Chapter 19 : Of The Battle of Hogwarts, Snape and The end of the Second War
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Sir Winston Churchill
A/N: And so we come to the penultimate chapter of this story and this series; the second wizarding war comes to an end and not everyone will make it out of the Battle of Hogwarts alive. Read on and please leave a review to tell me what you think.
George Taylor reclined back in his chair, desperately trying to stave off the boredom threatening to overwhelm his mind and keep his concentration keenly focused on the man who lay contained before him. He had never claimed to be any sort of fighter but Taylor couldn’t help but feel slightly bitter that he had been left with babysitting duty as his friends risked life and limb in battle; the bitterness, after all, was much more comfortable than the all-consuming fear and dread over the mortal danger his loved ones were in. Shaking his head to clear the self pity and thoughts of the Elixir a Lumina, his expression grew puzzled as the sound of footsteps reached his ears and George cautiously drew his wand as he climbed to his feet.
Fear gripped at his heart and he immediately regretted his wishes to enter battle as he aimed his wand at the door; he was no soldier, he was a middle-aged, Hogsmeade shopkeeper with children and a grandchild on the way, he had no business entering deadly combat. George readied himself as the door opened, only to breathe a sigh of relief and lower his wand at the sight of a stunningly beautiful and familiar face and the reassuring blue uniform of the Order of the Phoenix.
“Thank Merlin, it’s you,” Taylor said, smiling good naturedly as he settled himself back into his chair, his heartbeat slowing to normal speed. “You almost gave me a heart attack.”
The young witch merely smiled in response before raising her wand and whispering two deadly words.
The green bolt of light struck George Taylor squarely in the chest and sent him flying backwards out of his chair and sliding lifelessly down the wall, his eyes vacant and unblinking and an expression of shock now etched permanently on his face. The murderer turned to the other person in the room, who was now stood up in his cell, his expression one of mild surprise as he looked upon his new best friend.
“‘Ello Jude.” The murderer spoke. “Surprised to see me?”
“Somewhat,” Kardos replied, “though I had no doubts that the Dark Lord had more spies in the Order. What is our mission?”
The gorgeous young woman didn’t answer straight away, instead initiating the emergency fail safes Potter had put on the cell before leaving for battle, and freeing her comrade from his prison.
“Ze battle ‘as begun,” she finally said as Kardos stepped out the cell. “Ze Dark Lord ‘as taken ze bulk of ‘is forces to secure ze Elixir a Lumina, but we are to journey to ‘Ogwarts, to ‘elp ensure it isn’t retaken by Potter’s band of merry schoolboys and girls.”
Kardos smiled. “Well then Miss Delacour, what are we waiting for?”
At the ancient castle of Hogwarts, the DA and their reinforcements continued to battle for control against the forces of Lord Voldemort but found themselves in an increasingly perilous situation. Though the DA was well trained and well organised, its soldiers were completely outnumbered and more often than not, the teams of three fought with their backs against the wall, desperately pushing themselves beyond their capabilities just to survive. With some degree of private training from Harry, combined with their own talents, the DA commanders led their troops ferociously, taking down Death Eater after Death Eater to try and swing the momentum in their favour.
Hermione Granger turned away from the four Death Eaters she and her team had just skilfully incapacitated as she heard a scream of pain and she found herself looking upon a terrible sight. Lucius Malfoy stood beside two other Death Eaters, his wand focused on the broken form of Seamus Finnegan, whose right arm was almost completely severed and whose tear and blood-stained face looked up at the elder Malfoy with something akin to begging, asking him to end his life. Malfoy complied.
Hermione shouted out in horror, attracting Lucius’ attention and he was immediately forced on the defensive as she launched a volley of nasty curses his way as her team engaged the other dark wizards. In her rage, the smartest witch of her age had made a mistake; she had attacked the powerful inner circle Death Eater directly by firing a barrage of curses and hexes, but this was not playing to her strengths and, with some clever spell-work, Lucius managed to turn things around, so that Hermione was forced on the defensive.
Allowing herself to regroup as she hid behind her conjured shield, Hermione quickly started to form a plan, chastising herself for rushing in so foolishly at the start of the duel. She was about to put her scheme into operation when a wave of white-hot flame descended upon her from above, courtesy of Malfoy’s wand. Hermione just managed to roll out of the way and avoid being roasted alive but the fire tailed her like a guided missile and she was forced to raise a thick wall of water to dissipate the deadly combustion.
A cluster of curses were aimed through the steam but Hermione had moved and, capitalising on the confusion the smokescreen created, disillusioned herself, before dropping down into a crouch and aiming her wand above Lucius’ head. Using some neat conjuration, she magicked ten small, yellow birds into existence as the Death Eater peppered the corridor with curses, before, with a flick of her wand, she commanded her avian creations to attack. The birds dived ferociously at Malfoy, pecking unyieldingly at him while he desperately tried to fend them off as he maintained his shield.
Hermione did not let up. To add to the confusion, she started levitating all sorts of debris and detritus and flinging them at Malfoy from the side, knocking him bodily around the corridor. As chaos reigned, the young witch sprung forward and unleashed a powerful flurry of nasty curses at the human scum that was her adversary. Her spells crashed through the distracted Malfoy’s shield, every one of them landing on target and, as he fell limply to the floor, Hermione knew she had just taken a life.
It was as Hermione Granger pondered upon this fact that her best female friend was engaged in a battle of her own. Ginny did not have the luxury of fighting a Death Eater one on one, instead, she and her team were occupied in a sort of guerrilla warfare. Dodging, ducking and hiding throughout the classrooms and corridors of Hogwarts, they defended themselves against any attacks that came their way and launched surprise assaults whenever they could. Eventually, however, Ginny found that she and her two partners had been forced into a dead end, chased by half a dozen Death Eaters, who were about to round the corner.
Thinking quickly, Ginny tried her best to harness her inner Hermione, pushing her finger to her lips to beg silence before waving her wand in a complex set of movements and muttering incantations under her breath. She worked as quickly as she could, aware that time was not her ally and, just as the dark witches and wizards flung themselves hungrily round the bend in the corridor, an illusion of a wall sprung up between them and their victims. The Death Eaters looked round in confusion, speaking the counter to the disillusionment charm and looking to each other for answers before seemingly deciding that they had taken a wrong turn.
As their adversaries turned away, Ginny leapt into action. Conjuring a long, horizontal beam of wood, she banished it at her foes at about knee height. The beam did its job and the Death Eaters were dramatically upended, falling in a heap on the floor. Before they even hit the ground, Ginny and her team started spraying stunners at them and, within a couple of seconds, they all lay unconscious at their feet. It was then a simple matter of binding the fallen and snapping their wands.
Ron Weasley had just led his team in dispatching another group of Death Eaters when an all-too-familiar flash of white-blonde hair caught his eye. Ron quickly fired a tripping jinx, which hit home and sent Draco Malfoy sprawling to the ground as his Death Eater partner turned and started to return fire. The DA commander directed his team to take the bulky dark wizard, while he alone confronted his old school rival, who dragged himself back up to his feet with fury in his eyes.
