Chapter 6 : A Hollow Victory
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Death Eaters stood in a circle around them and they smiled ruthlessly as they waited impatiently for their Master to arrive. They watched with an evil glee glowing in their eyes.
Harry glared back at them. He was still holding his wand, but he wasn’t able to use it. He couldn’t even begin to concentrate on using any spell as he fought against the invisible bonds holding him tightly. He could hear even more Death Eaters laughing in the distance as they had their warped idea of fun.
He was furious with himself. After everything that he had learned from Mad-Eye Moody and everything that he had taught to the members of Dumbledore’s Army, he had run headlong into danger without even taking a minute to consider what he could be facing. Why hadn’t he thought that there might be a Death Eater or four waiting just outside of the back door for them? Now all he could do was watch.
His first thought after being captured was to wonder when the Order of the Phoenix would be arriving. Not that he would be admitting that to anyone else. However that tiniest bit of hope withered when he remembered Professor Dumbledore’s death. He didn’t know who was leading the Order now. Were they even here? Was it possible that Dung was watching him… or was supposed to be watching him?
He doubted that his thoughts towards Dung would ever be very charitable. After all, it was Dung’s fault that the Dementors had nearly Kissed both his cousin and himself. He had been forced to do magic in order to save both of them from that horrible fate. That had then gotten him expelled from Hogwarts for a short time. Thankfully, Professor Dumbledore had managed to turn his expulsion into a suspension pending a hearing. If that entire situation hadn’t been bad enough, Dung kept stealing anything of value from Grimmauld Place after Sirius’ death!
He continued to struggle against his unseen bonds as five more Death Eaters strolled into his view.
One of those Death Eaters held Petunia’s arm tightly. Horror was etched on her face as she watched as magic was used to destroy the neighborhood.
Two more Death Eaters were holding Uncle Vernon much tighter than they might have done because he was still trying to punch them. He noted that both of those Death Eaters looked the worse for wear. He suspected that his uncle had managed to get in a punch or two before they were able to catch him. It might be the only time that he was proud of his uncle: nearly winning a fight with the Death Eater without using magic.
Another two Death Eaters were holding Dudley tightly even though there was no need. His cousin who was fearsome when he was facing Muggles that were smaller than him was oddly quiet. Of course, he knew exactly why his cousin was quiet: Dudley was terrified of magic.
Suddenly the Death Eaters let them go and they stepped back quickly. He didn’t understand why until his relatives began to rise into the air as they flailed their arms and legs in a useless attempt to keep their balance. He tried to swallow even though his insides went cold. He had no choice but to watch his Muggle relatives spin like tops upside down in the air. It looked more grotesque now than it had been at the World Cup just before his Fourth Year.
He watched in horror as a cloaked man silently appeared in front of him. He stood with his back to Harry as he watched the Muggles for a short time. The cloaked man must have felt his glare because he turned to face Harry whose mouth went dry again. Voldemort was standing in front of him where he couldn’t possibly be standing. Not at least until he had turned seventeen!
The leader of the Death Eaters casually looked back at Harry’s three relatives and ignored the fact that they were hovering in the air and spinning like tops. “Too bad, you might have actually been a challenge to me,” he waved his hand negligently at Harry, “but now we’ll never know.”
Harry glared back at Voldemort. He tried to make his mind accept the truth of the situation. Voldemort was standing in front of him where he shouldn’t be standing. Not yet. Not until he turned seventeen. “I’m not seventeen yet.” He managed to snarl bitterly as he tried to clench his fists. “You aren’t allowed here.”
Voldemort remained silent as he met the eyes of each Death Eater that was standing in the ring that they had formed around them. Their smirks led him to look up at Harry’s Muggle relatives again.
Harry followed his eyes and noticed that his relatives were looking fairly green. He didn’t think that spinning upside down couldn’t be very pleasant. He chuckled quietly as he hoped that Dudley would toss his cookies.
“Set them down,” Voldemort snapped at the closest Death Eater.
Harry glanced back up to see that his relatives had turned an alarming shade of green.
“I want them to understand exactly what happens when people don’t obey me.” Voldemort snapped impatiently at his followers.
Harry watched helplessly as his relatives were lowered to the ground. He tried to not wince as they landed in a heap on the carefully manicured grass.
Petunia and Dudley cowered together but Vernon began shouting at the top of his lungs at Voldemort and his followers. Just like Harry hoped that he would.
“Silence!” the snake-faced man snapped at the Muggle who was daring to stand against him. His red eyes were flashing with annoyance. He flicked his wand at Vernon.
Vernon continued to shout at Voldemort but there were no sounds coming from his mouth. He stopped trying to yell and frowned with puzzlement while Petunia and Dudley continued to whimper softly.
Voldemort gave all of them a very long look. “Sit,” he pointed his wand at Dudley.
Vernon gave him a look of complete hatred, but he sat down next to Petunia. At least he did until the Death Eaters began to laugh at them. It was more than he could take and he started to stand back up until Voldemort trained his wand on him instead.
“I said, sit,” he said in a dangerously soft voice. “Good Muggle.”
Harry took advantage of Voldemort’s distraction to pull out his wand though he kept it hidden from view. He didn’t see the nearly identical looks of shock in both Ron and Hermione’s eyes when he moved.
