Chapter 23 : The Unwritten Battle
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“Thanks!” he said gratefully. “What was that?”
“Let’s just say, you have someone to thank when we get home,” she said, knowing he’d understand. Just then the doors opened and in walked Severus himself.
“Potter, a word,” he said and everyone stared, dumbfounded. They knew that not only would every single Death Eater be after Severus, but several in the Order and all of the students, thought he was guilty, period. Very few knew of his true situation.
“You need to read that parchment as soon as we get outside,” he said, slowly making his way to Harry and ignoring the others. “That will kill Nagini, then you have a meeting to attend. There are only a few giants, as Hagrid and Gwap have done their jobs well. Greyback is out there with several werewolves, apparently they didn’t check their calendars. I see you’ve taken your potion.”
“Yes, thank you, again,” Harry said as he looked at the parchment he had drawn out of his pocket and read it slowly to himself one last time. “Everyone ready? Let’s go!”
“Wait!” someone yelled, “that’s Severus Snape, he killed Dumbledore and you’re just going to trust him?”
“Do you really have to question everything I do?” Harry asked exasperatedly. “I know who he is and what’s he’s done. You, I’m afraid, know very little. Let it be known that Snape is with me. If you wish to harm him, you’ll have to go through me.”
“And me,” Hermione said as others including Remus and Sirius said the same.
“I don’t need protection, Potter. Now, you’re wasting time. Let’s go and get this over with. You have a job to do before you go home tonight.”
Harry looked at him with shock. Did Severus Snape just say, in other words, that Harry himself would walk away from this tonight? Maybe it was because he needed to hear it at that moment, or maybe because it wasn’t from a friend who was expected to say such things, but at that moment, Harry himself believed it, and that would make all the difference in the world.
Harry and Severus walked swiftly to the entrance doors. The entire castle was deathly quiet, but outside several shouts and explosions could be heard. Ron motioned for the others behind to be prepared and out of the way of the doors, as Professor Flitwick magically opened the large double doors. Hexes started raining in as Severus deflected several from Harry.
“Read it now, Potter. In Parselmouth.”
Hisses and spits sounded from Harry as he read the words, “The soul trapped within the soul doesn’t belong and both must die.” As he said the last word there was a flash of light within the parchment.
“It is done, Harry, he’s all yours now,” Severus said, with a look on his face that Harry couldn’t begin to read.
“Harry, we must go. They’ll tear the castle down if we don’t go out there,” Hermione said as she came up beside the two. She then looked menacingly behind the two and at the doors. “And which side are you on, Zambini?”
“The winning side, Granger,” he smirked as he looked at Severus.
“Let’s go,” Severus said determinedly. “Take care of yourself, Princess,” he added again with the same look on his face.
“You, too, Sev. I’ll see you when this is over.”
With that, they began advancing outside, flinging hexes left, right, and center at the oncoming Death Eaters. Harry was looking for one person in particular, but kept getting delayed as he had to fight one Death Eater after another. It was obvious there were several new recruits and they dropped easily enough from the simplest of binding curses.
“Looking for me, Potter?” came a sneering voice from his left.
“Not really, Malfoy, but if you care to be disgraced as much as your father, then by all means, let’s proceed.”
Draco and Harry began dueling in earnest and Harry was surprised that this was the hardest duel he had had yet. He could feel himself starting to tire slowly and the vague thought that he wouldn’t have the strength to fight Voldemort when he found him crossed his mind.
“Expelliarmus!” someone shouted and Draco was blasted off his feet. Harry immediately bound him before looking around.
“Thought I’d save you some time, love. Now, get moving and get this over with,” Ginny said as she kissed Harry briefly before moving on.
He had a short time to marvel at her, and how much he loved her, before he found his mark. Severus and Lucius were dueling vigorously, but to the side of them Lord Voldemort was searching for someone. Harry saw his face light up and then felt his own knees grow weak when he saw the evil wizards gaze fall on Hermione. Her back was turned and she didn’t even see the curse coming.
“NO!” Harry shouted loudly, but not before Hermione screamed out in pain. He began to run to her side and as her screams subsided, he could hear Voldemort talking to her.
Hermione saw a rather large and blonde Death Eater dueling with a failing fifth year. She fired a hex in his direction and he turned on her, laughing. They dueled back and forth, and with the help of the other student, and surprisingly, Blaise Zambini, he fell in minutes.
