Well, I haven't officially decided yet, but there will either be one or two chapters left to this story.
There will also be an alternate ending. I am posting it today, but the first chapter is simply a copy of this chapter. Then, when I post the next chapter to this story, the chapter for the alternate will also be there.
Thank you so much, everyone, for following this story through it's ups and downs. Thank you so much. It means so much to me.
Enjoy! And don't forget to review.
Chapter Graphic by Jeanie at The Dark Arts
Chaos had broken out.
One trip of the foot and a call had sounded from the landing above them. "WAR!!"
Springing to the ready, they lowered themselves like a cat in mid-hunt and readied their wands. Toby's followers fled from their hiding corners, drawing out their wands. In a simple second, the gloomy corridor was ignited with rainbows. The call seemed to spread further than just within the dark mansion. Drawing in the fact that even the hidden followers of Toby outside would come to the war, Harry whipped his hand around in a large and fluid motion.
A wave of air, stronger than a blast of energy, emitted from Harry's hands and soared in the directions of where the aurors were on the look out. On its course to them, the sprinting dark followers were knocked off their feet and fell unconscious to the ground. The stone walls crumbled beneath the force of it, and half the house was gone. The sun and the crispy cold flooded in.
James panicked as he heard her voice from upstairs. "Toby?"
Harry commanded. "Dammit! Everybody outside. Help the others! James, come with me."
James followed behind his father and they rushed up the crumbling staircase. Toby burst from one of the doors upstairs, a look of hatred flooding across his face.
In one split second, the slightest amount of hope entered Jamie's heart, for there she was, standing in the corridor holding Sarah in her arms. Her lips quivered and James couldn't remember the last time she looked so beautiful. Her eyes widened and she gasped, clutching the child to her chest. She nearly screamed as her eyes met Jamie's. She took in his deranged form and wanted to run to him, kiss him, despite the fact that a battle was beginning. She gasped. "Jamie!"
Toby glared at her and whipped out his wand. With a simple wave, Chloe went flying back into the nursery with a piercing scream. The door slammed shut on her and bolted. James ran forward with his protests.
Chloe screamed loudly and Sarah cried. Everything was muffled from the closed oak door.
With another wave of the wand, James was thrown off his feet and slid towards his father. Toby hissed. "You made a deal with me, Potter. She's mine!"
"I'm afraid I have to break that deal, Tobias," Harry said, his eyes piercing him with anger.
Before Harry could react, he and James were tumbling down the stairs. Toby followed them, striding proudly. He kicked them into a lounge. The power of the curse held them down to the ground. James looked about frantically, shaken and rattled. He tugged on his father's sleeve, begging and losing himself to his fears. "Dad. Daddy, no. This is it. This is the room!"
Toby laughed harshly as the stone collapsed around them. He looked like a wicked horror scene. "Is little baby boy Potter scared?"
James hissed and rose to his feet, breaking through the charm. Harry raised his hand and whipped him back. James went lying to tumble over a chair. He shouted in protest. "No!! I can do this!! Don't stop me!"
"I don't want you getting hurt," Harry murmured to himself. The image of James, nearly passing out on his desk and with the knife in his stomach, rushed across his mind. He wouldn't let his nightmare come true. He wouldn't let James get hurt. He would keep him out of it.
Harry rose and found himself in his heart. He drew upon the magic until it burned through him, even down to the tips of his fingers. It tingled his skin and the sensation was great.
Toby tapped his foot, glaring with a crooked smile. "I know your wandless, Potter. But I've learned some things of my own. Latrocinor veneficus! Capio is ut meus own pro caligo res!
She delicately placed the letter on the night stand as quietly as she could. She leaned forward and kissed his forehead with tender lips as he grunted and she ran her fingers through his blond curls. He snored and turned over. His bare back rippled with his muscles as he moved and continued his deep slumber. Entranced, she sat on his bed and watched him, holding her hands in her lap.
She couldn't believe how fast he had grown up, when he had gotten so big, and when he had become a man. She couldn't deny; she was unbelievably proud of him.
She started when a rasp on the door's frame sounded followed by the voice of her lover of a month now. "Sweetheart. Please."
"I'm not ready," she whispered. "Please. One more minute."
