I am not J.K. Rowling, and I do not own Harry Potter (although I do own a copy of all the books and movies), and am certainly not making any money off of this.
I'm writing this purely because I enjoy it, and I hope you do, too.
A Sirius Matter
Chapter 40 – The Battle of the Ages
Harry woke up on October 31st, 1995 very tired. He didn't know exactly what time he'd gone to sleep, but he knew that it had taken a long time. However, he knew that he didn't have time to stay in bed. He shook himself and got ready for his morning exercise.
He gave Hermione an exceptionally passionate kiss when he met her at the bottom of her staircase, which she returned enthusiastically. They both knew that all their future plans rode on the events of that day, and there was no guarantee that either of them would survive. He looked her in the eyes and stated, "I love you. No matter what happens today, never forget that."
"I love you, too, and I'll love you forever."
Soon, the others joined them, so the five Gryffindor exercise partners made their way to the Room of Requirement, which they'd begun using for their workout instead of Harry's trunk. They met Luna there, and agreed to do a light workout that day, only enough to wake up their muscles, not tire them out. They figured that they'd get plenty of exercise before the day was over.
On the way to breakfast, they noticed a large group of about forty aurors heading out the door. Harry asked, "What's going on?" and one of them called over his shoulder.
"Attack in Diagon Alley. We're all going."
Harry's jaw dropped. He'd naturally seen small groups of aurors leaving the castle to handle attacks, but never this many. He also knew it was standard Death Eater policy now to stop the floo from working wherever they were attacking, which is why the aurors stopped using the floo to go anywhere, instead running outside Hogwarts' wards and apparating as close to the attack as possible. He also knew, "It's a diversion!"
The aurors had already left when he whispered that to his friends. "Riddle doesn't want the aurors here while he attacks, so he's drawn them out."
Hermione's brow furrowed as she considered this. "You're probably right. The attack will be easier now that most of the aurors are gone."
"Well," suggested Ron, "We'd better get breakfast while we have the chance." Everyone stared at him like he's grown an extra arm.
"How can you think of food at a time like this?" his sister asked.
"Er, we'll need energy if we're going to fight Death Eaters," he explained before walking into the Great Hall.
Knowing that Ron did have a point, Harry said, "Let's go," and followed him.
While the Boy-Who-Lived agreed they needed energy, he didn't think that Ron needed the stack of twenty pancakes he'd begun devouring, and silently wondered if even Ron could eat that much. Harry wasn't feeling very hungry himself, but forced a few sausages and a single pancake down before they heard a loud explosion outside.
Harry and all the H.A., as well as Dumbledore, stood up. Fawkes appeared in front of him with a note. The headmaster read the note, and then calmly announced, "It would appear that Voldemort's forces have decided to attack Hogwarts today. Prefects, please escort all students to their dormitories, where they should be safe."
Harry felt the eyes of every member of Hogwarts' Army upon him as he started walking toward the aged professor.
"I believe that it's time to fulfill the prophecy," he responded evenly.
Dumbledore closed his eyes for a moment and reopened them. "I believe you are correct." He sighed. "I suppose Miss Granger will be with you as well."
"Actually," he said nervously. "I've been working with a group of sixty-nine students fourth-year and above on ways to defend the castle for the past few months. We call ourselves Hogwarts' Army. We have a plan, and especially with the aurors gone, you need us."
"That's preposterous!" declared Snape, who was nearby.
Harry glared at his former teacher. "What's preposterous is letting a murderer like you…"
"Enough!" interrupted Dumbledore. "We don't need to be fighting amongst ourselves today. Harry, tell me your army's plans."
"But Albus," said McGonagall, "Surely…"
"Minerva, there are hundreds of Death Eaters advancing on us, and only a few dozen adults to fight them." She paled. "Tom was wise to draw out the aurors, and the battle will be over before they return. We will lose if we fight alone. If we fail, then all these children will likely be killed. By uniting, at least we'll stand a chance. We need all the help we can get." Minerva didn't look happy, but kept silent. He then announced, "Members of Hogwarts' Army that wish to fight may stay. The rest of you, go to your dormitories." He turned back to Harry. "Now, tell me, what is your plan?"
