Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe belongs to the proverbial Duchess of Magic, JK Rowling, Scholastic, Bloomsbury, Warner Bros and some other high falutin' companies. No matter how much I whine about not owning anything related to the HP universe, other than a few fanfic plots, I do not profess to own - and would never dream of making any money off - JKR's wonderful world... Damn it!
A/N: Yup. I know I haven't finished Daft Morons yet. I know you're all waiting for my to get to it and get it done. My problem is my muse pointed this story at me, something I started a while ago and had set aside to finish after Daft Morons, and wouldn't stop nagging me about it. So, I decided to write some more of what I already had, just to see if I could appease the muse and get back to Daft; but... no... the muse wanted this one written. And, before I knew it, it was completed.
And now, hopefully, it's going to leave me alone so I can get back to Daft and 'git-er-done'! After all, there is really only one enemy left to deal with (can you figure out who that is? The clues are all there, already) and, with that, the story can be wrapped.
(Yes, the author is not too big for his britches he won't beg his muse.)
Besides, the 1st of September... ring any bells (or toot any train whistles)?
Chapter One - Through the Wormhole
"Dubbledore!" said Neville, his sweaty face suddenly transported, staring over Harry's shoulder.
Harry turned to look where Neville was staring. Directly above them, framed in the doorway from the Brain Room, stood Albus Dumbledore, his wand aloft, his face white and furious. Harry felt a kind of electric charge surge through every particle of his body - they were saved.
Dumbledore sped down the steps past Neville and Harry, who had no more thought of leaving. Dumbledore was already at the foot of the steps when the Death Eaters nearest realised he was there. There were yells; one of the Death Eaters ran for it, scrabbling like a monkey up the stone steps opposite. Dumbledore's spell pulled him back as easily and effortlessly as though he had hooked him with an invisible line ―
Only one couple were still battling, apparently unaware of the new arrival. Harry saw Sirius duck Bellatrix's jet of red light. He was laughing at her. "Come on, you can do better than that!" he yelled, his voice echoing around the cavernous room.
From off the dais and to the side of the circle thing, Harry knew his godfather, Sirius Black, was not thinking properly. He was taunting his opponent, Bellatrix LeStrange. And standing right in front of that weird circle thing as he did so.
Harry knew, in his soul, that his godfather clearly did not know what sort of danger that circle represented. He knew it was dangerous. He raced up the two steps, just as his pseudo-uncle, Remus Lupin, reached out to grab him before he could move. The grab missed.
He sprinted the short distance and hit his godfather in his side, just as LeStrange cast a pale bolt of magical energy towards the older man. As per the laws of physics, the energy of Harry's momentum cannoned into the older man as he blocked that first bolt, propelling him away from in front of the arch while leaving Harry standing where his godfather stood; all the momentum in him, now cancelled.
Harry turned, raised his wand and cast, "Pro-teh―!" It was as far as he got before the mad witch's second spell reached him.
The second jet of light hit him squarely on the chest.
His eyes widened in shock as he was flung backwards, through that circle; hit with a banishing charm of all things.
It seemed to take Harry an age to fall. His body curved in a graceful arc as he soared backward through the ragged veil hanging from the arch.
Looking back, Sirius saw the look of surprise on his godson's face as he fell through the ancient doorway and disappeared behind the veil, which fluttered for a moment as though in a high wind and then fell back into place.
Sirius heard Bellatrix LeStrange's triumphant scream, but knew it meant nothing ― Harry had only just fallen through the archway, he would reappear from the other side any second...
But Harry did not reappear. Instead, they heard a long mournful scream of both anguish and pain come from behind the veil that faded away.
"HARRY!" Sirius yelled, "HARRY!"
But as he stood and was about to sprint back toward the dais, the young auror and his cousin, Nymphadora Tonks, grabbed him around the chest, holding him back.
"There's nothing you can do, Sirius," she firmly stated.
"Get him, save him, he's only just gone through!"
"It's too late, Sirius."
"We can still reach him―"
Sirius struggled hard and viciously. However, he'd just managed to break the young witch's grip when he was then grabbed by the tall, dark-skinned Senior Auror, Kingsley Shacklebolt. There would be no breaking that man's grip.
"There's nothing you can do, Sirius... nothing," the man firmly, but empatheticly, stated. "He's gone."
"Nnnooooo!..." Sirius cried out.
Harry's last thought as he passed through the Veil was to try and get to his godfather. 'SIRIUS!' he screamed in his mind as all he saw was the circle thing shooting away from him as he very rapidly disappeared down a spiralling tunnel lined with fast moving, what looked like, silver clouds and streaks.
Trying to struggle to get back to his godfather, it was only a moment before he felt a strange wrench and agony from his scar. It felt as if something was ripped from his forehead.
The last thing he heard as the pain and agony of that caused him to fall unconscious, was a wailing mournful cry of "Nooooo...!"
For only a moment, as he felt blood flow from his again-opened wound on his forehead, he thought he saw a black, smoky mist leave his forehead and disappear. It even had a face - Voldemort's.
In the Veil Room, Sirius was in shock. There was movement going on around them, pointless bustling, the flashes of more spells. To Sirius it was meaningless noise, the deflected curses flying past them did not matter, nothing mattered except that his godson was gone.
Shacklebolt began to drag Sirius away from the dais with the man still staring at the archway.
Sirius had risked everything, always, to see Harry... to help him. If Harry was gone, as he knew he was, then it was all for nought.
Turning to see what else was going on, Sirius saw that Dumbledore had most of the remaining Death Eaters grouped in the middle of the room, seemingly immobilised by invisible ropes. Mad-Eye Moody had crawled across the room to where Tonks now lay and was attempting to revive her. Sirius hadn't even known she'd been hit after he'd broken free of her grip.
