Attention all readers. This is indeed the final chapter of Blast from the Past. Whether you've been following this since I started writing, picked it up somewhere in the middle, or just finished reading it all in one sitting, I thank you. Whether you've reviewed nearly every chapter, reviewed just a few, or not reviewed at all, I'm very glad you've read it. I've had over 25,000 hits on this fic and it thrills me to no end.
I can't help but notice that I posted my first chapter on April 30th, exactly seven months ago today. It's been my first fanfic, my first slash and the longest thing I've ever written. I know, without a doubt, that it would never have been finished without your interest. I also know that without my beta, Azhure, it would have royally sucked at times. She's given more to this than she can possibly imagine.
I must give credit where credit is due. Azhure actually wrote chunks of this chapter, making it exponentially better than it was before. She somehow knew exactly what I was searching for and recognized the missing element that I couldn't seem to put my finger on. This is the result. I literally couldn't have done it without her.
Azhure – you're the best. Words can't describe…
I do have a sequel planned, and hope to have the first chapter posted by the end of the year. I hope you'll all stay tuned for that.
Sooooo, without further delay, I offer you…
"The Final Countdown"
For the next forty-eight hours or so, the two Potters and the two Malfoys spent their time training, sleeping and eating. Harry and Draco continued to feel the emotional let-down after their major power surges, but the sense of urgency compelled them to continue with the training.
Experiments had shown that when the four of them worked together, they could exert even more control and withstand the surge longer. They practiced hexing each other and blocking those hexes. Even James and Lucius were able to handle a simple wandless protection shield. Dumbledore had explained that they were all capable of wandless magic to varying degrees. It was in their blood; they'd just never thought to develop it before.
"You all have a very powerful heritage," Dumbledore had said. He was trying to explain the leanings of power to the four teens. They had asked why the scales of power showed Harry going dark. "My belief is that the blood of your ancestors gives James and Lucius their power. As for you," he turned his attention toward Harry and Draco, "I think you're stronger because of the bond between you. The junctum aeternus is known to increase the power of those involved, as we've already seen. It doesn't simply add your powers together; it's more like a multiplication of them. As to the intent that influences your power, and the reason it was foreseen that Harry would become a dark wizard, I think it's visible in your lives. Due to your pasts and the obstacles you've both faced, there are tendencies for dark intent. It's simply the love within you both; specifically the love you have for each other, that keeps you on the right side. That kind of love is pure, and purity like that cannot bring dark intent."
The next activity for the boys to practice was aura sensing and merging. It was a very direct merge, more controlled than their previous experiments, and closely related to the aura sensing that Hermione had been practicing.
They stood facing each other and listened to the Headmaster's calming tone as he gave the simple instructions.
"Close your eyes for a moment and consciously feel your own energy, the spiritual, intangible aspect of your being," he paused a moment. "Now with a conscious thought, hold your hands up to face each other and reach toward one another until you feel the energy that faces you."
Those observing were awed by the strength and steadiness of the glowing auras that surrounded both boys once they focused on their energy. Harry's was a deep aquamarine color, while Draco's was a paler sky blue color. As they reached out, those auras reached with them, tentatively, almost like a cat sniffing out a new creature before determining if it's safe.
"Once you have reached slightly into one another's auras, play with that energy. Move your hands around, swirling the energy as you go, blending the auras together. You can open your eyes and watch the results if you'd like, or just make eye contact, which will likely strengthen the connection."
They did open their eyes, and looked deeply into the eyes facing them. As they moved their hands around, the others in the room could visibly see the swirls of aqua and sky blue as they twirled, reached, moved and tangled together. Harry and Draco both had small, satisfied smiles as they stood there, gazing in wonder into each others eyes and deeply experiencing the interaction between their auras.
By unspoken agreement, they both stopped, moving their hands back to chest level and allowing their auras a few moments to disengage and settle. Once it was over, they both felt re-energized and immediately moved toward each other to embrace in that odd afterglow-type feeling.
The training and experimentation brought about results directly from the boys' imaginations. Anything they could dream up, they could usually make it happen.
Finally, training had reached a point that left them wondering what to do next. Snape billowed into the room, drawing silent attention to his presence. Lucius, especially, seemed absolutely mesmerized by this proximity to the Potions Master. James saw the look and felt sorry for his friend. Lucius had confided to James about the kiss, but there'd been no opportunity since then to approach Severus.
"It would seem that there is a need for more practice."
Harry looked at Snape, trying to determine whether the Potions Master was being facetious. "You don't think we've been practicing enough?" His voice gave away the incredulity he felt at this accusation.
"On the contrary," Severus said. Harry looked closely, wondering if that expression could be correctly interpreted as a smile. "I simply believe it's time that there were a more realistic run-through of battle conduct."
"What exactly are you suggesting?"
That almost-smile expression quickly changed to a devious smirk and Harry immediately understood the suggestion being made. He threw up a shield before the professor could even reach for his wand, but was nevertheless impressed by the strength behind the caecit repentinus curse, the sudden blindness curse they had created three days ago. Harry's vision blurred slightly, but he was able to shake it off and increase the strength behind his shield.
Lucius, Draco and James took action and quickly put up their own shields, wands at the ready, in preparation for whatever Snape was about to throw at them. Curses and hexes flying, Snape did try to steer clear of anything that would cause permanent harm. He used various immobilizing spells, bindings, blindness, silencing spells, and even minor controlling and pain-inducing curses. After their shields were proven effective in most cases, he decided to try the Imperius Curse. He cast it on Harry first.
