled.
“They have her,” Dumbledore breathed. He was torn between going to her rescue, and staying here to help the scores of wounded on each side. He had no choice, too many lives here hung in the balance. He just hoped that Neville and Draco could reach her in time. Kenna was crying silently at Harry’s side, she could not bear seeing him like this once again. Cho was diligently tending to George stomach, the wooden stake was already pulled out, but her healing charm was taking its time to seal the wound. Keeping her eyes away from Harry, she had to concentrate on the task at hand.
Luna Lovegood was distraught, the number of bloodied bodies about her was horrible, but seeing Harry beaten to this state once again was her worst nightmare. She ran over to his side, and knelt over his head. Resting her ear against his chest, she checked his heartbeat. Hoping that it would work once again, she put her lips to his, and breathed life back into him.
“Luna?” Dumbledore asked quizzically. She said nothing, but pumped his chest a few times, then repeated the process. Harry was not responding, and her efforts became more frantic. After the tenth time of trying, she rocked back on her hunches, and looked at him, a forlorn expression on her face.
“Only Hermione could wake him now, he is in too deep,” she whispered.
“Luna keep trying,” Dumbledore encouraged her. “I have to help the others.” He got up, and began administering treatment to the badly injured townsfolk and students alike.
Draco streaked down towards the man scampering across the roof. Peter Pettigrew was trying to climb to the highest point of Gryffindor tower. His Elemency surged through him, and was just about to incinerate him alive when he heard the deafening scrawl of the huge ice dragon. An immense blast of cold breath shot at him, and he dipped just in time, ducking behind one of Hogwarts’ larger towers. He saw the building crystallize before his very eyes, and in a matter of seconds the whole tower was covered in ice. The dragon shrieked again in frustration, looking for its elusive prey. Draco scrunched his eyes at the ear-bursting sound, and the tower cracked, then suddenly shattered in fragments of stone and ice.
“Holy shit…!” Draco muttered, and zipped away from that the direct line of immense cold. The dragon swooped after him, leaving a frustrated Wormtail waving furiously on the roof.
“Hey! What about me?!”
Draco leant low over the threstral’s neck, he could do this, this was just like Quidditch, except Hermione was the snitch, and if he was caught napping he wouldn’t be lucky enough just to have a broken arm or ribs. Zipping beneath the bridge-like walkways between towers he zoomed through the ins and outs of the castle archways, trying to confuse the much bulkier opponent. Finally he got it disoriented, and he used the threstral’s greater mobility to circle around Macnair. Concentrating as hard as he could he clasped his hands together and scrunched his eyes. He could do this. He knew he could.
Summoning forth the element of fire, he called down the strongest spell in his limited arsenal.
“INCIENDO AR METEORAMUS!!”
Neville was still desperately avoiding the blasts of flame illuminating the dark night sky, trying his best to stay alive. When he heard the tell tale sound of something huge falling out of the sky he looked up, astonishment plastered on his face.
A huge blazing meteor screamed down from the heavens, searing towards the Ice Dragon with a long trail of fire in its wake. The Dragon blew its frost breath at the incoming mass of rock, and it slowed, the vast difference in temperature cooling the comet into a huge boulder. Draco swore vehemently as the massive rock was deflected off course, crashing dangerously close to Wormtail and Hermione. The north tower shuddered and broke halfway, bits of stone and rooftop falling to the grounds far below. Wormtail was thrown off balance, and skidded along the steep slopes of the north wing. His levitation spell faltered, and Hermione fell onto the roof, tumbling down the side until she reached out and grabbed hold of a flagpole protruding horizontally out of the damaged tower. Her hands slipped on the cold metal, and she slid down all the way to the end, clutching onto the Gryffindor flag for dear life.
“HELP!!” she cried, swaying dangerously from the falling tower. Half of the wall was broken away, and she could see the boulder tumbling down the slope of the grounds far, far below. Adrenaline pumped through her and her eyes opened wide, she knew that she was about to die. Neville heard her, and turned about, frantically searching for her whereabouts. He spotted her, and could tell that the damaged tower was about to fall at any time.
