Chapter 12 : Battle to the Death
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“They met rather pathetic ends, dear.”
“Pathetic? To die for love? How can you say so? What could be more glorious?”
- Emma Thompson’s screenplay Sense and Sensibility
Distant thunder shook the earth as black storm clouds rolled over Hogwarts grounds. As the Death Eaters marched toward the castle, dark hoods and masks covering their faces, the land around them was thrown into shadow.
Kiana murmured “Lumos!” as they drew closer. Holding her lighted wand over her path littered with fallen tree branches, she tried to think of a way to calm her racing heart. Heaviness had also settled in her head, making her slightly dizzy and fatigued.
Pure nerves, that’s all it was. Never before had someone so young been entrusted such a difficult task by the Dark Lord. She was honored at this opportunity, yet the possibility of failing lingered heavily in her mind. She knew she was powerful enough, that wasn’t a question. But if somehow Potter weakened her, there would be no hope. She had to keep her concentration and strength through out the entire battle.
Just keep your mind empty, she repeated to herself as the glimmering form of Hogwarts came into view. Candles lit up the hundreds of windows, dispelling the gloom that had settled over the forest and Kiana’s heart. Inside, her fellow classmates would be preparing for bed after an appealing supper. They would be snuggled under their covers, perhaps studying for a few extra minutes before drifting off. They were warm and safe inside the castle; nothing could hurt them when Dumbledore was Headmaster.
Outside it was a different story. Warmth and comfort were things Kiana did not feel and couldn’t recall as small raindrops fell from the thundering sky. The weather matched her mood perfectly: dreary with chances of dangerous flashes of heated energy. Kiana feared for the lives of the students inside the walls of her school, but a voice in her head told her there was nothing to worry about. The Death Eaters were here for Potter and Potter only. No one needed to get hurt unless they foolishly decided to intervene in the attack.
Voldemort’s prediction had come true: most members of the Order of the Phoenix were present, although their faces were hard to make out in the gloom and pounding of the rain. She didn’t want to know who they were anyway. She had to think of them as mere opponents who wanted to stop her from achieving. They only wanted to weaken her.
With this resolution in mind, Kiana raised her wand alongside the hooded figures around her. A sneer that rivaled Bellatrix’s broke through her tense features.
There was no going back now.
“Harry, don’t be ridiculous! You can’t possibly go down there. Professor McGonagall warned us all to keep to the Common Room. Dumbledore would surely want…”
Harry turned to Hermione with raging eyes. “Dumbledore is not here, Hermione! He hasn’t been here for days now, and he didn’t even respond to our owl. Something’s not right, and if Kiana is down there among them…”
“All the more reason to stay put!” Hermione insisted, stamping her foot in protest. “If Kiana’s among the Death Eaters then she’s made her choice, and nothing you do will sway her from it. I’m sure the Order’s aware of her, Harry, and they’ll try and help her. They wouldn’t hurt her if Dumbledore told them not to!”
“You’re trying to comfort me with mere speculations, Hermione!” Harry roared. “How do you know if anything you say is true? You don’t! And as long as we both know nothing, I’m going to find her. If I could just speak to her, then perhaps she’ll come to her senses.”
He looked so determined that Hermione almost wept for him. “Harry, please be sensible. What if Voldemort is down there? He’ll kill you before you can even spot Kiana! The Order is there to protect you. Don’t ruin their sacrifice by appearing in the midst of the Death Eaters.”
But Harry was barely listening as he threw a thick, gray cloak over himself and grabbed his wand from his bedside table. “If you see Dumbledore, tell him where I am. Otherwise don’t speak to anyone! Do I have your word, Hermione?”
Hermione’s jaw opened and closed uselessly. “I…um…”
“Yes! Yes, you have my word. But Harry, please be careful and come back as soon as you know Kiana is safe.”
Harry nodded. “I’ll do that.” He dashed out the door before Hermione could utter another word, his cloak swishing behind him as he summoned the courage to face whatever was out there in the shadowy dusk.
The battle commenced with the first curse thrown by an Order member. Sticking to the plan laid out to her by Snape, Kiana backed behind a tree as the Death Eaters rushed in front of her to meet the Order head-on. Lightning roared above them, lighting up the scene for a mere second. Kiana glimpsed Remus Lupin fending off Yaxley, while Tonks was chasing after Lucius. Her world turned into a desperate struggle for survival as witches and wizards tried to keep themselves alive through the hazy gloom surrounding them. It was difficult to see through the rain, and without any light except the jets of sparks from flying spells, anyone could easily smash into a tree. Or worse.
