THE MATHIAS PROPHECY BOOK III
A Time of War and a Time of Peace
"Child, we should go down to the Great Hall," Dumbledore spoke quietly. Harry had not moved from the window for at least twenty minutes.
"Hagrid just entered his cottage. Hermione and the others have gotten off safely," Harry told him quietly, with out moving. "He has just left with his umbrella and his crossbow. He must have had them within easy reach. I hope he is safe."
"Hagrid can take care of himself, Child. He will be fine."
"Professor Dumbledore...will you...promise me...something?"
"What is it Harry?"
"Promise me...that if...if I die...see that I'm...buried with my parents," the final words came out in a rush.
"You're being maudlin," Dumbledore replied sternly.
"No, I'm being honest," she turned from the window to look at him, her green eyes burning into his blue ones. "Promise me."
"Very well, I promise."
"Thank you," she smiled sadly and went over to kiss him gently on the cheek. "It's time to go. They will be here in a few minutes. Hagrid should just make Hogsmeade in time."
"How do you know this, Child?"
"I can feel what he feels. Right now, he is laughing and pleased. The Deatheaters are all with him. So are the Dementors."
"What about the Giants?"
"No, they were too busy fighting against themselves."
"Thank Merlin for small favors."
"At this point I'll take anything we can get." Harry remarked following him out of the office and into the hallway. She did not know why, but she suddenly felt excited and energetic. Maybe it was just an adrenalin rush, or the feeling of relief that all the anxiety and worry would soon be over.
Dumbledore moved quickly and with purpose, and Harry had a hard time keeping up with him. When they entered the Great Hall, Fawkes flew in with them. The sixth year students had formed a circle in the center of the room, and were sitting cross-legged on the floor. In a show of school unity, they had seated themselves in a pattern of one student from each house, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin. They had all joined hands, chanting a spell of protection, made even more powerful by the number of persons. The seventh year students all stood ready, wands drawn, waiting for the onslaught to begin. Draco Malfoy came up to them as they entered.
"I want first dibs on my father, Potter," Draco told her angrily.
"No, Draco, you don't. Whatever else he has done, he is still your father. You don't want the guilt of his blood on your hands. It would lower you to his level. Leave him to Professor Snape. He has a personal score to settle with him too, and doesn't have the family ties."
"What score is that, Potter?" Snape had come over from the other side of the room. He had moved as silently as ever.
"Severus...I really wish you would teach me to move like that."
"It is a skill I have perfected since childhood," he responded, ignoring the use of his given name. "Now explain what personal score you seem to think I have with Lucius Malfoy."
Dumbledore was watching her closely. Harry sensed he had an idea of what she was about to tell Professor Snape.
"All those times when the Dark Lord got into my head, I did get some rather interesting information. Most of it I have shared with you and the others, but not this. This I saved for just such a special occasion, as my nemesis would say. Draco, I need to speak with the Headmaster and Professor Snape alone for one minute. I will meet you by the others.
"What ever you say, Potter. It's your head on the block," Draco shrugged and moved back towards the rest of the seventh years.
Harry waited until he was out of earshot and then turned to Snape.
"Severus, it was Malfoy who tortured Camilla to death," Harry told him bluntly. She felt his instant rush of pain and anger. "While you were out torturing the Muggle family Voldemort sent Malfoy and Crabbe to your house along with the one Dementor. He joined them shortly there after. Malfoy did the job while Voldemort laughed."
"Are you certain this was a genuine memory on the part of the Dark Lord?"
"Yes, I learned to differentiate by the emotions he was feeling when he tried to make me believe the lies. When he was unaware of my presence, I could feel what he did. Severus, I'm sorry for telling you so cruelly, but I am detached as much as possible right now. I need to feel Voldemort, to sense his moves, and when possible his actions or plans."
"I understand, Harry," Snape looked at her. His expression was unreadable, but she could feel his affection for her. His desire to protect her was strong, both as her protector and to fulfill his debt to her father. His desire to kill Lucius Malfoy was even stronger.
"Take care of him, Headmaster. I know what he is feeling. It isn't very nice. I'm glad he switched sides," she gave him a thin smile and moved over towards where the others were waiting. "Ron, Draco, spread the word that the others got off safely. It will help to bolster everyone's courage. The Deatheaters will be here shortly."
Ron and Draco each started at opposite ends of the room and the students started to spread the word. Cheers went up as the news gave them all a feeling of confidence. It was none too soon. A moment later, the first sounds erupted from the Whomping Willows, and everyone could see the Devil's Snare begin to move as it grabbed a hooded figure by the throat. Harry nodded to the Prefects, as did Neville. The Head Boy and Girl had decided on a battle cry. The leaders all called it out at once.
"Remember Cedric Diggory!"
"Anyone who can do a Patronus watch for the Dementors," Harry yelled. The glass in the French doors smashed with the weight of the vines thrashing another Deatheater. The teachers had moved over to guard all the doors, and the ghosts were flying in and out of the building, oblivious to the traps and telling Dumbledore what was happening outside.
Some of the Deatheaters had tried to gain access from the roof and were seen falling after the Mandrakes yells had knocked them out. Another, who tried to escape on his broom, was screaming in agony from the acid plants. His face was badly burned. The students kept chanting.
Harry could feel the Deatheaters falling back, and knew Voldemort was just regrouping. "Keep up the protection chants," she yelled as loud as she could, "he means to get inside with the wind."
The winds had begun to blow hard, and while normal wizards did not try to control the weather, all were able to create a temporary maelstrom. Dumbledore immediately countered, and Harry could feel his power. The walls appeared to buckle under the weight of the two wizards trying to counter each other. They bulged in and out, but the wind in the willows had caused one of the long mullioned windows to shatter. A group of Dementors slithered in, and Harry could feel the room turn dark and cold.
"Expecto Patronus, Expecto Patronus," she shrieked, and she could hear Remus, Snape, Dumbledore, and Ron doing the same. The room was suddenly filled with all manner of strange animals. Harry grinned for a split second. Snape's Patronus was a teddy bear. 'Well, why not, they make people happy,' she considered winking at him. He pretended not to notice. She was just in time to see her stag chase a Dementor from Sirius, who had gone to help Draco. 'Blood really is thicker than water.' Harry knew Draco was his second cousin.