“OH NO! HOLD ON!!” Facing the much larger opponent, he decided then and there what he must do. Mustering his courage, he held the broadsword at the ready and charged the Ridgeback dragon head on.
“What?” Mulciber said, was the boy was actually attacking him? Very well, makes my job much easier. His steed opened its huge jaws and Mulciber smiled as he felt the powerful beast spit flame from deep within. Neville changed direction suddenly and shot above it, the threstral’s wings flapping with more fervor than ever. The dragon’s head turned upwards as it tried to track his ascent, the long blast of napalm trailing behind Neville, reddening the night sky. Mulciber barely had time to react to the threstral zooming way over his head, so he spun the dragon around to catch him on the next pass. Waiting for it to zip back into range he squinted hard. However, the threstal flew off towards the forbidden forest, fearful for its life.
Mulciber laughed. “He ran away! The coward!” he laughed, pointing at shrinking object in the distance.
“RAARRGGHH!!” Neville screamed, diving from the sky above. The Sword of Gryffindor was brandished high above his head in a two handed grip, and he brought it down with all of his strength. An ear piercing wail rang through the night as the mythical weapon sunk deep into the dragons hard skull. It began to writhe in agony, and Neville hung on to one of the huge horns for dear life. Mulciber bucked dangerously in the saddle on the dragon’s neck; fighting to maintain a proper hold. The poor beast was flapping its wings haphazardly, toppling over and over as it thrashed in convulsing spasms.
“NO!” Mucliber yelled as he was pitched off, screaming as he fell to his death. Neville still clutched to the dragon’s horns as it dove in a crash course into the castle walls. Bracing himself, he jumped clear just before it smashed against the Astronomy tower, breaking apart the cobblestone stucture like a house made of matchsticks. Neville landed painfully on the domed rooftop of the great hall, and fought for a handhold as he slid down the smooth surface, increasing speed at an incredible rate. He swung the sword, and it lodged into thick stone, halting him with a sharp jerk. He looked down at the edge of the rounded edge of the sloped roof. If he angled just right, he would be able to slide down to the archway between himself and the Gryffindor tower. Using all of his strength, he eased the blade out a fraction and used it as a handbrake to make his way down. Gingerly resting his feet on the edge of the hall, he clambered on top of the connecting archway, scooting over it on all fours. After inching his way across the four foot wide ledge, he dropped down a level unto a narrow walkway underneath. Pressing his back against the rough walls he sidestepped around the curvature of one of the Gryffindor towers.
The cold wind buffeted at him as he looked down at the meadows far below. He couldn’t’ be scared, not now. Harry was counting on them. Guaging the distance, he took a leap of faith and jumped across towards a servce ledge. His foot slipped on the edge, but he desperately reached out and grabbed the tooth of a Gargoyle and hauled himself back up before he lost his balance. Scaling the fearsome statue, he sprinted across the narrow walkway, but skidded to a halt when he reached the crumbling edge of a huge gap. Neville found himself in a bad situation. His wand had fallen, and he could not jump across the broken part of the bridge leading to the girls’ tower. From here, there was no humanly way possible to reach Hermione. “Hang on Hermione!” he cried, and jumped across to the adjacent roof.
Damn it, he had to find some other way
Draco Malfoy was battling against the Ice Dragon, trying to blind its huge yellow eyes.
“Conjunctivus!” he screamed, pointing his wand as he circled the much slower beast, trying to find an opening. His spells were off target, and splashed harmlessly off its head and neck. Damn, he had to get closer to really be effective. He spotted Neville racing over the crumbling remains of the Gryffindor tower, trying to climb down and reach Hermione. From the looks of it, she was scared to death. Another blast of cold shot out at him, and the slight lapse in concentration nearly cost him his life. Another loud screech pierced his ears and Nott swooped low behind him on the Ridgeback, spewing a huge burst of flame. Draco zoomed low and underneath the ice dragon, drawing their fire away from Neville and Hermione. Macnair did not take the bait though, and remained stationary, but the Black Dragon reared and took chase.
