Voldemort was in shock as Emiya appeared to be allowing himself to be killed.
While definitely a threat to him, as they fought, Voldemort had started to desire to see the boy stand at his side.
Perhaps it was because the boy's story mirrored his own. An orphan who was abandoned by the world, who put on a mask of obedience in order to hide the savage nature within. He had an aura of nobility about him, obviously marked by fate to stand on top of those weaker than him, but was forcibly held down by society's rules and fears.
Seeing him outside of the classroom, with his usual friendly and kind demeanor replaced by a cold and calculated gaze that told Voldemort that the boy had killed before and was more than ready to kill again… it warmed the psychopath's heart.
He wanted to bring Emiya under his wing, perhaps even have him convince Potter to join him as well, if she survived. If they both bound themselves to him with magical oaths, he could be convinced to let them live out their lives as his pets. As trophies to hold over all of those who believed that Potter would be their salvation.
So he felt a slight bit of remorse as Nagini's teeth dug into Emiya's throat, clamping down in order to crush it.
But that remorse disappeared when a very unusual looking ritual dagger appeared in the boy's left hand, which he then jabbed into Nagini's side.
Nagini's jaws let go of Emiya as she let out a long piercing hiss… a hiss that slowly morphed into the cry of a woman.
Voldemort watched in disbelief as Nagini's body started to unwind from Emiya's body, shrinking and changing its shape as the blood curse which had turned her into a serpent was somehow being lifted. The process was not at all painless, as her snake-like hisses turned to human screams of agony, and Voldemort felt his connection to the snake woman through the fragment of soul that he had placed within her becoming more and more chaotic, and then, the unthinkable happened.
As Nagini spasmed, a black mist slowly flowed out of her body. The magical enchantments that he had placed on her, to protect and strengthen her, had disappeared, and Voldemort's Horcrux was being forcibly expelled from her.
"No! Nagini! Nagini, answer me!" Voldemort hissed in parseltongue, but as the last bits of his soul left her, the woman simply went limp.
Voldemort's eyes went from the body of what now appeared to be an asian woman in her fifties up towards the fragment of his own soul.
A Horcrux could not survive for long outside of a vessel, so Voldemort acted fast, raising his wand and chanting the incantation needed to bind the soul once again. The black fog took on the form of a horrifying skull before rushing down into Voldemort's temporary wand, an inappropriate vessel, but one that would work in the short run.
Once the piece of his soul was safely stored, Voldemort breathed a sigh of relief, which then turned into a wave of anger as Emiya pushed the body of the naked woman off of him and started to try to recover himself.
His neck was a mess, as Nagini, despite having fangs, also had the hundred hook-like teeth of a python, which had torn away all of the skin around his throat, revealing a strange gunmetal gray mesh of scales underneath.
Voldemort would have found it fascinating, if he wasn't so livid.
"Avada Kedavra!" Voldemort boomed, releasing a wave of green light at Emiya, who was in no position to dodge and only barely had time to raise his sword up in order to block the spell.
The explosion that resulted shook the room, blowing the body of Nagini away and launching Emiya back like a rocket, bouncing across the stone floor.
Voldemort was surprised when the boy recovered, rolling with the momentum and somehow landing on his feet, but that was only the first attack. "Avada Kedavra!" Voldemort shouted again, and again, Emiya caught the spell on the flat of his blade, getting knocked back further into the wall. "Avada Kedavra! Avada Kedavra! Avada Kedavra!"
Again and again, Voldemort hammered him, until cracks started to form in his legendary sword. Then he unleashed all of his power in a single burst.
The wave of green light shattered the sword, which disappeared into dust before slamming into Emiya's body.
Emiya let out a sound like a man getting kicked in the gut and blood sprayed from his mouth. …But he was still breathing.
The force from the spell had been mostly blocked by Caliburn, and what remained was blocked by the sheets of metal underneath Shirou's skin, which sent a shock through is body as his ribs broken, but stopped the spell from truly 'hitting' him.
Not that Voldemort understood this, as Shirou's surviving of a Killing Curse drove the man insane.
"Why won't you just die!" Voldemort roared, using a Cutting Curse in order to slash at Emiya's body, sending up a spray of blood. He fired it again and again as Emiya lifted his arms to protect his head, recreating the twin swords that he had used at the beginning of the fight.
