|The Crow: Phoenix Rising
Author: Belcris PM
What if "the power the Dark Lord knows not" had nothing to do with love? What if it had everything to do with justice? Crossover of Harry Potter and the Crow.Rated: Fiction M - English - Supernatural/Tragedy - & Harry P. - Chapters: 7 - Words: 43,064 - Reviews: 104 - Favs: 314 - Follows: 122 - Updated: 06-01-10 - Published: 02-02-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5714450
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Crow: Phoenix Rising
Summary: What if "the power the Dark Lord knows not" had nothing to do with love? What if it had everything to do with justice? Crossover of Harry Potter and the Crow.
Harry Potter created by: JK Rowling
The Crow created by: J. O'Barr
I do not own these characters and I do not seek to profit from this story. I only wish to pay tribute to two great authors.
WARNING: This story contains scenes of graphic violence, foul language, and death. Rape is implied. You have been warned.
Category: AU. Dark Fiction.
Chapter 1: Should old acquaintance be forgot…
The rain poured from the sky as if all the angels of heaven were crying, and maybe they were. A figure hidden in the deepest shadows walked slowly down a deserted London alley. His pain was so potent that you could feel it from ten yards away, though it was highly unlikely that anyone would dare get that close. Yet it was his rage that seemed to burn around him like a fire that not even the rain could put out. It had been one year and one day since the night of Bill's wedding to Fleur. One year exactly since it had all gone wrong. He remembered every detail as if it was just yesterday. Hell, for him it had been.
Don't think about it.
"Sod off," hissed the figure, looking up at the pitch black crow that perched on his shoulder.
As the figure slowly prowled the shadows of the alley, he could do nothing but remember that night. Her screams rang in his mind constantly like Hell's own personal choir was singing just for him. He remembered every moment of that terrible night, especially the rage at what they had done to her. The sound of their laughter pulled on his soul so badly that he doubted a banshee could have chilled him half as badly. The moonlight reflecting off her hair and in her dead eyes was the last thing he remembered before he woke up.
You didn't wake up exactly.
"I said sod off, ya bloody bird," he hissed again, though he knew it was no use.
"Stay away from me!" screamed the huddled and shivering form of a chubby little man with a silver hand. "The Dark Lord will kill you for this!"
"Been there, Peter," said the figure with a sneer on his lips as he stepped out of the last of the shadows. "But I missed you so much that I came back to see you. Didn't you miss me, Peter?"
Peter Pettigrew looked up and saw a face he had thought to be long dead and forgotten. The jet black hair and emerald green eyes were the same, but the rest of him looked very different. The young man's face was painted bone white with lips stained deepest black and two black lines running from his forehead, over his eyes, and down to his cheeks. The scar, that famous scar, was the only hint of color on the boy's face. Painted blood red, the famous lightning bolt scar stood out clearly for everyone to see. No one would be able to ignore who he was.
"Right in one, Peter," Harry Potter said with fake admiration. "I don't care what Lucius says about you. You really could find your way through a maze, even without putting cheese at the end of it."
Peter was shaking so badly now that he could barely speak, but the smell suddenly coming from his robes said everything. He was terrified. He glanced around looking for his wand, but it was nowhere to be seen. He had probably lost it when he had been pulled into the shadows and thrown into the wall. From the feel of it, his legs were both broken from the force of the impact. That alone should have made him pass out, but the rain in his face would not let him fade into unconsciousness.
"Y-you can't be here," stammered Peter. "H-he killed you. I s-saw you die."
"Tut-tut, now Peter," admonished Harry, kneeling down just out of Peter's reach. "Are you a wizard or not, Peter? Haven't you ever heard of magic? Well, ta-da, I'm proof that magic exists."
Falling backwards onto the ground, Harry sat cross-legged in front of the terrified Death Eater and pulled a wand from his back pocket. Peter's eyes went wide when he saw his wand in his enemy's hands. Worse still was the way that Harry was grinning at him as he pointed the wand at Peter. It was the type of grin children had on their face when they were trying to pick out their first familiar. It was also the type of grin that Death wore when he finally came to collect you.
Suddenly Harry pointed Peter's wand at the wrist that was attached to his silver hand and hissed, "Diffindo!"
Harry did not even bother acknowledging the bird's comment as he listened to the former Marauder scream, watching as the silver appendage suddenly turned to smoke and vanished. A quick flick of the wand cauterized the bleeding stump and another silenced the screaming man. Peter's eyes widened in horror when he realized he was no longer making a sound and the smile on Harry's face caused his bowels to release whatever was left in them. He had tortured enough people to know what was coming.