Harry recognized the carefree, floating sensation he had first felt in his fourth year. He welcomed the relaxing happiness until he heard Snape's voice in his head: take off your shoes…take off your shoes…
No,thought Harry. I won't do it. He realized that Snape hadn't been around when Crouch/Moody placed the Imperius Curse on the entire fourth year class, teaching them how to resist it.
"Very well," Snape said, turning towards the others. He looked at Draco. "Imperio!"
The run-through continued with Snape testing the Imperius Curse on each of them. Draco could fight the effects of the curse for a few moments, but the only long term resistance came when he drew on the bond between him and Harry. James and Lucius had little success with full resistance, but were at least able to fight internally. They could only hope that would offer enough time to make a difference.
No one was prepared for Snape's next action. He turned back to Harry, paused for the smallest of moments, raised his wand and spoke. "Crucio!"
Gasps of surprise came from everyone else in the room, and there was an instantaneous sense of everyone bracing themselves for the screams that would follow. But those screams never came. In fact, Harry didn't make a sound. He had raised his hand toward Snape and was amazed to find that the curse wasn't affecting him. He could feel the power of the Cruciatus hovering around him, tingling on his skin as it tried to get inside and trigger the torturous pain it was meant for. Somehow, though, he was effortlessly holding it at bay.
Snape lowered his wand and looked at Harry with something akin to awe. "Well done, boy. You've become more powerful than you know." And with that, he left the room.
The boys were meeting with Dumbledore and McGonagall, reviewing all the training they had put themselves through and discussing possible options for killing Voldemort. Their heads snapped up as Snape entered the room.
"Albus, I believe I may have worked out a potion to aid them in their mission."
"Oh?" The headmaster looked very pleased at this news. "What would be the effects of it?"
"If done properly, it will temporarily remove all magical aspects from the Dark Lord, leaving him in a simply human form and as powerless as a Muggle. This should be a sufficient window for a well-placed killing curse to finish him off."
The silence was palpable. Finally – as the only person there whose potions knowledge could ever compare to Snape's, Lucius broke the silence. "What are the problems with it?"
"Well, for one thing, we have no way to do a test run. The potion will have to be somehow designed to specifically affect Voldemort. Also, we'll need to develop a way to turn it into a gas. We can't rely on getting him to drink it, but if we break a phial and he's forced to breath a mist of it, it just might work," he paused, considering Lucius momentarily. "I'd like you to work with me, if you would. I have asked Granger and Weasley to develop the incantation to go with it."
Hermione, Ron and James were reaching the breaking point of their concentration. They'd been working on this project for hours, combining incantations and charms work, along with heavy doses of magical theory. Even Hermione was about to give up for the time being, when Ron's exceptional strategy skills kicked in.
"Oi! All we need is to direct it to him, right? Listen to this. 'Any potion can be directed toward a specific focus with personalized incantations and three drops of blood from four people connected directly to the focus.'" Ron put the book down and looked up, obviously satisfied with his discovery. He was somewhat surprised, then, to realize that Hermione and James didn't see the significance in that passage.
"All we need is four people connected to Voldemort to write a personal incantation directing the potion to do its job. Then they say the incantation while they add their blood to the potion and it's ready!"
"And how do you think we're going to find four people connected to him that are willing to do this?" James' tone indicated that he was barely paying attention as he continued to study the magical theory text in front of him.
"We've already got them," Ron responded confidently.
"Who?" Hermione thought she was beginning to understand. She also knew that she had vastly underestimated Ron.
"Harry, James, Draco and Lucius."
James looked up, shocked. "Me?"
"Yes, you," Ron chuckled a bit. "You are related to him because you're a victim. I know it hasn't happened yet in your lifetime, but in his you are already connected. Harry is connected, almost like a relative because of the power shift when he deflected the killing curse. Lucius is connected because of the dark mark and therefore, Draco is connected through Lucius and Harry."
Hermione's eyes lit up with understanding. "Because of his love for Harry and his father, and Voldemort's destructive plans for them both, Draco has become his enemy – personal reasons, so it's a personal connection. Ron, you're brilliant!"
They ran directly to the dungeons, anxious to share this discovery with Snape and Lucius, who would need to implement it into their work. None of them were prepared for what they found there. James was first, barging through the door of the potions classroom, straight through into the private laboratory that Severus saved for his personal work. He had already opened his mouth and said "We've done it!" before realizing that Severus was backed up against the wall, his mouth being thoroughly explored by Lucius. At the sound, Lucius pulled back to see who had interrupted.
Severus took advantage of the moment and collected his thoughts, the slightly dazed look in his eyes disappearing almost immediately. "I've told you, young Malfoy, that this behavior is unacceptable," he muttered, just loud enough for Lucius to hear him. James stood by, watching the interaction, judging the looks that flashed between the two men, knowing that the Potions Master hadn't meant a single word.
"Err, um, yeah. Sorry to interrupt, but we have some great news."
Lucius flashed a look of pure mortification, glaring at James for his audacity in bringing attention to the situation. Snape simply cleared his throat and straightened his robes a bit, then turned to the recent arrivals.
"What, Mr. Potter, have you discovered?"
James and Hermione deferred to Ron, allowing him to fully explain his theory.
So there they were, James, Harry, Lucius and Draco. The four of them formed the inner circle around the cauldron in preparation for the most important potion they would ever make. Surrounding them were Severus – intent on overseeing the process, Ron and Hermione – prepared to chant the detailed incantations that would accompany the preparations, Professor McGonagall and the Headmaster – simply because they were the ones in charge. The only sounds in the laboratory while the basis of the potion was being made were the quiet requests to chop this ingredient or strain that one and the muttered chants defining the purpose of the mist.
