Severus hurriedly dragged his crying charge out into the darkened corridor as Draco knelt next to Ron, waiting for McGonagall and Dumbledore to show up. Before climbing out the portrait hole with Harry, Severus instructed Draco not to open the locked dormitory doors and let the people banging on the other side out. The last thing Harry needed was onlookers to see what he had done. Severus didn’t think he could stand to see Harry demonized. Somewhere in the back of his mind the father in him thought of the possibility that they could somehow cover this up, though he knew as a teacher he could not make that happen without losing his job and possibly being locked up for trying.
Harry’s sobs echoed down the otherwise quiet halls and resonated deep within Severus. Harry just might have killed Ron this night had Draco not come tearing into his office mere minutes before. And why? They hadn’t had time for questions; Draco had only said that Harry was about to kill Ron. It pained him to know this, but Severus hadn’t doubted for a second the truth in Draco’s words. Harry was capable of murder… he would have to be if he wanted to live through this war with the Dark Lord. Perhaps it was not only the fact that Harry was his son that made the boy’s cries of agony run their course through his veins so painfully, but the fact that Severus himself had sobbed so many times over the many lives he himself had taken. Even the blood of Lily and James was on his hands… that was a stain that could never be washed off without the help of some eternal all-powerful being.
Harry could barely stand to be within his own skin as Severus mostly carried him through the castle to some unknown destination. He wanted to just crawl up inside himself and die for the hatred and shame that overtook him. How had it come to this? How could he ever come to the resignation that it was ok to take somebody’s life, even if they had so wronged or offended him that they deserved it? Was he God? Did he now reserve the right for himself to take lives as he pleased?
Though he continued to half drown in the misery of his own sobs, Harry was dimly aware that he was being lead into an empty classroom now and being sat down on a chair, though Severus never let go of him for a second as he sat down with him. Perhaps Severus’ tight embrace was the only thing keeping Harry from giving up within himself and dying right there. “It’s ok son, I’m here.” To Severus’ dismay this only served to make Harry cry harder in the darkness. Severus simply let him cry, knowing there really were no words to make this seem better. If he didn’t have to be strong for Harry he might have put his head in his hands or even pulled out that aged bottle of moonshine he kept locked in the bottom drawer of his desk… there was a good possibility that Harry would be expelled and possibly locked up in Azkaban for this. He didn’t know if he could deal with that.
It wasn’t long before Dumbledore rushed into the room with his night robes on. He knelt next to Severus and said urgently but quietly, “What has happened Severus?” His worried gaze had rested on Harry the moment he had entered the room, and refused to leave the site of the broken boy.
“I don’t know.” Suddenly his voice was betraying the calm visage he was trying to give Harry to hang onto. It wasn’t everyday that he had to explain that his son had tried to murder another student… in fact, it was the first time that he had ever had to explain away his son’s behavior… and again he was reminded that now he had a son… two of them.
Harry had half quieted himself now. Somewhere in his muddied mind he was told to pay attention, because his fate was involved now. It would be the Headmaster’s decision weather or not he would be expelled, and Dumbledore also had a lot of pull with the Ministry in legal matters involving students.
Quietly Dumbledore’s eyes asked for Severus’ permission to speak with Harry. Severus could not hide his surprise at being consulted like this when Dumbledore knew he could do as he pleased in a matter like this involving a student. Severus looked at Harry and gave a single nod however, seeing as how Harry had quieted now.
“Harry, can you explain this?” the elder man asked gently.
Harry was nowhere near feeling up to explaining his murderous rampage, and so chose not to respond, even with a nod or an acknowledgement of the Headmaster at all.
The two professor’s eyes met briefly in concern again before Severus tightened his grip once again on his son’s shoulders. “I think he needs some rest. Is it at all possible to do this in the morning sir?” Not for the first time that night Harry suddenly felt grateful for Severus being there.
The Headmaster nodded and said quietly, “Take him somewhere where he will feel safe enough to sleep, and give him a dreamless sleep potion. Mr. Weasley will be fine, but I need to speak to Minerva and contact his parents. We will forego questioning Mr. Malfoy tonight as well.”
Severus nodded, and stood as the Headmaster left and looked down at Harry. “Come on son,” he cajoled gently, lifting Harry from under one arm. Harry let himself be coaxed out of his seat and out into the corridor, never once meeting his father’s eyes.
Draco had nearly paced a rut in the stone floor of Severus’ office by the time he heard them coming down the dungeon corridor. His head popped quickly into the corridor just as Severus was opening the door to his quarters and moving Harry inside.