She wrapped her finger around the boy's curls and she laid down next to him. She engulfed him into her arms and rested her cold cheek against his warm back. Her eyes fluttered and she held back tears.
His voice came again. "My love, my one love, we must hurry."
"I-I..." she swallowed and let her tear melt into his back. "I can't. I can't leave him."
"You have to."
"I know," she whispered miserably. She kissed him one more time and gathered all of her strength to rise and leave him there, sleeping soundly. She looked back to him. "Good night, my perfect son. Sleep well. Mommy will see you again some day. I love you, Shay. I promise."
Her cloak fluttering in her wake, she glided forward and out of the room without a second glance. She could make out the shadow of his hood in the corridor. "You don't know what I'm doing for you."
"I know," he whispered. He kissed her cloaked forehead. "And thank you. I would do just as much for you."
"I wish we could take them all," she sobbed.
"Shhh," he hushed her quickly. He touched her lips and looked about the blackened hall. "We have to stay quiet. You don't want to be found, do you?"
"No," she mouthed. "I love you."
"I love you too," he agreed. He slipped his hand into her cloak to cup her neck, holding her hair in his large palm. He brought his lips to hers and kissed her deeply, drinking in her sweet taste and smell.
When he pulled away, he took her hand and they silently fled down the stairs. And Chloe Longbottom and James Potter faded into the shadows of love.
"Adveho, adveho, adveho!
" Toby shouted, his hands rising up and down.
"No," Harry gasped. "No, no, no."
Everything terrible rose inside of him and made him scream. He thrashed along the floor. It felt like his heart was leaving his chest. He gasped out. "Oh my god..."
His mind boggled. As his body lost control and was thrown about, Toby laughed cruelly. James was held firmly behind the chair, a shield, by Harry's spell. Their surroundings were continuing to crumble and Toby still stood higher than anything else.
Harry's mind raced with thoughts and questions. He tried to translate what Toby had just said. He recognized it. He couldn't remember where he had learned it. Then it hit him.
It was latin. The old latin language used for the darkest of deeds.
Harry had studied it in his auror training. His eyes widened, seeming to be the only thing under Harry's control, as his body turned and ripped in pain.
The only thing he held control over was his thoughts and his sight. He sought out James and saw his frightened face. He wished he could tell him everything would be all right.
He knew what Toby was doing, and he wished he could remember how to reverse it, if only he had his voice.
His heart plunged forward and into the air, until a gold light was emitting from his body. It feel limp, slumping into the cold, stone tile. Harry watched the gold light as it grew brighter and brighter, coming from his chest. His mind raced. No, no, no, no.
The gold orb hovered in the room, expanding and glowing brighter than the sun. Harry closed his eyes to shield himself from the light. His magic.
The light moved away and into Toby's own chest.
His body returning to him, Harry turned over. His body quavered in pain and weakness. He struggled to his knees, feeling drained of all strength. He reached for his wand and Toby hissed. "Not even a wand can help you now, Potter. You have no magic."
Harry's eyes fluttered shut and he rolled to the floor. He tried to recite the reverse effect from memory, "Subsisto illud of malum...
Um. No. Malum ex effectus...
Toby laughed cruelly as the light faded into him. His fingers sparked with a new, extraordinary sensation. He laughed at the feeling: magic. He hissed. "Potter, you possessed the magic of two whole humans. That was what led you to have the gift of wandless. Your magic was too great. Now I have the magic of three. And you have nothing. Nothing merely more than a muggle."
Harry pulled himself from his feet, feeling weaker than ever. He limped from his feet and forward. His mind roamed. He did not know what difference he could make. He was nothing more than a muggle now, and here was Toby, stronger than Voldemort and Harry Potter put together. He scanned his mind for the latin language, trying to match the words together. He hadn't studied it for over twenty years.
Caught off guard, Toby's force threw him back and into the collapsing stone wall. He tried to drag himself away as part of the ceiling came crashing down on top of his leg. He yelped in pain, trapped beneath the rock.
James, frantic, swallowed and stared at his trapped father. Hatred raged through him and he burst forward with a shout. "You son of a bitch!"
Like his father, James went flying. His wand soared from his hand and James dodged a stone before it could crush him. He snatched his wand and shouted. "Crucio!