If he stayed out here much longer, he’d have too choose which way he wanted to die, either by being roasted alive, or having the blood freeze in his veins. Taking hold of his medallion, he concentrated hard. Dodging another huge blast of heat, he swore vehemently. He wasn’t going to last for five minutes if it stayed like this.
Hermione didn’t think she could hold on for much longer. Her hands were numb from the intense cold from the dragon’s breathing, and her arms ached painfully as she tried to haul herself up hand over hand on the thick tapestry. She wasn’t strong enough, and she could sense her fingers failing her. Shutting her eyes, she mentally called for help. She needed him now, more than ever.
A couple miles away, a young man’s eyes suddenly sprung open. He gasped deeply, and pain coursed through him like wildfire. Ignoring what his body was telling him, he sat up.
“Professor! Come quick!’” Molly said, crying back tears of joy. Dumbledore apparated the short distance there, and knelt low over Harry.
“Harry! You alright?!” he asked urgently.
“Hermione..” he breathed, and got up. “I have to go,” he said resolutely. He took out his wand, and concentrated hard. Manifestation was not easy. Everything was technically in place: he knew exactly where his Firebolt was, and if he remembered his homework correctly, it should be the same principle, except that the object was not simply on the far end of the room- it was almost three miles away. He waved his wand in a complex spell and began his incantation.
“Appario accio, resudiem anti allieve apparace tres milios, portus assimiliar rescever Firebolt!”
The air in front of him began to shimmer, and his prized broomstick materialized slowly in front of him. Molly Weasley blinked in amazement. Without a moment’s hesitation, he grabbed hold, and shot off through the night sky. He could not waste a precious moment.
Neville was jumping across daring gaps, running as fast as he could up and down the steep slopes of the rooftops. He had circled around while Draco fought with the Ridgeback dragon and the Green one, and he had to make use of the distraction before they spotted him. He reached the badly damaged tower, and gingerly put one of his feet against it. It creaked ominously, but Neville knew that if he didn’t help her, she would fall. “Hang on, and stay still, I’m coming,” he encouraged her, and Hermione nodded in understanding. He edged around the tower, tentatively holding on to any thing he could. He circled around the craggy surface until Hermione was eye level with him. Taking a firm grip of a hole in the wall, he extended as far as he could with his left hand, reaching out to her. Hermione was a bit too far, and she didn’t think that she could hold on with one hand to reach him.
“I can’t,” she cried, slipping a few more inches down.
“C’mon, you can do it!!”
She shook her head, tears running down her face. Neville got inspiration. “Hold on one second!” he said, and found firm footing once more. Taking off his long sleeved robes, he held it at one end.
“Listen! I’m gonna swing this to you, and you have to catch it! Come on! Trust me!” he wound the sleeve a couple times around his wrist, and extended once again out to her. He swung it ounce, and it hit Hermione near her hand. She was too petrified to move, and flinched as he swung it again.
“You can do it! Come on!!” He swung it again, and she went for it. Quickly releasing her hand, she grabbed hold, then released the other. She swung down in an arc and screamed, desperately clutching with both hands for dear life. “Ungh!” Neville groaned, all of her weight rest on his left arm. He could feel the tunic tightening painfully around his wrist, then begin to slip. He wasn’t strong enough to hold her!
“Neville!” she cried, as she felt the tunic slipping out of his grasp. Neville panicked, and he shut his eyes in concentration. He could not let her die.
Not when everyone was counting on him. Not when Harry believed in him. Not when he held the life of one of the kindest people he has ever met in his hands.