Harry looked a bit surprised. "Won't the Minister…"
With a twinkle in his eye, Dumbledore replied, "I'll deal with the Minister. Tell me your battle plan."
The Headmaster was very impressed with the battle plans, and allowed Harry to instruct the army to get into their positions while he arranged the castle's defenses. His last words to Harry were, "I will try to tire Voldemort out for you." The members of the H.A. began leaving the Great Hall. Some headed out the main doors, while two groups, one of which Harry wished he could join, were going to the towers. The group he wished he were part of was going to fly on broomsticks and attack from the sky, while the other would be shooting spells and throwing special objects from the towers. Harry had been amazed at how well the Room of Requirement had recreated the towers so they could practice.
The Boy-Who-Lived, however, knew that he couldn't wear himself out fighting Death Eaters. He had only one primary target, and would only defend himself on the way to Voldemort, not try to take on every Death Eater, or any creatures that joined Riddle for that matter, that he saw. As he slowly marched out the emptying Great Hall, he could sense Hermione trying to catch up to him. Part of him wished he could talk her into staying behind while he listened to the sounds of the outside battle that had already begun, but the other part of him was glad to have her with him as they faced whatever fate had in store for them.
She hadn't quite caught up to Harry, when he heard a familiar drawl behind him. "Cruci…Owwww," yelled Draco Malfoy. Harry had begun to move out of the way and turn at the first syllable of that hex, and when he had fully spun around, he saw Hermione giving him a muggle karate lesson he wouldn't soon forget. The pale Death Nibbler already had a black eye forming as Harry's girlfriend continued to beat him up.
"You foul, loathsome," she was punching or kicking him with each word. Harry almost felt sorry for Draco when she kicked him between the legs. He fell, but she picked him up and continued beating him. "cowardly, back-shooting…"
Harry noticed that Crabbe and Goyle were moving toward Hermione in what was apparently running to them and immediately moved between them and his girlfriend, who was still letting out over four years of hate on her nemesis, whose possibly broken nose was bleeding as he cried helplessly, "Mud-blood, when m-my fa-ther…" Harry prepared to take on both idiots, confident that could hold them off, because bulk does not win a fight if you know what you're doing. However, he didn't have to because Goyle was kicked by Neville, who began fighting him.
Harry's attention turned to Crabbe, and he began demonstrating his latest karate lessons on the example of why families shouldn't interbreed. His size couldn't save him from his well-trained opponent. Within minutes, he was unconscious. Harry turned around to see the bruised, battered, and bleeding Draco was also 'out-like-a-light,' as was Goyle. Neville had a few red marks on his face, but was fine otherwise. Hermione looked a bit shocked at herself, and had some of her opponent's blood on her.
"Let's stupefy and hide them so they can't help their master anymore," suggested Harry, and pulled out his wand. He then stupefied, bound in rope, and levitated Crabbe and began walking. The other two did the same until the victims were dumped unceremoniously into the same broom closet where Crabbe and Goyle had been dumped in years before, while Ron and Harry had impersonated them to find out what they could about the Chamber of Secrets. After they magically locked and silenced the door, Neville left to join his division of the H.A., wishing the young couple luck.
Harry turned to Hermione as he pulled the hood of his dragon armor over his head, and then put on his gloves. She did the same as they watched each other while listening to the fighting going on outside. He gave her a kiss that may have lasted seconds or hours, and then pulled back. Looking into her eyes, he asked, "Are you ready?" She nodded and he pulled a small twig out of his pocket and enlarged it, revealing his Firebolt. He mounted it and said, "Get on behind me, and hang on tight."