Across the other side of the dais, Lupin had carefully approached the Longbottom boy, Neville. "Here," Lupin quietly said. And, pointing his wand at Neville's legs, he said, "Finite."
The spell, a Tarantulegra of all things, was lifted. Neville's legs fell back onto the floor and remained still. Lupin's face was pale. "Let's ― let's find the others. Where are they all, Neville?"
Lupin had turned away from the archway as he spoke. It sounded as though every word was causing him pain.
"Dey're all back dere," said Neville. "A brain addacked Ron, bud I dink he's all righd. And Herbione's unconscious, bud we could feel a bulse―"
There was a loud bang and a yell from behind the dais. Sirius saw an order member, yelling in pain, hit the ground. Bellatrix LeStrange turned tail and ran as Dumbledore whipped around. He aimed a spell at her, but she deflected it. She was halfway up the steps now leading back out of the Department.
With a sudden bolt of fury flooding his system, Sirius didn't even realise he was moving.
"Sirius ― no!" cried Lupin, but Sirius didn't even slow down. He chased after the mad bitch.
"SHE KILLED HARRY!" bellowed Sirius. "SHE KILLED HIM ― I'LL KILL HER!"
And he was off, scrambling up the stone benches. People were shouting behind him, but he did not care. The hem of Bellatrix's robes whipped out of sight ahead and they were in a room where large glass tanks, but one, had smashed andthings on the ground that looked like a cross between a brain and a squid were scattered about on the floor.
She aimed a curse over her shoulder. The tank rose into the air and tipped. Sirius was deluged in the foul-smelling potion within. The brains slipped and slid over him and began spinning their long, coloured tentacles, but he shouted, "Depulso!" and they flew into the air away from him. Nimbly, he dodged the rest of the potion on the floor and ran on toward the door. He leapt over a young blonde-haired student witch, who was groaning on the floor, past Ginny, who said, "Hey!... What?" past Ron, who giggled feebly, and Hermione, who was still unconscious. He wrenched open the door into the circular black hall and saw Bellatrix disappearing through a door on the other side of the room. Beyond her was the corridor leading back to the lifts.
Determinedly, he chased after her; but she had slammed the door behind her and the walls had begun to rotate again. Just as when he and the other members of the Order desperately raced into the Department to rescue his godson and his friends, he was surrounded by streaks of blue light from the whirling candelabra.
"Where's the exit?" he shouted desperately, as the wall rumbled to a halt again. "Where's the way out?"
The room seemed to have been waiting for him to ask. The door right behind him flew open, and the corridor toward the lifts stretched ahead of him, torch-lit and empty. He ran.
He knew this was a race of his trying to catch his mad bitch of a cousin before she reached the atrium and her needing to reach the atrium to escape; whether by portkey, apparation or the floos therein.
He could hear a lift clattering ahead of him. He sprinted up the passageway, swung around the corner and slammed his fist onto the button to call a second lift. It jangled and banged lower and lower; the grilles slid open and Sirius dashed inside, now jabbing the button marked Atrium. The doors slid shut and he was rising.
Moments later, he forced his way out of the lift before the grilles were fully open and looked around. Bellatrix was almost at the telephone lift at the other end of the hall, but she looked back as he sprinted toward her and aimed another spell at him. He dodged behind the Fountain of Magical Brethren; the spell zoomed past him and hit the wrought gold gates at the other end of the Atrium and they rang like bells.
In order to catch his breath, he paused for a few moments behind the fountain.
"Come out, come out, dear cousin!" she called. Her voice echoed off the polished wooden floors. "What did you come after me for, then? I thought you were here to avenge wee baby Potter!"
"I am!" he called, stepping back out.
"Aaaaaah... did you love him, dear cousin?"
Hatred rose in Sirius such as he had never known before. Without any incantation he simply jabbed his wand forward twice in quick succession. The first spell cast was a shield breaker; the second was a bone shatterer.
Bellatrix screamed. The shield breaker had done its job against the shield she'd immediately erected before her, ripping it away and allowing the next to get through her defences and hit her. The follow-up bone breaker slammed into her and knocked her off her feet. But she did not shriek with pain. Immediately, she jumped to her feet again, breathless, no longer laughing and silently cast a dark curse back. Sirius simply side-stepped it, which allowed it to hit the head of the handsome wizard of the fountain. The head was blown off and landed twenty feet away, gouging long scratches into the wooden floor.
Sirius had been edging around the fountain on the other side. She screamed, "Crucio!" and he was forced to duck behind the fountain as the centaur's arm, holding its bow, spun off and landed with a crash on the floor a short distance from the golden wizard's head.
"You cannot win against me!" she cried. He could hear her moving to the right, trying to get a clear shot of him. He backed around the statue away from her, crouching behind the centaur's legs, his head level with the house-elf's. "I was and am the Dark Lord's most loyal servant," she called. "I learned the Dark Arts from him and I know spells of such power that you can never hope to compete―"
Sirius had edged right around to where the goblin stood beaming up at the now headless wizard and taken aim at her back as she peered around the fountain for him - and cast yet another bone breaker.
She reacted so fast he barely had time to duck. "Protego!"
The jet of red light, his own spell, bounced back at him. He was forced to duck and one of the goblin's ears went flying across the room.
"Sirius, I am going to give you one chance!" shouted Bellatrix.
Sirius laughed again because he knew it would incense her. Stepping out from behind the one-eared goblin he immediately had to duck back as she sent another jet of green light flying at him.
"Missed!" he shouted. "And there's nothing to summon!"
"No!" she screamed. "MASTER, I TRIED, I TRIED - DO NOT PUNISH ME―"
"Don't waste your breath!" he yelled back. "He can't hear you from here!"
"Can't I, Lord Black?" called a high, cold voice.
Sirius quickly spun to the voice.
Tall, thin and black-hooded, his terrible snakelike face white and gaunt, his scarlet, slit-pupilled eyes staring ... Lord Voldemort had appeared in the middle of the hall, his wand pointing at Sirius.
