Chapter 1 : The Edge of Greatness
| ||Rating: 15+||Chapter Reviews: 250|
Background: Font color:
but reveal to them their own.
Once, an ordinary man did an extraordinary thing and founded what we’ve come to know and love as HPFF. Whether you are an author, reviewer or merely a frequent visitor, you have in some way have had you life touched by our site owner and founder, Jay. He has been able to reveal the writer in many of us, brought out stories that we never knew we had inside and provided an online place for all of us to call home. You could have chosen to post your fanfiction anywhere but Jay moved beyond the ordinary to provide an extraordinary place for us to call home.
It’s possible, I suppose, to not consider HPFF great. Had you never visited, had you never read the stories, had you never tried your hand at writing, it might be a legitimate claim. To those of us that belong to the site, however, there is no possible way to consider HPFF without the term greatness mingled in. So, to the man that stood at the edge of greatness and took those first tentative steps towards opening a site that will forever be remembered by an entire generation – we offer you not only our sincerest thanks but the hopes, dreams, fears, and sacrifices that not only our dear Harry must face but those that will be faced by the many future authors that will always have you to thank for their beginnings. ~ timeturner, 07.07.07
Harry stood in the dank hallway outside the door leading to the room at the top of the house that once belonged to Sirius. Raising his hand, he slowly turned the dusty handle. The door creaked open to reveal a dimly lit room. The light came from a solitary candle that sat on a desk adjacent to his bed. The magically lit candle had waned down to a mere stub. It’s probably been like that since the last night he was in this house. The night he came to save me at the Department of Mysteries.
He walked across the room and hovered over the desk and immediately recognized the familiar scrawl of Sirius on a piece of parchment that was addressed to him. His heart constricted within him. He had been writing this letter to him, a letter he would never finish. Harry closed his eyes as another wave of grief passed over him.
After a few minutes, he sank into the chair in front of the desk. He inhaled deeply and could still pick up the scent of Padfoot in the musty room. His eyes reopened and stared listlessly at the desk. A feathered quill was thrown aside and the inkwell was knocked over; its contents had already bled onto the desk, including soaking into part of the letter that Sirius never finished.
Exhaustion started to settle in, but too many memories drifted in and out of his mind to allow him to sleep. He continued to stare at nothing until his eyes began to cloud over, and he couldn’t see anything else.
It all happened so fast. The false vision. The flight to the Ministry. The Order. The attack. He remembered hearing Sirius gloating to his attacker, but then in a moment, he was struck by a spell by surprise and floating through the air. Harry stopped what he was doing and watched as the Veil opened.
Harry pounded his hand on the table, causing the ink to splatter freshly over the parchment on the desk. Cursing under his breath, he quickly cast a cleaning charm, and the black ink immediately vanished, except for what had forever stained the unfinished letter.
Gathering his nerves, he slowly straightened out the letter and carefully lifted it up off the desk. The parchment held a strong musty scent. He inhaled a bit more deeply and immediately felt sick as dust invaded his nostrils. He quickly put it down, his hand shaking slightly and his shoulders shivering. It suddenly struck him that this might be the last time he entered this house or would see his friends.
The Order’s headquarters had been compromised. Soon, Voldemort and all of his followers would descend upon them like a storm ravaging a defenseless summer dandelion. They were utterly powerless to stop the beginning of the end, and the people two floors below were relying on him with a trust Harry couldn’t help but feel was completely misguided.
Resolutely, he got to his feet and walked over to Sirius’s bed. Unconsciously, his body tensed when he crossed the room, and it froze in place when he gazed down on the bed, imagining a silhouette underneath the threadbare blankets.
Harry tried to blink the exhaustion out of his eyes. "No," he whispered into the musky air. Ginny was downstairs preparing for the coming battle, he tried to remind himself, desperate to keep the visions from overtaking his common sense. How could he possibly be expected to fight off Voldemort when he couldn’t even manage to defend against his own blasted memories?
But, as usual, his ability to fend off his own thoughts was an impossible task and the memories came flooding back.
