Chapter 22 : And Thus, With A Kiss, I Fly
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Previously on Harry Potter and the Green Flame Torch: Voldemort has revealed his plan, and that Harry is Gryffindor's heir. However, he fails to light the Torch and Harry seizes the moment to cast the Avada Kedavra curse...
Harry held his breath, his heart beating fast and everything about him tingling with anticipation. The moment he had always dreaded, but known would have to come, was now. If he had succeeded, if the curse had finally ended Voldemort's life - they would be free of them forever. Harry would never have to worry about his life or that of others, ever again. Sirius, his parents, and so many others, avenged.
This is what ran through his mind in the split second following the infamous words, "Avada Kedavra."
The invisible force that seemed to surge right from Harry's wand shot forwards, straight at Lord Voldemort. He had surprise etched in every line of his face, red pupils contracting in fear. The flash of green light hit him right in the chest.
Harry lowered his wand, anxiously awaiting the outcome. He had seen Cedric killed, and knew how fast the curse killed its victims - but Voldemort was still standing. His lipless mouth was open in an inaudible cry, and blood streamed out of his nose. Finally, he stumbled, and collapsed onto the hard stone floor.
Harry could hardly believe it.
What did this mean? The Avada Kedavra curse wasn't supposed to do any outside physical harm, it simply killed you instantly. Voldemort was bleeding, and it had taken some time for him to fall. Was he dead? Maybe it was because he had taken so many measures to protect himself from death, as he had said two years before. Fear gripped Harry's heart. What if he couldn't die at all? Would he rise again, more infuriated than before?
"Where am I? I demand an answer!"
Harry jumped. He turned to see Percy Weasley looking around the room curiously, and finally setting his eyes on Harry.
"What is it we're doing here, Potter? Is this some sort of intricate scheme of Dumbledore's to harm the Ministry? I'm warning you, Cornelius Fudge-"
Percy caught sight of the fallen Voldemort and his jaw dropped. Straightening his glasses, he asked: "Who on earth is that? Is it-? It's not..."
Harry calculated the situation in a matter of seconds. Percy hadn't been following Voldemort at all, at least not in free will. Like his unfortunate boss, Barty Crouch, he'd been put under the Imperius Curse. And now that Voldemort was down, he had come back to his senses. Either that - or he was a very good actor.
Harry surveyed Percy suspiciously. He decided to take his chances.
"Listen," he said hurriedly, "I need you to Apparate to Hogwarts- I mean, to Hogsmeade, and contact Dumbledore from there. We need to get help, as soon as possible!"
Percy looked as though he'd never been so insulted in his entire life.
"Go to Dumbledore? To that lunatic? Is that the only answer you can provide?"
Harry felt himself growing angry. They didn't have much time, Voldemort could wake up at any moment.
"Listen to me, Percy! This is Voldemort we have here! Try to put aside your love for Fudge for a moment, and get us help!"
Harry heard the desperation in his own voice.
"I'd Apparate myself, but I can't leave Hermione here on her own!"
Percy scowled, his face red.
"Don't think you can fool me, Potter. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is dead, and as for you Apparating anywhere, I doubt you have the license for it."
Harry balled his fists.
"DON'T BE SUCH A STUPID GIT AND LISTEN! WE DON'T HAVE ANY TIME! IF THIS ISN'T VOLDEMORT, THEN WHAT IS THAT DIRTY GREAT SNAKE DOING THERE? AND HERMIONE LYING ON THE FLOOR, POSSIBLY DEAD! YOU'LL BE DEAD TOO IF YOU DON'T HURRY!"
Percy looked taken aback for a moment. He paled at the sight of the snake, slowly slithering away from the Green Flame Torch and circling Voldemort protectively.
"Don't you go anywhere!" Percy shouted heatedly, and after a loud CRACK he was gone.
Harry was all alone.
It was one of those moments where you could hear yourself breathing, acutely aware of everything around. Nagini peered eerily at him, as though saying: "You'll be dead soon enough." In fact, he did say it, and Harry answered back in Parseltongue.
"Shut up, or you'll get the same as your master," he snarled. The snake said nothing.
It was right, though. As soon as Voldemort arose, he would murder both of them. And there was nowhere he could go, all he could do was wait for help to come. How long would Percy take? Would he even listen to what Harry had said?
He considered quickly Apparating to the Burrow or to Hogsmeade to raise alarm, and then return. But looking at Hermione, immobile on the floor, he knew he could never do it.
"Hermione?" he whispered, approaching her slowly.
She was lying only a few feet away from Voldemort, her feet and arms at strange angles. Harry bent down over her, and felt a stab in his heart when he thought of all the pain she must have felt. Would she ever be the same again? Would she ever wake up?
He slid his arms under her back and knees, carefully hoisting her up off the ground.
Hermione's eyes were tightly closed, her face a deadly white. But her lips were slightly parted, and she was still breathing. Harry stared down at her, ashen-faced. He was so confused, he could hardly think.
Should he run? Perhaps he could leave through the door leading to the Muggle village, and hide there. But what if Dumbledore couldn't find him anymore? He could be on the way, arriving in a matter of seconds. At least he would know where to find him here. And if Harry did run, Voldemort would catch him anyway. Maybe they were destined to die here... In this run-down, horrible place where his parents had met their end...
