Chapter 84 : Three Together
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Before taking any adverse action against Voldemort, Severus and Regulus wanted to first make sure their families were safe from reprisals. So Severus and Regulus set up Severus' previous house as a safe house. They warded the place with extra strong charms and made sure no one could get into or out of it without being keyed to the wards, which meant not just a magical signature, but a password as well, spoken willingly by the person. Severus asked Eileen, Dickon, and Jess to go there on a certain date, along with Lily and baby Grace. James agreed to have Petunia and Harry go as well as Polly and Henry Evans. Charles and Liana opted to stay at Potter Manor, reasoning that someone had to keep an eye on the place and they beefed up the wards there too and put some Hit Wizards on patrol of the grounds. Regulus got Cindy there with her unborn child, and Sirius place Annie with them as well. Finally, with Eileen's insistence, Walburga agreed as well to come, saying that anyone trying to invade Grimmauld Place would get a surprise since Orion's wards and traps had been activated, and she would rather not stay alone there.
Once everything was in place, Regulus donned his Death Eater persona again and went back to keep an eye on the children in the hidden room. Severus would have joined him, but needed to give evidence to the Aurors first about Peter and finish up some classes and make sure Lily and Grace were safe. He decided to say his goodbyes to Lily and the baby at lunch, after his morning classes of 6th year NEWTS and 5th year OWLS.
He had just finished with his fifth year class of Hufflepuffs and Slytherins and was grading a batch of vials at his desk in the classroom when Rhys Morgan rushed in.
"Something wrong, Morgan?" inquired the professor. The boy looked hot and bothered, his dark hair flying every which way.
"Yes, sir . . . well, it's not wrong so much as . . . I've Dreamed again, sir, and you told me to let you know so . . . I'm here."
Severus waved his wand, and the door shut and locked. Privacy wards activated and the professor said gravely, "All right, Morgan. What did you Dream this time?"
"Sir, I saw the . . . umm . . . You-Know-Who . . . and he . . . you were fighting him, sir."
"Just me? Alone?" Severus frowned. While he was a damn good wizard and Defense Master, even he would not like to take on Voldemort alone.
"No, Professor Snape. There was another young man with you, tall, dark, and handsome, and a lady."
"A lady? What did she look like?"
"She was . . err . . . pretty, with long dark red hair and green eyes. And she could fight, sir!" Rhys answered eagerly. "And while you were fighting him, sir, I could hear a voice telling me this—three together shall walk the paths of night, for only by infiltrating the heart of darkness can the dark be destroyed. Be swift, be cunning, be steadfast and the dark shall be destroyed. Trust in yourselves and the dark will not triumph. Fail—"
"—and the dark shall destroy all," Severus completed the prophecy.
"Yes, but . . . how did you know that, sir?" Rhys stammered in shock. "I've never told anyone about it, so how-?"
"You're not the first one to say that prophecy, Morgan. My wife spoke it before you, years ago. It would seem that we are close to fulfilling it, if you have Seen it also." Severus said. But he was not happy about it. Yes, the Dark Lord might be destroyed, but at what cost? He did not want Lily involved anymore than she was, and Rhys' Dream unsettled him. Merlin help them, but he had no wish to have Grace grow up an orphan or Arthur either.
"Oh. So you know already . . ." Rhys seemed downcast.
"Yes. Do you know of anything else. Have you Dreamed of the missing children as well?"
Rhys shook his head sadly. "No. I tried, but . . . the Sight didn't show me anything. Sometimes it's like that. I wish . . . it would. I want Arthur, Misty, and Nate to be all right. I'm really worried about them."
"Yes, I know," Severus sighed. He patted the distraught teen on the shoulder. "But sometimes we aren't meant to see the future, Morgan. We just . . . have to do what we can. Hopefully we can rescue them and they will be fine."
"I hope so." He looked up at Severus, his silver eyes shimmering with hope. "If anyone can it's you, sir. But please, be careful."