“You are going to regret that Weasel.” Draco sneered as he dropped into a duelling stance and levelled his wand at Ron.
“I’ve come a long way since last year’s duelling tournament Malfoy,” Ron smirked in reply. “The Death Eaters must really be scraping the barrel if they recruited you.”
Malfoy didn’t respond but whipped his wand forward with a bellowed; “Crucio!”
Ron ducked the unforgivable and quickly raised a silver shield as it was followed up by a stream of illegal and painful curses. The young Gryffindor continued to move around to present a difficult target and, in a slight lull in Malfoy’s attack, banished his shield towards him. Draco vanished the shield with a flick of his wand but, in the distraction, Ron had shot some ropes from his wand and entangled them around Malfoy’s ankles before pulling hard. The young Death Eater started to fall but sliced through the ropes and managed to turn the trip into a roll, quickly coming back up to his feet and releasing an onslaught of spells once more.
Rolling to one side to avoid the curses and enable himself to counter, Ron fired a powerful gust of wind, which blew Malfoy off his feet and sent him tumbling backwards. He managed to evade Ron’s follow-up stunner, but the red-head didn’t waste the advantage. As Draco pulled himself back up to his feet, his adversary started shooting rapid-fire curses and hexes of all kinds with impressive ferocity and speed.
Forced back onto the defensive, Malfoy was compelled to raise a silver shield and was limited to firing off occasional counters as Ron pushed the offensive. The youngest male Weasley’s attack was relentless, focusing years of bitterness and anger at the Slytherin Prince into his curses and utilising everything he had learnt in the DA. It was in vain, however, as Draco’s shield held strong and the junior Death Eater was able to evade his enemy’s attacks, infuriating the DA commander, who was starting to tire.
Recalling a crafty little manoeuvre he and Harry had come up with some weeks before, Ron slipped a strong sticking charm through Draco’s defences, designed as they were, to deal with offensive magic and hit him on the arm. He then ducked beneath Malfoy’s counter offensive before propelling himself forwards and, at point blank range, banishing the Slytherin towards the nearest wall. Malfoy had managed to slow himself down and so the impact was minimal but, as he tried to pull away, he found himself unable to escape the wall’s grasp. Confused and starting to panic, he looked up at his hand to find it stuck fast to Hogwarts’ ancient stone and, despite his best efforts, was unable to pry himself free.
Ron disarmed his old nemesis with a casual flick of his wand, allowing the Malfoy heir’s weapon to fall uselessly to the ground as he aimed at Draco’s heart and strode forward to close the gap between them. Malfoy faltered somewhat at the evil glint in Ron’s eye but quickly managed to regain his arrogant demeanour.
“What are you going to do Weasley?” He smirked. “Kill me?”
“I’m not going to kill you Malfoy, but I’ve been waiting seven years to do this.”
Ron reeled back his fist and, with all his might, punched Malfoy in the face, landing it right on his jaw and sending him falling to the floor, unconscious, his arm raised above him at an odd angle. The youngest Weasley boy then stunned his old school rival to make sure of his incapacitation before reaching down and grabbing his wand from the floor. He snapped the stick of wood in two before surreptitiously glancing around him and, seeing no one from the DA, giving Draco a swift kick to the stomach.
As Ron Weasley lived out a long-standing dream, Blaise was leading his team in battle against six Death Eaters, his back up against the wall as he personally fought three. His original plan had been to surprise the dark witches and wizards and trap them in a pincer movement, but that had only served to separate him from his team as the Death Eaters fought off their initial attack and split up to battle the DA troops. Blaise was driven backwards and forced, for the most part, to remain on the defensive as he fended off a blitz of curses from his opponents, constantly moving and keeping up a shield to ensure he stayed alive.
Deciding that he needed to end the duel before he made a mistake, the former spy conjured a silver shield and pointed his wand, hidden by the shield, at the ground as he continued to back away. Using a trick he’d picked up from Harry, he sprayed a constant stream of petroleum onto the ground while maintaining his shield, continuing this pattern until the Death Eaters finally stepped upon trail the of flammable liquid. As soon as they their feet splashed into the petrol, Blaise flicked his wand, silently releasing a single flame at the ground before reinforcing his shield as he sat back and watched the fireworks.
The petrol-fuelled flames made for an impressive blaze, which quickly spread across the floor before wrapping itself around the Death Eaters and starting to consume them. They screamed out in shock and agony as their skin started to melt away and Blaise quickly put them out of their misery by firing off three stunners before dousing the magical flames.
As the broken, burnt bodies of his enemies flopped uselessly to the floor, Blaise sensed another presence behind him and whipped round, bringing his wand to bear. The moment he clasped eyes on the man, however, he reeled backwards in shock; horror and recognition painted upon his face as he automatically lowered his wand in submission. Not ten yards away from the DA commander, there stood his own father, decked in the black garb of the Death Eater, a gentle smile below his steely grey eyes as he looked upon his son.
“You have become quite the warrior Blaise,” the elder Zabini spoke after a moment’s silence. “Your talent and power is a great credit to the Zabini name, I am very proud of you.”
Blaise’s heart swelled at his father’s praise, rarely given as it was, but he quickly curtailed his emotions and maintained his cold, Slytherin demeanour.
“I’m surprised to see you here father, I was not aware you had joined the Death Eaters.”
“I thought it right for me to do my part in the Dark Lord’s noble quest. I wanted to join my son in placing those inferior to us in their rightful place, but now I see that I have underestimated you. I never imagined that you had deceived the Dark Lord and were working for the mudbloods and blood traitors.”
“Noble quest or not,” Blaise began in response, “I think it uncouth for a Zabini to prostrate himself in servitude before a madman.”
Matthias Zabini smirked slightly and nodded his approval.
“It is a great relief to me Blaise that you haven’t turned blood traitor,” he said. “You are right of course, the Zabini name is noble and pure and servitude is unbefitting of our status. With the Dark Lord’s aid, however, our family can be elevated yet further; once the world is under his command, he will greatly reward those who have served him faithfully. His inner circle will become leaders, not followers, and you and I could rule together. All you need to do is come back to us and claim your rightful place.”
Blaise’s mind faltered at his father’s words; much of his life had been spent trying to please the man and gain his approval. Just a few short months ago, he would have jumped at the chance to earn his father’s love and stand with him as an equal but, he realised as he surreptitiously brought his wand to the front once more, he had changed. He had never really bought into the ideals of his family and school house and his time in the DA had further opened his eyes; he had met good and decent muggle-borns and fought by their side for a true cause. He was not a little boy anymore and he would not betray those he had come to consider friends for a man who had never shown him an ounce of love.
“You are wrong father,” he spoke, dragging up his eyes to meet Matthias Zabini’s gaze. “I have turned blood traitor and I refuse to sell out my friends and beliefs for you.”
Zabini’s eyes narrowed and hardened and a dark look descended upon his face as he levelled his wand at his son’s heart.
“If that is truly what you believe, you leave me no choice. Avada Kedavra!”