"Now that I have your undivided attention, Peter," Harry said softly, "we're going to have a little conversation."
Thinking fast, Peter went to grab for his emergency Portkey. Unfortunately for him, Harry was even faster. With two more flicks of Peter's wand and two muttered spells, Peter suddenly found his other hand lying in his lap, still twitching. He began trying to scream again, but Harry's spell let no sound escape. Reaching forward, Harry picked up the severed hand and slapped Peter several times with it until he had the chubby little man's full attention.
"As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted," chided Harry politely. "We're going to have a little chat, Peter. Every time you lie to me I'm going to cut something off. If you tell me the truth, you might just get out of here without losing anything else. Do you understand me?"
Peter nodded his head vigorously, not wanting Harry to hurt him anymore. Harry removed the silencing charm, and smiled at the blubbering man in front of him. Peter, for his part, was trying not to upset Harry anymore. Looking into the eyes of his former friend's son, he prayed some of Harry's former pity and compassion remained. He might still make it out of this alive and his master would reward him well for bringing news that the boy was still alive. That was, if he got out of this alive and right now, looking into Harry's eyes, Peter wondered if that was even a possibility anymore.
"Now I know you were there that night, Peter," Harry said in a conversational tone of voice. "I saw you take your mask off when you were done with her. I also know Bellatrix was there. I recognized her voice as she cast Crucio over and over again. Problem is, Peter, I don't know who the other three were. And I need to know whether HE ordered it or not. You're going to tell me though, aren't you?"
"Sure, Harry," answered Peter, still whimpering in pain. "I'll do anything to help you."
He's a sly one, so be careful.
"Who were they, Peter?" he asked, slowly pulling up the sleeves of his rain soaked robes.
Peter gasped as he saw his own name burned into the flesh of Harry's right arm as he began speaking. "It was the Dark Lord's idea and he ordered Lucius to gather his five most loyal to carry it out. There was me, Lucius, Bella, McNair, and Greyback. Snape was supposed to be there, but he got injured at the Ministry and couldn't come."
As each name was spoken, Harry used Peter's wand to burn the names of the six into his arms. Snape's name was the only one that he underlined. He owed the former Potions Master doubly for what he had done and almost done. Peter was watching in horror as the boy's flesh burned, tiny blue flames lingering on his skin even as he wrote the next name. When he was done Harry turned back to Peter and smiled again, a smile that froze the whimpering man's very soul.
"See, Peter, that wasn't so hard?"
Harry slowly stood up and stretched, like he had just woken from a nap. Peter prayed that some sense of sanity had returned to the boy, but all hope was lost when Harry looked back down at him. Peter knew that look in his eyes only too well. It was the look Sirius had in his eyes when he captured Peter in the Shrieking Shack, only this time there was no one here to save him from certain death.
"You know," started Harry in a voice as cold as the grave, "I never would have hurt a fly before that night. Then you bastards showed up. I almost got away when Hermione grabbed for me, but I just couldn't leave Ginny behind. I watched Ron and her vanish just as I pulled away and I think I knew right then that I wasn't going to make it. I ran to Ginny, but it was too late. You had already stunned her. Then someone grabbed me and we were gone in a flash."
Harry was pacing now, though he never got too far away from where Peter was huddled. "Next thing I knew, we're in that damned graveyard again and Ginny was screaming. It wasn't enough that Lestrange tortured her. No, that wasn't enough for you sick fucks. You had to make me watch as you each had your way with her. I heard every scream from her right up until the last one when Lestrange finally killed her. Then it was my turn."
Harry was pacing back and forth even faster now, his hands gesturing wildly as spoke. "Guess I should count myself lucky that you didn't decide to bugger me, but Lestrange sure did get off on torturing me. She's one sick bitch, though I'm sure you all know that already. Not that I really cared much after seeing what you all did to Gin. I don't even remember the pain. I just remember laying there and staring into her eyes, those beautiful brown eyes, that were dead and lifeless. When HE showed up I guess it was a mercy, because I doubt my mind would have been intact after all that. I was glad when he rammed that fucking knife into my heart."
