WELCOME TO THE SIXTH AND FINAL INSTALLMENT OF THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL SAGA. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT.
IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE PREVIOUS BOOKS, YOU AINT GONNA KNOW WHATS FLYING.
OF COURSE, I OWN NONE OF THIS.
AS WITH THE PREVIOUS YEARS, THIS STORY IS EXTREMELY DARK AND CONTAINS EXTREME VIOLENCE, TORTURE, GORE, MAJOR CHARACTER DEATH, ETC. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
PLEASE REVIEW/P.M. ME
WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, I PRESENT: HARRY POTTER AND THE END OF WAR
It had been two months, since last he had left Malfoy Manor.
Two hellish, amazing, crazy months.
He hadn't been bored, that was for sure.
The Dark Lord had kept him very busy.
Apparently, his fighting skills, while impressive, were not what the Dark Lord expected from His second-in-command.
Every day. Every single day, he'd spent two hours or so crossing wands with his lord. It was insane. Harry'd been trained well, over the last few years. By Snape, Barty, and Grindelwald. But none of them even compared to the Dark Lord.
Voldemort was just on an entirely different level. And Harry was nothing if not eager to learn. He only had to remember how it had been, when Grindelwald had so effortlessly disarmed and immobilized him. He'd focus on that feeling of utter weak helplessness, and he'd grit his teeth, wipe the sweat off his brow, and carry on his training.
He was definitely improving. He could last more than a few minutes against Voldemort now, which already was a huge improvement on how he'd been when he'd first arrived back from Hogwarts.
It wasn't only training that was keeping him busy. The Dark Lord has been helping him and Daphne out, teaching them the rituals and spells they would need to create their own Horcruxes. Some of the rituals took a ridiculous amount of time. For one of them, he'd had to sit still for three hours while a really gross slab of some solidified potion dissolved in his mouth.
They were helping, for sure. The rituals were meant to strengthen his body, to make it more durable, and more impervious to minor injuries. That was definitely true. It wasn't like his skin was metal or some crazy comic-book bullshit like that. It was just, something that would have left a big bruise left a small one instead. Something that would have cut through his finger entirely would only cut halfway. Stinging Hexes barely hurt.
The rituals had other purposes, as well. To keep him from dying when he would tear a piece of his soul off, that was a pretty important part. To prepare the book that he would use as a container so that the piece of his soul wouldn't escape. So that the book would be impervious to most forms of damage. But he had done them all.
He was ready to do it. To make his very own Horcrux.
He breathed out heavily. It was intimidating, in a way. Intimidating, but exciting.
Immortality would be his, in just a few hours.
And then he'd be able to join in the fight.
For the last two months, he'd been sitting quietly indoors, learning and practicing. The Ministry and the Goblins, on the other hand, hadn't.
They'd attacked together, the ministry coming in from the North while the Goblins took the South. Already, the Ministry controlled the land from Scotland, all the way to York. Grindelwald and Hogwarts definitely helped, but who did what didn't matter. What mattered is who controlled the land. The goblins, meanwhile, had taken all the way up to Exeter and were steadily making their way toward Wiltshire. They moved through mostly uninhabited areas or wizarding villages, trying to avoid the muggles.
Of course, the ministry had clearly spoken to the muggle government. There had been a series of tornado, hurricane, and earthquake warnings, causing a lot of the muggle villages in what would otherwise be the line of fire to evacuate. Harry'd worried a bit, at first, that the muggles would bring in their armed forces. But then, the Dark Lord had made a point. It had been made quite clear to the ministry, that the muggle military groups were not to be involved.
Harry laughed, thinking of how the Dark Lord had made that point.
'Fiendfyre really is wonderful'
They hadn't really been fighting back too much. Mostly just holding the ministry and the goblins at bay.
The Dark Lord had wanted to wait, until the giants and dementors could be safely diverted from France and Greece, before truly attacking. They'd need them, too. Strong as the Death Eaters were, particularly with all the new recruits coming in from Eastern Europe, without the giants or dementors they'd need to put everyone on the line against the goblins. And while they did that, the ministry would gain even more ground. They needed enough manpower if just to be able to fight on two fronts at the same time.
But in the next few days, the Giants and Dementors would arrive.