Snape was screaming at her from a corner of the woods. He was alone, but several Order members were rushing toward him with wands raised. Kiana followed his pointed finger to see Harry Potter protected behind Lupin, although he was clearly struggling to escape the man’s hold.
Other members of the Order not occupied with Death Eaters glanced up at Snape’s cry. Seeing Kiana tucked away between two oak trees, they instantly chased after her. Apparently their orders were not simply to protect Potter.
Kiana rushed from her hiding spot, crying spells at any of Dumbledore’s followers when they appeared in the dark. Harry noticed her racing toward a secluded part of the grounds and shot a spell at Lupin, who released Harry with a cry of pain. The boy dived through several battles occurring around him and chased her to her destination.
Kiana smiled to herself. How easily the boy had fallen for the plan! He didn’t even hesitate before launching himself to her side. She heard several voices crying after him, but Harry did not glance back.
Kiana was about to halt in a large clearing when a roar louder than a twister made her heart jump. The ground shook with ferocious intensity before splitting in two. The ground cracked in an even parallel line, dividing the battle as a large crevice appeared in the grass. Those on one side were helpless to get to the other, for the gap was slowly enlarging to a width five feet across. Kiana saw this as her opportunity to destroy Potter without the use of the mortacious curse. Surely Voldemort would not care how she did it as long as Potter was dead in the end?
Harry was on the same side as she, so his steps had not faltered at the terrifying split in the ground. He was a few feet from her when she cried, “Sectumsempra!”
Harry jerked to avoid the spell, but it hit him in the hip, creating a large slash in his side. Crying out, he stumbled but raised his wand again almost instantly. “Stupefy!”
She narrowly dodged his spell. Potter was not as worthless as she had thought - he cast spells with amazing accuracy and power. Kiana raised her wand to strike again when Harry, still flying at her through the rain, slipped on a patch of mud and slid helplessly across the grass to the open abyss a foot away.
Something hot and electrifying hit her, casting her dark thoughts away as she watched Harry tumble slowly, slowly over the ground and into the pit…
Kiana rushed toward him as quick as she could in the mud. Pushing her hood back, she flung herself onto her stomach and grabbed Harry’s forearm a second before he tumbled to his death.
“What are you doing?” he cried. His voice spilled menace but his eyes were soft and full of doubt. Kiana knew this was her last chance. It was either tell Harry the truth and welcome death or risk him never knowing.
“Harry…” Her voice broke as tears slipped down her cheeks. “Harry, listen to me. Dumbledore told me to. Dumbledore told me to become one of them in order to save you. It all turned out so horribly wrong…I never meant to hurt you.”
Harry looked torn between shooting a spell at her and trusting her hold on his arm.
“Please, Harry. Take my hand and pull yourself up. I won’t hurt you.”
His feet slipped on the earth, and he released an anguished cry as chunks of dirt tumbled down into the abyss. “How can I trust you?” he cried, digging his fingernails into her arm. “You’ve hurt me in the past. How can I know you’re not about to finish what you started?”
A tear slipped from her eye. “Because I love you,” she whispered.
He stared at her quizzically, his eyes scanning her face for signs of treachery. But there was no mask shielding the emotions in her heart. Her love was spilled out to him so completely he could not deny its reality.
After a moment’s hesitation, Harry held out his right hand and she grasped it, using all her strength to haul him up to even ground. His weight caused Kiana to lose her balance, and she tumbled backward, Harry falling directly on top of her. He drew himself up onto his elbows until their faces were inches from each other. They stared into each other’s eyes, searching deep into the other’s soul for the truth that had been hidden for so long.
“Do you mean it?” he asked softly, his breath hot and heavy on her face. “Do you really love me?”
Kiana smiled. “Potter, I’ve loved you since the first time you smiled at me during the dueling contest. I’d give my life to protect yours, which I’ve come close to doing many times.”
Her heart lurched when he returned her smile. “You Americans amaze me. When will you learn to keep your nose out of other people’s business?”
Kiana grabbed hold of his robes and pulled him closer. “I’m a difficult girl to teach.”
And with the explosions of spells above their heads and the pounding of rain upon their bodies, Harry Potter pressed his lips against hers and kissed her with every fiber of longing in his body. She returned the kiss with equal fury, holding him closer to her until she felt the frantic pace of her lover’s heart.
They did not notice the chaos around them until a violent force tore Kiana from Harry’s hold. She screamed as she was thrown against a cold, hard body whose pale hand instantly reached up to cover her mouth. A full body-bind jinx was cast upon her, making it impossible for her to do anything but stare with wide-eyed horror at Lord Voldemort as he approached, dragging Harry behind him by the back of his robes. Harry’s eyes were not focused on the creature that held him captive, but on the girl ten feet in front of him. His gaze traveled rapidly from one Death Eater to the next, and paralyzing fear spread through his body. He, surely, would not be the first to die…but watching Voldemort murder the American girl would hasten his own departure from the world.
