AN: Finally, after so long, it's over, this is it. I swear, if I pick up this fic again this side of 2020, it will be because I've lost all sense of rationality and gone insane. It fought me every step of the way, and can now appreciate the difficulty involved in making a sequel, especially for such ridiculously OP characters. Now, goodbye, Fate's Gamble, it was nice knowing you while you lasted! Fun fact, if anyone was born the day I started typing FG up, they would be five years old this year! Anyway, before I say a semi-final goodbye, I'll just remind everyone that I have a forum available that has a link on my profile, and if you want to speak to me online, I'll put a discord link below, where I can be found most days. Farewell and thank you for staying with me for five years.
Forum link is on my profile or here: forum/Fate-s-Gamble-Behind-the-scenes/139203/
Discord link is here: /eJfSD93
Beta'd by: The trolling SnarkLord
Chapter 25 – The End
With spellfire flying all around the room, Harry was mildly surprised that he and Voldemort had the open space that was provided for them. He knew that it was there due to a mixture of awe and fear regarding the two of them, primarily Riddle as he did not have an especially strong foothold in this particular world.
He idly countered Tom's attempts at killing him, curses were batted off towards the Death Eaters and conjured minions were cleaved apart by the head of his staff, more inorganic creations being shattered with a single hit. Clouds of poisonous gas and animated streams of fire were dispersed and neutralised with ease, less visible curses were negated before they could take effect, and more esoteric effects were halted by techniques no one had known for millennia.
"Why do you fight for them, Harry?" Voldemort asked, none of the strain he was feeling showing on his face or in his voice. "They have nothing to offer you, and all they do is take."
"They have called you to this world, after all the trials you endured before, after finally succeeding… this is not a fitting reward, is it? Or do you enjoy being at the beck and call of those who only want you when you're useful?" Voldemort sounded so pleasant there, so relatable. "The Potters want their son back, but you are not him, you are your own person, and they can't see that. Dumbledore merely wants a pawn to use in his games, and the ministry and public, well, we both know just what they want, don't we?"
Harry snorted. "Please, politics are the same wherever you go. I have yet to see an institution completely bereft of corruption, humans just love to disagree with one another." He grinned. "However, you are labouring under some incorrect assumptions, Riddle, I am not doing this for any of the witches or wizards of this world."
"No?" Voldemort mused.
Harry smirked. "Would you believe that I'm doing a favour for fate? In return for a favour for my own of course."
"Fate?" Voldemort inclined his head, still casting spells constantly, each of which was cancelled out by his opponent. "Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos of Greece? Urd, Verdandi, and Skuld of old Norse? Or are you referring to others?"
"Another." Harry smiled. "Though I must commend you for your knowledge. While I wouldn't be surprised to hear you mention the three fates and the norns, knowing their names is a minor surprise."
"I was given reason to investigate some… old tales."
"Ah, of course." Harry sighed. "Snape would have told you about the Heroic Spirits that accompany me, wouldn't he? It's just such a shame his vitriol and attitude prevent him from ingratiating himself with me to learn more, no? I can't imagine how much you would have paid for information such as their names, powers… and potential weaknesses."
"Yes." Voldemort sighed. "As much as he professes to be a true Slytherin, Severus always did let his own biases and opinions rule him."
Harry merely hummed in response, tapping the ground with the bottom of his staff, causing it to ripple like jelly. Voldemort managed to keep his footing, but was soon forced to dodge a multitude of spikes that erupted from the shifting ground. Harry wore an amused expression as he continued to idly bat each of Riddle's attempted counter-attacks aside.
"You're not going to win, I hope you realise that." Harry informed him, to which Voldemort only smirked.
"Your arrogance is showing, young one. I have gone farther than any other in pursuit of deathlessness, and it will take more than you to kill me. I, who have-"
"Had his horcruxes destroyed." Harry interrupted him. "You already know that I defeated one Voldemort, why would you be any more difficult? Honestly, Gilgamesh wouldn't be a challenge, even with Ea, so you… you're barely worth my attention."
Harry sighed. "I really should stop playing with you, but… well, I kinda need some form of stress relief right now."
His smirk turned evil.
"Brace yourself, Tom, I don't want you dying too easily now."
Amelia Bones ducked behind what cover was available as she flung a curse at who she believed to be the Carrow siblings. Things in the Ministry Atrium were absolutely hectic, not helped by the fact several walls had been knocked down and now the area was several times larger than it had been previously.
"Awww… is Bonesy hidi-" Alecto Carrow's voice was cut off with an odd burbling sound.
