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Chapter 25 : This Is The End
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Harry sent a message to all the DA members to gather in the Great Hall as soon as possible. Then the four of them made their way towards the castle again, leaving Narcissa Malfoy by the edge of the Forbidden Forest. They were extremely relieved when they ran into Mad-Eye and Kingsley on the way. When they had told them what they just heard, Mad-Eye cursed loudly. “I knew it was going too well.” the ex-Auror grumbled.
“I’ll send a message to the rest of the Order.” Kingsley said calmly. “You go ahead with them Mad-Eye.”
Harry saw the silver light of Kingsley’s lynx Patronus out of the corner of his eyes as they quickly made their way towards the castle.
“What if they got into the Room of Requirement?” Hermione said fearfully.
“They can’t have.” Harry said. He was trying to convince himself as much as the others.
“Voldemort knows about the DA, Harry.” Ron said.
“That doesn’t mean he knows where our headquarters is.” Harry said. He took Ginny’s hand and squeezed it softly.
“Fred and George.” Ginny muttered.
“I know.” Harry said softly. “Let’s hope we’re not too late.”
When they were almost at the front doors of the castle, their path was blocked by a group of fifteen Death Eaters. A heated duel broke out between the two groups. If Harry hadn’t been with them, the Death Eaters would probably have little difficulty defeating them, but by protecting his friends and incapacitating four of them, Harry levelled the odds. Suddenly the Death Eaters were falling, hit by arrows coming from their left side. The Centaurs galloped by, snorting angrily and charging towards another group of Death Eaters farther away from the school. The way to the castle now lay open for Harry and his friends and they quickly went inside. The silence of the castle seemed strange and almost sinister after the fighting outside. The only thing they heard were muffled voices coming from the Great Hall.
Harry quickly walked towards the double doors, with Ginny, Ron, Hermione and Mad-Eye in his wake. He had only just entered when someone pulled him into a tight embrace.
“Harry! Thank Merlin, you’re alright.”
“I won’t be if you don’t let me breathe.” Harry said, but he was immensely relieved to see Remus. When the werewolf let go of him, Harry quickly looked around to see who else was there. He was greeted by Tonks, Professors McGonagall and Snape, Hagrid and most of the members of the DA. “Everyone alright?” he asked them. They all nodded and Harry quickly counted them. “We’re six short, not counting Hannah, Susan and Colin.”
“Seamus and Dean aren’t here.” Lavender said. She looked extremely worried.
“We got separated from them outside.” Parvati explained. “We haven’t seen them since.”
Ron cursed loudly.
“Maybe… Maybe they are still fighting outside.” Harry said, not really believing it himself. “It doesn’t have to mean…”
“Who else isn’t here?” Ginny asked after a long silence.
“Draco is upstairs too.” Neville reminded them.
“Is he alright?” Harry asked.
Neville shrugged. “Madam Pomfrey was still treating him when we came here, but she reckoned he would pull through. He has lost a lot of blood…”
Harry nodded. “Thanks for taking him there. If he had stayed outside for much longer…”
“They’re still three people missing.” Hermione spoke up.
“Fred, George and Lee.” Ron said. “You didn’t count them.”
Harry nodded and the fear for his friends came back. He had left the three of them there to wait for Voldemort and his most feared Death Eaters. If something would have happened to them… He was distracted from his worries when the rest of the Weasley family entered, followed by Kingsley and couple of other Order members, including Regulus, Fleur, Cedric and Oliver Wood.
“We have to go.” Harry said, the moment they were all inside. “Voldemort has entered the school through the passageway from Honeydukes, together with his most trusted Death Eaters. He expected me to hide in the castle while the Order fought the Death Eaters outside. This whole battle was just a diversion.”
Mad-Eye took over command and he led the Order members and the members of Dumbledore’s Army out of the Great Hall. The Weasleys didn’t follow them, but walked towards their two youngest children and their friends, together with Fleur, Remus, Tonks, McGonagall and Snape.
“Are you all alright?” Mrs Weasley fretted.
“We’re fine, mum.” Ron reassured her.
Mr Weasley looked at Harry. “Fred and George stayed upstairs, didn’t they?”
Harry nodded, not able to look Mr Weasley in the eye. “I’m sorry.” he mumbled.