“Dad!” In the excitement of seeing Harry ok it slipped out, and Draco bit his lip for a moment as both Severus and Harry looked up, although Harry’s shame at beating Draco overtook him again and he looked down to the floor immediately again. “Are you ok Harry?” Draco hurried over to him. He had a black eye, and dried blood crusted in several places on his face, although he had managed to wipe the blood from under his nose before it had crusted up. Severus noted that he needed to take care of Draco’s injuries after putting Harry to bed. He motioned the blond inside and gently nudged Harry in the back to get him moving.
This was the first time either of the boy’s had seen his quarters. They were spacious and had two rooms leading off of the living room, one bedroom and a large bathroom. Draco paused inside the entrance for a moment in awe, wondering if all the professors had such large living arrangements, before he turned his attention to Harry again, who had let himself be set down on the worn brown couch in the center of the room.
Severus was busy rummaging through a cabinet against one wall, and Draco wondered if Harry would talk to him if he started up a conversation. Finally the Potion’s Master gave up on his search and abandoned the cabinet. Into Draco’s ear he quietly murmured, “Watch him. I will return shortly,” and then he disappeared back into the hall beyond the entrance.
Draco was suddenly filled with both pride and concern. Pride that Severus trusted him enough with such an important task, and concern that it was such an important task to watch Harry. Did he think that Harry might hurt himself… or possibly go after Ron again? He fidgeted uncomfortably. Had Harry lost it for good? It wasn’t long before Severus returned however and made Harry drink a potion before leading him into the bedroom. He was gone for a few minutes, and then returned after closing the bedroom door.
Finally away from Harry and the need to be strong for his broken charge, he allowed his hand to meet his head. Draco was definitely not accustomed to seeing his Head of House in distress, but knew that tonight warranted such feelings.
After a few moments, Severus turned his attention to his other charge. “Sit. I will get some salve to put on your bruises.” He returned to the open cabinet and pulled a tin from it, before closing the doors. “Is anything broken?” Severus asked as he came around the couch and sat on the coffee table in front of Draco, opening the tin of salve up.
Draco shook his head. “I don’t think so,” he paused in thought for a second and then said, “I didn’t know he could hit that hard. I don’t know how long I was out for even…”
Severus looked up. “He knocked you out?” Draco nodded and Severus sighed. He rose again and returned from the cabinet a moment later with a phial half full of silver liquid. “Drink this. You probably have a concussion and this will ensure that you do not slip into a coma after you go to sleep.”
Draco took it and drank before Severus began applying the clear salve to Draco’s black eye and the side of his face, which was fast becoming one large bruise instead of several small ones.
“Do you think he’ll be ok… dad?” Draco tried the name again, deciding that he liked it and was no longer angry with Severus. He had after all been there in Draco and Harry’s time of need. Perhaps it wasn’t necessary that a parent know his child completely… only that he be there for him when needed.
“I don’t know. I am still unclear about what has happened,” Severus admitted as he began applying a second layer of salve to his son’s face bruises.
“Harry was convinced that Ron had been torturing him in his sleep every night with the cruciatus and spilling everybody’s secrets all over the castle.”
Severus paused for a moment with the salve, and said, “What would make him think that?”
“He thought that Ron was dream sharing with everybody. I tried to tell him that it doesn’t work like that because you have to be willing, but…”
Severus held up a hand, cutting him off. “Dream sharing? Tell me the spell that you speak of.” It was not a request, and Draco got the feeling from the tone in his voice that somebody was going to be in big trouble.
“Hyutua conichulia,” he repeated, just as he had done earlier in the week.
“Where did you learn this spell from?” Again Draco got the feeling that somebody was going to be in trouble, and he didn’t want it to be Ginny. Nevertheless his father’s words and gaze were urgent, and he was compelled to tell him the truth.
“Ginny. And she learned it from Hermione, who’s been doing dream sharing with Ron so that they can get more time together. But it’s no big deal, because Ron can’t have been doing that to Harry because you have to agree-”
“It is a VERY big deal Draco!” He suddenly cut him off. “This is very dark Egyptian magic you are dealing with. And you don’t have to agree to use it in order for someone to slip into your dreams. This is the magic that Voldemort sometimes uses to get into people’s dreams. This is magic that is forbidden to be in books in the Library, even in the Forbidden section. If students are using it, then somebody had to have learned it from someone dark.”
Draco averted his eyes to the floor for a moment before looking back at Severus. “I… I didn’t know. I thought it was harmless, I…” he had tried very hard to stay away from dark magic. He had hated learning dark spells from his father when he was a child, and had never once used them after he had been forced to learn them. And now he and Ginny had been using it for an entire week.