And then the battle would truly begin.
Harry was determined to be a part of it. The Dark Lord, in fact, had hinted that he would give Harry control of a contingent in the northern front.
But only if he had made his Horcrux by then.
And so he sat on his bed, eyes closed, breathing deeply.
Nobody would disturb him today. He'd left very, very strict instructions. And he'd bolstered them by putting every locking and privacy spell on his room that he could.
He exhaled sharply, and stood up, making his way to the circle carved into the wooden floor.
Idly, he wondered if Daphne had already started on hers, in Greengrass Manor.
Clutching the book that would soon contain a portion of his soul, he began.
There were no words to this, spoken or thought. It was a battle of will, an act of pure magic, undiluted.
He reached into his mind, eyes tightly closed.
He focused all of his will and brought it to bear.
He imagined his soul, as he had seen it in the mirror. Imagined the cracks running through it.
And with hands made of his will and magic, he gripped hard, pushing imaginary fingers into the cracks and tugging.
His soul fought back, flinging around and trying to slide through his grip. But he held fast, not allowing it to escape.
He held fast, and he ripped.
And absolute, total agony tore through him.
This feeling-it was worse than the Cruciatus. Worse than what Bellatrix had done to him. A thousand times worse.
Somehow, he held on, not relaxing his grip, not allowing the pain to rip his mind away from the task at hand.
He held fast, his eyes tightly shut.
If someone else had managed to walk into the room right then, they'd have no idea that something so momentous was occurring.
They'd simply see Harry, standing in the middle of a strange runic circle, with his eyes closed, his body shaking, and a book clutched to his chest.
They wouldn't be able to see the imaginary battle that he was waging.
That he was waging and winning.
He managed to tear a piece of his soul off, and it fluttered madly, trying to free itself from his grip.
And he slammed it into the book, his eyes flying open as it screamed.
The spells and rituals on the book held. It didn't escape.
The book shook. Once, twice, three times, almost flying out of his hands.
And then it was still.
And he laughed, falling back into the bed.
He laughed, and if his voice sounded a bit colder than usual, he didn't notice.
"Well done, Harry," the Dark Lord said, glowing eyes piercing him. "Well done. You have taken a step that the vast majority of wizards would be too frightened to even contemplate. Well done"
He bowed his head forward. "Thank you, my lord. I-I really wouldn't have been able to do it. Without your help. Th-thank you, my lord"
Voldemort chuckled, His long fingers tapping the table in time with His laugh.
"Harry, Harry, Harry. I've told you far too many times. You are my second-in-command. It would be foolish of me not to give you every assistance. And I am no fool"
"No my lord, you are not"
"Indeed. Has Daphne completed hers as well?"
"I-I'm not sure. She'll be coming here tonight. She was planning on creating it today, so-"
"So you are reluctant to contact her lest she is in the midst of the ritual. I see. I hope she understands, how greatly I have placed my trust in her"
"Even without me telling her of my own Horcruxes, she would have to be a fool to believe that I was not speaking from personal experience, in all my lectures to you two. And she seems no fool"
"I-I think she realizes, my lord. But she hasn't said anything, and-"
"And it is best that she never does. I would be most furious if she ever divulges the secret of my, your, or her immortality to anyone. And even to one protected by a Horcrux, great damage can be done. You understand?"
"Good. Ensure that she does, as well. Nobody is to know. Nobody"
"I'll make sure of it, my lord. But-but I don't think she would-"
"And neither do I. Nevertheless, it will not hurt to emphasize that point"
"I-I'll make sure of it" he repeated.
"Do so. Do not forget. If you wish to make more Horcruxes, you must wait between them. At least three months. Preferably four or five"
Harry nodded, remembering the dire warnings Voldemort had given them, about all the things that could go wrong if too many Horcruxes were made without waiting long enough.
"The giants will be arriving tomorrow. The Dementors are already here. We will attack the following day. You will be leading a group, primarily comprised of your schoolmates. Your mission will be to cut off the enemies retreat"
"At-at the northern front, my lord?"