The red bolt of light did nothing more than flick off of Toby's from. He hissed. "Nothing can penetrate me, little Jamesie."
James murmured. "This was what you were doing with the Occlumeinst. You were studying the ways of the dark ones even before Merlin?"
"Exactly," Toby smiled greedily. "Haven't you realized. Potter? It's because of them, before Merlin, why we have muggles and those who possess magic. Without them, we would all be equals."
"For a good reason," James roared. "Nobody deserves this much power. This much power should not be held by one individual alone. With it, they can destroy the world."
"Well, that's the truth, isn't it little Potty? But I'm not out to destroy the world." Toby strode forward, and with a whip of the hand James was on the ground. James inhaled sharply at the impact. Toby's skin hadn't even touched him, yet the magic had reached him with an impenetrable force. He stood over James. He bent over and his expression changed. James inclined his head, his skin burning, and thought that, maybe, Toby would help him up. But he reached into his boot and drew out a shining dagger.
James gasped and tried to crawl out from under Toby's body. He clawed at the ground and whimpered when power pulled him back and he was looking up at Toby. Toby snickered and raised the dagger. Harry screamed out as it plunged down straight into Jamie's chest. "I'm only out to destroy you. One by one."
Releasing the knife, Toby walked away. He gave one look over his shoulder to glance at James, inhaling sharply in pain on the cold, stone ground. Harry was clawing at the ground, trying to release his crushed legs from underneath the bolder.
James thrashed, sinking into nothing by the second, but one sound sent hope running through his heart. All he wanted was to see her one last time. He gasped, his lungs collapsing beneath the protruding dagger. "C-Chloe...Chloe."
Toby laughed. "Now it's father-like-son. Only this time the son will most certainly die."
She came running into the room, and before she could even gather in her surroundings, her wand went flying from her hand and into Toby's. She glowered at him and then realized her one love on the floor, dying slowly. She took in Harry trapped beneath a block of stone, nothing more than his chest showing, and Toby standing proudly in the middle of it all.
She ran to James with a whimper and fell to his side. She swallowed and shook her head. "I can save you. I can save you, love."
"No, you can't," argued James. He reached for her cheek. She turned her head into it and let her tear slide onto his palm. He tucked back one of her curls.
"Hold on. Jamie, hold on. Everything will be okay."
"We've fought against fate too many times." James whispered, holding his hand against the handle of the blade.
"Let me get it out." Chloe said quickly. She wrapped her hand around the blade and began to pull. James grimaced and let out a horrible moan. She set the dagger on the cold, stone floor and panicked. She couldn't lose him. She wouldn't lose him. She would die with him if she did.
Her heart ached, ripping into tiny shreds as she locked eyes with James. He took a deep gulp of air, pain reverberating all through out his body. He whispered, cupping her cheeks in his hand, "Stop those tears, Chloe."
"I can't, I can't." She whispered, shaking her head. She took him into her arms, his head resting on her chest.
Her thoughts were frantic. So this was what it was like to lose the one you held dearest to your heart, the one who completely owned your heart. You lose yourself until you want to scream and simply wish for all things to end.
"You can't. What about Connor and Wendy? They aren't here yet. What about the wedding?" She was ranting, blurting out reasons for him not to go. "Doesn't any of that mean something?"
"This is how it's supposed to be. It means - " he gave a weak grunt, accepting death's door, " - the world to me."
And then she placed her palm on his chest, feeling his heart thump beneath her hand. The rate began to slow and Jamie's breath rattled. Chloe pressed her palm against his chest, as if to hold him there for just a moment longer.
And then his heart stopped beating right beneath her very hand.
She gasped and hiccuped, leaning down to kiss his cold, dead lips. She turned to Toby with a hatred she never knew she could possess. "Tobias Malfoy! What you done! You swore!"
"Yes, I swore! But I don't give a damn. That man-" he pointed to Harry, crying silently under the rock, "-killed my parents. Now I don't give a fucking damn about my father, but my mother! He killed my mother!"
"No," Harry croaked weakly, just barely audible over the collapsing manor. "Toby, I didn't kill her. Yes, I killed your father, but your mother...Pansy came to save -"
"Shut up, you fucking liar!!"
"Just listen to me, Toby!" Harry begged. "Please just listen."
