VOLDEMORT'S LAST SPELL, by Louis IX
Disclaimer: Check first chapter for full disclaimer and other warnings – I don't own anything you might recognise from elsewhere. Author's Notes at the end.
Chapter 12 – Meet the Hydra
posted June 26th, 2020
This year, the Weasleys didn't come through the muggle side of the platform, taking the Floo like proper wizards and witches – Lucius Malfoy's words, not theirs. Yes, Malfoy was there to send Draco to his first year at school. The year before, it had been only a PR stunt towards his election, hence his self-assuredness (while he mentally quaked in his boots).
This year, he had followed the stranger's advice and asked the Ministry to lock the entrance. When Juggernaut tried to enter, it created a collapse on the Muggle side, but it didn't reach the subspace holding the Express.
And the muggleborns of that year missed the train. In and of itself, it wasn't that important, especially for purebloods like Malfoy. However, since purebloods paid much less than the muggleborns, it meant that those "less pure" must continue to come in order for the school to stay afloat for the next generation. And after learning all this, he sent his Aurors to fetch the kids and Apparate them to Hogwarts.
And he resolved to do so for the following years as well. After looking at the maintenance budget for the Express's sole railroad, which was only used a couple times per year and required expensive wardstone to be replaced every couple of years each… well, he did cut through that expensive-for-nothing tradition and sent the kids to school via Floo.
Besides, the tradition wasn't even originated from Britain. They stole it from the Irish. And they might even had cursed it, a time or ten. All in all, a bad idea.
That's why, while greetings people and smiling, he inspected the last departure of the train to Hogwarts.
Another person was looking this way and that, on the platform, and that was little Ginny Weasley.
The girl had been quite afraid of returning here after last year – she had asked to stay home, but her mother had nixed that idea. Her only change was that she had her wand out while arriving, tightly held in her hand. The had taken the lessons to mind, and was ready to impede the next magically-resistant foe in a transfigured quagmire of quicksand.
And Ginny heard a boy presenting himself to another with a name that made her hiss.
"Potter?" she asked shrilly. "Harry Potter?"
After last year, she had asked her mother why the "bad guys" had asked for that name, and Molly had asked Dumbledore. And the old man had regaled her with the story… as he saw it.
Needless to say, the whole Weasley gang wasn't going to bring any Potter home that century (or what was left of it).
It didn't help that Ryan looks like Harry Potter (well… not true, but for the uninformed, it might): a face like his "father" James', with green eyes like his mother's, and a scar on his forehead. But the scar was recent, from a bout of fighting (training) with his father.
Because they often trained together, nowadays.
Harry had found that Ryan had another version of his healing factor: it was much slower, but it also reconstructed a body stronger than before. Each time. It left him no doubt about the reason behind Ryan's will to fight during his childhood.
"I'm sorry, son." he had told him after the session ended. "I should have been a better dad."
"Yes, you should." Ryan had answered with a shrug. "But you weren't bad either. And I was difficult to manage, I realize that now."
Ryan blinked, the remembrance fading from his mind, only to be replaced by the face of an angry young redhead. "I hate you!" she cried.
"That's stupid." he replied, quite calmly. Xavier's work held true, and Ryan discovered that actually answering calmly to bullies was a sure way to unnerve them, causing them to make mistake. "Why would you hate me on sight? Or even before meeting me? I have done nothing against you."
"Yes, but my mother said… Dumbledore… your parents."
It wasn't that Ryan was tuning out the conversation, but the blanks were actual holes in the girl's discourse, where she was too incoherent to produce a sound.
"Well, little girl…"
"Nice to know, little girl. I might send you an owl, now that I know your name. And we'll get to know each other, so that next year, when you come to school (I noticed you didn't have a trunk), you will either not hate me, or have a valid reason to."
"I mean, that's almost as stupid as if you were having a crush on me as an imaginary hero because your mother read you stories to sleep."
"What "what"? Is that an introduction, or are you not proficient enough in the English lingo to perceive my sentences' sense?"
"Nice talking to you, "what"." he finished, patting her head. "Now, I'm going to join "who" and "where" and we'll see each other "when". Okay?"
Turning, he saw the Weasley twins. They weren't necessarily friendly (because they, too, had heard their mother cursing the Potter name). But they also knew to take everything delivered by adults with a grain of salt. Or, in the case of her mother and Dumbledore, with a whole bucket. And, frankly, they had never seen their little sister shut up so efficiently… and they appreciated the delivery too.
"Nice chat." said Fred, extending his hand. "I might be "who"."