“I was correct, was I not, Severus?” Voldemort cast a devilish smile at the Potions Master, who had approached them from the shadows. Snape was difficult to spot in the night, for the rain soaking through his clothes turned him into the darkness itself. He pushed dark locks of black hair from his face and took his place at Voldemort’s right-hand side, his expression as neutral as Kiana had ever seen it.
“About what, my lord?” Snape asked, his voice hoarse from the cold.
“That the girl you brought to me would turn out to be a needed challenge. That she has, Severus; that she has.”
Kiana’s skin crawled at the look Voldemort passed her. He held great anticipation on his face, and Kiana knew the Dark Lord would make her suffer greatly for her betrayal. A simple ‘Avada Kadavra’ curse would not fit her situation.
Voldemort sneered at the boy he held tightly in his hand. It was obvious to all that Harry was suffering, although Voldemort had not cast any spell upon him. He was convulsing in the rain and his jaw was clamped shut, as if to hold back a scream of pain. His lightning scar was burning a bright red, and Kiana’s eyes welled up at the sight. She longed to cry out and cast a spell to thrust Voldemort away, but her body was as paralyzed as Harry’s.
“I thought it would give me joy to torture and murder Harry Potter…” Voldemort grasped Harry’s hair tightly, pulling at his scalp. Harry squeezed his eyes shut in pain. “But I have since discovered that it would give me far greater pleasure to see The Boy Who Lived murdered by the one he loves. You have played your part well, Kiana; you have weakened Potter in the way I had requested. He is not even trying to repel me from his mind – I see the way he feels about you. He will do anything for you, including submit to your will. And with my help, you will torture him until he dies from agony. May your actions be betrayal or not, Karn, you are still a Death Eater and shall forever remain one. And this great act of yours will prove it to the world.”
With the Dark Lord’s words, Kiana’s Dark Mark turned a fiery red and scorched her skin. She screamed into the hand of the Death Eater holding her, but with the pain came an overwhelming anger and revulsion stronger than anything she had felt before. Her wand, still in her pocket, flashed green and flew to her open hand, instantly shattering the body-binding spell. With a cry of anguish, Kiana slashed the Death Eater behind her with a blinding fire whip, sending him reeling into the trees. Flying forward, she sent sparks rushing toward the Dark Lord and pointed her wand at his chest. She hardly thought as she stood there, shaking from an avalanche of emotions. She held only one wish in her mind as she stared mercilessly into Voldemort’s red eyes: I want to kill him. He will die at my own hand!
Snape raised his own wand and stepped toward the girl, but Voldemort held out an arm. “This is solely between us, Severus,” he hissed. For the first time, Kiana witnessed a flash of fear in Snape’s eyes, something she could not comprehend.
“You have certainly proven your talent.” Voldemort released his hold on Harry, and the boy crumbled to the ground. He attempted to rise, but Voldemort was quick and held him down with a binding force. Tears made their way down Harry’s cheeks, but he wept not for himself.
Voldemort slowly began to circle Kiana, his wand held loosely in his right hand. “Your skills rise above most at this pitiful school; it is a shame you do not wish to use it for a greater good. Think of the power you can gain, girl, if you followed my orders precisely!”
“I wish for nothing you can give me,” Kiana hissed. She lowered her wand but scrolled through dozens of curses in her head in case the need arose. “I became your servant for one reason and one reason only – to obey Dumbledore’s orders. I have learned much about Dark curses since then, and I will fight until the last breath leaves my body. I am not afraid of pain or death.”
Voldemort’s eyes widened with pleasure and his grin terrified her more than his words. “Why would I torture and kill you, Kiana, when you have served me so well these past few months? No, it is only Potter I want dead. I know well how great your resistances are, but that can easily be overcome. You will obey every word of mine and feel each painful spasm your lover endures as you whisper the words of death into his ear.”
Despite the tide of fear that left her weakened and vulnerable, Kiana stared directly into the Dark Lord’s eyes and whispered, “Never.”
Voldemort only smiled and raised his wand. Clutching her own tighter, Kiana prepared to duel when Voldemort unexpectedly thrust his wand downward and cried a spell in Harry’s direction. Harry was thrown back onto the ground and screamed with such agony and misery that Kiana felt something in her soul break.
