“Oh, bugger!” Ron swore as he ran at a sprint down the wet cobblestone streets of Diagon Alley, curses exploding around him.
“Leap frog!” Harry shouted directing Ron into their standard retreat tactic; one would shield and the other would move. This was yet another new tactical flourish Ron added to their arsenal. “Protego!”
Ron slowed his sprint and turned, “Reducto! Protego!” as Harry sped past him, taking up a new position. They’d planned on catching all the remaining Death Eaters, but had never dreamt in their worst nightmares there would be so many.
“Forty! At least!” Ron shouted in utter disbelief. “What idiot came up with this brilliant plan?”
“You did mate,” Harry retorted, casting yet another shield charm, followed by several stunning spells as they continued their retreat.
“HARRY!” Ron shouted a warning, and then “Impedimenta!” just as a Death Eater Apparated behind his best mate.
“Thanks! Protego! Stupefy!” Harry blasted another Death Eater trying to blind side Ron. A killing curse flew by Harry’s head and exploded into Flourish and Blotts.
“They’re not playing. But at least their aim is terrible. Deprimo! Protego!” Ron shouted over the din of the battle. A group of Death Eaters were blown backwards by the whirlwind Ron had conjured. Luckily for Ron and Harry, the most dangerous Death Eaters were already dead or imprisoned. That made their problems more manageable, but just barely.
“Could use that help on Firebolts,” Harry muttered as he cast another curse at the oncoming mass.
“Too soon. We gotta keep moving. Protego!”
Harry continued his retreat, finally reaching the mouth of the alley where their ambush and safety awaited. Just as he turned to cover Ron, a lone Death Eater appeared at the head of the assault.
“Dammit, Harry, NO!” Ron shouted.
Harry hurled his curse just as Yaxley loosed his.
We don’t have time for this! Ron seethed.
Harry and Yaxley’s wands locked, energy pulsing between them. Locked wands were all well and good for one-on-one duels, but in a battle like this, Harry was an easy target for the horde of Death Eaters not engaged in the fight. What galled Ron the most was that it was Harry himself who had repeatedly drilled this lesson into all of his Aurors.
“Protego!” Ron’s shield spell struggled to hold off the onslaught of curses that were being hurled at his partner from all sides. But there were two things Ron did masterfully. One was tactical planning. The other was watching Harry’s back.
Harry was aware of the danger, but knew he had to gamble. The Death Eater’s were too spread out. Reaching into his robes, he pulled out his spare wand, crossed it over his Holly and Phoenix Feather wand and nonverbally, Disgorgio! A white-hot bolt of lightning burst from the two wands, traveling up the energy link connecting the two duelers. The explosion leveled Yaxley and the Death Eater’s surrounding them.
“Bloody show off!” Ron spat. “Leap frog!”
Harry smiled as he sped down the alley. “Had to be done, mate. Look.” Despite the recklessness of Harry’s actions, the ploy worked. As Yaxley regained his feet, his face was contorted into a grimace of pure rage. All caution was thrown to the wind as he ordered his men to bunch and charge after the two fleeing Aurors.
Ron turned to run, diving out of the way of an Expulso curse that was entirely too close for comfort. As he struggled to keep his footing, a Death Eater Apparated right in front of him. Ron cast a strength spell non-verbally and dealt the dark wizard a vicious roundhouse to the jaw, Ron’s clenched fist wrapped around his wand.
“Nice one, mate,” Harry said, as he leapfrogged past him, shouting Protego! covering his partner.
Still sprinting, Ron lifted his wand overhead as sparks shot into the dark London skies over Diagon Alley.
The Death Eaters continued their pursuit, hurling hex and curse as Harry covered Ron’s casting. Breaking their spells, at a run, Ron and Harry dived behind the stoop of a small cauldron shop as killing curses exploded around them. The barrage was so thick, Harry and Ron could only huddle in the scant protection provided, not daring to lift their heads and return fire.
“To the left! Finish them!” Yaxley ordered.