Suddenly, without any warning, Harry was lifting Peter off the ground by his neck. There was the sudden uncomfortable sensation of Apparition and then they were standing in front of the Ministry of Magic building. As they arrived Peter watched as Harry shuddered for a few moments, seeming to be experiencing some form of pain for a moment or two. When it was done, Harry flicked Peter's wand again and the terrified man found himself suddenly floating in front of the wall next to the public entrance. He watched as Harry reached into his robed and pulled out several long and rusty railroad spikes along with a small leather pouch.
"Well, Peter, it's been fun chatting with you like this," Harry said conversationally. "I would say we should do it again, but where I'm sending you they don't talk very much. Scream a lot, sure, but not much on the whole talking thing."
Harry levitated the small leather pouch up and a leather cord suddenly appeared so that it could be hung around the now sobbing man's neck. As it fell, Peter heard it jingle softly.
"There's your thirty pieces of silver, Peter," Harry said with a dry laugh. "I wouldn't want anyone who finds you to misunderstand why you are here."
"Please, Harry!" begged the terrified man. "James and Lily wouldn't want you to do this. They wouldn't want you to become like HIM!"
Harry laughed. He laughed so hard in fact that he fell to the round and rolled around for several moments before he finally stopped and stood back up. He picked up the spikes and smiled up at Peter. For a moment the rat Animagus thought that maybe Harry was going to spare him. Then, faster than Peter could even follow, the first spike buried itself in his shoulder and pinned him to the wall. His screams echoed off the surrounding buildings, but no one seemed to notice.
"Oh, Peter," chuckled Harry as the chubby man screamed. "Who do you think suggested I kill you this way? Mum, sends her hate, by the way. Dad and Sirius can't wait to catch up with you."
"NO!" screamed Peter as the second railroad spike tore through him, but Harry just laughed.
Five minutes later and it was done. Peter Pettigrew, former Marauder, was dead. In total, twelve spikes pinned the former Marauder and traitor to the wall. There was one spike for every year Sirius had wasted away in prison for a crime he had not committed. As Harry admired his work, he pulled out Peter's wand and used it to burn the outline of a crow around the now dead figure. When that was finally done he snapped Peter's wand in half and shoved it into the dead wizard's mouth.
"Bye, Peter," Harry said, waving childishly to the dead figure in front of him. "Don't worry though, 'cause I'm going to send you some friends to play with in Hell, real soon."
With that the figure of Harry Potter turned on the spot and vanished, only to appear standing in front of a gravestone several hundred miles away. Kneeling down in the rain soaked grass over the grave, Harry reached out a hand to trace the name on the headstone. Looking at the dates listed on the stone he cursed to himself that no one should have a life cut so brutally short. His death had been one thing, but hers had been something else completely. He wished he could see her again, happy and full of life, but remembering his own return he wondered if it would be worth it. If the events of several hours earlier were any indication, Harry could not say who had it better.
Tap. TAP. TAP!
The graveyard at Godric's Hollow was one of the least visited graveyards in all Europe. Of all the graves it contained, one had never been visited since the day its occupant had been laid to rest the previous year. Protected by the most powerful charms and spells known to mankind, the grave of Harry Potter could not even be seen by the living, but it could be seen by something that was more than living.
Get up, Harry. You have work to do.
The voice floated across the empty graveyard, though with the exception of a very large crow there was no one present. Sitting on Harry's headstone, the bird continued to tap on the stone with his beak. After several minutes the ground seemed to bulge and shake. The crow stopped tapping watched as the dirt suddenly exploded from the grave and revealed a young man standing in a coffin, staring up at the bird. A second later the boy screamed, no roared because the sound was so absolutely heart wrenching, yet filled with rage that it could be called nothing else.
About time, Potter, said the voice again. We've got work to do and only so much time to do it. Justice has been forgotten and we are going to fix that problem.
Flying down to land on his shoulder, the crow wrapped a wing around Harry's head. With a loud crack they were gone, only to appear in number twelve Grimmauld Place. Harry instantly collapsed onto the dirty floor and wept. The crow just flew over to land on railing for the stairs, knocking over a forgotten umbrella as it landed. The sound of the umbrella hitting the floor was enough to wake the painting of Sirius' mother and set her to screaming.
"FILTH! SCUM! GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!"
Harry's sobbing ended abruptly as he suddenly climbed to his feet and hissed, "That fucking bint has got to go!"