"Correct. We will strike with all our force, excepting the giants, Dementors, and myself. While our main force meets them at the front, you and your smaller team will come in behind them, and cut off their retreat. Destroy the possibility of their retreat. Fiendfyre, earthquakes, everything. With the anti-apparition and anti-portkey wards, they will be forced to move on foot. And you will stop them"
Harry nodded again, this time with a smile.
"You will be going to face the Goblins, my lord?"
The Dark Lord's sudden snarl made Harry sit up straighter.
"Yes. I will deal with the vermin. And I will make them pay. I want the contents of our vaults back. And I will make them return our property"
"I-I was taking money out of my vault for a while, my lord. Because I knew they would confiscate it when I-I-killed Dumbledore. I still have a good amount, if we need-"
"It is not only gold!" The Dark Lord hissed. "Priceless heirlooms, taken by their grubby claws. They dared to put their hands on the belongings of their superiors, and for that, they will pay!"
Harry shrunk back, shocked at the sudden outpouring of rage he was seeing.
'Holy shit. It has to be. He had one of them in Gringotts. Merlin. Holy shit'
Voldemort breathed deeply, His gleaming eyes closing for a minute.
"I will make them pay. As I will make all who dare to stand against us pay"
Suddenly, the snarl was replaced with a smile. Somehow, on the Dark Lord's snake-like face, that was scarier.
"Now that you have a safety measure in place, I no longer have to go easy on you during your training"
For some reason, Harry felt a nervous shudder run through his spine at those words.
He saw it the second she arrived, the instant the fireplace swirled and thrust her out.
There was something different. Something different about her face.
Something different about the eyes he had spent so long drowning in.
Her face looked like it was blurred. Only slightly, but it was there.
And the sclera of her eyes were pinkish.
From the way she was staring at him, he looked the same.
'Small price to pay. Hell, she looks even better, this way'
Before he knew it, she was hugging him tightly.
"You did it!" She whispered, her breath hot on his ear.
"And so did you"
"All right, get a room, you two"
They separated, turning towards where Draco was limping into the room, leaning on his silver-headed crutch.
His eyes widened for a moment as he took in their appearances. But he said nothing.
"Get a room? Have you forgotten how I found you and Tori yesterday?"
"You walked into my room! Without even knocking!" He turned to Harry. "You might wonder why your girlfriend is wandering around my room, Potter"
"She wanted to ask Tori something," he said with a shrug.
"A likely story. Anyway, you guys want something to eat?"
"Depends. Is your mum still trying to cook her grief away?"
Draco shook his head. "Winky made ham"
"Thank god. I tell you, Draco, your mum's been a mother to me, but damn, she doesn't know how to cook"
"You don't have to tell me" he muttered, limping his way toward one of the smaller dining rooms.
"I'm guessing you're not gonna be joining us in the battle?" Harry asked, putting down his cutlery.
"What gave it away?" Draco said haughtily. "Was it the fucked up walk, or the cane?"
"A bit of both, really"
"So what are you gonna do?"
Draco's chest puffed out a bit. "I'm going to working with the information crew. We're trying to put a message together, one that we'll send out to every witch and wizard in Britain after the ministry falls. It's a lot harder than it sounds, but-"
"But it's exactly the type of thing you've wanted to do all along," Daphne said quietly.
Draco nodded, looking serious. "Yeah. I-if I'm talented in anything, it's this type of thing. And since I'm talented in fucking everything, I-"
"Am a total prat?"
Draco flicked a spoon of peas at Harry, who threw the gravy boat back.
Which exploded in mid-air, splattering the three teens with gravy.
"What the fuck!"
"Oh! I'm sorry ickle-ones. I thought it was an attack!"
Bellatrix bounded into the room, smiling widely. She waved her wand with a giggle, Vanishing the gravy.
"When are you going to come and play with Capella?" She asked, looking at Harry and Daphne and pouting.
"She's still sane?" Harry asked, intrigued.
Tonks had been fun, but she'd never struck him as the type of person who could stay sane after two months of Bellatrix playing with them.
"Oh, there's no point if she isn't sane. She's very sane. She barely even answers to her old abomination of a name anymore"
In spite of himself, Harry shivered. What Bellatrix was doing to Tonks was insanely, terrifyingly, horrifically, brilliant. And she was going to succeed. She would totally tear the laughing metamorphmagus into pieces and rebuild her.
