Chapter 31 : The Beginning of The End.
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Whilst Harry was on his even tougher fitness routine, towing a tired Ron along, he saw a white snowy owl fly down towards him.
Harry recognised it as his owl Hedwig. He had kept his promise ever since Dumbledore told him that he was neglecting his little friend. He had kept the promise of taking at least an hour a day to be with Hedwig.
Harry outstretched his arm and Hedwig landed comfortably. Harry stopped running and allowed Ron to fall to the floor, red faced and sweating from every spot of his body.
Harry leant up against a tree and read the letter Hedwig left him. Harry first watched Hedwig fly off into the direction of the Owlery, then he turned to his letter.
Once he read it, he handed it Ron with a serious expression. Ron took it and read it out aloud.
Now that you have completed your NEWT examinations, I think it is time to get you caught up on the happenings of Voldemort and his followers. There is a meeting being held later today, in my office. The meeting is shortly following the evening meal, where some of the Order will be taking part. As you may have noticed, the castle has been given many security preparations and has become a heavily guarded place. The Order’s main priority, other than keeping a watch over Voldemort, is to make sure Hogwarts is entirely protected. Throughout the day, you may see some familiar faces, as I have allowed it so the guard may become visible and take part in any social activities.
The meeting will be as long as it takes and I wish for you to bring along Mr Weasley, Miss Granger and Miss Brown. Everyone else who is required to come has already been notified.
One point I want you to understand, is that I do not want you to talk about the training or the ways you feel towards me for altering your usual life. Keep that between me and you, and I will be happy. I cannot make you keep it away from Miss Granger, but try your best for everyone else. Do this for a last favour for how we was before the training. Once again, I am sorry, Harry.
“What’s this between you and Dumbledore?” asked Ron curiously, instantly pressuring Harry for the information he was asked not to express. “What was the training like?”
“Are you thick or something?” snapped Harry, his anger hitting the roof before he had time to think about what he was getting angry for. “The letter clearly states that he wishes for me not to speak to anyone about it. So, why should I betray his wishes?”
“Sorry, mate. You think we can go back now?” asked Ron hopefully, pointing down at his sweat soaked clothing and giving Harry a pleading look. “I’m exhausted, mate.”
“You can, I haven’t nearly done. I’ll be about another hour. Go back, shower and tell Hermione and Lavender about the meeting.” said Harry, before jogging away, igniting the letter as he went.
When Harry got back to the common room, he looked around and found Hermione and Lavender pointing at something out of the window. They were sniggering slightly.
When they heard Ron flop down into the sofa, they jumped apart and quickly moved away from the window.
“Who are you two fainting over?” asked Ron, who laid down and tried to catch some energy.
“Harry. He’s rapidly training, it’s amazing. He seems to have overdone you.” said Hermione, sitting in Harry’s favourite armchair, something she had done when she began to miss Harry over his training period.
“He’s a machine. I can’t keep up with him and I don’t understand how he can go without breaking a sweat. Anyway, there is something going on between him and Dumbledore. He got a letter telling him about a meeting of the Order after dinner. Him and Dumbledore are no longer friends as they used to be.” said Ron, talking whilst keeping his eyes closed.
“That must be why Dumbledore was crying on the start of the exams, when Harry returned. I wonder what it is between them. I will ask Harry tonight. Anyway, Ron, get into the shower, you stink and look horrendous.” said Hermione, pointing her finger at the bedroom stairs and shooing Ron away.
Over the duration of the day, Harry and Hermione had not once left each other’s side. They sat together on a sofa and whispered to each other, giggling every so often. Harry had refused to tell her about the thing between himself and Dumbledore. He claimed it was a story for another time.
When it was time to go for the evening meal, the four of them left the common room and slowly made their way down to Great Hall.
When they entered, Harry instantly watched as the curious and excited people gazed at Harry in admiration. Harry shook them off and went to sit down at the table.
However, he stopped at the site of Dumbledore. He looked up and Dumbledore was waving his hand at four seats along the teacher’s table. Harry frowned slightly, but he still led the way up to the teacher’s table.