“Tried to warn you, Granger. DUCK!” he yelled and he fired a hex behind her, hitting another Death Eater.
Slightly shocked, she quickly moved on, searching for Remus and Harry, trying with all she had to protect them if possible.
She stopped short when she saw Peter. He saw her bearing down on him and transformed. “Peter, I know you can hear me,” she said coldly. “I will kill you, mark my words, but first, you owe Harry your life, and that’s a debt that you will repay tonight!”
It was then that she saw the wolves. Remus and Bill were dueling dynamically with several werewolves, including Greyback. Another started to work his way behind Remus and instead of hexing him, Hermione saw, to her horror, that his teeth were elongating and he was going to bite Remus. Without thinking, she changed into her animagus form and charged at the werewolf, grabbing him around the neck and shaking forcefully. She could taste his blood and it made her sick, but he soon fell limply at her feet. Another werewolf looked at her, fear in his eyes, and disapparated, while Remus and Bill, who hadn’t seen Hermione, started to fight Greyback
Turning sickly back into herself and cleaning the blood off as she went, she started dueling another Death Eater that was advancing on her. This one wasn’t very advanced, but suddenly she dropped to the ground screaming in pain as her leg broke and the curse took effect, turning her insides into burning liquid.
She vaguely heard someone shout and then the pain was gone. She looked up to see the cold, cruel face of Lord Voldemort himself. “I’ve been waiting on you, Mudblood. I’ve been waiting on you for 18 years and I didn’t even know it,” he said as he snapped her wand under his foot. “You will pay for what you did, what you caused. I would never have lost my powers had I killed them then. Harry Potter, the thorn in my side for almost two decades, would not have been born, if not for you. You will pay for what you’ve done. I told you once I am the greatest wizard who ever lived, now I will show you.”
“I also told you, Voldemort,” Hermione snarled as she looked up at him, “that you come in a pathetic second. Now, I have to make that third, as even Harry as surpassed you.”
He raised his wand and said “Avada…” but screamed as someone fired a hex at him. He turned and barely had time to see Severus Snape’s wand pointed straight at him, before Snape turned back to Lucius and, firing simultaneously, both of Voldemort’s Death Eaters dropped to the ground.
“I BELIEVE, TOM RIDDLE, THAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR ME!” came the amplified voice of Harry Potter.
Voldemort turned around quickly, as did most in the vicinity who were wondering who Harry could be talking to. It seemed that as soon as these two began fighting, everyone agreed to stop and watch, as the world now hung in the balance. Madame Pomfrey and McGonagall took this opportunity to portkey the fallen to wherever they may belong, be it the Ministry holding cells or St. Mungo’s.
“Harry Potter,” he said slowly, also noticing everyone‘s eyes on them as well, “Harry Potter, do you never learn? You can not hope to defeat me. Why keep trying? Why not give in now and…join me?” The crowd stared, dumfounded at what they had just heard, before Voldemort continued, “We could do great things together, Harry. I would even let your Mudblood friend here join us. The things I could teach the both of you. The things you and I could do in this world.”
Harry’s jaw dropped in shock. Never once was this what he expected. Never once would he have thought Voldemort would want him to join his side.
“Join you? As in become a Death Eater and call you ‘Master’?” he asked incredulously as everyone on the grounds gasped. This was a sure ticket that Harry would live and there were very few that weren’t concerned about what he would choose, he was after all, holding a conversation with Lord Voldemort, like they were going to have tea--a conversation for Merlin‘s Sake!
“No, no, Harry Potter, you misunderstand me.”
“Thought I did,” Harry said shaking his head and grasping his wand tighter.
“I would want you as my equal,” he responded as everyone gasped even louder. “Here in front of everyone, pledge yourself to my service and we will rule the world together.”
Harry couldn’t help it, in all his years of fighting and running from this evil wizard, he had, what? Proven himself worthy? It really was more than he could stand. He was torn between anger and humor as all eyes were on him. He thought he’d try and keep Voldemort talking, hoping that those injured could be removed and that Hermione would take the hint and move away.
“Join you? You and I rule the world together?” he asked slowly as if in thought. “After all these years, have I proven myself worthy of you?” All hearts began dropping with these words. If Harry joined Voldemort, they were sure the world was doomed. The Death Eaters looked slightly disgusted as they did not want to take orders from a mere boy. Even Sirius and Remus were staring gobsmacked at Harry.
