Hey Everyone!! Here's another updtae for you ... a bit long in getting here again, I'll admit. Never fear though, we are nearing the end of this story. No clue on how long it will take me to get it all done, but there it is. A few more chapters should do it. Enjoy!!
Chapter Fifty Six: Burn, Burn, Burn…
The gentle trickling of water could be heard over the general hustle and bustle of the Atrium in the Ministry of Magic, pouring in graceful arches as they spouted from strategic locations on a gaudy looking, newly repaired golden statue. Yet no one in the party walking by noticed its simple tranquillity. A flustered Minister and a team of Aurors escorted two smaller persons between them. One, a red-headed boy who was loudly protesting his being there, and the second, a small black-haired girl who looked on the verge of terror.
Cornelius Fudge was barking orders to another redhead beside him, only this one was much taller than the last. "Weatherby, I want a manhunt organised for both of our top suspects in the Malfoy boys murder case, plus a notice sent to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement with regards to the capture and questioning of known Death Eater, Severus Snape." The small party turned the corner and headed toward the lifts at the end of the corridor. "No surprise that the son turned out the way he did, really. What with a father like that as an example."
"You shut up about my dad!" Lizzy snapped out, mostly before she could think about her words. "He's no Death Eater, you fat ponce!"
Fudge merely glared down at her for a moment as though she were a bug, while a burley Auror next to her clamped a hand on her shoulder. "Watch your tongue there, spitfire. Wouldn't want to lose it before we get an answers out of you, would we?" Liz jerked her shoulder but knew she wouldn't dislodge the hand holding her so easily. Giving up, she obediently walked where directed.
"Oi! I'm the one that told you lot about that Snape freak in the first place!" Ron spat out angrily, glaring at the back of his brothers head. "Tell 'em Percy! I sent you that letter, so why the hell am I here?"
Liz felt a hot flash pass over her before it evaporated just as quickly. She snarled at Ron and made to leap at him, only to be held back by the Auror beside her once again. "You utter prat!" she screamed at him, her arms and legs flailing as the Auror proceeded to lift her bodily from the floor. "How could you do that to him?! You bloody jerk!!"
Ron sneered at her, "Well I had to get him taken out somehow didn't I? He just presented me with the perfect excuse, seeing how that I couldn't actually tell anyone that Snape was really Harry Potter now, could I? Not with that bloody charm he cast on me!"
Liz froze at Ron's words, as did the rest of the group, though for very different reasons. Fudge looked gobsmacked as he stared at Ron, as did the other Aurors. How the hell did he say that out loud? What happened to the charm? With growing horror, Liz could see by the expression on his face that Ron had come to the same conclusion.
"The charms gone!" he practically crowed, pumping a fist in the air. He instantly turned to the Minister and Liz began her struggle to get free anew, praying with all her might that Ron wouldn't continue saying what she though he was going to.
"Minister, I can now tell you something that I wasn't able to earlier due to a secrecy charm placed on me." He paused and took a breath. "Harry Potter isn't dead like you all think he is. He faked his death and is really Snape's son, Callen."
"Ron, shut up!" Liz screamed, feeling her eyes burn at all the wasted effort her brother had put into his charade. He didn't deserve any of this crap and yet it was drawn to him like a magnet. "Don't you dare say any more!"
Ron only seemed to preen more as he continued talking to the Minister. "Harry really did kill Malfoy! He's been playing us all for fools! He's evil, just like his father, and that's not all! He's an Av--"
A deafening sound echoed around the Atrium as alarms started blearing and people started screaming. Fudge and his entourage quickly ushered Liz and Ron toward the lifts as dust and smoke billowed down from the Atrium. Liz felt her heart leap to her throat as she felt the utterly overwhelming presence of her brother appear. It was wild and unleashed, pouring out of him in crushing waves to any who could sense it. But it wasn't his magic that made her choke. It was the evil in it.
Liz clamped her hands over her ears as though it would help block out Callen's tainted essence, but it did her little good. She fell to her knees as she was bodily shoved into the lift, panicking people having sprinted away from her brother and any others with him and headed towards the lifts also. More and more people crammed into the lift and she was knocked to the floor. She let out a yelp as someone stood on her hand and curled up, trying to avoid any of the other feet trampling around her. She heard someone close the grating and the lift shuddered as it started to descend. A foot trod on her hair, just missing her head. She screamed at it ripped from her scalp and tried to scramble out of the way.
"Move!" a deep voice bellowed as the few people standing near on top of her were forcibly pushed aside and a strong arm wrapped itself around her middle, lifting her to her feet. A large hand cradled the side of her head, checking for any other damage. "You all right there, spitfire?" Liz could only nod shakily and let him pull her closer to him. "Stick close now. It'll be all right…"
Liz didn't answer, knowing that it would be pointless. After all, she knew precisely who and what was above all their heads, and the power he wielded. There wasn't a whole lot to hope for at the moment, except that her brother wouldn't blame himself when it was all over.