"So you lot smashed my prophecy?" said Voldemort softly, staring at Sirius with those pitiless red eyes. "No, Bella, he is not lying. I see the truth looking at me from within his worthless mind. Months of preparation, months of effort ... and my Death Eaters have let Harry Potter thwart me again..."
"Master, I am sorry, I knew not, I was fighting the Animagus Black!" sobbed Bellatrix, flinging herself down at Voldemort's feet as he paced slowly nearer. "Master, you should know―"
"Be quiet, Bella," said Voldemort dangerously. "I shall deal with you in a moment. Do you think I have entered the Ministry of Magic to hear your snivelling apologies?"
"But Master... he is here! He is below―"
Voldemort paid no attention.
"I have nothing more to say to you, Lord Black," he said quietly. "You could have joined me. Your blood is pure and would have been easily welcomed into my ranks. AVADA―!"
That was the trigger; at least, the first two syllables.
While on the run for the past three years, Sirius Black had not been idle for that whole time. Due to the ravages of being a prisoner for eleven plus years in the wizarding prison, Azkaban, for the first year he was pretty much an idiot. It took the entire first year, plus more, just to get his head back on straight.
After the first year he headed for the Island of Black in the tropics. However, it wasn't until then he realised he had mental problems. That year on the island and under secret specialist care by healers, once he realised just how mentally mauled he truly was and organised them, beat back most of those physical and mental ravages of which he'd been suffering.
On returning to wizarding Britain approximately twelve months ago, he hadn't been letting the 'potion simmer away'.
Dumbledore had approached him on his immediate return and asked him to provide a property where the newly-reformed Order of the Phoenix could call 'Headquarters' and meet. Sirius had offered his childhood home and forced Dumbledore to promise his godson, Harry, would get to spend the summer with him. It was the only reason Sirius acceded to Dumbledore's firm request to open his home to them.
However, when Harry returned to stay with the Dursleys directly from the Hogwarts Express, Sirius confronted the old man and demanded to know where the boy was. Dumbledore had told him that Harry had returned to the Dursleys 'to ensure the blood wards were re-powered before he would come to Grimmauld Place'. Dumbledore had made it seem that Harry had volunteered to return to the Dursleys to accomplish that.
Even then, Harry was only brought to Grimmauld Place because the boy had been attacked by Dementors on the second of August. And it wasn't until Harry arrived at Grimmauld that Sirius discovered it wasn't Harry's choice he be at Privet Drive, either. He'd been forced back there by Dumbledore.
Oh, Sirius had let the old man verbally 'have it' for that.
However, Dumbledore just stood there with that overly calm and pleasant façade and let Sirius vent. Once Sirius had wound up, or during pauses of ranting, Dumbledore calmly returned, "Harry needs to live at Privet Drive in order to recharge the blood wards. I was going to have him collected as soon as the blood wards had fully recharged. That would have occurred within a day or two at most of the dementors' attack."
That did not appease Sirius in the slightest. He knew damned well the old man had deliberately misled him. However, there was nothing much he could do about it. He needed Dumbledore to finally get off his wrinkly old bum and engineer things to finally get him his ignored trial. Until he had his trial he still had a 'kill on sight' order on him; which meant he had no chance of ever gaining lawful custody of his godson.
It did not take him long to come to the conclusion Dumbledore didn't want him, Sirius, to gain such custody. And, right from that point, Sirius only told the old man just enough to have the old man not suspect anything.
Instead, Sirius had determined it would be up to him to set right what was wrong. He now 'knew' Voldemort was determined to kill Harry; and Sirius, as Harry's godfather, saw it as his duty to stand between Voldemort and his godson. That meant he had to both recover his auror reflexes and skills from the previous war, as well as learn a great deal more. He had to train, hard. And that meant he had to get sneaky... like a real Black.
While the Order of Phoenix had access to the main part of the house, Sirius had kept secret the house magical combat duelling and training room in the sub-basement. He'd adjusted the house wards to have that part of the house undetectable, even to Mad-Eye Moody's magical false eye.
Once he was ready and whenever he could get time alone, he went down to that room and trained.
One of the things he trained himself in was deliberately creating 'knee-jerk' responses within himself. And one of those 'knee-jerk', Pavlov's Dog, responses was reacting in a certain way to the verbalised two consecutive syllables of "Av" and "Ah", the first two syllables of the killing curse.
When Voldemort began to cast the Killing Curse towards Sirius, Sirius's 'knee jerk' ingrained trained reaction cut in.
His wand whipped up and launched a quick transfiguration point cast at a piece of marble detritus from the fountain only a few feet in front of him into a thick marble wall that rose to his chest and was four feet wide.
"KEDAVRA!" finished Voldemort, whipping his wand down and casting the brilliant green of the Killing Curse towards him.
However, as the wall sprung up before him, the headless golden statue of the wizard in the fountain had sprung alive, leaping from its plinth, and landed on the floor with a crash between his marble wall and Voldemort. The Killing Curse merely glanced off its chest as the statue flung out its arms, protecting Sirius.
"What―?" said Voldemort, staring around.
However, Sirius was already in his lethal combat mindset from the trigger phrase and was already moving to engage as Voldemort was turning to where the statue had come from.
As Voldemort breathed, "Dumbledore!" Sirius had also spotted the old man and banished his own section of the magical fountain at him.
Dumbledore was standing in front of the, now spell damaged, golden security gates leading towards the lifts with his attention focused on Voldemort. He did not see the huge hunk of fountain now rocketing towards him from the side.
Voldemort raised his wand and sent another jet of green light at Dumbledore, who began to turn into an apparation twist when the large piece of masonry hit him in the side, knocking him away.
The impact was so hard it sent Dumbledore flying to the side and out of the line of sight.