His eyes shone white, and the faint outline of a mystical white lion shimmered about him. His hair came alive, and newfound strength flowed through him. Hermione’s eyes widened as the Lion of Gryffindor superimposed around Neville’s body and slowly and steadily, he hefted her up, his eyes glowing brightly in the darkness. With a mighty yell, he swung her upwards with all his might and she landed with a heavy thud on the flat surface of the walkway above and to the left of them. Neville grinned, and made to jump across as well.
As he looked up, Wormtail appeared behind a panting Hermione, smiling smugly. He gave the young wizard two sparing claps of his hands.
“Very impressive, Longbottom - could not have done it better myself.” He pointed his wand. “ Reducto Exertimus!” The spell blew apart the weakened portion of the tower, and it groaned loudly, toppling over to the side.
“NEVILLE !!” Hermione screamed, but she could do nothing but watch in terror as the tower fell in slow motion. Neville’s eyes opened wide as both he and the tower toppled together in freefall.
It landed with a huge crash far below and she could not believe her eyes.
Neville..couldn’t… he can’t..
She turned on Pettigrew, her face full of hate. Pettrigrew laughed, and pointed his wand. “Come along now, we have some resurrecting to do. Immobilous!” Hermione froze, and Wormtail once again had her captive. Looking over the edge, he watched the still form of Longbottom lying face down in the grass. He tsked tsked.
Ah well, he did his part.
I cannot fail.
Draco gritted his teeth as another burst of flame seared past, his threstral flying slower and slower as the constant blast of cold and hot air drained all of its strength. Macnair hovered over the highest tower nearest to Wormtail, still impatiently waiting for their prize.
“Wormtail, how long does it take for you to get your ass up here?” he roared, and Wormtail cringed.
“I’m coming…this isn’t as easy as it –oops!” he slipped again, but regained balance before he toppled down the northwest tower. Hermione dare not try and fight off the levitation spell, if she did, the nearest solid surface was a long way down. Wormtail gingerly climbed up the smooth rooftop, coming to a stop directly underneath the Ice Dragon.
“Fuck me, that thing is cold!” he complained, his breath coming out in puffs of white mist.
“Send the Artifact, then the girl,” he ordered, making the dragon hover as close to him as possible.
Wormtail took out the Halo, and hesitated for a second. “How about I come aboard with the halo, and then bring the gir-” Before he got to finish, Macnair drew his wand and soundlessly summoned the Halo to his hand. It jumped out of Wormtail’s trembling fingers and fell neatly into the Beastmaster’s grasp. “Hey!” Wormtail objected, reaching for it as it zoomed out of his hand.
Draco desperately tried to avoid the blast of fiery death from the Ridgeback behind him, and he saw out of the corner of his eye that they were going to escape while Nott chased him down. Dammit, he had to save her before it was too late. Changing direction suddenly, he zipped between the forelegs of the Norwegian Ridgeback, narrowly avoiding the flailing tail. He was too slow though, and Nott spun around, predicting Draco’s flight path and the dragon spewed fire in his trajectory.
“Oh shit!” Draco screamed as he flew directly into the inferno. “Resucitarus inciendo ar Dragonaairre!” he incanted desperately. His eyes flared as he and his mount became a huge fireball, the threstral incinerating as they plunged to the ground very far below. His clothes were on fire, but Draco’s hasty elemental counter summon protected him from the worst of it. His skin sizzled from the intense heat, and he screamed through the pain. His fire nullifying spell had actually worked, and in that split second before he fell to his death his last thought was that at least they will have something to bury. The ground was rushing up to him at an incredible pace, and he was content to know that death will be instantaneous.
A different kind of fire burnt in the center of his chest, and he felt his medallion surge with power. There was a powerful yank on his robes and he surged upward from their kamikaze dive. He belted out a one syllable laugh.
“Took you long enough,” Draco breathed. “Fuck, that was close.”
“Shut it Malfoy,” Harry snarled. He hauled Draco behind him, and zoomed to the still body of one of the bravest men he knew. “Oh no..” he whispered.