"Thank you for the vote of confidence," Severus said. "I shall be as careful as I know how. And you watch yourself as well. There are certain members of Slytherin . . ."
"I know, sir. I know who they are and how to avoid them. Think I'll go spend the weekend with my Aunt Sybill, sir. She's a little strange, but Dumbledore warded her tower against evil magic. I'll be fine there."
"Good. The last thing we need is for you to go missing, Rhys." He rose to his feet. "Let me accompany you there. Then I shall go home."
Rhys walked side-by-side with his Head down the corridor and up the stairs to Trelawney's tower. Once Severus made sure the young Seer was safely inside, he went back to the cottage to get Lily and Grace.
Only to find Lily wearing her modified robes with their fireproof charms on it and looking like a warrior queen out of a tale. "Lily, what are you doing? Where's Grace?"
"With your mother. She picked her up a little bit ago. I'm sorry, I should have waited, but . . ."
"Why aren't you with her?"
She eyed him sternly. "Because I'm not going into hiding, Severus. I'm here to see this through like I'm supposed to. Like the prophecy says."
"No! I don't want—"
"Severus, it's not about what you want, it's about what will be. All three of us are needed to defeat him, therefore all three shall be there," she held up a hand. "Don't you remember? Three together shall walk the paths of night . . ."
He scowled. "I don't want anything to happen to you, Lily."
"Or me, you. And the best way to ensure that, my love, is for me to be at your side. We can fight together and protect each other."
"I still don't like it."
"No one said anything about liking it. But we all do what we must. And I need to fight the Dark Lord with you and Reg. And I shall. I don't need your permission, Severus."
He ground his teeth. "When did you ever, my stubborn witch?" He caught her in his arms, kissing her with a defiant passion that made him burn like wildfire. "Damn you, Lily!"
She kissed him back hungrily. "This is the choice I had to make. I love you, Sev. And together we shall do what must be done."
Seeing that he couldn't dissuade her, Severus stopped talking and just hugged and kissed her breathless. The thought of her in danger turned his stomach inside out, but since he could do nothing, he simply accepted it . . . and prayed that she came through unharmed. One of them had to survive for Grace.
Arthur knew something was wrong when a boot toe kicked him awake from a sound sleep. He winced and edged away. "Huh?"
"Get up!" ordered a harsh voice that he didn't recognize.
He looked up to see a tall Death Eater with a mask and the traditional ash-grey robes. He climbed to his feet, frightened. Would he be taken before You-Know-Who?
The tall Death Eater began to point at a few others. "You, the girl there, you, and you! Get over here and line up."
Together with Arthur there were ten of them, including May, Nate, Misty, and a few others. They were chivvied into line and told to quit whining. Then they were taken from the room and led down a short hallway. Soon they were shoved into another room, this one made of round stone and huge.
Surrounding a large black thing were several long beds, Arthur thought they looked rather like the diagnostic beds in a hospital. His Death Eater was joined by two others and they indicated the kids were to get on the beds and lie down.
"But what for?" Misty asked, but she was ignored. It appeared they didn't want to answer questions today.
Once Arthur was lying on the bed, he found it rather comfortable, the Death Eater fitted him with a sort of helmet with weird wires attached to it. Though Arthur couldn't see it, the wires were attached to the black machine in the center of the room.
"Now, you all just lie here for awhile and don't move. If you get sleepy, just take a nap."
"But where are we?" protested Nate. He didn't like this at all. Something was wrong.
"You are where the Dark Lord wants you," sneered the tall Death Eater. "Serving him in the best way you can, Mudblood!"
The others laughed and then they departed.
Arthur heard the click of a lock. He lay still for a moment, trying to figure out what to do.
"It's the machine!" whimpered May from the next bed. "It's going to suck away our magic. Like last time!"
"No way! I won't let it," Art cried. He sat up.
