Disclaimer: The characters and situations of Harry Potter depicted in this story are the legal property of J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury, and AOL Time Warner, and have been used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.
No profit is being made off this story. It is for entertainment purposes only.
Warning: The following chapter includes several major character deaths. Sorry if this isn't the ending you had envisioned, but I felt the need to do it this way in order to give myself some wiggle room in case I ever decide to visit this universe again sometime. At this point I have no plans for a sequel, but you never know what the future might hold… I hope you like it and that you're not too angry with me once you read it. Thanks for coming along for the ride. It's been fun!
The Courtroom was packed. Harry had never seen such chaos – even the Quidditch World Cup didn't come close to this circus. Everyone wanted to see what had become of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named because the rumours had already been running rampant about the condition the mighty Dark Lord was in thanks to Harry. No one was certain how Harry had done it, though. Sometimes Harry himself didn't know how he had done it – not really. When he tried to say this, however, he had plenty of Weasleys step up and give a blow-by-blow account of the battle inside the Temple, each more fantastic than the last. Harry just shook his head and smiled at their antics, promising Ginny that he'd get even with them later.
His group was escorted in last by the security guard to specially prepared seats set apart from the rest of the crowd. Harry was thankful to Dumbledore for making these arrangements for them, but it didn't stop the probing eyes and excited conversation at his arrival. He supposed he did look a bit different since most of them had seen him last. He hadn't been seen in public since the long-forgotten court hearing that had granted him emancipation the previous year. Only a few days on the island had done wonders for his normally pale complexion, and he had used the same trick he had before to darken his skin to exactly the right shade of brown he liked. Ginny thought it looked quite fetching on him and secretly he was inclined to agree.
The entire Weasley family had come to support him through this, as well as Stephen, Remus, and Tonks. Snape had declined to attend and for that he was grateful, but Malfoy's blond head could be seen on the other side of the courtroom. He and Harry exchanged frowns and Draco immediately looked away.
Ginny snorted quietly and whispered, "He'll never change, will he? He's still just a foul git interested only in saving his own skin."
"Yes, but now he's a very rich, foul git," Harry reminded her softly. "He'll have a lot of power once he finishes Hogwarts, if in fact he does. I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't come back though."
"Hoping, more like it," Ron interjected sarcastically from his other side.
All three were promptly shushed by Hermione and Mrs. Weasley as a door opened and the fifty or so members of the Wizengamot entered the room, filing in like executioners in their plum-coloured robes emblazoned with a silver W on the left-hand side. For Harry it was very déjà vu and brought back memories of the hearing in his fifth year when he had almost been expelled. He fought a shiver and had to forcibly remind himself that he wasn't the one on trial today. Most of the Wizengamot were prim-faced and serious, although a few seemed skittish and jumpy – probably due to nervousness at the prospect of coming face-to-face with the most feared wizard alive. Dumbledore was among them and there was no twinkle in his eyes today as his gaze swept the courtroom, landing finally on Harry. Everyone rose to their feet in respect as they filed inside, even Malfoy.
Dumbledore took his place in the front row centre, sat regally, and rapped his gavel sharply on the bench, calling the court to order. On his right was Rufus Scrimgeour and on his left Amelia Bones. Following Dumbledore's example, the rest of the courtroom also sat noisily, but once seated the drop of a pin might have been heard inside the stone walls. Harry had never felt such tension and anticipation before in his life; it was almost stifling, and he had the sudden insane urge to laugh. Luckily Ginny poked him in the ribs and sent him stern thoughts, or he might have embarrassed himself.
"Please bring in the prisoner," Dumbledore told the guard in a deep, authoritative voice as he arranged his parchments.
A moment later the guard returned nervously, leading the blackened, rotting form of Voldemort – or what was left of him – behind him on a chain. The Dark Lord was cuffed and bound, and he was utterly unrecognizable as the figure that had caused such chaos and devastation over the years. Harry almost pitied him – almost. If it were anyone else other than Voldemort he might have felt that emotion, but in this case all he felt was satisfaction.