Voldemort turned back to Harry with a small smirk. “What does it matter if you do magic so close to your birthday?” He looked around at the scene with amusement.
Harry suggested that he do something more than a little rude that would have caused his friends to gasp with shock had they been able to do so.
Voldemort chuckled even as his followers grumbled with annoyance. “I think that you should learn to obey your betters.” He dropped all attempts of civility.
“Yeah?” Harry spat back at him. “I think that you’re mental!”
“I think that you’ll come to view my position in a much better light. But for now… Crucio!” Voldemort waved his wand in a lazy circle that matched his bored voice.
Harry felt pain erupt throughout him.
After a few minutes, Voldemort pulled his wand back. “Your parents were foolish.” His voice grew more dangerous. Then he waved his wand at Dudley who began to float towards them. He flicked his wand again, “Crucio!”
Dudley started screaming and twisting with pain as Vernon silently roared in anger as he rushed towards Voldemort with his fists swinging wildly. He suddenly flew into the air before landing on the ground where he remained still.
Harry noticed that one of the Death Eaters was smirking as they lowered their wand. He looked over to see his aunt huddled where she had been sitting as she quietly whimpered and tried to make herself less noticeable. He turned to look at his cousin to see him still twisting and writhing on the ground.
Voldemort pulled back his wand. “What do you say, Potter? Should I stop?” His twisted smile suggested his intention.
Harry suggested that he do something that would have caused Mrs. Weasley to gasp with dismay and threaten to wash out his mouth with soap.
Voldemort’s eyes flashed with irritation. “I expected better from you, Potter.” He chuckled as Harry tried to hide his shudder. “Though you aren’t a man yet, are you? You’re still a boy and you’ll die a boy.” His red eyes turned their attention back to Dudley who was curled up on the ground with tears streaming down his face. “He may live for the moment.” Turning back to Harry, he pointed his wand in Harry’s direction. “I know you have your wand. Bow to death.”
Harry stood up straighter. He refused to bow. He let his anger and his hate flow freely from him as he stared at his nemesis.
Voldemort looked more amused with the idea that anyone would even consider standing up against him. “I said, bow to death,” he repeated sternly.
“No,” Harry replied simply and remained standing tall. “I refuse to bow.”
Voldemort’s amused expression fell from his face as he considered the one who had destroyed him once before. After a long moment, he pointed his wand towards Dudley and then waited with fraying patience for Harry to look at him. “I said to bow,” he said in a dangerous tone.
Harry was torn. If he didn’t bow then Dudley would be hurt far worse than he was now. His cousin might even be killed. Though if he did bow, then he would be killed. He forced himself to continue to watch Voldemort intently when Dudley started screaming until his screams abruptly stopped. He chanced the smallest glance at his cousin and was relieved to see him lying on the ground still alive.
Voldemort then pointed his wand at Harry.
Harry didn’t see a spell leave his enemy’s wand, but he could feel his will starting to drift away as whispers in his ears suggested that he bow. All he needed to do for the moment was to bow. He fought against the suggestion until he had freed himself. Then he narrowed his eyes, more than a little pleased to see that Voldemort was surprised. “I said that I refuse to bow,” he declared in a voice that could have cut ice.
“Crucio!” Voldemort cried out horribly just before Harry began to writhe in pain.
He didn’t see Voldemort pull his wand back. He breathed heavily with pain racing through his body. He supported himself on his hands and knees as he looked at the ground. He took several deep breaths before calling on the last of his strength to force himself to stand before his foe. He couldn’t help a small flinch when pain erupted along his arm.
“Avada Kedavra!” Voldemort said idly as he flicked his wand negligently.
Harry took another deep breath as the green light raced towards him. He stood tall instead of running away like a Slytherin. After all, he was in Gryffindor. If his dad could stand tall before death then so could he.
The green light passed by him.
Voldemort made no move to cast another spell.
Harry took the chance to look behind him. He saw a Death Eater lying on the ground, lifeless. He turned back to face Voldemort.
“Pick up your wand,” Voldemort commanded in a dangerously soft voice.
Harry swallowed as fear started to creep over him. He kept his eyes on Voldemort as he picked up his wand.
Voldemort’s quiet laugh was quite sinister. “Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of your relatives when you’re gone.” His smile turned crooked and his eyes glinted with dark promises.
With a sinking heart, Harry realized which spell Voldemort was going to use next. Pain was still coursing through him and he was bleeding. He looked over at his aunt with a look of sorrow only to be surprised when he saw a look of regret on her face. Tears were brimming in her eyes. He had seen that look only one other time: when they had been attacked by the Dementors.
He then turned to look at his friends and also saw that they were filled with grief because they also knew which spell would be used. He slightly nodded to them. He knew that neither of them would be able to help him this time.
He turned back to face Voldemort with a grim determination. He still had a choice. He raised his wand deliberately. He wouldn’t go without at least trying to take his foe with him.
Voldemort only laughed as green light sped towards Harry with a flick of his wrist.
Harry didn’t flinch as his world turned green and whispers surrounded him as he fell to the ground. He didn’t hear the laughter of the Death Eaters standing around them in a ring. Neither did he hear when Voldemort and his followers disappeared to leave the almost totally destroyed neighborhood of Privet Drive behind them.
Only those left behind could hear the sirens in the distance growing louder as each moment passed.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter. Thank you very much for your constructive criticism!
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