"STAY OUT OF IT, DUMBLEDORE!" roared Sirius, while his attention turned back to Voldemort. "HE'S MINE!"
As Voldemort turned a smirk back on Sirius he was shocked to see Sirius had already launched a curse at him. He had to rapidly raise his wand in an attempt to spell-swat it away. He missed.
The curse was a cutter and it nailed him in his left shoulder.
In shock at being hit, he was already back on the defensive as yet another curse... and another... were already on their way.
Now having to focus on the battle before him, Voldemort had to move quickly to shield himself.
"You cannot hope to defeat me, Black!" he called back, behind his shield.
Sirius rapidly cast a strong shield breaker and followed it up with another cutter before he paused and called back, "You keep thinking that Riddle, you half blood bastard!"
Yet more curses and charms flew between the two before Riddle call-demanded, "Do not call me by that filthy... muggle... NAME!"
More curses and protection charms, with Sirius moving about as if he was almost dancing. His moves, though appearing slow due to how smooth and graceful they looked, were actually quite quick. He was needing to shield and spell-swat dark curses and charms aside a lot less than Voldemort; who saw dodging as a sign of magical weakness.
Suddenly Sirius saw, out of the corner of his eye, the now one-armed centaur detach itself from the fountain and gallop towards him.
'Dumbledore,' he thought. A hesitation between casting curses at Riddle and he cast a Blasting Hex at the centaur, blowing it to smithers.
"Stay out of it, Dumbledore!" he roared. "I told you, Riddle is mine!"
However, Dumbledore proceeded to ignore Sirius and was walking forward; his eyes again focused on Riddle.
"It was foolish to come here tonight, Tom," said Dumbledore calmly. "The Aurors are on their way―"
"By which time I shall be gone and you, dead!" spat Voldemort. He sent another Killing Curse at Dumbledore, but missed; instead, hitting the security guards desk behind the old man, which burst into flame.
Dumbledore flicked his own wand and Voldemort was forced to, once again, conjure a shining silver shield out of thin air to deflect it. The spell, whatever it was, caused no visible damage to the shield, though a deep, gong-like note reverberated from it. An oddly chilling sound.
"You do not seek to kill me, Dumbledore?" called Voldemort, his scarlet eyes narrowed over the top of the shield. "Above such brutality, are―"
He had to shut up and again start defending himself from Black's attacks. Sirius had only hesitated for a few moments in annoyance that Dumbledore had, once again, interfered.
"We both know that there are other ways of destroying a man, Tom," Dumbledore said calmly, continuing to walk toward Voldemort as though he had not a fear in the world, as though nothing had happened to interrupt his stroll up the hall. "Merely taking your life would not satisfy me, I admit―"
"There is nothing worse than death, Dumbledore!" snarled Voldemort, incantlessly defending himself from Sirius's attacks. "Merlin, damn it, Black!" he roared. "I'm trying to hold a civil conversation with Dumbledore!"
"I do not care, you snake-faced freak!" Sirius snarled back. "Just ignore the old man. He's a worthless sack of shit, anyway!"
Dumbledore, once more, began casting at Riddle/Voldemort - obviously not appreciating the idea he should simply be ignored - while Sirius returned to his attack. Seeing magic cast at him from two different directions at pretty much the same time, Voldemort vanished.
There was a burst of flame in mid-air above Dumbledore just as Voldemort reappeared, standing on the plinth in the middle of the pool where so recently the five statues had stood.
One more jet of green light had flown at Dumbledore from Voldemort's wand, just as Fawkes swooped down in front of Dumbledore, opened his beak wide and swallowed the light whole. He burst into flame and fell to the floor, small, wrinkled and flightless.
At the same moment, Dumbledore brandished his wand in one, long, fluid movement; the water in the pool rose up and covered Voldemort like a cocoon of molten glass.
For a few seconds Voldemort was visible only as a dark, rippling, faceless figure, shimmering and indistinct upon the plinth, clearly struggling to throw off the suffocating mass. Then he was gone and the water fell with a crash back into its pool, slopping wildly over the sides, drenching the polished floor.
"MASTER!" screamed Bellatrix.
With the opportunity presented to him, Sirius spun towards LeStrange and cast a dark purple curse at her. Not expecting it she soundlessly collapsed to the ground either unconscious or dead.
Thinking it might be over, that Voldemort had decided to flee, Sirius made to step out from behind his significantly damaged marble wall, but Dumbledore bellowed, "Stay where you are, Sirius!"
For the first time, Dumbledore sounded frightened; though Sirius could not see why. The hall was quite empty but for themselves, the 'unconscious' Bellatrix still trapped under her statue and the tiny baby Fawkes croaking feebly on the floor.
Suddenly Voldemort reappeared standing next to Bellatrix and looking down at her.
Sirius immediately began casting again.
Voldemort looked up and, with a look of fury at Sirius, returned to his own attack. Both combatants, ignored Dumbledore.
"You've killed her!" Voldemort practically screamed at Sirius. "You've killed my Bella!"
"You'll be joining her in a few moments!" Sirius snarled back. "Just accept it! You're a dead man who doesn't know when to stay dead!" And he began slinging curses, hexes and everything he had at the man.
Voldemort returned like for like, but had resorted to the darkest of curses in his anger.
Sirius dodged them all and yelled, "Give up you half-blood, muggle-raised, slit-eyed, noseless freak and just accept it!"
Riddle increased his attack, but so did Sirius.
"Lord, my arse!" yelled Sirius between casts. "Voldemort, my arse! French for 'Flight from Death' is accurate enough! Coward!"
Having caught something from the side of his eye, Riddle gave a small start of shock.
Suddenly, he cast up a massive crystalline shield and, from behind it, snarled, "I'll be back, Black! I shall personally kill you for this affront!" Then he bent down, reached to LeStrange with his off-hand, latched onto her robes and side-along apparated with her out and away.