They landed at an incredible speed both talented seekers dismounting smoothly even at incredible speeds. They landed at a full sprint and the firebolt zoomed off in a wide boomerang arc. Harry knelt down next to Longbottom. Harry felt something strange inside of him, as if a candle had just been snuffed out. It couldn’t be…
Saying nothing, he solemnly closed Neville’s eyes.
Feeling the urge to fight back tears, he shut his eyes in hatred. When they reopened, they were a glowing white, and the cloak of the Order of the Phoenix rematerialized around his shoulders. Taking it off his shoulders, he covered the fallen warrior.
He took the sword that was still gripped in his fingers, and Draco felt his own Infernus ability once again briefly magnified in power. The broom had circled back, and hovered patiently in front of his owner.
“You fly. Take me directly to the green one.”
Draco looked at Potter as if he were a madman, but Harry was not paying him any attention, he was staring directly into the sky as Wormtail struggled to climb the Leviathan’s scaly leg. His hair billowed behind him, and his glowing eyes pulsed more vibrantly than ever. The broadsword glowed brightly, and once again returned into the smaller, sleeker shape Harry was used to.
“We will deal with Macnair and Wormtail.” Draco mounted the broom and Harry stood on the tail, taking a firm hold of Draco’s collar for balance.
“Dammit, that took you long enough. Where are the two boys?” He shouted at Nott.
“Both are dead, I got the blonde one, Pettigrew dealt with the other,” he replied, victory in his voice.
“Very well. We are finis-” He squinted into the sky. “Wait, what is that glowing thing-?” It was coming very fast, and straight to them-
“Watch out!” Macnair screamed, but Nott was too slow. Harry Potter dove like a bolt at lightning at the Ridgeback, and he burst through Nott and the Dragon like a silver lance from heaven. The rider practically disintegrated from impact, and Harry exited through the massive chest of the dragon, a deadly human missile. He tore through the massive Northwestern tower and came to an abrupt halt on the walkway on the other side.
“Holy …sssSHIIIT ! ! !” Draco exclaimed, zooming far over head. The Black Ridgeback fell like a shot down bird, and as it landed all of its insides exploded out of the gaping hole in the chest. The Leviathon took off with a loud shriek, frantically flapping its wings as Macnair took it to the sky.
“MACNAIR! Release her!” Harry ordered, covered in grey stonedust and blood. His eyes glowed brightly, and the sword at his side dripped blood.
Macnair blanched. Squeexing his legs around the dragon’s neck, Frosty spit a blast of extreme cold at the tower. Harry drew his wand and conjured his defense.
“Protego Exertimus!!” The frost splashed against an invisible shield barrier twenty feet away. When the Dragon ran out of breath, he calmly walked forward to the edge of the walkway.
“HAH! POTTER! WON’T WANT TO HURT HER NOW WOULD WE?” Macnair yelled at him, showing him a gagged Hermione struggling against magical bonds at her arms and legs. He brought his massive axe to her neck, and she froze. “MY GOD, SHE’S GORGEOUS ISN’T SHE?” He licked the side of his face, and laughed. “WELL MAKE SURE SHE BLEEDS!”
Harry roared, and his eyes shone white. He raised his wand hand, pointing it at the dragon. Twelve huge blocks of rubble began to rotate around him as he made his powerful incantation.
“Animate. Wingardium Acciente Leinte Tinsial Lleviosa.”
The blocks began to shoot out from him, levitating themselves a metre apart in the night air. Without hesitation he jumped on the first one and began to sprint across them, the ones he stepped on previously darting to the front, creating an ever-reforming bridge of stepping stones. Letting magic control his muscles, he put all of his faith in his own ability, blindly stepping into thin air knowing that the next block would be there. Picking up pace, he gained distance as his powerful strides closed the gap between huge Leviathon. Wormatil paled as their advantage of being airborne was suddenly compromised.
