DEATH OF A WIZARD
Calling something a clash of titans was something of a cliché. It was often used as hyperbole, to exaggerate the grandeur of some events. It was an overused turn of phrase.
And yet, in a London street, something close to such an event was happening.
A vampire and a werewolf. This sounds like a cliché of horror, and yet, their clash was awe-inspiring in a way it normally wouldn't. A bearded man in armour, soaked in the blood of millions, fought against a tanned man, shifting at times into a wolf made of mist.
It was like watching a natural disaster happen in miniature. As they clashed, windows near them exploded from the shockwaves. The ground nearby trembled. Even their movement caused thunderclap-like sonic booms to ring out, like some strange dirge.
In truth, it wasn't just a clash of two monsters. It was a test of sorts, not of strength, but of resolve. They were two old monsters, who had grown weary of living, not enough to simply give up and die, but rather, to make their final ends have some meaning. A form of suicide by proxy, where the survivor would live on, forever, both in triumph and in loss.
They were watched from afar in awe. The troops of Millennium looked on, those who were distracted by the fighting duo. Iscariot, shadowy soldiers of God, also looked on, with concern and even awe.
At the head of the Iscariot group, Alexander Anderson grinned, even as he watched the fight go on. For all that he despised Alucard, he had to admit, this fight was fun to watch. He wondered whether he should have brought popcorn.
Suddenly, the radio he had crackled, and he answered it. "Anderson here."
"Father, it's Heinkel. Yumie and I have spotted Potter. He's engaged with Voldemort. Schrödinger is present, but under some sort of spell. Your orders?"
Anderson frowned. "Where's your position?" After hearing Heinkel rattle off a building name and the street, he nodded. "I'll be there shortly. Alucard's busy playing with a Loup-Garou. And while Potter's no slouch, he's still a fledgling compared to Voldemort. Besides, Voldemort and I have a score to settle…"
Okay, this is definitely not good, Seras reflected, as she watched that musclebound woman working for Millennium grow to ridiculous sizes. While it could be an illusion, given all the shit she has seen in the past little while, a Nazi vampire giantess was not so far-fetched. She had met wizards, vampires (including THE Dracula and Elizabeth Bathory), werewolves, and an effeminate catboy who couldn't die due to being some living embodiment of one of quantum physics' most famous thought experiments, after all. "Liz…I have to ask…can vampires grow superhuge, or is that an illusion?" she asked over the radio.
"Yes to both," Bathory responded. "Some vampires can grow pretty large using magic, but this bitch is too young to even know how. This wannabe Amazon with the thing for scythes is giving our minds the old bad touch. Did Alucard teach you how to use your 'third eye', so to speak?"
"Well then, use it! You're the one with the sniper rifle! Go cross-eyed if you have to!"
Seras, even as she prepared to use her third eye, grimaced at Bathory's choice of words. Alucard had used the very same term while trying to train her originally. And soon, she saw past the illusion, saw past the shadows shaped into her very mind, and saw the real Zorin (remembering the name from Schrödinger's briefings), her hand planted on the ground, eldritch lettering from her tattoos crawling across the ground, blood still oozing from her eyes, nose and lips from Bathory's attack.
In another time, when Seras remained a fledgling until she drank deep of Pip's blood, she would have only grazed the woman's cheek. However, this Seras had already drunken blood, her sire's blood, and while still a little lacking in confidence, she was more powerful, more confident, and better able to withstand the illusions, thanks to the souls now within her. Plus, Bathory's attack in her teenaged form had softened Zorin up.
Seras pulled the trigger. Zorin realised her danger a moment too late, caught up as she was in forming her illusions, and her head burst in a gory spray of blood, bone and brains. Her body, though, still remained, even as her illusions died. Just to be sure, Seras reloaded the Harkonnen, and fired again. Most of Zorin Blitz's torso was obliterated, fertilising the grounds of the Hellsing Estate with her vile blood and offal. The remnants of her body collapsed like a puppet with its strings cut…if said puppet had also been shattered with a hammer as well.