"I have to thank you, actually, Harry. For the hairs"
"You know. The hairs that you brought from the Order of the Phoenix? Those hairs?"
"Oh. Wow. I almost forgot about them. You've been using them well?"
Bellatrix laughed hysterically.
"It's so hard for her, the poor thing. When her werewolf comes to her at night and tells her how disgusting she is"
Draco looked like he wanted to vomit at that. Daphne just looked interested.
"That's pretty clever, actually"
"Thank you, Harrykins. I know. I'd like all of your help, one of these days. I think it would be brilliant if all of her friends were laughing at her while I play with her, one day. And you brought so many of those hairs"
"Uh. Yeah. Sure. Why not?"
He chanced a glance at Daphne. She nodded with a shrug.
"You know," Bella said, her voice dropping until it was just above a growl. "That dirty half-blood whore was pregnant! Pregnant! With the werewolf's baby!"
"Was?" Draco asked, faintly.
He looked like he regretted asking it instantly, when Bella spun on him, snarling.
"Of course, was. I couldn't let her grow a monster inside her! She has our blood!"
She looked a bit regretful for a moment, eyes downcast. "I should have made her eat it" she muttered and left the room.
Draco broke the silence a few minutes later, when he pushed his plate away and stood up, his cane almost falling over.
"Well," He said, looking a bit greenish, "I have no appetite anymore. G'night, guys"
Harry just waved at him, swallowing the last piece of ham.
Harry kissed Daphne, before turning to the rest of his troops.
"Ok. Here's the plan. We're going to make our way forward. We know that they're about two kilometers ahead of us. So we move toward them. In the meantime, the main force will attack from the front. They're not expecting it, cause things have been so quiet. So when they start running toward us, we tear them to shreds. We really fuck their shit up. Got that?"
They all nodded. He looked over them again. Only last year this time, they'd all been packing their bags, heading to King's Cross for the Hogwarts Express.
Last year this time, they were barely more than kids.
Now they were soldiers.
In the back of his mind, he wondered what platform nine and three quarters looked like right then. He glanced at his watch. Another forty-five minutes and the Hogwarts Express would sound its horn, and begin its journey.
But he and his brave few, they stood under the sun. Ready to charge.
Ready to kill.
Fine, they weren't all Hogwarts students. There were a bunch of Europeans with them, one or two of whom he was sure he recognized from the Durmstrang contingent to Hogwarts, in his fourth year. There were even a few older people.
Not everyone there was Marked. But all of those that were, had their left sleeve torn off, proudly showing off their brand.
And everyone there was looking at him to lead.
"Remember. Don't bother with taking out individuals, unless they're posing a threat. Instead of a single Killing Curse, throw an explosion. Cause an earthquake or a tornado, bring down fucking lightning bolts. We're looking to cause as much damage as we can. Anyone else here that can cast fiendfyre?"
One of the Russians nodded, raising his hand.
"You can control it?"
He nodded again.
"Good. I'll be on the far right, you take the far left. We're gonna fucking cover this field with it. The rest of you, aim just behind the fiendfyre."
They lined up, a warm breeze ruffling through his hair.
He held his wand, wondering when it would come. When they would come running toward their deaths.
He giggled slightly, nervous energy making its way out of him.
Fiendfyre was the most difficult spell the Dark Lord had taught him. It was truly sentient. And it wanted to be free. Controlling it was a battle of will, a fight, which if he lost, would be to the death.
There were only two types of people who cast fiendfyre: those whose wills were strong enough to control it, and those who were eaten alive by it.
He hadn't cast it in earnest before. Not without the Dark Lord standing by, prepared to quench it if anything went wrong.
But now, he would. And he would feel it, as his flaming creations took life after life. He would fight in ecstasy, pitting his will against that of a creation of the darkest magic. And he would win.
They waited, the wind rustling through the trees that dotted the edges of the field.
In the distance, they could see flashes of light. They could hear, just barely, screams echoing on the edge of the wind.
And they waited.
They didn't have too long to wait.
Half an hour or so after they first lined up, they began to make out shapes running toward them.
The shapes drew nearer, and they saw the incoming enemy tide.
Easily a thousand of them, running, shooting spells over their shoulders.