Harry and Hermione sat next to each other, as did Ron and Lavender. Harry made sure Hermione was the one sat next to Dumbledore, not himself.
Dumbledore realised this and bowed his head in sorrow. Harry also had his head bowed, but not from sorrow. He had his head bowed, trying to rid the stares from the surrounding students.
Once everyone was finally seated, Dumbledore stood. Harry looked up at him briefly and realised that Dumbledore had a serious expression, evidently he had something important to say.
Harry leaned back into his chair and slowly drank from his glass. His training and perfected techniques had already located the quick exits and had even made sure no poison was in his drink. He shook his head in annoyance.
“I usually give attendance to the evening meal optional. However, as you may have realised, I sent notices around to your notice boards, making it clear that all must attend this meal. This meal is not of celebration of the end of another year, but it is our final.” said Dumbledore clearly, receiving quizzical looks and murmurs amongst the Hall.
“We have reason to believe that Lord Voldemort is planning on an attack. An attack that would endanger each and every one of the people present. I cannot allow this. Tomorrow morning you will no longer be here. All will be moved to the Hogwarts Express at midnight tonight. You have from now and then to get all baggage and possessions ready. Do not fear because of my seriousness. I guarantee the needed protection is here.” continued Dumbledore, briefly looking down at Harry, who seemed to be letting off a pulse of magic, as he was deep in thought.
“I would advise you all to get a nice meal, as the travel from here to King’s Cross will be slower than usual. There will be food available on the train, but it is recommended for you to each something proper now. I hope you all have a good meal and I sincerely hope we do meet next year.” said Dumbledore, his voice showing the doubtful side.
The entire Hall burst out into nervous and curious discussions, as Dumbledore took his seat. Everyone began talking to the person besides them and they all began to dig into the food before them.
Harry ate as much as he wanted and then he sat back into his chair. He looked directly forward and realised several of the staff creating a circle. Harry, Hermione and Dumbledore were in the centre of it.
They all talked to each other, trying to pass over their thoughts and recent news discreetly. Harry didn’t seem to hear any of it, as he stared at his wand absent minded.
“So, what do you think about this, Harry?” asked a voice from behind Harry’s chair, knocking him out of his thoughts.
“About what?” asked Harry curiously, turning and looking at Tonks, who looked as though she had some really important news to tell them all.
“Malfoy has said that his friends Crabbe and Goyle have been selected to become Death-Eaters also, as spies. Malfoy has said that they have both over heard some of the main Death-Eaters discussing an attack tonight.” replied Tonks, quieting as she mentioned the date.
“WHAT?” yelled Hagrid, jumping from his seat, which only made him look even angrier.
“Hagrid, calm down!” said Dumbledore firmly. “All Order members to my office immediately. Minerva, gather the students. I want them all on the train within thirty minutes.”
Professor McGonagall nodded and was preparing herself to announce the evacuation. Harry never moved or flinched at the thought of an attack soon. Instead, he had a sick grin on his face.
“Harry, nothing is funny!” said Hermione furiously, not understanding why he seemed happy at the idea of the war.
“You see, me and Tom will end this tonight.” said Harry, standing at the sight of Crabbe and Goyle moving rapidly from the Hall.
Harry strolled smoothly through the Hall, which had become hectic. Harry’s expensive robes billowed behind him as he slowly withdrew his wand from the folds of his robes.
As soon as he left the Hall, the double doors slammed shut and noises echoed behind them. There were yells and bangs coming from outside.
The people in the Hall stopped what they were doing and looked onwards to the direction of the Entrance Hall. Even Dumbledore had stopped his exit to listen to the sounds.
Then, all of a sudden, everything went deafly quiet. After a minute or two, the Great Hall’s double doors opened slowly. Harry poked his head around and made eye contact with two people, who immediately rushed forward.
The students looked at the two Hunters and wondered where they had come from. They were sure they weren’t in the Hall five minutes previously. Their eyes landed on the curved sword at their belt and the curled lump on their backs.