So long as he was still alive…
"I just don't understand, Professor!" Hermione grated wearily. "Why have a contingency plan in place for when an Enhanced Wizard goes bad, but not account for the same possibility in the Controller, who would then use the wizard he's bonded to against his will? It's basically the problem we have at the moment with Cal and Voldemort. However, the only way to get him unconscious is if Voldemort is killed, but if he was killed, the Serum isn't needed as the forced control would be gone. Seeing how Callen is probably the only one capable of killing Voldemort anyway, that kind of has us in a little bit of a jam…"
Hermione exhaled heavily as she gracelessly flopped into one of the softer chairs in the Snape quarters, raising her hands to her temples and applying some pressure where an ache had begun. Blaise and Severus both had sat there also, trying to think of anything that may help Cal out of his current enslavement. So deep in thought they were, that it took a few moments for Hermione's words to sink in.
Severus turned to look at her, almost blankly, before his eyes lit up like a mini sun and a small grin fought to reveal itself. "Hermione, you're a genius," he said, quickly standing from his own chair. He'd thought of a small loophole in the Bond between his son and former Master, and promptly started relaying his theory to the other occupants of his Chambers.
He was going to help his son out in some way or another, even if it was the last thing he'd ever do…
They arrived in a swirl of black smoke, enveloping the entrance of the Ministry Atrium while all the workers stopped to stare at the phenomenon. The smoke was dissipating slowly, but as the onlookers caught view of movement within, a dome of blue-white energy exploded outward, sending people flying and shaking dust from above. People screamed and crouched down, shielding their heads with their arms against any falling debris. This reaction caused many to fall dead from the bolts of green emanating from the clearing smoke, not seeing the danger bearing down on them. Chaos erupted at the sight of the dead, but it was brought to new heights as the black cloud vanished, and a vision of terror was left behind.
However, that was not the main reason for the peoples hysteria. For not only did the demons of the past stand before them, but so did a visual monstrosity of the like none had ever laid eyes on before.
A grotesque figure stood at the fore of the group of Death Eaters. A mottled, sickly green aura surrounded its deformed body. Bone and pulsating flesh showed from beneath bare patches on dead and limp feathery wings. Horns curled around an animalistic head, beside long and crooked ears. Its legs were bent horribly and its claws sank easily into the polished floor. Tattered and torn robes hung from its rippled and bulging arms and torso, a forked tail lashing back and forth.
If anyone had taken the time to look closely enough, they would have seen a green Hogwarts house emblem among the tatters.
The monster opened its teeth filled maw and let out an ear-splitting roar. All present, bar the Death Eaters, covered their ears in agony, their own screaming mingled with the sound. On some, blood seeped from between their fingers as their ears burst from the strain.
As the Death Eaters shot the deathly green curse at the remaining, incapacitated civilians, another figure stepped from behind the monster. Lord Voldemort sneered and looked around the destroyed area, his red eyes smouldering in much the same way as the creature beside him. "How pitiful," he hissed. "Not one decent duelist among them." Voldemort glanced about his followers quickly and singled out three of them. "Crabbe, Goyle, Macnair. You will stand guard here!" The three quickly bowed and complied, separating from the rest of the group. "Kill anyone who comes to this room, understand?"
The three bowed again, "Yes, My Lord."
Voldemort sneered and with a wave of his wand, conjured an ethereal looking rope that circled the neck of the beast he stood by. "Come, Avatar … our journey continues…"
The creature trudged along obediently, letting the pull of the rope determine its direction. There was a high pitched cackle before a feminine voice spoke out into the silence.
"Ohhh … Wee little Potter, led by the neck! Just like the dog he is!"
Voldemort glanced over his shoulder momentarily. "That will do, Bellatrix. No need to antagonise the beast. After all, even the best trained dog will bite if pushed too far, don't you agree?"
"Of course, Master," Bellatrix simpered, bowing her head as they walked, "but, surely you have him under your complete control and needn't worry about such a slight detail? My Lord, it's not as though little Potty has a mind left to think with…"
Voldemort let escape a dark, foreboding chuckle. "Ahh, Bella, Bella … This is one pet I'll not take any chances with. Nor will you." It was not a suggestion. A brave few of the surrounding Death Eaters sniggered at Bellatrix's rebuk, but quickly grew silent at the Dark Lord swept a disapproving gaze over them. The group came to the grating covering the entrance to the lifts, only to find that all were missing. Casting his eyes upward, Voldemort smirked as the hands above the doors all moved steadily down in floors.
"Down, down, down we go, deep into the rabbits hole…" Ignoring the strange glances some of his followers were giving him, Voldemort turned to gaze up into the glowing eyes that matched his own. "Avatar, take us down one level at a time. Do not attack. Defend myself and my Death Eaters only."
The glowing red eyes flickered for a moment as the words registered, and a low snarl was heard from deep in its chest.
"Yes, My Lord."