But it was no use for him.
His body was in shambles, his soul had been made unstable by the killing curse, and venom pumping through his veins.
…Venom? Why the hell did the snake have venom? It was some kind of python. Why did she have both fangs and teeth?
Shirou understood he was in a bad position, and he would need a miracle in order to save him now. So he was surprised when he heard Voldemort gasp.
The Dark Lord stopped in his flurry of attacks to look down at his own stomach, out of which a singular blade was protruding.
It was a black key.
Given the weapon and the location of the injury, it should have done absolutely nothing to the man, as Shirou had hit him in that location himself before. But for some reason, Voldemort's body started to react terribly to the weapon.
His entire body started to smoke and Shirou could see his skin taking on the coloration of stone, which cracks forming all over his body. Then, with a horrible scream, his entire body exploded into dust, and a black mist went shooting up and through the ceiling, leaving Shirou staring in shock.
…There was no one there. Just the blade of a sword floating in the air in front of him.
Shirou's injured and poisoned mind wasn't able to process what was going on. Not until he heard her cry. "Shirou!" The hood of Iris's cloak of invisibility fell back and she rushed forward, throwing her arms around Shirou's blood soaked body. "Please don't! Oh god, please be okay!" She looked at him, tears stanning her face. "Please just hold on! I'll get Madam Pomfrey and she'll fix you right up! So please don't die!"
She was starting to choke on her words now, so Shirou did his best to raise one of his arms and pat her head, giving her a smile that must have looked horrifying. "Don't… worry." He said, struggling to get the words out. "Not… eno… to kill… me."
He was running low on magic energy, but Avalon was still able to start patching him up.
It was slow, as the snake venom had magic in it, resisting being broken down and healed, but Shirou was pretty sure his life wasn't in immediate danger… boy he had lost a lot of blood though. His head was getting foggy.
The lacerations left by Voldemort's spells were being held closed by metal cords, preventing him from bleeding any more than he already had, so he wasn't at risk of dying from bloodlose. His brain hadn't received any damage and most of his more important organs were still in good condition. All in all, he looked a lot worse than he actually was.
After he got the poison out of his system, he'd give himself two or three day before he made a full recovery.
"Hey, don't go to sleep on me!" Iris shouted at him in panic, slapping at his cheeks.
"I won't… die." Shirou said again. "Just… Let me rest." His eyes drifted shut and Iris began to sob.
Noise came from the room that had the flying keys in it and Iris looked up to see Hagrid bursting in with Karena and several other people that Iris didn't know.
"Iris!? Wha' are yeh doin' here!?" Hagrid said, shocked to see Iris before his eyes found Shirou and he paled. "...Bloody hell."
"Kami…" Karena said, horror clear on her face as she looked at Shirou's condition, her eyes filling with tears.
"We need to get him help!" Iris shouted. "Hagrid please hurry."
"R…Right. Right!" The giant grabbed onto Shirou and started to carry him back the way they had come.
Some of the other bodyguards who were there apprehended the asian woman, who they discovered was still alive and gathered up all of the things on the ground before the group headed back to the surface, not wanting to go any deeper without a guide.
This was all beyond their pay grade.
"The philosopher's stone is gone." Dumbledore said simply to those from the international wizarding community who had been in the know.
Severus had been able to identify the poison and had turned over his potions cupboard in order to get as much cure as possible while others contacted the hospital to get more.
Even so, it was a total of two hours before the people who had been caught in Voldemort's attack were back on their feet. And they had to then deal with a massive fire that had broken out in Gryffindor Tower, one that had completely destroyed the Gryffindor dormitories, which had luckily been empty.
Not to say that the day had passed without casualties.
Kirei Kotomine had been a cold bastard, and in order to poison the party goers, he had to have access to the food in the kitchen.
He had gathered all of the House Elves in one place, probably by simply asking them to gather, and then killed them all while they couldn't fight back against a guest of Hogwarts. Thirty-two House Elves in total had died. An unprecedented number.
The man had then proceeded to go to Gryffindor Tower, before destroying the entire place with magical bombs and fire snake eggs, presumably hoping to both distract any who avoided the poison, and kill Iris Potter.