The room seemed to be alive with action all around her, some of the Deatheaters had gained access, and the wand flashes had begun. The students continued to chant, even though their defenses were being breached.
"Keep up the fight," the Bloody Baron screamed. The people of Hogsmeade and the Order are coming to help. Voldemort only sent a small group there, and they have been defeated!" He flew over Dumbledore and Snape, his sword waving wildly.
Peeves began throwing dung bombs and water balloons at the Dementors, and the Deatheaters alike.
"Harry look out" Ron screamed, "Duck!"
She did as he said, and not a moment too soon. Bellatrix had been coming up behind her, wand drawn. She had just shot a stunning spell at her, which Ron intercepted. Harry knew then, that the Deatheaters had been told not to kill her. That honor would go to Voldemort.
Standing up straight, she called out over the din of the fighting, "Come on scumbag. Let's see what you're really made of. Are you afraid to die? I'm not."
"Potter, No!" Severus screamed.
"Harry don't force him into the open," Remus yelled. "You aren't ready."
"Well, ready or not, here I come. It seems the greatest evil wizard of all time is nothing more than a scared schoolboy. What's the matter Tom, mummy died and daddy didn't want you? What did you do, hide in the closet? Did it feel good to kill your Muggle father and grandparents Tom? Or did mummy's spirit haunt your dreams?" Harry taunted Voldemort. "You like to sneak up on people don't you Tom? What's wrong with fighting them face to face? Did you sneak up on my dad? Maybe you shot him in the back? That's about all I can expect from a sociopath murdering coward." Harry was screaming now, and walking the length of the Great Hall as the battle raged around her.
Suddenly there was a flash of light from outside, and the smell of sulfur as one of the willow trees was set on fire. The Devils Snare had been breached. The remains of the shattered French Doors flew open and Voldemort stood in the doorway. Everyone in the room froze. Voldemort was tall, over six feet, and thin. His pale face and slits for nostrils made Harry think he resembled a snake more than a human being. His hands were like those of a skeleton or Dementor. He was dressed in black robes, which accentuated his haughty bearing. There was no sign of the handsome aloof young man he had been when a student at Hogwarts.
"Professor Dumbledore, and Harry Potter, how good of you both to save me the trouble of having to kill you separately. The old fool and the belligerent little bitch," he glowered, red eyes burning like acid.
"Now Tom, you know it isn't polite to insult the Headmaster. It isn't his fault you're such an asshole."
"I would watch my mouth if I were you, Potter. I may yet be lenient and merciful when I kill you. I am not without a heart."
Harry laughed boldly. "You never had a heart. You are a cold ruthless creature, and if your mum had lived, she would have hung her head in shame that her son was the killer of innocents. Whatever part of you that was human died a long time ago."
Harry knew she had touched a nerve. Tom Riddle did not like hearing things about his mother. She knew what she was about to say would shock her friends, but it was time.
"I don't blame Dumbledore for keeping my family tree such a secret. My grandmother must be rolling over in her grave. Of course, you never got to know her, being so much younger than your mum. Is that why you killed her, Tom, because you went to Hogwart's together? Yes, Tom, I know that my grandmum was your aunt, but neither of you ever knew until she was grown and you had disappeared. Even your grandfather didn't want you, you were the bastard son of the daughter he doted on, weren't you cousin?"
Voldemort smiled coldly, the room was as silent as a tomb. "I killed her you know. She died screaming for mercy and so will you," Voldemort rasped, "but first you will watch all those you love die. That will be worse than dying for you. Isn't your greatest fear to be alone?"
Harry forced herself to remain calm and say the words she needed to say. "I won't be alone, Tom. I have never been alone. They may be dead, but they will still be close. You see, I have them stored in my heart. Just like my mum and dad. On the other hand, your greatest fear is death. The cold darkness of the tomb, where nothing moves and no sounds penetrate. You cannot cheat death, Tom Riddle. It has been waiting for you for the past seventeen years. You merely delayed and evaded death, but it is time to pay your dues. The Grim Reaper is stalking you tonight."
"Lord Voldemort is immortal. I cannot be killed!"
"You're wrong," Harry's voice echoed through the silence of the Great Hall.
Students, Deatheaters, teachers, and Dementors, were all mesmerized by the two enemies just standing there challenging each other with words. They were all poised for the onslaught to begin again. They didn't have long to wait. From outside the castle the reinforcements had arrived from Hogsmeade, and were using whatever spells they could think of to stop the willow trees, and provide enough light to make the Devils Snare withdraw.
"It won't be I who sees the Reaper tonight, Potter. It will be you and your friends," Voldemort hissed, and with a flick of his wrist, a green light shot out from his wand, not at Harry, but Dumbledore. The old man deflected it easily, and the room erupted into shouts and mayhem as the battle began in earnest. Dumbledore moved to block Harry from Voldemort.
"Don't worry about me, help the sixth years! The Dementors are going for them!" Harry yelled to Dumbledore, and he immediately sent out his Patronus. Lupin was also sending them help, and Snape was moving stealthily across the crowded room towards Lucius Malfoy, who was stalking his son, Draco.
Harry saw Bellatrix go down, and saw Sirius laughing. Then she saw something she hadn't expected. It was Peter Pettigrew in the form of his rat. Apparently, they had broken him out of where ever the Order had been holding him! He was heading straight for Remus. She knew when he transformed back to a human his arm was made of silver. Remus would be killed!
Even as these thoughts went through her head, she was dodging Voldemort, weaving in and out of the crowd. She saw one of the teachers go down, and then another, along with one of the citizens of Hogsmeade. She could hear Hagrid bellowing as he gained access to the Great Hall. She was trying to get to Remus but there were too many people and obstacles. Ron looked at what she was watching, and realized she was after the rat. He had lived with "Scabbers," long enough to recognize him, and fired his wand, but it missed. Suddenly, a huge black dog tore through the crowd and leaped on top of Peter just as he transformed back to his human self. Harry averted her eyes as Pettigrew screamed.