“I believe you,” came Severus’ sincere reply. He stood quickly and said, “I must see the Headmaster. If Mr. Weasley really has been using this spell to get into Harry’s dreams…” he trailed off. How awful. Harry must have been enduring the pain of the cruciatus even in his waking moments if it was being used on him like this in his sleep.
“Wait.” Draco stood up too. “Ron appeared in mine and Ginny’s dream every single time we dream shared… he never said anything or even seemed angry… he was just… indifferent. He looked at us and then walked off.”
Severus thought on this for a moment, and then nodded. “Please stay here with Harry. Do not let him leave. I do not expect him to wake before morning, but if he should…”
“Got it,” Draco nodded, accepting his duty for the time being as his brother’s keeper.
If Severus’ mind was not so busy with the possibility of Ronald Weasley being a death eater, his heart would have swelled with pride to see such a change in Draco from the boy he knew just a year ago. Before he stepped out the door into the hall, he turned and said, “Good night son.”
Draco looked up, and let the feeling of being owned as somebody’s son wash over him once again. It was a good feeling. Then his father left, and Draco was left alone, wishing Ginny were here by his side.
* * *
In the morning Harry awoke to find himself laying in somebody else’s very large bed. Where was he? Confused he stood and looked around the room, before realizing the gravity of the situation he had gotten himself into, and the reality of his circumstances once again came crashing down over him. Momentarily he considered going back to sleep just so he could awake and once again have the peace of mind that comes with not realizing what exactly is going on. He sat on the edge of the bed and readied himself for the possibility that aurors might be coming through the door at any moment to take him away. He felt for his wand and didn’t find it. Had they already snapped it in two? He had no idea.
When aurors had failed to appear after ten minutes, Harry stood and made his way into the living room, where he found Draco asleep on the couch. Draco must have been sleeping very lightly, because after a moment he woke and looked around until he found Harry standing by the bedroom door. He sat up and rubbed his eyes. Harry noticed that the bruises that had masked the blonde’s face the night before were almost gone.
Quietly Harry moved to sit on the opposite end of the couch. They sat silently for a few minutes before Harry asked, “Do I still go to school here?”
“Er…I think so.” Draco wasn’t sure if Harry was all right or not. He seemed normal… if not a little depressed. “So… are you going to be ok?” he asked, feeling awkward about the question.
Harry scratched his head. “I guess I’ll have time to think about it in Azkaban.”
Draco frowned and shook his head. “Oh no. I don’t think you’re the one going to Azkaban. If anyone’s going its Ron.”
Bewildered Harry finally looked up at Draco. “Ron?” Draco went on to explain about the dream sharing spell and how it was dark magic from Egypt.
Were it not from that dead feeling that was weighing him down, perhaps an aftereffect of the potion, Harry thought that his stomach would be on fire with rage again. But he knew that should he escape sentence to Azkaban, he could never again let himself be so overtaken with anger, not even if he was forced to endure the cruciatus for days on end. It was not ok to decide to take another’s life.
At that moment Severus appeared through the entrance to the quarters and took in the site of his two sons sitting on the couch. He paused for a moment before moving to sit on the coffee table once more as he had done the night before when attending to Draco’s bruises. Looking Harry directly in the eyes he said quietly, “The Headmaster wants to speak with you.” Harry nodded.
“Am I going to prison?”
With a heavy sigh Severus brought his hand up to his forehead. “I think not, but you must know how lucky you are considering what you have done.”
Harry hung his head and nodded. He knew he deserved to be in Azkaban… he probably deserved worse than that. “Is Ron going to Azkaban?” he looked up again as he asked this.
“No. Harry…” he paused, wanting to say something else to his son, but discarded it, knowing it was not the right time. “We must go to see the Headmaster. He wants to ask you some questions.”
Suddenly Harry felt more afraid of the wizened wizard, even knowing now that he was not going to Azkaban. Maybe it was the shame that still filled him. “Dad, I don’t know if I can do this.”
Severus reached out and put a hand on Harry’s shoulder. “I will be with you. You needn’t fear anything.”
Harry had no idea how to explain the way he felt… was it fear? Was it shame? It was something very nasty. It took Harry a few moments to realize that it was hatred for himself that was eating him alive.
Severus stood and Harry, taking his cue, did the same. Draco also rose, unsure if he was supposed to come or not. “The headmaster wishes to speak to you as well Draco. Come, both of you. They followed him out of the quarters and into the dim stone corridor beyond.
