|A Happy Thought
Author: jandjsalmon PM
Following the battle Harry wakes up and tries to remember what the hell happened.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Mystery - Harry P. & Voldemort - Words: 3,658 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 3 - Published: 09-26-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2594564
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Harry looked around. He was a mess. He wasn't sure how long he'd been lying here unconscious, but if the soft light breaking over the horizon was any indication, it had been a while. Why wasn't he dead?
He could see the smoking remains of many of the walls and feel the hard stone crumbling under his back. Then, it all came back… well, most of it.
Their attack had been anticipated. Looking back through the events leading to last night, Harry could see how he had rushed into this last battle. After meeting little to no opposition while destroying three of the remaining horcruxes, he had foolishly began to hope that it would soon be over, that he could go home to his life, to Ginny. He only hoped that those he loved we not among the casualties because he had underestimated the power of Voldemort and his little friends. That led him back to his original question: why wasn't he dead?
He gathered enough energy to lift himself up to his knees before clawing for a nearby chunk of column to help him all the way up. The chamber was even more of a disaster from this angle. Climbing over the charred corpse of Voldemort's precious Nagini, the fourth horcrux, Harry surveyed the scene.
The battle had been between Voldemort and Harry alone and there were only three bodies lying in the doorway. It probably would have been more, but Hermione fell as they rushed the compound and Ron had picked her up and Apparated her to safety. At least that's what Harry hoped had happened to Ron. The look of fear and anguish on his friend's face when Hermione was hit with two simultaneous Cruciatus curses was terrifying in itself, but when Harry saw Ron turn to Antony Dolohov and with such hatred pronounce death upon him, Harry had never been more frightened in his life and that was saying a lot. Bellatrix Lestrange had managed to move further into the prison. She and Dolohov had succeeded in turning Harry's best friend into a killer. After that, Harry hadn't seen Ron and he hoped that Ron had sense enough to stay with Hermione rather than come back to help Harry.
As Harry made his way out of the chamber he paused before Lupin's body. His parent's last best friend had been the first to enter this room. Almost without a sound, two curses had sent him falling to the ground. Before Harry had finished off Bellatrix Lestrange and Lucius Malfoy he hadn't really grasped the amount of hate required to go through with an Unforgivable curse, but seeing Remus' cold blank face caused those feelings to bubble up from inside of him and Harry didn't even hesitate.
Harry bent over the old werewolf's body and feelings of another sort bubbled up. Images of three friends goofing off by the lake at Hogwarts filled Harry. He pictured a pretty redhead glancing over at the messy haired show off, trying to not be conspicuous. He knew that all four of them had died for him because they loved him. Harry wasn't sure if he wanted this much love and devotion on his conscious… but he decided then and there that their sacrifices were not going to be wasted. He was going to get out of this place and find out what happened in that room, what happened after his duel with Voldemort, what happened to his friends, and what was going to happen if the world suddenly turned upside down and the war was over.
Levitating Remus in front of him, Harry made his way out of the charred and crumbing prison. Azkaban had been the perfect base for Voldemort and his cronies. With hundreds of Dementors as watchmen, the fortress had seemed almost impenetrable. Harry had no idea how to get past a fleet that large. The prison was sure to have anti-Apparating charms, and his cloak was no cover from these feeling hunters. It was Hermione who had come up with the ideal plan.
Like always, Hermione had brought a massive amount of books to read while on the horcrux quest. She borrowed dozens from the Headmaster's office at Hogwarts. These were rare books, and many of them had personal notes in the margins by Dumbledore himself. She had perfected the shrinking charm and was able to carry them all in her pocket. During off times, when Ron and Harry had asked her what she was searching for she would just grunt something about strategy and poke her head back into her book. Once they surmised that the last hold out was in Azkaban, her head popped up and her eyes looked as if she'd been struck by lightning.
She said, "I know how to get rid of all those Dementors. I read it in a book several weeks ago…" as she rummaged through her texts she murmured to herself, "Ah ha! Here it is. I suppose it would have to be a really good one… but it isn't that complex or difficult is you can think of one. It might just work." She babbled on.
