Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all characters, places et al. are owned by J.K. Rowling

A/N: Finally... THis is the end, the last chapter of this story. I wanted to finish it before the next book, and so I did :)
Though I had wanted to do some things differently, the real life issues of diploma thesises and stuff had some influence as well g
I hope you'll like it, and maybe there'll be a sequel. The door, at least, is wide open for it g

Chapter 22

A voice emerged from the darkness that has been Harry Potter a few microseconds ago.

"Go!" it hiss-snapped at the inspector and her assistant. Killing her was pointless, and the business with the Dark Lord was his and his alone. Both seemed to have perfect reflexes and the crack of people apparating could be heard.

The darkness and shadows folded in on himself once more to form a smiling Harry Potter. Only a few stray beams of moonlight illuminated his face.

"Voldemort," he said levelly. Despite looking almost human again, his voice was anything but human, a ghostly, rasping voice, oozing darkness with every syllable. "I didn't expect this meeting so early. I had other plans…"

Voldemort was furious, yet stayed put for the moment, but his eyes shot daggers.

"I couldn't believe that it has been you all this weeks, all this people, despite rumors my faithful followers reported. Yet here you are, the murderer of yet another Great Man."

Harry looked at the body to his feet. "Yes, yes," he chuckled. "Such a great man. And he died oh so valiantly. He got what he deserved; died as a tool. Mine, this time."

"The others died without knowing, without a chance. But here you were stopped. By a mere inspector!" Voldemort laughed harshly. "He contacted me before he went in. And now I'm here to end this, once and for all."

"I was about to say the same," Harry smiled again. "I had planned on thinning your Death Eaters out more, so you would face your death alone, but I guess one cannot have everything one wants." He shrugged. "Now, where were we?" Harry looked as if he was thinking for a second or two, before continuing. "Ah, yes!"

His hand snapped forward, a ball of black flames erupted from his palm and raced forward, but it only hit the wall behind where Voldemort stood seconds before, shattering it with a terrible sound.

"A great deal you have learnt, young Potter," Voldemort's voice echoed through the house. "But it won't be enough. I killed greater wizards than you, Potter."

Harry felt something, something strange, his senses tingling. He took it as a warning and lunged for the wall and shadow stepped away. When he stepped out of the shadows in the large round hall, he only heard the walls crush in where he stood before.

"Yes, I learnt. And I know I learnt more than you ever could hope to understand. This magic is not yours to understand. And it must hurt you; oh it must hurt you that someone is more powerful than you!" Harry shouted in his dark, deep voice, sending tremors through the floor.

"Lumos!" Voldemort cried out from his hiding place, and it stabbed Harry right in the chest. The scream that followed was nothing from this world; raw rage and agony erupted from Harry, his mind reacting on his own. A circular wall of darkness snapped into existence, racing out from his position, emerging the house and everything. Wherever it met stone, wood or other physical objects, it bent them, ripped at them, tearing them to molecular pieces.

In his raged condition, Harry almost missed the pained shriek of Voldemort, but from the sound of it, he managed to apparate.

Deep inside him, so deep no one ever looked, a force crashed at gates, so forcefully, so powerfully, they finally gave way. It slammed into Harry, flowed into him, howling in his mind. He slumped to his knees, almost passing out.

For minutes he simply kneeled there and realized that the true Harry Potter was forever changed, forever lost to him. Whatever he was now, he was no mere mortal. The force and magic that had powered him before had risen, finally, and consumed him almost completely. But not quite, he sensed. There still was 'him' inside… That was what drove so many of the former users of this form of magic mad, transformed and killed them after they did their deeds, a corner of his newly changed mind told him.

Finally, he rose. Any bystander would have thrown themselves at the floor, at the sight of the creature that rose where the near-human stood before. He no longer used darkness; he was it. His body flowed and morphed, sheets of shadows and darkness billowing around him, licking with dark flames.

The floor steamed and hissed when his feet touched ground. "Come out," he shouted, "come out and die like a man!"

Suddenly, he heard several cracks around him. His senses whipped at the nearest location, and he almost felt it before he saw it. Death Eaters, scores of them. When they had appeared, they had an arrogant sneer on their face; looking forward to help their Master. When they saw what they faced, shock replaced it. Three apparated away outright, seemingly overcome by self-preservation.

"To afraid to do come yourself?" He mocked Voldemort. He laughed; and as he did so, the walls reverberated his laughter. He flowed towards the nearest Death Eater in the blink of an eye, his hand launching at his chest and ripping something dark, ghostly out of it. Like a puppet without strings, he fell to the ground. He bellowed with laughter. Before anyone could react, four more Death Eaters lay dead on the floor.