Finally it was ready. It was time to make it personal. Harry stepped up to the cauldron, picked up the potions knife and cut a small slice in each palm. He passed the knife to his left, where Draco stood, and held both hands over the cauldron, allowing the blood to drip into the potion.
"Powers of one, shared by two,
reflective convergence, no one knew,
prophecy states that neither shall live,
blood of the kin, I freely give."
Draco followed Harry's lead, slicing his palms in the same manner before passing the knife to James. As his blood dripped into the cauldron, he spoke clearly and with conviction.
"Robbed of love and raised to judge,
always taught to hold a grudge,
true love does an enemy make,
I give my blood for freedom's sake."
Draco offered a poignant look to both Lucius and Harry as James reached for the knife. Once he had followed protocol and added his blood to the potion he spoke his portion of the incantation.
"Orphaned child by cursed death,
family gone with single breath,
revenge for both myself and wife,
victim's blood will take a life."
There was a slight pause as the four of them looked at each other. Harry and Draco both felt the sharp reminders that their time with their fathers was growing short. James and Lucius were lost in their own thoughts of fatherhood, love and all that they had learned about what their future's would take from them. As the four of them breathed a collective sigh, Lucius gripped the knife and made the cuts on each palm.
"Evil found within my mate,
curses and habit develop hate,
purity found in love and son,
with servant's blood the battle's won."
After Lucius' words, the four of them joined hands, pressing their still bleeding wounds together, and focused their magic directly into the potion, infusing it with the intent from their very souls.
It was mere minutes later that their cuts had been healed, the potion had been bottled and the entire group was ready to leave the laboratory. They knew the battle was not far away now.
Harry and Draco were enjoying a quiet evening in the Astronomy tower, staring at the stars and wondering at the vastness of the universe.
"It's hard to believe one little person like Tom Riddle can cause so much trouble in a world this large."
"I know," Harry said as he scooted closer to Draco, wrapping his arms around the blonde from behind.
Draco sighed as he leaned into the embrace, relishing the warmth and safety he felt in simply knowing that he and Harry belonged to each other and would be together for eternity. "I love you."
"I love you, too." Harry smiled against the back of Draco's neck, breathing in the scent that he recognized as uniquely Draco. It was a mixture of his soap and shampoo and something he couldn't quite pinpoint. He flicked out his tongue, tasting the skin in the curve where Draco's neck and shoulder met. He had hoped a taste of it would help him identify the other aspect of that scent, but all it did was leave him wanting to taste more.
Draco turned slightly, catching Harry's eyes. "How do you feel about this? I mean, in just a few hours we'll leave Hogwarts and voluntarily walk into the most intense conflict of our lives."
"I feel anxious, but I trust what we've all done. We'll succeed. I don't have any doubts about that. In fact, I 'saw' it, him, I mean. I 'saw' him go down, surrounded by the same green light that killed my parents. It will all be over soon, Dray."
"Then we live," Harry said simply, as if it were the most obvious answer in the world. "We'll finally be able to just be happy."
"Do you think you will be?"
Harry paused a moment, wondering how Dray could even come up with such a question. Of course he would be happy when Voldemort was gone. What person in their right mind wouldn't be? As Harry gazed into those crystal blue eyes, he felt Draco opening up to him, mentally inviting Harry to see and understand his fears.
"You're afraid that I'll be restless and bored without a purpose?" The idea was so foreign, yet it made a great deal of sense when Harry thought about it. For the past six and a half years, he'd had a purpose. It would be strange to simply go through his days without worrying for his life or the safety of his loved ones, without researching and studying and training and plotting in the hopes of someday defeating a powerful dark wizard. The prospect of facing such an alien lifestyle did make Harry feel a little apprehensive, until he remembered that he would be facing it with Draco. The nervousness disappeared right away, allowing him to feel the calming sense of oneness that existed between him and Draco.
"I'll be fine as long as you're with me," Harry finally said. "This bond between us, I feel like I'm truly alive for the first time. I don't know how I survived without knowing you for eleven years. Even when we hated each other, you were there, a focal point in my world. And now that I understand that, and I've completely experienced it, it's like your soul, your essence, got twisted and tangled with mine and now I would be broken without you."
"Well, thank Merlin that's something we don't have to worry about. I couldn't leave you if I wanted to and if you ever get the notion to leave me I'll have to tie you to the bed or something." Draco grinned as his words caught up with him and he got a mental picture of Harry tied to the bed. Little did he know that Harry was still tapped into his thoughts and emotions and knew precisely what Draco was thinking of as well as the affects of that image on his libido.
Harry leaned in for a kiss, looking forward to the time when Voldemort would be gone and he could focus on spending hours exploring Draco's body. He gasped slightly as he felt the feather-light touch of Draco's hand on his waist and the familiar surge of excitement that occurred whenever they were together.
Severus was sitting in his office, making notes on the potion and the various incantations that had gone with it. He took particular interest in Lucius' part.
"Evil found within my mate," had to refer to Narcissa. Severus had always believed that Narcissa was largely responsible for Lucius' actions over the years. "Curses and habit develop hate," – Well, this would certainly make sense. If the hatred Lucius displayed was a result of habit, born from years of being controlled by the Blacks, then perhaps the kind Lucius he'd loved as a teen wasn't a figment of his imagination after all. "Purity found in love and son, with servant's blood the battle's won." That last bit was obvious. Lucius, as a future servant of Voldemort, was giving his blood to complete the potion and defeat the Dark Lord. Severus recognized that a nexus had formed between Draco and Lucius in the days they'd worked together. He was pleased, for Draco's sake, that this younger version of Lucius could open himself up to fatherhood in a manner of speaking. Severus found himself dwelling on the word 'love' in that incantation, though. He presumed it was in reference to the love of a father and son, but had to admit on some level that he wished it spoke of the feelings between himself and the blond.
