Chapter 1: Fawkes' Helping Talon

My heart beat in time to my feet as I walked. Although the hand that led me didn't allow a leisurely pace, it wasn't particularly fast. In other words, I was rather calm, considering I was about to face Lord Voldemort. The diary, the ring, the locket, the cup, Ravenclaw's brooch. All found and destroyed. Nagini still needs to be killed, but I'm not worried about her. She'll be here.

The hand jerked my arm again, trying to get me to quicken my pace. The man didn't scare me, but the hand did. The hand I saw created by Voldemort himself. I saw it break through rope as if it were a cobweb. So I obeyed its pressure and quickened my pace, at least a little bit. The man to whom the hand was attached scowled and started dragging me.

"The foulest circle of hell is reserved for traitors, Wormtail," I growled, then grinned mentally when I realized I'd quoted a Muggle movie. Stuff that you pure-blood freaks.

"I had no choice. You have no idea the weapons the Dark Lord possesses."

Where have I heard that before?

"A coward's excuse. Cliche too."

It felt good to get that off my chest. He would die as soon as his usefulness ended. His hand jerked me again. Man was that ever annoying. It took all my will power to keep my hand off my wand, let alone his face.

Slowly, a large house loomed into view. Much to my dismay, and Wormtail's amusement, I gave an involuntary shutter at the sight of this run down mansion. You would too if you'd had prophetic-like dreams about it. As we got closer, I noticed a shadow coiled near the steps. Nagini. The last Horcrux.

"I've brought you Harry Potter m'Lord."

Bloody git. Talking as if he and cornered me and ordered me to come with him, not the other way around like it really happened. Nagini did something to the equivalent of rolling her eyes and slithered into the house. Which means...

"Avada Kedavra!"

Ok, I know what you're thinking, but what else could I do? Yes, there is Sectumsempra, but if you think about it, it's just as bad. Plus, no mess now. It's not like I use it regularly, or enjoy it. And I'm sure Voldemort will wait patiently while I Bat-bogey him to death. This is just...practice.

"Pity, Avada Kedavra ruins the flavor," Nagini muttered sadly as she slithered back out of the house. Alone. I could do it now and he wouldn't be able to stop me... No, he has to see it. I want him to hurt before I kill him.

"Harry, so good of you to come," came the cold, high voice. Lord Voldemort detached himself from the shadows of the house, a ravenous gleam in his eye, "I've been expecting you for a while."

"I've been busy."

"Have you? No matter. We are here now. Shall we begin?"

"One second. I just have a loose end to tie up," and with that I pointed my wand at Nagini and cast the Avada Kedavra. Silently. You have to admit, that is cool. And seeing Voldemort goggle is a privilege not many people get to see. But his astonishment quickly turned to anger.

"You will die for that, Potter," he whispered, his voice deadly quiet.

"And you will die for," I started counting on my fingers, "Dumbledore, Cedric, Bertha Jorkins, that old caretaker, Myrtle, Madame Bones, Sirius, the Longbottoms. Oh, and we can't forget my parents of course."

"Are you being flippant with me?"

"And what if I am?"

He scowled, "Let's just being the dual."

"And when it ends, we shall see who is right and who is dead," Hah! Another Muggle book. I'm on a roll today.

We faced each other, brought up our wands, turned, walked away, turned again. He bowed, like before. This time, I did too, an exaggerated, sweeping bow. A vein pulsed on his neck, making him look like Uncle Vernon, only less purple. I considered telling him this, but I'd goaded him enough already.

"One!" he said.

"Two!" I replied.

"Three!" we both shouted. It happened so quickly. Almost simultaneously our wands raised. I could see the incantation on his lips, felt it on mine. Both jets of green light left the wand tips, shooting towards each other. They were feet apart, coming closer, nearly touching. Then, right before they collided, there was a flash of fire as Fawkes appeared, right in the path of both curses. But neither hit; they merely swerved aside and started swirling around Fawkes' head like a green halo. My wand started glowing, so did Voldemort's. I felt the very core of its power, the power that came from Fawkes himself. And Fawkes began to glow as well. Something in me suddenly understood what he was doing. Fawkes was drawing on the power of our wands. As the power grew to its height, Fawkes turned to me. I felt his song within me and then words floated on top of them.

"Learn well this lesson, Harry Potter," and the magic was let loose.