"All right everybody, remember your formation. Let's go!" shouted Ron as he took off on his broom. Everyone from the Gryffindor Quidditch team (besides Harry) was with them on the Astronomy tower, along with some members from the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw teams, and other students who were good at flying. Hermione had charmed regular brooms for everyone who didn't have one at least as fast as a Nimbus 2000. Each of them had a backpack full of surprises created by the Weasley twins for the enemy.
The group flew off in a formation similar to fighter planes as they began to fill the sky. Ginny was close to her brother as they moved right above Voldemort's group before being noticed and started dropping whatever they grabbed out of their bag first at the group of Death Eaters and giants. Fred dropped a portable swamp right in front of a giant, who lost his footing and fell face first into the newly-formed mud. He pointed his wand at the monster's feet and fired five, "Reducto!"s – enough to hurt a magic-resistant giant enough so he couldn't get up.
George dropped something on a Death Eater that turned her into a canary, and then hit the flapping foe with a reducto, making the world a safer place. By now, the Death Eaters were firing at the aerial attackers. In the distance, great beams of light could be seen where Voldemort had begun dueling Professor Dumbledore. With some effort, Ginny Weasley tore her eyes from that incredible battle to observe her own surroundings. Her eyes resting on a familiar redhead standing on the wrong side of the battlefield.
"Look!" she shouted, "It's Percy!"
The other Weasleys glanced down to see that their brother was indeed at the battle. He wasn't wearing a mask, but was clearly on the other side as he stunned Professor Babbling of Ancient Runes. He'd been missing since the Ministry building had been taken over, but now it was obvious what had happened. Next to him was a squat woman who resembled a toad. She said something Ginny couldn't hear before pointing her wand at the youngest Weasley. Genevra prepared to zoom out of the way of whatever curse was coming, but saw that there was no need. Percy shot the toad-woman with a hex that took her head off and then glanced at his sister. During the moment where their eyes met, Percy suddenly fell over, dead.
Behind him, she saw none other than Lucius Malfoy, complete with his silver left hand, with an expression of disgust, pointing his wand where the 'blood traitor' had stood a moment ago.
Having just left Harry and Hermione, Neville Longbottom ran out to the battle with his wand drawn. He immediately saw Susan Bones dueling two masked Death Eaters and fired a reducto at one of them, blowing off his right arm. The other was distracted for a moment, allowing Susan to take her out of the fight.
Neville heard a hissing sound near him as Susan looked at him in fright. "BEHIND YOU!" she shouted. He turned around and saw a great snake with its mouth open, getting ready to strike. Acting on pure instinct, he pointed his wand inside its mouth and shouted, "Reducto!" The blast came out the other side of the snake's head. Unfortunately, Nagini's last action of biting down on the wand succeeded in snapping it in two, although it was too late to save its own life.
Neville muttered a curse as he looked at the broken remains of his father's wand, and then pulled a large tooth out of his backpack. Everyone who knew about Horcruxes had been carrying basilisk a fang, so that they'd be able to dispose of Nagini if they happened upon her. Without hesitation, he pulled back the tooth and stabbed Nagini's corpse, causing a scream to emit as green smoke emanated from it.
Susan watched in confusion. "What was…"
"Reducto!" shouted a Death Eater, hitting Susan square on the chest, causing her to fall. Neville ran, unarmed, at the masked killer. He aimed his wand at Longbottom, who managed to duck down, at the same time, kicking his attacker in the hip. He fell down, Neville grabbed his wand, and shot a, "Reducto!" at the killer's head.
As Neville ran back to Susan to find her smiling, pointing out that she was wearing one of the dragon vests, Harry and Hermione zoomed past on his Firebolt. They had exited the building just in time to see Neville destroy the last Horcrux. The brightest witch of her age acted as her boyfriend's gunner, shooting any enemies she could, while keeping her left arm firmly wrapped around Potter. She grinned as she saw six Death Eaters taken down by fire from the tower, glad to see that that division of the H.A. was doing its job. She frowned when she saw a giant punch Angelina Johnson, who'd flown too low, off of her broom, but knew they couldn't help her. They had more important things to do.