Even now, they still hadn't managed to put out the flames in the still burning tower. It was only the magic of Hogwarts that was keeping the damage isolated.
Kotomine had then used a portable fire place connected to the Church's secure floo network in order to escape in the chaos.
"We all knew it was coming." Kiritsugu said with a shake of his head. "The prophecy stated that the Immortal Alchemist's life's blood would be lost to the darkness. I suppose that was true in more ways than one. We should have just destroyed the stone while we had the chance."
He had gone to the meeting while his wife stayed with their children, not wanting to leave Shirou alone, as the boy had yet to wake up. Kiritsugu wanted to be there as well, but he knew that there were things that needed to be disguised.
Shirou's condition was not good to say the least. He had been hit with several dark magic spells meant to be nearly impossible to heal with magic, as well as being poisoned by what appeared to be a naga venom variant, a type of poison that stops the body from healing naturally. Not only that, his body was full of bits of metal that seemed to be holding him together. All of this, along with his innate magic resistance, meant there was almost nothing to be done for him.
In the words of Madam Pomfrey, Shirou should be dead. He should be, but wasn't, and he was somehow recovering, though she had no idea how.
"So then, who was our thief?" Minister Fudge asked.
"We will need to wait for the Arurors' investigation to find out. However, it would appear that Peter Pettigrew was part of the group infiltrating the school." Dumbledore said. "The man is an animagus rat. It is likely that while Emiya Shirou was fighting the others, Pettigrew slipped past the last remaining defenses and stole the stone and then left before any of us could realize the stone was already gone."
The last remaining trials had been the trained trolls arranged by Quirrell, and the potions provided by Severus.
In order to remain in Voldemort's good graces, Severus had needed to reveal his own test and provide assistance to Quirrell in maintaining the man's health after he fled Hogwarts the previous month.
Dumbledore had believed it to be necessary, as Voldemort's return was inevitable, just like the loss of the Philosopher's Stone, and Severus's work as a spy would be needed when that happened. Though neither Dumbledore nor Severus had known that Voldemort was to rise again so soon.
"And the woman. Who is she?" Fudge asked.
"Her name is Nagini. I met her a long time ago. She is a Maledictus snake. …One that should have been rendered unable to transform back into their human shape long ago, but for some reason has had their curse reset." Dumbledore said, stroking his beard in thought.
Maledictus were those with magical ancestry that caused them to be able to turn into some sort of creature. In the case of Nagini, it was a type of magical snake, one that didn't exist in the natural world. But the thing about Maledictus is that sooner or later, they lost control over their transformations and became the beast forever.
No one had seen Nagini in over forty years. She was presumed to be either dead or living alone as a snake for the rest of her life. But here she was, back in her human form, and from what Dumbledore could tell, she had the timer on her curse reset, something that was very curious.
He wondered if Tom had something to do with this, Tom wasn't normally the kind of person to help people, but they hadn't had time to properly interrate the woman as to what had happened.
Shirou would also need to be questioned, once he was well enough for it.
"Without more information, we will need to simply wait. But until then, we must ask ourselves what we will do now." Dumbledore said, looking over everyone at the table. "If you fear for your lives, I would understand, but there is still a cure that needs to be made."
The overwhelming majority announced that they would stay and wouldn't yield to terrorists and Dark Wizards, though two young witches and old Slughorn sheepishly declared that they would be working from home from now on. This was inconvenient, given that all the materials for study would be at Hogwarts, but not unexpected.
So with heavy but still determined hearts, they would continue on.
Right now, everyone was too in shock about what happened to react. Once the dust had settled and word got out, the political fallout was going to be insane.
Kiritsugu entered the Hospital Wing shortly after the meeting ended to find his wife, Illya and Iris, all huddled around Shirou's bedside. The two little girls had tear stained faces. "How is he?" Kiritsugu asked, expecting the worst. So he was pleasantly surprised by the response he received.
"He's fine." Shirou said for himself, uncomfortable, but strong. He was wrapped head to toe in bandages, with only his eyes visible, but they were focused. "You don't need to worry. I came to after they gave me a potion to restore my blood count back to normal. So please tell the girls to stop fretting over me."