The Potions Master looked up from his journal and was startled to see the object of his musings standing in the doorway of the office.
"I need… I mean, could you… I'm sorry to bother you, but could you spare a few moments? I would really appreciate it."
Severus wondered at the obvious uneasiness Lucius felt in asking for some time. He nodded, mentally telling himself to reign in the snarky attitude he tended to reserve for class-time.
"I just wanted to know if there was ever a chance for us? Back in school, when we were both teenagers, did you feel anything for me? Anything at all?"
"Lucius, I'm sure you know that we were the best of friends." He had to stay calm. It would do no good to reveal his feelings, that chance was gone and chasing after an illusion of it would only hurt more.
"Yes, of course we were friends. I need to know if we could have been lovers. Were you ever attracted to me? Sexually, romantically? Anything, Sev, lust, infatuation, attraction, curiosity…" he trailed off for a moment, then ever so quietly added, "love".
"Why do you ask, Mr. Malfoy? You won't remember this conversation once the memory spell has been performed on you."
"I know, but I just…I don't know if I can face tomorrow without knowing how you felt, or how you feel now. Something. I need to know that I haven't been imagining this connection between us."
Severus swallowed around the newly formed lump in his throat and took a deep breath. "No, Lucius. You haven't imagined it. Not then, and not now. But as it's something that your older self was forced to ignore and then seemed to forget, there's no need to discuss it further." Even as Severus spoke these words, another new memory seemed to insinuate itself into his mind. A group of memories, actually, of a short lived affair leading up to the marriage of Lucius and Narcissa. A promise that he was loved. Sorrowful sacrifice in the name of true love. Shaking his head momentarily, he looked up at Lucius. Severus could almost see the wheels of planning as they turned in his mind. It was on the tip of his tongue to ask Lucius if there was some plan to keep his memory.
Before he could form the question, Lucius was advancing on him. "Well, since I won't remember this, and it appears I won't take advantage of it in my own time, I suppose I'll have to make a move now." With those words, Severus once again found himself in the arms of his lifetime love. It wasn't that Severus had ever considered Lucius to be his one true love (though Dumbledore appeared to think so), or that he had denied himself any sexual relations in the hopes of 'saving himself' for Lucius. There was just something between them, even when they were pre-pubescent first years. It was something that couldn't be identified or categorized, something that would grow with them, yet lie dormant if never acted upon.
Severus lost this train of thought as he momentarily gave himself over to the kiss. He relished the softness of Lucius' lips, the moist tongue that battled with his own, the firm grip of the arm that was wrapped around his waist, pulling him closer, deeper into the embrace. He treasured the soft, reverent manner of the gentle fingers stroking his jawbone, the crystal blue eyes that looked deeply into his own dark ones before closing and approaching for another kiss. When he felt the surge of power, that current that shot between them at times, it startled him. He knew what it was, of course. No self respecting fully grown wizard (especially one as educated as he,) could be unaware of the details of the junctum aeternus. Severus, however, was intent to fight it. He knew that if the bond was not given the chance to complete itself, then he would be able to go on with his life even after Lucius went back to his own time.
"No." He couldn't bear to look Lucius in the eye this time, not when he knew the pain he would find there. "I'm sorry, but I can't do this." Without another word, Severus left the office and headed straight for his quarters, hoping Lucius wouldn't try to follow him.
James wandered from the Room of Requirement to the unused lounge where they'd met earlier in the week. He traipsed through the castle to Gryffindor tower, grateful that the other students were home for the holidays. He strolled out toward the Quidditch pitch, keeping his eye open for a broom in the air. Finally, he mentally smacked himself to not thinking of this sooner, pulled out his wand and did the locator spell that he and Harry had created yesterday. Following the pale purple trail, James went through various corridors, past Sir Cadogan, up many moving staircases, and eventually recognized the path as leading to the Astronomy Tower.
It occurred to him on some level that Harry might be up there in search of some time alone, but James felt that these last few hours were too precious to pass up. He fully expected to be obliviated and sent back as soon as the battle was over. There were things he wanted to say to Harry now, while he still had the memories and the opportunity.
He rounded the corner and walked into the room where the purple trail ended, only to stop short at the sight of his son – future son, but still, his son – and Draco Malfoy. They were locked in a heated embrace, obvious somewhat titillated by the attentions they'd been giving to one another, and both quickly nearing a state of half-undress. He cleared his throat, not so much to get their attention as for lack of any other ideas. He realized belatedly that it would have been less embarrassing for all those involved if he had simply retreated before they noticed him. He could have pretended he never saw it, and by tomorrow, he wouldn't even know otherwise.
Harry and Draco looked up, their lips slightly fuller than usual and glistening from the passionate kisses, their eyes glowing with a combination of passion and the magical effects of their bond. Both robes were on the floor, both shirts unbuttoned. Draco noticed a faint purple tinge on Harry's shoulder, evidence of the biting that Harry loved so much.
"Dad" Harry was somewhere between embarrassed and frustrated, but hid both feelings rather well.
"Er, sorry. I can come back later." James turned quickly.
