Chapter 1 : The Final Battle
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Fires burned uncontrolled over the grounds, bodies littered amongst the rubble, constantly cast into sharp relief by the hundreds of spells flying back and forth above them. Huge holes were visible in the great stone walls and most of the windows had been shattered in the fighting. The castle now lay deserted as everyone had crammed themselves into the Great Hall.
Voldemort stood at the far end of the Hall where the teachers table used to sit. Bellatrix Lestrange stood on his left side cackling madly and firing curses wildly into the battling crowd. A cruel grimace stretched the ghastly visage of Voldemort’s white face, his red eyes glaring brightly with delight at the scene in front of him.
The few remaining members of the Order of the Phoenix duelled the Death Eaters fiercely with hundreds of students by their side, led by the members of Dumbledore’s Army. They were all trapped in the middle of the Hall with Death Eaters barricading the doors.
“Enough,” Voldemort hissed softly, but it carried through the Hall with a power that forced everyone to cease fighting. “As you can see, all is lost. Your saviour is dead by my own hand and you are hopelessly outnumbered. You can’t possibly win. But I am not without mercy. Any of you who choose to join me shall be forgiven and allowed to live. All those foolish enough to continue to oppose me, shall die.”
The horrid grimace spread even deeper across Voldemort’s face and Bellatrix’s cackling reached new heights. A lanky figure on Voldemort’s right smiled widely which threw his features into deep relief, highlighting the deep, unsightly scars on his face. Three long grooves cut their way over his left eye and continued down to his upper lip. A crater cut into his right cheek stretched sickeningly as he smiled his eyes gleaming in the firelight.
“We shall never join you. Light always triumphs in the dark.” McGonagall called staring up at Voldemort defiantly and a murmur of consent ran through the others.
Voldemort’s grin turned into a horrid scowl. “Then allow me end to your plight.” He countered as he raised his wand. “Avada Kedavra.”
A bright green bolt of light left his wand directed at McGonagall as time seemed to slow for everyone in the Hall. A bright yellow vortex burst up in front of McGonagall just as the green bolt reached her, swallowing the green light before blinking out of existence. A low whisper grew around the Hall as everyone looked at McGonagall bewildered, but she was looking about just as perplexed as everyone else.
“Leave them be Tom, you’re fight is with me.”
As one the entire Hall turned to face the doors. Two figures stood side by side staring at the other end of the Hall. The whispers grew louder as everyone recognised the pair.
“Potter.” Voldemort hissed. “Looks like I will get the pleasure of killing you a second time.”
Harry and Hermione walked through the doorway, not even glancing at the Death Eaters gathered about them, who just stood there staring blankly. The pair walked steadily through the crowd, which parted ahead of them making a pathway straight to Voldemort, only stopping momentarily at McGonagall to check she was ok.
The figure to Voldemort’s right turned to him and spoke for the first time. “Please my Lord, allow me to deal with this menace.” He begged.
Voldemort looked him up and down for a moment before nodding. “Very well.”
He stepped down from the raised platform and walked towards the pair, the crowd parting before him just as it had for Harry.
“You’re a fool Potter, and now I’m finally going to teach you the lesson I should have taught you years ago.”
“Please Ron, don’t do this.” Hermione begged as they stood opposite each other.
“Yeah take his side. You were always there for him, but were never there when I needed you.” Ron spat at her as Harry stepped up to face his former friend. “I am so sick of living in your damn shadow. The Dark Lord has shown me the truth. And now I’ll show it to everyone else, you are nothing but a spoilt child who has gotten lucky time after time.”
Ron drew his wand and the crowd backed away further leaving several metres between them and the trio in their midst.
“I don’t want to fight you Ron. You’re my friend. Don’t fall for Voldemort’s lies anymore.” Harry pleaded.
“And who should I listen to? You? You, who have always left me behind? Always come first, even in the eyes of my own family. You are the son they wished I was. And now I will show them too.
“Ron, you’re acting like a child. Stop this madness and see reason.” Hermione berated glaring at him.
“Enough!” Ron yelled raising his wand. “If you won’t fight it will only make all the simpler. Avada...”
“Stupefy!” Called Hermione leaping between Harry and Ron.
The spell flew over Ron’s shoulder as his face twisted even further, his eyes burned with hatred. “Sectumsempra!”
“Protego.” Harry called, blocking the spell inches from Hermione’s face. Harry was livid. All three of them had seen the damage that spell could do. “You’ve changed Ron. The Ron Weasley I knew would never have used that spell, least of all against Hermione.”
“That’s because the Ron you knew was weak. He died a long time ago.” Ron bit back brandishing his wand dangerously. “Now join him! Avada Kedavra!”
Ron flicked his wand like a whip as the green flash burst from its tip soaring towards Harry. Screams came from every direction as everyone watched with baited breath.
“NO!” Hermione screamed as she collided with Harry knocking him aside.
They both hit the floor and watched as the blast soared over them disappearing into the crowd. There was a dull flash and a body fell forward onto the stone floor. Her red hair cast about in all directions. Harry’s heart stopped as he stared at the empty face of Ginny Weasley a look of shock etched on her features.
“How could you?!” Hermione screamed looking at Ron.
Realisation hit Ron like a brick, knocking him to his knees as he stared at the lifeless body of his little sister. People all over the crowd were crying and swearing, cursing Ron. He glanced at Harry and time seemed to freeze between them. “Forgive me.” Ron whispered to Harry.