The killing curse sped towards Blaise’s chest but the younger Zabini was prepared and flung himself to the side, landing in a roll before coming up to his feet. Another curse was quickly heading his way but he ducked underneath it and pointed his wand behind him, propelling himself forward and past his father. Turning on the spot, he then aimed at Matthias’ back and silently shot out an extrudo curse before he could turn, flinging him down the charms corridor.
Zabini Sr. quickly jumped to his feet but he was met by a flurry of borderline dark curses, which escaped his son’s wand at startling speed and forced him onto the back foot. Blaise maintained an impressive rate of fire to prevent his father’s counter-attack, occasionally turning his wand to the floor or the walls in the hope of tripping him up or else distracting him from his shielding. The elder Zabini was experienced, however, and managed, while always on the back foot, to avoid his son’s attacks. He allowed himself to be driven back until he reached a bend in the corridor, which he flung himself round to give him time to recuperate and escape the ongoing torrent of Blaise’s spells.
The former spy took this opportunity to quickly form a plan and tapped his wand upon his head, feeling magic trickle down his body like a cracked egg as he was disillusioned, before creeping towards the corner. He found his father on high alert, crouched dangerously in a duelling stance with his wand unknowingly levelled straight at Blaise as he snuck towards him. Blaise was just about to deliver the finishing blow when a floorboard creaked beneath his feet and his father suddenly leapt into action, jumping to one side and rapidly firing off curses in all directions.
The younger Zabini was forced to raise a shield to block the loose curses, catching Matthias’ eye and immediately drawing more fire to his position. Blaise slowly manoeuvred out the line of fire but was reluctant to attack and give away his greatest advantage, while his father continued to throw himself around the corridor so as to provide a difficult target. It was this running, ducking and rolling that inspired in Blaise an idea, however, and the DA commander directed his wand to the floor, muttering a charm before watching in satisfaction as a slippery liquid appeared upon the ground.
As planned, Matthias Zabini quickly lost his footing and went tumbling to the floor, his spells slamming into the ceiling as a shocked expression lit up his face. The moment he had seen this happen, Blaise sprung into action, forsaking invisibility for quickness and firing a powerful expalliarmus at his father, who lay spread-eagled upon the ground. The elder Zabini’s wand went flying from his hand and clattered to the floor some way down the corridor and the man himself felt a magical tug at his neck before he was lifted by the power of the strangulation curse.
“Blaise...please.” Matthias croaked out, grappling at the invisible force at his neck. “I’m...your...father.”
At these words, Blaise hesitated briefly before releasing the curse and allowing his father to drop to the ground. Matthias looked hopeful as he glanced up, gasping, at his son, but found eyes full of nothing but hate.
“You ceased to be my father a long time ago,” Blaise whispered coldly. “All my life you have treated me with nothing but cold indifference, showing me no love or care, while punishing me harshly for the slightest infraction, for the smallest deviation from true pureblood behaviour. And now, when I take a stand for my beliefs, you try to kill me. You have been corrupted by evil and your own loathsome actions Matthias and now you must pay the price for them.”
“You don’t have what it takes to finish me Blaise,” Matthias responded cruelly. “You’re weak and pathetic and you always have been, no matter how much I’ve tried to beat it out of you. I think you’re right, I am not your father at all; no son of mine could have turned out to be such a disappointment and nothing would surprise me about your whore of a mother. She will pay dearly for what she has turned you into with her incessant babying and so will you; the Dark Lord will triumph and you will not survive his revenge.”
“You may be right,” Blaise replied, steel in his voice, “but you won’t be here to see it. Goodbye father. Avada Kedavra!”
The jet of green light struck a shocked Matthias Zabini straight in the heart, stealing away his life in an instant before his son collapsed to the floor, leaning back against the wall with his head in his hands. Taking a few deep, steadying breaths, the young wizard forced himself to look upon his father’s corpse and, for a brief moment, allowed crippling, conflicting emotions to tug furiously at his heart before he shut them all out. He still had a battle to fight and his father’s death would distract him from it no longer.
As the excitement of his own personal battle faded, the noises of war reached Blaise’s ears from not so far away and, as he stood, he cautiously started to head in that direction. Rounding a nearby corner, he stifled a gasp and quickly ducked out of sight as he saw none other than Severus Snape cleaving through talented light warriors as if they were nothing but a mild annoyance. Even while the young commander watched, his old head of house single-handedly slaughtered half a dozen magical creatures and three Order soldiers before turning his attention to a couple of nearby DA members. With a lurch of his heart, Blaise recognised his own lost team, almost shaking in fear as they bravely brought their wands to bear, ready to fight.
Snape smirked as he caught sight of the determined look on the teenagers’ faces, before giving his wand a couple of small flicks and releasing two powerful bolts of deadly green light. Hurling himself round the corner, Blaise conjured a silver shield before desperately flinging it into the path of the spells, rebounding the killing curses back at their caster. Snape quickly ducked out of the way to avoid his own spells before calmly turning to face his old student.
“Run!” Blaise shouted at his two comrades and they immediately followed his order as he sent a few distracting curses in Snape’s direction.
The former potions professor batted Blaise’s spells away like flies and looked upon him with an expression of mild surprise.
“That was a very foolish mistake to make Zabini; with their help, your slim chances of survival may have very slightly improved.”
“I’m not afraid of you Snape, I have stood before the Dark Lord himself and deceived him and I have killed my own father in battle, I don’t need the help of my friends to kill you.”
“It was undoubtedly Potter’s machinations that enabled you to infiltrate the Death Eaters’ inner circle,” Snape began, “and while your deception was quite impressive, Potter has clearly also poisoned your disposition. Your actions have become reckless and rather Gryffindor of late; as a spy you may have survived this war, but you cannot hope to best me in a duel.”
“There are worse thing to be than Gryffindor,” Blaise replied. “I have faith that Harry will defeat Voldemort tonight and even if you kill me, you don’t stand a chance against him.”
“We shall see,” Snape replied conversationally.
The Death Eater’s demeanour suddenly changed, whereas it had been relaxed and confident, he now sprung forward like a snake, thrusting out his wand and releasing a powerful blast of pure dark magic. Blaise immediately rolled out the way and quickly returned fire, releasing a torrent of stunners like machine gun fire in the hope of catching Snape off guard. Voldemort’s apprentice was not fazed, however, and slashed his wand downwards to create an apparition shield with a cry of;
The rip in space-time swallowed Blaise’s curses before a second tear opened up behind him and spat them back out, forcing him to conjure a silver shield to block his own curses. As he did so, the ground at his feet crumbled and he was sent tumbling to the floor, forced to quickly roll up to avoid a burst of deadly-looking magic. Back on his feet, Blaise flung his shield towards Snape, following it up with an exploding curse powerful enough to rock entire floor. Snape was quick, however, and contained the explosion before transfiguring the shield into a dozen daggers and sending them flying at his adversary.
Blaise hurriedly banished the daggers but was forced to roll out of the way as a powerful jet of fire strafed across the hall, singeing his robes as he wasn’t quite quick enough to get out the way. The floor crumbled once again as he rolled and the young wizard was sent tumbling to the ground, his wand clattering out his hand as an electric blue beam shot his way. Blaise didn’t react in time and was flung painfully into the stone castle wall, ribs cracking and black dots appearing before his eyes as he crumpled to the floor. With great effort, the DA commander fought through the pain and the daze and stumbled to his feet to search for his wand but immediately felt conjured ropes spring from the ground and bind him.