"No, that's okay." Draco understood why James was here. It was the same reason Lucius had tracked him down less than an hour ago. It was a chance to express all the things they feared their sons would never hear from them. "Come on over, have a seat," Draco gestured to an armchair nearby and then reached for the buttons on his shirt, determined not to freeze if they were going to be having a chat.
James approached the chair slowly, fingering the memsphere secreted in his pocket. He and Lucius had created the small sphere that resembled a remembrall. They were modeled after the traditional pensieve, in the hopes that they could store the memories of what they'd learned here and that they would somehow activate them later on to bring back the memories Dumbledore would take away.
He sat, looking at the now-dressed boys sharing the chair across from him. "I just wanted to say a few things, you know, while I still remember what's happened." Harry nodded solemnly, offering James more confidence to continue. "I don't think I've ever had the chance to know people so quickly. In the week that I've been here, I feel like I know you both as well as I know Padfoot and Moony at home." They both smiled at him, nodding to indicate that they understood and that they recognized it too.
"Harry, I can't begin to tell you how proud I am to be your father. I've always wanted kids but I never imagined the intensity of emotion I would feel. You've obviously grown into a wonderful young man, with a great heart and loyal friends. You've got your head and your heart in the right place and I'm glad of that." He looked from Harry to Draco and back again. "You know, it's good to see the love between you two. You should know, Harry, that your mother and I have that kind of love, too. Oh, we're not bonded, at least not yet, but I wouldn't be much surprised if it happens in the future. Don't kid yourselves. The junctum aeternus is pretty rare, which just means that you have an exceptionally special love. Add that to your individual heritages and your unprecedented levels of power, you'll be a formidable team. I feel sorry for the wizard that goes against either of you."
"Dad, aren't you exaggerating just a bit?" Harry couldn't help the immediate modesty that seemed to attack when he was under such intense scrutiny and praise. "We're just a bit above average." Even Harry knew that was an understatement, but there seemed to be a silent understanding that he would prefer not to be placed on a pedestal, especially by James.
James just smiled. "That bond is more than a bit above average, though. It's special. Your love is pure. It shows the good that's ingrained in your souls. But it's more than that. You're both great people. You're the type of guys that would be my best mates if we attended school together. I can see Moony and Padfoot taking to you quickly. Wormtail is a little different, but I'm sure he'd come around." He couldn't help but notice the sudden tension at the mention of Wormtail. He filed that away to consider with Harry's earlier comments. He was certain that he could work out the details with just a little time.
"Thanks, James," Draco leaned over to clap James on the shoulder, hoping to give Harry a moment to collect himself. He could sense the emotion triggered by that statement.
"Dad, you can't imagine how much this means to me. After all the shit I've dealt with in my life, it's nice to have some really clear positive memories, especially involving you. I'll cherish them forever."
The small group who had optimistically nick-named themselves "The Victors" stood quietly in the Room Of Requirement, reflecting over all that had occurred in the week since James and Lucius had first appeared. They had learned more about each other, and more about magic, than they had ever thought would be possible in such a short time. Having perfected a number of hexes, curses and even so-called 'Dark' curses, as well as creating many new ones, the four primary members felt they were ready to enter this battle. They had a strong, offensive strategy and many tricks and skills that the Death Eaters would not be aware of. Most of all – they had the potion.
James was doing his best to not be embarrassed about having walked in on Harry and Draco. It was bad enough that he's walked in on Severus and Lucius the day before. Of course, how was he to know any of them would have been in the midst of a make-out session? He glanced at Harry and was both surprised and saddened at the emotion he saw there. Harry was obviously trying his best not to worry, but seemed to be torn between gazing at James, the father he'd never known, and drinking in the site of Draco, as if it were his last chance to see him.
No one seemed to realize how long they'd all been standing there until Severus finally broke the silence.
"I don't believe there is any reason for such doomful dispositions. I have every confidence that the potion will work and I've seen the strength and accuracy with which Mr. Potter can cast a spell these days. I hope none of you will find it too far out of character for me to say that I think in calling ourselves 'The Victors' we have been aptly named."
"Yes, yes, thank you Severus," Dumbledore said before turning to Harry. "Now then, my dear boy, it must be getting to be about that time, don't you think?"
"Yes, sir. I expect he'll be waiting for me."
"Potion vials at the ready?"
"Yes" came from the four of them as they all held the vials up for their headmaster to see.
Each of the boys and Severus held out various little inconspicuous items which were keyed directly to the infirmary. They were to be used as a means of escape if necessary, but would also provide a quick way home once all was said and done.
"Albus" Severus interrupted any further questioning. "He's calling, it's time." The grimace on his face drove both sympathy and fear into Lucius' heart.
I'll be dealing with that one day, that total loss of control, forced submission, pain inflicted by a madman,he thought. But right now I just wish I could take the pain away from him.
With quick goodbyes, mostly unsuccessful attempts to hide their fears and emotions and repeated statements of 'good luck' and 'we have faith in you', the five 'victors' headed out to the gates so they could Apparate to Riddle House.
When asked about the specific events of the battle, it would be nearly impossible for any of them to recount it all in detail. There were, however, some details that were irrefutable.
Moments after arriving, Harry faced off against Voldemort and was immediately asked if he was prepared to prove his loyalty. Harry, thanks to the love and acceptance of his father (and subsequently, his friends), was in a much better state of mind than during his previous visit and therefore had to rely on his acting skills to convince the Dark Lord that he would still be useful. He decided that cleverly worded responses would be the best way to handle this.