In the entrance hall Harry had to avert his eyes when he spied Mr. and Mrs. Weasley entering through the front doors. They had seen him though and Mrs. Weasley was hurrying over to him. “Harry! Are you all right? What happened? They said somebody attacked Ronald last night. Do you know who?”
Harry was speechless. He wasn’t sure what to say. Did he lie, and then let them find out the truth from Ron or Dumbledore? Or did he tell them the truth and have to endure their looks of disbelief. Could he stand being disowned by his once surrogate family? Severus suddenly had his hand on Harry’s shoulder however and was saying to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, “Harry has been summoned to the Headmaster’s office. He needs to get there right away as this is a time sensitive matter. My apologies Molly…”
She nodded and was about to say something when Ginny’s voice rang out across the hall. “Mom! Dad! Then she spied Draco and ran down the stairs, meeting his open arms much to the surprise of Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. “I heard you were hurt. Are you ok?” As she said this, Harry’s hatred and shame of himself was again renewed with such ferocity that he again thought he might as well crawl up inside himself and die of it.
“I’m fine,” Draco told her, squeezing her tightly. “Just some bruises but they’re almost gone.
Harry thought that Severus must be growing impatient now, but instead of ushering them along, he spoke to Draco quietly. “Harry will be awhile Draco, so you have some time before the Headmaster wishes to speak to you. Do not be too long though.”
Draco nodded, and Severus could not fail to notice the gleam of gratitude in his son’s eyes. Did Ginny mean that much to him?
“Excuse us.” Not wanting to put Harry under more scrutiny from the Weasleys, Severus steered the boy up the marble steps and towards the Headmaster’s office.
“What’s going to happen to me?” he asked when they were alone in an empty hall.
“I have spoken to the Headmaster, and under the circumstances he feels you should be allowed to remain at the school, especially considering the danger currently gathering outside the school’s protective wards.”
Harry stopped and Severus almost walked into the back of him. “What do you mean?”
Possibilities of setting Harry over the edge again came to the Potion Master’s mind as he considered whether or not to tell Harry the full extent of what was going on. He finally decided that it was in Harry’s best interest to be honest with him, and that Harry would be able to handle it. “Ronald Weasley is not the death eater that you saw torturing you in your dreams.”
Harry listened intently, waiting for the truth, and so Severus continued. “Ron learned the dream sharing spell from his brother Percy. The Headmaster has long suspected Percy of being a traitor and spy for the Dark Lord, and when he disappeared during the Ministry attack, his suspicions seemed to be confirmed. This alone would not have been enough to condemn him, but he was later seen in the company of Lucius Malfoy. The Dark Lord knew he could no longer enter your dreams himself because you had placed wards around yourself, so he taught Percy many dark magiks. Even Percy could not enter your mind, because you were warded against direct entry from death eaters. This is why he taught Ron dream sharing. He knew that eventually Ron would do this with Hermione, and knew it was only a matter of time before the magic spread throughout the school. Once Ginny and Draco began dream sharing, then Percy was able to disguise himself as Ron and jump from Ron’s dreams to Ginny’s, to Draco’s and then into yours, because you were not suspecting an attack from Draco.”
Harry was shocked, but was so emotionally exhausted from the last week that he could not muster the strength to show the shock on his face. “So it was Percy. Where is he now?”
“We do not know, but our sources tell us that the Dark Lord readies an attack on the castle even now.”
“What are we doing about it?”
Severus looked his son in the eyes. “We are waiting Harry. That is all we can do.”
“But shouldn’t we be getting people out of the castle? Can’t we apparate them somewhere… out of the country or something?”
“No Harry.” Harry turned to find Dumbledore standing behind him, waiting patiently. Harry wasn’t sure what to say to him, or if he even dared look at him. The old man’s crystal gaze made him feel as if he was being looked right through to his soul, and he didn’t know if he could endure it just now… or maybe he couldn’t endure the look of disappointment he imagined to be in his eyes.
“Are you all right my boy?” he asked after Harry was silent for long moments.
Harry looked down to his shoes. “Yes.”
“I am glad,” he said softly. “I see that your father has already spoken to you. I need a word with him for a few moments. Would you do me a favor?”
Harry looked up. “Yes.” He supposed it didn’t matter what the favor was, because he wanted to redeem himself in the eyes of both Severus and Dumbledore.
“Please wait for us in the hospital wing.” Momentarily he wondered if there were people waiting for him in the Hospital wing to take him away in a straight jacket, but he decided that Severus wouldn’t let that happen to him, and moved off down the hall towards the hospital wing.