As the Wild Geese and Hellsing personnel surrounding her in the corridors of the Hellsing HQ shook off the illusion, Seras scowled. "Auf Wiedersehen," she said sardonically. "Next person to try and rape my mind isn't gonna get off so lightly if I can help it." Then, she went and ensured that the Wild Geese and Hellsing personnel were still all right.
Bathory grinned. She was no longer in her teenaged, somewhat draconic form anymore, but the childish glee she got from mimicking her other self's Noble Phantasm was very real. She looked up at the windows where Seras shot the round that killed Zorin Blitz. Well, Vlad, you should be proud of your fledgling. She gazed into the abyss, and when it looked back, she blew its head off. She'll go far. So will our grandchild, and his fledgling. Hmm…that ritual should be ticking along nicely. Only a few minutes left to go by my reckoning, and then Voldemort will be done for. I wonder how Harry's doing?
Harry was not doing well. Or rather, he was not doing as well as he could have been. True, he was doing far better than he could have against Voldemort, dodging spells and sending his own against the ophidian warlock, he was Apparating instinctively to avoid attacks, and he'd managed to get some hits in of his own. It was much better than the duel he had against his nemesis in the graveyard.
But the bastard wouldn't give him an opening. Whatever Voldemort had done to his body that made it look like his mother slept with a snake, or whatever training he had done, it meant that he could snap off spells with ease. An occasional Cruciatus had sent Harry sprawling, and only very quick recovery ensured Harry avoided any follow-up spells.
Harry knew why. Voldemort, for once, was not fucking around. If he was playing with Harry, it was in a very pragmatic way. A fledgling vampire or even dhampir could take on most wizards, but Voldemort was more than the average wizard. Harry worked best on ambushes, and his familiars were mostly being used to fight the other Death Eaters and help any civilians. And he just had to leave those monofilament wires at the Hellsing HQ, didn't he? And there was the fact that Voldemort had Schrödinger attacking him as well at times, distracting him at crucial moments.
Harry's raw power, durability and vampiric abilities were clashing against Voldemort's much greater experience and arsenal of spells, plus an unwilling accomplice. It was fast turning into a war of attrition, and judging by the snarl of annoyance that was growing on Voldemort's face, Harry wasn't the only one getting frustrated. But then, something happened that would change the course of the battle, and tip the scales just enough in Harry's favour.
Voldemort screamed as a silver bayonet suddenly impaled him through the stomach. "What insolence is this?!" he roared.
"Insolence?" scoffed a familiar Irish brogue. "This comin' from the warlock who dares defy God's laws and try to defer His judgement indefinitely? Don't make me laugh, Voldemort."
A flurry of pages appeared near Harry, coalescing into the form of Alexander Anderson, who was smiling in a way that didn't reach his eyes. He brought up his bayonets in a cross-like salute. "We're Iscariot, the agents of divine punishment on Earth. We are sent to smite God's enemies, to visit His Wrath upon them. Rejoice, for you will be cleansed. Amen."
Voldemort blinked, perhaps at meeting someone more hammy than he was, even as he pulled the bayonet from his abdomen with a grimace of pain. "…So you're the priest who has been decimating my chosen."
"Chosen? Ha! That's a laugh. For all my grievances against the likes of Hellsing, at least they don't pretend to be the Messiah," Anderson stated. "Don't you remember me? Or perhaps you remember my mentor? Risei Kotomine?"
"…Ahh, yes, I do. That old fool of an Iscariot operative…he screamed for death for a long time before I granted it to him. And you'll do the same, especially as you have interfered with my duel with Potter. Your God is a false idol, one whom I will take the place of."
Anderson sighed, before looking at Harry. "Okay, bluntly, while I know he killed your parents and you've got a claim in the old revenge stakes, he killed my mentor and many good friends, to say nothing of being an unholy abomination and an affront to all things good in the world. Not as bad as Alucard, but still, you don't mind if I join in?"
"As long as you don't kill me, we're good," Harry said.
"Fine by me. I wouldn't give this snake-sucker the satisfaction of kill-stealing anyway, and besides, I'm more of a mind to kick your granddaddy's scrawny pale arse. Consider it gratitude for helping us out a little, anyway," Anderson said. He then swatted away a spell that Voldemort sent his way when the warlock's annoyance at being apparently ignored got too much, using one of his bayonets to deflect it. "Oi! Don't interrupt me!"