Peeking out from behind the debris she was behind, Amelia saw that several Death Eaters now had a new hole in their throat to breathe through… ones that were spouting blood.
She grimaced at the sight, almost wishing for the clean, bloodless kills the Killing Curse left behind. These people that were slaughtering the Death Eaters and their inferi, they were ruthless. No care was given to whether someone 'might' be under the Imperius curse or otherwise coerced, they were simply butchering them.
Truthfully, she could almost respect that.
As the head of the DMLE, she fully believed in due process, that everyone should be treated equally by the law. Legally, these people should all be captured and brought in for trial. However, she was also well aware that she simply did not have the ability to enforce that. On top of that, she was also aware that the law, as it currently stood, was not entirely fair. That did not mean, of course, that vigilante justice was any better.
The Potter boy's companions were clearly powerful enough to slaughter the Death Eaters en masse, and if they were capable of that then they should also be fully capable of taking them down non-lethally. She was no Dumbledore – she wasn't going to forgive someone stabbing her in the back without something to stop them doing it again – but the clear disparity between them… how many corpses would not be lying on the ground if they just gave them a solid whack to the head to knock them out.
It might make her look like a bitch after this war was over, but it was something she was going to have to bring up after everything was said and done. Just because Harry did a service in killing Voldemort did not excuse any crimes done in the pursuit of that goal, and murder was most definitely a crime. The apathy and callous disregard they showed for human life was appalling, and she refused to replace Voldemort with simply a lesser evil.
A laugh from the centre of the Atrium drew her attention.
Harry, a potion knife in one hand, looked over the blade for a moment before plunging it into his palm, allowing the blade to penetrate his skin and not shatter impotently against his flesh. He dragged the blade up his arm, splitting his flesh and letting the curses that had replaced his blood to flow freely from the gaping wound.
Every drop of 'blood' a curse, each one able to take down a human with ease – at least now that they were empowered by his own essence – and he had a literal army on 'tap', so to speak. More than a thousand curses were released with that one simple action, and the instant they splashed upon the earth they manifested.
A rat of black, rotten flesh scampered between feet and buried its teeth into a Death Eater's ankle.
A brute with five legs and three arms, all surrounding an abyssal maw, tore through enemies with brutal strength.
A floating mass of grey eyes and tentacles, drooling dark mist as it hovered there, turned its attention on those nearest it.
A slug with 7 skinny arms dragged itself across the ground as pustules burst on its flesh.
Creatures, some smaller than pennies, others larger than gorillas, spread around the atrium. Harry had held back on manifesting anything more than two metres in height, there was already barely enough room for what he had summoned here.
The chaos and panic, among both Voldemort's forces and those that opposed him, was quite something. Not that his curse creatures were harming anyone other than those loyal to the 'Dark Lord', but both their appearance and their methods were terrifying, especially so to those who didn't comprehend what it was they were doing.
A hunched, insectile curse creature drove a pincer into a Death Eater's torso, before they were 'consumed' by it, their clothes and skin turning grey and ash-like before the corruption overtook them and they were drawn into the creature, bolstering its strength.
One of Voldemort's larger zombie dinosaurs was stuck in the web-like tendrils of flesh that made up one of the other curses while another one that resembled a squid wrapped more than thirty tentacles around it and absorbed it whole.
Again and again, Death Eaters and Inferi were brought low by Harry's curse creatures. His Servants and companions had drawn back after they had made their appearance, taking the occasional potshot at a Death Eater that tried to flee the massacre.
In almost no time at all, they were all gone.
Voldemort's eyes were wide at the slaughter that had taken place. Harry was giving him a small smile that lacked any sort of kindness as the curses drifted back to him to be reabsorbed into himself. They turned into an almost liquid gas before flowing into the wound that he had left open, before his arm began to pull itself back together.
Tendrils of flesh, from his shoulder down to his hand, reached across the gap and pulled the wound shut before disappearing beneath his skin. The shadows grew deeper, darker, and Harry took a single step towards Voldemort… then another…
Voldemort stumbled back, his senses going haywire as Harry let up on his control for a moment, allowing the malevolence of his nature be felt. As careful as he was, it was still too potent for the physical world, and the floor beneath his feet began to crumble and decay.
Reaching forward, Harry forced Riddle to remain in place. Briefly, he considered using his eyes on him, but discarded that idea almost immediately. Instead he laid a single finger on his chest and slowly, ever so slowly, began to feed curses into his body.
Voldemort could not move a muscle, no matter how much he tried. Physical strength was useless, throwing his magic into it did nothing, and the entire time this thing was coming closer and… he was touching him, like when Voldemort had gently placed one finger against Potter's scar after his resurrection.