Ginny was huddled under some blankets, shivering. Drawn into a peculiar position, her knees flexed and legs together, her wrists clasped and drawn level with her head, she whimpered softly as Harry approached. She was asleep, lost in some nightmare of disbelief and apparently losing a battle she could not win. Sitting on the bed he reached out and slowly, softly stroked her long hair. Her soft whimpers ceased, as if his touch was the one solace the world could offer to ease her tortured thoughts. He let his fingers trail down the side of her neck, tickling gently. Her lips twitched, and she squirmed slightly, her body trying to draw away from his teasing fingertips. Bringing his other arm around, he cradled her in a loose hug, letting his right hand caress her chest and shoulders through the blankets.
“Ginny,” he whispered. He slowly teased her along the rim of her ear, grinning as she twitched and moaned softly. His fingers stroked along her jaw and caressed the soft skin along the nape of her neck. Bending down, nearly overcome by the fierce tenderness he felt, he kissed her cheek.
It happened here. The memory of a few stolen moments with Ginny in this very house betrayed him as weakness overtook him, and he collapsed onto the bed. He could recall everything with such intimate and vivid detail, but such moments seemed like a lifetime away as thoughts of his task brought him back to reality. Despite trying not to be overwhelmed by his memories, her scent still lingered there, clinging to his cheek like some foul, alien scent polluting a rose. It was mild, so subtle that even his nose barely caught it. It was the odor he wanted so desperately to believe he had imagined. His body ached with his accursed destiny, but his heart hurt from the haunting shadows of her touches.
He closed his eyes as another wave of grief passed over him. Exhaustion started to settle in, and despite the momentary hope that had filled him when he thought he saw Ginny, he just couldn’t seem to shake the darkness that loomed over him. The fading light from the flickering candle disappeared and his mind began to hover in place of neither sleep nor dreams.
His brief moment of respite did not last long as visions of Cedric, Sirius, Dumbledore, and even his parents assaulted his mind. Like a Muggle picture show, memories of his short seventeen years of life coursed through him. Times of heart break and laughter spun across his mind, weaving interchangeably with the death and destruction that he had witnessed since the real war with Voldemort had begun.
His mind slowed down. For the few seconds that stretched on for multiple eternities, he felt the world slowly spinning about him. A deep breath rattled into his dry mouth, then out. Finally another managed to fill his lungs but it was as if a poisoned aroma of lost dreams seemed to overtake him.
He jerked up suddenly, his heart racing as he gasped for air before further memories could drown him in despair and self-pity. “Voldemort.”
Stupid thing to have said, but it was the only thing his mouth seemed able to articulate. He couldn’t even explain what had caused the image to travel from his head to the tip of his tongue but it only took for clarity to sink its way into his raddled brain. The war had come to Grimmauld.
Pathetic boy, are you tired?
Harry dropped to his knees, ragged breaths escaping from his lungs as the battle raged on around him. The people with him were merely visions now, even those closest to him erased by the fogginess of war. As if he had stepped into an impenetrable cloud, he could only see darkened shadows shuffling about though he had no doubt they were likely within inches of his own face. His muscles contorted in pain as he tried to suck in the stagnant air. He dropped his head to the floor, the icy coldness of the wood against his sweat stained forehead making his body shiver with shocked contempt. He considered staying in this position, safely below the spells being cast feet above him.
He could hear the voice echoing in his head, reminding him that Voldemort was waiting on him. Clenching his fist tighter around his wand, he struggled back to standing. Oblivious to his surroundings, he closed his eyes, further blocking out the madness around him and concentrating on feeling Voldemort’s presence. If you want me so badly, he thought, then let me through.
A deep, far away laugh echoing in his mind was the only response Harry received. His eyes opened slowly, something nagging him. Not so much that he had forgotten something but more that he was perhaps looking over the obvious like the times he’d lost is wand only to find it tucked precariously in his back pocket. As had happened many times before, his memories cascaded quickly over his conversations with Dumbledore, six years of advice and wisdom compressed into the length of a breath, hoping that some direction or instruction would surface to help guide his path.