"Your inane talk bores me," Voldemort said. "Killing both of you will put a smile on my face. A self-righteous murderous priest, and the so-called Boy Who Lived. A monster and a freak, and I'm not sure which is which."
Harry's wand snapped up at hearing the familiar hated word, the one that the Dursleys used so often, and fired a series of spells at Voldemort, who tried to dodge out of the way. Suddenly, Schrödinger pounced on him, while Anderson flung more bayonets at Voldemort. The battle to the death was entering a decisive stage…
Deep beneath the Blood Bath Gallery of Horrors, a ritual circle pulsed with crimson light. Eldritch symbols flickered and changed with increasing rapidity. It was both horrifying and yet oddly entrancing, like a piece of music rapidly approaching a crescendo.
If it was truly a piece of music, it would be considered a dirge. For it heralded the death of Tom Marvolo Riddle, the boy who thought to make himself into a monster known as Lord Voldemort. In truth, the thanatophobic warlock was about to finally meet his Waterloo.
It was a truism of Alucard's that only a man could beat a monster. But Voldemort, while a monster in many regards, didn't truly fit Alucard's definition. Voldemort was merely a pretender at being a monster, someone who thought of being a monster as something to aspire to, like too many before him.
Voldemort thought himself superior to the likes of Alucard, simply because he was not a vampire. He was a wizard. In truth, he wasn't. While he was not quite a minnow in a pond compared to a shark, he was nonetheless paltry compared to the likes of Alucard or Bathory. Both vampires had forgotten more about the Dark Arts (even Alucard, who preferred to use innate vampiric abilities as opposed to the Dark Arts wizards dabbled in) than Voldemort had ever learned. Even Grindlewald knew better than to mess with Alucard, preferring to distance himself from Millennium after witnessing his power.
This wasn't to say Voldemort underestimated Alucard. He intended to win through treachery. But he didn't know about Bathory's presence. And he didn't think anyone would learn about the Horcruxes, or find a way to deal with him all at once.
True, to do so was very obscure magic, so obscure it would have been lost to posterity if it weren't for Bathory consuming a certain person, but still…perhaps this was the 'Power He Knows Not'. In other words, a powerful vampiric grandmother with esoteric knowledge and a bit of an axe to grind against her daughter's murderer and her grandson's self-proclaimed nemesis. Something he probably wouldn't have seen coming.
The Cup of Helga Hufflepuff was already in the ritual circle, acting as the catalyst. Suddenly, crimson light flared, and there was an unearthly keening wail of fear and dread as smoke was suddenly ripped from the artifact, and then, just as it had enough time to show a face, it was sucked into the middle of the circle…
In a shack near Little Hangleton, a ring with the sign of the Deathly Hallows set on the dark stone vanished.
In a hidden room at Hogwarts, a diadem also vanished.
In Malfoy Manor, a large snake, one that was once a woman who succumbed to the curse in her blood, vanished with a startled hiss.
In 12 Grimmauld Place, a locket vanished.
In the ritual circle, a bunch of objects suddenly appeared, with plumes of black smoke blasting from them, the smoke having just enough time to form ophidian faces and scream in rage, pain and despair, before being sucked into the middle of the circle, like a smoke bomb in reverse…
The objects were mostly intact, but the snake writhed and convulsed in agony. The Horcrux, after all, had been deeply intertwined with her own magic, and the ritual Bathory used had not been designed to extract Horcruxes safely from living beings. However, even as Nagini's spasming slowed, along with her heart, the small part of her that once held the friendship of a young boy called Credence, who had once been forced to perform in a travelling show, could only sigh in relief. Unlike her Master, Nagini wasn't obsessed with immortality. Even before her original personality was subsumed, she knew this. And some small part of her wanted to die free, of ownership and the instincts of her Maledictus form.
As Nagini died, the last human part of her soul, as it drifted off into the next great adventure, thought one thing: Thank Merlin it's over…
When Voldemort convulsed and spasmed, Harry and Anderson took advantage of it. Voldemort had deflected a number of Anderson's bayonets as they fought, many lying discarded on the roof they did battle on, and Harry had snatched some up, the handles being safe compared to the blessed silver, and together, Harry and Anderson charged Voldemort with a roar.