"Is that all you can muster? Is that all you have?" he screamed before he drove shadowy fangs into the neck of another Death Eater. The screams ended momentarily.

"Lumos!" several others cried out and he felt hit by terrible beams of pain, ripping through his shields, hitting his core. He was hurt, but not yet deadly. Though he had to slow down a bit.

His roar of pain shook the floor, and launched himself at the next Death Eaters and fell them. He heard several others apparate frantically away, and only one was left. A defiant young man, fanaticism and loyalty for his cause flowing out of every pore of his body. Harry walked towards him, almost sauntering. "A pity," Harry observed. "You're such a hot guy," and simply severed his head with a swipe of a shadowy tentacle.

"Where are you?" He roared. "Show yourself so I can kill you!"

"I will," a whisper from nowhere reached him. "I will."

"Astra Maxima…" Harry heard, the rest of the chant lost to his ears. Suddenly, a ball of pure light emerged high up in the room, casting terrible brightness throughout the whole house. It burnt right down to his core. His scream brought already struck walls down. His life energy ebbed. Through blurred eyes, he could make out an elder man walking towards him and he seemed to have his wand ready to strike him down.

"I told you," he heard Voldemort's voice, "I will prevail. You did awfully well against my Death Eaters, I give you that, but I'm still, well, better than you." He was close now, very close, towering over his pained body. His arm now pointed down on him.

If you give in now, all is lost. Draco is lost. You are lost. Your parents not avenged, all died for nothing. Get a grip, man! You are better, you are more powerful. You just have to will it!

His heart raced, his mind suddenly exploring possibilities, collecting strength.

"Avada…" He heard Voldemort slowly say, relishing in the feeling. "Ked-"

Harry's left arm flashed forward, dark shadow talons ripping at Voldemort's arm, drenching the floor in blood. The talons flashed and flashed, ripping at Voldemort. The artificial sun wavered, dimmed, then suddenly vanished. He took a deep breath, and felt the strength return to him.

"Never overestimate yourself," he said to the bloody form on the ground, "And never be too arrogant. I know it now. And you don't." With one last strike, he ripped open his chest and stabbed his heart. "And that is why you fail."
Still shaking slightly, he rose to his full height. He was about to leave, when he heard…someone clap.

"Well done, Harry," the unmistakable voice of Albus Dumbledore said, "well done."

Harry whipped around, and saw Dumbledore and McGonagal.

"I knew you would not disappoint me in the end," the old wizard smiled.

"How long-"His voice broke off. "What do you-"

"The Inspector here was sensible enough to warn us that Voldemort was here."

"But that was an eternity ago," Harry's eyes narrowed. "You could have helped!"

"Yes, I might have, yes." Even though he still looked like Dumbledore, Harry didn't know who that man was, right now. "But I chose not to. After all, it was you who was destined to do it, not me." He chuckled. "And if I may say so myself, you have really been as good as planned. Even though a bit too bloody for my taste."
Harry fell silent for a time. Cog wheel turned in his mind. He couldn't believe what he said, what he implied…

"You knew?" He finally bellowed. "You knew the whole time? And done nothing?" The darkness was welling up around him again. "You let Draco get tortured, you let me go through all of this, and didn't raise a hand?"

"It was not my duty to-"

"Bollocks!" Harry finally realized something. "You were afraid, right? You never had the guts for it, didn't you?"

"I-" Dumbledore was about to retort, when he was interrupted by McGonagal.

"He needs to know, Albus," her firm voice said. "He deserves to know what you have done."

"Done?" Harry's voice was dangerously low.

Dumbledore cast a killing glance at Minerva, then stood a bit straighter and started talking again.

"You are a tool." He simply said. "Your birth was planed. Or to be precise, not your birth, but someone with the abilities you have. Dangerous abilities." Harry wanted to say something, but Dumbledore raised a hand. "There was a prophecy even older than the one you feature. It prophesied the coming of a great danger, a terrible foe that would destroy the world; and it was destined to happen in our time." He cleared his throat. "A…society formed which made its goal to thwart this prophecy." McGonagal snorted. "One can at least try. And these old and wise wizards made a decision, a dangerous one, yes. It was decided to breed a wizard, who could save us all from this evil. Shadow magic wasn't yet extinct at that time, so they used it as a starting point, weave and plot through the ages, to create the weapon we needed. When Voldemort rose, we were surprised. We didn't expect it so early. But when you came along we had hope; a hope that wasn't disappointed." He pointed at Voldemort's still bleeding body on the floor. "You did your job."
Harry stood there, silent for a while. "I was your pawn, and you never told me anything? You used me like a pawn in some wizard's chess game? My parents would have never-"
"Your parents, yes." Dumbledore sighed. "Your father knew, of course. He resisted us, marrying that Evans woman. But he knew."