Sirius looked around to see if the snake-faced mongrel was going to put in another appearance. However, instead of spotting him again, saw that the other end of the Atrium was full of people. The floor, covered in water from the fountain in many places, was reflecting emerald-green flames that had burst into life in all the fireplaces along one wall; and a stream of witches and wizards was emerging from them. As Dumbledore walked forward from the other side of the smashed fountain, Sirius saw the tiny gold statues of the house-elf and the goblin leading a stunned-looking Cornelius Fudge forward.
"He was there!" shouted a scarlet-robed man with a ponytail, who was pointing at a pile of golden rubble on the other side of the hall, where Bellatrix had lain trapped moments before. "I saw him, Mr. Fudge, I swear, it was You-Know-Who, he grabbed a woman and disapparated!... and... and... That's Sirius Black! Sirius Black was fighting him... and... and―"
"I know, Williamson, I know. I saw him too!" gibbered Fudge, who was wearing pyjamas under his pinstriped cloak and was gasping as though he had just run miles. "Merlin's beard! ― here!... Here, in the Ministry of Magic! Great heavens above... it doesn't seem possible... my word... how can this be?
After giving yet another start, he suddenly barked, "Aurors! Go get a dementor. Sirius Black is to be kissed, immediately!"
"No... he bloody well... is not!" snapped a solid looking woman, who wore short greying reddish-blonde hair and had a monocle dangling from a chain at her breast. As Fudge stood there, gaping, she walked to Sirius and firmly stated, "Mister Black; if you hand over your wand I give you my word as the Director of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and as Regent of the Noble and Ancient House of Bones that no harm will befall you while in my custody and until the conclusion of your trial."
"N-now... see here, Amelia!" Fudge spluttered. "Black is the subject of an official Ministerial order that if he is captured he is to be―"
"Shut your fool mouth, Cornelius," she snarled back. "I am taking him into custody and questioning him... as to how it is we all just witnessed him duelling Voldemort in what was clearly a lethal duel! If he is the supposed right-hand man of the Dark Lord, that should not have been possible... and you know it!"
As Bones turned back to Sirius, he was already holding his wand out to her, wand grip first. She immediately accepted it and attached magic-inhibiting manacles to his wrists. Sirius didn't even put up a fuss.
"If you proceed downstairs into the Department of Mysteries, Cornelius," said Dumbledore, walking further forward so that the newcomers realised he was there. The man truly did not like to be ignored.
For the first time a few of them raised their wands, while others simply looked amazed. "You will find several escaped Death Eaters contained in the Death Chamber, bound by ropes and an Anti-Disapparation Jinx, awaiting your decision as to what to do with them."
"Dumbledore!" gasped Fudge, apparently beside himself with amazement. "You... here... I... I―"
"I'll be taking custody of them, Dumbledore," snapped Bones after taking Sirius's wand and affixing the manacles. "I am... after all... the Director of the DMLE."
She then turned behind her and sought out a couple of the more... calmer... aurors. "Preedy, Proudfoot, Hammer and Munson! Go down to the Department of Mysteries and take into custody the Death Eaters, whether they claim to be such or not, and take them back to the holding cells."
As the four immediately ran off, Fudge looked wildly around at the aurors he had brought with him, and it could not have been clearer that he was in half a mind when he cried, "Seize them! Both Dumbledore and Black first!"
"Cornelius, I am ready to fight your men ― and win again!" said Dumbledore in a thunderous voice.
"MY men... and women," Bones cut in.
"But a few minutes ago you saw proof, with your own eyes, that I have been telling you the truth for a year," Dumbledore continued, ignoring Bones. "Lord Voldemort has returned. You have been chasing the wrong men for twelve months and it is time you listened to sense!"
"Fudge; don't!" barked Bones. "Any auror that even so much as thinks to obey your orders will be fired on the spot!"
"I don't... well―" blustered Fudge, also ignoring Bones and looking around as though hoping somebody else was going to tell him what to do. When nobody did, he said, "Very well ― Dawlish! Williamson! Go down to the Department of Mysteries and see ... Dumbledore, you ― you will need to tell me exactly ― the Fountain of Magical Brethren ― what happened?" he added in a kind of whimper, staring around at the floor, where the remains of the statues of the witch, wizard, and centaur now lay scattered.
As the two aurors began to hurry towards the lifts they'd only gone five feet before Bones barked, "Dawlish and Williamson!"
When both aurors suddenly stopped and turned to her, she snapped, "You're fired! I just got through telling you that anyone who obeyed the Minister's orders would be fired... you just did that! Go directly to the DMLE and surrender your badges and robes!"
"Now... Amelia!―" spluttered Fudge.
"Not a word, Cornelius," she growled at him. "One further word out of your mouth to try and overrule my authority and you'll be in one of those holding cells, yourself!"
"We can discuss that after I have sent my students, downstairs, back to Hogwarts," said Dumbledore.
"Oh, we will be discussing matters, Dumbledore," said Bones. "However, I take it these students were involved in what happened here, tonight?"
"He-here?" said Fudge. "Why ― what's all this about?"
"I shall explain everything," repeated Dumbledore, "Once my students are back at school."
"They're not going anywhere until I and my people have spoken with them, Dumbledore," snapped Bones.
"I'm afraid I cannot allow that, Amelia," said Dumbledore. "They are injured and require medical attention."
"Then they'll be going―" she began when Dumbledore chose to ignore her once again and turned to Fudge. "You will give the order to remove Dolores Umbridge from Hogwarts," said Dumbledore. "You will tell your aurors to stop searching for my Care of Magical Creatures teacher so that he can return to work." He then looked back at Bones and said, "If you need more help from me you are, of course, more than welcome to contact me at Hogwarts. Letters addressed to the headmaster will find me." And, suddenly, the old man was gone with a light crack of apparation.
"Damn it!" Bones snapped.