"That makes you "where"?" Ryan asked George. "Eeww…"
"She's over there." Ryan said, pointing his thumb over his shoulder in the direction of a still-gaping Ginny. And then, after high-fiving a grinning Freg, he entered the train.
He quickly found a compartment with some free space, and settled down for the trip – during which he hoped not to be disturbed by other vengeful redheads (he had seen that Ginny had other brothers, too). Thankfully, they didn't seem that interested. Or perhaps it was because they didn't have a properly-working long-term memory. Who knows?
Now, on another topic, but still related to the trip, let it be said that Ryan doesn't have any idea of his father's true identity. And that he doesn't know his grandparents and their friends. Especially a womanizer named Sirius Black. He couldn't thus imagine that the easy-going mubbleborn in front of him, whom looked like a younger version of the Black family's black sheep (not that he knew anything about that either), had any family link with him.
But Harry knew, because he recognized him on sight when he was Sorted. And he knew Dumbledore did too. And when McGonagall called the teen, everybody knew. Because with a name like that… Orion Black was most assuredly a member of the family.
Why this name, though, if the father hadn't left any contact to the young woman he had screwed (both physically and metaphorically)? Well, the Goblins, for once, were happy to "offer" the drawing of a family tree from his blood. And the woman was quite rich, both because of her family and her job as head researcher in astrophysics – hence her fascination for Sirius (she had his forename, at least) and the naming of their son Orion.
Other women might have gotten pregnant from Sirius' numerous dalliances, but nothing came out of that: either the kid wasn't magical, or he was aborted, or he was schooled elsewhere, or the family didn't have enough money for school and for the inheritance test the Goblins proposed.
And the game started anew for the Headmaster…
…because he still wanted to control Harry (because he still thought the dark lord would come back), and still didn't know where he was hidden. Thus, resolving to follow the teen to his father the next time he left, he hit him with a few tracing spells just as he was Sorted in Gryffindor.
And Harry dispelled them each time Orion left the castle for the holidays. And since, as a teacher, he knew that Dumbledore stayed at the castle, he felt secure enough to leave him be.
He was quite surprise, then, to find a grinning Dumbledore on the train platform. The Headmaster was speaking with an array of reporters about the new laws passed at the Wizengamot that day.
Discreetly, he sent a mental probe towards Dumbledore, but retracted it when he perceived the man's shields. And presence. And power. It was Dumbledore. Which meant that one at Hogwarts was… not?
Then who was it?
And why the charade?
Speaking of the imitation game, there was his own doppelganger to take into account. And Harry realized that is wasn't necessarily another person impersonating the Headmaster, at the two places. As he had done it himself, he knew at least two manners with which the switch could have been done: a Time Turner, and a mental duplication on top of body transfiguration (although that last part was easier with his Metamorphic powers).
He checked on the Potters and all those hidden with them, Sirius Black in particular. Having already one kid at Hogwarts, the guy didn't seem less inclined to find any willing woman to bed… without protection. You'd think the owls sent his way as a warning would have been effective, but nooo… that was one old dog following his wagging tail. Any piece of tail, in fact.
Well… the man was his godfather, and he could find himself facing an angry grandfather (or cuckolded husband) with a gun, one day. But these facts didn't have the same weight if he didn't live "his" life. So apart from sending anonymous warnings to him (as well as condom boxes), Harry didn't prevent him from enjoying life as he could.
Besides, he didn't think the man knew what a condom was, nor how to use them. The Muggle Studies course at Hogwarts was optional, started only in third year, and showed the muggles as they lived a hundred years before – and that was the most recent.
The course ought to be changed. Starting with its teacher: Quirinus Quirell. Apparently, the man wanted to change, too, because he had asked for the Defence chair… just after Harry. Just as he was back from Albania, where, according to him, a good Defence Master was giving advanced courses.
Seeing as the man seemed afraid of his own shadow, Harry didn't think that the courses had been real, much less followed or completed.
And he wasn't the only one: Dumbledore's ears had perked up in interest when hearing that story, and the man had seemed interested to go for days… before placidly staying in place, saying nothing more on the topic.
And Harry realized that it might be at that moment that Dumbledore started to lead a double life. And that the means chosen had nothing to do with Time (which was dangerous). As a master of Transfiguration and the Mind Arts, it was better for the man to have a duplicate walking around, rather than jumping to and fro, keeping track of time, and making sure of never being seen by his "younger" alternate(s) to prevent paradoxes.
