Chapter 26 : The Last Act
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The Last Act
“Oh, you would spare me for now?” she simpered, fluttering her eyes. “That's too bad, considering I won't allow you to depart this place with your life. So you have no choice but to kill me. It's either my life or yours.” She pointed her wand at his heart. “Choose now.”
He looked at the wand. “And what about my friends? Hermione and the others? And Dominion?”
She smirked. “The dragon, you mean? That beast is nothing. And it will be even less without you. As for your companions...They will come searching for you soon. And then, they shall die as well.”
Harry pursed his lips. “That's the answer I was looking for.” And with that, a whirlwind rose up around him. He threw himself backward, as a well-aimed piece if plaster twirled in front of him, intercepting a spell and exploding into dust.
He landed on the stairs, rolling down the steps. Several spells zoomed apst him, deflected by the air roiling around him. He tumbled onto his feet at the bottom of the steps, and sprang out through the gap in the wall, emerging into the lukewarm night air. Dudley and Aunt Petunia stood several feet away, staring at the vibrating manor.
“Harry!” gasped Dudley, reaching out a hand. “You're all right!”
“Yeah,” panted Harry, “I'm fine. I'm being chased by a mad witch, but I'm okay.” Dudley looked apprehensive at the words 'mad witch'.
“By the way, Dud,” added Harry, “the reason you have magical abilities now is because Uncle Vernon was bewitched into giving you doses of potion.”
“Vernon would never-” hissed Petunia fiercely, but she fell silent at the look Harry gave her. “The potion pushed down your magical nature,” he continued, turning his gaze upon an ashen Dudley. “It kept your powers down, making you into a Muggle. He kept feeding you the potion, so that you would never be a wizard. I guess if it had gone on long enough, you would have been permanently disabled from ever using magic, potion or no.”
Dudley swallowed hard. “I'm...I'm a wizard, then? Like you?” Harry nodded. He looked at Petunia.
“Aunt Petunia has a small bit of magic in her, not enough to effect her, but enough to grow in you, making you magical.” Petunia shook her head vehemently, denying every word, but Harry pressed on. “She may say it's not true, but that's the only way to explain it.”
Dudley looked at his mother. “Mum,” he said quietly, “aren't you happy with me? Don't you love me?” She slowly looked at him.
“You're a freak,” she whispered. “Like that nasty boy, and my horrid sister. A freak!” Dudley's eyes widened in shock at her words. Tears glistened in his eyes as the words struck at him like hammer blows. “I had hoped you wouldn't be like her, and I thought you were safe. I was wrong. And it's all ruined now. First Vernon, and now you. I've lost you both.” Tears streamed down her face, and Dudley lurched toward her, arms reaching out to encircle her and bring comfort. But she recoiled, and Dudley froze, staring.
“M-mum?” he asked faintly, watching her. “W-w-what's wrong? I still love you. C-can't you love me too?”
“Freak,” she whispered. “Who...who can love a freak?” She took a small but distinct step away from him, and he flinched as though she had swung at him. Then he whirled.
“You,” he growled, glaring at Harry. “You! I'm like you, and now my mum hates me! I hate you and everyone else like you!”
“I'm sorry that she feels like this,” said Harry, not sure what to do. “She refuses to understand-”
“I have nothing left,” his cousin snarled, not seeming to hear a word Harry had just said. His eyes were glazed with a helpless fury, the look of someone who had lost all they cared about and were beyond hope. He advanced on Harry, who took a couple steps backward. “I have nothing left, because of you! You and your kind!”
“Now Dudley, I don't want to fight-” started Harry, but Dudley cut across him, saying, “I feel like I lost all my life to your people. Do you know how that feels? Let me show you. Let me take your life! Let me show you pain beyond your dreams and nightmares!”
Dudley lunged then, and Harry jumped aside. The big blonde hurtled past him, screaming, and Harry turned to see a jet of green light hit Dudley in his fury-filled face, which was now tinged by terror. All the expression dulled to a simple, emotional scream of faint rage and fear, mouth wide open, teeth bared. Then his face relaxed, as he slumped, limbs going limp, body crumpling to lie splayed on the ground, at rest at last. Harry stared at those rage-glazed eyes, now glazed by death, and felt a wrench in his heart. Dudley cou;dn't be blamed for his last actions, and he certainly hadn't deserved to die this way. He heard a scream and turned his head to see Petunia shrieking, her eyes fixed on Dudley's body, filled with anguish as she realized the folly of her words.
“No!” she wailed. “Not my son! Not my son too!” She stumbled forward, but fell to her knees well short of her son's body, sobbing on the ground. Harry sensed movement behind him and turnded to see Hannah striding forward. As she passed Dudley's corpse, she gave it a scornful glance.