"Professor Dumbledore," Neville yelled, "look out! Lord Voldemort is behind you!"
Harry turned just in time to see a jet of green light from Voldemort's wand headed for Dumbledore. He had been helping the students on the floor.
"Noooo..." she shrieked, but Fawkes came to the rescue, and took the hit just as he had in the Ministry. He burned up and then Dumbledore scooped up the baby bird and put him safely in his robe pocket along with a nest of ashes. "Voldemort, what's the matter," she yelled at him. "Your too afraid to face me so you go after an old man. I was right you are too cowardly to face him in a proper duel. You like shooting people in the back so you don't have to see their faces when they die!"
"You can't protect him forever, you little bitch. He's already lost his bird, and you'll be next!"
She knew she had to get Voldemort out of the Great Hall. As long as he was there, the Deatheaters would keep fighting. The Dementors were now very few, and Harry sent another Patronus over towards the last of them. As she did so, she saw Snape squaring off in a formal duel with Lucius Malfoy. The two men stood straight and tall, each glowering at the other. Lucius fired the Avadra Kedavra first, and the green jet flew with deadly accuracy towards Severus, but he side stepped it with all the grace of a ballet dancer and fired back. Lucius eyes grew wide as his mouth formed a silent scream. He fell to the floor with a thud. Severus glanced at Harry and saluted her with his wand, his lips drawn into a smile as he put his family to rest in his heart.
"Harry, Voldemort has transformed!" Sirius yelled to her from where he was laughing and throwing out curses at the remaining Deatheaters. His mouth was covered in blood, and Pettigrew lay lifeless on the floor. Padfoot had torn out his throat.
"Hey, Tom, want to play?" Harry sneered as she looked back at the Dark Lord. She knew he could transform into a snake, but was unprepared for what she saw. He was the Slytherin Serpent, a giant King Cobra. He had to be almost twenty feet in length, and he had raised himself up, hood extended, and spit venom in her direction. She dodged it just in time. "What's the matter Tom? You can't get it up so you have to turn into a snake to prove your manhood?" Harry taunted him, her heart racing. The snake stood weaving, looking down at the figures on the floor. His eyes were still bright red, not the dark black you would expect, and were like hot coals against his dark scales. Suddenly he dove towards the doors to the hallway, where Hagrid had been fighting off the senior Crabbe and Goyle.
Harry immediately transformed, and dove for the back of the snake. Digging in her talons, he was distracted, and twisted angrily.
"Thanks, Harry," Hagrid yelled as Goyle went down, and Crabbe started to back off.
The huge snake and the beautiful red phoenix were locked in combat, and Harry was deliberately flying just out of his reach, edging closer to what remained of the French Doors. Three times, she had to dodge his fangs, and he also tried to spit some venom at her eyes in an attempt to blind her, but she just flew up higher. As she flew up by the windows she could see the battle that was still going on outside. She was amazed to see the Watcher Elves and the House Elves fighting alongside the townspeople. She was also sickened by the carnage. Many people and elves were injured or dying and she could feel their physical and emotional pain. It was as if it were her own.
Swooping out the door over the giant snake, she narrowly missed his fangs again, and landed on his head, ripping the flesh with her strong talons. Voldemort slithered rapidly away from the battle, and Harry followed. Once he reached the path to Hogsmeade, he transformed again. His forehead was bleeding profusely, and Harry had put a giant gash over one eye. It had formed a lightening bolt!
"I'll have you screaming for mercy until you die, Potter!" He pointed his wand at her, "Crucio!" He hit her squarely in the chest with a Cruciatus curse just as she transformed. She could see the Protectors running from the building in her direction, but knew they would not make it in time as she fell to her knees. She had to let Voldemort believe she was weakening. "You're coming with me, Potter. I may have lost the battle, but I can still have the pleasure of watching you die," Voldemort grabbed her in his arms, and disapparated...
"Headmaster, the Dark Lord has disapparated!" Snape yelled stopping short.
"Quickly, go and get Ron Weasley. He should have the goblet. If it flames we may be able to locate them," Dumbledore instructed with authority.
"Albus," Sirius cried in desperation, the smile wiped from his face, "we have to follow them!"
"Sirius is right. She will be at his mercy. Albus we have to try," Remus lamented.
"We will do what we can as soon as we are able," Dumbledore looked at Sirius over his spectacles, his face lined with concern. "For the time being she is in Merlin's hands. She is facing the destiny she was born for." He put his arms around the two younger wizards as they headed back up the hill towards the school, Snape hurrying ahead of them to search for Ron. "While Ron waits for any hint from the goblet, we will tend to our dead and wounded. They have fought valiantly, and died bravely. They too, deserve our attention...
As soon as Voldemort appeared in his headquarters, he threw Harry to the floor "Now you little bitch, you will feel what it is like to be impudent to your master, Crucio!" He cursed her again at point blank range.
"You'll never be my master," she replied through clenched teeth. "I will never succumb to your will."
"You think not? Perhaps it's not my will you will need to bend to, but my desire to possess such a fresh young woman. Pure and unspoiled, the Phoenix will be broken!"
"Fuck you!" she screamed drawing her wand, despite the pain in her chest and belly from the Cruciatus curses.
Voldemort laughed coldly, stepping on her wrist to take her wand, "I thought that is what I just said."
"Only in your wildest dreams," she spat at him, trying to get a sense of where she was. The room was dark, and the only light came from the embers of a dying fire in the grate. Yet, she knew she had been in this place before...
"Ron, keep trying, we have to find her. If she's in distress the goblet will fire," Sirius fretted as he helped to levitate an injured house elf onto a stretcher.
"Professor Black...Sirius...I am trying. There is just no flame. I don't know where he has taken her!" Ron moaned desperately. "Please Merlin, don't let her be dead."
"She's not dead," Snape's dark eyes glittered anxiously, "he only used a Cruciatus curse before he disapparated."