Thinking that he would want to do it at least once before he died, Harry lowered his face and kissed Hermione.
He wished he could imagine a completely different place for it, where they were alone and where Hermione was awake and happy, but that would probably never happen. He would have to take what he could get.
All of a sudden, a huge crash interrupted what he had barely started. Staring up in shock, Harry realized that a gigantic animal had flown right through the crack in the wall opposite the fireplace. It was the biggest thing he had ever seen other than Grawp, and covered almost entirely with fur. The only bare spots were its gleaming yellow eyes and a squashed-looking bulk somewhere over the snout. All in all, the creature vaguely resembled an incredibly hairy rhinoceros.
"Harry! Climb on!" A muffled voice cried, somewhere in-between the short lumpy wings.
Harry couldn't believe his ears.
"LUNA?!" He would never have expected anything like this. It was almost beyond his wildest imagination.
"What are you doing here? And what is - that?!"
Luna giggled, and stuck out a muddy hand. It was the only part of her that he could see. Harry looked around him, where Voldemort still lay without stirring on the floor. Without thinking twice, he took Luna's hand and lifted himself up onto the furry animal with Hermione still firmly in pressed against him.
When they were seated safely in the cushion-like back, Luna said in a clear voice: "Turn, Phlydorus! Out the way we came!"
To Harry's amazement, the animal did exactly as it was told, and took off again through the now widened crack in the wall. It let out an enormous belch, as though announcing it's departure.
"Thankyou so much for coming, Luna! I think you just saved our lives!" Harry exclaimed, breathless.
Under him Godric's Hollow was steadily shrinking, and the rest of the valley and the Muggle village came into view.
"Oh, you're welcome. I couldn't have done it without Phlydorus," Luna said in a sing-song voice, patting the thick fur.
"Er- Who is this Phlydorus exactly?" Harry asked.
He'd never seen a creature like this before, and all he knew was that it was a much more comfortable means of flying than Thestrals or Hippogriffs.
"He's a Crumple-Horned Snorkack, can't you tell?" Luna seemed to think he was being stupid. "I named him after my father."
Harry supressed a grin. Ginny had been worried sick about Luna. All the while, she'd been hunting down Crumple-Horned Snorkacks. He couldn't wait to tell Hermione that she'd been rescued by what she considered to be a fictional creature. If she awoke.
"Where do we go, Harry? Crumple-Horned Snorkacks aren't at all like Thestrals- No sense of direction whatsoever. I doubt we can get to Hogwarts, I don't know where it is."
Harry suddenly felt apprehensive. He didn't really know the location of any magical place from overhead. And it had to be a magical place- somewhere they'd be safe. Voldemort could still come after them.
"I don't know... Where did you come from?"
"Hogsmeade," Luna answered, leaning slightly to the right. Phlydorus swooped to avoid a church tower by inches.
"Ronald told me where you had gone. He couldn't come along himself, poor chap. Some tart named Josephine gave him a Sleeping Draught, he fell asleep seconds after he saw me."
"If you have no sense of direction, how did you know where Godric's Hollow is?" Harry asked logically.
Luna shrugged. "I had a map. But Phlydorus was hungry."
Harry let out an exasperated sigh. How would they ever find their way back now? The Crumple-Horned Snorkack was still soaring straight ahead, but without any sense of a destination.
Suddenly Harry recognized something, and pointed down.
"I know that train station, I've been there! We're in Surrey!"
Luna peered down. "You want to go here?"
Harry shook his head.
"No, no! I mean, I know this place, I live here! It's not very far until we get to Little Whinging, and we'll be safe there! Voldemort can't hurt me there..."
He remembered what Dumbledore had said the year before, about the protection in Aunt Petunia's veins. For once in his life he was happy to be going to Privet Drive.
After nearly thirty minutes of flying, Harry saw the park on Magnolia Crescent underneath him. It wasn't far anymore. He could even see the tiny figure of Mrs. Figg out with a long line of cats following her where she went.
"Down here!" Harry cried, holding onto Hermione tightly.
Luna steered Phlydorus so that they descended more every time. Soon the identical, tidy houses were growing more and more, and Harry could see horrified faces in the windows. It dawned upon him what a shock it had to be for the Muggles, to see the 'delinquent from St. Brutus Institute For Incurably Criminal Boys' arriving on the back of an animal never seen before. For once, he could understand their faces as they gaped at him.
"I don't like your neighborhood," Luna commented vaguely. She was one of the people that Uncle Vernon warned his son Dudley about.
Phlydorus landed neatly on the Dursleys' front lawn, letting out another loud belch.
"Thanks, I don't either," Harry said happily.
It took a full minute for his Aunt, Uncle and Dudley to realize Harry's presence with the girls and the strange creature. Once they did, the air was filled with loud, and strangely satisfying, screams.
A/N: I would really, really, really, really, appreciate a review for the last chapter as well as this one. Don't punish me for updating quickly... *tries to look cute, but fails* I'm on my knees here! ~Sophie
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