When Harry first slipped inside Madam Pomfrey’s domain, he believed the ward to be empty, but then he spied an orange head, and saw Ron sitting on the edge of the bed nearest the farthest wall, just staring out the window. Harry was rooted to the spot. Did he dare approach his former friend and brother? What if Madam Pomfrey was nearby? Would she see him advancing on Ron and think he was sneaking in for another attack? He would never be able to explain himself if she saw him that way. And yet, Dumbledore knew Ron must be in here recovering from his injuries, and he at least, trusted Harry enough to send him to the Hospital wing alone. Mind swirling, Harry stayed put, unsure of what to do.
“Come to finish me off?” Ron’s voice was quiet, and he didn’t turn around. Harry didn’t answer right away because he wasn’t sure what to say.
“Not really,” he told the back of the orange head awkwardly.
“Well you might as well… I’m a dark wizard now… in case your dad didn’t tell you, I’m the one that brought dark magic into the school.”
There was a long, pregnant pause as Harry wondered what to say next. “Have they been hard on you?”
Finally Ron turned around to look at Harry. “Not hard enough. They couldn’t spare any aurors… something bigger than me going on somewhere else I guess.”
Deciding that since they were speaking it would be ok to walk nearer to Ron, Harry took a few steps forward, and then his feet were leading him to the bed next to Ron’s, where he sat down facing him. “I’d like to think it’s bigger than both of us… I wish it were. My dad said Voldemort was preparing an attack on us right now. That’s all I got from him though.”
Ron’s brows met in concern and Harry was sure that for a moment his worry and uncertainty about his future was gone just as it had been for Harry as he realized the gravity of the impending attack.
“It’s gonna be a big one,” Ron said quietly. “I can’t believe Percy will be on the other side of things… what do I do when I come face to face with him in battle? I don’t think I can… you know, do him in.”
Harry looked Ron straight in the eye. “Maybe you won’t have to. One of the aurors might get him, or he might not be in the battle at all. I’m still hoping Professor Dumbledore has something up his sleeve to hide us all from whoever’s going to be trying to knock the door down.
“Can’t we handle it ourselves? Just like last year?”
Harry shrugged. “I don’t know. A lot has changed since then. The ministry is ruined, the aurors are off somewhere…” here he wanted to point out that things had greatly changed in their personal lives as well, but was sure it would be too awkward.
“Harry I-” Ron paused, unsure if he could say what he wanted to to the boy sitting across from him… the boy that had been driven to the edge and had gone over temporarily before being dragged back to sanity. Harry looked up and met his eyes, and knew what he was going to say. He waved Ron’s attempt at apologizing away. “It’s ok Ron.”
“No, it isn’t. I can’t believe what I did this year. I can’t believe what a prat I acted like. I’m so stupid.”
Harry grinned a little sheepishly. “Me too.”
“Do you think anyone will buy it if I tell them Percy had me under an Imperius all year?” Harry wasn’t sure if Ron was serious or if it was in jest, and so he laughed.
“I don’t think so… maybe if the twins were still around…”
Ron laughed too.
“I am sorry Harry.”
Harry nodded. “Me too.”
It was then that Harry believed the world to be ending there in their own little corner of it. His space in the world was being obliterated in an explosion of stone and glass, and he and Ron were being thrown into the air, perhaps even into the dark ages. And Harry would have believed that too because of the darkness that overtook him as he landed on the ground with a sickening crunch, wood and small bits of stone raining down over him as he tried to shield his face with his arms.
“Harry! Harry!” His mind was filled with fog and uncertainty. He could hear Ron’s voice in the distance, calling him back to the world of the conscious. Ron shook his arm hard. “Harry, you can’t be dead, wake up!”
Harry opened his eyes. “What happened?”
“I don’t know,” Ron said, his voiced tinged with anxiety. “I think its happening. They’re coming!”
Harry sat up with help from Ron, whom he noticed had a nice bleeding gash on his left temple. He looked around and saw the gaping hole in the wall where the window used to be. Together he and Ron moved to the hole that was twice as tall as they were and at least 12 feet across, and looked out over the castle and grounds. They didn’t see any death eaters, or for that fact, anyone at all. And yet, they heard another explosion, and somewhere beneath them they heard more crumbling stone and breaking glass.
“Where are they?” Ron asked himself, “Where is the fire coming from?”
Just as Harry was thinking that Voldemort couldn’t be close by because he didn’t feel any pain in his scar, his forehead seared and he felt as if his head were going to be split in two.