"It's all like a big game to you, isn't it?" Harry hissed. "But what now, huh, old man? I cannot grow back; become the tame little boy I was. What's your plan?"

"I was about to get to that point in a minute. Of course, we cannot allow you to become a danger yourself. So we planned ahead." He pulled a little paper out of his cape and unrolled it. He began whispering in ancient tongues, concentrating wildly. It had a funny result on his mind. Suddenly an image, a thought formed in Harry's mind. Harry had to laugh hard. "This is your plan? Your weapon?" He roared with laughter. "You should have thought of better! This spell, as ancient as it may be, is useless."

Dumbledore looked shocked. "But it-"

"It worked on Malfey yes, all those years back. But there's a crazy feature, something you didn't, couldn't know. I know what they, the ancient masters, knew. I don't know how, but it's there. And this spell worked once, but will never work again." Harry smiled thinly. "And the sun thing Voldemort tried, as you obviously observed? Don't try it. I have you killed before you finish it." Harry turned around, and walked away. "I have to go now, I'm afraid. It was nice talking to you."

"Not so quick, Potter," Dumbledore spat. "You may have foiled that," he waved the paper, "but I still have something up my sleeve." He snapped with his finger, and suddenly Draco appeared, gagged and tied up. McGonagall gasped. "You didn't, Albus!"

He ignored her and concentrated on Harry. "Somehow I suspected it wouldn't be so easy. He pointed his wand at Draco, who howled and trashed, but the invisible hand wouldn't let go of him. "Now, it is your choice," Dumbledore said. "Relinquish your powers, go to Azkaban, or your boyfriend here will die. Decide."

For a very long moment it was silent in the room and no one moved.

When it happened, it was quicker than a lighting bolt. Harry's body dissolved into thin air, and solidified before Dumbledore. He had opened his mouth, but it was too late. The shadowy talons on Harry's hand slashed across his throat. Gasping like a fish, Dumbledore fell to the ground, now a lifeless, useless husk. He grabbed Draco and released him. Before he could say anything, he kissed him hard. Then he turned towards McGonagal.

"I know you're wise enough and won't try to stop me." He pointed at Dumbledore, and all the other bodies. "They deserved it, and you know it. I trust you didn't help Dumbledore with this plan?"

She shook her head quickly.

"I thought as much." He grabbed Draco, and then the air around them grew darker and darker until there only was nothing to be seen. "Don't come looking for us…" The darkness said before it suddenly vanished.

Mostly, they didn't.

The Ministry of Magic, with centuries of expertise with political spin, sold the whole affair as a story of pure success and courage. Dumbledore, dying valiantly in battle against the evil Lord Voldemort. McGonagal, coming to save him but too late. Even the clever Inspector (now promoted to exalted rank, mostly for her silence on the matter, of course) got her fifteen minutes of fame.

The fact that Harry had left did twist the story only slightly. It was said that he left after the battle, accompanied by his trusted friend Draco Malfoy and choose exile away from those who might recognize him, to lead a normal life again. And people believed it, wanted to believe. Not only because it gave them the warm and fuzzy feeling that the Good Heroes once again had prevailed and Evil been banished; but also because they had feared Harry deep down inside of them. Someone who fought, and survived, battle with the Dark Lord couldn't be so pure and good, after all, could he? Maybe he would rise as a new Dark Lord? So most people were happy to know that Potter was gone. Only a few tried finding the Great Harry Potter. But none found him, though one never returned from his hunt, which sparked some debate at the time. But it, too, soon was forgotten, as other, more imminent matters concerned their minds.

Harry Potter also kept his word and sent a letter to the Daily Prophet, detailing how Lucius Malfoy had been crucial to the plot to bring down the Dark Lord. Of course, they believed it, and no one who knew what really had happened was courageous enough to burst the bubble. And so the wizarding world saw Lucius Malfoy rise again to where he considered his place.

After this letter, all of the huge fortune of Harry Potter was transferred away, the real estates safeguarded by Draco's father. And that was the last thing ever to be heard from Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy.

All went well, or so they all thought. With a ghastly laugh a skeletal hand closed a large book.