The direction of the rain changed. It no longer fell towards Harry but instead seemed to be shooting outwards, directed at the amassed Death eaters and Voldemort, like an especially powerful sprinkler. The water hardened, sharpening into thin, but uncommonly sharp blades of ice. Voldemort snarled in fury, whipping his wand around in an intricate pattern, before disappearing in a puff of black smoke. His subordinates were not quite so lucky. Death Eaters screamed, scrambling for cover and attempting to throw up shields as the ice slammed into them. The screams of agony were punctuated by the gruesome sound of flesh tearing, blood splattering, and bodies collapsing.
A noise from behind him caused Harry to turn, just in time to see Voldemort appear from a puff of shadows. Sickly green energy raced through the night directly toward Harry. But then, suddenly, Professor Jackson was in front of Harry. Almost as though he had apparated. Harry screamed in fear as the green energy slammed into Professor Jackson, but his worry was for not. Professor Jackson raised his wand and batted the spell away as harmlessly as a loose leaf of paper. The killing curse rebounded, scattering into the crowd of Death Eaters, catching an unfortunate soul in the chest and dropping him lifelessly to the ground.
Voldemort growled in fury, and with an explosion of raw magic, the inclement weather disappeared. The rain stopped, and the clouds cleared.
"Who are you?" Demanded Voldemort.
"Prince Charles," snapped Professor Jackson as his wand shout out. Marble from the shattered gravestones rose into the air and shot towards Voldemort, but as they soared, Professor Jackson waved his wand again and the shards of marble morphed into a pack of large, white wolves. At the same time, Professor Jackson shot his free hand backward to Harry, and a sphere of water erupted around him. Trapping Harry protectively inside, Harry could feel the powerful magic radiating from the shield. The wolves snarled and barked as they descended on Voldemort, but the man wasn't deterred. A whip of purple flames sprang from the tip of his wand and slammed the magical whip into the wolves. They yipped and cried out in pain as they were thrown away, morphing back into shards of marble as they died.
But Professor Jackson was not idle. As Voldemort was busy with the wolves, he raised his wand high into the air, magic crackling around his arm. Lightning arced through the sky, and thunder rolled. A bolt of lightning raced from the sky, punctuated by the mighty boom of a thunderclap. The lightning slammed into Professor Jackson's wand. He roared, screaming in fury as he turned the lightning on Voldemort.
A blast of bright blue lightning screeched through the air. Just as Voldemort dealt with the last of the wolves, he was nearly overwhelmed by Professor Jackson's attack. He only just managed to raise his hand in time to catch the blast. He roared, holding off the attack. Professor Jackson advanced, lightning arcing from the tip of his wand, as Voldemort was slowly forced backward. Arcs of electricity crawled up Voldemort's arm, singing and burning his flesh.
With a burst of magic, Voldemort twisted his hand, pulling the electricity into his mouth. To Harry's confusion and horror, he swallowed the attack. The electrical currents disappeared behind his lips. But when he opened his mouth, no lightning erupted, instead, two dozen vipers soared from the back of his throat. Professor Jackson disappeared in a swirl of water, and the snakes slammed harmlessly into Harry's watery protector, bouncing free and disappearing in small puffs of smoke.
Professor Jackson reappeared a few yards away. Voldemort turned to him but did not attack. Neither did Professor Jackson. They began to pace around the field. Circling one another. Two predators, looking desperately for an opening.
"You must be the illustrious Percy Jackson," said Voldemort softly, "Wormtail has told me much."
"Someone's been running his mouth," grunted Professor Jackson, his wand twitching and a jet of purple energy shooting toward Pettigrew. Voldemort casually twitched his wand, and an ornate metal shield appeared in front of the traitor, deflecting the attack effortlessly.
"Please don't do that," said Voldemort dismissively, "I still have use for him."
"Someone needs to," said Professor Jackson, "You are an ugly mother fucker, by the way, you know that? Did you get to choose to look like that? Because if you did, I have questions."
Voldemort ignored him, "I am told you are a mudblood, and yet you have such tremendous power…curious."
"I drank my milk as a kid. But that's a pretty interesting observation from your likes."
Voldemort chuckled, "How so? I may despise your breed, but I am not blind to talent."
"Well, I just think it's interesting that you think that given that your mother was a muggle."
Whatever Voldemort had been expecting Professor Jackson to say, it most certainly had not been that.
"I am the descendant of Salazar himself," seethed Voldemort softly, "The blood of that filth does not flow through my veins, and you would be wise to never utter such lies again."
"Awe, don't say that," chuckled Professor Jackson, "Merope would be so heartbroken."
Voldemort roared, and the sickly green light of a killing curse flew at Professor Jackson, who batted the curse away with his free hand without effort.