Harry looked dumbly at her. “You killed him,” he said. “Why?” She narrowed her crimson eyes at him.
“You are mine,” she answered. “Mine to kill, to destroy. He was going to lay waste to you, and I couldn't let him take my prey. So I eliminated him.”
“I was more than capable of taking him,” Harry snapped. “And you didn't have to kill him.”
She sighed dramatically. “Ah, Harry, so reserved in your methods. Why you wouldn't even kill me. How very pathetic. Maybe if you had killed when you had the chance, these things wouldn't creep up at inopportune moments.”
“Be glad I spared you,” said Harry, glowering at her. “It was a second chance. Also, I don't want my sister's death on my hands.”
“Such a pity it'll be on your hands anyway, brother. And have a word of wisdom. Mercy is a wasted luxury. Only give it when your opponent has something more to offer. Something significant, and profitable. Me, I have only death and destruction to offer you, which makes you a fool to spare me.”
She raised her wand, and aimed it at the prone Aunt Petunia. Harry twitched his hand, and a gust of air pushed her wand aside, sending the Killing Curse astray. She turned to him.
“Adamant on saving your aunt, Harry? How surprising, considering what an insufferable, stuck-up prig she is. Sure you won't reconsider? I'd be doing the world a favor.”
“It isn't up to you to decide what the world needs,” Harry said sharply. “Considering what you want to do with the world, I'd say you're a poor judge.”
“Ha!” she exclaimed. “And you think you'd do better, I suppose?”
“Yes,” he said firmly, looking into her prim face. “Yes, I would.”
“So arrogant. I hear out father had the same habit at times. He learned to curb it eventually, but your arrogance needs some work, I think.” She smirked.
Harry glared at her, when a shout attracted his attention.
“Harry!” came Hermione's voice. “There you are!”
Harry looked in the direction of her voice, then realized what he had done. He saw the curse fly straight at his aunt, saw her sit up and look at the sky in agony, and the curse hit her in the chest. She died looking at the stars, which were reflected in her glistening eyes. Eyes which went blank as death overtook her body. She stayed upright for a couple seconds, then toppled over, staring blankly.
Harry let out a cry of horror, then leaped for Hannah. She flicked her wand, knocking him backwards. He scrambled over to Dudley's body, trying to reach his wand, but she waved her wand again, and he was thrown away from the corpse.
“Harry!” called Hermione. “Let's go! Just leave his body! We have to go!”
“Come on, mate!” yelled Ron. “Let's get out of here! We've spent too much time in this place!”
“Will you leave your relatives' bodies here, Harry?” asked Hannah softly, taking a step forward. Her eyes gleamed insanely. “Will you leave them to my will? I might use dark magic on them. Make them into puppets, and use them to kill, and steal. Wreak havoc on the nearby people.”
Harry looked into those insane eyes, and knew he couldn't let her have his aunt and cousin. “You won't be doing that,” he said evenly, and hurled a gout of flame at her chest. She raised a hand, and the flames stopped just short of her. She smiled.
“I lied about training myself,” she informed him idly, taking a step back. “I'm well trained in the elements. Watch.” She raised her hand and a dragon made of fire appeared. It turned into ice, which molded itself into a tiny castle. It then melted into a ball of water, which worked itself into a complex sphere of knots, before becoming sand, which grew and formed into a life-size version of herself, standing beside her. It looked at her, then dissolved. Hannah beamed. “I'm quite skilled,” she said, winking.
Harry stared at the spot where the sand-figure had been standing. “I can't do this alone,” he said, then prepared to call for Dominion.
Just then, a familiar voice sounded in his head. No, the voice said. Don't call for him yet. It is not yet time!
Eve? asked Harry in astonishment. You aren't dead?
My spirit lingers yet, she answered. But heed my words. It is not yet time to call upon Dominion. Wait a little longer.
I have no choice then, replied Harry. We have to run.
“Let's go!” he yelled. “We have to run! Dominion, fly free! Escape, and find us!” He turned and started running. Hermione also turned, along with Ron and Narcissa, who was now awake. Harry heard a crashing behind him, and assumed Dominion was breaking free. He reached down inside, and found the link between him and Dominion. Using that link, he fed strength and energy into the dragon, and felt himself weakening slightly. There was a great smashing sound, and a roar. But what he heard next grabbed all of his attention.
“You won't escape that easy, brother! You or your friends!” Hannah shrieked, and Harry looked back to see her holding a spear. “I hope you can dodge well!” And she hurled it.