Marching up the stairs to stand in front of the portrait of the screaming woman, Harry looked up at her for a moment. Before the woman's image even knew what was happening, Harry pulled back his fist and drove it straight through the painting and into the wall behind it. Pulling his hand out he repeated this with his other fist. This continued for several minutes until the picture hung in tatters and the wall behind it was nothing but an enormous hole.
Feel better now? asked the crow as it landed on Harry's shoulder.
Harry looked down at his broken and bleeding hands, watching as they healed right before his eyes. Soon there was no evidence of his injury save for some dried blood. He was unsure of where this power came from, whether from heaven or from hell, but he knew he would use it to get revenge on those that had hurt him and the ones he loved.
"No," he hissed to the bird. "But I got a feeling I'm going to feel a whole lot better before long."
"I don't know what's going on," Harry whispered to the gravestone. "I don't really know if I'm alive or dead. All I know is that I'm going to make this right. They will all pay for what they did to you and then, maybe, I'll be able to see you again. I don't know, Gin. I really don't, but I miss you so much it feels like my heart has been ripped out."
"Excuse me," said a man's voice from behind him that Harry recognized instantly. "Can I ask what you're doing here on my property? In fact, how can you be here at all considering the number of wards we have around the property."
"I just came to see her again, sir," Harry said softly. "I needed her to know that I'm going to make it right."
Arthur Weasley gasped and clutched at his chest. He had seen many things in his lifetime, some so beautiful that they made you want to cry and some so dark they could drive you mad. Right now as he looked at the back of the figure in front of him and tried to tell himself that the unruly black hair and voice were not Harry's, he was not sure which this was. Still, looking up at the crow that was now sitting on his daughter's headstone, Arthur knew that something greater than magic was at work now. He had heard of the Avatars of Death and Justice, the Crows, but he had never thought he would see one. Longstanding Ministry orders forbid anyone from interfering with an Avatar, it was well documented that the poor souls would never harm an innocent. Only those that had escaped Justice had anything to fear from them. When Harry and Ginny died he should have known this would happen.
"I'm so, so sorry," whispered Arthur. "You didn't deserve this."
Still not turning around, Harry sighed. "Neither of us did, Mr. Weasley, that's why I'm here."
"No," agreed the older man, tears rolling down his face, "neither of you did. And as much as I want to tell you not to do what I know you will, I also want them to pay for what they did to my baby girl."
Harry nodded silently as Arthur continued. "I know what you are now, son. I'm so sorry. I really am, but you need to see what I can show you."
Laying a gentle hand on Harry's shoulder, Arthur watched as Harry's body stiffened and shook as if he was being electrocuted. Arthur knew what Harry was seeing, all the memories from the aftermath of his and Ginny's murders. He was seeing Molly collapse, her heart failing when they found her daughter's and Harry's bodies. Then there was Remus and Tonks being killed when they went after Bellatrix. Finally was his own heartbreak as he watched the small wooden casket that held his daughter's remains being lowered into the ground.
When it was done, Harry stood, still not looking at the man he had once thought of as a surrogate father. "Is Mrs. Weasley alright, sir?"
"Yes, although she seems like only a shell now," replied Arthur, wiping a tear from his eyes. "I can't tell her about this, Harry. It would kill her to lose you again."
"That's just it, sir," Harry said, walking past the headstone and into the shadows beyond it. "I'm not here."
Mr. Weasley knew that Harry was gone, and he collapsed onto his knees as the sobs broke free. It was not fair that one person should have to suffer so much, but even in death Harry Potter still suffered and fought. Arthur Weasley only prayed that when it was all over that Harry and Ginny might be able to find some peace. In fact, once it was all over, Arthur prayed they could all find a little bit of peace because they all deserved it.
Harry was back at Sirius' former home in the blink of an eye, so he never heard the crying behind him. All he heard now were the sounds of Ginny screaming in his memories, and that fuel was enough to send the flames in his heart and mind soaring to the heavens. He wanted to collapse right there and then, shedding his own tears of loss and rage, but he seemed frozen and unable to move.
No time for that, son. I've got something for you to do.
"What now, bird?" hissed Harry, turning to see the crow resting on the back of an old bookshelf.
We're going to go steal us a locket.
That got Harry's attention immediately. It was the locket that had started all of this, and Harry intended it to be what started them on their way to a solution. If it had not been for that damn locket then Dumbledore would have still been alive and would have been there to save them when the Death Eaters attacked. At least that's what Harry kept telling himself. The truth was, he had no idea if Dumbledore would have been able to save them or not, but at least he would have fought.
"Where is it?"