"How are you doing that!" Screeched Voldemort, his composure all but forgotten in his rage. Firing curse after curse back at Professor Jackson, who deflected the curses with little effort or anxiety.
Voldemort screamed. Rage consuming logic and thought. He inhaled deeply, gathering magic in his lungs. Professor Jackson seemed to understand what he was trying to do and tried to circumvent the spell. He slammed his wand into the ground, which shook and trembled. The ground beneath Voldemort's feet began to crack and split, as the world rumbled. The ground opened up under Voldemort, but he disappeared in a puff of black smoke. Reappearing directly behind Percy.
He opened his mouth, and flames erupted forth. Even from behind the water, Harry could feel the heat of the flames. He screamed as Professor Jackson was encompassed by the fire. His body disappeared behind the wall of flame. He collapsed to his knees, unable to comprehend what he'd just seen. Unable to comprehend how it all could have gone so wrong, so quickly. Why hadn't he gotten out of the way? Why hadn't he done something? Professor Jackson had been holding his own. Had looked like he was even winning…and then this.
Voldemort cackled in delight, laughing and dancing amongst the flames as he watched the fire burn brighter and hotter. But his peels of delighted laughter turned to screams of unmitigated agony as he was suddenly and violently impaled. The silvery steel of a brilliant sword jutting out of his chest, directly through the heart. Harry's eyes widened in shock as Professor Jackson twisted the blade and ripped it free from the man's chest. Voldemort stumbled forward, clutching at his chest. Trying desperately to claw away from Professor Jackson.
Professor Jackson twirled the silver broadsword in his grip, tossing it in the air where it transformed into a small rock before clattering to the ground.
"You know…" said Professor Jackson, limping forward towards Voldemort. "This is what I love about you wizards, you take so much pride in that power of yours. You wield a minuscule amount of power, and you think it makes you special. Makes you strong." He chuckled, "But you have no idea what power is."
His eyes flashed. The sea-green irises glowed in the darkness. The rain started to fall again. The wind whipped up, and thunder clapped overhead. The wind grew into a frenzy, and the rain turned from a slow drizzle into an outright downpour. It was like sitting amid a living hurricane.
"You want power?" Asked Professor Jackson softly, his voice still managing to carry over the wind. "You want to know what true strength looks like? I'm happy to show you." His arms are spread out. Magic formulating around him. Swirling through his form and expanding outward faster and faster. Growing stronger, even more powerful. Then, the power turned into an eruption. The rain shifted. Forming and morphing, pulsing and shifting as it coalesced into something stronger. Larger.
Professor Jackson clapped his hands together, and the power released. Hundreds of gallons of water washed through the graveyard. Gravestones were ripped free from the earth, before disappearing behind the wall of rushing, rampaging water. The tidal wave slammed into Voldemort. Crashed into Death Eaters. People screamed, begging for help and mercy, before disappearing under the frothing waves. Loud cracks, just barely audible over the noise of the storm, reverberated around the graveyard.
And then silence.
As quickly as it began, the tsunami disappeared. The water was gone, the wind died away, and the skies opened up into the clear blackness of night. Harry could see several bodies strewn about the graveyard. If he could even call it that. The tsunami had swept away the majority of the gravestones, leaving the field barren and destroyed. With a wave of his hand, Professor Jackson disappeared from the sphere of water around him.
"We need to leave," said Professor Jackson.
Harry just nodded. Feeling too shellshocked to say anything. Professor Jackson placed a hand on Harry's shoulder, and they disappeared in a swirl of water. When Harry's feet touched the ground once more, he found himself back in the office of Albus Dumbledore. The room was dark, illuminated dimly by a handful of candles lit in the sconces along the walls.
There was a thud beside him, and Harry whirled around, his chest contracting painfully as he darted over to Professor Jackson who had collapsed to the ground. Blood dribbled from his nose, and sweat rolled down his forehead, and pooled on the ground.
"Professor!" Harry cried out, his hands dancing around his chest trying to find any sign that he'd been hurt, but there didn't seem to be any sign of injury.
"Excuse me, Harry,"
Harry almost jumped, as Dumbledore gently pushed him out of the way. He waved a hand and a pitcher of water appeared in his fingers. Gently he held Professor Jackson's head up and pressed the pitcher to his lips. The water passed down Professor Jackson's throat, water spilling past his lips and staining his dress shirt.
With a spluttering cough, Professor Jackson's eyes fluttered open, coughing and hacking. Blood spilled from his mouth, then, his face paling, he rolled onto his side and emptied his stomach over the stone floor.
"There, there Perseus," said Dumbledore soothingly. "Let's get you up, Harry, if you would please lend me a hand."
Feeling numb, Harry nodded, gripped Professor Jackson around the elbow, and helped Dumbledore pull the man to his feet and drag him to a nearby chair.