"What if he killed her as soon as he got where he was going?" Ron argued voicing his worst nightmare.
"The Dark Lord would not do that, Ron. He would want to torture her first and bend her to his will. It would give him much more pleasure than her death," Snape told him flatly. 'Merlin let her be as strong as I suspect she can be. Give us the time we need to help her,' Snape worried to himself.
"Sirius, I need your help," Remus called from across the room. "Hagrid has a broken leg, and won't stay still long enough to let Poppy mend it. We need to hold him down; I don't want to use a stunning spell."
Hagrid was muttering and yelling, tears running down his ruddy cheeks into his beard. He had always been afraid of medical treatments and was carrying on like a child.
Sirius went to help Remus, and transformed into Padfoot. Climbing up onto Hagrid, he knew of his fondness for animals and let him hold onto him for comfort. Despite his fear and worry about Harry, the big dog's tongue was lolling out the side of his mouth, and Remus knew he was laughing at the gentle giant's fear of medical doctors.
"It ain't funny, ya big dog! I don't like when they 'ave ta use needles an' such." Hagrid protested, groaning with the treatment.
"Hush, Hagrid," Dumbledore told him as he gently stroked his head, muttering a sleeping charm. "You get some rest. You'll be good as new in a day or two."
"But the pups..." he managed as he drifted off.
"We'll see to all the animals," Dumbledore smiled at the sleeping figure.
"Albus how many did we lose?" Remus asked quietly.
"Two of our professors, Flitwick and Trelawney, were killed. Minerva is seriously injured and so are Professor Vector and Madam Hooch. Amazingly enough none of the students was killed. Neville broke his arm tripping over a broken table leg, and Malfoy was hit with a falling acid plant when he was fighting by the broken doorway. Fortunately, his face won't scar. Four of the sixth years are being treated by Madam Pomfrey for exposure to the Dementors, but no one lost his or her soul. There were a number of injuries and four fatalities among the people of Hogsmeade. Some of the elves have been killed, and I found Kreacher among them. He must have been with Bellatrix. Most of the watcher elves have been carried off by their own healers to be treated in the woods and caverns where they live. The majority of the Deatheaters have been either killed or captured. Moody and Arthur are arranging for their imprisonment.
"That just leaves Harry," Sirius said glumly as he transformed back form his animagus form. "Albus, we have to find them! If Voldemort harms so much as one hair on her head..."
"Headmaster...the goblet has flamed!" Ron screamed from across the room, and they all hurried over. "Harry is in trouble...she's...on the floor...looking up at Voldemort. Oh, shit! He has his foot on her wrist...He has her wand!"
"Ron, can you see where they are?" Sirius demanded.
"I can't...tell...she is looking ...around..." Ron knew he was seeing what she was looking at. "The room...it's dark...a drape on the wall..." He was concentrating hard, staring into the flames. "Oh my gosh...that's no drape...Sirius, it's your family tree! They're at Grimmauld Place!" he yelled triumphantly. He continued to stare into the flames as Sirius, Snape, and Remus dashed from the room, followed by Dumbledore. What Ron saw made his skin crawl...
Harry studied the drape on the wall..."We're in Sirius family home!" She glared at Voldemort, "how dare you use this place!" Harry had to stall; she needed time for the protectors to find her.
"It was given to me by my faithful servant, Bellatrix. It was her home too, and Dumbledore no longer needed it. The old fool never thought we would use his former headquarters. However, that no longer matters, my dear. You now belong to me!" His red eyes slid over her lithe body, accentuated by her evening dress. Pointing his wand at Harry, his hot eyes hungrily reflecting the lust she could feel in his heart. " Imperio!"
He smiled with evil anticipation. Her degradation would be his salvation.
"You'll never have me," she fought the curse as he removed his foot from her wrist taking off his outer robe. Using all her strength, she rolled away.
"Come here, my little prize. It won't due to have the mother of my heir acting like she doesn't like his father," Voldemort's laughter rang through the empty house as he grabbed her, pulling her over to him. "Now, I promise not to be gentle."
Harry spit in his face, and he slapped her hard across the cheek. "I will see you in Hell before I ever let you touch me! I know how to stop you...I did it before!"
"Indeed?" he questioned cockily, throwing his body on top of hers, pulling at her robes. "Now how would you do that? I have you securely pinned down."
"Want to bet?" she fought the curse successfully, and a well-placed knee sent him off her howling in pain. She rolled over to try to reach her wand, where he had thrown it on the floor, and jumping up, almost made it.
"Crucio, Crucio!" Hescreamed furiously, the red stream from his wand hitting her squarely in the back. Harry toppled like a ton of bricks. She was lying face down on the rug. Voldemort roughly turned her over to face him. "Now you will tell me what it was that you did as a baby that stopped me. Then you will be allowed to live just long enough to birth my heir!"
"I made my mother smile..." Harry grinned up at him.
"Bitch, "he split her dress up the middle, exposing her under things."
Harry's hands were at her sides, under her robe. The torn dress, hanging in shreds, provided her more cover. Slowly she wrapped her fingers around her mother's wand.
"I'm serious, I said Abra Kadabra," Harry said as he knelt down and ran his hand over her inner thigh. Her skin crawled at his touch, but she kept her voice steady.
"You little fool, Abra Kadabra doesn't do anything," Voldemort gloated
"No, Tom, it doesn't," Harry agreed as he leaned down and ran his tongue over her throat, "but Avadra Kedavra does."
Too late, he had seen the flick of the wand as she uttered the curse. Fighting the Cruciatus curse, she raised her hand stabbing him in the chest, piercing his heart at the same time. The scar on Harry's head seared with agonizing pain as Voldemort screamed and writhed on the floor beside her. Harry could feel him dying, burning up from the inside out, and screamed in agony. His pain and hers were the same as she heard a loud crashing sound and glass breaking before the darkness overcame her...