Oh, you'll like this one, Harry. An old friend of yours took it.
"Can the riddles and give me the details," snarled Harry. "You're the one that keeps telling me we don't have much time, so quit wasting what we got."
The crow flew over and landed on Harry's shoulder, a ghostly laugh mixed with the sound of its harsh cawing.
Fine. You want action, I'll give you action.
Wrapping a wing around Harry's head, they instantly vanished and reappeared several hundred miles away. Harry looked around and found himself standing outside what was probably the ugliest house he had ever seen in his… life? Death? Either way, it was ugly. The squat little house was painted a luridly bright pink color that even in the dark of night seemed far too bright. The windows were all dark, not that Harry was afraid of the dark anymore, but they seemed to be holding back something.
"Whole place reeks of darkness," hissed Harry. "Like a sweet with a rotten center."
You know, you aren't that far off the mark, my boy.
Walking towards the back of the house, Harry looked up at the bird on his shoulder and grunted. "You aren't going to tell me who lives here, are you?"
Nope. I figure you'll appreciate the irony more that way.
Harry shrugged, not really caring one way or the other. If the locket was here then he was going to get it and no one was going to stop him. Besides, there was something about this place that made Harry think he knew who was going to be inside. If he was right, then she was in for a very bad night. If, and only if, he was right about who he was going to find inside, then she had escaped justice as well.
Reaching the back doorway to the house, Harry tried the handle and was surprised to find the door unlocked. Unlike Muggles, the Magical community seemed to take home security very lightly. Maybe it was the fact that they felt their magic made them proof against burglars, or maybe they were just stupid. Either way, Harry was not going to complain about it right now.
Stalking silently like a cat, Harry felt like retching at the sight of the décor. The whole place was a collection of disgustingly cute kitten figurines and plates. Everywhere he looked was pink and lace, reminding him of a Muggle medicine he had been forced to take once by Mrs. Figg. Every room was like that, even the last one he looked in. Laying perfectly still in a large pink bed was a woman he had wanted to see again about as much as he wanted to take a bath in acid. Still, he was right. She deserved her own little measure of justice and he was going to give it to her.
Walking silently over to her bed, Harry saw her wand on the nightstand. He picked it up and just for a moment he felt it fight against him, but then it seemed to give up and he felt that he was its master now. It had been the same with Peter's wand earlier. It was like the wands just knew that he was something more than they could fight against. As he thought about that, Harry wandered over to a Victorian era chair and dragged it over by the bed. Taking a seat, he cast several spells to make sure that his new companion would not be getting out of her bed any time soon, but she would be able to talk. Oh how she would talk.
"HEM! HEM!" he imitated as loudly as possible and watched the woman's eyes pop open. "Been a long time, Dolores. I can't say I've missed you, but then again I'm sure you haven't missed me either."
The chalk white face of Dolores Umbridge was a mask of pure terror as she sputtered out, "P-p-p-potter?"
"Got it in one, Dolores," Harry replied with a smile on his face. "I was afraid you had forgotten me."
"N-not possible," she whimpered. "Y-you're dead. S-saw your body with my o-own eyes."
"Bet that warmed whatever it is you call a heart, didn't it, Dolores?"
For an instant Harry saw the look of satisfaction that flashed across the repugnant woman's face. He had been right, she had enjoyed seeing him dead. That was fine with him because it was going to give him yet another reason to make her pay for her crimes. It also got him thinking about how the Death Eaters had gotten through the wards at the Burrow so quickly that night. Obviously they had received help from the Ministry, but now he wondered from whom the help had come.
"You were the one that dropped the wards that night, weren't you, Dolores?" he asked in a friendly tone of voice. "You wanted me dead so badly that you helped them get to me."
"Of course I did, you disgusting freak!" she shrieked. "You deserved to die after what you did to me, what you did to the Ministry! No one, not even Dumbledore's Golden Boy, has the right to go against the Ministry."
"Save it, you stupid bint," growled Harry. "Killing me had nothing to do with your precious Ministry. You just like hurting people, only this time you made a mistake."
"Yes, I did," Umbridge growled. "Seems I didn't make sure you were dead."
Harry laughed at that, then smiled at her again saying, "Oh that wasn't your mistake, Dolores. I was dead alright. Your mistake was you got Ginny involved."
"She was just a silly little blood traitor," hissed Umbridge, her cheeks flushed with her rage. "She got what she deserved!"