Surprisingly, Voldemort straightened causing a gasp to ring out through the courtroom. He turned cold, blue eyes first on Harry and then swept up and down the row of Weasleys and the others with pure hate. Instinctively, Harry reached up to finger the thin white line on his forehead that had once been so prominent, although he felt no pain. The scar was still there, but it had faded to almost nothing now. One had to look very, very closely to see anything at all. Staunchly, Harry stared back at the monster before him and held his gaze evenly. He refused to show weakness now. It was beneath him, and he wanted to send the message to the Wizarding World that there was no longer anything to fear. Still, there were some in the crowd hiding their heads in their hands and crying out hysterically. Dumbledore rapped his gavel impatiently and threatened to remove anyone from the courtroom who was causing a disturbance and gradually it became quiet once again.
The guard pushed Voldemort roughly into the chair in the centre of the room and the magical chains immediately latched hold of him, securing him into place. Oddly Voldemort didn't fight the chair. For some reason he seemed amused by it.
"Please state your full name for the record of the court," Dumbledore said clearly.
"I am Lord Voldemort," he said, smiling serenely at the gasps and cries that his name invoked.
Dumbledore turned to Percy who was acting as court scribe. "Please note for the record that Lord Voldemort is a pseudonym. This man's real name is Tom Marvolo Riddle."
Voldemort's eyes narrowed. "I do not acknowledge that name."
"Yet is it the one you were given at birth, is it not?" Dumbledore countered.
"It is the name my mother gave me, yes," Voldemort spat angrily. "That name has no meaning to me."
Dumbledore turned to Percy. "Let the record show that the he has indeed confirmed that his real name is in fact Tom Marvolo Riddle." Percy nodded and wrote it down on his parchment, steadfastly ignoring the murderous look Voldemort was shooting him.
"In the case of the Criminal Trial of the accused, Tom Marvolo Riddle, AKA Lord Voldemort," Dumbledore's voice rang out, "into offences committed under the International Statute of Wizarding Laws, British Wizarding Laws, and Crimes Against Humanity. Interrogator: Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot and Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards. Court Scribe: Percy Ignatius Weasley. Witnesses for the Prosecution: Ginevra Molly Weasley, Stephen William Hunter, and Harry James Potter. Official written affidavits and testimonies from numerous other sources have been provided to members of the Wizengamot concerning this man's numerous atrocities and shall be made part of the official record. Witness for the Defence: Tom Marvolo Riddle, AKA Lord Voldemort."
Dumbledore shuffled his parchment and cleared his throat. "The charges against the accused are as follows: one hundred thirty-seven documented counts of murder; four thousand seventy-six documented counts of accessory to murder; high treason and conspiracy to overthrow the British Wizarding Government; seven-hundred forty-nine documented counts of atrocities against Muggles including but not limited to arson, terrorism, kidnapping, torture, theft, and destruction of property; wilful disregard of the International Statute of Secrecy of 1692; the illegal practice of the Dark Arts including six counts of producing a viable Horcrux; and regular use of the Unforgivable Curses – the Imperius Curse, the Cruciatus Curse, and the Killing Curse." He looked at Voldemort sternly. "How do you plead?"
Voldemort smiled, the corners of his blackened lips twisting in an insane smirk. "Guilty on all counts."
There was a gasp from the crowd who must have expected him to beg for his life or plead that he was innocent. Harry knew Voldemort well enough, however, to know that he would happily own up to everything he had done. He was proud of his accomplishments and would never stoop to begging for anything.
Dumbledore rapped his gavel for order. "Very well," he said when the courtroom was silent again, "in that case we will not need to hear testimony from the witnesses and we can commence to sentencing."
"And I was so looking forward to hearing from the great and heroic Harry Potter," Voldemort said sarcastically, turning his murderous eyes on Harry who resisted the urge to look away. "…The Boy-Who-Lived-Too-Long.