"Hermione, what in bloody hell are you talking about?" Ron asked, mildly amused at her animation.
"I've found the answer to our immediate problem Ronald...don't laugh." She opened up what appeared to be a very well read red leather book to Chapter X: Experimental Patronus Additives.
She explained that you could multiply the effectiveness of your personal Patronus by nearly a thousand times, by thinking of a particularly happy thought and by reciting the incantation. Harry couldn't see the difference between his regular 'happy memory' and this spectacular 'happy thought' that was required. Hermione looked exasperated.
"Harry, when you conjure your Patronus you think of the happiest thing you have ever had happen in your life. You think of your favourite memory. This charm WILL NOT work if you have experienced the memory already. It says here, 'the use of a past event will not procure the desired effect. It has never successfully been attempted but it is believed the power of this spell resides in the hope inside the wizard performing it. This hope is believed to be one of the strongest powers known in our world. In clinical studies the charm was obviously ill suited for anyone with a mediocre talent for the Patronus Charm, and should not be attempted by anyone other than a master wizard.' There… you see. It has to be a happy thought, and it has to be you Harry… you're the 'master' wizard here."
They all knew that Harry had, by far, the strongest Patronus of the three. When he produced an ordinary Patronus he thought of the happiness he'd felt with the Weasley family, his friends at school, and even his few fleeting weeks with Ginny. He was afraid of using Ginny, afraid that even the smallest thought of her would drive her into Voldemort's scope and make her more of a target than she already was, but he had to admit, it was when he thought about her that he had the least difficulty charging down a Dementor.
Hermione didn't want to admit it, but she had some serious doubts that, given Harry's state of mind, he would have the ability to produce a thought so powerful it could permeate through the coldof all the Dementors, but if Harry knew of her fears he didn't show it. He just assured them both that he had a particularly good thought. And he knew he did. He knew that the only reason he was still upright and walking was because of the happiest thought he could ever have, the happiest hope was holding out deep in his heart telling him to keep going and end this once and for all. Harry declared his resolution with such earnestness that Hermione didn't question him.
When the evening arrived to storm Azkaban Harry conjured up the greatest wish from his heart. The war would end, that he would survive it, and that he and his Ginny would finally be together forever. He pictured messy redheaded children with blazing green eyes and a happy full life with those that he loved safe and all around him.
Then, in merely a whisper, he chanted, "Infinitas Patronum Esurio Cura." Harry could see tiny beads of light gather near his heart, so bright they shone through his robes and into the darkness. They drew together into a large round blazing light and traveled down his arm and out his fingers. He dropped his wand, but the light kept emanating out his fingertips, fire pouring out as if like water.
Instead of scaring the Dementors away, the light from Harry's happy thought seemed to dissolve or disintegrate them. They stopped what they were doing and just melted away. All of them.
Even Hermione had been shocked at the results. She looked thoughtful and said, "That was purely experimental? I guess you just proved their theory Harry. Must have been one happy thought!" Harry just smiled, and nodded at the memory, tucking it back into the deepest recesses of his heart to keep it safe from Voldemort's prying eyes.
After that, it was only Death Eaters and the Dark Lord himself that was to fear in the echoing old prison.
Remembering his friends made his eyes hurt. It was all Harry could do not to run out the main entrance of Azkaban and Disapparate to safety, but he knew there were things to do before he could. As he walked, he came across more and more bodies littering the stone floor. The Order had met with a lot of resistance as they'd stormed the fortress prison. Harry could see at least seven members just laying there, some cold and blank, others with limbs missing and blood all over.
Quietly, Harry found who he was looking for. He slowly lowered Remus down to lay near Nymphadora. Theirs had been a love that was all encompassing. They had persevered and overcome so much together. Harry knew that Remus would have wanted to die rather than live without his wife, so the idea that they were once again together gave Harry a small amount of peace.
Harry set to work gathering the rest of the Order members' bodies together, preparing them to be Portkeyed as casualties back to base camp. Working silently, Harry caught a glimpse of something that filled him with horror. He saw a clumped over figure across the far side of the room with a shock of red hair.