And that was even more useful when planning a lengthy trip in a foreign country. A country where he hoped to find leads to Voldemort's continued presence in this world.
One thing it wasn't good for, on the other hand, was the fact that each double was leading his own life, potentially creating other doubles as well, creating a network of Albus Dumbledores that was unmanageable from the top.
Because the Headmaster was seen as omniscient and omnipotent, few dared to go against him. And with a newfound resolution to manage all of Wizarding Britain (and later the world), he put himself in the running for the following Ministerial elections. With his new talent at cloning himself, he now could do it while heading the school and the Britain's seat at the International Confederation of Wizards.
And was elected in a landslide.
The man believed in his own legend, too, which made him quite careless in his old age. He started to be seen in different places, using the excuse that he Apparated each time.
And some of his doubles started to be disappear. One disappeared because he tried to procure ingredients for a potion allowing him to better track people (he found himself facing a nundu, and wasn't powerful enough to dispatch the overweight cat).
Another disappeared just as he was visiting a specific prison he made good use for, in Nuremberg, Germany. And the consequences of this kidnapping would be felt quickly enough.
And Harry kidnapped one of the lesser-able clones. Because the magical power depended on the body, while the memories were in the mind. Having a Dumbledore lookalike, with all his memories, but close to no magical power, it made it quite easy to extract everything of interest from his memories.
Such as the fact that there was a prophecy about him.
He didn't wait and immediately went to the Ministry of Magic to retrieve it. And the wording made him frown: it was about him versus a dark lord and his multiple incarnations. Apparently, Dumbledore thought it was Voldemort, because Slughorn admitted it before leaving the school (that had been clear as day, in his memories).
But in fact, with the certitude that Voldemort was done for, Harry realized that it may also refer to Dumbledore himself. It was quickly confirmed, because upon signing the register, he noticed that the old man had come to hear this particular prophecy several times in the past.
And, you know, the orbs could only be taken by those it applies to.
Dumbledore seemed to think that he could do so because it had been made to him. Or because it was his own memory (although kept fresh with a special magic). Or for any other reason. But the truth remained that the Headmaster was Harry's fated enemy.
Would he ever be free of meddling old men?
He smirked. Old men? Compared to him? They were toddlers, yes, and he could very well put them on his knee for a long-overdue spanking (especially in Albus' case since that had been the preferred method of disciplining troubled youths… in his youth).
Harry wanted to confront the one he thought was the "true" Albus Dumbledore about the choices he made in the Potters' life, regarding that prophecy. So he went to Hogwarts. And entering the school, he crosses a disgruntled Ryan in the corridors.
"Ryan… what in the hell happened to you?"
Because his son wasn't just in a bad mood. He was also drenched in blood. Not his own, apparently, since he didn't seem to have large enough wounds to produce that much liquid.
"Nice seeing you here too, dad." answered the teen sarcastically. "Come."
Harry allowed himself to be led to the second floor's out-of-service girls' toilet. And in. And inside a drop chute which gave him a strong sense of déjà vu. However, the next rooms weren't in a configuration he remembered: it was now a maze, with several traps along the way. A guard dog with three heads. A life-sized chess game. Walls of fire. Smoke and mirrors. And what appeared as the last one, in the middle of the Chamber of Secrets…
No, not a basilisk, because that would be a plot hole.
It was a hydra. An effing hydra, under an effing school!
Inspecting it for magical residue, Harry confirmed that it was a true magical specimen of its species. And quite dead. "Nice job, Ryan. But… how did you kill it? Because, as I recall from this magical creature, when you kill a head, it grows two."
The teen preened under the (rare) compliment from his dad. "Yes! I noticed. It started with seven, and I only registered what it did after killing three of them."
"Did you burn the stump, like in the mythology?"
"Well… not exactly. You remember that we trained every day in the Danger Room?"
"We're in Hogwarts, son. It's called the Room of Requirements, here."
A huff. "I prefer my version."
"You pushed my fighting skills to their limits, leaving me exhausted each time. I'm now much quicker, as well as stronger, and with a greater reserve of magical energy."
"Still… it isn't enough to do… that."
"I also took time to watch the series you got me for Christmas. You said they had interesting ideas, what with the Danger Room and bolts made of energy – they called this Ki."
"Dragon Ball? I thought it was mainly a disturbed sense of humour."
Ryan blushed, which made Harry raise his eyebrows in surprise – it was as rare as his sincere compliments. "Well… it looks like the author changed between parts of the story, because it went from a quest with a girl happy to drop everything-"
"-including her clothes-" Harry nodded.