Suddenly there was an odd hum, and the machine came to life. There was a whirring sound and then Arthur felt an odd pull on his helmet. He felt a strong desire to lie back and go to sleep. But he knew that was what they wanted. They wanted a doner for their sick magical experiment. And Arthur refused to be one.
He fought the sudden lethargy and reached up and tore off his helmet.
Almost immediately, he felt better. The strange sensation of tiredness and weakness went away. He glanced around. Had anyone seen him? There didn't appear to be windows in this place. He stood up, determination rushing through him. "Misty! Nate! May! Don't go to sleep, understand?"
"But 'm tired, Art!" May whimpered. "Tired and the machine don't hurt."
"Yes, it does," Arthur said, moving over to where she lay on the bed. "It hurts you by stealing away your magic." He went and yanked off her helmet. "There! Now get up!"
He helped the little girl stand. Soon, with some urging, all the children had pulled off their helmets and were standing, looking confused.
"Now what?" asked Misty.
Arthur looked at the machine, which was still humming and whirring. "Uh, we have to break this thing."
"Break it? But how?" Nate asked. "We're not strong enough to smash it up with our bare hands."
"Then we'll use something else. We've got to wreck it, don't you see? So it can't drain anymore magic."
"Then what? They'll kill us for that!" wailed another girl.
Arthur shrugged. "Better dead than drained of magic like a puppet." He got an idea. He went back to his bed and stood at one end. Then, grasping the foot board, he began to shove the bed as hard as he could towards the machine, running at it hard.
The bed crashed into the machine and smoke and a loud crash emerged. "Come on, do the rest!" he shouted. "Quick, before it brings them back."
Seeing his strategy, Nate rushed the machine too, and then so did Misty, shouting the names of those they had known killed by Death Eaters. Soon even the most frightened among them joined them and soon the black machine was a mess of twisted wires, cracked metal and plastic and smoking.
"Is it dead?" asked May softly.
"I don't know," Arthur admitted. "Can anybody here do wandless magic?"
"I can. A little," Nate said quietly. He pointed a finger at the wreckage and chanted, "Incendio!"
The pile of mashed machine began to burn and an urgent alarm began to sound.
Nate winced. "Sorry, haven't used that spell since Marty and I almost blew ourselves up.
The children were whimpering and cowering on the floor.
"Stop it!" Arthur ordered. "I know the noise hurts, but we have to ready for the Death Eaters to come back."
"Ready how? They're grown-ups!"
"Stronger than we are."
"They scare me!"
"I know, but they're also just people like us," Arthur said. "And we outnumber them ten to two."
"So what? They know more magic," Misty said.
"But they don't know we destroyed their precious machine. So when they come in, they'll be looking for something wrong. They won't expect us to fight back."
Us? Fight back against Death Eaters? You cracked, Stephens?" blurted a boy with blond hair.
"Yes, because fighting and dying on my feet is better than living on my knees, Gautry." Arthur said fiercely. "A wise man once told me that battles aren't always won by strength, but by surprise. So let's give them a surprise they'll never forget."
"Where'd you learn all this, Art?" asked Nate.
"Severus," answered the other. Then he divided them up into small groups of two each.
He was with May, since she wanted no one else, and each group needed one older and one younger wizard.
He positioned them around the room and waited.
The alarm blared shrilly and suddenly the door was flung open and the tall Death Eater from before stepped in with two others behind him.
"What's going on here, dammit?" he cried, and looked towards the machine. His jaw dropped. "What in bloody hell?!"
Before he could say anything further, two pairs of children rushed him, hitting him with parts of the bed legs, attacking him like wild animals.
As he went down, Arthur, May, Nate, and another boy sprang at the other Death Eater. As they pummeled, kicked, bit, and struck at him with their makeshift clubs, they found the big man was overwhelmed by an attack from supposedly scared street urchins.
Other groups moved to spring at the other Death Eater, who managed to get his wand out and attack. Blue fire shot out of his wand, trying to hit the children remaining who came at him.