Illya was about to object to Shirou's insistence that he was alright, only to hear a ghostly chuckle. "I can't believe you let yourself get beaten up like this. You've lost your touch, my old friend." The Fat Friar said as he came in through the wall, seeming merry, despite Shirou's condition. "Would you like my assistance?"
"Don't bother. My wounds will heal by themselves without you wasting your strength on them." Shirou said, bitterly. Despite Shirou not being Merlin, Friar Tuck was right, he had made a rookie mistake, the same rookie mistake Lancer once made. "I forgot the number one rule when fighting against magus. Don't assume they are dead just because they aren't breathing. Though honestly, a mutant animagus python hidden within a pocket dimension stored inside of the mouth of an animated corpse? How was I supposed to predict that one?" Shirou said, his mind boggling over the complexity of the magic Voldemort had used to smuggle the snake woman into Hogwarts. While all of it could be cast by Rin, given an ample budget and a few weeks to prepare, it was still not your run of the mill stuff, even in a world as magical as this one. "Voldemort certainly is deserving of his reputation."
"That man was Voldemort!?" Iris said, shocked to find out exactly who it was she had stabbed, as she thought it was 'Tom Riddle'.
"Either him or someone possessed by him. His reaction to your magic energy is proof enough of that. Your mother's protection means that touching your magic energy is poison to him. When I stabbed him through the heart he only treated it as an annoyance." Shirou said.
Kiritsugu nodded in understanding.
He had put many a bullet into Voldemort's body, but the man had modified his own body to the extent that it was no longer human and could survive damage to vital organs, even the brain. His own body had been more like a puppet than something his soul was attached to.
It was the reason why Kiritsugu had never accepted that the man was really gone, even before he learned about the Horcrux that was attached to Iris's scar. Even with his entire body annihilated, his twisted soul still lingered. Though the fact that Voldemort still lingered after Shirou destroyed one Horcrux meant that there were still more, something proven by the wand they recovered.
Dumbledore had tried to hide the existence of the wand, but Kiritsugu had been there when Alistar found it.
"Looks like you've defeated the Dark Lord yet again." Irisviel teased, before becoming more serious. "What were you two thinking? Going down there by yourselves. That was just reckless."
"I wanted to cut off any possibility of retreat, as well as have the element of surprise, which would have been lost if I had taken the time to tell others." Shirou said, as if it was natural.
In his experience, the moment a magus with a seal designation caught even the slightest whiff of a pursuer, things could get really ugly. Fast response was of the utmost importance. If he had not gone ahead, Voldemort and the snake woman would have been able to get in and out before anyone could have found them.
Despite how things turned out, he didn't believe that his actions were wrong, and Irisviel could see that in his expression.
Sighing, Irisviel placed a hand on Shirou's cheek. "You really are just like your father. Or maybe it is even worse for you, since you are already so strong and have always depended on yourself. You've never learned how to look to others for help. In that way, you really are still immature." She said gently, looking him straight in the eyes. "Shirou, when your father and I work, we never do it alone. There are always so many unforeseeable factors that doing so is suicide, and regardless what it is that is at stake, our lives, being able to live to fight another day is more important. If either you or Iris had lost your lives, even if we managed to keep the stone out of Voldemort's hands, it wouldn't have been worth it. So please, don't try to handle things on your own."
Seeing those eyes and hearing her words, Shirou really did feel like a child being scolded by his mother. He suddenly wished that she would just yell at him and hit him the same way Rin would when she thought it was being an idiot. It didn't make him feel nearly as bad as this.
"I'll… try to keep that in mind." Shirou mumbled.
"Something makes me doubt that. Kerry didn't learn after just one scolding either." Irisviel said with a giggle and a look towards her husband. "Please do try. If not for yourself, then for the people who depend on you not to fail."
'Depend on'. She used the words 'depend on' rather than 'care for'... She really does know how Shirou thinks. Maybe even better than Rin did.
Not for the first time, Shirou realized that this is the woman Kiritsugu fell in love with.
"Now how about you young lady, what made you think that rushing in like that was a good idea?" Irisviel asked, turning on Iris.
Iris sheepishly looked down before bringing out a half full body of a golden potion. "I took a bit of liquid courage." She said as a joke.
"Iris, I gave you that potion so that you could get out of danger, not get into it." Shirou said with a frown.