"-to gain access to the dragon balls. Urgh. That gives me quite a disturbing image, now." A pause. "I tried."
"You tried what?"
"Kamehameha." said Ryan with the corresponding gesticulations. And with a bit of concentration thrown in, it succeeded in producing a small bolt of energy.
"Wow!" explained Harry, before nodding. "That was unexpected."
"I agree." said a third voice around them. "But it won't help you at all, Harry Potter."
"What the fuck?" exclaimed father and son, turning towards the interloper – the voice projection was a nice trick, but both of them had senses allowing them to pinpoint the arriving wizard.
"I know that Voldemort is still alive. I'm quite sure of it." continued the voice, its owner appearing against the light coming from the torches in the entrance. It was Albus Dumbledore. "So I put a trap to bring him here. Because no dark lord could resist the lure of the Philosopher's Stone."
"And I had all the difficulties in the world to get the traps I wanted. The powerful beasts I wanted. Too powerful for mere students and teachers to beat, unless they use dark spells. I now know that you are a dark lord."
"…what?" echoed from both Harry's and Ryan's throats.
"And this, here, is the final proof I needed. My seer told me, in her own words, that Harry Potter was at Hogwarts, and her clues led me here. I now know that Harry Potter is no Harry Potter at all. That his body was possessed by Voldemort when in infancy…" he pointed towards Ryan "…which gives a stronger-than-normal student. And he must have Apparated after doing so, enfeebled because of the power transfer, and licking his wounds somewhere like Albania before returning today under a false identity." he finished, pointing at Harry.
A pause. Quite short, because it was broken by both Harry and Ryan exploding in laughter.
A miffed Albus Dumbledore stuck his chin forward resolutely. "Yes, that final proof I spoke about: the fact that you react at the same times. It proves without a doubt that you have the same mind, that you are the same person. The same dark lord. Voldemort."
"Let me tell you something, Ryan." Harry said to his son. "Wizard's logic has never heard of Occam's Razor."
While Ryan chuckled, Dumbledore's eyes narrowed. "What is this razor you speak of? A dark weapon? A dark artefact? Who's Occam?"
"Why should everything that oppose you must be dark?" asked Harry, genuinely curious.
"Because I am the Light Lord Albus Dumbledore!" exclaimed the old man, his voice once again coming from anywhere. "I am the one foretold by Destiny to destroy all dark activities!"
And Harry and Ryan couldn't pinpoint his location anymore… because another Albus Dumbledore emerged from the shadows. "It was Destiny which put us here." said the newcomer.
"Destiny which granted us our powers." said another.
"Destiny which pitted us against the enemies our friends have become."
"Destiny which killed our sister (certainly not us) so that we wouldn't have a dead weight holding us down."
"I beg to differ…" started yet another Dumbledore, before shutting up before the glare of the others. And turning towards the two in the middle of the room, he also intoned. "It was Destiny who gave us all our positions of power."
"It was Destiny who told us of our success in annihilating you."
"More like Trelawney on her usual diet of sherry and incense." shot Harry.
"SHUT UP!" yelled the seven Dumbledores at the same time, the effect quite deafening. "You don't know what you're talking about! You are merely an obstacle in the path of the Greater Good! You are going to die, and that's final!"
"You know…" Ryan began, slowly turning around, "I have seen this before."
"Where?" asked Harry, trying not to leave any enemy out of his sight (which was difficult since they were seven of them, surrounding them).
"A movie. "My tricks" I think it was. Although the duplicated bad guy didn't use the word "final". He said "inevitable" and I think it's better."
"You're right. But don't forget that this is a wizard. They have no logic, but also no common sense, no sense of fashion-"
"-and no sense of dramatics. Gotcha." A pause. "Just tell me, dad… you have a way for us to get out of this, right?"
"I'm afraid we'll have to fight our way through it." Harry answered – he had already tried to Apparate (or move magically along other means) with no success. Nor could he fly without expending so much power that he'd be vulnerable. And he preferred staying in the middle, because the enemy could then be provoked into killing themselves with crossfire.
"Good!" exclaimed the teen, before concentrating.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm trying to become angry."
"During our training, I felt that I was more powerful when angry."
"Are you able to lose that anger, once it's done?"
"I… think so."
"Okay." Harry said, and he whacked his son with his staff – because he had concentrated as well, and despite not being able to travel, he was still able to access his magically-hidden inventory. And get his staff – upon which numerous runes started glowing as soon as he touched it. And whack his son with it. And check from the corner of his eyes that Dumbledore was as stumped as Ryan from his unexpected manoeuver. Good. Because he used the whacking to cast protections spells on his progeny (and lower for a time the barriers professor X had installed in his mind).