He could not even scream.
The pain that racked his body and his last remaining sliver of soul was agony made manifest. He could feel it eating away at him, not allowing him to deaden his senses to it at all. The edges of his vision began to turn grey and cloudy, his ears were filled with the cries of the damned, his tongue was assaulted with the metallic tones of blood – perhaps even his own? - and his nose, what there was of it, could only detect fetid decay.
A headache sprouted in his skull and quickly escalated beyond anything he'd ever experienced before, but it did not stop there. His body was burning, freezing, boiling… the cruciatus was nothing in comparison, and his mind was held in an iron grip, refusing him the sweet release of insanity.
The last thing he saw, though he could not make sense of what his eyes were showing him, was Harry's black-veined face looking down on him framed by ragged white hair.
Of course, while Harry was proceeding with annihilating Voldemort as thoroughly as he was, time wasn't standing still for him, at least not right now it wasn't. It was just… holy hell, that just happened!
From the moment Harry had turned his arm into two bloody noodles, things had gone a little insane. The sudden onslaught of curse creatures that had put an end to the fight in a handful of seconds and had left everyone reeling from shock. That Harry had then casually sauntered up to Voldemort, cloaked in an aura of pure evil, and then… done something to him, is it any wonder that they didn't know what to do?
After he reined in his aura, Harry turned to Sirius.
"Get yourself sorted, we're going home tomorrow." He told him.
Harry was then surrounded by his companions, the female ones at least, before he vanished.
Sirius shrugged his shoulders, before addressing Dumbledore who had turned up after the alarm had been raised and he'd received a message from one of the aurors in the Order of the Phoenix.
"Well, old man, I'm going back to sleep. It's late, and I want to say my goodbyes tomorrow before we leave, so no sleeping in late for me." He waved, before leaving the Ministry and apparating to outside Hogwarts and going in to return to bed.
Left behind in the Ministry, Amelia Bones turned to Dumbledore.
"We need to talk." Her tone of voice left no room for negotiating, she was serious about this.
In her office, Amelia slammed her hands down on her desk.
"Dumbledore, WHAT THE HELL DID YOU SUMMON!?" She yelled at him.
"Honestly, Amelia, I don't know." He responded, shrugging. "Aside from being capable of defeating the dark lord – who due to prophecy should have been another version of Harry Potter – the ritual didn't specify anything beyond that."
"Dumbledore, that's not good enough." She gestured wildly towards her door and through there the entrance of the ministry. "You saw what happened there, you felt that … that raw evil just as much as I did. That is not normal, and I'll be damned if I leave something so foul alone just because it got rid of a problem for us."
"Him, Amelia, I doubt Harry would take well to being called an 'it'." He chided her.
"Wouldn't take well?" Amelia shouted. "I don't like any part of this situation at all myself!"
"And there's not a thing we can do about it." Dumbledore's reply brought her up short. "You saw, as I did, Voldemort casting a multitude of curses at him, including the killing curse, and they did absolutely nothing to him. He's faster than is humanly possible, far stronger… and he's not alone." He shook his head. "What do you propose we do against something like that?"
"We can't just let it wander around because of fear, Dumbledore." She shook her head. "I was just fighting against Voldemort, I refuse to lay down because someone stronger comes along. Our society barely survived one dark lord, another so soon would be our doom."
"And we won't have to deal with that." Dumbledore told her. "You heard Harry, they're going home tomorrow. They have no interest in our world, and for that I am thankful. I don't think I need to explain to you the impact they could have in this world, and given their attitudes and methods… that's a good thing."
"So that's your 'solution', is it?" Amelia spat. "Just… let them go and hope that they don't come back? They broke the law, and you want them to walk away without any sort of penalty. I already knew you were an enabler, Albus 'second chance' Dumbledore, but I didn't think you a coward too."
Dumbledore frowned at Amelia Bones. "I don't appreciate your remarks, Madam Bones, and I assure you, I am no coward. However, they did what they were summoned to do, put an end to Voldemort. In truth, we have broken our own laws. While there is no legislation for summoning, outside of demons at least, we effectively kidnapped a group of people and then almost enslaved them. The terms of the ritual bound them – or at least it should have done – to kill Voldemort."
"We were desperate." Amelia told him. "That's why this plan even went forward in the first place, but two wrongs don't make a right and a line needs to be drawn somewhere. If we let them go without even a slap on the wrist, what sort of message do you think that sends to people? That they can murder people as they please, break the law, as long as they 'do good'? We can't have that happen."