The smile fell from Harry's face and was replaced with an expression of rage so profound that the captive woman finally realized that she had gone too far. She watched as Harry stood up slowly, moving to put the chair back where he had found it. Slowly he turned back to her and walked over to stand over her bed. Reaching out to her, Dolores Umbridge wondered if Death looked like this when he came calling. That's when she finally understood. Death really had come for her.
Laying his hand on her forehead, Harry experienced all the memories of the woman's involvement with the attack on the Burrow. He watched as she arrived at the cemetery after the attack, gloating at the sight of his body and Ginny's. Harry saw her kick his body in the ribs and heard the sound of broken bones. Then he watched her walk over to Ginny's still form and spit in her dead face. That was the final straw and he pulled away, wiping his hand on his robes as if to clean away the memory of her cold and clammy skin.
"Where's the locket, Dolores?"
Flicking her wand in the direction of her legs, Harry heard the satisfying sounds of bone breaking and screams of pain. "The locket you took from Mundungus Fletcher. Where is it?"
Shaking her head and crying like a little girl, he heard her whimper, "I don't have any locket."
"Don't lie to me, Dolores," Harry spat, waving the wand over her other leg and hearing another satisfying snapping sound. "Every time you lie to me I'm going to break another bone."
"You can't do this!" she screamed, denial and rage clear on her face. "When the Ministry finds out what you've done, they'll hunt you down and kill you!"
"You just don't get it, do you?" laughed Harry, though it was a cold and heartless laugh. "I'm already dead, Dolores. I've been dead since the moment Tom rammed that fucking knife into my heart. I'm just here for a bit o' justice and then I'm leaving. If I have my way about it, when I'm done there won't be a Ministry anymore!"
Every word he had spoken had been accompanied by a flick of the toad woman's wand. Each flick had caused a burning sensation upon her skin. And every burn had resulted in a series of words to appear on her skin. In neat little handwriting the phrase, "I will not allow the innocent to die," was burned into her skin so deeply that no amount of magic would ever be able to remove it.
"Now, you are going to tell me where that locket is, or I'm going to cut every inch of skin off you!" bellowed Harry, towering over the crying woman.
Dolores Umbridge looked up into his eyes and understood that her crimes had finally come back to haunt her. No one was going to save her this time and there was no one to hide behind anymore. Justice as she had known it at the Ministry was a lie and standing over her was the truth of it. Harry Potter, her most hated adversary, was here to make sure she paid for every misdeed she had ever done and nothing was going to stop him. Her only hope was that by helping him he might be merciful.
"It's in the music box on my dresser," she whimpered through the pain.
Harry walked over to the dresser, seeing the white wooden music box. It was like the one he had once seen in Ginny's room and he wondered if every woman had one like it at some point or another. He reached out, gently lifting the lid and saw the locket lying inside. The music box played a long forgotten song, but it was slow and sounded as if the music box was broken. He ignored that and reached out to pick up the locket. As his hand touched the cold metal his mind was once again flooded with memories that were not his own.
How long he stood there soaking up the horrible images from the locket he could not say, but given how many there had been he guessed it had been a long time. Umbridge was still crying on her bed, but she sounded weaker now. Harry turned back to her, stuffing the locket in his pocket. A part of him, granted it was a very small part of him now, wanted to let her live. However, the rest of him, the part of him that now knew what she really was and the horrible things she had been doing since his death, knew that it was time for Justice to be served.
"Still," he thought to himself, "do I have the right to do this?"
You are my instrument, Harry, replied the voice of the Crow in his head. You are Justice. Not just for yourself and Ginny, but for all those that have suffered so greatly over the years. Though it may cause you pain, this is why I brought you back. You are here to make sure that what happened to you and Ginny never happens again.
Harry heard the words and he thought about everything he had absorbed so far, not to mention his own memories of that night in the cemetery. Yes, he felt some guilt over what he was doing, but he also knew the Crow was right. He remembered Ginny kissing him on his seventeenth birthday and how he had realized right then that he loved her, but she had been taken from him and that was something he could not forgive or forget. That was all he needed to know in order to do what must be done.
"Time to go, Dolores," he whispered in a tone of voice so cold that it sent shivers down his own spine.
"You're leaving?" she almost begged.
"No," Harry answered, with an almost innocent smile. "We're leaving."