"Oh please no!" Harry whispered, as he stumbled closer to the still figure. The relief that washed over Harry quickly turned to shame when he realized that though this wasn't Ron, it was still a Weasley. Harry's heart began to ache, not only for Fleur and the baby she would have to raise by herself, or even just for all the Weasleys who had just lost another son and brother, but he hurt for every family that had lost someone. He hurt for himself. He hurt for them all. After all this time he hadn't let the misery get to him… and now he finally broke down into uncontrollable sobs.
Sometime later, after the early morning sun was no longer so 'early', Harry wearily got up to continue with the cleanup. Other than the now nine members of the Order piled together on the floor Harry could count fifteen or so Death Eaters on the floor spread around the room. They were a testament to the bravery of his nine fallen friends. When the Order had rushed Azkaban, after Harry had destroyed the Dementors, they had managed to whittle nearly twenty of the most evil of wizards in the world down to the last two who had fled into the inner chamber only to die at his hand. Though a thick sense of revulsion surged through him, a tiny spark of curiosity soon all but replaced it.
Harry brushed up the sleeves of a nearby Death Eater and looked for the Dark Mark. It was gone. No remnant of the evil thing remained at all. Harry marveled. What the hell happened in that room that he didn't remember?
Harry pondered at the meaning of the disappearing mark as he finished up. Once he'd Portkeyed the Order members' bodies back to base camp he decided he needed a rest. He wearily looked around before choosing a spot of wall to lean against.
Harry had decided to leave the Death Eaters where they were. They could remain on the floor of Azkaban to rot for all he cared, though he did take a note of their names in case their families might want to claim them… Harry really didn't care either way.
He was dripping with sweat. The sun nearing its apex as he leaned his head back against the cool stone surface and closed his eyes. Almost as if only a second had passed, Harry heard a foul, evil laugh pierce through his mind. He finally remembered.
After killing Lestrange and Malfoy, Harry hadn't put his wand down. It had been a wise move, because as he'd turned his attention to the far side of the inner chamber his head felt like it would explode with heat. When his blurry eyes had opened he finally saw whom the laugh belonged to.
"I've been waiting for you Harry Potter," said a voice dripping with hatred and scorn, "and now I see you've finally made it. This little expedition of yours has come to an end. It is between us now, as I'm sure you've always known it would be."
Voldemort looked more wary than Harry had remembered. The last time Harry had seen his grotesque snake-like face had been the night Peter Pettigrew had stood in front of the Killing Curse that had been meant for him. Revolting as the idea of being saved by his parent's betrayer was, at least it had offered Harry the briefest moment to get away. Later that night he'd been able to find the fifth Horcrux and watch as it had dissolved into the Helius Probilus potion painstakingly brewed by Hermione. Harry had known that night that the end was near.
Now, as he faced his final two obstacles, Harry knew why Voldemort looked withered and old. With the destruction of the five largest portions of the man's soul (if you could actually call him a man anymore), he was hardly a shadow of his former handsome self that Harry had seen so many times in Dumbledore's Pensieve. Harry remembered Dumbledore's warning, when he had told him that though Voldemort would nearly a mortal man and would have a maimed and diminished soul, his brain and magical ability would remain. Harry knew not to be overconfident.
"Where is the snake?" Harry asked coldly, as if he hadn't heard Voldemort's opening monologue.
"Oh, would you rather she kill you instead?" an arrogant Voldemort sneered.
"Where is it?" Harry didn't flinch. He stood his ground.
"She'll be along… she likes to help 'clean up' shall we say. I'm sure you'll be very tasty for her."
"It's not going to happen." Harry began calling for the snake in Parseltongue.
Probably to see what all the noise was about, Nagini slithered into the room. Before Voldemort could holler retreat Harry could almost feel the slight movement and without much time to think, he went rigid and sent the Killing Curse her way.
Voldemort physically started. The importance of Harry's action flashed in front of his slit-like eyes and he realized what Harry had been doing these past months.
"How many?" It was barely a whisper.
"All of them Riddle." Harry said plainly, never lowering his wand.