"Amelia, what sort of message do you think coming down on them now will send?" Dumbledore asked in turn. "You want to 'send the message' that the Ministry can do what it wants as long as the goals are 'noble'? How long before you find people enslaving each other to 'provide for the poor unfortunates' or something equally ridiculous. If you want to administer law equally, then you need to arrest yourself too, you went along with this plan, and as I have just said, it broke our own laws."
Amelia went to speak again, but was stopped by a raised hand from Dumbledore.
"Of course, that's assuming you succeed." He shook his head. "How much worse would this look if you were unable to 'bring them in'. You saw Harry slaughter so many not minutes ago, how much better do you think your aurors could do against that?" He sighed. "Regardless of whether I want to arrest Harry and his companions, we simply lack the means to do so."
"Amelia!" Dumbledore raised his voice. "Please, think back to the slaughter that just occurred. Did any of Harry's companions, or Harry himself, look at all worried? Fatigued? Tired? No, they didn't, they were entirely too casual about the whole thing, they treated it more as a game than anything else. Do you know what that says to me? It tells me that what we saw was not them going all out, that they have a lot more power available to them than what they showed. Even with just what we saw, there's nothing we can do. With more than that? We've failed the instant we make the attempt."
He turned to leave, but before he went through the doorway to her office, he looked back over his shoulder to her and gave her one last piece of advice.
"I don't have the means or time to stop you if you wish to do something to them before they leave tomorrow, but I strongly advise against it. Whether you succeed or fail… I imagine the price is too high either way, and as I have said, I have strong doubts about your potential for success."
With that, he left.
When he awoke the next morning Sirius took a moment to realise they were going back that day. They'd only been there a few months, not even a full year, but where Harry itched to move on as soon as possible, he'd… kinda just fallen into place. While he wouldn't say he had nothing to look forward to back 'home', this place had – if not the actual article – a copy of his best friend still alive, and while there was some awkwardness, he'd quickly warmed up to this version of James and could almost fool himself into thinking he'd never lost him in the first place.
Harry had no connections to these people, so it was easy for him to turn away from them. For Sirius, who had known these people, loved them, and then lost them, it was a lot more difficult to say goodbye. Maybe one day Harry would understand that, but with people who could easily live for millennia – longer for some of them – then it wasn't something he would understand any time soon… and would probably hit him all the harder for it.
The thought of what Harry could do if he was ever consumed by rage or sorrow… apocalyptic didn't even begin to cover it. He could destroy universes at a time, and in time even that might seem insignificant to the damage he could cause if he put all of his might into it.
For now, he had his companions – the vast majority of which were female – to keep him grounded, but that might not be enough eventually. Perhaps he could find a way to talk to those Heroic Spirits who had agreed to be summoned by him, maybe they, who should endure as long as Harry did, would be able to keep him on an even keel for however long they ended up summoned for. It was the best idea he had, and who knew, it might even end up working.
He'd talk to Zelretch when they got back, if anyone had any idea about how to pull that off, it'd be him… or Harry, but this was for Harry's own good and going through him for something like this just felt kind of weird.
Outside the door to the rooms he was staying in, he came face to face with James and Lily. The two of them must have been waiting for him to wake up and get ready – he had after all taken after Harry in spelling his doors locked and warding any room he slept in.
"Sirius… I guess this is goodbye then." James said, wringing his hands together just like Sirius remembered he did as a kid when he didn't have a snitch to play with.
"I guess so, James." Sirius said, a little awkwardly it must be said. "It's good to see what you'd have been like growing up a bit. Glad to see you didn't become too much of an adult after all these years."
James smirked a little. "We did swear to never be boring, didn't we?"
"We did." Sirius smiled, recalling the promise made between four boys back when they were fifteen. "Such a shame Remus just had to be the responsible one, eh?"
"Well, we just don't have proof it was him, do we?" James chuckled. "I'm pretty sure he's responsible for several things we got the blame for, like the custard tsunami, eh?"
Sirius smile fell from his face. This was why he couldn't stay here, even if he yearned for James, Lily, and the other friends he'd made at Hogwarts as a student.
He didn't remember a custard tsunami incident, just like several other pranks and memories James had mentioned before… he just didn't have those shared memories to look back on. Even sticking to things they'd done at Hogwarts, there were still small differences, and it was really jarring when one of those differences came up.
"Maybe you could st-"
"No." Sirius interrupted him. "Don't even make that offer, James. You are not the boy I went to school with… and you already have one Sirius here. I… I was starting to build a new life back there, and I now have people I consider friends to return to. Yes, about half of them are muggles, and yes most of the other half are magi, but that's my life now. I'm sure I could be happy here, but it wouldn't be easy, and… it'd probably be better for me to go back."