Their small faces were twisted with hate and promised death, but before he could take any of them out, something struck him across the back of the neck and he toppled forward.
As he fell on the ground, the attacking children spread in a circle, like hungry hounds waiting to tear a quarry apart.
"Holy Merlin! Arthur, what'd you tell these kids? They're like wild savages," exclaimed Sirius.
"We don't like being treated like magical feeding tubes," Arthur said shortly.
"Who are you, mister?"
"My name's Auror Black, and me and my partner, Auror Potter, are here to rescue you."
The kids stared at him, uncertain whether it was a trick.
Then James came into the room, wearing his uniform and smiling. "Come on, kids. Time to blow this popsicle stand, as my wife would say. We're here to take you home."
"I can see my mum again?"
"What about my dad?"
May began to cry. "But if we leave, the bad men will hurt my mummy and daddy! They said so!"
Arthur knelt and picked her up. "No, they won't. Because we'll be gone before they know we are. Come on."
Suddenly, Regulus poked his head in. "Siri, James, hurry your ass! I see someone coming."
"Go distract them, Reg," Sirius ordered. "James, you got the Port Kay ready?"
"Right here, partner," James said, and showed the kids an old wooden horse with wheels. It looked like a baby's pull toy and actually had been his as a toddler. "Come here, kids, and touch this. Five at a time, please."
Arthur brought May, Nick, and Misty came, as well two others. As soon as they had touched the horse, they were teleported away to safe house where Eileen was with the others.
Sirius got the others to follow suit and then James tucked the Port Key away. "What now, Sirius?"
"Now we help my little brother kick some ass!" Sirius shouted and ran down the corridor to duel the Death Eaters coming to investigate the cause of the alarm.
At first the four Death Eaters were puzzled when they saw Regulus standing there, still wearing his Death Eater garb. Then they saw the two Aurors and started firing spells at them. As they faced off against Sirius and James, Regulus incapacitated those who were distracted from behind with Incarcerus and Stunning spells.
Soon they had the Death Eaters all tied up, and James sent them over to the Ministry to Kingsley Shacklebolt to be put away.
"We make a good team, little brother!" Sirius said, grinning.
"Yeah, but those were only initiates. The big ones, the Inner Circle, like Bella, Lucius, Rabastan and Rodolphus, are still at large. Those are what we need to worry about." Regulus said.
"Where are they? I have a few scores to settle with the Lestrange brothers," James said tightly.
"Yeah and me with cousin Bella, the bloody crazy witch!" Sirius coughed.
"And I have something to say to mister high-and-mighty Malfoy!" Regulus snarled. It was, after all, Lucius who had gotten him into the whole mess in the first place. "Come on. They'll be in the great hall, having supper or whatever."
"Where's Snape?" asked James.
"He's here. Along with Lily. They're . . . uh . . . talking with the Dark Lord. Distracting him so we can take care of most of his followers. Once we start to fight them, Potter, you open up a portal where I disabled the wards to let your Aurors in. Then you can beat the crap out of the Lestrange boys."
Regulus beckoned them out of the corridor.
"Whoa!" Sirius said. "Aren't there more kids to get out?"
"Uh . . ." Regulus did a headcount. "Yeah. Come on, this way!"
He led them back down the corridor to the secret room, where they found over thirty more kids. They sent them away with the Port Key, then Regulus led them up towards the hall, casting a Glamour on the Aurors first. It would fade after the first blow was struck, but for now it would serve.
Upstairs in Voldemort's study, Severus and Lily were trying to provide the dark despot with a distraction. They had decided to discuss the birth of their daughter, deciding that with Grace hiding and protected, it was safe to tell Voldemort about her.
"I . . . I have had our child, my lord," Zoey began softly, bowing before him. This was the last time she would wear the Glamour and also the last time she would bow before the crazy loon who called himself death's master.