As the Death Eater’s closed on their prey for the kill, four Firebolts came screaming out of the night sky.
“Praise Merlin!” Harry gasped as Angelina’s Angels, in tight two- by –two formation, swooped in fast as lightning, hurling curses from on high. Their aim was deadly. Everywhere the Death Eaters were pummeled by the terror from above. In desperation, those who were still on their feet turned to face the assault of the airborne witches, who were screaming their war whoops with savage glee. From one end of the alley to the other, wizards robed in black fell, blasted into the surrounding buildings.
Just as the first curses from Angelina’s quartet slammed into the Death Eater’s rear, the ones in the middle broke and ran toward the alley’s dead end.
“NOW!” Seamus screamed. The three teams on the rooftops rose from their crouched positions. In a thunderous crash, a dozen Aurors loosed their pent up rage. The alley was illuminated in a blinding flash of curse and hex that fell on the Death Eaters below. The air was charged with magic, causing Harry’s hair to stand on end, more so than usual.
The Death Eaters tried to rally, Yaxley shouting encouragement. The first rank leveled their wands at the roof tops occupied by Seamus’ Team. Ten curses chewed up the masonry. Ron saw the explosions dislodge something. Darkly, he realized it was Dennis Creevey hurtling toward the cobblestones below.
“Merlin, no!” Ron broke cover at a full gait, his back to the assault, “Arresto Momentum!”
“Bloody hell!” Harry leapt to cover Ron’s back. Using both his wands he screamed “Salvio Hexia! Protego!!”
The target was too enticing. Every Death Eater in the alley saw it: the Chosen One vulnerable and out in the open. Too many curses to count slammed into Harry’s protective spells, hurtling him into the far wall with a vicious thud, just as Creevey landed in Ron’s outstretched arms.
Seamus never hesitated, ignoring the danger of using an untried spell. “They’re in trouble!! TOGETHER!!” With the precision borne from Harry’s tireless drills, the rooftop Aurors each crossed wands with the person next to them. As one, they screamed “STUPEFY!!!” A tremendous explosion shook the rooftops as a blinding red flash turned night into day.
Then, all was deathly quiet.
Angelina’s Angels pulled up their assault; the Auror’s under Seamus’ command looked on in silence.
“I’m going down. Hold your positions.” Seamus cast a cushioning charm and leapt from the rooftop. Above, Angelina’s Angels began to circle, providing cover.
As he landed on the cobblestones, Seamus had trouble seeing. His eyes were still dazed by the blinding flash of the combined stunning spell he’d ordered. The smoke only now dissipating in the alley didn’t aid his vision.
He began to make out three forms, dimly, through the haze. As he got closer he saw Ron, cradling Harry in his arms, as a shocked Dennis Creevey stood off to the side, his hand gripping Ron’s shoulder with determined stoicism. Ron had just cast a healing spell over their fallen leader. Seamus stopped, his wand falling to his side. He dared not ask the question that formed in his mind.
It was Ron’s voice that broke the deathly silence. “Harry?” he asked his best mate quietly, desperately, pulling the raven-haired wizard’s face to his chest. “C’mon, brother wake up.” His voice was soft, but real concern hadn’t quite consumed him, though it threatened to overwhelm. “Please, mate.”
Slowly, Harry’s eyes opened. “Ron?”
“Yeah, mate, I’m here,” Ron said, the relief washing over him.
Harry looked around, as he came to. With a nod from Ron, Seamus and Dennis helped the two to their feet. Supporting each other, Ron and Harry surveyed the battlefield, swaying slightly from side to side. The alley was choked with unconscious Death Eaters.
Not a single purple-clad Auror was to be seen among the fallen.
“It’s over.” Harry’s voice was laden with emotion. He turned to his best mate.
Ron nodded; he couldn’t bring himself to speak.
“Brother, it’s really over,” Harry said as tears began to leak from his eyes.
“Don’t start that, mate,” Ron said, through a watery smile as his own tears started to fall.