Schrödinger couldn't help Voldemort. He was currently sprawled on the ground, dazed after being thrown there by a Banishing Charm. His followers couldn't help him. They were scattered, fighting either vampiric familiars or Iscariot, to say nothing of the local authorities, magical or mundane. His Horcruxes couldn't help him, as they were even now being destroyed, and the only reason his soul was not being drawn into the circle was because he was trying to hold it in place, like a disembowelled man struggling to hold in his own intestines.
Anderson and Harry struck together, bayonets shoving through Voldemort's chest. He vomited up a gout of blood, his crimson eyes wide with anger, horror, pain and despair. "No…" he rasped. "This cannot be. I am Lord Voldemort. I have triumphed over death! I…"
"Stop talking and die," Harry hissed, before he ripped out his bayonet, and slashed at Voldemort's neck, sending the head sailing aloft on a fountain of vile blood. As Voldemort's soul was torn from his body, his body began to dissolve into ashes, the last sound he made being a wail of utter despair as his soul was drawn to Bathory's ritual.
"I'd say may God have mercy on your soul," Anderson said coldly, "but personally, I hope you burn in Hell, Voldemort. Good riddance." He then turned to Harry. "By the way, you were a wee bit sloppy when you decapitated him. Your vampiric strength was really what helped you there, because you cut right through bone. You've gotta go for the gaps between the vertebrae. Yumie and I could give you pointers."
"…Really?" Harry asked wearily. "I just ended one of the worst Dark Lords in history, and you're critiquing me on my decapitation skills?"
"Aye. 6 out of 10. A 7 if we count the results," Anderson said. He then looked up into the skies, still filled with smoke, zeppelins, and screams. "Besides, dunno whether you've noticed, but Millennium are still doing their little rampage."
"Ugh, don't remind me," Schrödinger said, clutching his head and wincing in pain as he got up. "Being under the Imperius is not fun, ja?"
Harry, after a moment, realised what must have happened. His grandmother's ritual must have triggered. He wasn't sure what to feel about his nemesis' demise. He wanted to feel elation or relief, but at the moment, all he felt was bloody tired and weary. Anderson's expression seemed to suggest he felt the same way.
And yet, as Anderson had pointed out, Voldemort's death had not ended their problems. It had only ended one of the bigger ones. London was burning, its citizens were suffering, all to satisfy the lust of madmen for one last grand battle, a funeral pyre to mark their passing, and taking so many others with them.
Harry Potter. Alexander Anderson. Schrödinger. Originally on different sides, and, especially where Anderson was concerned, sure to become enemies after the battle's end. But they were going to stop Millennium regardless, and put an end to this senseless destruction for once and for all…
CHAPTER 27 ANNOTATIONS:
Well…this is kind of embarrassing. I said in the previous chapter that you might have to wait as long for the next chapter as you did for the previous one. And yet…here it is. Two this year after a gap of…what, nearly two years? Anyway, I hope that, even if it's a long time before the next one, this was at least a little of what you were hoping for.
Bringing Anderson into the fight with Harry and Voldemort wasn't what I intended originally, and really came about while writing this chapter. But after having Anderson establish a sort of camaraderie with Harry in some ways in previous chapters, as well as showing he had a stake in killing Voldemort, felt right. They'll go back to being enemies after the mess with Millennia is dealt with, perhaps sooner (though I think Anderson is more fixated on defeating Alucard), but still…
If this felt a bit rushed and anticlimactic, well, I went into this chapter with no plan, other than to wrap up the battle against Voldemort, as well as tie up the loose end of Zorin, at the very least. I just made it up as I went along, with the poignant moment with Nagini's end inspired by her fate in the second Fantastic Beasts film. Given her character in that film, one wonders what turned her into Voldemort's pet.
Anyway, Voldemort is dead. Kaput. And the turning point for this story's climax has been reached. I hope you enjoyed it. Then again, given that this is the most-favourited story not only of mine, but of any Hellsing crossover on this website, well, I'm sure you have been enjoying it.
No numbered annotations this time.