Slowly walking towards his captive, Severus Snape smiled slightly as Blaise struggled to lift his head and meet his opponent’s gaze. With relish, the old professor strolled right up to his former student before flicking his wand and maliciously whispering; “Crucio!”
Pain like no other flared up in Blaise’s nerves, exploding out of every cell as liquid fire filled his veins. A tortured scream ripped itself from his throat and he knew nothing but pain, his body going into spasm as it unconsciously struggled against the absolute agony possessing it. For mere moments this lasted, but it seemed to Blaise a lifetime before, mercifully, the spell was lifted.
“It seems you have lost Zabini” Snape spoke, levelling his wand at Blaise’s chest. “I admit myself disappointed, you had potential under the guidance of the Dark Lord, but you chose to throw it away in a foolish attempt to save the mudbloods and now you will die. Extrudo!”
The curse struck Blaise in his beaten chest with the force of a sledge hammer and hurled him off his feet, ripping him from the grasp of his binds and sending him flying straight through the sixth floor window. The young wizard barely had time to register the pain of a thousand pieces of glass lacerating his skin before terror gripped his heart as he felt gravity take hold and start to pull him to the ground, for he knew with absolute certainty that he was about to die.
As the Battle at Hogwarts grew fierce, back at the Marauders’ old hideaway, Albus Dumbledore became increasingly anxious, his keen magical senses practically screaming at him that his students were in need of his assistance and that his beloved school was in grave danger. The old warlock knew that his powers were far from whole following his recent awakening and his magical aid of young Harry in breaching the Hogwarts wards, but he was getting better. Even as he wore out the carpet in the cave’s living room, he could feel his energy returning to him and he knew that he could stand aside no longer; he had vowed long ago that he would always strive to protect the innocent from the forces of darkness and he knew that he was needed at Hogwarts.
Coming to a decision, Dumbledore drew his wand and, conjuring upon himself the battle robes of the Order of the Phoenix, turned on his heel and apparated away. The ancient wizard appeared on the outskirts of the castle wards and, sensing powerful magic fizzing in the air, immediately began to march towards the battle. The grounds were largely empty and Albus easily deflected the few curses aimed at him from afar as he headed towards the bulk of the conflict. Nearing the entrance hall doors, however, the headmaster’s head jerked upwards as a window exploded outwards above him and a body flew out and started plummeting to the ground. Acting quickly, he directed his wand at the falling young man and, with a rush of magic, just managed to prevent him from slamming into the unforgiving turf.
Blaise Zabini gasped in shock as he felt strong magic seize hold of him and immediately begin to slow his fall, before depositing his battered body gently on the moist Hogwarts grass. Relief flooded through the young wizard as he realised that, somehow, miraculously, he was still alive. He fought off the alluring pull of unconsciousness and forced his eyes open as he felt his rescuer crouch down beside him and found himself looking into the sparkling blue eyes of Albus Dumbledore.
“Thank you,” Blaise managed to whisper.
“It is I who should be thanking you Mr. Zabini,” Dumbledore responded. “You have made the right choice and I know how difficult it must have been for you to do so. Now, I shall transport you to Order headquarters so you can receive proper treatment.”
“Wait!” Blaise croaked as the Dumbledore drew his wand. “Snape is in the Charms tower Headmaster, you need to stop him. He’s too powerful for any of us to handle.”
Dumbledore nodded, his eyes darkening slightly and his wrinkled face taking on a look of pure determination as he banished Blaise to safety. Glancing briefly up to the now destroyed window and seeing the telltale flashes of magical combat, he turned away and strode inside.
The Headmaster knew that his expertise was required in the charms corridor on the sixth floor and so wasted little time as he strode purposefully through the halls of his school. Few dark witches or wizards dared to embroil themselves in a duel with Albus Dumbledore, a man they had long feared, and the old warlock quickly and efficiently dispatched those who did, forsaking his usual, elaborate duelling style for speed.
As he ascended the staircase up to the fourth floor, however, he found the battle growing heavier and was forced to slay a Nosferat before deflecting a wave of dark curses harmlessly into the ceiling. Dumbledore then turned his wand to the suits of armour lining the walls, animating them and forcing them to chase the Death Eaters heading his way, distracting them long enough to allow him to point to the floor and cause it to shake violently, sending the dark witches and wizards tumbling to the ground. The old professor then summoned a powerful wind to bring his adversaries towards him before stunning and binding them and snapping their wands. With the hall now clear, he calmly but quickly marched upstairs once more to where he was most needed.
As he emerged into the charms corridor on the sixth floor, Dumbledore found Hermione Granger and Ginny Weasley each leading a team of two in battle against their former potions master. The DA soldiers, especially the commanders, were clearly powerful and very well trained and the headmaster mentally tipped his hat to Harry Potter as he watched his students furiously trade curses with one of the most powerful dark wizards on the planet. Snape was being forced on the defensive by the relentless onslaught and had his work cut out protecting himself against Hermione’s inventive spell casting and Ginny’s impressive itinerary of hexes, skilfully backed up by four young wizards.
The students were yet to be successful in penetrating the shields and defences of the Dark Lord’s apprentice, however, and Severus was getting far too close for Dumbledore’s liking with his few, but powerful, counter-attacks. Though clearly tired, the traitor was uninjured while his adversaries each sported a series of scrapes, bruises and cuts that, while not serious, were nonetheless painful. It was as Snape launched a volley of Killing curses at Hermione that Dumbledore stepped forward, throwing out a silver shield to protect the young muggle-born and making his presence known. Spell-fire slowed to a halt almost immediately and Severus Snape’s cold, black eyes locked with Dumbledore’s in shock, fear and, disturbingly, anticipation as the headmaster placed himself between his students and his former employee.
“You have all done magnificently,” Albus turned to the DA troops. “Your courage and skills are truly astounding, but I will take over from here.”
Ginny moved to say something but Dumbledore held up his hand. “No arguments Miss Weasley, Severus is my responsibility and you and your comrades are needed elsewhere.”
Ginny nodded before reluctantly following the others in walking away as the headmaster turned to face Snape once more, a powerful aura emanating around him as anger settled in his electric blue eyes.
“I am very disappointed in you Severus,” Dumbledore spoke in a calm but frosty voice.
“You had so much potential and yet you threw it all away, even when I gave you a second chance. I believed you to be a good man despite your sour demeanour and past choices; regrettably, it seems that I was wrong.”
“The Dark Lord is too powerful to be defeated Dumbledore, it would be foolish and fatal to resist him,” Snape replied, fingering his wand. “You should have realised by now that my place is on my side and my side alone; I will serve the Dark Lord faithfully and I will be greatly rewarded for it. It was unfortunate that Potter forced me to choose and declare my allegiance but at this stage it matters not; there is no stopping it Dumbledore, this time the dark will triumph.”