"Ouch! What the hell, dad?" yelled Ryan.
"Come on, kid!" Whack! "You don't need to concentrate to become angry." Whack! "Let go of your shackles!" Whack! "Show us the beast within!" And whack again!
"Grrr… GRRRR! AAAAARRRRGGH!" bellowed Ryan, in a stance well-known to all those who ever saw super-heroes yelling their dismay to the sky (or the ceiling), arms clenched to the side. For no reason. "And A+R+G+H* too!" he finished, trying to be complete in the manner of true regular expressions. And that was the last bit of intelligence he displayed for some time, because he became… blond.
"Oookay." Harry muttered, taking a few steps to the side and trying to look inconspicuous while Ryan-the-Saiyan recovered his breath. Dumbledore didn't have this possibility, though, because enough of them surrounded the room to be present whichever way Ryan looked. "Time to activate my own power-up." he added sotto voce, when his son jumped forwards impossibly fast.
And, like in other movies where characters activate artefacts in a dramatic fashion, Harry struck the ground with the heel of his staff. The runes on his staff started gliding down on the material as if they had been a poorly-fastened silk robe on a scarlet woman. And like the aforementioned robe, they pooled on the ground in an uneven circle. Harry frowned and struck again, pushing the runes in a perfect circle. And a gong sound was heard, accompanying the noise of lightning along the circle – because there was lightning there, as well as between the circle and a slightly floating Harry, along the man's limbs, and in his eyes also.
And he hefted his weapon in the air before falling down with a shout, striking the ground with it, and creating a huge shockwave going in every direction – if the visual makes you think of an avenging Thor, it's normal.
No Dumbledore was left untouched by the blast, especially as they all thought it was a magical attack. No, sir! It was purely mundane electricity, and it coursed through the hastily-erected shields, even the physical metallic shield a particularly stupid one transfigured on the fly (because there were some flies, too). And it flash-fried most of them.
"Huh? What the hell, dad?" asked the blond hulk – and isn't that a strange vision?
Harry was ready to answer with every kind of details (like any father answering his son about a topic they knew in-depth), but two things prevented him from doing so.
First, he had to catch his breath.
And two, a chuckle sounded behind Ryan (who had caught quite a bit of lightning). "You think you have won?" asked a smoking Dumbledore (and we all know that smoking is bad for your health… especially when it comes from your whole body, like it was the case here).
"Well… given that you have one hit point left... and that your mob is dead… yes, I think so." Ryan answered, nodding resolutely. And Harry nodded as well, even if he didn't understand everything.
"You know nothing." breathed the old man before coughing his last. That's when the father-son duo noticed the green glow around each fallen Dumbledore clone. And then the one they were facing, too.
"What's happening?" asked Ryan.
"I don't know." answered Harry.
Each corpse disappeared in the tell-tale crack of magical transportation, creating another kind of shockwave-without-a-shield. It was deafening, but not life threatening. However, it became so when the sound came again but with double power. And why? Because instead of seven places where air replaced empty space, fourteen places found themselves with too much air, which was pushed outwards.
Each downed Dumbledore was replaced with two alive ones. And since they appeared at the same place, the sound they made when arriving simultaneously was enough to create a centripetal force, pushing the two Potters towards the centre. And make them bleed from the damage to their ears.
It was good for Ryan, though, because when he noticed the doubled number of enemies, he exclaimed "Oh fuck me sideways!" Perhaps he had seen a few movies where people spoke inappropriately (hint: it was one with a blade) but uttering this kind of slang when one's father is nearby is a good way to find yourself whacked. "Not the Hydra thing again!"
"How do you know of Hydra?" asked one Dumbledore, quite shocked – incidentally, it was the one nearest to the place the first Dumbledore had emerged, previously. And it also seemed the one the others respected the most (because they let him talk without interrupting).
"What?" asked the two Potters. Not exactly at the same time, but both for the same reason.
"I SAID WHAT… ah, yes, I see. Auris reparo."
"Yeowch!" A pause. "Why, thank you, old man."
"You're welcome." Another pause. "So… how do you know about Hydra?" asked one of the Dumbledores.
"You mean… you don't know?" Ryan replied, with a wide gesture towards where the hydra corpse was situated… or rather when it had been, before the electricity wave vaporized it – with no magic in its body anymore, it exploded in a ball of acid which had coated the three Dumbledores behind it.