“Do SOMETHING!” he shrieked, grabbing hysterically onto the back of Macnair’s Bearskin coat.
Macnair squeezed his legs around the Dragons neck again, and it recognized the command to attack. A blue burst of deadly frost shot out at him, but Harry jumped high, the blocks zooming upwards to accommodate the sudden change of altitude. The Dragon haphazardly sprayed its icy death as it tried to track the minuscule target darting towards it, but his speed and rapid change of directions were proving to troublesome for such a large creature. With a lateral thrust of both hands , the blocks separated from its straightforward linear chain into a diagonal matrix of horizontal footholds. Keeping his forward momentum, he jumped to the left. Springing from that towards the next on his right, he gained height as the blocks placed themselves like a the tracks of a rollercoaster ride giving him vertical , horizontal and lateral maneuverability as he continued his attack.
An exhaust of icy death shot once again, but he was too quick once again, sprinting up the ever changing path as he dodged around the thick blast of ice. The stone blocks zipped around precisely at his command, instinctively placing themselves in the exact position of his next footstep. Crossing the three hundred metres in a blur of moving stone and pinpoint strides he drew his wand; and when the dragon closed its mouth to summon forth another huge burst of ice, he pointed and expertly used the sealing charm.
The dragon’s mouth sealed itself shut, and its bucked as it futilely tried to free itself from the unnatural force. Peter looked into the eerily glowing eyes of the wizard racing up to them and panicked.
“Oh no...I am going to die..” Wormtail wailed, and Macnair had enough of his sniveling. Grabbing him with his burly arms, he launched the diminutive man bodily at the figure darting towards them. Wormtail screamed as he soared through the night and directly into Potter’s path.
Harry grinned and raced up the ascending stone blocks towards Macnair and the dragon. Changing course slightly, he swung viciously as Wormtail fell past him. There was the sickening sound of flesh tearing, and Wormtail was left in Harry’s wake, falling to the ground far below in two pieces. His lifeless head screamed soundlessly into the night, and Macnair’s eyes bulged in fear. Harry was just about to pounce on the Dragon when he saw the Death Eater grab Hermione bodily and threw her into the void.
“TAKE HER!!” he screamed desperately.
Harry’s eyes opened widely and he changed direction last minute, diving headfirst to catch her. Draco Malfoy analyzed the situation in a single heartbeat and responded faster than he could finish think. He shot off at an acute angle downwards, Harry’s firebolt screaming as he pushed every ounce of magical horsepower he could muster. Harry’s hands were pressed at his side, his body streamlining down as Hermione tumbled over and over in the sky.
“Stupid fool,” Macnair grinned, soaring off as he saw the suicidal attempt to catch the mudblood. He had the halo, and they would have to settle for that for the time being.
Hermione plummeted like a rock as she fell, and her vision swirled as she fell silently to her death. She saw snippets of someone falling after her, their eyes glowing as white as an angel.
This must be it, I am dying, and my angel has come for me…
Harry clenched his fists as he dove after her. Instinct told him that Draco would catch them, he had to. He zipped towards Hermione, and clenched her tightly in his arms. If they were to die, they would die together. Clenching the medallion in his hand, he shut his eyes.
Draco’s eyes watered furiously as he dove after them, his cheeks flapping back as he accelerated to the intersection point of their descent. Dammit, his cloak was slowing him down! His eyes flared, and he burnt off the catch and chain in the front of his neck. The hindrance billowed off into the night, and the windows of the castle shattered behind him as he got that extra burst of speed.
“RAAAARR!” He yelled in frustration as Granger and Potter spiraled down from above him. He needed more speed!
Potter you better time this right...because you got to hold on.