His eyes roamed distractedly over the blood ravaged conflict, Death Eaters fighting with blind, unwavering loyalty to Voldemort. He knew the Order was out numbered, taken by surprise by the sheer force of Voldemort’s army, and despite all of their youthful arrogance, none had been as prepared for the war as they perhaps should have been. It had been raging for hours with no decisive victory in sight and Harry could see the fatigue beginning to settle over them all. He slid a hand through his unruly hair, ignoring the voices calling his name when, as if in answer to his unspoken question, through the stench of death and blood, a soft floral scent caused his head to turn.
She was tired, having fought from the moment she awoke in his bed that morning. The only difference being that her first fight had been with him rather than Death Eaters. He had begged Ginny not to follow but she had shown up anyway, just as he knew she would. Her hands, the ones that had so lovingly caressed him days before, the ones that had held tight to his arm in a final, desperate attempt to get him to stay, were now firmly gripped on Ron as she pulled him to safety. Ginny’s tiny body pressed hard against the opposite wall as she tried to get both of them out of the line of fire long enough to regain her breath. Her body heaved with pain and exhaustion and, even from across the room, Harry could tell she had little fight left in her.
Ginny’s eyes, vacant from the hours of fighting turned to meet his, a vague glimmer of amusement crossing her face as she found him watching her. He offered her a brief grin but it quickly faded, the sight of her causing his heart to plummet.
He’d given his love to her without condition, years before he even realized it existed, and nothing would ever allow that emotion to change. It was still there, deeply buried under a lifetime of scars, anger, prophecies and a touch of fear at the unknown he was about to face. It was his love for her, for all of them, really – Ron, Hermione, Sirius, Dumbledore, his mother, his father- that had brought him to this place. It was what had given him the courage and resolve to face his worst fears, to keep going when long nights alone burned into his soul and caused his heart to ache with longing for the peace and camaraderie their love for him offered.
It was not he who was in danger, he realized with burning clarity, but those he loved. Voldemort was not here, he never had been. He had sent the Death Eaters as a distraction, letting them have their fun while waiting patiently for Harry to come to him. The Order would never win so long as Voldemort was tucked safely away, allowing his followers to be expended without mercy.
As if sensing his thoughts, Ginny’s eyes leveled on his. He would have loved nothing more than to pull her into his arms for one last goodbye but he knew, and she understood, time was running short. If he didn’t go to Voldemort, all chance for the Order would surely be lost. She made no move to stop him, but offered him a solemn nod of acceptance before her tears hit the hardwood, shattering like broken glass. It should have drawn him to her – to comfort her, to provide her solace in her darkest hour. But, instead, he hurried to leave before his confidence once again dissipated.
Under the darkened street lights, only the most careful observer would have noticed any movement. His black cloak blended into the surroundings as if it belonged there which was ironic considering the faded pink flamingos in the yards that he could vaguely discern through the shadows. He chuckled bitterly to himself, wondering how it might feel to live such a dismally ordinary life. Had he ever known a normal life? He paused on the broken sidewalk, his eyes drifting further up the street as he pondered his own question. No, he didn’t think he had.
Ignoring the biting wind that was causing his cloak to billow behind him, Harry stood frozen, his body seeming rooted to the spot at which he stood. He glanced around uneasily, knowing a battle with Death Eaters was raging on mere blocks away but doubting that any of them had the requisite intelligence to have followed him out of the combat. He shifted his weight from one leg to the other, testing each of his limbs in turn to determine if they were still willing to do his bidding. Although his clothing was torn in various places and blood dripped rhythmically from a jagged gash across his forearm, he could feel no broken bones that might impede his progress.
“So good of you to come find me, Potter,” drawled Voldemort. Harry stood straighter, forcing himself to glare at Voldemort despite the pain in his scar. Voldemort stood stone still as he watched Harry with an almost amusing interest. “Such a brave boy to come after me all by yourself.”
Voldemort straightened his cloak, a self satisfied smile spreading across his face. “Or maybe you weren’t coming after me and were simply running away…are you frightened, Harry?”