She barely heard Ginny scream, "Look! It's Percy," but clearly recognized the missing Weasley standing next to his boss, Umbridge, who she knew from a picture in the 'Howler.'
She heard Umbridge say in a sweet voice. "Look, Weasley, it's your foolish, blood-traitor sister," as she aimed her wand. Hermione pointed her wand at the large toad as she said, "Avada…"
At that moment, Hermione watched as the witch's head was blown off, but not by her. She watched Percy, with his wand still out, look at his sister, whose life he'd saved, for a moment before falling forward, dead. She saw Lucius looking at his latest victim as he muttered, "Filthy blood-traitor," and then glanced at them as Harry steered them closer to the battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore. "Ah, Potter." He pointed his wand at them. "Av…" He now fell over dead, and Hermione stared in shock at Severus Snape, who was pointing his wand where Lucius had stood.
"I always knew you were a traitor, Snape!" screamed a nearby high-pitched voice. "Avada Kedavra!" A green beam of light shot from Riddle's wand to Snape's chest, killing him instantly. Tom turned his attention toward them. "Ah! Harry Potter and his mudblood. I assume you're here to join your precious headmaster." It was at that moment that Hermione noticed Dumbledore lying on the ground, dead at Voldemort's feet. The Dark Lord conjured a thick, black wall around them, "So no one will bother us."
Harry stopped the broom and they got off, leaving the Firebolt to fall on the ground. Harry said, "Let's get this over with," as they all pointed their wands.
At the same time, Sirius Black was locked in combat with his cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange.
"I've missed the little talks we'd have in Azkaban," he commented while dodging another green beam of light. He shot a silent reducto at her. "…where you said you wanted to die."
"Crucio!" Sirius dodged that one as well. "I don't miss you, you filthy blood-traitor! Born as the future head of a great family, only to betray your own blood-status! Avada Kedavra!"
Sirius jumped out of the way of that one as well, but it put a hole in the robe he was wearing.
Bella continued, "Hanging out with other blood-traitors, half-bloods and mudbloods! Crucio!"
This shot hit him, and he found himself fall to the ground as his cousin cackled at him. Years of blocking his feelings in Azkaban gave him a lot more tolerance for suffering than most people. He managed to keep his shaky hands on his wand, aim it in her general direction, and say, "Re-duc-to!" A red beam of light shot from his wand, hitting Bellatrix in the forehead. The result wasn't pretty, but the world had been made a better place. His smile turned into a frown as he heard Tom Riddle loudly gloat at Harry about killing Dumbledore. He turned back to the fighting.
McGonagall had watched the headmaster go after You-Know-Who, and had immediately put all her skills into destroying as many enemies as possible. She had already killed seven Death Eaters, not that she was proud of it – but this was war. She was currently fighting another masked killer. She pointed her wand at his mask and silently transfigured it into a giant leech. He screamed in pain as he dropped his wand, and Minerva instantly relieved him of that terrible pain. Incidentally, she also relieved that murderer of his life. She paled as she heard Voldemort say in the distance, "Ah! Harry Potter and his mudblood. I assume you're here to join your precious headmaster."
Professor Flitwick grinned as he saw yet another enemy fall victim to the Weasley twins' weapons, wondering why they never used their exceptional talents in the classroom. He knew they'd gotten an 'O' on their Charms O.W.L., but he still hadn't been able to get them to do much in his class.
He turned his attention back to the giant he was fighting and shot a, "Reducto!" straight into its left eye. The creature howled in pain as it swung its leg at Flitwick, who barely moved away in time. Suddenly, the point of a large arrow came out of the giant's chest. It looked down with its one eye in horror, and fell over, dead. Flitwick gave a curt nod at Hagrid, who was standing a distance away with his crossbow.
The small professor then turned toward a group of three Death Eaters, using his size and speed to his advantage as he'd done in the 'good old days' when he was a professional duelist. When the last one had fallen, a giant foot came up behind him and kicked him. The petite man was hurled about thirty feet by the kick.