Walking over to her bed, Harry scooped the repugnant woman up in his arms bridal style. She knew what was coming now and she sobbed as he Apparated them away from her home. Umbridge recognized the place as the Little Hangleton cemetery. In fact, she recognized this spot as where she had first seen the two bodies the night Harry had been killed. Now she was back, only this time she knew it would be her body being discovered in a few hours.
As silent as a ghost and so gentle it seemed out of place, Harry laid the still sobbing woman down on the very spot that Ginny had lain when she died. He brushed a stray hair from her face before standing up straight above her and walking a short distance away. She watched all of this, her throat now so tight with terror that she could not make a sound. It was how gentle he had been that really terrified her because she could feel the rage pouring off his body like a fog.
"You like cats, don't you, Dolores?" he asked quietly.
With a flick of her wand, Harry transfigured several sticks into large and hungry looking tigers. Umbridge's eyes shot open so wide that he almost laughed at the sight, but now was not the time to laugh. Now was the time for Justice and he would be the Judge, Jury, and Executioner.
"Din-din time, boys," he said to the tigers.
What followed was horrific to say the least. Only a spell to keep her head intact provided her any protection, but that was only so people would know who she had been. As the large jungle cats feasted and she screamed, at least for a little while, Harry sat throwing rocks around the area. He had not intended for the stones to form the shape of a large crow around the scene, but then again he had not intended to be killed by a madman on one of the happiest nights of his life. With that thought in mind he used her wand to cast a spell into the sky causing the gigantic form of a crow to soar up into the cloudless predawn sky.
"Guess things just happen," he said to no one in particular as he listened to the sound of breaking bones. "I thought when I had beaten Tom that we would be together, Gin, but fate seems to think I'm her bitch."
No she doesn't, Harry. You are no one's "bitch." Trust me on this.
"Thanks for that at least," Harry said, looking over at the crow sitting next to him on the headstone of Tom Marvolo Sr.
When it was over and Dolores Umbridge was no more, Harry canceled his spell and returned the fierce cats to being just ordinary sticks. He walked over to where Umbridge's head lay, her final expression of pain and horror still frozen on her face and picked it up. Carrying it like a baby in his arms, he walked over and set it almost lovingly in the center of the carnage. Pulling out her wand, Harry snapped it in half before laying the pieces in front of the gruesome artifact. In the distance he could see the sun just rising over the horizon.
"You know, Dolores," he said quietly, "I never did like you, but I think it's safe to say that we're even now."
Oh that's putting it mildly, Harry. She's keeping Peter company now and that's all that matters. Let's go home and you can get some rest.
"Rest?" asked Harry, standing and Apparating them back to his Uncle's home. "I don't think I can rest."
Yes you can, Harry. You've earned it.
Collapsing onto one of the dusty chairs, Harry closed his eyes and was asleep before he even realized it. The crow watched as a smile appeared on Harry's face before he flew over and plucked the locket from the boy's pocket. With a jerk of its head, the crow tossed the locket into the air. Opening its mouth wider than should be possible, the crow caught the locket in its beak and swallowed it whole. A thin wail, like a train whistle in the distance, was heard for a moment before fading away.
One way ticket to Hell, Tommy, said the crow to himself. Enjoy the ride.
Harry was unaware of the crow's actions. All he knew was that he was standing in the back yard of the Burrow. It was a bright and sunny spring day with the smell of freshly cut grass and flowers in the air. He looked down at himself and smiled. He was wearing a clean pair of jeans and a white t-shirt that, surprisingly enough, fit him. In the distance he heard someone humming and he turned to see Ginny sitting under a tree by a sparkling pond. She was wearing a long white linen dress, her beautiful red hair blowing gently in the breeze. He did not think he had ever seen her look so beautiful before.
"Come sit with me a while, Harry," she said looking up at him with a smile on her face. "I've missed you so much."
"I've missed you, too," he said, walking over and sitting next to her. "This is all a dream, isn't it?"
Ginny wrapped her arms around him, resting her head on his chest and sliding a leg over his. "It's a little like a dream, Harry. I'm here with you, but I'm not. It doesn't really matter though, because for right now we are together. That's all that means anything, at least for now."
Harry wrapped his arms around her tightly, closing his eyes and smiling as he said, "I've missed you so much, but I'm so tired, Gin. I just want to sleep."
"Then sleep, Harry," she whispered, listening to his breathing slow. "I'm here and I'll keep you safe."
"I love you, Gin," Harry said, his voice thick with sleep.
"I know that," she replied, closing her eyes. "I love you, too."