“Aarg!” Ron turned as Harry grabbed his forehead.
“Is he here? Where?”
Harry shook his head thinking that it was a stupid question. It wasn’t like his scar was a compass or map and he knew exactly where Voldemort was. And yet, somehow he did know. He couldn’t explain it, but he knew that Voldemort was there in the castle, somewhere below them. It was like the pit of his stomach had a falling feeling and he knew he needed to go down to get rid of it.
“Down,” Harry said. Ron looked at the floor, as if he was seeing right through it, and for a moment Harry wondered if Percy had taught Ron some kind of x-ray vision like the superheroes in the Muggle movies.
A moment later Ron stood up and looked as if he had mentally prepared himself to go into battle, possibly against his brother, and likely for his life. “Half of wizarding Britain is down there in the guest rooms… we can’t just stay here.” There was a resolve in his voice that Harry had never heard before.
Harry nodded and got to his feet. Ron searched in the rubble for his wand near where it had been sitting on the bedside table, and found it under some stuffing from the mattress. “Don’t die, ok?” He looked very serious as he said this to Harry.
With another small nod, Harry said, “You either.” And then they hurried out of the Hospital wing, Ron transfiguring his pajamas and slippers into day clothes as they went.
They had only to turn a corner in the corridor before screams and frantic cries of students and civilians alike met their ears. The halls were filled with people scurrying from room to room searching for lost friends or children, and most importantly, safety. There was an ominous rumble and Harry was sure that they had just lost another sizeable chunk of the castle.
The further down they went the more impeded they became as the halls became more crowded. Harry’s scar seared hotter as they descended through the castle.
“Well, where is he at?” Ron asked loudly as a group of first years hurried past, ushered by the arithmancy teacher into the center of the castle, where no walls had been destroyed yet.
“I don’t know. We’re getting closer though.” Harry had hoped to find his father and Draco on their way to meet Voldemort, because he felt strengthened by their presence, just as he did by Ron’s, but in the chaos and crowds there were no sign of them. Were they searching the crowd for him somewhere?
Somewhere close by they heard another explosion and Harry was sure the entire castle was shaking, as he was sure it was the largest yet. A stream of people ran in the opposite direction, making it hard for Harry and Ron to make their way up stream toward the fighting.
They rounded a corner on the second floor and finally saw three hooded death eaters aiming their wands at the walls and causing them to explode with angry orange and red bursts from their wands. Two of them were laughing as they walked down the hall destroying the school. Harry pulled Ron into a broom cupboard they had once hidden in from Filch and Mrs. Norris, and luckily they went unseen as the death eaters passed by.
“Handy, this,” Ron said of the closet as they left it, also remembering the times they had hidden there before.
They were almost to the grand marble steps that lead down to the main floor when another crowd of people pushed against them going the opposite direction as blasts of magic fired over their heads. In the throng of terrified cries they heard Hermione’s voice.
“Ron! Harry!” They tried to get to her but the flow of the crowd was too strong and she was being pulled away from them. “Get to safety Hermione!” Ron shouted to her as she disappeared back the way he and Harry had come.
Suddenly Harry was pulling Ron down to the ground as death eaters appeared in pursuit of the group of students that had just passed, and Ron was shouting in pain. Harry hadn’t been quick enough and Ron had been hit with a nasty spell that had cut a deep gash across his shoulder.
“Crap, Hermione’s going to kill me if I die,” Ron wailed as he hugged the ground trying to stay as low as he could and out of harms way as Harry fired over his head and hit a death eater square in the face with a fire boil hex. The death eater grabbed his face and ran straight into a wall with a loud crash before falling to the floor. One of the two remaining death eaters was hit from behind with a sizzling orange light and fell to the floor, and Harry took care of the third one with an expeliarmus and a petrificus totalis. He pulled Ron to his feet and they ran on. Harry spotted Severus and a sixth year Hufflepuff in an intense battle against a humongous death eater, and he suspected that it had been Severus who had knocked out one of Harry and Ron’s attackers.
Severus only caught a glimpse of his son and his former best friend running down the hall before he was forced to deal with the man in front of him shooting flames at him from his wand. Where Harry and Weasley were going he could only assume was into the battle somewhere, and he hoped it wasn’t to find Voldemort.
Finally Harry and Ron were on the ground floor, but Harry’s stomach still felt as if it were falling, so he and Ron dodged several spells as they passed Dumbledore and several older students from other houses battling a number of death eaters, and ran through the entrance to the Dungeons.