But the new Dumbledores didn't know that. For them, the arm was simply waving in a given direction. And that direction clearly meant something. "Of course I know! We come from there, after all." said the head Dumbledore. Seeing the two guys with a nonplussed expression, he elaborated. "Since you know, I see nothing preventing me to explain. After all, it will be your last minutes on this life, so I can do it freely."
"I object." one of the Dumbledores said – once again, by a curious set of circumstances, he was placed where the Dumbledore from the previous wave had tried to show a bit of individuality. "If they are dead, necromancers can still ask them questions."
"That's if they are Only Mostly Dead." intervened another.
"I concur." said yet another, but without adding anything – probably a concurrent.
"I don't." said the one slightly on the left of the last speaker (this is going old real fast, but bear with me for a couple minutes). "In our universe, even while necromancers can't revive these people, muggles can."
"You mean muggles do dark magic?" yelled another Dumbledore, clearly disturbed. "That's disgusting!"
"They can't do it with Most Sincerely Dead people, though, while our necromancers can chat with either." assured the one apparently knowledgeable about Death – clearly, those clones didn't share the exact same memories.
"So… we shouldn't reveal anything to them when killing them?" asked the head headmaster (and wasn't this strange to write). "But when are we going to gloat, then? And why do you speak with capitalized initials?"
"The capitals are because I'm speaking about Tropes, you know?" As this drew blanks all around (except for Ryan, who, for some reason, was quietly laughing on the ground), he tried to explain. "It's like the Fourth Wall, which this author constantly breaks."
"Oh I get it." said the one who previously concurred. "It's like the Children Are Innocent one, that we constantly come across."
"Or the bouts of Sex Is Cool if most of the stories in which we're bashed." rallied a disgruntled Dumbledore three places down the head honcho – whom we'll call #3 from now on, even if he won't speak anymore. "Especially as we never have any." I mean he won't speak anymore after this.
"Yeah!" exclaimed Ryan unexpectedly. "You Really Need to Get Laid!"
"Shut up!" interrupted Harry. "They were ready to gloat."
"Actually, you're right." the knowledgeable one started, before turning towards #1, the head thingy. "If you want to gloat before killing them and make sure they don't bleat, it's simple: make them Deader Than Dead."
"Isn't that dark?" asked #6 while, at the same time, #10 wanted to know how it was to be done.
"Who cares?" replied #5 while #9 and #11 started to exchange views with their neighbours about how they were going to do this, making Harry and Ryan wince – they didn't want to be flattened into pasta, their individual molecules disintegrated into quarks spread over the universe, nor did they want their immortal soul to follow the same path. Whether it was through a spell or wishful thinking (hint: no Dumbledore here is innocent enough for such wish to work – check my Wishes story for details /ad).
"We are Dumbledores!" yelled #1, calling an end to the chaos around him. "We can do anything! We are going to kill them, and use spells to kill them again."
"Yeah, we get it." Harry said, rolling his eyes. "Unpleasant Things, again. So… no gloat?"
"Ah yes, the gloat." #1 said. "And before that-"
"-the oral sex?" asked #3. Wow, that guy is obstinate, as I was sure he'd shut up. Lemme check something… bang! He's dead. And crap! Two others take his place, now.
"Wrong movie." muttered Mr Knowledge before bringing his attention back to the Albus Dumbledore in the lead.
"The… exposition!" exclaimed #1, while the others shushed their neighbours and quieted in order to listen attentively. "Once upon a time… in a country not far from here… there was a leader. And the leader had a vision. But the enemies wanted to crush the leader and his vision, and bombed everything to get at him. Sensing that he was going to lose, the leader entrusted others to pursue his noble goals in his stead. And the others decided that they were going to be like the proverbial hydra after this: whenever one of them would die, two others would take his place. That's what made us survive. That's what makes us great today. Heil Hydra!"
"Heil Hydra!" repeated the Dumbledore, in front of the dumbfounded duo.
"Our group had a small setback just after its inception, though, because our most influent wizard found himself defeated by Albus Dumbledore."
"Boo!" …booed the Dumbledores, bamboozling the Potters further.
"But Albus Dumbledore recently came back to the prison in which he had imprisoned his old friend (and ex) Gellert. He simply wanted to chat. But we were there already, ready to breach the final defences to Grindelwald's cell. We were quite afraid to see Albus Dumbledore there, but quickly overwhelmed him. And discovered that he was Albus Dumbledore, and also… not him, at the same time. So we made him open the door, and found Gellert in a richly-furnished cell, living a slowed life of luxury. For him the fifty years elapsed as fifty days. He was perhaps devoid of his wand, but we gave him one, and he rejoined the group. Heil Hydra!"