“It’s not your fault, Harry.” Remus said softly.
Mr Weasley nodded. “They volunteered for the task. You didn’t force them to stay.”
“Let’s go.” Remus said.
They all left the Great Hall, but before they reached the marble staircase, the front doors of the castle opened again. Two House-Elves were shuffling inside backwards, each dragging a body with them.
“Dobby?” Harry said.
“Master Harry!” Dobby said, looking very relieved to see Harry. “Dobby and Winky have found Harry Potter’s friends, sir. They were being attacked by the bad wizards.”
Harry hurried towards them. His heart sank when he saw the mauled bodies of Dean and Seamus. “Are they – ?”
“They are still alive, Master Harry.” Dobby said quickly. He seemed to be afraid that Harry would punish them. “Dobby and Winky did everything we could.”
“You did very well, Dobby. And you too, Winky.” Harry said, while Mrs Weasley was already examining Dean and Seamus.
“I have to move them.” Mrs Weasley said. “But we can’t get them to Poppy. We don’t know where the Death Eaters are.”
“Bring them to my office.” Snape said. “You’ll be relatively safe there.”
Mrs Weasley nodded and conjured two stretchers to move Dean and Seamus to the dungeons. “I’ll help you.” Fleur said quickly and Mrs Weasley nodded gratefully.
Harry turned to the two House-Elves who were still looking at the wizards fearfully. “Dobby, Winky, I want you two to go with them. Do everything you can to help them. Alright?”
Winky nodded fervently and Dobby said: “Of course, Master Harry!”
When they had disappeared in the direction of the dungeons, the rest of them quickly climbed the marble staircases towards the third floor. When they arrived at the corridor of the one-eyed witch however, it was deserted, except for three bodies lying on the floor.
“No!” Ron said, recognizing his brothers. He ran towards them and kneeled beside them. “They’re alive!” he said relieved.
“Oh, thank God.” Ginny mumbled.
“Harry?” Hermione said anxiously, looking at her best friend who was kneeling beside the body of Lee Jordan. He looked up at them and slowly shook his head.
Ron groaned. He revived Fred and George and the twins slowly opened their eyes. “Lee.” George, said the moment he saw who had found them.
“I’m so sorry.” Ron said softly.
“They took us by surprise.” Fred said. He didn’t seem to be able to tear his eyes away from the body of one of his best friends. “Lee… He never knew what was coming.”
“They were looking for you, mate.” George said to Harry. “They thought you were in the castle.”
“I know.” Harry said. “That’s why we’re here. But we have no idea where they are.”
“Let’s go back to the Room of Requirement.” Ginny offered. “We’ll be sure that everyone is alright then. And you can check the Marauder’s Map while you’re there.”
Harry looked at Professor McGonagall, who nodded. “Alright. This way.” He led his friends to a secret passageway behind the tapestry of Uric the Oddball, who was wearing a jellyfish as a hat. Where the passageway ended, there was a spiral staircase leading directly to the corridor of the Room of Requirement on the seventh floor. His heart was in his mouth as he opened the door of the DA headquarters.
The Room was full of activity. Madam Pomfrey was busy treating all the casualties from the battle, assisted as much as possible by some of the students. Harry quickly searched the Room until he found Colin.
“Colin! Everything alright here?” he asked as Colin was quickly walking towards them.
Colin nodded. “No Death Eater has gotten in here, but there are a lot of casualties.”
“How’s Draco?” Harry asked.
“He’s alright. He’s been nagging Madam Pomfrey to leave for an hour, but she won’t let him.”
Colin grew sad at the question. “Madam Hooch died. She was hit by a cutting curse too, but she had already lost too much blood by the time they got her here. Madam Pomfrey couldn’t do anything.”
“Harry!” Remus hurried towards him, holding the Marauder’s Map. “Voldemort is in the Great Hall.”
“What? How is that even possible?”
“We must have crossed them somehow.” Remus said. “Look.”
He handed Harry the Map and indeed, the Great Hall was crowded with dots. The rest of the castle seemed to be deserted, except for the six dots in the bottom left corner of the Map. He saw that a lot of Order members and DA members were fighting the Death Eaters, who had been joined by the remaining Death Eaters that had been fighting outside.
