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The Road Not Taken by TomFoolery
Chapter 23 : The Flight
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 27

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He left the Fat Lady in a bit of a fright from his homicidal demeanor, but he couldn't care less. He wrenched the door to the dorm room open so fast that he almost ripped it off its hinges. The other four sleeping boys turned in their sleep and groggily woke up. His eyes focused on Neville, and then quickly darted over to the wand lying on his bedside table.

"Harry?! What're you- What's this about-?"

Neville was only just breaking from his bout of sleep when Harry seized the wand from the little table by his bedside.

"What do you think you are doing?!" Neville shouted boldly in a manner that didn't altogether suit him.

"Leaving!" Harry shouted back, halfway deranged as he turned to leave the dorm room once again.

"Harry, come on mate, what do you think you're doing? It's like three in the morning. Just put the wand down," Ron pleaded, showing more sense and compassion than Harry had seen him show in months. To Harry, it was odd that he chose to act decent at such a time as that, which only spurred his anger that much more.

"Yeah, we wanna go back to bed," Dean agreed.

Harry could only laugh at them for their ignorance. What did they know of pain?! It wasn't just something he could sleep off! For six months had had parents in his life, only to have them snatched away again by a man whose sole purpose was to destroy, and he had had enough. It was time to get things squared away, one way or another.

"Put my father's wand down Potter!" Neville hissed dangerously, the rage in his face igniting into a passion parallel to Harry's.

That statement hit him like a jolt of lightning. In the lifetime before Harry could recall Neville telling him in the Department of Mysteries that his formidable grandmother would kill him for breaking his father's old wand, but surely he wasn't still using his father's wand in this life? He needed that wand to get back, he needed it to set things right. He looked down at the wand in his hands. It was much too long to be Harry's old holly wand, far too long, and a bit too narrow.

"What do you mean your father's wand?" Harry yelled, his voice cracking a bit and refusing to believe it was possible.

"That was my dad's wand, Potter. Now put it down before I hurt you," Neville shot back, trying and failing to look dangerous as well.

"Hurt me!? Hurt me?! Hurt me with what Neville? You don't even know!" he raged, a hatred welling up inside of him so fierce that he could feel his pulse all over his body, thundering with each thump further into madness.

"What do you mean I don't know? I don't know about hurt?! My parents died, Harry!" Neville shouted back, stumbling from his bed and standing to face Harry as Harry screamed:

"My parents died twice!"

Neville's face contorted into a startled look and he recoiled a slight bit but was not giving in and was not going to ask what Harry was talking about.

"Give me my father's wand, my wand."

The coolness in Neville's voice when he said it sent Harry into a mad frenzy. He was on the verge of attacking Neville and strangling him with his bare hands when a slight thought seemed to occur to him. Ollivander's: his wand, the holly and phoenix feather wand must still be in Ollivander's shop.

"Fine, come pry it from my cold, dead hands if you're so determined!"

The words sounded dramatic even in his current state, but the effect seemed to work. Harry took off from the dorm room, likely appearing very childish to the other boys but too full of pain and rage to care. Neville stood there stunned, uncertain of what to do or say and brimming with rage himself far too much to care to find words at the very moment.

He ran so fast down the stairs that he almost ran into the fireplace itself. In his fury, he nearly broke the little jar holding the Floo powder but it didn't matter, nothing mattered. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw someone approaching him.

"Diagon Alley, Ollivander's!" he shouted, pelting the Floo powder rather viciously into the fireplace.

By that time, Neville had come to his senses enough to chase after Harry and was rounding the top of the stairs when Harry disappeared through the fireplace.

He was too confused and angry that Harry had taken off with his wand in the first place to wonder much as to why. But seeing as how he already had two wands in his possession, why would he need to go to Ollivander's for more?

Harry was fumbling around the dark, closed little shop at Ollivander's prying open box after box after useless box in the hunt for the wand he needed. He didn't care that he was breaking and entering into the store of the eerie little man: what would it matter anyway? He had no parents and no godfather to punish him over it anyway. The thoughts of them spurred him on. He needed out, and right then. He didn't care that he didn't know where Voldemort was: if he wanted to attack Voldemort, he was sure to come across the opportunity sooner or later.

He found a wand with cherrywood and dragon heartstring. He chucked it to the side. Teak and unicorn tail: that one went on the floor next to the cherrywood wand. Cottonwood and unicorn tail was added to the growing stack of abandoned wands behind him.

"Expelliarmus!" and the next oak and dragon heartstring wand zoomed out of his reach and was caught into Neville's hand.

He hadn't even heard him come in through the fireplace as he had, for he had been so direly scavenging for the right wand, his old wand.

"Give it back, now," commanded Neville briskly.

"Why? It looks like you already have one," snarled Harry.

He wasn't sure what it was that made him hate Neville so very much at that moment, but it was Hermione and Sirius, and more than anything his parents that drove him into that particular loathing with such ferocity. He barely recognized himself at all.

"I'll hex you, I will," Neville screamed.

Harry might have laughed in a world before, but this Neville stood in front of him as a confident and able, opponent. It was what Harry had been waiting for: all the anger building up in him over Ron and his sister, over Sirius' arrest and girls treating him like a snot rag had all peaked with the torture of his parents and now he was going to vent it off.

"Stupefy!" Harry shouted, raising Neville's father's wand in attack before Neville could raise his wand in response.

Neville ducked with the reflexes of a cat, righted himself quickly, and cried, "Impedimenta!"

"Protego!" Harry screamed as the thrill of attacking Neville set in. He no longer faced the pitiable Neville Longbottom, rather, the boy who stood before him ready to hurl another curse was an actual challenger. Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising, considering he now carried the fraction of Voldemort's powers that he himself had once had.

"Sanguino!" Neville cried back, narrowly missing his own deflected hex and hitting Harry square in the face with a Cutting Curse.

Harry felt a huge gash open on his cheek that led all the way up to his eye and through the red haze of his left eye, he could see blood flecked all over his glasses. Things were serious now. They had moved to a different level of dueling. This wasn't about impeding the opponent, but rather both were out for damage.

"What is wrong, Harry?" Neville yelled, confused.

"Ossa Frangere!" bellowed Harry at Neville, this time hitting him dead on in the chest and he heard the cracking of Neville's ribs and felt a sick pleasure that he had never known before, before beginning to feel a swell of panic.

Neville gave a small squeal as he doubled over in pain. Harry felt another slight twinge of guilty fear, but held firm to the grip on his wand.

"I'll kill you," he hissed at Harry through the foaming blood that was now appearing on his lips.

"What do you know about death?" Harry cried angrily, the boldness returning.

His breathing was staggered and his cut eye pulsed badly. Neville's face was growing pale and he struggled to stand upright.

"Your dad and your godfather are the reason that my parents are dead, I know that now."

"So you're going to kill me?!" Harry shrieked, devoid of reason. "You'll be glad to know that my father is as good as dead now, Neville! You'll be glad to know!"

Neville was standing as well as he could and prepared to face Harry to strike back when the door to Mr. Ollivander's shop opened, and Harry and Neville found themselves hopelessly trapped in front of an army of Death Eaters, and Voldemort himself standing proudly before them, wand out and ready to murder.

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