"…Or perhaps, the lovely and sweet Ginevra Weasley, whom I especially adore." Beside him Ginny stiffened and shivered, leaning into him for comfort as Voldemort's sadistic eyes travelled to her and stopped. "It's not hard to see what Harry sees in her, is it?"
His shift of attention invoked instant rage in Harry who glared at Voldemort darkly, but Voldemort's eyes travelled on.
"And let's not forget my old friend Stephen Hunter," he said regally, "whose family I knew quite well – when they were alive, that is. I was especially fond of his lovely wife, Mariah. She was your granddaughter, Albus, was she not?" He glanced up into Dumbledore's impassive eyes. "But the child was a whiny, spoilt thing, I'm afraid," he said offhandedly. "Not much of a waste there, was it?"
A few chairs down Harry saw Stephen reach for his wand, but Remus Lupin put a hand on his shoulder from behind and he resisted angrily while Voldemort laughed, enjoying the reactions he got.
Dumbledore rapped his gavel again fiercely. "Enough! If you are quite through with your theatrics and mind games, Tom, we will proceed to the sentencing."
"By all means," Voldemort said lazily, sitting back in his chair. "Go on. I haven't anywhere to be… yet."
Dumbledore ignored his choice of words. "Given your plea of guilty on all charges and in accordance with our laws, taking into account the seriousness of your charges and your history, I hereby decree that Tom Marvolo Riddle, AKA Lord Voldemort, will be sentenced to execution for his crimes by means of the Death Veil. All those in favour of this verdict say 'aye'."
The entire Wizengamot echoed the Chief Warlock's voice, confirming his pronouncement with a resounding number of 'ayes'.
"Anyone opposed to this verdict, please state 'nay'."
Voldemort's cold eyes surveyed the faces resting in particular on a few, seeming to be trying to memorize each and every one of them. A few shifted in their seats or coughed nervously but no one opposed the verdict.
"Very well then," Dumbledore said in a satisfied voice. "Execution will commence in one hour." He motioned for the guard. "Take him to his holding cell and prepare him for execution per the guidelines set forth in the Wizengamot Charter of Rights." He rapped his gavel, lending finality to the verdict. "This court will reconvene in one hour in the Death Chamber within the Department of Mysteries to carry out this action. All those in attendance today are welcome to bear witness. You are dismissed."
The guard led the hobbling form of Voldemort out of the courtroom as the members of the Wizengamot rose to their feet and clustered together talking excitedly amongst themselves. Harry stayed seated, waiting with the others for the crowd to filter out. He was aware of a photographer snapping pictures nearby, but it wasn't bothering him so he ignored it. Ginny reached over and gripped his hand and he locked eyes with her, communicating everything he was feeling in that simple touch and a glance. She understood him perfectly, even now.
"What's wrong, Harry?" Ron asked, elbowing him in the ribs. "You okay, mate?"
"Not really," Harry answered. "I thought I'd be elated that this moment has finally come, but all I can feel is empty."
"Well, I think its bloody good news for a change, if you ask me," Ron said jovially. "He's finally getting what's coming to him."
"But it seems so little justice for such an evil person," Ginny complained. "I mean, considering everything he's done – all the lives he's ruined, all the people he's killed – it doesn't seem right. All he has to do is walk through a silly veil and it's over. It's a quick and painless death – much more humane than he deserves."
"Dumbledore knows what he's doing," Hermione said certainly, looking towards the old Headmaster as he gathered his belongings, nodding and speaking to a few here and there.
"I have a bad feeling about this," Harry said ominously. "Did you hear what he said… he's up to something, I can feel it."
"How could he be?" Hermione said shaking her head doubtfully. "He's being closely guarded at all times, and you took all his magic. What could he possibly do?"
"Hermione," Ron said as if she was slow, "he's Voldemort, remember?"