“We’re done,” Harry whispered. The realization that this long nightmare, this eleven-year horror was finally at an end became all consuming. “We’re done,” Harry repeated as he pulled his best mate into a bone-crushing embrace; tears cascaded down both their faces.
“It’s finished, Harry. We did it.” Slowly their tears became anguished laughter. “We did it mate!”
The Auror Corps descended from the skies and the rooftops, surrounding their leaders as Ron and Harry’s strained laughter and tears became contagious. Everywhere, Aurors clapped each other on the back, some openly sobbing, others too overcome with emotion to speak. All the anguish, all the heartbreak, all the sacrifice and pent up grief of the past eleven years was released within that single moment. Slowly, the Aurors bunched around the best mates, who clung to each other as if for dear life.
Then, Seamus grabbed Susan Bones and pressed her into a deeply passionate kiss.
“Damn you Finnegan,” she said fiercely, as she tried to catch her breath. She was smiling.
“Sorry, love. Heat of the moment and all.”
That broke the somber mood. Immediately, cleansing joyous laughter coursed through the crowd.
After several moments of unrestrained glee, Harry brought his Corps back to order. “Alright. Look sharp.” Harry’s eyes swept the alley as he took a deep breath, steadying himself. “Circle out. Collect all the wands and keep an eye on the prisoners in case they come to. Angelina? Take your team and check the ones that went down out in the High Street.”
She nodded and her team mounted their brooms and zipped out of the alley.
Ron gestured at the Death Eaters piled around them, “Little chance of any of these blokes coming to within the next hour. That stunner was powerful.”
“That it was,” Harry replied. “Good work, Seamus. Malfoy alright?”
Seamus turned his head and spat. “Bugger’ll live. He’s out cold like the rest of that lot.”
Harry shook his head and cast his Patronus. It had never leapt from his wand so easily.
“You’ll tell Hermione?” Ron asked.
Harry nodded with a tight lipped smile on his face. He sent his Patronus off to the Ministry with a message to Hermione that all were well and to send the squads to take the prisoners to Azkaban. Then, opening the link, he sent to Ginny, Love, we’re both fine. We’re all fine. It’s over and I love you more than life itself. Harry didn’t receive a verbal reply. Instead, he felt a huge wave of love come crashing through their bond.
Ron had to steady his best mate once again. “I assume my sister knows too?” he asked quietly.
Harry only nodded.
The squads began to Apparate in force and heft unconscious Death Eaters off to Azkaban. Within minutes, the alley was once again empty, save the Aurors who stood, unwilling to relinquish the ground that had become the site of the final battle.
“The Battle of Diagon Alley,” Ron mused. “Who’d have thought?”
Harry turned to his best mate. “It was a great plan. And I intend to make sure the Prophet knows who’s responsible for that.”
Ron looked somberly at the cobblestones. Harry gently laid his hand on Ron’s shoulder.
Seamus smiled. “I can’t wait to see the headlines. Good press for a change.”
The trio fell silent again. Then Harry shook his head, voicing his thoughts. “So much lost. Gods Ron, I never thought we’d live to see the end of it.”
“You didn’t.” It sounded like a joke, but Ron’s solemn look betrayed the comment’s severity. “Remember?”
Harry smiled. He didn’t laugh. “Only too well.”
They fell silent again.
“You ready to get out of here?” Ron asked.
“Ronald my brother, I’ve been ready for eleven years.” The Corps Disapparated to the Ministry en masse.
AN: Again, credit where credit is due. AvadaKedavra1 had an absolutely amazing fight scene that took place in an alley in his excellent work “A Muggle’s Wand.” It inspired this scene. If you haven’t read it, what are you waiting for?
Also, if you're curious as to why Harry and Yaxley's wands locked, check out "The Tipping Point," which is chapters 5-7 of "Tales From the Crusadiverse."
I do not own Harry Potter. The toys belong to JKR; she just lets us play with them.
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