Chapter 1:


A mournful wind whipped across the empty, blasted landscape that only a few precious hours before had played host to finest the wizard world had to offer. It had been an act of desperation on both sides, an unspoken mutual agreement that the time had come to win or die. Neither side had considered that they might have the sincere misfortune of accomplishing both.

The two armies had met in the midst of the hills of Scotland. The whole of the surviving Order and Ministry against the vast legions the Dark Lord has built over the ten grueling years of war. For a long moment the two armies had simply stared at each other, seemingly in shock that the other side had actually materialized as promised. Then someone threw the first spell, a rather nasty piece of work which turned an unfortunate giant inside-out in a truly gruesome fashion.

It would have made a great story to tell the grandchildren, "Yes, I was the one who opened the final battle, the first righteous hand to bring the wrath of justice down upon the dark side." It would have that is if the auror who threw it had survived the first twenty three seconds of the battle.

After the first spell the battle degenerated into complete and utter chaos. No one knew who threw the second spell, indeed it is in severe doubt as to whether that honor did not belong to every single being on the field. The storm of spell fire that flew between the two armies was blinding in its intensity as both sides abandoned every convention of warfare in the urgent need To destroy the other.

The light side had learned their lesson the hard way in the first brutal years of the war, and the green predominated the battlefield on both sides as the unblockable killing curse took a murderous toll on the tightly packed ranks. From the rear ranks of both armies vast waves of energy surged back and forth, locked in an arcane duel far above the main conflict. The Dark Lord against the Headmaster, arch mage against inhuman monster.

For a full hour neither could gain the advantage as their grunts fought and died between them. Then, with an ancient Egyptian curse thought lost to the sands of time Voldemort broke the deadlock, sending the aging headmaster staggering back clutching his head in agony.

The momentary distraction was all the Dark Lord needed as he sent wave after wave of unholy energy down across the battlefield, sucking the life from everything in its path. It should have been the end of the battle then and there; the light side's moral broke at the onslaught and the forces of darkness surged forward, looking for the kill.

But, scarcely thirty seconds after Voldemort had triumphed over the Headmaster he was forced to release his battle magic, to turn away from his looming victory on the battlefield to gaze in horror at the sword protruding from between his shoulder blades. Had any vestige of humanity remained in his accursed form he would have simply dropped dead. But, he truly had achieved nearly immortality and, with a savage scream, he wrenched the blade out and turned to face the new threat.

Standing behind him, wands bared, were the two survivors of a trio that had thwarted him again and again over the years. One of them stood tall and thin, his six foot frame scarred from head to toe. Each mark had been dearly bought, each told the story of tens if not hundreds of death eaters killed in wild battle or cold assassination. The green eyes that stared out from above that battle-scarred body were cold and hard, hiding the tiny spark of life that still lurked within behind an indomitable mask.

The other was a short girl who towered at best a mere five foot three. Although she lacked the brutal scars of her companion, she was not wholly unmarked from the war, as one long thin line ran under each eye: tears of blood shed for the absent third who should have been standing by her that day.

Voldemort wasted no time in the nicety of words or bows, he too had learned his lesson throughout the war. He lashed out hard and fast with a wide arc acid curse to scatter his attackers before they could move to defend each other. Harry dove to the left and came up firing, a steady stream of lethal and crippling curses spewing forth from his wand. Hermione on the other hand didn't bother to move as she wordless conjured a wall of steel to absorb the attack. She banished its remains back at the Dark Lord with deadly velocity.

The Dark Lord dodged and ducked with amazing agility for a man who moments before had been cleanly run through, avoiding the curses and steel as he returned fire with deadly abandon.

On and on the duel raged, as the sun slowly began to set and armies's weary survivors continued to kill each other. Finally, the Dark Lord gained an advantage as, in an incredible display of magic he froze time for the blink of an eye. It was enough, not for him to kill his prophecied opponent, but to at least fact him one on one.

The killing curse connected with Hermione a half second before she even knew it had been cast, sending her hurtling backwards with an empty, lost look already filling her eyes. The was a sickening silence for a moment as Harry locked his gaze on the Dark Lord in redoubled hatred before he leapt back into the duel.

It soon reached a level of savagery nearly unmatched in history as two of the most brilliant sorcerers to ever lived broke every rule of magic. The very fabric of reality seemed to shred about them as more and more raw power flew through the air.

Finally, in a wholly unexpected move Harry simply dropped his wand and hurled himself at Voldemort, tackling the Dark Lord to the ground. The struggled for an endless moment before Harry managed to wandlessly summon one of the daggers he always stashed on his person. Again and again it plunged down, until, at last, even the Dark Lord's near immortal frame gave way before the assault.

Even as Harry sobbed in relief and grief at his triumph and loss a far different scene was taking place across the battlefield. The light side had not been the only one who sent their best and deadliest out head hunting. Bellatrix and Lucius had come searching for Potter and Albus. The had found only the Headmaster, which was just as well Lucius reflected as he narrowly avoided being transfigured into a cabbage.

Bellatrix did not share her companions relief as she cast her gaze about angrily for some sign of Potter. They had clashed more than anyone throughout the course of the war, and it had become deadly personable long ago. First she had killed her cousin, his godfather. He had retaliated by taking her husband and his brother from her. She in turn had countered savagely three years latter, murdering one of the Golden Trio in an ambush.

From there bad blood had become a pitiful understatement. Often it seemed that they no longer fought the war, the simply fought to hurt each other. Every friend, every companion and even pet of the other fell one by one. Avery then Snape then Susan then... the list was endless.

Over the course of their endless conflicts they had come to know each other as well as they knew themselves. Every trick, every movement, every thought and feeling was impossible to hide from the other. They could duel each other with eyes closed and the only one to take a wound would be anyone dumb enough to get in the way.

Still, if she could not have Potter she could remove one of the last two people in the world close to him, Bellatrix thought as she used the rather unfortunate transfiguration of Lucius into a popsicle as a distraction to flank the old man.

Her saw her movements, but it was a fraction of a second too late to dodge the wordless curse she hurled at him. The Headmaster staggered at the force of the dark cutting hex, before falling to the ground, exhausted and bleeding.

Bellatrix was about to finish the job when she felt her Dark Mark pulse once with unimaginable agony, before disappearing. It was impossible. Unthinkable. The Dark Lord was too strong, he was her's! The one thing she had that not even Potter could destroy! No! It could not be.

Yet the evidence was there, staring her in the face. He was dead. Her lord. And there was only one man who could have done it. Bellatrix thought, her vision gone red as she forgot the crippled form of the Headmaster lying at her feet. Potter must be there. He must pay. He must die this time!

Sweeping her gaze across the horizon Bellatrix finally found the hill in the distance where the Dark Lord had set up camp at the beginning of the battle. Potter had to be there. She thought as she apparated straight through the wards that lay across the battlefield

As soon as Bellatrix had left the Headmaster raised his head and looked out over the battlefield with a groan. Not a single being stirred, the armies had wiped each other out.

Albus knew he was dying, knew that this world was already dead. As he gazed out over the battlefield a strange resolve gripped him. If Harry somehow had survived the battle he could not be left behind in a world like this. A world broken by war, and marked only by death.

No, the Headmaster thought as he gathered the last of his dying strength, he would send Harry and Hermione if they both still lived away form this hell hole. He would give them a new start, a second chance. Slowly the Headmaster chanted in a long forgotten tongue, its harsh syllables slipping past his slowly failing mouth as he gathered the last of his energy to open a rift with just enough power to send two people to a better place.