The stairwell leading to the under parts of the school were a stark contrast from the raging battle filled halls they had just left. In fact, they were eerily quiet. Had the death eaters left the dungeons alone because they knew that Slytherin’s resided there? Or perhaps Slytherin house had emptied and had ascended up to the rest of the school to fight with their families against all that was good and right?
At the bottom of the stairs Harry and Ron stopped, listening for any sound that could mean danger.
“It’s too quiet,” Ron said flatly. Harry nodded.
“There’s got to be a lower part of the school… we’re still not low enough.”
“There’s the one lower dungeon,” Ron suggested. There was indeed one lower dungeon classroom that was sometimes used for classes brewing extremely explosive and hazardous potions.
“It’s flooded,” Harry told him. “Last term one of the 4th years mixed something wrong and flooded it with magical never drying water.”
Not wanting to stand still they moved off, not in any particular direction. Harry just didn’t want to be a target standing there in the open.
“Wait!” Ron had half shouted and in the silence of the halls it was enough to make Harry jump.
“What about the stairs we came up in our first year? There’s got to be a door to them down here somewhere… the ones that lead to the caves under the castle where the underground part of the Black Lake is. Remember?”
Harry nodded and thought hard. He couldn’t remember the path they had traveled six and a half years ago. Had it really been that long since Hagrid had lead the scared group of first years up to the Great Hall from the fleet of rowboats to be sorted?
“Let’s walk until we find it.”
They checked every door they came to, and doubled back several times to check behind tapestries for hidden doors, as well as take different, smaller corridors. Finally they found an unlocked door in a cramped little corridor with a low ceiling.
“I think this is it,” Harry said, pulling the door open. The smell of damp earth and the blast of cold air that met them confirmed it. At the same time Harry’s scar gave another searing pain that threatened to overtake him.
“Ron, you should go back.” Harry didn’t want to be responsible for his death. Funny, he thought to himself, how he hadn’t thought of that the night before when he had been the one about to become a murderer.
Gripping his still bleeding arm tightly, Ron shook his head. “You can’t make me leave my best friend again.” And there was that solid resolve in his voice again. Harry knew it was unshakeable and so he nodded, and lead off through the small door and down the thousand stairs.
As Harry knew they must be getting close to the bottom soon, he felt the dropping sensation in his stomach lessen bit by bit, and finally it had gone when they reached the bottom step. “He’s here.”
The massive cave was mostly dark except for the reflection of the lake that played on the ceiling and walls. It was exceptionally cold and Harry wondered for a moment if there were any dementors in the cave with them.
“Where is he?” Ron’s voice was quiet now and some of the resolve had gone, but Harry still detected it there.
“UGH, ARRRRG!” Harry screamed, dropping to his knees suddenly as his head was surely splitting open from the pain within.
“Harry? Harry!” Ron hit his knees next to his friend, unsure of what was happening.
A nastily strange sensation came over Harry, and grew every second… he felt oily, and dirty. His mind and heart felt muddied and he felt like there were pieces of himself missing. Even stranger was that he felt like more than himself… he felt like two people. It was several moments before Harry realized what was happening to him and he began to struggle against the takeover of his mind and body.
“You are mine Harry Potter, do not struggle anymore,” came the silky, oily voice within his own mind.
“AGH!” Harry screamed aloud, and pulled his hair as hard as he could… he had to get out of this body… he had to get out of his body if Voldemort was there in it with him. He would rip himself in two if he had to. He didn’t know how, but his heart felt black, and his mind giddy with excitement and anticipation. As hard as he tried to force Voldemort out, he couldn’t do it, and then Voldemort was standing him up and pulling out his wand calmly. Harry screamed for Ron to run but no scream issued from his mouth. Instead he felt Voldemort using his body to say, “I am here Ronald Weasley… right where I have always been.” Harry felt his hand lift up to touch the scar on his forehead. Through his eyes he saw Ron’s brow crease as he held his bleeding arm.
“No,” he said, “Lord Voldemort! How else would I know where I was, unless I was myself?” And there was that giddy excitement that Harry had felt from him, coming through in his tone.
Harry struggled with all his might to stay Voldemort’s hand from lifting his wand and to keep his mouth from saying those fatal words that had killed his parents, but the wand was still lifting and his mouth was still forming words. Instead Harry concentrated his entire being on keeping Voldemort from uttering those words. Instead a simple Jelly legs jinx came from his wand and hit Ron’s legs, and then Voldemort was cursing and using his mind to cause Harry extreme pain in every part of his soul and being.