Hagrid ran up to that giant with tears in his eyes and began punching it in the waist with everything he had, until he realized that he had a better target. One half-giant punch to the crotch sent that giant falling to the ground in agony, and Rubeus picked his crossbow back up and did what he had to do. Then he heard the voice of Tom Riddle in the distance telling Harry and Hermione that they were about to join the headmaster, obviously meaning he was dead. He roared and then ran at the nearest Death Eater in a rage that no one had ever seen him in, and promptly tore him in half.
Side by side, Harry and Hermione were exchanging spells with someone who was probably the most powerful wizard alive. If you could call the rat-faced undead creature with a tail a wizard, that is. Hermione transfigured the ground beneath Tom into quicksand, but he pointed his wand at the ground, freezing it at the same time he dodged a silent reducto from Harry.
"I see you've been learning a few tricks," he taunted, distracting Harry from the fact that his freezing charm had reached all the way to his foe.
"I've learned enough," Harry answered, taking a step, only to slip. He barely gained his footing in time to duck a green bolt of magic. "I know about your Horcruxes."
This got Riddle's attention, though he pretended it didn't worry him. "Is that so?" He conjured what looked like fifty bullets and sent them hurling at the young couple.
As he ducked down to avoid them, Harry went on. "First the diary." The bullets went past both of them while their nemesis watched through his red eyes. Hermione shot a, "Reducto!" that Voldemort easily avoided.
CRACK! Unnoticed by the young couple, the conjured bullets turned around, and now hit them in the back. If they hadn't been wearing their full body armor, they'd have been dead. As it was, they both fell forward, and would have several bruises. Both of their wands had been snapped.
Voldemort laughed as he declared. "That's exactly where you be…what!"
From the ground, Harry sent a wandless reducto at his mortal enemy's foot, breaking it off and sending him to the ground. "Did you notice your snake die a few minutes ago? It was stabbed with a basilisk tooth."
While Harry and Hermione stood up, Riddle formed a silver foot on himself and put his wand away. "No more holding back!" he spat, as a huge ball of fire with a six-foot radius was shot straight at them.
Knowing they couldn't dodge it, both shot a freezing charm out of each hand. The fireball fell to the ground frozen and shattered two inches away from them. Harry commented evenly, "Dumbledore's fingers were hurt while he destroyed Slytherin's ring." He would mourn for the headmaster later; right now, he had to win this battle for everyone, and would use whatever psychological means were necessary to distract his foe.
For an instant, there was a flicker of fear in Voldemort's eyes. "The old fool! No wonder he was so easy to kill." Voldemort pointed at the grass, which turned into Devil's Snare and began grabbing at them.
Clenching his teeth, Harry apparated directly behind Voldemort and kneed him in the back, causing him to fall down. Hermione, who'd appeared next to her boyfriend a moment later, banished the dark lord into the deadly plant, which began grabbing at him while he transfigured it back into grass. He rolled away, trying to avoid two hexes sent at him, but only dodged one. The other, a cutting curse sent by Hermione, sliced his rat-tail in two. He got up, pretending he wasn't in pain, and sent a cloud of dust at them.
After both put on bubblehead charms, Harry continued, "I'll bet you never knew that Regulus Black stole Slytherin's locket from you. It was actually in Black Manor, my godfather's house."
A green beam of light shot out of both of Voldemort's palms in his rage over that news. They were easily avoided, and both Harry and Hermione had an opening at their opponent. He summoned a nearby rock straight at Riddle's head while she froze the ground beneath his feet. As he ducked to avoid the rock, he slipped and fell. He roared, angry that he'd had his own idea used against him. He decided to conjure new bullets to fly at them, but the couple banished them back toward him this time. He barely avoided them.
Harry added with a grin, "It was a bit more complicated to get Hufflepuff's cup out of the Lestrange vault," as he sent a stream of petrol from his hand at the monster in front of him. While Voldemort was trying to block his face, Hermione shot a small fireball at him. Riddle screamed in agony as he managed a freezing spell, but now his rat-face was even more scarred than ever.