Hermione stared at him in shock, and so did Harry and Ginny. They all exchanged surprised looks.
"What?" Ron asked, looking around in confusion.
Hermione learned over and kissed him, "You said it," she exclaimed proudly. "You said his name."
Ron reddened. "Yeah well… once you've seen your best mate channel a Mesoamerican god, defeat the powers of the underworld, and then drain someone's magic, he doesn't seem like much, does he?"
Harry sighed heavily. "I wish that were the case."
They finally exited the courtroom and made their way to the ninth level and the familiar corridor of the Department of Mysteries. At the doorway they were escorted in by a small nervous man, most likely and Unspeakable, whose eyes kept darting to and fro like he was certain they saw something they weren't supposed to see. Harry could have reminded him that they'd already seen quite a bit behind these doors but thought it best not to remind him in case he was still holding a grudge about the amount of damage they had caused that night. Just as in the courtroom he felt an overwhelming sense of déjà vu as he made his way to the Death Chamber, and from the looks of it the others did too. Ron in particular was rubbing his arms where the brains tentacles had grabbed him and Hermione's eyes were wide as she surveyed her surroundings with interest. Harry supposed it did look more impressive in the light.
The man led them to the front row of the sunken pit where they had an excellent view of the stone dais and crumbling stone archway. In his mind's eye Harry could still see Sirius flying backwards through that archway and his heart constricted. Ginny reached over and intertwined her fingers with his. He could feel her sadness… or was that his own? It was difficult to tell because the feelings were so similar. He realized that she must be thinking about Sirius too, and that made him feel better somehow – not so alone in his pain.
Slowly the room filled up, the people silent and sombre. This place demanded reverence. When the room was filled the Wizengamot filed in and took their places led by a grim-faced Dumbledore.
"Bring forth the prisoner," he stated in a magically amplified voice. Harry hadn't even seen him touch his wand to his throat or utter a spell yet his voice seemed to reverberate off the cold grey stone walls.
A door up above opened and the same guard as earlier came through with Voldemort. They descended the stone steps one at a time slowly, each footstep echoing threateningly throughout the room. To Harry, every clack of the manacles, every scrape of shoes on stone, seemed to bring the entire Wizarding World one step closer to peace. He was dressed in a black robe, his hands bound in front of him by heavy chains which seemed to cause him to stoop over even more than before.
When they finally reached the dais the prisoner was placed in front of the Veil and turned so that he was facing the crowd. Nervously, the guard stepped aside and Dumbledore stood.
"For your crimes against the Wizarding World and humanity you, Tom Marvolo Riddle, have been sentenced to death. Before the punishment is enacted, do you have any last words?" Dumbledore said in a grave voice, a grim expression plastered on his face.
A slow smile crept on Voldemort's disfigured face and the hairs on the back of Harry's neck tingled. Voldemort looked straight at him and a maniacal, mad gleam appeared in his eyes, freezing Harry in place.
"Only three…" he said, straightening up. "Farewell, Harry Potter."
It happened so fast that Harry didn't have time to react. A silver dagger soared through the air towards him. He raised his hand to stop it, but before he could conjure a spell Dumbledore had already appeared from out of nowhere directly in the path of the dagger. It slammed into his chest firmly and he slumped backward, falling hard into Harry who toppled out of his seat, slamming his head against the stone bench. At the same time Stephen raised his own hand and fired a stunner at Voldemort who, unable to defend himself with magic, stumbled roughly backward.
With a look of pure panic and absolute shock he fell through the Veil, desperately trying to stop himself, an unearthly scream emanating from his lips.
The crowd was in a panic, shrieking and yelling and trying to get out of the room as fast as they could while Harry found himself pinned to the ground by the heavy, lifeless body of the Hogwarts Headmaster, the greatest wizard the world had ever known, Albus Dumbledore.
As he looked down at the old man in his arms the emotion in his chest erupted in a stream of anguish – the worst pain he had ever felt in his life. Dumbledore's empty eyes stared back at him, not accusing or angry or twinkling, just empty.