Harry stopped scanning the street, his temper flaring no matter how hard he tried to control it. “I just want to finish this!”
“Oh, don’t worry. It will be finished tonight,” Voldemort countered. “The Chosen One’s fame will soon end and you’ll be nothing more than a memory,” he promised, a gleeful expression sliding across his face.
Harry tried to lunge forward but found himself face forward on the ground unable to move, his body constricted by unseen hands. A crippling pain ripped through his stomach as someone kicked him over onto his back. Through the chasm of darkness surrounding him, the face he despised more than almost any other, appeared to taunt him. Bellatrix Lestrange, her wand pointed at his heart, had somehow joined them.
“Empty threats, Potter. Despite whatever power you may possess, you would not be able to get the opportunity. You see, my servants are extremely loyal. Bella, if you would.” Voldemort gestured down towards Harry, and she complied immediately, snatching up his wand.
Harry could feel Voldemort’s eyes following him as he rolled to his feet, unarmed but still unwilling to give in.
“Still the foolish Gryffindor,” commented Voldemort offhandedly. “By now, I assume you are wondering how your friends are, aren’t you, Potter?” Voldemort taunted, gingerly taking Harry’s wand out of his servant’s hand. “You shall soon find out. Bella.” Lestrange lifted her arm face up, and Voldemort pressed the tip of Harry’s wand to the mark on her forearm. Moments later, several pops could be heard as the servants of the Dark Lord answered their master’s call.
Harry’s heart missed a beat. He was no longer looking into the merciless red eyes of Voldemort. He jerked his head to follow the Dark Lord’s gaze only to find them focused on the new figures that had arrived.
There standing behind the Dark Lord was an entourage of Death Eaters, levitating what looked like a few bodies. Harry watched the leading Death Eater walk past the others and bow on one knee before Voldemort.
“We have them, my Lord.”
Voldemort let out a maniacal laugh that echoed in gothic room. “Excellent, Malfoy.”
The Death Eater gave a stiff nod of deep respect before rising to his feet. “Bring them to me,” instructed the Dark Lord. “I want Potter to understand the force behind him before he meets his end.”
Voldemort’s gaze settled on Harry as a small, diminutive figure was dragged toward them. Without meaning to, Harry shifted his eyes to those approaching.
“Ginny,” Harry whispered, sucking in a deep air of breath.
“Ah,” Voldemort hissed, “so she is the one.” He waved his long, straw colored fingers, beckoning to his followers. “Bring the others.”
Voldemort walked up next to Hermione, letting one spidery finger trace the side of her face. He moved to Ron, who was staring vacantly at Harry, almost as if he was already dead. Voldemort hovered near Remus, his hand wand twitching with decades of fury that he could not seem to disguise. “I will give you a choice Potter; join me and I will spare the life of one of your friends. Gracious Lord that I am, I will even let you choose who I shall spare.”
“Never,” Harry hissed, struggling fiercely against the bonds that were holding him back. He felt the bonds weaken slightly as he continued struggle, but soon he found another set entwine around him, making it impossible for further movement. Harry gritted his teeth, trying to force his mind to undo the bonds restraining him. The ropes burned against his skin, searing deeper into his flesh. The threads of the rope cut like razors on his wrists, causing blood to flow down his hands.
“Never is a very long time as you soon will discover.”
Harry felt a sharp pain in his chest as Voldemort edged closer to Hermione. No longer struggling against the bonds, his body filled with a greater agony burrowing itself under his flesh. It dulled all other pains around him.
Without hearing a word spoken, Hermione’s body collapsed onto the ground, dropping within inches of his feet. “Hermione,” he whispered.
Ignoring him, Voldemort motioned again into the shadows. Rodolphus Lestrange stepped forward, levitating a body with his wand in front of him.
Remus… he was covered in blood, his entire body littered with open cuts and bruises. Lestrange dropped the body with his wand about ten feet away from Harry and then resumed his place into the darkness.
Harry felt as is he was going to be sick, the pain in his heart making his whole body tense. He tried to make eye contact with Remus, but he seemed to be in a trance, unaware of his surroundings and oblivious to everyone.