The Protectors apparated down the street from Grimmauld Place. They needed to move swiftly and stealthily to rescue Harry, aided by the cover of darkness. They were unaware that Ron was watching Harry's pain and torment in the flames and they had just gone out. The four men were almost to the house, when the quiet block was rocked by a loud explosion knocking them to the ground. An unearthly scream that sounded like all the demons from Hell were writhing in agony assailed their ears. All the windows of Sirius family home had been blown out, and the house was in ruins. The four men sat frozen on the ground; momentarily stunned...It was Godric's Hollow all over again.
"Noooo," Sirius screamed, "we have to get to Harry!" He got up and broke into a run as the street was filling with Muggles and wizards alike.
Arthur apparated and ran over to Dumbledore. "Albus, what is going on? Is it Voldemort?" he asked helping him to his feet as Remus and Snape sped after Sirius.
"One or both of them is dead. We need to search the rubble. Have your people begin modifying the memories of the Muggles," Dumbledore replied grimly, his brow furrowed with worry.
Following Sirius into the house, they had to move beams and broken furniture out of the hallway. The house looked like it had been hit with a tornado. If they moved the wrong thing, the ceiling would come down on all of them.
"Black, quiet, I hear someone..." Snape looked at them all, straining his ears.
A low moan came from the drawing room. Then the soft sound of someone crying...It was Harry. She was somehow alive! Sirius went to call out to her, but Dumbledore immediately silenced him with a wave of his wand.
"We can't be certain it's not a trap," he whispered removing the charm he had put on Sirius voice. "We must proceed with caution," Dumbledore warned, motioning them to return to work.
They worked feverishly, for what seemed like hours, but it was really only about thirty minutes, when they came to the entrance to the drawing room. The door was hanging wildly half off it's hinges, and the room was in semi darkness. The sky outside had begun to quicken with the dawn, and the remains of the furniture looked like grotesque gnomes littering the room. Harry was just sitting in the middle of the room, her knees drawn up to her chest, as she rocked back and forth sobbing like a small child, her wand in her hand. Blood was running down her face where the scar she had received sixteen years ago had split open. Her clothes were torn and filthy, but they could tell the damage to her clothes had not been from the explosion. The dust that had settled in the carpet was marked with a single trail that led away from the figure of a man lying on the floor. His mouth was open in a silent scream, and his eyes were glazed over in fear. A wand had been sunk deep into his chest, piercing his heart. They recognized it as the one from Lily Potter's trunk. Lord Voldemort was dead. His wand on the floor beside him.
"Princess," Remus voice soothed as Sirius and Snape worked furiously to remove the last of the obstacles keeping them away from her. "Look at me, Harry. It's Remus. Sirius and Severus are coming to get you out. Albus is here too." Harry didn't budge. She just sat staring at the figure of Lord Voldemort.
"She's in shock," Dumbledore said quietly from beside him.
"I'll arrange to get her to St. Mungo's." Moody's gruff voice announced as he entered the room, and once satisfied that Voldemort was truly dead, he left to tell Arthur and make a formal announcement.
"No, I don't want to go to the hospital. I want to go home," Harry looked up at Dumbledore, her green eyes terrified. "You have to break the wand. You know that, don't you? You have to break his wand. It will free them. I heard them screaming. Mum, Dad, Cedric, and all the others, I heard them when I killed him..." Her voice trailed off, as Sirius, removed the last obstacle from his path.
"Honey, what are you saying?" he wrapped his arms around her.
"The Headmaster knows...he had to do it before...you have to free them."
Dumbledore picked up Voldemort's wand from off the floor.
"You have to be the one to do it, Harry. You have to be the one to free them."
"Headmaster, is Harry speaking the truth? Is she trying to tell us that the souls of his victims are trapped in that wand?" Snape asked incredulous.
"The shadows she saw before are. I don't know if they are the true soul or just a part them that has been left behind, especially after the experience Sirius had."
"What did she mean; you had to do it before?" Sirius asked.
"When an evil wizard is destroyed his wand must be broken by the witch or wizard who has killed him. It will ensure his victims peace and that the evil power that held sway will be broken," Dumbledore explained bringing the wand over to Harry. "I can't...," she sobbed into Sirius robes.
"Princess, it's all right. We'll all stay with you," Remus comforted her as Sirius used his robe to wipe some of the blood from her face.
"Miss Potter...Harry...You are a strong and powerful young woman. You have nothing to fear. It took a lot of courage to do what you have done this past night. Go ahead and finish it. Then I promise you we will take you back to Hogwarts, and once Madam Pomfrey and Dr. McBride have checked you over, I will give you some of my Dreamless Sleeping Potion. We will sit with you while you sleep to make sure you are comfortable and secure."
"Listen to Severus, Harry. He wouldn't tell you that if he didn't mean it. We're all here now, and will help you to finally end this nightmare," Remus looked at her with intensity, his hazel eyes warm and comforting.
"Harry we all care for you, and would never ask you to do anything we didn't think you couldn't handle. Let me see some of that strength you so often say I have given you." Sirius smiled gently stroking her head.
"My scar hurts, and it's bleeding," Harry said nestling herself closer to Sirius.
"I know, Child. Once you break the wand, your scar will never hurt again," Dumbledore handed her the wand, and a little chirp came from inside his pocket. He smiled, and reached in taking out the baby Fawkes that he had placed there during the battle.
"Fawkes," Harry smiled wanly as Dumbledore knelt down beside her so she could pet the little bird. Fawkes began to trill with a high-pitched Phoenix song as she scratched his little head with her index finger. "You have to hurry up and get big again so I can have someone to go flying with. My animagus is no longer a secret so we can have some fun." The little bird cheeped and blinked at her wide-eyed. Dumbledore put him back in his pocket.
Grasping the wand in both hands, Harry snapped it in half. There was a loud crack as the wand broke and the room was filled with a brilliant light as the shades emerged from the wand. Each one thanked her as they exited and disappeared.
"I knew you could do it, Harry," Cedric Diggory smiled as his shade drifted off. "Now I can be a whole spirit again and stay in the realm of the light."