An unknown time later, the young fifteen year old boy-wizard, Harry Potter, snapped awake.
As soon as his head cleared enough for him to remember what he was last doing, he sprang to his feet with his wand held tightly and quickly spun about, trying to figure out where he now was. And if there was any immediate threat.
As soon as he realised he couldn't see any danger, he began to better look about. All he saw was arid land as far as the eye could see. However, given the nature of the terrain, that wasn't that far. The almost immediate points he noticed, though, was that he was both outside and it was day. When he went through the veil and its circle/arch thing he was inside and it was late at night.
Remembering what he felt of his scar when he was in that weird tunnel thing, he raised his off-hand to it and gently felt it. His fingers came away with flecks of dried blood, but apparently the wound had already closed over again.
He was in a sort of canyon, was the best he could describe it. He was definitely outside; it was definitely day time, considering the sun was up and beating down; and the only 'man made' object he could see anywhere near him was a much larger version of that weird circle/arch thing he knew he must have fallen through back in the Department of Mysteries; and a sort of low height lectern thing standing about twenty feet in front of it and about five feet from him.
With no 'apparent' danger nearby, he walked over to the lectern thing and took a look at it.
It was covered in what looked like oddly shaped, but perfectly aligned, rune stones with a big red button thing in the middle. As for the rune stones - from what he remembered when scanning through his female friend, Hermione's, texts on ancient runes - he recognised none of them.
Figuring 'whatever-it-was' was dangerous - he knew from Hermione not to touch a runic array when he didn't know what it did or how to operate it - he decided to leave it alone for now and walked back past where he woke on the ground and took a better look at the circle thing.
Closer to it he could see it, too, had those peculiar runes circling it. They were evenly spaced and each seemed to occupy the same amount of space even with the weird non-geometric patterns of each rune. As he chased them down to the ground he could see how the circle wasn't broken once it reached dirt. It clearly performed a complete circle. What he couldn't figure out, though, was how it managed to stand, from what he could see and tell was, perfectly upright. With how much appeared to be in the ground it looked like a strong puff of wind could push it over; or, at least knock it off being perfectly straight.
Looking closer at what he first thought to be metal he couldn't tell what sort it was.
He reached up to pull his glasses off to give them a clean on his robes and his hands met... nothing. He wasn't wearing his glasses.
Spinning about he looked back to where he had woken and saw them lying on the ground, partially covered in sand.
He hurried back to them and lifted them from the ground only to find that one of the lenses had broken, cracked right through the middle.
Frowning he put them on and realised everything had gone blurry. Confused, he took them off again and found he could see clearly again.
"What the... Hell?!" he muttered.
Not knowing what else to do with them he raised his wand, pointed at the glasses and incanted, "Occulus Reparo."
A quick flash of light and the glasses were repaired. It was the first true spell he'd ever heard properly incanted and it was done by his best female friend when she repaired his glasses for him back on the 1st September, 1991. It was his first time going to Hogwarts.
Again he put them on and realised everything was still very blurry. If anything, he realised it was about the same sort of blurriness he got when he didn't wear his glasses.
He again took them off, looked about, realised he could actually see quite well, gave himself a mental shrug and dropped the glasses into his inside left breast pocket of his robes. It was a puzzle he realised he couldn't figure out on his own and, therefore, would be set aside for now.
He decided to return to that circle thing and try to figure out what it was, other than it had a runic circle etched into it around the... ring?
After getting frustrated he didn't understand any of it, he returned to the lectern thing.
Then, standing before it, he looked down at it and muttered, "I should have taken Ancient-bloody-Runes like Hermione said I should."
With a deep sigh of both woe-is-me and here-goes-nothing he reached out and picked a rune stone at random. Carefully, almost gingerly, he allowed a finger to touch one before quickly yanking his hand back. When nothing happened, he reached out and more firmly pressed on the rune stone.
When that did nothing he then pressed more firmly.
Suddenly, the stone depressed under his fingers about an eighth of an inch and then lit up with a red glow underneath.
Jumping back he quickly watched and could see that one of the things he thought was a decoration on the ring also lit up. However, nothing else happened.
Warily making his way back, he then pressed another stone. The same thing happened.
He kept doing that a further four times, making six of the seven bulge things on the ring light up, with six of the runes also lighting up.
However, when the sixth lit, the big red button lit up with a deep orange colour.
Jumping back, he warily waited a few moments before then stepping back forward, reaching over and pressing the now lit red button.
He then felt a surge of magical power leave the base of the lectern and flash to the ring.
Before he had a chance to do anything there was a great whoosh of energy at the face of ring before it looked like a huge boiling water jet formed in front of it and surged towards him.
No idiot, he dived out of the way.
However, he saw that the water spout - if that is what it was - only came out about ten to fifteen feet before it retracted back to the ring and settled into what looked like the surface of back-lit rippling water. With his knowledge of magic the fact the surface of the water, if that is what it was, was standing vertical across the 'face' of the ring didn't come as that much of a shock.
Still not willing to touch it he returned to the lectern and looked down at the runes again. That's when he noticed another rune was softly glowing within the red button. 'Seven', he thought. 'That makes sense.'
He knew, without knowing why, that seven was a powerful magical number. It was a number even more magically powerful than three and thirteen, the next two most powerful.
While looking down at the runes and trying to reason things through, he felt the 'magic' powering the runic circle around the ring suddenly stop. Then the rippling surface winked out, the seven glowing nodules around the ring went out and the six lit runes and the red button on the lectern also went out.
'No more power?' he thought. 'Or timed?'
Yet another puzzle to figure out later.
Taking a better look at the runes circling the red button he also saw that the inner ring of the two held thirteen and the outside ring held twenty-one.
'Hunh!' he thought. 'Two rings and the button, making three layers, magical number. Thirteen runes in the inside ring, magical number. Twenty one runes... seven times three... in the second ring, both magical numbers.