“I’m afraid he’s a bit gone right now. He put up quite a fight, protecting a blood traitor I understand. The fight seemed to leave the feral beast once she dropped to the ground. Rather unfortunate, I had hoped to have him for myself. We have quite the history, you know.”
Harry couldn’t take losing his father’s last friend. First James, then Sirius, now Remus… Harry struggled to pull his eyes away; he had no more strength to watch it.
“Malfoy,” Voldemort gestured to him. Malfoy nodded in respect and waved his wand listlessly in the air.
Harry tensed as the green light hit someone near him. He closed his eyes and felt tears burning his eyes. He couldn’t even bear to look and see who had fallen victim to Voldemort next; he only knew it was someone he loved.
“I will not be defeated, Potter. But I assure you that you will. You will pay for what you have done to me,” he sneered.
Harry felt like he was going to be sick, and he fought to subdue the weaknesses and emotions that were rising within. Death was inevitability, but perhaps his friends could be saved. He felt a lump in his throat as he spoke, his voice sounding cracked and dry.
“Harry, no,” Ginny’s voice was soft and pleading, as if she had already guessed his intentions, her tiny arms struggling against the Death Eater now restraining her.
“Master …” Bella suggested quietly, as she pulled out her wand. “Use the girl!”
Voldemort’s eyes narrowed at Ginny as he pointed his wand at her frozen form. “Ah, but I also share a connection with this one here,” Voldemort said, his voice becoming distant. He paced over to Ginny, who glared back at him defiantly. Voldemort laughed, his wand still trained on her. “Yes, one cannot help but feel connected to someone who so willingly shared their inner most secrets with someone to the point where even the lose themselves.” His voice was soft, almost lyrical as he spoke. “She is weak and wouldn’t be hard to be broken.” His eyes roamed over her, his hand lifting to touch the loose tendrils of red hair.
“I’ll never join you,” Ginny lunged toward him, but he was too quick and shoved her quickly to the ground.
“Insolent brat, you will pay for that,” the Dark Lord hissed, striding back towards Harry. “First you will watch the one you love die and then live with the knowledge that he could never even summon the courage to fight for you.”
“NO!” Ginny cried, jumping to her feet and charging after him. Voldemort easily stepped out of the way as she stumbled forward and collapsed in a heap on the ground a few inches from Harry.
Voldemort’s eyes narrowed, the reckless look vanishing from his face. He titled his wand toward them slowly, as if to give either the opportunity to attempt to defy him.
Ginny scrambled back a few feet, placing her body as a shield between Harry and Voldemort.
Not Harry, not Harry, please, not Harry!
“Please not Harry!” Ginny pleaded.
“Now doesn’t this sound familiar,” Voldemort mused out loud. “Stand aside, you silly girl.”
Harry felt a steel grasp grip his insides, sounds of his mother’s death weaving into the present. He tried to push away, but she steeled herself and kept her ground. “Ginny, please,” his tone was near begging.
Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead-
“No!” Ginny gritted out. “Take me instead! Please, not Harry…”
The Dark Lord’s nostrils flared, his red eyes gleaming. “Stand aside…now…”
Not Harry! Please…have mercy…have mercy…
Harry watched in horror as Voldemort poised his wand, ready to fling the Killing Curse. All the emotions bubbled in his mind as the familiar scene of his mother’s death filled his ears.
“Don’t touch her!” Harry snarled.
The Dark Lord walked circumvent around Harry and pointed his wand at Ginny from behind. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you Potter,” Voldemort smirked. “Crucio!”
Before Harry could intercept the curse, the spell hit Ginny and a scream ripped unwillingly from her throat as her body twitched and writhed in agony. Harry instantly turned and wrapped his arms around her, trying to ease her violent shaking.
When it stopped, Harry shakily reminded himself to breathe. Ginny was breathing unevenly, tears freely flowing down her cheeks as Voldemort looked down at them and laughed.