They quickly left the Room of Requirement and hurried downstairs towards the Great Hall. Before he followed the others inside, he took Ginny’s hand and stopped her. “Ginny, I…”
Ginny grabbed the front of his robes and pulled him towards her, kissing him passionately. “I love you too.”
Together they entered the Great Hall and were immediately embarked in a duel with Alecto and Amycus Carrow. While he was duelling the brother and sister alongside Ginny, Harry tried to search the Great Hall for Voldemort. He wanted to end this as quickly as possible, before any more lives were lost. Finally, Harry saw him. He was at the other side of the Hall, on the platform where the staff table stood. He was duelling no less than three opponents at once. Kingsley and Professor McGonagall were both very skilled duellists, but weren’t able to harm him. Harry recognized Voldemort’s third opponent from one of the memory’s Dumbledore had shown him during their lessons. It was Horace Slughorn, the old Potions Master who talked with Tom Riddle about Horcruxes.
“Impedimenta!” Amycus squealed like a pig as he was hit backwards by Harry’s jinx. Meanwhile, Ginny had succeeded in disarming his sister and quickly stunned her. Harry moved towards the other end of the Great Hall, but two figures jumped in front of them.
“Not you again.” Harry sighed as he recognized Dolohov.
Dolohov grinned at him. “Get the Dark Lord.” he hissed to Rookwood, who was standing beside him. I will take care of Potter for now.”
Rookwood grinned too and made his way through the fighting crowd towards the staff table. He wasn’t even halfway there however, when a Killing Curse hit him in the back.
Meanwhile Harry was driving Dolohov up the wall. “You keep underestimating me.” he said. “Stupefy!” The red beam of light hit Dolohov in the face and he crumpled to the ground. Harry turned around, looking for Voldemort and Ginny. The first one was still duelling the same three opponents, but Ginny was duelling with Bellatrix Lestrange and her brother-in-law Rabastan. His heart turned to ice when he heard Bellatrix’ cackling laugh. He knew how much satisfaction she would get from killing Harry’s girlfriend. He quickly made his way towards her, but his path was crossed by Gregory Goyle, Pansy Parkinson and Theodore Nott.
“There you are, Potty.” Pansy said tauntingly.
“What the hell are you guys doing here?” Harry asked. “Since when is Voldemort recruiting morons freshly out of Hogwarts?”
“Don’t say his name.” Goyle snapped. “Crucio.” The curse missed Harry by a couple of feet.
Harry had little difficulty keeping up with the three Slytherins. He quickly managed to disarm Nott and was about to take him out with a stunning spell, when he was distracted by something that happened behind him. Bellatrix had fired a Killing Curse at Ginny that only missed her by a few inches. Anger exploded in his chest and his three opponents were thrown backwards by an unknown force.
“Reducto!” Harry’s curse narrowly missed, but it had the desired effect. Bellatrix turned her focus from Ginny to Harry. She smiled and pointed her wand at him.
“Sectumsempra!” Ginny’s curse hit Bellatrix in her throat. She was killed instantly.
“Are you alright?” Harry asked. Ginny nodded, but was still shaking. There wasn’t time to catch their breath however, as the death of Bellatrix had finally attracted Voldemort’s attention. Furiously, he tried to get to Harry, but they were still separated by a lot of Order members and DA members.
Meanwhile Harry was engaged in a duel with Nott Sr. Apparently his son had been killed inadvertently by Harry and Nott was determined to get revenge. “You can’t win from us, Potter!” he raged.
“Is that so? It seems that you are one of the last Death Eaters standing though.”
Nott grinned. “Maybe. But at least I was able to kill that pathetic little Auror who wanted to marry your Werewolf friend.”
Harry’s heart sank and he lowered his wand for a moment. That was enough for Nott to fire a cutting curse at him.
“Harry, look out!” Ron pushed him aside and conjured a shield. The curse was deflected and hit George Weasley in the arm.
Nott was suddenly hit by a stunning spell and Mad-Eye Moody calmly walked towards them. “Constant vigilance, Potter.” Mad-Eye grumbled.
The words had barely left his mouth when the ex-Auror was hit in the back by a Killing Curse. Voldemort grinned as Mad-Eye fell at his feet. “Good evening, Harry.”