"Indeed," said Volemort smoothly. He looked twenty years younger due to the magical drafts he consumed from the stolen magical children. "And what did you have? Girl or boy."
"We have a healthy daughter, my lord," Severus said evenly. He too knelt in homage, though it made him want to puke.
"Ah . . . a girl chit," Voldemort frowned. "Not what I was expecting, Severus. You should have had a boy."
"We had no say in the matter, my lord," Zoey said evenly, though she wanted to tell the prejudiced git where to go stick his old-fashioned notions—right up his ass!
"Nevertheless, I suppose you can make a good match with her, so that's something. Is she pretty?"
"I think so, my lord," Severus allowed, letting some of the pride he felt creep into his tone. He prayed Regulus, Black, and Potter were rescuing the refugee captives. "But then, don't most fathers love their children and think they are beautiful?"
Voldemort snorted. "I do not know, as my own sire was not present at my birth."
"But your mother surely thought you were beautiful, lord," cooed Zoey.
"My mother was a fool and less than a two-bit whore to give herself to a sweet-talking bastard! Her opinion hardly matters, Zoey, as she died hours after I was born. All she gave me was his name, a name that was as common as it was distasteful to me."
"Forgive me, my lord. I meant no disrespect," Zoey said regretfully, lowering her head so he would not see the sneer on her face. To think this half-blood nobody preached the power of the pureblood! He was clearly in self-denial. Bloody Adolf Hitler wannabe! I'll see you in hell!
"I suppose congratulations are in order, Snape," the dark wizard snorted and then took out two glasses from a sideboard and some firewhiskey in a cut crystal decanter. He poured some in each glass, and gave one to Severus and the other for himself. "Firewhiskey is not good for nursing mothers," he told Zoey in a superior tone.
"Of course not, my lord," Zoey said sweetly, though she wanted to shove the firewhiskey down Voldemort's throat and make him choke on it. She had barely started nursing Grace and wouldn't have touched the alcohol anyway. But it should have been her choice, the chauvinist pig!
Severus sipped cautiously, he was not going to risking impairing himself with firewhiskey, plus he had no love for drink. But he couldn't say no to Lord Voldemort. Not now. As the alcohol burned its way down his throat, he savored the slightly smoky taste and said, "It is too bad I don't have my heir yet, but I can marry my daughter to the Malfoy's boy, and thus rise that way." He would marry Grace to Draco over his dead body. Lucius was not to be trusted.
"Yes, always ambitious, aren't you, my bright potions professor?" Voldemort chuckled. "That is what daughters are for—to marry and gain alliances. What else are women good for, except children and driving their husbands insane? Pah!" He glared at Zoey, who dropped her gaze to the carpet.
She focused on the floor and forced herself to think of nothing just in case Voldemort tried to probe her mind, though she cheerfully wished his balls roasted off.
Severus continued drinking the firewhiskey, swishing it slowly in his mouth while keeping Voldemort talking about his plans for the Mudbloods and Muggles. He hoped this was long enough for Reg and his company to get the children away and destroy the machine. It had been at least twenty minutes since they had first entered the study. He had to keep the foul creature talking for another five, at least.
Down in the hall, Regulus had entered and pretended to get some wine from the sideboard along with his two companions. As he poured, he saw Lucius, Bella, and the Lestrange twins sitting and laughing about their newest assignment—killing the Longbottoms and their newborn baby.
"Frank and Alice were warned," Lucius was saying urbanely. "But they refused to listen and behave with suitable manners due to a pureblood. So now they must pay."
"Oh, yes! Such delight, to kill their little cuddly-wuddly baby before their eyes!" Bella cackled. She hated children, jealous because she could never bear one of her own due to uterine malformation. "I look forward to it. How about you, Rudy my sweet?" She stroked his cheek.
Rodolphus shuddered, being petted by Bellatrix was a bit like being crawled on by a black widow spider. "Of course, darling. I love it when you make them scream."
"Me too," smirked Rabastan. "Don't you, Reg?"