“Now, Potter, are you going to cooperate and tell me what will happen if I kill you?” he asked with a satisfied smirk.
“Harry, you can’t! Don’t tell him anything, no matter what,” Ginny said through clenched teeth.
Harry took a deep breath. “Ginny, I-,”
“Don’t Harry, he’ll win,” Ginny urged, pained determination etched upon her features.
“Your call,” Voldemort said with a glint in his eye as he cast the torturous curse on Ginny once again. Ginny’s back arched into Harry’s. He could tell she was trying to fight from crying out but her screams wrenched their way out.
She once again collapsed against him as the spell was removed. The petite redhead was shaking and trying to look up at Harry, but she couldn’t quite lift her head to meet his.
“Harry, whatever he does, don’t tell him anything,” Ginny whispered.
“Is this what it means to love, to hurt the ones you supposedly care about?” Voldemort sneered.
Harry shook his head vehemently. “Just leave her alone. Torture me, instead! It’s me you want!” Predictably, Voldemort did the opposite and continued to cast the Cruciatus Curse on Ginny. Harry grasped Ginny’s hands, attempting to give Ginny any comfort he could manage as the girl was tortured. His eyes pleaded with hers to let him handle this, but despite any begging or pleading on his parts, her nails dug deeper into his hands, forcing him to keep quiet.
“You can stop this at any time too, Potter. Just tell me what I want to know and I’ll just move on to killing you and end all this pain,” Voldemort continued to remind him.
Ginny let out a sharp intake of breath as her voice was too hoarse to scream any longer. The sudden silence caused any rational thought go out of his mind. He couldn’t let Ginny face the same fate as Neville’s parents. He just hoped he wasn’t too late. He forced himself to his feet and scrambled forward, picking up the wand dropped earlier and sliding it under his cloak.
Voldemort lifted the curse off of Ginny; his eyes narrowing at Harry. “It’s your turn to suffer, Potter.”
Harry wasn’t listening. Once he realized the curse was off Ginny, he slumped back to the ground at her side. “I’m so sorry, Ginny. I’m so sorry.”
“Sorry for what?” he heard Ginny ask in a choked voice. Harry tensed as Ginny’s hands brushed against his. She was still trembling and her hands were sticky from perspiration. Her breathing was erratic as she continued to feel the remnants of pain from the prolonged exposure to the Cruciatus Curse.
“I’m so sorry Gin,” Harry whimpered, gripping her hands firmly in his and hanging his head.
“Don’t be,” Ginny whispered. “I’d die for you.”
“I love you,” she said suddenly before her screams tore through the night once more.
“Aww, isn’t that sweet,” Voldemort mocked. Harry tried to block him out as he focused all his attention on Ginny. “Talking to your pathetic girlfriend won't save her, Potter. Now I hold all the keys, and after she dies, you'll be next,” he cackled.
Voldemort’s cold laughter made Harry’s heart freeze. He turned his snakelike back on Harry, but not before he noticed Harry lunge forward. The Dark Lord stumbled backwards as Harry swiped for his wand. Voldemort swept his wand out of Harry's grasp and managed to flick the tip towards Harry, sending a powerful curse at him. Harry dodged it easily, causing it to zip past his right shoulder.
“Fine,” Voldemort yelled, enraged, “you’ve made your decision, Potter! First you’ll watch her die and then one by one, you’ll watch your friends and all those that you ever cared about die. And then, by the time I’m done with you, you’ll be begging me for death.”
Realizing Voldemort’s next move, Harry scrambled forwards just as a jet of green light was shot out his wand at Ginny. “NO!!” Harry screamed, diving in front of the curse. The curse hit him straight in the chest.
“NO!!” Ginny rasped, as she watched the green light engulf Harry.
In that moment, if felt like time stood still. Harry began to burn from the inside out, his magical core lighting like a torch, the fire blazing all the way to the bottom of his soul.
Strangely enough, it was a familiar sensation, one not so very different from the times he lost control of his magic. Without conscious thought or decision, he felt himself being ripped from his body as both green and blue light continued to rage from inside of him.