“Coward!” Harry yelled at him. “Sectumsempra!”
Voldemort blocked his curse with a lazy wave of his wand. “Don’t bother, Potter.” he sneered. “You can’t win from me. No one can win from me.”
“We’ll see about that.” Harry muttered.
Voldemort laughed. A high, humourless laugh. “You cannot kill me, Harry. There is no person in this world who can kill me.”
“You would think that, wouldn’t you Tom?”
“What are you talking about?” Voldemort narrowed his eyes.
“I guess you didn’t find it necessary to check on the rest of them after I killed your snake.”
Voldemort’s eyes widened in horror. “You know?”
“Of course I know.” Harry said. “Do you really think that Dumbledore would never find out about your secret? We found them all, Tom. We found them and we destroyed them. You’re just as mortal as any person in this Hall.”
“It doesn’t matter!” Voldemort said furiously. “It doesn’t matter if I’m mortal or not. The idea that a 16-year old wizard would be powerful enough to defeat the most feared wizard of all time is ridiculous. Avada Kedavra!”
Harry’s golden shield easily deflected the Killing Curse. Meanwhile, the people in the room who were still standing had formed a large circle around them.
“This is the end, Tom.” Harry said. “It’s over. None of your Death Eaters are standing anymore. You’re all alone.”
“I have always been alone.” Voldemort sneered. “Trusting people is what leads to failure.”
“Like trusting Severus Snape to stay loyal to you after you killed two of his old friends?”
“I will deal with Snape later!” Voldemort said firmly. “First I will finish what I started fifteen years ago. Avada Kedavra!”
The two spells hit each other mid-air. Harry’s wand suddenly was connected with Voldemort’s wand by a beam of light. The green and red of the spells had disappeared and the beam of light was now bright gold. Suddenly the two wands started vibrating heavily. A large dome formed around them, in the same golden colour as the beam of light that was connecting the two wands. Slowly, both Harry and Voldemort’s feet came off the ground.
“What are you doing?” Voldemort said and for the first time, Harry heard something like panic in his voice. “What is this magic?”
Harry didn’t say anything. They were now steadily floating towards the entrance hall and soon, they were outside on the grounds again. Suddenly they landed, but the golden cage didn’t disappear. Distinct voices told Harry that the defenders of the castle had followed them outside, but they couldn’t possibly break through the dome, even if they had wanted to.
Suddenly Voldemort roared furiously and violently jerked up his wand, breaking the connection between them. Both wizards were hit back several yards. Harry dropped his wand and landed flat on his back. He quickly sat up and searched for his wand frantically, but it was already too late. Voldemort had jumped to his feet immediately and was now walking towards him with his wand pointed at his face. “It seems that you were right about one thing, Potter.” he said with a hideous grin on his face. “This is the end.”
Harry closed his eyes and waited for the fatal blow, but then he heard it. The sound that he had heard only once before in his entire life. The most beautiful sound he ever heard and ever would hear. The sound of hope. The sound of Dumbledore watching over him.
He opened his eyes and saw that Voldemort was looking around him frantically. Suddenly something fell before Harry in the grass and Fawkes landed heavily on his shoulder. His talons softly clawed in Harry’s flesh.
“What’s the meaning of this?” Voldemort asked, but Harry’s heart jumped when he saw what Fawkes had dropped in front of him. He quickly picked up the Sorting Hat and without hesitance he pulled out the Sword of Godric Gryffindor. Voldemort’s eyes widened, but before he had raised his wand again, Harry had jumped to his feet. The blade of the sword sank deep into Voldemort’s chest. He looked down at his chest unbelievingly. Slowly, he dropped to his knees and looked up at Harry, defeated. Laying by the feet of The Boy Who Lived, the Dark Lord breathed his last.
Harry opened his eyes. He felt like he had been asleep for days. Suddenly images of the final battle came back to him. Mad-Eye, Bellatrix, Nott, Lucius, Voldemort, Draco, Ginny… He quickly sat up straight.
“You’re awake!” Ginny’s voice came from beside him. She nearly jumped at him and hugged him tight, kissing the top of his head. “You did it, Harry. It’s over!”