"I suppose you are wondering what he meant, Harry?" Her father's soft voice said as he came from out of the wand, accompanied by her mother. We were souls divided, and could not stay in peace while Voldemort lived. We were bound to his wand, even though we were in the afterlife. It caused us to exist just beyond the veil, and not pass through the second arch where we could be happy with our loved ones. That was why I was able to send Sirius back. He was still alive in his body. Had he passed through the other arch, he would have truly died."
"James..." Sirius voice cracked.
"Hello old friend. It's good to know you made it back," James Potter grinned. "You always did have a knack for getting in and out of trouble. Try to get him to behave once in a while will you, Little Girl?"
"Albus," Lily looked at the Headmaster with tears in her eyes, "you kept her safe, just like you promised."
"We had a few near misses, and she has your stubborn streak, but she'll be just fine, now."
"Severus Snape," James Potter looked at his old rival sternly, and then threw back his head and laughed. "If you had told me before I died that my daughter would be your soul mate, I would have put a hex on you then and there. Thank you for going beyond paying your life debt to me. There are some things worth dying for, and I think you'll agree she is one of them. Take good care of her or Padfoot may take a bite out of you yet, not to mention a certain werewolf!" James teased him, but he reached out his hand in friendship, even though he was no longer able to give a true handshake.
Snape inclined his head, too stunned to speak, as he extended his own hand. He had been accepted into James Potter's little group.
"Don't think we forgot you, Remus," Lily drifted over to him. "If it weren't for you, she would have fallen prey to the Dementors. You came when she needed you. It didn't matter that we had thought it was you that had links with Voldemort. You didn't get angry with us. You were as true a friend as ever lived. I will always remind myself that we were the one's who misjudged a good and loving man, but he stayed true to his family."
"Thank you Lily. I have missed you both. We all have."
"Lily, we have to go." James Potter's shade said to his wife. "Harry, just because you can't see us doesn't mean we aren't there. You have grown into a lovely young woman, and I am more proud of you than I ever could have imagined. You stood up to an evil that almost shattered the wizarding world. Your mother was right when she said you would have a charmed and wonderful life. You're very special. You'll take good care of these four for me, won't you? Please don't forget to put on a pink dress every now and again. I know it will make her happy," he told her laughing as he stuck his thumb in Lily's direction.
"Never forget, Abra Kadabra," her mother smiled. Then a wondrous thing happened. James Potter transformed into a large stag, and Lily climbed onto his back. He then took a long leap across the room, and they vanished. They all remained quiet for a few minutes, trying to digest what had just happened. Dumbledore finally broke the spell.
"Come, Harry, it's time we got you home, you're hurt and tired," Dumbledore gently eased her from Sirius arms.
"You'll take me home? Not to St. Mungo's?" Harry questioned anxiously.
"Yes, we'll go back to Hogwart's just as we promised. Hold onto me, and we will apparate. You're too weak to try it alone."
Harry nodded and looked at her protectors with trepidation. She knew they would question her, and she was not prepared to tell them what had happened. Even though Voldemort was dead, they would be livid when they heard what he had attempted. She dreaded having to tell them how close she had to let him come to violating her in order to kill him. She began to cry again, trembling as she realized how different things would be right now if she had failed. She closed her eyes and clung to Dumbledore. When she opened them again, she was being carried towards the castle. Dumbledore had wrapped her securely in his cloak. His agility had never failed to surprise her as he moved swiftly up the hill.
As the little group entered the castle, she could see house elves and wizards, all cleaning up in the Great Hall. She could hear them all whispering as they entered, and knew they were talking about her. She could feel their excitement and relief the Dark Lord was dead. When they reached the infirmary, they were met at the door by Madam Pomfrey and Dr. McBride, the local healer. Most of the beds were full, and she could see Hagrid, trying to stand up, and realized his leg was broken.
"Don' ye be gettin' out o' bed yer big fool! " McBride yelled as he followed Harry's line of vision. "The leg'll be good as new in a few hours if ya stay off it!" Harry giggled, as Hagrid tried to pull the too small nightshirt around himself and blushed. "Ah, lassie, tis good ta see yer alive an' ken still smile. I 'ad ta give young Weasley a sleeping potion, 'e was so beside his self. Saw all the Dark Lord tried as 'e watched in the goblet. When the flame went out 'e feared ye 'ad been killed along with 'im. The lad was in a right bad way."
"Can you wake him up?" Harry asked as Dumbledore gently laid her on one of the beds and Poppy pulled the screen for privacy.
"I'll wake 'im just as soon as I make sure yer not badly injured. I ken see yer in shock, but I expected that. Now, you three young bucks, wait outside while I check 'er out!" He pointed to the other side of the privacy screen. "Dumbledore ken stay."
"I happen to be Harry's godfather and legal guardian. I should be allowed to stay!" Sirius protested.
"Aye, an' like 'er other two protectors yer quite fond o' the lass. Now wait outside laddie, or ya will need a bed o' yer own 'ere," McBride informed Sirius boldly as the younger wizard glared.
"Black, let Dr. McBride examine Harry. I will get some of the Awakening Potion to wake Mr. Weasley if Dr. McBride will allow us. He will want to know that Harry is alive and safe."
"Snape, we should be here with her. You saw how she was when we found her. She's still upset."
"Sirius, he didn't do what you're thinking," Harry said quietly. "Wake up Ron, and then I will tell you what happened."
"Lassie, I see yer worried about the lad, so I'll let Professor Snape see to 'im. Now I want ya to lay back an' let me check ya over. Then Poppy will help ya ta clean up."
"It will be all right Princess. Albus will call us if you need us," Remus reassured her.
"Headmaster?" Harry looked at Dumbledore, the fear and anxiety back in her eyes.
"Lay back, Child. I promise to call them if you need them. Remus can sit on the other side of the screen while Angus checks your injuries."
"Lassie, I promise that ya shouldno' 'ave discomfort like the last time I 'ad ta heal ya. I ken see ya managed to hold yer own with the Dark Lord. Now let me check ya over so we ken give this bed to someone who needs it."