Toby fumed, but stood still. Harry arched his back, trying to struggle. Toby, knowing Harry could do nothing with his muggle powers, released him from the rock. Harry looked to his legs, grotesquely twisted about each other and snapped in multiple directions. He gasped and held back the pulling sensation to throw up at the sight. He turned to Toby. "I didn't kill her.I'm sorry, Toby. I didn't. You can give me Veritaserum. I didn't kill her. She came to save my son, Danny. Your father had my little boy trapped and she appeared. We had her in on the attack and she was helping us for years. Your father...He meant to kill my son, but Pansy ran in front of it. It was an accident. Draco killed her."
Toby was frozen, pressed against the only wall of the mansion remaining. He looked at Harry frantically, his cold, grey eyes turned red with tears as they poured down his cheeks. For a moment, he seemed to believe them, but then his mournful face changed into hate. "Liar!!"
"I don't lie. He killed her, Toby, he killed her."
Toby whipped his hand around in a few simple motions and a pensieve appeared. He fiercely ripped a hair from Harry's head and placed it in the dish. He swirled it about and fell forward.
"Daddy! Daddy, help me!"
"I-I..." Harry sobbed, looking down as his face fell into an ugly cry. Danny continued to call for him, wailing in pain as he lay stretched about the ground. Harry shook his head, crying out, "I-I'm sorry, Danny. I can't. Daddy can't help now."
Malfoy smirked and raised his wand, preparing to do Merlin-knows-what to him. Danny screamed and Harry whimpered and shushed him, trying to soothe him, "It's all right, Danny. Just close your eyes and think of happy things. I can't help, baby. Everything will be okay..."
Malfoy jeered excitedly as he paced around the five-year-old crawling along the floor. Harry cried out again, "Everything will be okay! Daddy's here! I love you, Danny. Daddy's here!"
Malfoy raised his wand and Harry squeezed his eyes shut as the floor seemed to shift beneath his feet and he couldn't remain on his knees. He tumbled to the ground, rolling sideways at the twisting pain running along his body. He drew in shaky breaths and opened his eyes, gasping in coughs as Malfoy began to hiss, "Avada Ked - "
A loud crack sounded and a woman's scream emerged, "Draco, don't!"
Harry used all the strength he could muster to arch his back on the floor and glance to the source of the voice.
It was Pansy...
Draco lowered his wand, his eyes wide, and he yelped, furious, "What the hell are you doing here, Pansy?!"
"Don't hurt him!!" Pansy pleaded, her eyes bright with tears as she blocked Malfoy from Danny. She kneeled down by the sobbing boy and touched his shoulder gently. She opened her frightened mouth to speak to him, but Draco spat, "How did you know of this?!"
Pansy rose and turned to face her husband, her chest heaving, "How could you murder a child?!"
"Step aside, Pansy! This is not your battle!" Draco hissed, raising his wand again. Pansy drew in a shaky breath as the other Death Eaters surrounded the four of them, Danny sobbing on the floor, Draco with his wand raised on his wife, and Harry thrashing on the floor in pain as the world swirled about him.
Pansy cried out, "I want let you hurt this little boy! He has done nothing wrong!!"
Harry tried to choke out her name. Pansy didn't deserve this. Pansy had helped them avoid countless attacks and double cross her husband on multiple occasions. They had grown to trust each other and Pansy had even taken care of James, Annie, Danny, and or Lily when they were younger and Harry and Ginny had needed the help. Of course, Draco did not know of Pansy having any contact with the Potters what so ever.
Harry choked out, his eyes fluttering in agony, "Pansy! Don't!"
Draco spat, his wand pointed at the woman guarding the boy holding her legs, "You knew of this?!"
"Yes. I've known for years." Pansy nodded. She took a step back, Danny sniffing against her heels, "And I won't let you hurt this little boy."
"YOU TRAITOR!! YOU'RE THE ONE WHO HAS BEEN HELPING THEM!! IT'S BEEN YOU!! YOU!! YOU BLOODY TRAITOR!!!" Draco roared at the top of his lungs. His wand shook in his grasp and his face was glowing a bright red as his eyes penetrated through his wife's shaking skin. Pansy's lips quivered and her eyes fluttered, but she didn't back down. She said proudly, "Yes. It's been me. I am a traitor to you, but I don't care. You can't kill these people!! They're good people!! Especially their children!! Their children have done nothing to you!! You cannot kill this little boy!!"