"Crucio!" Voldemort shouted as the spell shot out of both of his hands toward Harry, giving him no place to dodge. It hit his exposed face, and he fell to the ground, feeling more pain than ever before.
Speaking for the first time since the duel began, Hermione said, "We couldn't believe it that you'd hidden Ravenclaw's Diadem in the same room that almost every Hogwarts student uses to hide things in," as she sent a reducto that blasted off Riddle's right hand and released Harry from his torment.
"Shut up, MUDBLOOD!" he shouted, as a sectumsempra hit her square in chest, knocking her down.
At that moment, while Harry was still on the ground, he felt more rage than ever before. He shouted, "The one in me was destroyed, too!" as a reducto shot out of every one of Harry's fingers, which were all pointed at Tom Marvolo Riddle. He was blasted to pieces.
The walls around them vanished to reveal that the battle around them was over. More allies than Harry would care to imagine were lying on the ground around them, but no foes were standing up.
Harry didn't notice his friends making their way toward him as he ran to Hermione, only to find her smiling at him, although she was obviously in pain. "My armor stopped the hex. I was only winded."
At that moment, Harry began to feel the pain from his own injuries, especially the bullets that had hit his back. "We'd better get back to the castle."
"And last, but certainly not least," announced Minister Vehosia. "An Order of Merlin, First Class, goes to both Hermione Granger and Harry Potter."
It was approximately six weeks after the final battle, the last day of term at Hogwarts before the Christmas break, and, at the Minister's insistence, they were having an awards banquet in the Great Hall. The Ministry building had needed much renovation after the aurors, who had won the small battle in Diagon Alley, were sent to take back their headquarters. There weren't many people left there, and those that were there had been disheartened to hear that their master was dead. The Ministry of Magic would be officially moving back during the holiday break, so that the departure wouldn't disrupt the school.
The young couple took the awards from the Minister and blushed at the applause. They joined everyone else who had been awarded during the ceremony. Everyone who had participated in the battle got an Order of Merlin, at least third class. Harry sat next to Professor Flitwick, who was not killed in the battle, but injured in such a way that he would need a cane for the rest of his life. He, along with Ron, Fred, George, Angelina Johnson (who was alive but could no longer play Quidditch because of a bad arm she got when she fell), McGonagall and Hagrid, had received a second class Order of Merlin.
No Weasley aside from Percy was killed or hurt, and Ginny had made sure to tell everyone the circumstances of her brother's death. Harry would never understand why Snape had saved his life by turning on Lucius, but wondered if it had something to do with why Dumbledore had trusted him. Since both of them were now dead, he had no one to ask.
McGonagall had recently been confirmed Hogwarts' new Headmistress by the board of Governors. The only teacher that had been killed was Professor Vector of Arithmancy. Hermione had taken the death hard, and Harry had done his best to comfort her. The new Headmistress replaced that teacher within two weeks of the battle, and classes had resumed.
Hermione whispered to Harry, "What do you have planned for the holidays?"
Twas the night before Christmas
When at Privet Drive
An invisible motorbike
Came down from the sky
It carried Harry Potter
Hermione Granger, too
They began dropping dung bombs
'Til twelve thirty-two
The door opened wide
Revealing a man
Who soon began yelling
According to plan
The bike flew above him
Dung bombs were then dropped
Until Vernon Dursley
Was covered with crap.
Author's notes: For anyone interested, this is what happened afterwards:
In June 1996, Harry and Hermione passed their O.W.L.s with flying colors.
In June 1997, Harry officially proposed to Hermione.
In September 1997, Harry and Hermione became Head Boy and Girl.
In June 1998, they passed their N.E.W.T.s with flying colors, and more importantly, Harry and Hermione got married. Both of them ended up teaching at Hogwarts – D.A.D.A. and Transfiguration, respectively.
Harry, Hermione, and Neville all kept up with their karate lessons, and eventually earned their Black belts.