Regulus forced himself to answer affirmatively. He swallowed the red wine quickly. Then he gestured to James and Sirius to move about the table and let down the wards so Dumbledore and the rest of the Order could get through.
Before Rodolphus could move, or Lucius suggest someone pour him another brandy, Regulus and James had wands at their temples.
"What is the meaning of this?" blustered Lucius.
"Take out your wand, Lucius, and put it on the table. Slowly," ordered James, then told Rodolphus to do the same.
"Who are you, you stinking miserable . . ." snarled Bella, but Sirius halted her as he jabbed her with his wand in the back.
"Freeze, Bella! Now sit down nice and easy and surrender your wand."
"Sirius! You mangy cur, how dare you manhandle me!" She glared at Regulus. "How much did he offer you, little cousin, to turn your coat?"
"Nothing, Bella," Regulus said evenly. "Because I was never one of you."
"What do you mean? You took the Mark, same as the rest of us. I saw it!"
"I might have taken the symbol of the beast, but I was never his to command." Regulus said tightly. "And you're an imbecile if you think I'll stand by while you torture and murder innocents in the name of your petty Dark Lord."
"Traitor! I'll rip out your eyes!"
Rabastan raised his voice in a cry for help and more Death Eaters burst into the room . . . at the same time as Dumbledore, Kingsley, Moody and a few other handpicked Aurors invaded.
Soon the room was full of flying hexes and screams and blood everywhere.
Bella and Lucius grabbed their wands and began to duel their respective opponents.
James Stunned Rodolphus then bound him magically and went to help his fellow Aurors.
Curses and countercurses rebounded off the walls as Auror fought Death Eater.
The table was broken in half and smoking, as were several chairs, and Dumbledore rained a fiery death on those Death Eaters who tried to bring him down.
The sound of breaking glass, splintering wood, and the roar of fire penetrated upstairs to Voldemort's study. He was on his feet, frowning as he listened. "Something is not right downstairs. Come, let us see what is going on."
He was the first out of the room. Lily and Severus grinned at each other and then they followed Voldemort down the steps.
The great hall was chaos. Stone chips were scattered on the floor, Death Eaters bled and cast curses, Aurors fought grimly and dodged Unforgivables. Smoke rose from burning wood and cloth and small fires licked at the walls.
Sirius had dueled Bella into a corner and was exchanging spells with her, his training at Orion's hands holding him in good stead.
"I'm going to kill you, baby cousin, just like I did your daddy!" Bella howled, her eyes glowing with madness. "Say goodbye and join him beyond the Veil!"
She prepared to cast Avada Kedavra.
But Regulus' Cutting Curse slashed across the back of her neck and she fell forward, gasping for air and drowning in her own blood.
"That's for Dad, you rotten bitch!" he spat, panting. Then he cried out as Lucius' own spell caught him across the ribs, breaking a few.
"Reg! Leave him alone, you rotten pureblood bastard!" Sirius cried, catching his brother and laying him gently down against the wall, not far from the dead Bellatrix. "I'll see you in hell, Malfoy! Or Azkaban, whatever come first!"
Lucius laughed. "Such dramatics, boy! One would think you're on stage. Then again, you Blacks have always been emotional wrecks." He slashed his wand at Sirius, who blocked a curse.
"Ha! Least that's better than being emotionally constipated! You don't even have a heart, Malfoy! I heard you were going to dedicate your only son to your dark master. A tiny baby! How despicable can you get?" Sirius fired off a few more curses.
"You understand nothing of obligation, Black! You never have." Lucius dodged.
"I understand that giving a baby to a despot like him is the act of a bloody coward!" Sirius taunted, firing off a Cutting Curse. He moved sideways, trying to get another shot in.
Volemort arrived in the middle of all of it. For one moment he remained speechless, then he spotted Dumbledore and cried, "I figured you would try again, old man! You are nothing if not persistent. Come and face me, Dumbledore."