"I will kill him! Now, get out of the way!!" Draco roared. Pansy rushed forward and glanced to Harry nervously as he let out a choking noise and a sob, holding onto his side. Pansy grabbed onto Draco's hands as tears seeped over the corners of her eyes. She cried out, "You can't kill this boy!! He means the world to Harry and Ginny! Daniel Potter to Harry and Ginny is like our son to us!!"
"And that's why I'll get rid of him!!" Draco spat, giving Pansy a slap in the face so she fell back with a whimper. He raised his wand again and roared, "Avada Kedavra!"
Harry screamed, trying to throw his writhing and crumbling body forward as the jet of green light shot out of the tip of his wand. Danny wailed and Harry wished it was his body that was about to be hit with that jet of light, not his precious five-year-old.
But what surprised Harry the most was that someone did take the curse...
Even over Ginny's, Jamie's, Harry's, Lily's, Annie's, and Danny's deprived screams, someone took that jet of green light that would surely end someone's life...
Pansy Malfoy let out a yelp and quickly rushed forward. Her body fell to the floor in a heap, dead. Harry drew in a shaky breath as Malfoy froze and let his wand fall to the floor with a clatter. He didn't even notice the five-year-old whimpering next to his body and beginning to crawl towards his poisoned father as Draco clutched the woman's body to his, sobbing, "Pansy! Pansy! No! I'm sorry! I would never hurt you!"
Harry whimpered as Danny crawled to his side and sobbed on his chest. Harry glanced to Draco cradling his wife's dead body and Draco cried out, "Pansy! Pansy, baby! Please!"
Toby fell to the ground and clutched at his arms. His sobbed, rocking back and forth. "Oh, god. God, god, no. It's true..." The voice of his father rattled inside his head. His father wanting to kill the little boy because Danny had meant what Toby had meant to his father. For that reason...
"Oh, no..." Toby cried. He buried his head into his knees and didn't care that Harry was inching his body towards his dead son's and the woman he loved was holding the dead boy like a rag doll.
Over the cries of their lost one, Toby whispered. "I'm sorry..."
They looked to him, their expressions blank. Toby then whispered again. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Thank you for killing him. My father. If you hadn't, I would have."
They didn't say anything. Harry looked to the girl that would have been his daughter-in-law. "Go get Sarah, Chloe."
She left without a word and then Toby screamed. His magic helped propel his voice so people within miles could hear. "LEAVE NOW!! CEASE BATTLE! CEASE!"
Toby sobbed. "Leave, please..."
"Toby," Harry's voice was weak and pleading, "you can still save my son. You are strong enough. Please bring him back."
Chloe awoke with a smile. She turned over in the large bed and sighed happily. She giggled to herself at the thought of running away from her husband and entering a life where she had nothing to worry about. She groped for James' form, "Jamie, love."
There was no sound.
She rose and took in her surroundings. The room was not the room the had rented in the London inn the previous night. She was in a large, white bedroom. The curtains rustled against the open windows. Curious, she rose and called throughout the house. "James?"
A girl of nineteen, whom she recognized immediately as her daughter, Sarah, came gliding down the hall. She tilted her head questioningly to her mother.
Chloe asked again, confused. "Sarah, where's James?"
"D-Dad?" Sarah asked. She looked at her mother. Chloe nodded. Sarah swallowed and touched her mother's shoulder. "Mum, did you forget to take your medicine? Or did you take too much before you went to bed last night?"
"What medicine?? I didn't take anything," Chloe whispered.
"Mum, why don't you go into your bathroom and take two of your pills?"
"I'm not taking any pills, Sarah. Where's your father?"
"Ugh," Sarah rubbed at her eyes to hold back tears. "Mum, it's okay. Why don't you just go lay down and I will bring you breakfast?"
"Tell me where your father is!" Chloe shouted, growing impatient.
"There's no need to yell, Mum. Lacy said your anti-depressants would make you forget sometimes. Please go to bed."
"I will once you tell me."
"Mum, Dad died when he and Grandpa came to save us from Toby Malfoy."