Harry’s eyes opened and he concentrated on the blur of Draco’s white robes as he shot towards them. Almost crushing Hermione in his left armed grip, he waited for the precise millisecond, only thirty feet above the ground… his reflexes had to be on if he were to-
Draco’s head brushed his cheek and Harry’s hand shot out, grabbing the broomstick right behind Draco’s back. Draco’s tail end swung around at the sudden redistribution of weight at the rear as Harry dangled from one hand, an unconscious Hermione in the other. The broomstick dipped suddenly, and Draco’s eyes bulged as he tried to keep them from spiraling out of control and coming to a very messy death on the grounds. The Firebolt fishtailed and nearly threw Draco off, his muscles screaming in protest as he fought to control the overtaxed braking and stability charms. Harry felt his foot hit painfully against the ground as Draco dipped and bucked trying to re-establish control, his leg shattering from that fleeting contact with the unforgiving earth. He ignored the pain, he did not need his legs at the moment, all that mattered was that his strength remained true and he held on to Hermione and the broomstick no matter what. After what seemed like an eternity but lasted less than three seconds, Draco finally managed to stabilize the broomstick and bring it to a final halt a few seconds later. He parked it ten feet in midair, and jumped off. He took Hermione carefully from Harry’s arm, and laid her down.
“Well? I don’t need to carry you do I?” Draco smirked as Harry still held onto the broomstick. Harry looked down painfully at his leg, and Draco grimaced at the awkward angle his ankle and shinbone turned at.
“Shit.” Draco said. Harry gripped the broom with both hands, and crawled up un top, his body hanging limply along the length of the Firebolt. His eyes reverted to normal, he grimaced visibly. Pain overcame him, and he doubled over on the broomstick, his vision going dizzy.
He said something softly under his breath as he passed out, toppling off the broomstick. Draco half caught him, half got flattened beneath him.
“Oomph.!” All the breath was forced out of his body, and he laid there, Harry’s still form pinning him down. Shoving him off, he sat up, he arms propped wearily behind him, his legs splayed out on the chilly grass.
They fucking did it. He stared up into the night sky, and began to laugh hysterically.
“HA HA HA HAA HAAA!!”
Macnair had disapparated as soon as he returned Frosty to her den. Doholov, Snape and Lestrange were already congratulating themselves, drinking some fine wine and smoking the finest cigars.
“Well Macnair? I believe that is the Halo in you hand. Our mission is a success!” Doholov grinned, but it faded as Macnair glared at him with fury in his eyes. He was the first one back. Something was wrong. His smile vanished.
“Where are the others?”
“You heard me.”
“The Doppleganger curse? The Dragons, what were they: USELESS?!” Doholov ranted, eyeing Macnair with disgust.
“We have a big problem.” Macnair said calmly, his voice numb. “We need to stop that boy.”
Doholov paced to the window, looking out into the night sky.
“I have planned for something like this. The hunters will deal with him. What we need is that girl. The Dark Lord will not be resurrected by himself. We- need- her.!” he hissed.
“You ask too much. He decimated our team, including a dragon, with nothing but that sword and his wand. Let the hunters kill him first, then we get the mudblood.”
“Agreed. Time is of the essence. We must find a way.”
Dumbledore felt the surging of the medallion against his chest ease, and once again it was tranquil. He smiled, and looked up to the faraway towers of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His face broke into a slow smile, and he turned to the battered students who were trying to help anyone they could. He raised his hands for attention, and spoke in a loud clear voice, addressing the entire square.
“My dear students, despair not. Harry, Draco and Neville have saved her, and VICTORY BELONGS TO US!”
There was a roar from the students, and everyone raised their fist in triumph. Dumbledore’s heart was bursting with pride. They had done it. Without even realizing it, fate had found a way to once again re-ignite one of the strongest bond between comrades in arms, the once inseparable combination of Salazar Slytherin and Godric Gryffindor.
Author's note: Almost there. Almost there.... I'd say (seeing as I combined chapters to make longer ones, maybe six to eight more chapters then it's the next fic. Sigh. I'm trying my best to finally catch up. Review!
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by Aina Chloris