Almost as if he hadn't moved, Voldemort's wand pointed and aimed so fast that Harry's only thought was protection. His original plan had been to catch Voldemort unaware in order to keep their brother-wands from joining in their dance of light as they did in the Little Hangleton cemetery. With Harry's instinctual response their wands did precisely what he'd feared they would.
The blinding light joined the wands, and a battle of wills began again. Harry wasn't sure he'd have enough strength to force the bead of light into Voldemort and then continue fighting. Dumbledore hadn't been wrong when he had predicted that Voldemort's magical ability would still be strong. Harry wondered… could he have been right about everything?
A Power the Dark Lord knows not.
Harry had spent the last year trying to figure out how love was going to help him defeat the most evil wizard that had ever lived. Harry hardly knew what love was himself, how was that going to help him stop Voldemort?
Then the thought came to him. Ginny. He hadn't ever loved anyone as he loved her. She was all the things he wanted to be. She was strong but gentle. She helped him forget his destiny and made him laugh at himself. He had spent many lonely nights on this quest thinking about how patient she had been with him. She was willing to wait forever for him to tell her he loved her, and once he'd realized he did she was right there cheering him on from the safety of home. How could he carry on knowing that if he didn't do everything he could to stop this madman then someday she would be hurt, maybe even killed for loving him? He knew her love would be the love that would kill Voldemort.
As soon as Harry had realized this it was as if Fawkes was right there beside him singing his hopeful tune in Harry's heart. Then he heard the words.
Let your love devour him.
Harry stopped pushing the bead of light away from himself. He embraced it with his whole heart. As the light traced down his hand and into his body he whispered, "I love you Ginny."
It was like there had been a nuclear detonation. Light screamed out every pore of Harry's body. The shockwave pushed Voldemort back with such a fury that his entire being just began to melt. Voldemort had never once, in his entire life felt this kind of affection. He didn't understand what power this was, but his soul, being so tattered and torn just couldn't take it anymore. He screamed and then just ceased to be. He just vaporized and was gone. Maybe it was because he was just a shell of a man anyway, but the Dark Lord was finally dead.
The light hadn't been painful to Harry, but he knew he was not going to live through it. All at once, he couldn't see the light any more. He heard Voldemort scream and then there was nothing. He couldn't feel anything. He was nowhere. He knew he had died.
Images of a future he would never experience passed through his consciousness. He saw his friends. They were safe. There was no one left to hurt them. Though he couldn't feel the sun, he could tell it was a hot day and he could almost hear Ron and Hermione laughing around the pond at the Burrow. A bushy haired red-head stole his attention as he could see her little mouth saying "Look at me Daddy!" and Harry saw Ron turn to watch her jump into the water grinning and clapping.
Then, Harry saw himself walking out across the grass towards them with a little ebony-haired boy on his shoulders. A heavily pregnant Ginny joined them and cooed at her little boy while putting her hand out for a beautiful red-haired little girl with bright green eyes.
This was what Harry wanted more than anything. He wanted this scene to be real. He had to make it be real somehow. He knew the power was there to bring him back… the power the Dark Lord knew not was stronger than anything imaginable.
With that resolution, the light of the morning came back to him. He began to breath again. He could hear waves crash against the fortress. He felt the stone underneath him and he looked around him. He was a mess. He'd been lying there for a while. He knew he wasn't dead, and he wasn't going to complain.
Several loud pops from nearby woke Harry from his rest. His head snapped up along with his wand. Chunks of rock showered down on him and a red head poked itself above the mounds of rubble. It was Ron. He was okay. Harry embraced his friend and said with a sheepish smile, "It's over Ron."
"He's really gone." Ron said, in more of an astonished statement than a question.
"Is Hermione okay? I saw you before…"
"Oh, yeah, they tell me she'll recover. I wouldn't have left her, but Ginny made me come and see if you'd…" He didn't finish.
"I'm alright, but I've got to find Ginny. There are a couple or three things we need to talk about. Let's get out of here." Harry smiled. He knew it was going to be okay. When he chose to come back he knew the things he saw could happen. As soon as he saw her face, he knew it would happen. He was going to share that happy thought with Ginny.