"Drink, Perseus," ordered Dumbledore, re-filling the pitcher with a wave of his hand and pressing it into Professor Jackson's chest. "You need your strength."
"It's getting worse," said Professor Jackson, before taking a hefty pull from the pitcher.
"Clearly," said Dumbledore dryly, "Though it does seem to be growing more exacerbated at a considerably more rapid rate than we anticipated. How much of your power did you use?"
"Too much," said Professor Jackson heavily. He finished off the rest of the pitcher, and tossed it onto the desk, then, he leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes wearily.
Dumbledore watched him closely for several seconds, humming quietly to himself in thought.
"I presume that there were some casualties, tonight?"
"Yup," said Professor Jackson dismissively. "Probably a dozen or so, if I counted right."
"And did you dispose of the..evidence?"
Dumbledore waited for an explanation, but when none was forthcoming, he prompted, "Would you like to give me a reason?"
"The nonmagical authorities won't see anything they don't want to," sighed Professor Jackson, "They'll see a bunch of weirdos in cloaks and masks in a destroyed and desecrated graveyard and chalk it up to some kind of cult or satanism. It'll be in the papers, maybe, for a day or two and then people will forget about it."
"Your dismissive attitude towards the secrecy of our society is comforting," said Dumbledore dryly. Professor Jackson waved a dismissive hand at the headmaster.
"And what of Voldemort?" The older man prompted.
"Well he's got a body if you can call it that," said Professor Jackson. "Whatever ritual he used gave him a body, but…" he trailed off, his eyes finally opening as he gazed up at the ceiling.
"But?" Prompted Dumbledore.
"But he doesn't bleed," Professor Jackson finally looked down to meet Dumbledore, "I stabbed him in the damn heart, and it hurt the bastard, but his body doesn't have any blood in it."
Dumbledore hummed quietly. "There are rituals that can construct a body of magic itself…I suppose it is not an impossibility that Tom would have discovered some way to keep himself from dying in conventional, non-magical ways."
"What I wouldn't give for Anaklusmos right now," grunted Professor Jackson.
Dumbledore eyed him carefully, "and you're certain that-"
"Yes," snapped Professor Jackson, "If I was going to do it, it would have needed to have been years ago. But it's too little too late now, and if I tried to take it, people would notice and begin asking questions. Questions we don't need to be asked right now."
Dumbledore sighed wearily but nodded his understanding. "I had feared as much," he said tiredly, "I suppose it would have been asking too much for a little simplicity."
Professor Jackson snorted, "story of my life, Albus." Finally, and for the first time that evening, Professor Jackson turned and looked at Harry. "How is ya holding up, kid?"
The dam broke. A cascading torrent of emotion washed over them, threatening to overwhelm him. Guilt. Anger. Regret. Terror. He shut his eyes, trying to hold back the tears. He hunched over on the chair, covering his face with his hands. His shoulders shook, and his stomach was heavy and tight with anxiety.
"I'm so sorry," he gasped out. "It's all my fault. He's back…he's at full power…and it's all my fault. You-you tried to warn me. Tried to keep me safe and I-and I…"
A sturdy hand rubbed a soothing circle on his back. "Easy there Harry," came Professor Jackson's voice. "It's gonna be fine."
Harry looked up, the tears in his eyes making it nearly impossible to see. "I'm so sorry professor. I thought…I just…"
"It's okay, Harry," Professor Jackson said again, "It's okay. It's not the end of the world. This was going to happen sooner or later anyways. Did you fuck up? Yes, yes you did." Harry flinched at the callously honest rebuke, but Professor Jackson had never been one to mince his words.
"You fucked up, you made a mistake, and Voldemort has his body. But, we figured that he would get a body eventually. It was never really a matter of if, but when. So, while this isn't exactly ideal, it's not the end of the world. Not yet. What matters now, is that you're alive."
"Quite right," said Dumbledore cheerily. Too cheer for the situation if Harry was honest.
"You message Sirius already and let him know we have Harry?" Asked Professor Jackson,
"Let him know the moment you disappeared," confirmed Dumbledore, before turning his attention back to Harry. "And while we are certainly happy you're safe…"
"We've got some questions," finished Professor Jackson. "Walk us through what happened."
So, Harry did just that. He started at the start of the day and walked the professors through everything that happened during the day. Everything from what he'd been doing that morning to what he had for lunch to when he'd been stunned by Pettigrew and the ritual and everything in the graveyard leading up to Professor Jackson's intervention.
When he was finished, Professor Jackson leaned back in his chair, his gaze pointed up at the ceiling.
"Succinct and eloquent as ever, my friend," said Dumbledore wearily. He removed his glasses and rubbed at the bridge of his nose.
"This is a problem, Albus. A big one."