"No," he cried trying to shake him awake. "Wake up, Professor… please wake up."
Stephen bent down and touched his shoulder gently. "Harry," he said softly. "He's not going to wake, I'm afraid. He's gone."
Harry looked at him blankly, his eyes full of tears. He refused to let go of the body even though a part of him knew that it was pointless. Dumbledore was gone.
"How?" he asked Stephen in disbelief as Ginny came up beside him and slipped her arm around his shoulder, offering him as much comfort as she could. "How did this happen?"
Stephen's eyes travelled down to the dagger, which was smoking unnaturally at the hilt near the entrance wound. "It was poisoned," he said shaking his head. "He never had a chance." His own eyes were filled to the brim with emotion as he gently reached over and closed his grandfather-in-law's eyes. "Sleep well, my friend," he muttered, choking back a sob. "May you rest in peace…."
But Harry couldn't let it go. His eyes grew black with anger, causing Ginny to back up a bit as the suddenness of it hit her like a ton of bricks. Harry's rage was like a volcano brimming with lava – it burned with fury, consuming him as he replayed the scene over and over in his mind. He managed to shrug out from under the body and jumped to his feet, pacing around the dais like a caged animal.
"How did he get it, Stephen?" Harry asked in cold fury. "Who could have done this? He was being watched the entire time. He had no magic left in him – I saw to that. Who could have given him the knife?"
He looked around at all the blank faces one by one, searching for answers. And then he knew. It was so obvious that he began to laugh. The more he laughed the more he cried, until he was certain the others suspected he had gone mad.
"Don't you see?" he said, shaking his head. "It was him all along. He did this… he played us all, and we fell for it."
"Who Harry?" Hermione asked concern for him written all over her face.
"Snape," he answered in disgust. "It was Snape who made certain Voldemort had that dagger. Snape is the only one who didn't show up today. He was the only one left who could have done this. He was a loyal Death Eater after all."
They all looked at each other questioningly, as if mulling over what Harry had said in their minds.
"I think you're right, Harry," Ginny said, meeting his eyes. "I believe you."
"Surely you don't think–" Mrs. Weasley started to say.
"But he's one of us…" Tonks said in confusion.
From behind them there was a sarcastic laugh. All eyes turned upward to the pale face and grey eyes of Draco Malfoy. "He played you brilliantly, didn't he? He certainly had the old man fooled. You never knew whose side he was really on, did you?" He jumped down to the dais and stood face to face with Harry, his face twisted in dark amusement. "But you knew."
"And so did you," Harry said coldly, trying to resist the urge to grab him by the throat squeeze the life out of him.
Draco shook his head. "I suspected, but no one really knew, did they? It wasn't until this very moment that it all made sense." He looked down at the Headmaster's body and the gleaming, smoking dagger. "He wanted us to know for certain it was him. He left you a calling card, Potter."
All eyes turned to the dagger. Curiously, Harry turned his head just a fraction and that's when he saw it… three silver letters emblazoned on the hilt – HBP.
"Half Blood Prince," Draco said with glee. "That's what he used to call himself when he was in school. I remember my father making a joke of it once. Severus Snape, loyal Death Eater and Half-Blood, the Prince of Mudbloods – his mother's maiden name, you know, was Prince. His father was a common Muggle."
"Just like Tom," Harry said coldly, looking towards the Veil. "No wonder they got on so well."
"If this is true," Bill said, "shouldn't we go find him?"
Malfoy laughed. "You could try but I don't think it'll matter. He's dead."
Harry's head shot up. "Dead?"
"Ironic, isn't it?" Malfoy sneered. "Apparently, he's killed himself." He brandished a piece of parchment in front of Harry's nose. "This appeared in my pocket moments ago. It must have been charmed to appear as soon as the deed was done. You can read it if you like, but the jist of it is that he can rest in peace knowing that you're burning in hell, Potter, just like your father. Poetic, wouldn't you say?"