Snape’s eyes rounded in horror, and he had just rushed forward when Voldemort took his opportunity. Kiana was momentarily weak and helpless when the Dark Lord plunged himself into her body, sending her flying backwards and landing painfully onto her back. She released her own cry of torture as Voldemort covered her mind and heart with his greed and hatred. She desperately tried to block out his voice and commands, but her attempts at overcoming his power were leaving her agonizingly weak. Defeated, she found herself rising to her feet, wand in hand, and staring pitilessly at the depleted boy at her feet.
Kill him, whispered the voice. Make him suffer! Show him the full use of your power and let the world know who you are. Do it NOW!
Harry Potter looked up at the girl he loved and saw the hatred pouring from her eyes. He could not contain the tears that spilled endlessly down his cheeks as he watched Kiana approach him with a raised wand. She was shaking from head to foot, and the tension in her face showed the pain she was in. Voldemort was spilling from her eyes, but Harry felt no fear as she lowered herself at his side. He only experienced remorse at his own helplessness and a suffocating fear that Kiana would let herself become completely possessed once she had murdered him.
She leaned down against his chest and carefully positioned her wand tip at his heart. Harry, about to break from misery and tears, peered up into his girlfriend’s face and saw, deep beneath the anger and hate of Voldemort, the love and anguish of the girl he knew. She was still there, although hidden and weak from the torture Voldemort placed in her soul. He longed to bring her out, to let her see his face clearly with her own eyes…
“Kiana,” he spoke, his voice soft and consoling. “Kiana, look at me.”
She had responded to his voice. This was apparent from the way she convulsed and a flash of deep emotion appeared in her eyes. Voldemort responded with a surge of anger, causing Kiana to flinch and push her wand deeper into Harry’s chest.
“Are those your last words, Potter?” jeered the snake that sprang from Kiana’s mouth. “Are you willing to waste your last breaths on a worthless girl who loved you only to kill you in the end?”
Harry tuned out Voldemort’s words as effortlessly as turning down the volume on a radio. He stared deeper into Kiana’s eyes and spoke directly to her soul.
“Kiana…Kiana, please don’t lose yourself in his grip. You are stronger than that. Remember what I told you only days before? ‘Love will conquer all.’ Remember.”
The scene flashed through Kiana’s mind, freezing everything else: Harry teaching her to fly, her collision with the tree, the way he had carefully mended her and stayed with her until she had awakened. And what had he given her in the Room of Requirement? Oh, yes…his gift of the silver bracelet with heartfelt words. The softness of his hands, the warmth of his lips, the sparkle of his eyes…that was the Harry she knew. The Harry who was lying beneath her now…
“Fool!” Voldemort cried through his victim. “You cannot lure her out with weak words and long-forgotten memories. She is mine.”
Harry found himself smiling. “How can you be lost, Kiana, when we both found each other this year? I found myself in your arms, and you found yourself in mine…”
“Enough! Death is the only thing you have left, Potter. And you will feel the agony of it for hours to come…MORTACIOUS!”
She had cried the spell without knowing it. Her mind screamed at what she had done, and she watched helplessly as the spell flowed through her wand and out its tip…
The magic was streaking toward Harry’s heart when the boy flew upward and latched his mouth onto hers. Frozen with shock, Kiana sat still as Harry kissed her and delicately laced his fingers through her hair. Voldemort, too, was motionless inside her as Harry worked his own magic within her body.
But the spell had been cast, and the flow of magic had reached Harry’s heart. His body tightened and shuddered as the spell worked its way in, and instantly Voldemort detached himself from Kiana’s soul. Kiana became fully aware of the boy falling to the ground underneath her, his hands clutching her own in pain as his eyelids fell…
Her scream echoed through the forest and across the lake. She clung onto him and held him tight, crying at him to hear her and respond. But Harry was leaving her, his grip lessening as his body became limp. He stared up into her eyes one final time, his own portraying the intense emotions in his heart. The pain was so overwhelming he could hardly speak, but Kiana caught the words he mouthed to her:
“I love you.”
Kiana’s tears soaked his face as his eyes closed and his body fell into the deep state of unconsciousness the spell guaranteed.
“Harry, don’t leave me! Harry, come back! Harry!”
Someone was pulling her away from his body, but it was not Voldemort. The Dark Lord had disappeared, having finally accomplished his ultimate goal. Kiana barely realized that the forest had cleared except for her, Harry, and the person pulling her desperately from her lover’s body.
She fought the stranger with every ounce of energy she possessed, but her strength was nothing in comparison. She found herself being carried away in the arms of the mystery wizard, and soon she passed out, but whether from a spell or her own heartache, she would never know.
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