Each student seemed to know that they should fear these two people. One was smoking a thick cigar, whilst the other was smoking a small elegant cigarette.
Once both the Hunters reached the double doors, Harry opened it a little wider for them both to leave and then he glanced around the Hall once, before closing the door once more.
Harry and the two Hunters walked into the centre of the Entrance Hall, where two figures were bound with chains. The Hunters grinned instantly.
“I think a bit of interrogation is in order. Where can we take them?” asked Hanzo eagerly, reaching down and lifting the two heavy young men with one hand.
“We will interrogate them inside a classroom near Dumbledore’s office. We will make the room temporarily secretive.” said Harry, leading the way to the Marble Staircase and up.
Hanzo dragged the two shaking bodies as though they were nothing. Harry opened the classroom door and allowed Hanzo to launch them inside.
Silina set up some secrecy measures and then pulled the two people apart and placed them onto separate chairs.
Silina stubbed her cigarette out on Goyle’s neck, where he screamed in pain. Hanzo threw his cigar stub into Crabbe’s face, where it almost hit his eye.
“If it isn’t Crabbe and Goyle. The two people who are so dumb, they don’t know which end of the wand to hold.” said Harry, strolling in front of them, where they looked up in fear and anger.
“The Dark Lord has many plans for you, Potter!” snapped Goyle angrily, looking up into Harry’s eyes and instantly wishing he hadn’t.
“Has he really?” asked Harry sarcastically. “Well, I have plans of my own also. We’re going to ask you questions and we want detailed answers. Oh, by the way, we won’t be interrogating you with Veritaserum. That would give you an excuse for leaking Tom’s secrets.”
Crabbe and Goyle shared a glance, which evidently showed they were confused. Harry smirked wickedly and knelt down in front of them.
“My two friends here are Wizard Hunters. They don’t use magic or such things. They use the old fashioned Muggle way. The beating of a prisoner both leaves a mark on the prisoner and gives the best results needed.” explained Harry, standing up and watching as both faces turned to him.
In anger at Goyle’s comment, Harry swung and punched him across the face. The force behind the punch was amazing. Harry didn’t use his magic in that punch, it was his pure strength.
Goyle flew from his chair and slammed into the floor. His nose was bleeding dangerously and his face was clearly whitening.
Harry kicked Goyle into a sitting position and began to roll up his sleeves, whilst the Hunters took off their robes and sparked up another piece of their smoking materials.
And so it went. Harry and the two Hunters tortured the two teenagers to their last breath and then cured them. They made them relive excruciating pain over and over again.
Eventually, they both began to leak information. Once Harry and the Hunters had noted it all, Harry nodded once at the Hunters, who instantly withdrew a potion.
“You fucking coward!” yelled Crabbe angrily, kneeling to his feet. “At least give us our honour and kill us yourself.”
“HONOUR!” roared Harry, turning and facing Crabbe, all anger visibly to breaking point. “WHAT HONOUR?”
“YOU ARE THE SCUM OF THE EARTH. YOU PLACE PEOPLE’S LIVES IN DANGER AND YOU EXPECT AN HONORARY DEATH!” shouted Harry, swinging his hand into Crabbe’s head.
Harry’s hand hit solidly and then swung wildly into a table. He clutched his hand in pain. He felt his hand and was sure he had broken it. When he looked down at it, his hand was leaking blood from the knuckles.
He looked down at Crabbe, who was shaking violently. Harry could see white froth coming from the side of Crabbe’s mouth. Harry shook his head and laughed evilly. He watched as Crabbe had a fit.
Harry nodded to the Hunters, who understood that they had to clean this up and make the room completely how it was previously.
Harry held onto his hand firmly and left the classroom. As he left, he noticed a fairly large group of people stood arguing outside Dumbledore’s office.
One of the people Harry noticed straight away, was the Minister for Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour. Everyone else were obviously commanders of Auror groups and other staff of defence units within the Ministry.
