Chapter 1 : The Final War
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Hermione hung up the bright green robe that signified her job as a Healer, stretching her tired muscles after another long day at work. It was amazing how many people had managed to get into broom accidents or mispronounce incantations or mingle with dangerous creatures in the space of one day.
The most serious case that week had been a witch of about twenty, who had several bullet wounds. The official story was that she had been caught in the crossfire of a gang shootout outside London. Hermione, however, knew better. Harry had constantly been called away in the middle of the night because of it. The war.
They had been so naive to believe that Voldemort would die so easily, a sword put through him. They had gotten on with their lives, without the shadow of Voldemort hanging over him. Two years later, Voldemort returned with a new army, a Lycan army hundreds of thousands strong, flooding the magical world from every front. The Auror departments were all overwhelmed within days, unable to fight advanced Muggle technology with magic.
It had seemed like the end at that time. Wizarding cities were being bombed from the air, higher than any broomstick could go. The Aurors, with outdated tactics and equally-outdated weaponry, stood no chance. Columns of tanks and armored vehicles bulldozed through all resistance. The Dragon Riders managed to slow Voldemort's offensive, but even they were eventually crushed.
The Lycans had been on the brink of victory, marching upon the last bastions of resistance, when they all suddenly stood down and retreated. The Wizarding world breathed easy, for a while. Then the violence flared up again, in the Muggle world as well as the Wizarding world. Fighting erupted with unbelievable violence, as the Lycan offensive resumed. Only, this time, the Wizarding world had allies, the vampire armies, the Black Guard.
Better-trained and better-equipped than Lycan soldiers, the Black Guard drove the Lycans back with ease. The war, for the most part, was over, but sporadic fighting still continued in the Muggle world. It had created a steady stream of business for St. Mungo's, something that the Wizarding world could do without.
Hermione Potter was suddenly snapped out of her thoughts by a frantic Healer, followed by a train of Aurors and Healers, running down the hall, shouting out orders and counter-orders. There were a number of stretchers, and every one was occupied. Hermione noticed that Harry was among the Aurors, and, thanfully, didn't appear to be hurt. She hurriedly grabbed and pulled on her robe, then ran up to him, frantic for news.
"Harry! What's happened?"
Harry turned to her for a second, and that was when she noticed an ugly gash on his forehead. She reached a hand towards the gash, but he waved her hand away.
"No time. We need every Healer we can get! There's been a major attack, casualties are still coming in!"
"An attack? Where?"
Hermione was running with the crowd now, as they ran towards the emergency room. Several other green-robed Healers joined them, administering some first aid to the people on the stretchers.
"King's Cross! They blew up the Hogwarts Express!"
The next half hour was a chaotic swirl of blood and screaming. Most of the patients had bullet wounds, and Hermione saw that most of them were unlucky civilians caught in the crossfire. Burns, bullet wounds, it was horrible, even for a seasoned Healer. But, after a half hour, the worst of the wounded were stabilized, and the Healers could finally relax their pace.
Hermione began making her rounds, as she surveyed the extent of the casualties. Shrapnel and burn wounds were the most common, most likely from when the Hogwarts Express went up. Mercifully, it had been empty, or the casualties would have been much worse. That's when she noticed somebody screaming and cursing, and various shouting Healers and Aurors.
"Sir, if you don't calm down, I will have you restrained!"
"Potter! I need to see Potter!"
Hermione's ears perked up at the mention of her name, and shoved her way past the throng of Healers and Aurors to the patient. He was in bad shape indeed. His uniform was ripped, torn, shredded. It was probably Black Guard battle armor at some point, but not anymore. It was just a few scraps of black cloth. He had a number of bullet wounds, and his expression was wild.
The first thing Hermione noticed, however, was not his extensive wounds, but how young he was. He couldn't be much older than she was, though, considering he was a vampire, he could easily be old enough to have witnessed events she had only read about in history texts. She saw the tattered remains of a Black Guard unit patch on his right upper arm, but no evidence of a name patch.
She moved closer, and the patient appeared to calm down a bit. Then, with surprising speed, his arm shot out and grabbed the neck of her robe. Several Aurors raised their wands, but didn't cast a spell, lacking a clear shot. He pulled her closer with inhuman strength, and spoke, his voice hardly above a whisper. Images flooded her mind. Images of despair, destruction, a desolate Earth.
"Hermione Potter, the darkness approaches. In one year's time, the Dark Lord will call forth a hellfire to scour the land of all life, and nothing shall survive. Nothing. But there is hope, a chance that these events will not come to pass. Hermione Potter, only you and your husband have the power to prevent these events from happening. You...are...our...last...hope..."
With that, he fell unconscious, as the Healers frantically set to work.
A/N: This was supposed to be the original beginning to The Final War, but didn't make the cut. I just couldn't make it flow with the rest of the story, so it was eventually scrapped. It went through at least two edits before that, and, eventually, I decided to use the beginning that is now the ending to The Final War.
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