Confident that Draco, James and Lucius were well hidden for the moment, he focused on the immediate task at hand. "I have spent a great deal of time training, My Lord. I have practiced the Unforgivables as well as a number of other curses that I believe could be extremely useful in achieving your goals, My Lord."
Across the room, shrouded by his Death Eater robe and mask, Severus was highly impressed with the confidence behind Harry's words and the strength of his focus. It had been decided that Snape would be available to help boost his mental shields and assist his Occlumency if needed, but Harry's power had grown beyond that. Drawing his attention back to the meeting, Snape realized that Harry had been performing another demonstration for Voldemort and the Death Eaters in the circle.
Nott is writhing on the floor, his faced contorted in silent screams.Severus thought. I can only imagine that Potter cast Cruciatus and a silencing charm together. I can't help but feel some level of gratitude in seeing that Potter has used the Cruciatus on Nott rather than Lucius. It's difficult, considering the past week of dealing with a younger Lucius, to see the Lucius of my time being subjected to Harry's demonstration in any way. Despite the fact that it's nothing painful, I can tell by the discarded robes and the odd way in which Lucius is shaking his arse that Potter has cast Imperius on him and is getting some silent joy from the resulting humiliation. I can see the flicker in those green eyes as he faces McNair, and moments later I recognize the cloudiness in McNair's eyes that represents the newly created blindness spell. Aside from the Cruciatus Curse, Potter seems to be sticking with those curses we used in training – only ones that will not cause real harm. I would take this to mean he isn't truly dark – there is too much good in him for the dark intent to come out, just as his friend Weasley observed. Ahh, finally, it seems that Voldemort has seen enough.
"Well done, Harry." The gravelly voice of the Dark Lord did little to hide his pleasure at this display of power. "I will, of course, require further tests before determining that you are worthy of my mark."
Harry bowed his head, pleased at the perfect opening handed to him. He'd been wondering when he could use the signal that would bring the others out of hiding. "Of course, My Lord. I know that one test would be to ensure that I am actually capable of using the killing curse. I ask your indulgence, if I may," Harry paused, glancing up to see the snake-like eyes watching him in interest. "I realize this may be presumptuous, but I would very much like to call in a debt from one of your followers."
"You must be referring to Pettigrew. He's been one of my most loyal followers, the only one who remained loyal enough to seek me out and aid me in regaining my body."
Hidden in the shadows, James forced himself to keep back a gasp at the mention of Pettigrew. Suddenly, all Harry's comments made sense. He had seen Peter during the Death Eater meeting. "Rodents are vermin" had to refer to Peter's traitor status. The tension at the mention of his name made it obvious that there was conflict. Most likely, when Peter joined the Death Eaters it somehow affected the other Marauders. He reached for the memsphere in his pocket, wishing there were some way to put this memory into it. He couldn't do it without drawing attention to himself, so he had to settle for hoping he would make the connection again when the memsphere was activated.
"Yes, My Lord. But had I not saved his life, he would never have had the chance to aid you."
Severus silently blanched at the pure audacity of the boy, defying Voldemort in such a manner. He was quite surprised when Voldemort nodded his head slightly in agreement. "Wormtail."
The other Death Eaters were shocked by this as well, and there was a bit of a scuffle as Wormtail moved toward the Boy-Who-Lived. For just a moment, no one noticed the other three seventeen-year-old boys as they moved out of hiding. Just as Wormtail reached Harry, Avery glanced at the unknown figures moving out of the shadows.
"My Lord!" Voldemort turned toward Avery. "Intruders!" Before anyone could think again, the four teens had erected their joint shield and Avery had stepped forward and pointed his wand toward the young Lucius.
Without wasting a second, Snape lunged towards the teens. As time seemed to slow down, there was a moment of recognition among the occupants of the room that the killing curse seemed to pause at an invisible barrier. After only a few moments, though, it did continue on its course toward the seventeen-year-old Lucius Malfoy. Draco looked on in horror, not even having enough time to wonder if he would cease to exist. Lucius, however, saw nothing but the love in Severus' eyes as the Potions Master stepped between him and the green light of the killing curse. Having struck a target, the curse was depleted. As Severus fell, however, there was a surge of power through the room, connecting Severus to both the older and younger versions of Lucius.
The elder Malfoy looked up, blue eyes stricken with grief and confusion. He had no explanation for the sudden connection he felt with Severus. He knew, deep in his soul and without doubt, that he and Sev were deeply in love and their souls were intertwined in an eternal sense, but he was extremely confused by suddenly having two sets of memories in his mind. He locked eyes with his younger self, attempting to sort out the current events and the surge of sorrow that was threatening to make him collapse.
Young Lucius fought back tears as he felt James grab his hand in a gesture of comfort. They all knew and understood what had just happened; since they'd seen the evidence of junctum aeternus in Harry and Draco, it was easy to recognize that Severus had just completed that bond between himself and Lucius by giving his life in love. The four teens shared a few glances, and simultaneously raised their glass vials of potion. Voldemort and his Death Eaters were a bit slow to react, and therefore could do nothing before the vials were shattered and the potion's mist was engulfing them all. There seemed to be no effect. Nothing, not even a cough from those who inhaled it. Of course, they were only concerned with Voldemort's reaction, but even he exhibited no change.
Nevertheless, Harry had to try. He raised his wand, connected his aura with Draco and then with Lucius and James, and surprisingly felt the older Lucius offering his strength to the power surge as well. Gathering his resolve and thinking of all the loved ones who had died at the hands of this man, he found the intent he needed and spoke the words he'd never spoken to a human being.