“Great riches, too, I bet,” he continued as Voldemort began ‘smiling’ and nodding his head as he moved slightly closer to Harry. “Interesting, very interesting. And you say Hermione could join as well? She might do that for me,” he said as Hermione stared at him in shock. She knew at first he was toying with Voldemort, but this was a bit extreme.
“That’s right, Harry. Join me. Join me tonight and let us rule the world.”
“I hear what you’re saying, Tom,” he added and didn’t miss how Voldemort actually contained his anger at the name.
“We could change your name, Harry. You don’t need a muggle name.”
“But, Tom, I’m not a muggle. I’m not even technically a half-blood like yourself. You see, both my parents were magical, unlike your muggle father.”
“How did you….” he said before changing his tone and adding “I will not offer again, Potter. This is your last chance.”
At this, Harry laughed outright. “Oh, Tom, the things I know about you, the things that you never imagined I would learn. You however, told me that bit yourself a few years ago, in the cemetery, remember? When you killed an innocent boy just for being there. I also know about the prophecy, the one you don’t even know to completion. Did you know that you yourself marked me as your equal?” he asked as he pointed to his scar and Voldemort looked taken aback, but even more intrigued. “Did you know I will have a power that you know not? That was all in the prophecy. This interesting little connection we have, is your fault. I was just an innocent baby,” he spat angrily, “when you killed my parents! They did nothing to you and you killed them!”
“They wouldn’t join me!” he too said angrily. Neither had used their wands once and all of Harry’s classmates were astounded at his bravery and gobsmacked at the conversation they were witnessing. “I gave your mother the chance the night I killed your father. I told her to step aside. Severus had told me about how great she could be, he tried to spare her life. I know now he was a traitor to me and just wanted to save her. But, she wouldn’t move. She really left me with no choice.”
“So, Tom, what would make you think, in this lifetime or the next, that I would EVER join you. You’re pathetic! You can’t even curse an 18 year old girl unless her back is turned. I suggest, we get this over with. I’m growing rather tired of you.”
They began dueling as everyone around them looked on and dodged the misfired curses. There were several Death Eaters that took this chance to curse or attack others, but for the most part they all watched as Harry dodged one Unforgivable after another, and threw several back.
“Potter, you are wasting your time! I cannot be killed!”
Harry smiled at this and wordlessly fired a few simple curses as he knew his words would mean more:
“Yes, except I found a few things of yours…” Stupefy
“A locket you may have missed recently…” Impedimenta and duck.
“Dumbledore found a ring of your grandfather’s I believe…” Sectrumsempra run and duck.
“And your snake is dead now, thanks to a friend of mine!” Expelliarmus
Harry said this last curse, knowing that Voldemort was getting angry with the realization that came with Harry’s words, and that he wouldn‘t need to hear the rest. “We’ve been out quite a bit this year, looking for each-and-every-single-piece of your twisted soul, and now all that’s left is you! You‘re the seventh part and I will kill you.”
Voldemort stopped dumbfounded before training his wand on Ginny and yelling “Crucio!“
Bellatrix’s words from the Ministry came back to taunt him, even as he watched her fall at Neville’s feet, “you have to mean them,“ she had said. In this moment, he meant nothing more than to hurt Voldemort as he was torturing someone Harry loved. As he remembered his parents, Hermione, and Ginny who had been tortured, Harry angrily seized his opportunity. He thought about everything that had been done to those he loved and shouted, “Crucio!” Suddenly Voldemort was screaming in pain. Harry held it as long as he thought possible and then laughed. “You should tell your most devoted wench not to be giving away hints about your Unforgivables!” he spat as he dodged another curse Voldemort weakly threw his way.
Harry was bleeding and badly bruised but he refused to give up. If you have to mean an unforgivable curse, then he surely meant to kill Voldemort and just wanted the chance. The Ministry could lock him up for it, for all he cared, as long as those he loved were saved.
“Now Harry, I really feel you and I could do great things,” Voldemort said and Harry couldn‘t miss the worry that laced his voice. “Say you’ll join me and I‘ll spare your life and forgive your recent misgivings! Imperio!”