'That makes, thirty-two different runes - thirty-three, if you include the rune inside the red ball thing.
'The seventh rune will always be the same, I guess, because you have to press the red ball 'thingy' last. So, how many combinations would that make?'
Almost as soon as he began to try and calculate it he realised he had no hope of doing so. He knew Hermione could. She could probably do it in her head. But, to what purpose?
With a sigh, he realised he was wasting time. His first priority should be figuring out where he was so he could get back to the Ministry. If not there, then Hogwarts.
Taking his wand into his left hand he then held his right hand out flat with his palm up, then placed the wand across it. Firmly, he incanted, "Point me, Ministry of Magic."
The wand didn't move. It didn't even twitch.
Frowning, he tried, "Point me, Hogwarts."
Again, the wand didn't even twitch.
"Merlin, damn it," he muttered.
Lofting the wand a little into the air he re-caught it by the grip and began to look around. Once he saw what he thought was the highest point of land nearby, he headed for it.
Back at the Department of Mysteries within the wizarding Britain Ministry of Magic underground 'complex' beneath Whitehall, Harry's disappearance through what was known as the Veil of Death had not yet had a deleterious effect on the morale of the witches and wizards who had rushed to to the Ministry, that night, to 'rescue' Harry or the five friends who accompanied him. At least, not straight away.
While the other five teenage witches and wizards who'd accompanied Harry had either been injured sufficiently to cause them to lose consciousness, such as Hermione Granger, or were sufficiently injured the pain kept their minds sharpened, such as Neville Longbottom, at least two of them realised Harry had 'died' that night. Only one of them knew differently, Luna Lovegood. She knew through her kept-hidden abilities as a Seer that Harry would return. However, she could not openly share that information with wizarding Britain without outing herself as a Seer.
Within a few moments of Harry disappearing through what they thought of as the Veil of Death, the anger that went through the adults that had come to rescue him and the others drove them to powerful feats of emotional magic. Of the twelve Death Eaters who fought the six Hogwarts school students: Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood and Ginny Weasley - in order, four fifth years and two fourth years. The six students held their own.
Of those, Harry Potter was missing (presumed dead), Hermione Granger was hit with a slashing curse in an angle down her chest and was unconscious, Ron Weasley was entangled with what were known as Cognivors and was as good as unconscious at the end of the battle, Neville Longbottom suffered a broken nose and some fingers on his wand hand, Luna Lovegood was suffering from severe broad bruising on her chest and Ginny Weasley had a sprained ankle.
The entire cadre, bar one, of the Death Eaters were also severely hurt or just stunned unconscious before being captured. They were Lucius Malfoy, Caracticus Nott, Vindicus Crabbe, Conrad Jugson, Walden MacNair, Quentin Avery, Harfang Mulciber, Augustus Rookwood, Rodolphus LeStrange, Rabastan LeStrange, and Antonin Dolohov. Of those, the last six were all escapees from Azkaban just five months previous.
The only Death Eater there that night who managed to, apparently, escape was Bellatrix LeStrange. She left by being side-along apparated away by the self-titled Dark Lord Voldemort, secretly true-named Tom Marvolo Riddle. Voldemort had duelled the so-called right hand man of himself, Sirius Black, in the atrium of the Ministry of Magic mere minutes after Harry had disappeared through the Veil of Death. The duel was 'won' by Black, when Voldemort apparated out of the atrium while taking the LeStrange witch with him.
Through a portkey created on the spot that night by Albus Dumbledore and handed off to retired Master Auror Alastair 'Mad-Eye' Moody, the six remaining Hogwarts students were portkeyed back to Hogwarts, directly into the Infirmary, accompanied by Remus Lupin.
After Dumbledore had apparated away, Bones had not been idle.
After once again demanding Fudge, Minister or not, stay the hell out of her investigation or be arrested, she personally escorted Sirius back to the DMLE and into an interview room, rather than a holding cell. As soon as she got him there and safe, she ordered the duty Master Auror to personally see to his safety and protection.
"If I so much as see a wisp of a dementor anywhere near his 'cell', now that I've placed him under my personal protection, I will personally hunt you down and challenge you to a duel to the death for the dishonour it will have brought to the House of Bones. Got me?" she'd snapped at the man.
The auror, terrified his boss was quite willing to do just that, was about to swear on his magic he would make Sirius's safety his only duty until she returned. She'd had to stop him doing that.
She then left the interview room in which she'd stashed him and went to the holding cells. The eleven Death Eaters were put, two each with Malfoy on his own, into six holding cells. All she did was check to ensure they were there and had been properly processed.
Then she went to her office and called into her presence four aurors and two qualified auror healers - a master healer wizard and a journeyman healer witch. She had to contact them at home and order them in.
Once she had them, plus a heap more aurors she'd had called in to replace the ones that would be going to Hogwarts with her, she took them via the floo in her office to the Three Broomsticks. They then walked to the school and to the gates.
There, she found the gates locked.
"Blast them open," she ordered.
When none of her aurors moved - they were, instead, looking at her in surprise - she raised her wand, pointing it at the gates. "Any auror who does not cast a Bombarda Curse at the gates on my command to cast after the count of three, is immediately fired!
"One... two... three! Cast!" she called, and then firmly incanted, "Bombarda!" All four aurors, plus the journey-witch healer, joined her in the cast.
As the gates, blasted out of their stone frames and cartwheeled away into the grounds, she glared at the Master Healer.
He calmly returned, "I'm not an auror and I daresay I'm going to need all my magic once we reach the infirmary. An extra wand was not needed here."
She scowled, but gave a firm nod back. Then she led the way in through the busted gates and towards the school.
As they arrived at the doors, Flitwick was standing there waiting for them.
"Did you have to blast the gates off their hinges?" he asked.
"This is a school; not a prison," she returned. "They shouldn't have been closed."