It sped like an arrow, darting swiftly toward them. Two strand's of webbing shot behind it, as Ron tried to ensnare it but missed. Harry's perception seemed to slow the world down as he realized it wasn't heading for him, but for Hermione. Narcissa's expression became horrified as she also realized this, and Harry thought, Hannah wants to provoke me into fighting her by killing Hermione. With that, he lunged for his lover.
He soared through the air toward a terrified Hermione, who had seen the oncoming missile but was too petrified to act. But as he drew closer, he saw he was too late. The spear was going to hit one of them. He blinked as Hannah's blazing spell narrowly missed him, its blinding radiance causing him to close his eyes, waiting for the agony of the razor projectile. He felt a rough impact, then landed hard on the ground. Opening his eyes, he saw Hermione lying nearby, shaking but unharmed. Realizing he felt no pain, he looked down and noticed his chest wasn't pierced by any metal. Had they both been missed. The Hermione sat up...and screamed.
Harry suddenly looked around, and stared, stunned. Ron was on his knees, blood pooling around him. Embedded in his chest was a rod of metal, around which a dark stain was steadily spreading. He looked at Harry and choked out, “I guess that Owlish bloke was right....my loyalty to you caused my death.”
Harry staggered to his feet and approached Ron. “No,” he moaned. “No! You don't have to die!”
“It's my time, Harry,” said Ron vaguely. “I can feel it. The angels...I can hear them calling me. Their voices....so beautiful...i could listen to them forever...”
Harry grabbed Ron and squeezed his shoulders. “Ron, stay with me,” he said firmly. “Don't go. You can make it!” He could feel Ron's shoulder muscles weakening. Ron's eyes slowly lifted to the sky.
“The voices...” he murmured. “They almost remind me of Ginny. Hey...I get to see her again! Lookit the bright side, mate! I'll tell her you said hi, okay?”
“No, Ron! Don't!” yelled Harry. Ron slowly sagged.
“Love you, Mione,” he said softly. Hermione sobbed, tears pouring down her face. “Nar...Cissa...” Narcissa looked at him, her face sad and weary. “Glad you changed.” She smiled grimly.
“And Harry...” Ron gazed blearily into Harry's face. Blood began to drip down his lips, and Harry knew death was seconds away. “Don't be worried about me. Have a good life. Remember the good times. Be happy, and I'll be happy.” He raised his eyes to the sky again.
“Still wish the Cannons had gone to World Cup...” and he slumped. Harry watched his best mate's face desperately, searching for some sign of life. Finding none, he sobbed, and clutched Ron's body close to him. He rocked back and forth, tears rolling down his cheeks, Hermione's hand rubbing his back.
“So saddening, watching a friend die,” called Hannah casually. “But death is inevitable. And just to warn you, your dear Hermione is next.”
Harry became quiet, then released Ron's corpse. Slowly standing, he turned to look at Hannah. “No,” he said. “I'm sorry to disappoint you, but you won't be killing any more of my friends. Today, tomorrow, or ever. This ends now.”
As he spoke, a fury such as he had never felt before since the death of Sirius grew within him, rising to fill every cell in his body. He trembled, an awesome power flooding him, burning throughout all his nerves, and swelling his mind with a beautiful, ferocious, white fire. He felt like he was expanding, growing to become a giant of massive proportions, tremendous strength, and infinite potential. He felt like he was all-powerful, unstoppable, Armageddon incarnate.
He let out a bellow, and it was like a war siren, a trumpeting call-to-arms, an announcement of an impending hail of ruin and destruction. A warning that all enemies should run and hide, lest they witness hell come to earth. He splayed his glorious limbs, and saw what he had done, what he had become. What he had finally achieved. What his anger and grief had earned for him.
Harry now had gorgeous translucent wings, a spiked tail, and a bright, golden, gleaming scaly hide. He was a beast of great being, a wonder to behold. Harry smiled inwardly, amazed and astonished at himself. At this great victory in his magical training as Heir of the Founders.
He had become a dragon.
in the next chapter...
Harry's eyes widened, and he turned to find a jet of green light speeding at him. He raised the sword, and the curse struck the blade, resulting in an explosion. He stumbled back, stunned. Another curse struck the blade and bounced off, burning the ground nearby. He looked up at Hannah, who was advancing upon him, wand extended.
“You can't hide behind that sword forever, dear brother,” said Hannah, watching him closely. “Sooner or later, you'll waver. And then...you'll die.” She cast another spell. “Suppresso!”
There are three chapters left. This story is drawing to a close...I repeat, this is a much shorter tale than Twilight Dragon, but I believe that it is still quite rewarding to read. At the end, I will reveal the purpose of this part of the Dragonlore Trilogy, that you might understand why I wrote it. But for now, please review...and on to the next!
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