“For as long as there breathes but a single good person, the light shall never truly be defeated Severus. I believe that Harry will defeat your master and that Hogwarts will be reclaimed but even if I am wrong, even if Voldemort is to succeed and gains the Elixir a Lumina, if Hogwarts falls and I am killed, there is still hope, there is always hope. Tyrants fear those they oppress Severus because they know that eventually one will rise up and bring about their defeat. You cannot win.”
“Quite the speech Dumbledore, but you forget; I know of the prophecy,” Snape sneered. “Potter is ‘the one with the power to defeat the Dark Lord’ and, powerful as the brat is, it will not be enough. And while the Dark Lord kills ‘the boy who lived’ and gains the Elixir a Lumina, it is I who will succeed where a millennium’s worth of Dark wizards have failed; in taking control of Hogwarts.”
“Not while I still have air in my lungs,” Dumbledore declared.
“But of course not,” Snape replied. “Avada Kedavra!”
Dumbledore quickly raised a silver shield to repel the curse, before waving his wand in a complex fashion and morphing his gleaming protection into the shape of an elegant eagle. The silver bird immediately took flight, guided by the headmaster’s wand and swooping to protect its master from Snape’s attacks, which bounced harmlessly off its body. The transfigured creature then turned on the traitor himself, flying straight for him before grabbing at his robes with its powerful talons and hoisting him up into the air.
Severus snarled in rage at the indignity as he was lifted high above the ground and quickly turned his wand upwards to banish the bird into nothingness. The Dark Lord’s apprentice then propelled himself to one side to avoid the powerful array of curses heading his way, before going into freefall. Just as he was about to strike the ground, Snape slowed himself with a conjured gust of wind and landed gently in a crouch.
Dumbledore had made good use of his former employee’s distraction, however, and as soon had his feet found terra firma, the old potions professor found himself looking at a veritable tidal wave of fast flowing water, heading his way. Snape brandished his wand and, just as the water neared him, managed to freeze it before levitating the vast block of ice and, with effort, hurling it Dumbledore’s way.
The ancient mage released a powerful typhoon of flame to do elemental battle with his enemy’s ice, eventually succeeding in reducing it to steam. Through the smokescreen that this created, however, Snape unleashed a torrent of curses and Dumbledore was forced to raise a shield once more, almost pushed back by the immense power the Death Eater was wielding. Dark spells of all kinds slammed into the headmaster’s silver shield, searching for a weakness or the smallest gap to slip through and end his life and the old wizard failed to notice as a motus humo was aimed downwards, striking the floor and crumbling the ground beneath his feet.
For just a second Dumbledore stumbled backwards, desperately trying to maintain his balance, but this was enough for his shield to drop an inch and allow a slicing curse to cut into his arm. He shouted out in pain but was careful not to allow the wound to distract him any further, lest it cost him his life, and managed to stay on his feet and keep his shield in place to protect him from Snape’s relentless barrage. Albus Dumbledore knew that he couldn’t remain on the defensive forever, if he was to stand any chance of surviving this duel, he needed to regain the offensive and that meant escaping the constant rush of fatal spells.
Maintaining his shield, Dumbledore started to propel himself around the corridor, moving hither and thither until Snape had trouble keeping up with him. As he did this, the headmaster waved his wand and conjured around him a dozen perfect replicas of himself, they too moving quickly across the hallway to confuse the treacherous Death Eater. For a moment, Snape searched for clues as to which was the true Albus Dumbledore but, as returning fire started to reach him, he quickly changed tactic.
Waving his wand in a wide arc, Severus released thirteen deadly green bolts of light, one for each Dumbledore, and sent them flying across the hall, forcing the real Dumbledore to raise a shield, giving away his position as he was too distracted to have his illusions do the same. Snape immediately continued his onslaught of spells, but rather than maintaining his shield, Dumbledore banished it and raised a wall of solid stone from the floor of Hogwarts.
The sturdy wall took the power of Snape’s curses and, before there was time for it to be brought down or bypassed, Dumbledore once again transfigured his protection into an offensive weapon. This time it became a huge fist of stone, which immediately launched itself at the former potions professor, wrapping around him and holding him tight. The old warlock didn’t let up fire and followed this with a barrage of his own curses, which raced towards Snape at speed.
The spells neared their target but, at the last second, the fist twisted itself out of shape, reforming into a great snake, which uncoiled from around its master before swallowing the curses heading his way. The serpent was no more and Dumbledore used the distraction to conjure a massive pile of large rocks, before sending them Snape’s way. The rocks missed the traitor, but that was not their intended goal. Instead, they circled around and started to spin at immense speed around the Death Eater’s head, disorientating him and forcing him to blast them away one by one as they attacked him individually. In his distraction, Snape almost fell foul to a tripping hex, but was just able to block it in time. It was, however, a reminder that he needed to escape this situation fast and he gathered up all his power before releasing a shockwave of pure magical energy.
The rocks around him were blasted to smithereens and Dumbledore was forced back a few feet with sheer power of the magical pulse, raising a shield as he almost lost his footing, to protect himself from any counter. It did not come, however, as Snape instead directed his wand at the three largest pieces of rock, before skilfully transfiguring each bit into a towering wolf. The trio of lupine monstrosities immediately turned upon Dumbledore, their mouths foaming and their haunches raised as they launched themselves upon him.
The headmaster magically caught the wolves in mid-air and threw them against a wall before following up with blasting curses to end their artificial lives. He then quickly turned to back to his new enemy, only to find a constant stream of pure dark magic speeding his way. He immediately raised another shining silver shield, this team infusing it with powerful, pure light magic before the endless black light struck home and the battle of wills began. But even as he blocked the assault, he felt the dark magic starting to overpower his own energy, pushing relentlessly towards him with unstoppable force. Albus Dumbledore was suddenly filled with a terrible dread, for he knew that he wasn’t sufficiently healed, that his old friend had advanced too much, that he was starting to weaken. He knew that he was about to die.
Weary and exhausted, yet filled with jubilation, Harry Potter led his friends and allies in the Order of the Phoenix out of Leaena castle and onto the surrounding battlegrounds. Sweeping his gaze across the land, the young wizard was heartened again to see the battle turning their way; the Nosferatu had fled and the Nundu lay defeated on the ground; their deaths the combined effort of hundreds of powerful beasts, beings, witches and wizards. The Death Eaters and dark creatures still fought on but were now outnumbered and lacking the direction of their master and some were starting to surrender, while many had fallen already. One look towards Thane and Remus confirmed his plans and Harry turned to the Order soldiers who had fought beside him within the ancient manor.
“I can’t thank you all enough for fighting so bravely by my side,” he said, “but it is time for us to part. Thane, Remus and I will journey to Hogwarts while the rest of you continue the battle here; the tide is turning and the battle is almost won, it’s your job to ensure that it is with as few casualties as possible. When the dark forces are defeated, bring the Order and its allies to Hogwarts to take back the castle. Good luck.”
With that, Harry, Remus and Thane turned and quickly jogged to the edge of Voldemort’s anti-apparition wards, which still hung over the castle, before apparating to Hogwarts.