There was another bright flash as Ron's eyes went blank, his wand clattering to the floor beside him. His body came to rest limply by its side. Mrs. Weasley squealed as she watched her son and daughter taken away in front of her eyes. Harry couldn’t take his eyes off Ron. The man who had been his best friend was dead. He didn’t know how much time passed as his gaze drifted between the lifeless bodies of two of his greatest friends. He felt numb as he stood and looked to the end of the Hall where Voldemort stood looking triumphant, Bellatrix by his side, her wand still pointed at Ron's lifeless body.
“Poor little Potter,” cackled Bellatrix. “All alone again.”
Hermione glared at Bellatrix and made to stand but Harry placed his hand on her shoulder holding her down. She turned to look at him and he just shook his head before grabbing his wand and walking up onto the platform standing a few metres in front of Voldemort.
“This is all your fault. I’m not going to let you hurt anyone else.” Harry said, his voice calm despite the hatred that filled him.
“You fool Potter. I have taken everyone you ever loved, torn them from your life like pages from a book and now I’m going to kill you!” Voldemort snarled, a vicious grin on his lips.
“You never learnt from your mistakes, Tom. And now it's time for you to pay for them. Because there is something you don't realise about that wand. It recognised a new master long before you ever laid your hands upon it. It belonged to Draco, the one who disarmed Dumbledore the night of his death. And then I disarmed Draco. So if my wandlore is correct, it belongs to me.”
A look of fear crossed Voldemort's face for a fleeting moment before disappearing into his eyes as he glared at Harry, fury taking it's place.
"So let's see how smart that wand is, shall we Tom?" Harry taunted, grinning softly at Voldemort. "Let's end this once and for all."
Voldemort looked murderous, ironic considering the spell he was about to use. Their eyes were locked in an unflinching battle of wills as the moment drew ever nearer. A red-gold glow filled the room, flooding through the windows. The crowd had to squint to see the pair through the glare. The light hit both of their faces at the same time, so that Voldemort’s was suddenly a flaming blur, stretched with rage as he raised his wand. Harry brought his wand up as the spell formed on his mouth without a single thought.
Both wands quivered violently as the spells shot forth only centimetres between their tips. The bright flashes collided in the air filling the platform with a bright light blocking the pair from view. Everyone gasped, holding a collective breath as they waited for the light to die down.
“NOOOOOO!” Came a high scream from the platform as the light dimmed and the crowd gazed on amazed.
Voldemort was even paler than before, his once red, snake-like eyes were empty as he lay contorted on the floor. Harry stood over Voldemort’s broken body holding both wands as Bellatrix sobbed over her master’s corpse. The battle was over, and as this realisation spread across the Hall, the room was filled with cheers and screams of joy. The crowd turned to face the remaining Death Eaters, but they had already fled the room, Disapparating as soon as they reached the boundaries.
Harry turned and walked off the platform back to where his friends now lay. Hundreds of hands clapped Harry on the back as cheers and songs fell dully on Harry’s ears. The Weasleys were all gathered by the bodies of their three youngest children, mourning as a group. Hermione stood by looking distraught but feeling like an intruder on the family’s grief. Harry walked to her and tapped her on the shoulder. He held up the cloak and they both ducked underneath and vanished amidst the cheers, unnoticed as they walked carefully from the room.
They walked for ages not stopping until they had reached the Black Lake. Harry threw the cloak to the ground and stood there gazing out over the lake while Hermione collapsed to the ground. Harry knew how she felt. There was a hollow spot in his heart. They may have won the battle, but the cost was far greater than he was willing to bear.
“It’s not over you know.” He said, his voice rough and choked.
“I know.” Hermione echoed.
“Those Death Eaters will be back, and I can’t let that happen. Some of them were as bad as Voldemort.” Harry turned to face her. “Please tell everyone I’m sorry. That I never meant for any of this to happen.”
Tears were pouring down Hermione’s face as she stood and looked straight into Harry’s eyes. “We’ll need a new owl for that.” She whispered. “Because there is no way I’m letting you go alone.”
Harry wanted to argue, to beg her to stay, but he knew he wouldn’t win that fight. And without Ron and Ginny, Hermione was the only true friend he had left. “There’s no one I’d rather by my side.” He finally stated as he turned back to the lake. “They won’t understand. None of them can.”
“I know. We should go before they come looking for us.” Hermione cooed resting her hand on Harry’s shoulder.
They both turned to look up at the castle, wishing that they could stay, but knowing the pain of returning would be too much to bear right now. Hermione grabbed the cloak from the ground as several people rushed out of the front doors calling for them. They quickly ducked under it and headed for the Whomping Willow, not wanting to go near an exit where the others could find them.
They walked in silence, both struggling with the grief that tore at their very souls. Halfway down the tunnel to the Shrieking Shack Hermione stopped and fell to the ground, tears rushing out uncontrollably. Harry knelt down and held her close as she cried out all of her sorrow soaking Harry’s shirt with tears. Harry felt a few tears break through his own defences before he recomposed himself. Hermione needed him to be strong right now. Carefully wiping the tears from his own face he helped Hermione up.
“Come on, we are nearly there. Once we leave when can rest.” He supported her the rest of the way down the tunnel stopping once they reached the Shack. “You ready?” He asked her softly. Hermione nodded slowly and with a turn and a crack, they vanished into thin air.
A/N: Well after quite some time, chapter one gets a slight reworking. What does everyone think? Does it still work? Hopefully it moves a little quicker than before. Can't believe I had all that chatting in there after what had just happened. Harry wouldn't care to explain everything, he'd just want to end Voldemort.
And if you think I was mean for killing Ron and Ginny wait 'til you read chapter 2. Muhahaha
Extra Disclaimer: The interchange between Harry and Voldemort is partially from from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Chapter 36 - The Flaw In The Plan written by J.K. Rowling and published by Bloomsbury publishing.