"You are the last person I want to hear that from, Mr. Mummy." Iris shot back. She was still recovering from the horror of finding Shirou completely drenched in his own blood, with his throat nearly ripped out, hundreds of small cuts all over his body and a dozen rather large wounds that all looked fatal.
She had honestly thought he was going to die.
"I see. That certainly explains this." Kiritsugu said with a nod. "Felix Felicis had a nasty side effect of making the user extremely reckless, as they believe that their luck will carry them through any situation that might arise, which usually it does. But you will need to make sure you resist such a mindset in the future. Or at least have a good grasp of how long the potion will last. If the effects wear off without you noticing, you will easily get yourself into a lot of trouble."
"I'll try to keep that in mind, though this is all the potion I have left. The rest of it was in Gryffindor Tower…" Iris said sadly.
She wasn't so much sad for the loss of the incredibly useful potion, even if it had guided her, saving them from that mad man Kirei and allowing her to use the enlargement charm on the cupcake in order to get Fluffy to let her pass. It was the loss of the gifts she had received for her friends and her new family, as well as the gifts she had given them. The symbols of the love they all shared for one another.
She'd also lost everything she owned to the fire, save for the invisibility cloak, her wand, the Black Key that Shirou had given her, Yuri the fox golem, and the half dranken vial of Felix Felicis. Everything else was gone, including her school books, her broom, and worse of all… the family album that Hagrid had made for her. The one he had made by going to every single person who had ever known her parents and asking for any pictures of them they might have had. The one that contained nearly every photograph of her mother and father in existence.
The loss of it was a real punch in the gut. One that brought her to tears when she realized it, even after she thought she was all cried out from seeing Shirou's condition and hearing Pomfrey saying there was nothing she could do, believing that he was going to die.
"I can't believe Voldemort didn't notice you walking up behind him. I understand that Felix Felicis makes you lucky, but even luck has its limits." Irisviel said with a shake of her head.
"Well, it wasn't just the potion. This helped." Iris said unfolding the invisibility cloak that she had resting in her lap and throwing it around her shoulders so that she was only just a floating head.
Irisviel and Kiritsugu made noises of mild surprise. The pair owned invisibility cloaks of their own, but this one seemed to be of a high quality, a rare treasure. Even so, they weren't THAT surprised.
It was Friar Tuck who had the strongest reaction to the display, one mirroring Shirou's in many ways. "It… it can't be… is that… That shimmering silver-blue color and this presence." The ghost said, starting to tremble before falling to the floor on one knee in front of Iris, sinking slightly into it, tears in his eyes. "I knew it! I knew it was you! Heavens above, I have waited for your return for so long."
"W…What?" Iris said, not understanding what the ghost was saying.
Shirou sighed. "Robert, the mantle has been passed down in the Potter family for 800 years. She is likely related somehow, but it doesn't mean that it is her." He said, sounding sorry for crushing the ghost's happiness. Not that the Hufflepuff House Ghost listened to a word he said.
"Shirou, what's going on? What is he talking about?" Iris asked the boy.
"...That cloak your father left you is very old, and very famous. It is a lost treasure on the same level as Dyrnwyn. The Mantle of Invisibility, Gwenn. The mantle worn by the Once and Future King." Shirou said, his eyes on the ceiling above them.
Everyone was in shock by Shirou's words, so they all heard it when the Fat Friar joyously declared, "Welcome back, My King! Welcome back, Arturia Pendragon!"
Wow, I instantly got a lot of hate for this. Not that I haven't been getting hate for chapters now. So fuck it. Story's dead. I see what my favorite writers meant when they said their least favorite part about writing was the readers.
For anyone interested, Yuri ate Pettigrew and will slowly absorb the Philosopher's stone into her body.
I'd like to point out that the Friar is just a ghost who has been obsessing over Arturia's return for a thousand years and will ignore all facts that say that she isn't back. Every single one of Iris's ancestors had the cloak. Her having it doesn't make her Arturia.
I was just making connections between objects in King Arthur's legend and the Cloak of Invisibility and Resurrection Stone, being King Arthur's Mantle and the shard of Bran the Blessed's Cauldron of Resurrection, which was buried with his head and letter dug up by King Arthur.
The Death Stick could be the wand of either Merlin or La Fey.