Harry pushed his way through them and got to the front. He barged past Rufus, who looked around in bewilderment, wondering who dare push him.
“How dare you?” snapped the rough voice of the Minister.
Harry looked once at the Minister and watched as he instantly fell silent and looked at Harry as though he was a long lost friend.
“Harry, so glad you’re here. I don’t suppose you know why Dumbledore is only allowing certain people in, do you?” he asked curiously, looking at the two guards in front of Dumbledore’s office entrance.
“Because he doesn’t want you prying into his business. He will talk to you about the current situation, but not until he wants to. Wait here patiently and I will try to get him to come out as soon as he can.” said Harry simply, before nodding at a familiar Order member and slowly making his way up to the office.
Harry opened the door without knocking and instantly made his way to the front of the office and into his seat beside Hermione. Harry didn’t make eye contact with any of them, as they all could blatantly show that they wanted to know what happened to Crabbe and Goyle.
“They are dead. We gathered some information though. Tom is planning on waging war tonight at midnight. He plans on creating a base here and discreetly making the battlefield to their advantage. He also plans on rigging the train, so that no students can leave. If we do not plan soon, Tom could stop the evacuation. For all we know, he could already be here, plotting his attack right under our noses.” said Harry, before hiding his hand up the sleeve of his robes.
Hermione noticed this and slowly wound her hand through Harry’s robes and eased his hand out. Hermione looked at the badly bruised hand and instantly sorted it out.
“How did you get this, Harry?” whispered Hermione, planting a soft kiss on Harry’s cheek.
“I hit Crabbe a bit too hard and my hand followed through and hit a table.” replied Harry calmly, watching as several Order members began discussing about tactics and plans in their own area of expertise.
“Why aren’t you all securing the area?” asked Harry, looking confused at the surrounding people. “You should be out in the grounds securing anyone going into the castle. Meanwhile, the rest of the Order should be securely sending the other students home.”
Dumbledore examined Harry for a moment. For some reason, Dumbledore didn’t like the idea that Harry actually wanted this war. Dumbledore had another fear to accommodate his others. The fear that Harry has become fond of war and pain.
“Alastor, Hagrid, Shacklebolt and myself will take groups and secure the castle. The rest of the Order must make sure that there is nothing wrong with the train and that all the students are safely aboard and away. Send a small group of Order members to secure King’s Cross. Letters have already been delivered to parents.” ordered Dumbledore, standing up and pulling on a thick robe.
“What do you want us to do?” asked Ron curiously, pointing his finger between Harry, Hermione, Lavender and himself.
“I want you four to go and get ready for duelling. Put on duelling armour and wait in the Entrance Hall when you’re ready. I should be there by the time you are ready. God speed.” said Dumbledore, before briskly leaving his office, where the tone of questions being flung in one direction was evident once the door was opened.
Harry looked at Hermione briefly and left the room himself. As he got outside, he was bombarded with questions and people rushing to him.
“Harry, are you ready?” asked Rufus, who had taken Harry aside and was trying to be a mentor.
“You’re not my mentor, try not to pretend like you are. Dumbledore is my mentor, however much I hate him. I have been ready for this day for some time now. I have to go now and get ready. This night will create history.” said Harry, before pushing his way through the crowd, Hermione, Ron and Lavender closely following.
The four teenagers said nothing all the way back to their common room. Once Harry watched the portrait shut, blocking out all his fellow students’ curious expressions.
“I know you all have duelling robes. Get everything you got for the war and put them on. Meet back here in about ten minutes. I have to talk to Hermione and my family.” said Harry, before taking Hermione into their bedroom.
They both silently dressed in their duelling robes and then once they were fully equipped and ready, they both found each other facing one another.
Harry circled Hermione, whilst talking to her. He was making sure every part of her robes were properly fastened and properly in the correct places.
“Whatever happens out there tonight, I don’t want you to come to my aid. I can handle myself and to be honest, I don’t need you under my feet. Just keep to your job and focus on keeping the other Death-Eaters from killing you.” said Harry, tightening Hermione’s straps.