Harry did as she was told. Remus took a chair right outside the screen while Sirius and Snape woke Ron. Harry could hear Ron talking to them, and noted the relief in his voice that she was safe and alive. They then questioned Ron about what he had seen, and Ron's concern was obvious. He related his story, and Harry could sense the anger of the Protectors.
Dr. McBride was his usual thorough self, and healed her injuries from the Cruciatus curses as he did a brief pelvic exam. She was aware that even though she had told them Voldemort had not raped her, they had wanted to be certain. Harry knew Dumbledore was relieved that she had not been "touched," as Dr. McBride had put it, trying to be subtle, as Poppy cleaned up her wounds and bandaged her scar.
"Lassie, I may be able to remove that curse scar now that the Dark Lord is dead. Would ya like me ta try?" Dr. McBride inquired as Dumbledore watched her closely.
She looked from one to the other and smiled. "No, I wouldn't. Let the scar stay there to remind everyone how close we all came to letting one evil wizard gain control of our world. The prophecies both said I would be marked for life, so let it be so. It will help people to remember that there really is such a thing as good and evil; and evil will always hold sway when good people pretend it does not exist or turn a blind eye to its actions. It will let them remember that this time one seventeen year old girl found the courage, strength, endurance, and trust in humanity to stand up for them and fight. It may help to remind them that next time there may not be someone there to do what they were too afraid to do for themselves."
"Ron's voice came from around the curtain. "Can I come
"Aye, laddie, yer friend's going to be fine. She just needs some rest," McBride answered as Poppy removed the privacy screen and Ron, Sirius, Snape and Remus all gathered around. "Ye ken all spend some time with her, and then I want her to get some sleep. Lass, I know ye will no' like this, but I want ya up 'ere in the infirmary till mornin'.
Dumbledore immediately saw the distress in her features, and interceded. "Angus, I think Harry has earned the right to rest in the privacy of her room. The protectors will stay with her and can call you or Poppy if you're needed."
"Aye, I suppose it will be a' right, but she's only ta get up for the bathroom. I want her ta sleep. She needs rest and quiet. It's no' just 'er body that needs ta repair itself." Harry smiled weakly at the two older men, and Ron sat down on the bed beside her.
"You really scared the crap out of me, Harry. I thought...well...it looked like he was trying to... Ron could not find the words he wanted to say.
"He was," Harry answered matter of factly, "or so he thought. He wanted me to be the mother of his heir, and then he was going to kill me. What better way to get even with his enemies than to degrade me. I'm sure he planned on regrouping. He just didn't realize I had gotten so good at fighting the unforgivable curses."
"I can't believe you weren't scared," Ron shook his head.
"Ron, I didn't say that. I just kept a cool head. That's what the old woman told me to do. She said to think before I acted, and to remember, "Abra Kadabra," Harry winked at Dumbledore.
"Child, I think your protectors and Ron both need an explanation. You also promised to tell me who the old woman was that you spoke with yesterday, down by the lake."
"You're right, Headmaster," Harry collected her thoughts. "First of all, I know you recognized the wand that killed Voldemort was the one from my mother's trunk. I don't know why I hid it in my robes before the dance. Something inside just told me to. It is interesting that the Mathias Prophecy said that I would call on my mother's love to bring Voldemort down. In the end, that is just what happened. I was hurting and it looked like I would ultimately fail. I knew that if he accomplished what he was about to try we would lose. I let him think I was helpless."
Harry swallowed hard, and Remus sat down next to Ron and took her hand. "He really did make may skin crawl when he ran his tongue down the side of my throat. I had to force myself to pretend I couldn't move. I think it was one of the worst moments of my life." Harry shuddered, and Snape and Sirius both came over and hugged her at the same time. Pulling herself together, Harry continued. "I knew I would only get one chance, so I wanted to let him get as close as possible to catch him off guard. I fought just enough to fool him. Then I told him how I had been able to stop him as a baby. I told him all about, Abra Kadabra."
"But honey, those words are simply something Muggles made up. They can't do real magic. Your mum used to try to get you to say them when you were a baby," Sirius looked puzzled. "You always like to say they made her smile."
"They did," Dumbledore interjected. "Harry could never say them correctly. What she never told any of you is that the night she was back in time, Lily was playing with her and trying to get her to say, Abra Kadabra. When Voldemort killed her, baby Harry had picked up her mother's wand. She didn't know her mother was dead. She just wanted to play. When Voldemort went to curse her she pointed Lily's wand back at him and said what she thought was, Abra Kadabra. She never could say it right. The words garbled and came out as, Avadra Kedavra."
"I don't know who was watching over me that night, but I did it at exactly the moment Voldemort did. His curse backfired. The protection my mum passed on to me when she sacrificed herself...well..." Harry's voice cracked and she was fighting the tears. "He wasn't killed. I was too little to accomplish that, but he became that thing...and...and disappeared."
"I knew he wasn't dead, and that he would come back. When he did, Harry would be his prime target. The scar on her head and the two Prophecies told me she was the one we had been waiting for," Dumbledore said quietly. "I went into action and arranged for her to go to stay with Lily's sister knowing her blood would act as her mother's had. A part of me will regret that decision to this day. If I hadn't stopped Sirius from taking over as your guardian, since he was your godfather, he would not have gone after Peter and been sent to Azkaban."
"Yet, you're the one who set such store by the Mathias Prophecy. Surely you realized somewhere along the line that the Prophecy said he was wrongfully accused."
"I did not know of the change in secret keepers. That was what was so distressing. I also did not know they were unregistered animagi," Dumbledore explained. "So I decided to wait and see what happened. I knew all would be revealed in time. Sirius, I'm sorry. I don't think I ever told you before."
"I know that, Albus. I should have told you, but I was in such grief, and I knew Harry was safe. I didn't care that I was in prison."
"Okay, so how did you stop him this time?" Ron demanded.