Because Voldemort was in his head, Harry knew where the other wizard’s true body was, and was able to pull his strength together to force his body to look at it, standing on the edge of the lake in a shadow where Harry and Ron had not seen it before. And then he was walking to it. Was it really Harry making his body move, or was it Voldemort? Ron looked on in horror, his legs immobilized.
“Yes, it is a fine specimen of a body Harry,” Voldemort was saying aloud with Harry’s mouth, mistaking Harry’s want to get to it for admiration. “Though now it is a mere shell waiting for my return.” He stepped in front of it and looked it up and down, full of pride in what he had transformed it into… neither living or dead it could not be killed.
And then he was running his hand up the sleeve of the long black robe and down again, and then taking hold of the arm. “It was here in this very cave that I preformed the first spell to make myself invincible you know.” Harry’s other hand took hold of the other arm, and when it gripped it too tightly for comfort Voldemort figured out what was happening. As he had stood admiring himself, Harry had grabbed hold of his body and was now leaning his own body backwards towards the lake. It was too late, Voldemort could not get balance and Harry, he, and the shell of Voldemort fell into the Black Lake.
“YOU INSOLENT LITTLE MUDBLOOD!” Voldemort was screaming in Harry’s ear as they sank. He could feel Voldemort struggling to retake control of his body, but Harry was struggling not to let him.
“You think you will kill me Potter, just as your parents, but history has a way of repeating itself, especially when God has control, and I am your GOD!” Voldemort seemed confident as they struggled, still sinking deeper and deeper. Harry didn’t answer, and instead concentrated on more important tasks. The energy he had once poured into getting out of his body, he now poured into keeping Voldemort in it. Funny how it seemed so long ago that they had been standing on the shore and Harry struggled to get out.
“Do not think that you will win!” Voldemort screamed in his mind again. Harry felt the last of his breath slipping away and saw the last of the light at the surface of the lake slipping away with it, and finally said, “I already have.”
Too late, Voldemort realized that he would not regain control of Harry’s body, and that Harry would not let him regain control of his own shell of a body, which he held tightly in his arms as they sank. “Goodbye,” Harry told Voldemort, and then all he knew was darkness, and then he knew no more.
On the cave floor Ron struggled to pull himself to the edge of the lake. “Harry! Harry!” He couldn’t even feel the gash in his arm anymore, and he felt weak from the loss of blood, but he couldn’t let Harry die. Thinking only of the friend he had only an hour before regained, he pulled himself into the icy lake, and tried to swim with only his arms. He only got a few feet from the cave floor however when he realized that he wouldn’t even be able to get back to the shore because his legs were all locked up and his wand was broken in two from when he had fallen to the floor and landed on it.
“Harry!” He struggled to keep his head above water and failed as he swallowed a large mouthful of it. “Ha… ry!” Ron slipped under the surface and struggled to get back to the top but couldn’t, not without his legs and not without any energy. This was it for him, he thought, and he was both scared and saddened that his life was ending like this…
He kept his eyes open, hoping to spot Harry coming to his rescue. He was surprised when something grabbed the neck of his shirt and dragged him back to the surface. He spluttered and coughed up water, thankful that Harry had gotten to him in time. When he turned and saw Draco’s face however, he struggled against him. “No! Get off! I have to get Harry!”
Draco kept a firm grip on him and swam him to shore. Ron was surprised just how far away from the cave floor he had gotten. Without a word Draco climbed out of the water and hauled Ron onto the cold wet stone.
“What do you mean you have to get Harry?”
Ron was sobbing quietly now, head in his hands. He looked up to Draco’s confused face and pointed to the lake. “He’s down there! He grabbed Voldemort and they went in! Voldemort had control of his body!” Why he was screaming, he didn’t know. He knew there was no chance of saving his friend now… he had been down there too long… it had been hours already, or maybe just minutes, he didn’t even know.
Suddenly Draco felt sick to his stomach because he knew somehow that it was true, although he longed to call Ron a liar and tell him off for playing such a nasty joke on him. But it had been Ron’s distant screams that had drawn him down the dark stairwell and into the lake. This was it, his brother was really gone. And by the way that Ron sobbed; he could tell that Ron felt the same way. He put his hand on Ron’s shoulder and took a deep breath, finding it strange that it was so difficult for him to breath. He had lost the person who had saved him from himself… who was supposed to be his family now?
A/N: I know, shocking right? I'm not very good at writing battle scenes, so I'm very sorry if the battle was sorely lacking. Let me know what you thought of the chapter overall. Two short chapters left! They will be up soon!
Write a Review Brothers in Blood: Father and Sons: The Traitor