"And why are you all Dumbledores?" asked Harry.
"Well, you see, now that he has a wand, Mr Grindelwald reversed the time ratio in the room in order to have the time to sift through Mr Dumbledore's memories. And he noticed that he could make it so that Hydra takes over the world… legally. He just had to impersonate the old man, replacing Dumbledore's clones by his own, still with Dumbledore's face. When one dies, a set of specialized portkeys lead two of us in his place. And so, when all the Dumbledores are under our control, we control the world. Heil Hydra!"
Ryan had noticed the pattern, and was ready when the man said this. Just as the others yelled in unison, he yelled at the same time. "Kamehameha!" And the beam of light coming from his hands pushed the speaker back towards the entrance… where he found himself flattened against the closed door.
A silence ensued. "Now, that was quite impolite, young man." said #2. "We didn't even have time to gloat."
"Gloating is for after the battle, dumb-ass!" yelled the teen, before repeating his favourite ranged attack. Harry threw a few spells too, but let it be said that proficient wizards with Dumbledore's memories aren't that easy to defeat. The whole ground changed around them, transfigured by the thirteen remaining wands. And the pointy and indestructible barriers closed in on the two Potters, leaving only small windows for them to watch the smug Dumbledore faces.
"You might have killed two of us-" #12 started.
"Nine, sir." interrupted #7. "Remember, they killed the first group of Hydra Agents. And seven plus two equal nine. I think." he finished, muttering while counting on his fingers, and trying to compute why there was more Dumbledores remaining than expected.
"Nine of us, then, but that will not be enough. We will prevail! And then we will avenge the fallen two-"
"Nine, sir." interrupted #7 again.
"FUU… SION!" came from within the assembled debris. And a few nanoseconds later, a shockwave greater than all the others made the pile explode. You see, while the Dumbledore tried to gloat, the two in the prison had their own chat. And Ryan gave Harry the memories necessary to use their next power-up – the memory sharing was necessary to complete the steps correctly on their first try.
And above the battlefield stood a levitating person, whom resembled both Ryan and Harry (which didn't change much after all, since they were father and son). Arms spread, the one who was going to call himself Ry (for that's the common denominator between Harry and Ryan) started to intone new words of attack in order to deal with the Dumbledore while they were shocked. Eight globes of energy appeared from Ry's hands, moving in patterns around him like electrons around an atom – the popular version of it, in any case.
Seeing this, the Dumbledores thought it was just a special effect and fired between the globes to reach him. It led to a large sphere of multi-coloured light coalescing around the man… until they noticed that their spells didn't let up. And that the sphere didn't go beyond the globes of energy. They didn't know that the globes accelerated on their own to intercept magical attacks. And they followed the current of magic back to the source. And they detonated there.
Eight Dumbledore crumbled to the ground, but the remaining five smirked. And after two deafening cracks (Ry was ready and surrounded himself with a cone of silence, negating the sound attack), sixteen Albus Dumbledores appeared.
"How many are they?" asked a dumbfounded father-son creature.
"I don't know." he answered himself – apparently, they shared a body and most of its mind, but not everything.
"We are… Legion!" exclaimed one of the newly-arrived Dumbledore with a smirk – a line he liked very much since he was the one to put it in The Book.
Since the twenty-or-so bad guys shared the same mind, the information transferred freely between them. As such, the newcomers saw what had happened in the prison of transfigured debris. And they did the steps.
Like Harry and Ryan, they merged. Two by two, and again, and again, they merged. Until only one remained. "And we're stronger than you!" the gigantic fiend hollered.
Because, when adding matter and energy together, the result is greater than the sum of its parts. Here, despite some false starts among some, the resulting Albus Dumbledore was easily ten times the size of Ry Potter (himself over two British meters – you know, the ones always better than the other meters). He was so large that he couldn't stand in the otherwise massive room.
The giant tried to stomp on Ry, but anyone can attest that squishing a particularly fast and resistant bug isn't that easy. And even less when it starts to fly in your face. Slytherin's face (still there) took a couple hits from flailing arms the size of battering rams.
"No! Not the face!" yelled Dumbledore (although he spoke about his own face, of course).
After a while, the two fighters found themselves at the opposites sides of the room, and Ry started a massive attack. "KA… ME… HA… ME… HA!"