The little charms master sighed, "The Headmaster awaits you in his office."
"Good," she said. Then she turned to one of her Master Aurors and ordered, "Hammer. Take Peterson with you to the Headmaster's office and 'sit' on him. If he puts up a fuss, arrest him and take him back to the DMLE."
"Yes, Ma'am," replied Hammer, leading Senior Auror Peterson off towards the Headmaster's office.
"The rest of you, with me," she said before turning around and striding to the stairs to go up to the second floor and the school Infirmary.
It was as dusk was beginning to fall at Harry's location that he looked up and saw something that should not have been possible; there were two moons. After standing on the hilltop where he'd clambered to try and see if he could see civilisation anywhere near him, not seeing any, he'd been standing there wondering what to do next when he'd looked to the stars. That's when he saw the two moons. The larger of the two was bigger than Luna, the moon of Earth, and the other was significantly smaller. However, there was no disbelieving they were both moons.
He gawked at them for a moment before he promptly fainted.
After practically having to force their way into the Infirmary at Hogwarts, the two Healers attached to the DMLE immediately moved to triage the six patients within. They knew five of them were at the Department of Mysteries just that evening, but didn't know, just yet, which of the six wasn't one of them.
Madam Poppy Pomfrey, the school medi-witch, was currently working on one young witch behind a set of screens.
She immediately popped out from behind the screens and demanded, "What is the meaning of this?"
Bones replied, "A DMLE investigation, Madam Pomfrey. Do not interfere."
The Master Healer then slipped by them both and went behind the screens. He'd moved so quickly and assuredly, Pomfrey didn't even have a chance to figure out what he was doing before he passed her.
"Hey!" she called, starting to head for the screens herself again. "You can't be here!"
Bones had a quick look at a young teenage witch with her chest bare and eyes closed before the curtains closed again. She immediately entered behind Pomfrey and firmly said, "Pomfrey! That is Master Healer Periwinkle. Leave him be!"
Having ignored Pomfrey, Periwinkle had been scanning over the girl's chest and looked up in anger. "This young lady goes to Saint Mungo's, right now."
The 'young lady' was one Hermione Granger and she was currently unconscious.
"Headmaster Dumbledore has authorised only me to treat this lass," huffed Pomfrey. "I will thank you―"
"Shut your mouth, Pomfrey," Periwinkle snapped. "You have neither the training to deal with this properly, or the authority to interfere in what I medically do for a patient."
As Pomfrey gaped back in shock, Periwinkle turned to Bones and said, "This one. Saint Mungo's Casualty. Right, the Hell, now."
"But... but..." spluttered Pomfrey. "The Headmaster―"
"His decision is overruled and overturned, Pomfrey; by my authority as a Master Healer," he rode over her. "Ready her for transport, immediately. Nothing else."
Then he flicked a sheet over her bare chest and strode back out through the curtains.
Back out he looked to the next 'patient'. He spotted a blonde holding one of her breasts. He immediately looked to her and demanded in a kindly voice, "Your name, lass?"
"Luna Lovegood, Master Healer," she was still grasping her right breast and holding it quite gingerly.
Looking at how she was holding her boob, he asked, "I'll take a look at that." And moved forward.
She shook her head and used her other hand to indicate another patient over the other side of the ward. "You'll need to see him, first."
When Periwinkle turned to look where she was pointing, she added. "He got entangled in these brain things the Unspeakables had in these big tanks. I think he's hurt far more than I am."
Surprised, he looked back with a quick look and gave her a firm nod. "Your breast?"
"Just severe bruising, I think," she replied. "I can wait."
He gave her another nod and went across the room to Weasley's bed. "Tompkins?" he called.
The female 'journeyman' Healer looked up from where she was working on Neville Longbottom's nose. "Master Healer?"
"What have you triaged already?" he asked.
"This one has a badly broken nose and a couple of fingers on his right hand," she replied. "The one to my right has a sprained ankle. Nothing urgent. I've not checked any of the others, yet."
As he began to scan Weasley, he said, "Heal the nose and move on. The young witch behind the curtain is heading for Mungo's... and so is this one." He then cast a couple of stasis charms on the boy. "The young witch with the light blonde hair and pink jeans believes she just has a bruised breast. Leave her, for now, and see to the lass in the Slytherin uniform."
As Periwinkle prepared the Weasley boy for transport, he looked to the freshly-healed Longbottom boy and asked, "Do you know who this is?"
"Yeah," sighed Neville. "That's Ron Weasley."
Periwinkle nodded and said, "Thank you. His parents?"
"Arthur and Molly Weasley," called the girl with similar coloured hair to the Weasley boy. "Is he going to be alright?"
"I believe so, yes," replied Periwinkle, finishing his stasis charms. "Pomfrey!" he suddenly and firmly called.
Pomfrey came out from behind the curtains and irritably asked, "Yes?"
"That's 'Yes, Master Healer,' Pomfrey!" he snapped. "Remember your place!"
With a quick wince, Pomfrey repeated, "Yes, Master Healer?"
"This one is prepped and going to Mungo's, as well," he said, before turning fully to her. In an angry voice he almost-snarled, "Once Healer Tompkins and I are done, you and I are going to be having a little chat!"
Pomfrey winced again, "Yes, Master Healer."
"Have you finished prepping that young witch, yet?" he demanded.
"Yes, Master Healer," she replied. "However, Albus Dumbledore―"
"I don't give a busted wand what Albus Bloody Dumbledore said," he snapped over her. "You knew your duty and have utterly failed at it. That's why you and I will be having our little chat, once we're done.
"In the meantime, move on to the young lass behind you on your left and see why she thinks she's bruised her breast."
Again Pomfrey winced, before she immediately turned and hustled over to young Luna.
A few moments later, she conjured up a set of hospital curtains around the bed as Luna began to carefully, gingerly, remove her light jumper.