Harry carefully let go of Ginny and looked around him. He realized that he was in the hospital wing, but he had no idea how he got there. The last thing he remembered was stabbing Voldemort with the Sword of Gryffindor. He looked at the people who were sitting beside his bed. Besides Ginny, there was also Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, Remus and Professor McGonagall. They all seemed to be eager to follow Ginny’s example, but showed a little more restraint.
“What happened?” Harry asked.
“What happened is that you saved our world.” Remus said calmly, giving him a weak smile. “You killed Voldemort. The battle had taken a lot out of you and you kind of… passed out. You have been in here for almost two days.”
“Remus, where is Tonks?” Harry asked urgently when he remembered what Nott had said during the battle.
Remus’ face darkened a bit, but he tried to smile reassuringly. “Nott hit her with a cutting curse, but she survived.”
“Is she alright?”
Now Remus succeeded in giving him a real smile. “Why don’t you ask her yourself?” He gestured to the bed on the other side of Harry.
“Wotcher, Harry.” Tonks winked. “About time you woke up. It’s incredibly boring here by myself.”
Harry smiled at her. He had never been more happy to see Tonks than right now. “I’m so glad you’re okay.” he said.
Tonks grinned. “Don’t you worry about me. Nott never really was great with his aim.”
“What about the others?” he asked. “Is everyone else alright?”
Their faces fell and Harry looked at them anxiously, waiting for the bad news, but before they could say anything, Madam Pomfrey came and sent them all away so Harry could rest.
“I’m staying.” Ginny said stubbornly.
Madam Pomfrey wanted to protest, but she realized it would be no good. “Just as well.” she mumbled. “How are you feeling, Potter?” she asked as she felt Harry’s brow.
“I’m fine. Really.” Harry said quickly. When Madam Pomfrey had left, Harry took Ginny’s hand. “Ginny?”
She didn’t have to ask what he wanted to know. She sat down on the rim of his bed. “Mad-Eye was killed by Voldemort, so was Lee. Bellatrix killed Regulus before she came after me. Katie… Katie was killed by Goyle.”
“By Goyle?” Harry grumbled. “How?”
“He cursed her from behind. She didn’t have a chance.” Ginny said softly.
Harry shook his head. He knew Goyle would have never been able to harm Katie in a fair duel. “What about Seamus and Dean?”
Ginny bowed her head. “Mum was able to rescue Seamus, but Dean… He didn’t make it.”
Harry’s heart sank. Dean had been his roommate for six years. They would be starting their N.E.W.T. year together in September, but now their dormitory would always be one boy short. “Anyone else?” he asked after a long silence.
Ginny shook her head. “No one else from the DA or that we know from the Order, but…”
“What is it?” Harry asked carefully.
“It’s Padma.” Ginny said. “She was kissed by a Dementor. No one knows how it happened. She was one of the first who could produce a Patronus in the DA. She hadn’t had any problems with it for months.”
“That’s awful.” Harry muttered.
“And George lost a hand.”
“Lost a hand?!”
Ginny nodded. “He was hit in the arm by a Sectumsempra curse. It’s impossible to let it grow back. Dark Magic…”
Harry nodded. “How is he?”
“Fine actually. You know how he is. He’s already joking about it. Lee’s death hit him a lot harder.” Ginny lay down on the bed beside Harry and pulled him close. “But it’s over.” she said. “We can have a future now. And I guess we have a wedding to look forward to.”
Harry paled and Ginny couldn’t help but smile at the expression on his face. “I meant Remus and Tonks!” she said.
“Oh right.” Harry said dumbly. He looked at the sleeping form of Tonks in the bed next to him. “Yes. I’m certainly looking forward to that.” He turned back to Ginny and gave her a soft kiss on the lips. “I’m going to marry you one day, though.”
“You’d better.” Ginny said. “And in the meantime? You still want to be an Auror?”
“I guess so…” Harry said slowly. “It’s the only career I ever actually considered. But first I’m looking forward to finally have a quiet year at Hogwarts.”
“Don’t count on it.”
“War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it will always be an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.” – Jimmy Carter
A/N: This was the last chapter of this story. I wasn’t planning on writing an epilogue, but I think I will add a short one, just to give a glimpse of the future. I want to thank everyone who has followed both ‘What If’ and ‘This Is The End’ until the very end. Especially those who were kind enough to leave (a) review(s).
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