And it was as simple as that. The green light shot from his wand, the rushing sound of death flew throughout the room, the light hit Voldemort and he went down. Harry couldn't help but think, despite his joy that it was over, that it seemed a bit anticlimactic. He was much more sorrowful over Snape's death than he would have expected to be. It was this line of thinking that delayed his planned binding of all the Death Eaters.
Unfortunately, since he didn't bind them, a couple of them decided to make a break for it. McNair and Goyle were running through the door and just as Harry moved to stop them, Bellatrix LeStrange raised her wand and shouted his name. As he turned toward her, he saw both Lucius' – one on either side of him – struggling with tears. He saw his father trying to comfort the younger Lucius and keep him inside their shield. He saw Draco; recognized the look of satisfaction on his face that could have only come from the death of the Dark Lord. And he saw Bellatrix. The one who had tortured Neville's parents and later tortured Neville himself. The one who had killed Sirius when she cursed him through the veil. He saw her lips move, but she didn't make a sound. He saw the green light from her wand and watched in horror as it lit up the area, momentarily delayed by the shield. Draco, his back to Bellatrix, knew nothing of the curse as he walked towards Harry with a smile on his face.
"Harry, your eyes are so green they're lighting up the room with it!" The curse hit him in the back then, and though the smile was still on his face as he fell, the light had gone from his blue eyes. Harry felt his chest being ripped open and his heart pulled through the gaping hole. He felt his soul sliding out, attached to his heart. He knew he couldn't go on. Not without Draco. Not without his soul.
James watched this in horror and felt a surge of anguish for his young son who'd already suffered so much loss. He began to feel strange pulses of magical energy shooting past him and finally realized that they were coming from Harry.
"Voco Alecto, Tisiphone, Megaera – ipse odium, aspiro, possido!"
The Death Eaters seemed frozen, unable to react, and it took both James and Lucius a few moments to translate the Latin. Lucius finally realized it and looked at James in horror. They seemed to have the same thought – Gods help us, he's invoked the Furies to possess him!
Despite the fact that Harry hadn't moved, he was casting wandless curses on the remaining Death Eaters and seemed to have placed an invisible block on the door so none of them could leave.
James glanced around the room in shock and revulsion, Good Godric, what's happening? He watched in detached fascination as both the LeStranges seem to be suffering from a slow working severing charm. It was more than a little disconcerting to see an invisible force taking slices from their arms and legs, one after another. They had both fallen to the floor; Bellatrix's limbs were half gone; while Rodolphus has just lost his hands and feet. That's grotesque. I've never seen anything like it. I wouldn't have thought Harry could be capable of such dark intent, even in grief. Sweet Merlin Harry, what have you become? James felt the bile rising as he tried to look away.
Harry's eyes darkened until they were nearly black with just a hint of a green outline as he flicked his gaze around the room, exacting his revenge on everyone present. Wormtail had been placed in a body bind and was being forced to watch everyone else. His eyes had been hexed open; the moisture leaking a combination of tears and a lack of blinking. He looked over at the young James, a pleading look sent to the young Marauder. James' eye held no sympathy for this monster, his former friend.
Crabbe was slowly being consumed by meticulously directed magical flames. Nott was being magically kept alive while a dull knife slowly carved out his heart. Avery seemed to have either lost his skin or been turned inside out. Parkinson was bleeding from his eyes and seemed to have fire ants crawling under his skin. Finally, Harry released Wormtail from the body bind, only to slice off the silver hand, cut along his elbow, stab him in the back and place him under the Cruciatus Curse. After making sure he had dealt with each and every Death Eater in the room, Harry magically levitated them, lining them all up along one wall and about four feet from the floor, then he started shooting the killing curse at them, one at a time. He paused for the briefest of moments when he reached Malfoy, considering the younger Malfoy and what he had come to mean to Draco.
Lucius watched in the same detached fascination as James. He was still feeling the grief from the loss of his son, and his one love; he could sympathize with Harry, but was still stunned with the veracity of Harry's hatred and despair.
It was upon noticing Harry's considering look toward the elder Malfoy, that both James and Lucius finally broke out of their stupor and moved to stop Harry in his grief and rage. Before they could act, they felt the odd disorientation and ethereal sensation that meant the potion was moving them through time again.
The last thing Lucius saw in that future was a bolt of green that left Harry's fingers and crossed the room. He didn't need to see the end result to know that it had been aimed at his older self.
Before they knew it, they were alone in the potions classroom. They sat there, looking at each other in shock for a moment. Then Lucius promptly burst into tears, unable to deal with the loss of Severus and Draco in the same small time span. James simply stared, unsure of his role in this, unable to accept what his son would become. "We failed." He whispered quietly. They both looked up as the Headmaster and Professor McGonagall entered the room. They waited in silent and almost welcoming anticipation for the Obliviate spells that would take these memories away from them.
Harry felt numb. He gathered Draco's limp body in his arms and staggered through the carnage he'd wrought at the Riddle House. Something in him thought of a levitation spell, but he held Draco closely, needing the physical weight to keep him focused on what must be done. As he reached the edge of the property, Harry paused a moment, drawing on the power of the Furies and silently invoking fire energy. He allowed the power and energy time to build. A large fireball swirled in front of him, growing and burning until it was nearly five metres in diameter. That's when he let it go, directly to Riddle House.
He didn't stay to watch the destruction. Harry drew on his inner power and intuition to lead him to the nearest lake. Harry held back his pain as he mechanically went through the motions of magically conjuring a funeral pyre, placing his beloved on top of it and setting it gently on the water. He drew on that inner power again to light it on fire as it drifted languidly across the water, the serenity of the lake contrasting sharply with the tragic situation. As he watched the drifting pyre and said his silent goodbyes, he didn't even notice the tears that slipped from his eyes.