As they drew even nearer, the spells began flying toward their waiting deaths.
"Now," Harry said, voice resolutely not cracking on the word.
All across the line, wands were raised. No spell was fired. Not yet. The enemy, though they came closer, was still out of range.
And his troops were waiting for him to lead the attack.
He raised his wand, flowing through the twisting motions, ending with a downward flick.
"Fiendfyre" he all but whispered.
The basilisk flowed out first, followed immediately by a swarm of monstrous beasts. Manticores, Sphinxes, Hippogriffs, half-formed things he had no name for.
He smiled, seeing a fiery raven flying above the rest of them.
And then the basilisk's will slammed into his mind, trying to tear itself away from him, trying to set itself free.
He gritted his teeth, and blocked out everything else, ignoring the spells being cast along the line, the giant clumps of earth flying in the distance. He ignored the screams, the explosions, the shouted curses. He doubled down, pitting his will against that of the beast he had created.
And he won.
He gestured toward the approaching army, dimly noting the Russian doing the same thing on the opposite end of the line.
And the fiendfyre swarmed forward.
He laughed, feeling them pounce. He could feel it, every life his beasts sniffed out. They registered in the back of mind, like a noise going off against the backdrop of his ecstatic battle of wills with the basilisk.
That was part of the danger of fiendfyre. While he controlled it, he had to focus so much of his mind on it that he could barely do anything else. He sure as shit couldn't cast anything else at the same time.
Time itself meant nothing. There was only him, standing there with his wand stretched forward, the length of wood growing hotter in his hand with each passing second, sweat running a river down his face, and his mind fighting for control.
It didn't grow easier either. If anything, it grew harder. Especially as the Ministry force started fighting back, and his beasts were finding it harder and harder to find targets.
Eventually, he was barely in control. So he ended it, ignoring the growls and roars as he killed the fiendfyre.
As the spell died and his mind was available again, he registered the screams and explosions, the curses and shouts.
He stood there for a few moments, breathing heavily, his glasses almost sliding off of his nose, his wand slick in his hand.
All his muscles hurt.
He'd never held fiendfyre for that long, never.
But it had been so worth it.
There were barely any living forms left on the field. Not that he could see so well. Sweat had run into his eyes, making them burn. He couldn't keep them open for more than a second or two before he had to hurriedly shut them again.
"You all right?" Daphne shouted, making herself heard over the echoes of explosions.
"Yeah" He wheezed, "it just-takes a lot out of me. How're we doing?"
"Great! None of them have even come close! They ran back the other way when they saw the fiendfyre and the earthquakes"
"And-and what's going on now?"
The loud bangs and shouts were starting to die down, coming less frequently. From the distance, he could hear cheering.
"We've-we've won. Come. Let's go home"
He stood up straight, wiping his eyes clear.
He ran his gaze over the battlefield, smiling.
Barely any movement from the Ministry's force, now. He could see a few stragglers, still casting and screaming frantically.
But the Death Eaters' main force was drawing down on them, and shortly, it'd all be over.
"WE WON! WE FUCKING WON!"
And all his troops cheered along with him.
"C'mon. Let's get to the apparition point and get the fuck out of here"
"You have done well, Harry. I see my choice in placing you as a leader was not a mistake"
"Thank you, my lord. In truth, though, it was the main force that did most of the work. We barely even had to deal with any of them"
Voldemort smiled, shaking his head slowly. "Nevertheless, had you not been there, many more of them would have escaped. As it is, the Ministry's force has been decimated. And finally, it is within our grasp"
Harry waited expectantly.
"Many of the goblins are still at large. And even the non-warrior goblins are dangerous. But a large number of their troops have been dealt with. And they have proven exceptionally weak to Dementors. In another few days" the Dark Lord said, "we are going to take the Ministry. And with it, all of Europe, except Scotland and the Goblins' land, will be ours. And after that, the rest of the world will fall. Soon, Harry. Soon, we shall rule"
AS ALWAYS: REVIEW, REVIEW, REVIEW.
PROBABLY GONNA BE ANOTHER WEEK OR EVEN TWO TILL I UPDATE. HAVE A TONKS-CENTRIC ONE-SHOT TO SWEETEN THE DEAL.