"I am aware of that, I had feared this possibility-"
"Which is why I was pushing for occlumency training months ago! Ever since you told me-"
"And occlumency training is invasive and dangerous, and not something I am going to push on a fourteen-year-old!" Dumbledore finally snapped back, putting his glasses back on his face. "But, now, it appears that we are going to have little choice in the matter. If Voldemort can see into Harry's mind, even at such great distances…" He sat back in his chair, allowing his words to hang meaningfully in the air.
"How much good would it even do?" Asked Professor Jackson in the end. "You're the expert here,"
"You sell yourself short, Perseus," chided Dumbledore, "you are an accomplished legimens yourself."
"And breaking into someone's head is far easier than protecting your own," said Professor Jackson. "Besides, you know that I never needed to worry about occlumency. I have no idea how to do it and even less of an idea on how to teach it."
Dumbledore hummed to himself. "I suppose, if I were being truly honest, there is not much that we could do. Even if Harry spent all summer training, I do not believe that he will be able to reach the level of proficiency necessary to protect himself from the likes of Voldemort. He is singularly the most talented regimens I have ever encountered." He glanced down his glasses at Professor Jackson.
"I don't suppose there is anything you might be able to do with your ah," he glanced over to Harry briefly before back to Professor Jackson, "unique…brand of magic?"
"Might be able to rig something together," mused Professor Jackson, "but enchantment was never my area of expertise. I'll mess around and see if I can figure something out. But, in the meantime…" he looked apologetically over to Harry, "we're going to have to keep you in the dark for a bit, Harry."
Harry almost wanted to protest the matter but held his tongue. It wasn't a punishment, he knew that. The men were just doing what they knew was necessary given this newest batch of information.
Harry sighed, and nodded his understanding.
"We have a lot we need to discuss," said Professor Jackson, "But…" his eyes darted over to Harry. His stomach lurched, but he understood it. For the time being, he was nothing more than a liability. Every word being said was possibly going back to Voldemort.
"You have had a long day, Harry," said Professor Jackson softly. "And Sirius has been beside himself. Go home, see Sirius, and try and get some rest. As soon as we have a way to protect you, we'll bring you back up to speed, I promise."
Harry didn't trust himself to speak. Didn't think he had a right to speak at this point. Quietly, he got up from his chair. Professor Dumbledore waved a hand at the fireplace beside his desk. Black powder flew from a small jar atop the mantle over the fire and flew into the flames. The orange blaze turned emerald green.
Before he stepped into the flames, he glanced behind him and looked over at Professor Jackson.
"Professor," he said softly, "I'm sorry,"
Professor Jackson smiled, "It's okay, Harry." Harry nodded, his stomach twisting as he looked away.
"Padfoot's Prairie," his body spun, and with a gasp, he stumbled out of the fireplace and into the waiting arms of Sirius.
"Merlin's balls kid, you scared the hell out of me," he gasped, "never do that to me again."
"I'm sorry Sirius," said Harry, grasping tightly around the taller man. "I'm so sorry. It's all my fault. He's back, Sirius, he's back and it's all my fault." The tears came freely than for the second time that day. Sirius, for his part, didn't speak. He knew there was nothing he could say, and Harry didn't need him to say anything. Just needed his presence. Just needed his comfort and support.
He didn't know how long they were there, but eventually, the tears stopped and Sirius led him away to the kitchen. He didn't offer any food but did give Harry a bevy of potions to take, something to help him sleep. Harry was grateful.
As Harry lay in his bed, the anguish was painfully brushed aside for something else entirely. Disappointment. He was disappointed in himself. Disappointed in his pride. His arrogance. He had made great strides in the last several months. Great strides in his strength and talent. He'd showcased that he could hold his own against his peers and even students with far more education and training than himself. But it hadn't been enough.
Nowhere near enough.
The spectacle between Professor Jackson and Voldemort illustrated that. Had hammered it home in a way that genuinely showed how much of a gap there was. How different it was to be a student of magic and a true master of the arts. Harry had never seen the kind of magic that was getting thrown around. Had never even imagined the kinds of things that the two men had been doing.
How was he meant to compete with that? How was he supposed to overcome that?
He shuddered. But even then, even despite the gaps in power and talent, Harry wouldn't be deterred. Long ago, Professor Jackson had once told him that there would be no keeping Harry out of the conflict. Tonight had proven that. Tonight had shoved in Harry's face that he was not going to be able to duck his head and let someone else take care of his problems for him. He was going to have to fight, and if he was going to fight, he would win.
He owed Professor Jackson that much.
He owed the man for everything he had sacrificed for Harry. Everything he had done for Harry. Even when Harry hadn't recognized it or appreciated it. The man had supported Harry. Had given Harry the distance Harry had thought he needed, had given Harry the space to grow that Harry had wanted.
So he would fight for the man who had fought for him.
Even if it killed him.
BN: last shit b4 chrimas. cya