The Point At Which We Shall Begin

The last battle against Voldemort began with a scream. Well, more like a shriek, but no one was willing to dally with details by that point: they were all fighting to keep a hold of their lives, and in some cases, sanity.

Death Eaters and Aurors were jumping out at each other, sending hexes and curses towards anyone who looked to be on the opposite side. Strangely enough, not many of the curses were of the fatal variety, but all were painful. The Death Eaters were wearing black masks as well as black robes, and at times their masks became skewed and their robes splattered with odd colours due to the strange hex or two. The Aurors all had a red emblem sewn onto the front of their robes, and many of them wore phoenix-feathered masks, like those worn at balls, or had phoenix feathers stuck in their hair. Albus Dumbledore's own phoenix, Fawkes, was circling up above the fight, at times watching the men and women fight and scream and die, at others dodging the beak and claws of Voldemort's personally trained owls. He was looking rather sparsely feathered, and so it wasn't much of a secret about where the Aurors had gotten all of their decorations.

Voldemort stood in the middle of the room, looking suitably mysterious and malevolent. His red eyes glowed eerily and he occasionally chuckled evilly, though really no one was listening by this point. He contributed nothing to his side's fight, did not even lift his wand to save this Death Eater's life, or that one's. A space had been created around him of absolute nothing, and all combatants instinctively shied away from intruding upon it.

Albus Dumbledore darted around the room, never cursing anyone, instead focusing all his energies into healing those of his side. The Death Eaters, who lay bleeding (and occasionally burning or freezing) to death, he ignored. His tall, yet stooped frame and seemingly old bones didn't hinder his quick movements in the slightest; indeed, he seemed to be moving at a faster pace than most of the Aurors and Death Eaters. When it was evident that the witch or wizard he came to could not be healed by wizard magic, he sometimes called Fawkes to revive them to life with his magical tears. Sometimes Albus Dumbledore broke their necks with sure and practiced motions, and the coldness and grief in his eyes seemed immutable.

There were four in the fight that were not Aurors or Death Eaters, besides Voldemort and Albus Dumbledore. They were Hermione Granger, Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, and Neville Longbottom.

Hermione Granger, witch extraordinaire, who also happened to be a Muggle- born, wore pale blue robes with the insignia of S.M.H. above where her heart would be. Underneath her robes, which flapped open as she ran, she wore pale blue, loose-fitting pants and a sleeve-less crisp linen pale blue shirt. Her hair was frazzled and coming out of the high pony tail she'd put it in, and her wand had not a few char marks adorning it. Her robes and pants were covered in scorch marks and spatters of blood, and she seemed not to notice the dark and viscous liquid staining her cheeks. She ran behind Aurors, casting curses at Death Eaters behind the protection of an Auror's back. She seemed to have the appearance of no one older than sixteen, and still quite young.

Harry Potter, also known as the wizarding world's earliest known savior, walked with imperturbable confidence, undisturbed by the mayhem surrounding him. He was walking towards the waiting, cackling form of Voldemort, his eyes strangely glazed over and the scar on his forehead a vivid red mark. He was clothed in the same fashion as Hermione Granger, and bore no scorch or blood stains. He seemed untouched and untouchable, and the war raged noisily on about him, never coming near him, as if he were invisible.

Ronald Weasley, easily the tallest of all the assembled witches and wizards, crouched low to the ground, staining the pale blue of his robe and clothes muddy with dirt and soot and bodily fluids. He was anxiously crawling to all fallen Death Eaters and prying off their masks, his face a study in desperation. Occasionally he called Fawkes down to him to heal a few Death Eaters, and Fawkes did as he asked, but as soon as the Death Eaters had been brought back to the bloom of health, Ronald Weasley would knock them unconscious again. Otherwise he performed healing spells as best as he was able, and avoided the thrown hexes directed his way.

Neville Longbottom was the one who started the fight, the one who screamed, or shrieked. He was also the one currently fighting for his sanity. He wore the official robes of a Hogwarts' student, though they were torn and splattered thoroughly with mud and all sorts of other unidentifiable things. His fair hair was wildly tousled about his head and streaks of something that looked to be purple, or could have been dark blue, were mingled in it. He stood rooted in a corner, away from blood-shed and out of the path of all curses, and was yelling at the top of his lungs, 'Stop!' over and over like some sort of mantra. Neville Longbottom's eyes were open wide, his pupils dilated, and he seemed to start with an agony of shock every time the word Crucio was uttered.

Gradually the number of active Aurors and Death Eaters dwindled. Albus Dumbledore was struck down by a stray hex and left stunned on the ground, white hair and beard gradually staining itself brown and black and red. A Death Eater with a curious silver arm was struck by a Crucio, though Aurors weren't supposed to use such spells. In the heat of battle, anything was possible, and allowable - still, most Aurors had been ingrained with an instinctive hate of all Dark Magic and Spells, and so it was also equally possible that the Death Eater had been hexed by one of his own kind. Hermione Granger, having run out of willing and large enough Aurors to hide behind, stuck to shadows and the crevices of walls, darting out occasionally and quickly to hex a Death Eater that she could simply not ignore. A Crucio struck her, and the sounds of her screaming echoed in the cavernous hall, mingling with other noises of carnage. Ronald Weasley hurried to her side, large brown eyes scared and pained, and cast the Petrificus Totalus spell on her before calling down Fawkes. As he kneeled hunched by her side, he too was hit by a curse, one that made him feel as if he were being immolated. He bit through his lip in an attempt to avoid screaming, and eventually his eyes rolled into his skull as he passed out over top of Hermione Granger's body. Fawkes perched on top of his body and the phoenix's pearly tears bathed the teens into health once again.

Harry Potter was moving towards Voldemort, and Voldemort stood ready to receive him. They faced off, circling each other as if playing a game that did not include the dying that surrounded them. They took no notice of the screams and screamed curses, instead watching each other with steady gazes. Neither spoke for the first few moments, and then it was Voldemort who did.

His words were hissed in the low slithering language of snakes, and answered in kind. After what seemed an eternity of conversation, each saluted the other with their wands.

Harry Potter said, with unequal calm, 'Avada Kedavra.'

Voldemort whispered, syllables rising to his tongue with the ease of countless usage, 'Avada Kedavra.'

There was a flash of green light, colossal as two spells collided and forced each other apart.

There was a ghastly horrible noise.

There was a ghastly horrible silence.

And then - there were two baby cries, wailing into the smell of death heavy in the air.