Sensing that the large beam rushing him, Big-D (for Dumbledore, not Dudley) jumped back. Or on the side. Or dropped on all fours. Or danced the tango. Or… not.
Like with Ry, he had several personalities. And this led to several incompatible decisions, which in turn led to him splitting himself back into his constituent Dumbledores, all of them jumping in several directions – have you seen the Avengers' part where Strange duplicates suddenly? Same cinematic, here, although with much less budget.
The massive energy attack struck the Dumbledore swarm dead centre, vaporizing four of them immediately, and maiming eight with more or less deadly wounds. The remaining ones where too shocked to do anything.
Although some were fine enough to quip.
"That's useless." choked one of the dying ones. "We are going to swamp you, and then you'll lose. It's inevitable."
"I knew it!" yelled Ry/an, pumping his arm in the air.
"Shut up, I have an idea." exclaimed Har/ry. "Besides, we don't have much time with this form. Evanesco!"
The dying one disappeared. It took quite a bit of concentration from Ry, but it worked. Normally, living matter is not subject to the Vanishing spell. But Harry and Ryan together would make it work. Since most Dumbledores where unsettled by their individual defeat, they followed suit without fail.
The almost-deafening crack of eight new arrivals didn't register as heralding a problem, though, because they immediately noticed their surroundings. And the large grin on the two Potters (who had split because their time limit was up). "Hey! Where are the others?" asked the one who seemed in charge of the last team.
"They are in Evanesco! Evanesco! Evanesco!" said the two, erasing the remaining Dumbledores one after the other, until only one remained, which they took prisoner (and shaved, too, not to confuse him with the real old man).
You see, when someone uses the Vanishing spell, something special happens. Harry didn't know that exactly, and he still doesn't. So it's left to me, the author, to offer a brief explanation – really, I must do everything here (except review, of course… wink wink nudge nudge).
That spell doesn't kill. And this is the only reason why Harry used it instead of the myriad of spells and effects killing people.
When the spell was invented, the creator simply wanted to move some debris away. And they disappeared, true… only to reappear somewhere else. When another wizard did the same, the magic sent the trash even further. Like the muggle do, the waste was pushed further and further away, even forming an isle in the ocean, at one time – which some called Atlantis, when it was seen from afar. However, this spot was soon unavailable for refuse because one wizard used Evanesco on it (after seeing what it was made of).
Since that time, the magic found a place where wizard wouldn't be able to look for their refuse: the interior of an active volcano. Why is it interesting for this story? Because the replacement clones' portkey where the previous one dies. So, when one dies in the volcano, two are portkeyed there to take his place, and die as well, bringing four, etc.
The result of that much expended magical energy almost caused an eruption. Instead, the volcano-with-an-unpronounceable-name released a cloud of ash so large it prevented aerial traffic for weeks. But since in only concerned Europe, the other countries rejoiced in silence, placing bets on the corresponding companies to go down as well.
I know, gambling is bad. But I was speaking of legal gambling. More than that, it's legal gambling with assets not your own, with impacts on real people's job and families and happiness. And health.
I was speaking of this tentacle demon trying to take over the world (and succeeding) while convincing everybody it had the moral high ground because it didn't kill (well… not directly, as burnouts and suicides don't count in its eyes).
I wasn't speaking about a Hydra-controlled Albus Dumbledore.
I was speaking about capitalistic marketplaces.
I was speaking about Wall Street.
To be continued in next chapter: After Maths...
Author's Notes: As if I hadn't written some already…
Thank you for reading. You might have noticed that I'm much less serious in my writings than what the described situations might require.
That's not really intentional. As I wrote in another story, characters can sometime write themselves spontaneously. I'm just letting them do that, here – think of it as yet another writing experiment of yours truly.
That's also why the Fourth Wall is so thin here. As my characters write their dialogs alone, I'm left as a witness to their shenanigans, and can't help comment on some of them.
In addition, I'm less and less able to summon the creative juices which would be necessary if I wanted to describe the everyday life at Hogwarts. Many stories already do so. But feel free to PM me with such anecdotes if you want, and I'll add them to the story (in the way that has become usual today: omakes).
Lastly, I'm sure that you can easily guess what I do in my life from the character's words. Yes, it's about computers, and certainly not high finance. Yes, I play online RPGs sometimes (although not with that pen name). Yes, I saw Matrix (when they premiered). And Dragon Ball (when they got out). And Monty Python. And Abbott & Costello. And other stuff using Greek mythology. And Avengers. And a few more besides. Free cookies to all those who guessed all these from the crumbs left by the characters.
I don't own any of these.