Harry grabbed the parchment and read through the letter written in Snape's distinctive handwriting. He knew it well, having seen it in every potion class he'd ever taken since he came to Hogwarts when he was eleven. It was true.
"That dirty bastard," Stephen swore, kicking his heavy boots into the hard bench and knocking off a chunk of stone.
Harry crumpled the paper. "Get out Malfoy," he said icily. "Get as far away from me as humanly possible. Take your damned blood money and run far, far away. If I ever see you again, I will not be responsible for my actions. Is that clear?"
Malfoy's face paled even more. Like a scared rabbit, he turned and fled, not looking back.
"Harry," Hermione asked, making a step towards him. "Are you okay?"
He couldn't answer, but out of the corner of his eye he could see Ginny shooting her a pointed look and shaking her head slightly.
Shakily, Harry reached down and pulled the knife from Dumbledore's chest, feeling sick as he examined it. Fresh red blood dripped from the blade which was still smoking green from the poison. In cold fury he screamed with all his might and threw the dagger into the Veil, falling on his hands and knees in defeat.
Damn them both.
It was over. It was finally over… but why did it feel like they had lost?
A/N: I think I feel like Harry… it's over, it's finally over! Sorry for the shocking ending, but I did leave some things open in case I ever want to come back to this universe and play. I hope you understand. I'd like to say thank you to everyone who's been there with me through this long, uphill battle. In the beginning I had a wonderful beta, Chromatix who helped me with my Brit-picking and Anglican spelling. Then I began posting at Phoenix Song and Arnel took up the gauntlet. I've had some very encouraging pre-betas and friends along the way who gave me feedback and encouragement, most of whom I've mentioned previously. Special thanks goes to Melindaleo who wouldn't let me quit on this when I was sorely tempted to just chuck it all out the window. It took much longer than I anticipated, but I do feel a sense of accomplishment now that it's done. To each and every one of you who reviewed, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. The emails and IM's and reviews and chats have made me feel like a real writer. It's given me the confidence to begin my own projects and the drive to actually go the distance and try for a career as a writer. I can't thank you enough.
Now for the good news… While writing this I have also been working on two other fanfiction stories. The first one is a seven-part completed fic which you will soon see posted, possibly next week. It is not part of the SotS universe, and it is not a sequel. It is a Post-Hogwarts story with lots of angst and lots of H/G. Some of you may have read the first four chapters on a yahoo group at one time, but that group disbanded some time ago. I believe it was also put up on Simply Undeniable's yahoo group as well for a bit, but I pulled it about a year ago. This fic has been updated for new canon and toned down to meet the rating standards of SIYE and PS. I'll warn you… it does contain some sexual content and it is a bit dark, especially in the beginning. It is not meant for children. In fact, I have written some alternate chapters that are NC-17 but I'm still not certain if I'll publish those. If I do, it will be on CM's Bedchamber and possibly PS's TBC. That's a big 'if' as of right now. The fic is called Bring Me To Life and a 7-part companion piece is planned for it, but not written yet.
I also have another project I'm working on, but I'll save the details on that for later. Even the title gives too much away… I'm hoping to get all this written and published before the final HP book makes an appearance, but we'll see. I began this new project January 1st and have written 14 chapters so far, making it half finished. The chapters are shorter than SotS and the fic is lighter, more canon based, but still full of adventure, H/G, and even some action. No Mesoamerican islands, gods, super!Harry, or difficult to pronounce names in sight, although it does involve a foreign location for a big chunk of the story. I'm keeping this one under wraps for now until I'm at least ¾ finished so that I can give you regular updates at least once or twice a week. Now that SotS is finished and BmtL Part 1 is finished, I can devote all of my time to it, so I don't think it'll be long before you see it. In the meantime, check back next week for something new from me. Did you think you could get rid of me that easily? Until then… happy reading!