“No buts, Hermione. You do your job and you don’t interfere with mine. If that isn’t understood, you won’t go out there tonight, like you didn’t on the last battle. I’m going to try my best to finish it as quick as I can, but I still don’t know what Tom is like in battle.” said Harry, spinning Hermione around to face him.
Harry weakened slightly as he looked at the tears in Hermione’s eyes. He caressed her face softly and placed a gentle kiss, which Hermione tried to hold onto.
“I’m scared, Harry.” said Hermione nervously, her voice cracking slightly. “I don’t know how I will react to tonight. I don’t want to lose you.”
“Listen, you will never lose me. I will always be with you. Whether that’s in life or that after it. I will always be in your heart, Hermione. As long as you love me, I will do fine tonight.” said Harry, holding her at arms length and waving his hand.
His trunk opened and Harry was about to enter, when he heard Hermione say something from behind him. He turned and smiled.
“I do love you, Harry. I always will.” said Hermione honestly.
“Good. I love you too. I promise you that if all goes well, you will live a life of luxury. Anything you want, you will get. I swear it.” said Harry, before turning away and entering the trunk.
Once he entered, the lights lit automatically, sensing Harry’s magic. Harry sat on the sofa and watched as his family looked down on him.
“Harry … why are you wearing my duelling gear?” asked James curiously, looking down at the familiar medal covered duelling robes.
“The battle is tonight. Tom decided to try and do a surprise attack, but he doesn’t know he has failed. In an hour or so, a war will spread on the fields of Hogwarts. This is it dad, mum, grandfather and mother. And of course, Sirius. This is the night when me and Tom decide the fate of the world.” replied Harry, standing up and pacing in front of the four portraits.
“Why haven’t we heard of this already?” asked Lily, outraged at not being told about their son going into battle. “You’re far too young to be participating in a war.”
“Lily, get a hold of yourself. This isn’t Harry how we knew him a few months ago. He’s a god now. His power is unmatched. We cannot keep him from war if he so wishes not to.” said James, receiving daggers from Lily.
“Listen, Harry. Voldemort has a fondness for taunting his opponent. If you can ignore the taunts from him, you will do fine. From the duels I’ve had with him, he has a habit of circling to the left. You work left also, you will clash, therefore he will rotate in a direction he isn’t used to.” said James, kneeling down at the bottom of the portrait, in an attempt to get closer to Harry.
“Voldemort has a solid duelling stance, so it will be impossible to get him with a cheap shot. You wait for the right moment for your ending spell. When he moves his left arm from his side, you strike as quick as possible.” said Sirius, no humour amongst his face.
“We cannot do anything else, other than bid you good luck. What ever you do, Harry, always trust Albus Dumbledore. No matter how much you may disagree with him, he is a man of his word and what he says will always work out. If he tells you to do something, you do it.” said Lily sternly, making sure that the point was across.
“Thanks. If I come out of this, I will give you a portrait room and I plan on getting more portraits of the family. I have to go now, I suppose Dumbledore is setting up the attack styles.” said Harry, walking over to the exit.
“Remember, Harry, keep your friends close. A war can change a man. Make sure you are on perfect terms with your friends, as their love will guide you through the battle.” said Sirius, before giving Harry a brief wave.
Harry nodded and left the trunk. He gathered his remaining things and made his way to the common room slowly. Once he entered, he sighed and felt like crying. He looked down at his friends and girlfriend dressed in full combat gear, ready to face death and attempt to conquer it.
Harry said nothing, he felt he would cower at the sound of his voice of sorrow. Instead, he led the way out of the common room and through the main Gryffindor common room, which was now empty and evacuated.
This is the war just about to begin. This is what creates it and how it is dealt with. The next chapter will be the first half of the battle chapters. I hope this was okay and I hope my decision on Harry's attitude makes you feel that this story isn't any good. I hope you all still continue and believe me when I say it should get better. Thanks for reading. You've all been great.
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