As soon as his feet found grass, Harry was striding towards the castle, thoughts of Ginny, Ron and Hermione in danger dominating his mind now that the Elixir a Lumina was secure. He couldn’t lose them; he wouldn’t be able to stand it. Remus and Thane seemed to share their younger friend’s concern and determinedly drew their wands as they marched into battle once more.
Harry’s presence was met by those who saw him with a mixture of shock, joy, relief and fear and some of the Death Eaters screamed out upon laying eyes on him. To those, the implications of his presence were quite clear; Lord Voldemort was no more, and some immediately turned to flee as the powerful young wizard scanned the field of battle for the best place to begin his fight. As Harry jumped into the furore with Remus hot on his heels, Thane Harding had eyes for only one man, for stood within the Hogwarts entrance hall was the wizard who had betrayed the Order, had betrayed the light and had betrayed him; Jude Kardos.
Thane’s eyes narrowed, his stare that of a predator as he watched his old friend throwing curses at schoolchildren and fighting beside monsters. Taking aim at the traitor, he released a powerful condolesco curse and started to run towards his foe, firing debilitating curses his way as he did so. As predicted, Kardos sensed the danger and was forced on the defensive; he turned away from the DA soldiers and ducked the first attack before raising a gleaming silver shield to absorb the magical battering.
Thane threw everything he had at him but quickly realised he had made a mistake; Jude had always been something of an expert at shields and, in training, had always been happy to remain on the defensive while waiting for his opponent to make a mistake. A change of tactic was needed but, at the same time, Thane didn’t want to surrender the momentum he had built, he needed a plan and, as he thought back over everything he knew about his former friend’s duelling style, one was quickly starting to form.
Kardos had been a good Auror and a very good fighter, but he liked to keep things simple and straight forward; he didn’t like to think on his feet and adapt his style in the middle of a duel, so creativity was the answer. He had started to return fire with pot shots whenever his defence allowed, so Thane quickly propelled himself to one side, both to change his angle of attack and maintain the offensive. He then started to put his plan into effect and bellowed at Jude the incantation of the smelting curse. Kardos banished his silver shield and replaced it with an advanced protego to stop his defences from being melted but, though the curse was blocked, it had done its job and Thane had to stop a smile spreading across his lips.
The Auror commander continued throwing curses and hexes at his old friend but kept them relatively low level so as not to tempt him to re-raise a silver shield. Amidst the multitude of spells, he then surreptitiously flicked his wand to one side, conjuring a loud BANG to his left and effectively distracting his opponent. Kardos was a professional and his shield was strong so he was not vulnerable and the distraction was minimal, but it was all that Thane needed. He used the half-second it bought him to mutter a crafty charm that conjured thick, black smoke around the caster.
Thane knew the Auror training inside out and was confident Kardos would stick to it in the heat of battle so, as the thick smoke billowed outwards and obscured the traitor’s vision, his former Commander ducked down to avoid the blind spray of curses that inevitably sprung from his adversary’s wand. Of course, Thane was just as helpless blind as Kardos was but it wasn’t his intention to directly attack. Instead, he quickly flourished his wand in a complex pattern, conjuring a large, rough boulder before him as Kardos cleared the smoke. The second, his eyes found his enemy, Thane banished the huge rock towards him before following it up with a torrent of curses. The boulder flew at the traitor with speed and, though he managed to slow it somewhat, he wasn’t quick enough to bring it to a halt and the massive weight struck home.
Kardos stumbled from the impact and, just for a second, his shield faltered. In duelling, however, it is milliseconds and centimetres that are the difference between life and death and the flickering of the traitor’s shield allowed two spells to pass through from Thane’s onslaught. A powerful cutting curse raked across Kardos’ chest, opening a deep gash before, less than a second later, he was struck by the electric blue beam of the extrudo curse, which launched him off his feet. Flesh and bone met unyielding rock as Kardos was pummelled into a wall, smacking his head on the stone before collapsing like a rag doll to the floor.
Thane immediately summoned his former friend’s wand and snapped it in two before binding him tightly with conjured restraints. However, Kardos made no move to get free and after a few seconds, Commander Harding felt a sinking feeling develop in the pit of his stomach as he walked forward and knelt beside his adversary. Blood was seeping from the man’s head and, as Thane pressed his fingers to his neck, no pulse met his touch; Jude Kardos was dead. The Auror Commander released a sigh as he closed his eyes, not quite knowing how he felt; relieved or devastated. Probably a little of both.
With great effort, Thane pushed past his emotions, burying them for now to be dealt with at another time as he opened his eyes and rose to his feet. The corridor he found himself in was empty and much of the battle seemed to have moved upstairs, so that is where he headed, taking the steps two at a time as he pushed himself onwards, wanting to throw himself immediately back into battle. At one point, Thane saw Harry battling almost a dozen enemies alone and almost went to his young friend’s aid before pulling up; if there was a single person in this castle that didn’t need his help, it was Harry and he was needed elsewhere.
Harry Potter had found himself in an increasingly and irritatingly familiar position; that is surrounded by ten Death Eaters, battling furiously for his life and against magical exhaustion. In a brief lull in his enemies’ attacks, he summoned a little more power and released a shockwave of magical energy, blasting the Death Eaters backwards and scattering them around the room. A few of them immediately fell to powerful stunners and the rest were destined for a similar fate as he defended against a blitz of dark curses. Harry conjured four apparition shields around him, allowing the curses to enter one before immediately shooting out another, taking out fellow Death Eaters as Harry himself remained protected. This left just three standing and he quickly took out two with a blasting curse, leaving a solitary dark wizard. Harry just had time to see the growing fear on the Death Eater’s face before the young recruit was tapped on the shoulder and spun around to find himself eye to eye with a suit of armour. The armour knocked him out with a single head butt.
The young warrior was now alone in the corridor, the Death Eaters who had been battling around him having taken their leave as they saw their comrades decimated. The brief moment’s pause gave Harry time to search for where he was most needed in battle and, as a powerful wave of magical energy filled his senses, he started to make his way upwards, quickly disposing of anyone who got in his way. Rising up through the floors of the ancient castle, he noted with barely suppressed despair that the number of live fighters was decreasing as he rose, to be replaced by rigid, lifeless bodies from both sides. The air around him started to crack with magical power and Harry knew he was getting close as a sulphuric stench reached his nostrils from the sparks of energy being given off.
Breaking into a run as he sensed that he was needed, the young wizard flung himself around the corner just as the sounds of battle faded away and discovered a sight that chilled the very blood in his veins. On the other side of the corridor before him stood Severus Snape, the Dark Lord’s apprentice, his wand levelled at the bowed and beaten form of Albus Dumbledore who had fallen to his knees. Both sets of eyes snapped to him as he came into view and a malicious smirk spread across the thin lips of the old Potions professor as he silently released a bolt of green light to end the headmaster’s life.
Harry stood rooted to the spot, knowing that he was too late to save his old mentor but unable to take his eyes off him. As the ancient Warlock had laid his gaze on his student, his bright blue eyes had sparkled once more and a look of relief had spread across his face as he realised the meaning of his presence. One of the greatest wizards of his generation died with a smile on his face, knowing that Lord Voldemort was no more and trusting the safety of his school to his favourite student.