Dumbledore turned. "Ah, Tom. I see you've decided to join the party. Nice weather we're having."
"Fine weather for a funeral!" Tom spat, and fired off a hex.
Dumbledore countered and then the two fought in earnest, up and down the great hall.
Severus and Lily hesitated before coming down, not because they were not eager to fight, but because they had to be careful not to get him by miscast hexes. Lily spied Regulus against the wall and made her way across the floor.
By the time she reached his side and was healing him, Sirius and Severus had ganged up on Lucius, who was shocked to see Severus dueling him. "You too, Snape? But . . . why? You're a Slytherin, his trusted follower."
"Wrong, Malfoy. I was always his enemy and never your friend," Severus said coldly. "He killed children for fun and so did you. I will never be a party to that. I am Dumbledore's man, Malfoy, through and through."
Sirius' Stunning hex and Severus' Befuddlement charm hit Lucius at the same time. The suave wizard collapsed, allowing Sirius to magically bind him for a quick trip to Azkaban.
By then Regulus was on his feet. "Thanks, Siri."
"Anytime, little brother. Now let me go and help James." Sirius clapped Reg on the back and then moved away, seeking another opponent.
Dumbledore sent hex after hex at Voldemort, causing the other wizard to draw heavily on his magical reserves. "Tom, when will you see reason and stop this madness?" he remonstrated with his former student. "I do not wish this to end in tragedy."
"Too bed, old man. I am no longer a child, and I will prove that my way is the only way!" Voldemort fired off an icy bolt that nearly froze Dumbledore where he stood.
"The only way for you, perhaps. But not the right way!" Lily cried, using her magic and casting a charm called Midnight Dark, which caused blindness in an opponent. Her Glamour slipped away revealing her as she truly was.
Voldemort saw before his sight was stripped from him. "What? Zoey? What have you done?"
"What I have been waiting to do since I joined your pathetic group," Lily said coldly. "Take you down."
"I shall destroy you, you puny little whore!" Voldemort cried, and drew again upon his reserves. He had linked himself to the machine earlier and the little bastards were full of magic—magic he needed.
"Watch how you talk about my wife, you insane maniac!" Severus cried, using his magic to cast a wandless version of Sectumsempra.
"Et tu, Snape?" Voldemort cried, and then he gasped as the spell ripped apart his vitals. He backed away, holding his middle, covered in blood. "Lucius! Bella! Regulus! To me!"
He tried again to draw upon the machine . . . but there was nothing.
Not the slightest trickle of magic.
For the first time in a very long time, Voldemort felt fear.
This could not be happening. He was the master of death. He could not die! He was immortal!
"Bella and Lucius are finished, Master," Regulus whispered in his ear. "And I am no longer your servant. What's more, I never was."
"What . . . what are you saying, Regulus? You were my star pupil, my heir." Voldemort back away, blind and in pain, his boots slippery with blood.
"No. I was never your friend. But always your spy. We are nothing alike, do you hear me?" Regulus cried. "And all I want, all I have ever wanted, my lord, is to see you fall."
Voldemort seemed to shrivel at those words.
"And now you die, Tom Riddle," Lily said coldly, her eyes glowing with eldritch light.
"Impossible! I am the Master. I am immortal! No one can defeat me!"
"True. But we aren't one, Voldemort. We are three. And three together shall drive back the dark!" Lily cried, leveling her wand at the wizard. "Now!"
Severus, Regulus, and Lily pointed at Voldemort, his flesh made vulnerable now that his infernal machine was no more.
Wizard fire in green, red, and purple exploded from their wands.
The fire danced over the man known as Voldemort in a cascade of heat and light, the sum total of each one's power.
Voldemort staggered . . . dropped to his knees . . . and then became ash upon the wind.
The scourge of the wizarding world had succumbed to death.
And the Prophecy of the Three had been fulfilled at last.
A/N: How was that for a final battle? Good? And there's still one more chapter to come!
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