Harry felt a light, empty feeling in his brain, like nothing in the world could go wrong at this moment. He felt himself start to say the words, then another stronger part of him began arguing loudly. Finally, he shouted, “I WON’T!”
“Fine!” Voldemort said angrily. “Then you’ll just need more persuasion.”
Harry heard a scream and saw to his left that Ginny was being held by a Death Eater, much larger than herself. He began to panic but with one determined look from her, he turned back to Voldemort and regained his composure. They aimed their wands at each other again, but this time said the spells at the same time. Both wands shot green streams of light that met in midair. Once again, just like at the cemetery, their wands connected.
Only this time, when the cage-like apparatus appeared, Hermione was also trapped within, being lifted off the ground with the other two. She could hear Remus shout for her, then hear him cry out in pain, but she couldn’t see what was going on. All she could see was what was in front of her and it was very scary indeed. She began to form an idea, however, and as they lowered back to the ground, she whispered in Harry’s ear, “you can’t win like this Harry. You have to break the connection and start over. I’ll get another wand and call for Ron and Ginny. We’ll all fight him with you, Harry. Those that you love will help you beat him.”
He nodded slowly at her and she thanked the stars that he didn’t know what she was truly going to do. She knew love was his power, but what he didn’t know was that it wasn’t the ability to love, but the ability to be loved that was his greatest weapon. No one could love Voldemort, they only obeyed him out of fear. The people that followed Harry, did so because they love and trust him. That was the difference between the two that would end the war.
Hermione watched as he broke the connection and ducked the blast. She then watched in horror as Voldemort quickly cast another killing curse at Harry, before he had time to get back up. She thought she’d have more time, she thought she could get to him quicker, now she wasn’t so sure. She ran the few meters that now separated them and tried to fling herself in front of Harry. He was ready for this however, and turned their bodies so she wouldn’t take the curse for him. The curse hit her chest, along with Harry’s. She heard an unearthly scream and then her world went black.
Harry knew as soon as he ducked the curse, he wouldn’t make it up in time to duck another. That’s when he saw Hermione flying at him. In that instant he knew what she had done. She was going to sacrifice herself willingly to save him. He couldn’t allow this to happen. The prophecy never said he was the only one that could kill Voldemort, just that one would die. He thought that if he died, others could jump on Voldemort before he got the chance to get away. He caught Hermione and twisted their bodies. He heard an unearthly scream and his world went black.
Sirius couldn’t believe what was happening. He remembered Harry telling him and Dumbledore about their wands connecting in his fourth year, but to actually see it was amazing. As they came back down to the ground, he watched as Hermione walked over to Harry and whispered in his ear. There were looks of fear on all three faces, but he knew Gyps had come up with a plan. He felt his heart drop when he saw Harry break the connection and another jet of green light come at him. He ran towards Harry, trying to get there in time, but it wasn’t possible. He gasped in horror and dropped to his knees when he saw both Harry and Hermione get hit with the curse. Tears were streaming down his face, but he couldn’t look away. The curse hit them both and then…what in Merlin’s name? A bright blue light shot out of them and back at Voldemort. He screamed the most unearthly scream that Sirius had ever heard, before dropping where he stood, unmoving. His body didn’t so much as twitch when Sirius slowly got up and walked over to the three. He dropped between Hermione and Harry and more tears fell down his face.
Sirius saw the other Death Eaters advancing and picked up two rocks. He said “portus” quietly before placing a rock on each body and sending them to St. Mungos, where so many others had went. He heard Ron scream and watched as he started attacking Death Eaters with renewed vigor. He saw the world going on around him. New battles began and Minerva walked over to him, her face full of fear as she gazed at the dead body of Voldemort.
“He’s dead?” she asked and Sirius nodded. “You should go to them, Sirius. Go see to them,” she said slowly, assuming they were both dead and that Sirius would soon follow if he didn’t leave the battles.
“Remus?” he breathed.
“I’ll find Remus, now go!” she said as she placed a portkey in his hand and he was pulled away.
A/N: Just a quick reminder that this was written before DH. However, I did expect something...more...from the battle (a lot more than the whole 'master of the wands' thing) and if you agree with me, I hope this chapter was to your liking. Sorry 'bout Harry and Hermione, but did you honestly expect them to come out unscathed? Also remember that there was an important plot point several chapters back, and many more before that, that will come into play next chapter. Any guesses?
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