His mother’s protection engulfed him until he was drowning in the green flames. His magical core was burning itself through on the inside, but he felt no pain. In fact, he felt nothing at all, but he wasn’t in control either of the fire inside of him. Blue light battled green light as it fought off Voldemort’s spell. His consciousness no longer allowed him to distinguish the colors of magic that were surrounding him. Instead images of his mum, dad, Sirius and Dumbledore began to play in his mind.
Harry tried to force the intrusive images out, but his consciousness strained with the effort. Suddenly the blue flames that existed before blazed brighter than ever in his mind’s eye and then just as suddenly as it came it was over. Images of his dead parents, Sirius and Dumbledore seemed to be made more alive, as if it was more than a dream, as if he only need reach out to them for them to become real. He tried to brush away the thought that perhaps he was joining them and not the other way around by bringing himself to think of Hermione, Ron, Ginny, and Remus, but it didn't matter. Nothing mattered anymore. His sacrifice was at hand and he no longer cowered with the fear of what that term meant. He loved them and it seemed a pathetically simple price to give his life for theirs.
Sacrifice. It had once been a far off word, an ideal that brought with it unintended thoughts of glory and epic heroic endings. But standing here, blood trickling down his face, Voldemort’s feral smugness calling to the bit of reckless behavior that made him consider lashing out unprovoked, he could find nothing heroic about his actions. There would be no glorious reckoning for him…only inescapable death.
Harry tried to fathom that, but his willingness to accept his fate had somehow changed things. His eyes darted to Voldemort, who seemed to have been flung back by magic Harry couldn’t recall using.
A rancid smell of smoke and ash reached his nose and he realized that Voldemort’s body was set ablaze, streams of blue and green flames enveloping the once regal cloak. A brief, unbelieving cry of surprise emanated from Voldemort’s throat before being quickly replaced with screams of agony and defeat. In an instant, the flames engulfed Voldemort and his ashen body dropped lifeless to the ground. A rush of life energy touched Harry’s soul as a tender, loving voice reached his ear.
“You’re home, Harry.”
That was all it took, just those three words, the last thing he heard before he was sent slowly spinning into a whirl of colors that pulled him back from the physical reality and pulled him underneath the healing magic in his soul and he knew no more.
Special thanks to Linaewen for the wonderful graphics for this story, Nick for all the archive posting assistance, Noblevyne for her ceaseless assistance with everything, and RavenGryffendor for kicking my butt in gear and providing enumerable acts of scene writing and suggestions for this story, most especially Ginny whom I can’t write to save my life. Although under my name, she deserves just as much credit for making this story come to be.
“I was very happy when Linda said we'd have the opportunity to write a few words to Jay, giving our appreciation for his years of service to the site. Myself, I came to this community rather late, having searched around the web for fanfiction sites in general and Harry Potter fanfiction sites in particular.
You see, just over a year ago I was a forty-something stay-at-home mom with lots of time on my hands and mind-numbingly bored out of my skull. I'd experienced the world of fanfiction through the first Star Trek series, then years later online with The X-Files. I'd enjoyed the whole idea of fanfiction, of people writing different takes on their favorite movie/show/book and thought I'd give a try at writing a Harry Potter story.
I settled on HPFF primarily because it was so easy to use (searching, entering, joining) and because the community was very friendly. In no time, I'd made a few acquaintances and was enjoying myself thoroughly. Yeah, there was the age thing -- it was rather obvious I was a good deal older than most on the board, but heck, that's the beauty of the internet, right? Keep those wrinkles and baby-bearin' fat off-screen.
I often wonder if he honestly knows how much damn fun I've had this past year. Since coming on to HPFF in March 2006, I have been involved in so much activity, it staggers the imagination. From bouncing all over the Forum, to validating stories (yes, some of that WAS fun!), to my stupid birthday poems, to the craziness in April, it's never just about readin/writing stories, it's about imagination and community.