Finally, he turned and walked away from the waters edge. He paused just a moment, considering his next move. There was nothing left for him back at Hogwarts. He couldn't go back there. There was nothing he could learn, no one he could relate to, nothing he wanted to face. In fact, without Draco, it seemed there was no one who could ever understand him. And with the new powers he and Draco had developed through their bond, Harry was now the single most powerful living wizard. Rational thought had left him when the bond was shattered.
The only emotion Harry could sense was pain. Surely those who had made his life a living hell deserved to feel it too. Staring at nothing in particular, he noticed the faded scar on the back of his left hand. Umbridge. That bitch. Fudge's puppet. Yes, surely they should feel the pain too. He Apparated to the Ministry. He already had his first victims in his sights.
He could feel the power of the Furies as it coursed through his veins. He'd learned enough in History of Magic to know that the Erinnyes, or Furies, were known as the "personification of vindictiveness and retribution." That was precisely why he'd called on them. Harry knew he could look forward to dealing out a great measure of vengeance so long as the spirits of the Furies were infused with his own. Hell, he mused, perhaps I'll become a god myself – the god of vengeance and pure evil, DeMalus. He grinned malevolently at the thought. Maybe later on.
He was in and out of the Ministry before anyone knew he had been there. The Daily Prophet was next. Rita Skeeter and the other reporters never knew what hit them. That would teach them to make a mockery of him. Privet Drive was next on the list. The Dursleys needed to know just how much pain they had caused him. He took great satisfaction in relaying it back to them one hundred fold. What was left of them didn't even fit into the cupboard under the stairs. That is, if he had left the cupboard under the stairs intact. The muggles would have trouble even identifying that there had ever been a residence at number 4 Privet Drive, let alone what had happened to its residents.
He could still feel the pain at the loss of his partner, his life. He knew that he had to keep going – everyone had to pay. Hogwarts. Yes, Hogwarts. The place where Preston Bates accused him of murder, where the majority of Slytherin house ridiculed him; where the students forced him and Draco to keep their relationship secret. He would return there. Not today, but someday. Someday soon.
Dumbledore: the almighty. The feeder of lies. Harry never forgot the truth he scryed when he read the thoughts of the great manipulator. One lie after another; all fed to Harry for the greater good. What greater good?
Even his so called friend Ron turned on him at Hogwarts out of suspicion and jealousy. Hermione too. Her actions toward Draco were unforgivable. Yes, even they would have to pay someday. They would all pay. The list was ever growing. For Harry Potter was through with being the Boy-Who-Lived.
No more silly titles for him. The-Boy-Who-Killed. How lame. Harry Potter. What sort of power was in that name? No, he would now be Lord DeMalus, in preparation for the day he would become a vengeance god. Everyone would know his name, especially those who got in his way. After all – who would dare stop him? Who even had the power?
## The End
Charlotte Web:Well, in all actuality, the last page in that challenge did change a bit, but I'm sure that's not what you were hoping for. I hope you enjoyed it anyway and will return for the sequel. Thanks for reading! I'm really glad you liked it!
Luci Shadow:Wow! It still amazes me that people are so into my fic that they'll stay up reading it all night and finish 28 chapters in one sitting! I hope you've enjoyed this chapter as much as the rest of the story. Thanks so much for reading, and I'm honored that you signed in "just for me".
Siderius Cimmerii:Thank you! I tend to be a very introspective person, so I write a good bit about feelings and inner thoughts and such. I'm glad you like it.
Louise 4:I'm soooo sorry. I know you probably hate me now, but I hope you can understand that it's just the way things have to be. I'm not trying to be mean, I promise, and as for killing you if I tell you what happens, well – as this was the last chapter I suppose that's no longer necessary. Thanks for the well-wished to my brother. He seems to be doing quite well, responding to his chemo much better than his doctors expected.
OzCrow:Thanks! I hope you'll come back for the sequel!
Jen Red Robe:Oh darlin', I understand business. Trust me. Thanks for the review, hope you liked the end. I'm looking forward to more of BTTP.
Sweetslasher:Wow! What an awesome review! You actually like the story and the writing style! You like the characters! You like the dialogue! I'm so flattered I'm getting twitterpated! Hope you liked the ending as well, looking forward to more of your work!
Menecarkawan:Well, I did as you asked, Moldyfart is gone. Still jigging? Just, please, all I ask is that you have patience until the sequel starts, k?
Prophetess of Hearts:Erm, primarily because it's a fairly rare bond that the couple really has no control over. It sorta runs in bloodlines, or at least the potential for it does (hence James' musings about Lily and Lucius' bond with Sev). Hope that answers your questions. It is not meant in any way to insinuate that Ron and Hermione are not a good fit.
The Shadow Bandit:Thanks! I had a lot of fun writing the parting of the lake scene! I'm really glad you liked it. Thanks for continuing to read!
NayNymic:Well, there you go. Hope you liked the snogging bits. Thanks for the suggestions! No need to discuss the memory thing, either, since you now know the ending.
Azhure:Well, we got the snogging in, and the shockers and the sweetness and thanks to you it's all wrapped up in one neat little Furies package! I mean it, girl – I could not have done this without you. I figure since I was up editing in the middle of the night it was your turn to have the muse anyway, that's why she was feeding you all those great paragraphs. I dedicate this entire work to you!