"Sirius." James whispered.
"James." Sirius responded. "Don't make this harder than it has to be. There will always be a part of me asking 'what if I'd stayed?' but there's probably an even greater part of me that knows I'd never be satisfied with that… not truly, I won't replace the people I know, and those I knew, with their lookalikes, their doubles. It wouldn't be fair on them, on you, or on me."
"If… If you think that's what's best, mate." James stepped back, unshed tears in his eyes. "I had you as a brother, living at home with me, for years. I'm not going to get in your way now. After all, brothers support each other, come hell or high water, don't they?"
"Yeah, they do." Sirius murmured, before turning to Lily.
"Keep him in line, will ya?" He smirked. "This git needs a kick in the pants every now and then to pop his head a bit."
"I will." Lily agreed. "His head is swelled enough simply marrying the amazingness that is me, he doesn't need it growing any more, he'd never fit through a door otherwise."
An indignant 'hey!' from James had the three of them sharing a laugh, before Sirius bid them farewell.
"I have a few other goodbyes to say before I leave, so farewell for now." He said, tossing them a wave as he searched for the other people he'd connected to in this world.
James and Lily remained standing there, arm in arm, as they watched him go.
Harry, unlike Sirius, didn't have many farewells to say, the only ones that he'd created any sort of bond with that weren't coming with him were the twins and Lily. The latter, he could say goodbye to just before he left, but as for the former…
"These are for us?" Rose asked, catching the package he'd tossed her, her sister catching a similar one.
"Instructions for the branches of magic you've shown interest in… and one little thing extra." Harry told her, waiting for the two of them to open the packages. Each of them had a different set of books, as while they were twins – and would undoubtedly share them – they had shown interest in different topics.
"Mirrors?" Blake wondered, turning one around in her hand, catching sight of the runes etched onto the back of it.
"Communication mirrors, yes." Harry nodded. "Your two are linked together and can contact three others, one of which is my phone – which can also act as a communication mirror – another is the one in my home in my dimension, and another is the Izumo Inn, in the possession of Miya and Takehito Asama. You don't know those two, but if I ever find other people to give these to, they will be added to the entire network."
"So we can call you, any time?" Blake asked.
"I might not always answer straight away, but essentially yes." Harry confirmed.
"Thank you." Rose murmured quietly, holding the mirror to her chest.
Harry sighed, before pulling the two girls into a hug. He wasn't sure about giving them the mirrors, while he had connected with them – at least a little – he didn't envision ever returning here. However, perhaps these two would want to go to his world, or even another, at some point in the future, and he wasn't about to deny the two that opportunity.
"So I guess this isn't so much a goodbye as a… see you later?" Blake asked.
"I suppose so." Harry smiled slightly. "However, well, I did get on the wrong side of some people here. Not everyone appreciated my methods in ending Voldemort, so while it is not impossible for me to return here… consider it unlikely, okay?"
"Doesn't mean we can't visit you though." Blake punched his shoulder.
"No, I suppose not." Harry shook his head. "Now, I have one more farewell to give before I leave."
"Bye, Harry." Rose waved.
"See you at summer!" Blake called after him.
Harry chuckled to himself, his long hair swaying as he shook his head at that.
Perhaps he would see them this summer, or perhaps not, James Potter could always react rather negatively towards what Amelia Bones was planning and forbid them from contacting him, but then again, he would both have to know they could contact him AND have the two wilful girls obey him.
Regardless, he intended to be off this world before Bones exploded, he couldn't be bothered dealing with her right now.
Just before 10 in the morning, Harry and Sirius were just finishing off breakfast before leaving. Harry was keeping track of Bones and the aurors she'd managed to collect on her way to the castle. He'd had to mess with her apparition, portkeys, and floo powder several times already to delay her, giving Sirius enough time to say all of his farewells, but they were ready now, which was just as well as Bones was making her way up to the castle.
"Well, Harry, I guess it's time we got going." Sirius said, having finished off his toast.
Harry nodded his head, climbing to his feet and standing before the head table, where they had originally been summoned to. Everyone who had come to this world was near him, even Amaterasu who was currently 'clad in shifting winds' - or invisible as it otherwise might be stated – and Harry tapped his foot a moment, timing it as best he could.
Just as the doors to the Great Hall burst open, disgorging an army's worth of aurors, Harry gave Amelia Bones a cheeky wave and wink, before vanishing in prismatic light.