The faith he's put in his staff, and in me just blows my mind. I remember last fall when he gave me the "keys" to admining at PottersWorld, showed me a few things (but then ran away shouting, "Have fun -- gotta run!" over his shoulder) I was completely floored. My impression until then was a very conservative, rather anal admin (although hip deep with that unmistakable British wit) who would need to know you VERY well before bestowing that kind of power. That he made the decision to do that gave me a very powerful lesson: sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith with people and hope for the best.
He's not the most chatty of guys -- probably because I know nothing about British football, but we've had some wonderful conversations together. I think he and I found a certain simpatico with each other because of our age (older than any of you reading this). It lends a little bit of unique perspective to things, that life isn't nearly as dramatic as we make it out to be, and that things have a way of working themselves out in the end if we don't interfere too much.
When Jay announced his "retirement", besides having this bizarre mental image of him sitting around in a beach chair, big bermuda hat and a tall drink with a little umbrella, I was more than just sad about it. It was rather devastating. He was leaving me with all the young ones?! But in the time between I can see that he hasn't truly left, he's just sorta in the next room. Not always actively listening but most definitely still a shout away. And that's a great comfort.
So here's to you, Jay. A big sloppy thank you for occupying my kid-free hours, giving me some purpose to my life other than deciding what tablecloth to put on next, and making me feel proud of myself again. I hate mushy scenes; everything I know about you tells me you do too, but heck, it sure is nice to hear all these good things about yourself once in a while. You should feel so very proud of yourself for building this community and having faith in it. It touches so many lives in ways you cannot fathom and I hope that you are able to smile to yourself and say, "Hey! It really WAS all worth it!"” - Propmaster
Well, as I’m a terrible public speaker I feel it’s only fair that I translate that awkwardness to the written word.
To be perfectly honest, HPFF was and is the only place I ever posted my fanfictions – I went to a few other sites but they were snooty and poorly run, HPFF had a brilliant community already going and I pretty much stubbornly sat myself down and never looked back. Now you can’t get rid of me.
No other place on the internet offers as much help and safety for young authors. The time you’ve put into making HPFF what it is phenomenal and it is appreciated. The competitions, the pranks, the constant coding of the site to improve it – all of your efforts show how dedicated you are, and putting up with your harem of women that occasionally pass for staff? A monumental effort.
I guess what I’m trying to say in a rather convoluted and twisty way is thanks Jay, without you the past er…going on four years now, would have been dull and far less giggly. - Noblevyne
You should know how appreciative we are of the support you have shown on these forums over the past several years.
I’ve been reading several fanfictions lately, remembering the ups and downs of the forums, and went back over several threads to see how far we’ve come. I was very moved a few times by the firm conviction of almost everyone that feels the same way about this site as us staffers do.
It didn't matter that we had downtime or overflowing queues at some point. It didn't matter that others came on and gone. It didn't matter that you had reservations about the site. What mattered apparently was that nothing was going to shake you from ultimately believing in this site and keep it going for as long as you possible could.
I have been extraordinarily lucky to be a part of the staff - extraordinarily so. Thus I am quite thankful to have had the opportunity to converse with you on a few occasions and work alongside you with a brilliant staff to help make this site the best one out there.
Jay, for all that you’ve done, words cannot express my appreciation, but I truly am grateful for everything that you have allowed HPFF become and what I have become because of it, so thanks. - RavenGryffendor
Jay, I hope you haven't read this story already because I'm late getting this post up. I don't think I could really say how much this site has meant to me over the past few years. You should be so proud of what you have accomplished. This site has inspired thousands if not millions to not only read but write. I don't think I can give you a greater compliment than that. Thank you for everything. -LogicalRaven
Jay, I dearly love you. I do. And at some point I will come and edit this to say something wonderfully profound and life altering. But there is nearly 7,000 freaking words in this bad boy and my brain is so damn exhausted I can’t even see straight. Me…unable to ramble, mark it on your calendar. So....I love ya, I love HPFF and if this doesn’t make you realize exactly how great what you have achieved here is, nothing will. Toodles for now and, sunny butt, you’ll never ever be forgotten. - timeturner
Other Similar Stories
by Megan Hogan
Sixteen At War
The Secrets ...