As Dumbledore’s body collapsed to the ground, Snape turned to Harry, new power shining in his black, soulless eyes. The room chilled as Harry met his stare with ice-cold fury, the magic pumping through his veins sparking to life as the man he considered a Grandfather was murdered before his eyes.
“Your struggle is in vain Snape,” Harry spoke, his voice carrying with it a deadly edge.
“Your master is dead.”
To his surprise, Snape’s smirk grew.
“Then I, as his appointed apprentice, shall replace him Potter. In truth, you have done me an act of kindness in releasing me from his bonds, for you see, though the Dark Lord’s magical power was great, he lacked the Slytherin finesse necessary to gain true power. The terror we, as Death Eaters, inspire is vast but subtlety is required to truly control the mindless sheep that make up the wizarding populace. I shall begin by destroying their last remaining hope; their precious Boy Who Lived.”
Snape reeled back his wand to attack, but Harry was quicker and thrust his hands forward, releasing a blast of pure light magic so powerful the castle shook upon its foundations and windows throughout the building burst in their frames. Snape’s eyes widened but his reactions were fast and he propelled himself to the other end of the corridor and away from the attack. The Death Eater then launched a volley of Killing curses Harry’s way, which escaped his wand at amazing speed.
The younger wizard raised a shield and blocked the spells with relative ease, but Snape had taken this time to conjure a thick wall across the corridor, stretching from floor to ceiling, which took the power of the killing curses. Harry whipped his wand forward and blasted the brick and mortar to smithereens, but just as he did so, Snape’s wand-work was complete and total darkness descended upon the corridor, blinding everyone but the caster. The dark spell was a new one to Harry and the DA leader had no time to ponder a counter as he sensed a series of powerful curses heading his way.
Harry dived away from the spells and rolled neatly up to his feet, focusing entirely on his magical senses and expanding them to aid in his fight while he desperately wracked his brains for a way to overpower the spell. Even the most powerful variation of lumos had failed to yield results and Harry’s attention was quickly diverted elsewhere again as a barrage of killing curses, even they invisible, strafed across the corridor, forcing Harry to raise a silver shield to deflect them away. Ducked behind his conjured protection, an idea struck Harry and, as he propelled himself away from Snape’s latest attack, he focused on the bracketed, medieval torches hanging upon the Hogwarts walls. Flicking his wrist, he summoned forth his elemental powers and conjured powerful flames within the torches, overpowering the dark magic of Snape’s charm and bringing the world back into focus.
Blinking as his eyes readjusted to the welcome flood of light, Harry conjured an apparition shield, which swallowed Snape’s condolesco curse and fired it back at him from one side. The old potions professor dodged his own curse but was forced to propel himself out the way as Harry unleashed a barrage of powerful curses his way, raising the hairs on his arms as they missed him by inches. Keeping up the constant onslaught and forcing his old enemy to dance to his tune, Harry decided to end this as quickly as he could and summoned forth a powerful wind to levitate himself up from the ground.
His robes billowing impressively around him, Harry ceased firing his curses and instead turned his attention to the ground, reaching out with his power over the earth and shaking it violently, sending the Dark Lord’s apprentice sprawling to the ground. Lowering himself back to the floor, Harry didn’t pause for a second before conjuring a giant fist of ice, which he fired at his old teacher like a battering ram. Snape had managed to climb up to his feet once more but knew that he wouldn’t be able to avoid the missile in time and he certainly couldn’t overpower Harry’s elemental magic.
Levelling his wand at the fist of ice, Severus gathered up as much power as he could muster and cried; “Confringo!” The explosion curse hit home and the ice was blasted into a million pieces. Unfortunately for the head Death Eater, however, it was at almost point blank range and he was sent flying backwards with the force of the explosion, shards of ice cutting into his skin as he was hurled through the air before landing in a heap on the floor. Battered and bruised, Snape forced himself back up to his feet, only to find for the second time that day, his enemy had conjured multiple illusions of himself and he stood staring at around twenty identical Harry Potters.
Keen to exploit the lull in his enemy’s offensive, Snape decided on the same tactic he had used with Dumbledore and swept his wand across himself, releasing a score of deadly green bolts of light. The killing curse sped towards each of the Harrys but the young man himself had surpassed Dumbledore’s power some time ago and conjured before himself and each of his illusions a silver shield to deflect all of Snape’s curses back at him. The Harrys then released a torrent of spells, both real and illusionary, forcing Snape to raise a shield and throw himself about the corridor, unaware which of the beams of light might end his life. The Death Eater managed to avoid the real curses but, upon rolling to his feet, found himself looking at a corridor filled with deadly creatures, again unaware which were real and which were fake. The lions, tigers, snakes, wolves and birds all pounced at him and Snape threw himself backwards in alarm, sending out another explosion curse to destroy the flesh and blood and find the illusions.
Harry had not wasted his enemy’s distraction and, as the flash of the explosion cleared, the electric blue bolt of the extrudo curse struck Snape’s shield, crashing through it and sending the Death Eater tumbling to the ground once more. The young warrior advanced to end the duel, but at that moment the sound of voices reached his ears and around the corner at Snape’s end of the corridor, there walked two DA soldiers. Harry’s eyes widened as Colin Creevey and Joseph Fletcher took in the scene before them in shock and a small smile grew on Snape’s lips. Harry instantly knew what his adversary had planned but, though he moved to attack, he knew that he would be too late and he was proved right as Severus propelled himself behind his old students and levelled his wand at their backs, disarming them with ease.
“I would think very carefully before you make your next move Potter,” Snape barked as Harry aimed his wand above his soldiers’ heads. “Do you trust your abilities enough to know that you can kill me before I have the time to end the lives of those under your command? Are you so willing to gamble their lives on your speed?”
Harry didn’t move and his old professor’s smirk grew. “That’s what I thought,” he said. “If you want them to live, throw down your wand and raise your hands.”
Harry reluctantly complied, knowing that the chances of him hitting Snape before he struck down his comrades were slim, he tossed his wand to the ground and raised his arms.
“Now turn away,” Snape commanded and Harry obliged once more, turning to face the opposite wall.
The young warrior was not stupid enough to think that Snape would allows his men to leave, however, and a plan was formulating in his mind. As he gave his friends a reassuring smile before turning away, he reached out with his magical senses, finding Snape’s exact position before, with a burst of wandless magic, conjuring a powerful wind and sending all three wizards flying. Summoning a large book that had lain before him, he caught the bound volume and whipped around, flinging it towards his allies. As the book travelled through the air, he took aim with his hand and muttered the incantation to the portus charm, transforming it into a portkey.
Snape had recovered quickly and, with a snarl of rage, bellowed the disembowelment curse, levelling his wand at the students who lay a few feet before him. Harry’s aim was true, however, and, touching his friend with his other hand, Colin Creevey reached up and plucked the portkey from the air, transporting the two DA soldiers away from the duel. Snape’s deadly curse shot straight through where the schoolboys had been and continued onwards towards Harry, but the young wizard summoned his wand from the ground and struck the curse, hitting it back at its caster.
Snape dived out of the way of his own curse, rolling from its path and back up to his feet, only to be confronted with a huge tempest of fire, which filled the entire corridor as it twisted towards him. Summing a shield from a nearby suit of armour, Snape just managed to portkey away before the flames consumed him, landing behind Harry, who quickly turned to face his enemy. As soon as he landed, Snape fired a killing curse but Harry deflected it with ease before gathering his magic to his fingertips and releasing a massively powerful beam of pure light magic.
The ethereal beam shot at the Death Eater at speed and, unable to avoid it, Snape was forced to raise a silver shield, infusing it with pure dark magic. The two soon collided and, almost immediately, Harry’s superior power paid off, overwhelming Snape’s defence and shattering his shield before blasting him the length of the corridor. He landed hard, bones cracking and his body screaming in pain from the pure light magic as Harry calmly walked his way. He tried desperately to get up and eventually, as Harry came within feet of him, he managed to stagger to his feet. The Death Eater brought his wand around to fire a curse, but Harry moved forward and thrust out his left arm, physically blocking Snape’s arm and causing the curse to shoot into the wall. The younger wizard then grabbed his enemy’s hand and twisted, breaking his wrist.
Snape’s wand went spinning from his grasp and Harry whipped his own across himself to slam the traitor into a wall. There was a loud crack and blood started to seep through the Death Eater’s hair as he collapsed to the ground before dazedly struggling towards his wand, only to be halted by Harry. Strolling over to his fallen adversary, he casually destroyed his old teacher’s wand with a flick of his wrist before magically bringing him to his knees before him. Snape seemed to lose all of his energy as he realised he had been defeated and, after a long moment of silence, dragged his head up to meet the brilliant green eyes of his conqueror.
“You have bested me Potter,” he sneered, “I am at your mercy. Now is the time you show your true colours; I am too powerful to be contained indefinitely and previous experience has taught you that I never leave any trace of my crimes, but do you have it in you to kill me in cold blood even though the war has been won?”
Harry knew that he spoke the truth; Sirius had proved that Azkaban was not inescapable and Snape was far more powerful. It was unlikely to even come to that though, with the Wizengamot still infested by Voldemort’s dark touch and his old Professor’s meticulous covering of his crimes, a conviction was unlikely, just as it was at the start of the year.
“Make your decision Potter. To take a life in cold blood leaves a mark on one’s soul, but allow me the opportunity and I will destroy everyone you love.”
Harry’s mind immediately took him back twelve months to the Battle for the Rock and Bellatrix’s fatal taunting. He felt a smile tug at his lips for he knew that Snape would never come near his loved ones again; though it tore him apart to do so, he had planned out this eventuality and he would see it through. Straightening his arm, the young warrior pointed his wand between the traitor’s eyes and, with a deep breath, released a burst of magic, sending Snape tumbling backwards before his jet black eyes grew dull.
For a long moment nobody moved but then, Severus Snape’s head rose to meet his enemy’s gaze as his hands tugged at newly conjured magical restraints.
“Severus Snape, I am arresting you on suspicion of mass murder and Death Eater affiliation. You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention, when questioned, something you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence. You’re right Snape, the war is over and I’m not going to corrupt my soul for the likes of you. Once they are back under ministry control, the Dementors can have you.”
With these words, Harry summoned up all of his power and shot out a stunner at point blank range. Snape was slammed into a wall once again and immediately fell into unconsciousness, guaranteed not to awaken until Harry himself decided to wake him. As an added precaution, Harry then tightly bound and gagged him before leaving to re-enter the battle.
Jogging through the corridors of Hogwarts and down the stairs to the main bulk of the action as his magical energy quickly replenished itself, Harry was heartened to see the battle greatly turning in their favour. Back up was arriving in droves from Leaena castle, minus the Lycans of course, and the reinforcements gave the light the numerical advantage. Death Eaters and dark creatures were falling left, right and centre, as Voldemort’s defeat and the greater numbers galvanised the men, women, beasts and beings under Harry’s command.
The DA leader’s eyes naturally sought out Ginny, Ron and Hermione and he was relieved to find them more than holding their own and not in need of his aid. Jumping back into the action, Harry quickly took out a few more Death Eaters with simple stunners that cleaved through their shields as if they weren’t there. Ducking and raising shields to avoid the multitude of curses suddenly heading his way, he then whipped up a powerful wind, spinning it like a tempest before wrapping it around the Death Eaters nearby and dumping them in a pile before him. He then fired a mass of stunners into the pile and bound his victims before snapping their wands.
With disorder and dissention quickly spreading through the scattered Death Eater ranks, many of them began to surrender or else attempt to flee. Harry was happy to oblige the cowards who chose to give themselves up and quickly stunned and bound them before locking the Entrance Hall doors to trap the others inside. Most of the remainder gave up without a fight and, with one final push, the Order of the Phoenix, DA and their allies finally released a cry of joy as their final enemies surrendered and the battle was won.
Shouting, whooping and hugging quickly filled the room but Harry knew there was still essential work to be done before the party began. Suppressing with difficulty the desire to run and hug his friends and girlfriend, he retook control of the DA and sent out his soldiers, along with certain Order members to round up all the live but unconscious Death Eaters and bring them to him. This they did as Harry and the rest quickly swept the castle to search for any survivors trying to hide within, in the end finding no one.
Once the Prisoners of War were gathered, Harry and a team of Council members banished them to ministry holding cells, making quick work of the job until only one remained; Snape. Though he knew that his stunner, magical restraints and bindings were sure to hold the traitor, Harry was not willing to risk the consequences if he was wrong. So, with a quick explanation to his troops, he levitated his prisoner before him and set off across the Hogwarts ground before apparating to the Ministry of Magic.
Ignoring the exclamations of shock by the few occupants of the bowels of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Harry took Snape to the Ministry’s most secure cells and dumped him inside before slamming the door. The young wizard then started his work, adding layer upon layer of powerful constraining wards on the cell to ensure Severus Snape remained captive, this time leaving no failsafe in case of emergency; if Harry was killed or incapacitated, Snape would just have to slowly rot in his cell.
His job done, Harry returned to the castle to find an atmosphere of restrained joy; the elation of victory was tainted by the tragic loss of life, but most seemed determined to save their grief for another day. Walking into the Entrance Hall, Harry was met by clapping and much back slapping before he felt a slight weight slam into him and wrap her arms round his torso. He hugged Ginny back for all he was worth, letting his love for her and unbridled relief at her safety almost consume him as a large grin took over his face. Pulling away after a long moment, their lips met in a passionate kiss that said much more than Harry could with mere words.
As the couple pulled apart, they were surrounded by friends and loved ones, all offering up their relief and happiness that they had survived. Harry knew that there was still much to be done; that he was yet to discover all the names of the dead, that the scheme he had been planning all year was still yet to be enacted and that the ministry and wizarding Britain needed healing, but for now he decided to just relax and enjoy the party.
A/N: Well there you have it, the final proper chapter of the story, with only the epilogue still to come. I hope you enjoyed it and thanks for reading, chapter 20 shouldn’t take me too long to write and I’ll post it as soon as I can.
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