"I told you I let him get close enough so that I could do it again. You have to understand, I knew I had to kill him, but I also knew it was against my nature to harm any human being. I would get only one chance. There could be no time for me to change my mind. If I did, the people I loved were going to die. I made sure he was at point blank range, and said the curse I knew would kill him, pointing my mum's wand at his heart. He didn't know I had the second wand, so he didn't look for it. I let my mum finish what she couldn't do sixteen years ago. As I cursed him, I also physically stabbed him through the heart. He screamed the most inhuman sound I ever heard. I screamed at the same time. My scar burst open, and I could feel him dying. The curse was ripping him apart from the inside out; his whole body felt like it was on fire, and being ripped in half. The pain was unbearable. He was afraid. It actually was only a few seconds, but it felt like forever. Then the building blew up as he died from all the magical energy as the evil inside was vanquished.
It was the last thing I remembered till I woke up in the dark, with him next to me. I was terrified and confused. The room was in shambles. I crawled away from him. The expression on his face..." Harry shuddered, and they all moved to calm her. " I don't know how long I waited till I heard Sirius telling me he was there. I think it took me a few minutes to know I was safe and Voldemort was truly dead. I'm not even sure how I found my own wand in the dark. I think I may have lit it with the illumination spell, but I don't remember. Professor Dumbledore, what happened to his body?"
"It has been disposed of," Moody's voice came from the door. He had been standing where Harry couldn't see him and listening, writing down what she had said. "I saw no need to have you recount what happened for a second time."
"Thanks," Harry replied gratefully. "It's been a long night."
"Wait till I get you in Auror training school, Potter. You'll be better than your father and godfather were."
"Sirius and your dad were Aurors?" Ron asked amazed. "I knew they were in the Order but I didn't realize they were actual Aurors."
"Ron, that's one of the reason's Sirius, was sent to prison without a trial. They suspected him of being an Auror gone bad."
Ron whistled softly, "Are you going to go back to it?"
"I've been thinking about it., but in view of the circumstances Albus has also offered me a full time position here next term. He has to fill the open position."
"What open positions?" Harry looked at Dumbledore anxiously.
"Little Phoenix, we lost two of our Professors in the battle. Professor Trelawney and Professor Flitwick."
Harry started to cry. "Not Flitwick, it's not fair, and Trelawney may have been a lousy seer, but she didn't deserve to die."
"Sh...Princess. We were going to wait to tell you, but it's better if you know now. It could have been much worse."
"Harry, they both knew the score when they went into the battle. We all did. They both fought well, and would not want you to feel they died for nothing. They both helped to buy you the time you needed to confront Lord Voldemort," Snape told her seriously. "Their sacrifice saved countless other lives."
"I talked to my dad earlier about Percy. He realized that in the end he was wrong. He saved my dad and Professor Moody. He told my dad that he loved us all and he was sorry before he died," Ron consoled her. "Harry a lot of good people died yesterday, but they all helped to save many others. You helped to save us all. Hermione, Ginny, and all the others are safe. The Prophecies were right."
"Honey, go to sleep. We'll stay with you. Do you want me to carry you down to your room?" Sirius looked down at her, and their eyes locked.
"I'll stay here. It doesn't really matter so long as you're all with me."
"Then sleep, Child." Dumbledore told her quietly. "For now you may rest, the deed it is done, your heart it was pure, your goodness has won." Were the last words she heard, as Dumbledore gently charmed her to sleep, quoting from the Mathias Prophecy...
The last few weeks of school were busy ones for Harry. While final exams had been cancelled, the O.W.L.'s weren't. She sat for her exams and did quite well. Snape was very pleased with her Potions exam and she garnered another N.E.W.T., which was not easy, since to earn one she had to do perfectly on the practical and exceptionally well on the written with a score of over 90. She also had to contend with three potions master's watching her, one of whom was Tiberius Snape. She also garnered N.E.W.T'S in Charms, Transfiguration, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. She earned O.W.L.'s in Herbology and Divination. Ron and Hermione also did as well, except Ron received an O.W.L. in Potions, and Hermione got one in Arithmancy when she mixed up her answers. Harry teased her and said it happened because she was thinking about going out to the Three Broomsticks with Ron after the exam. Hermione had blushed profusely, and smiled.
Neville Longbottom also passed everything with O.W.L.'s except for Potions, where he merely passed the class, and he received a N.E.W.T. in Herbology. He was pleased with his grades, though, as he was going on to become a Herbologist and wanted to open a florist. He was also one of Harry's most ardent supporters, and would be forever grateful to her for the rest of his life. Harry would never forget the look on his face two days after Voldemort's fall, when the Owl arrived with the letter from his grandmother.
"Harry! It's a letter from my gran. She says that when the LeStrange's died and you put an end to You Know Who... my parents...Harry they're awake, and know who and where they are! They knew all along but were under a powerful set of spells. They were unable to tell us anything or act normally. My mum and dad knew me all those years. Harry they're coming home! They want to meet you too. They'll be here at Hogwart's tomorrow after exams are finished," Harry didn't say anything; she merely hugged him and cried. Slipping out after lunch, she transformed and flew over to the cemetery to visit her own parents.
She placed the usual flowers on the grave, and tried unsuccessfully to wipe the tears from her eyes, when she was startled by the sound of a voice behind her.
"Little one, why do you weep? They are freed now, and happy, their spirits are able to run with the wind. You have seen that for yourself."
"Hello, Artemis," Harry smiled at the little elf. "I just came to tell them that some of their old friends are also free, and alive. They will be coming home from the hospital where they have been for the past sixteen years. Their son is the one who protected the school with the willow trees and the Devil's Snare during the battle."
"Ah...the boy you call Neville. We of the wood respect him and he loves the plants. His parent's were tortured and their minds entrapped."
"Artemis, you never fail to amaze me, but yes, it is his parents."
"Then I am sure yours are happy. Did not your father tell you that just because you cannot see them; it does not mean they aren't there?"
"You've been talking to Dumbledore about what happened when Voldemort died."
"I know many things, Little One. I told you before; you have a wonderful Aura, not unlike the Wise one. Now smile, and go back to school. Your parents would want you to look to the future, not the past."
Harry had transformed and gone back up to the castle, but spent the afternoon alone playing with Snuffles. Hagrid had found homes for all her pups, and one had gone to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. Circe had also taken one for Phaedra, and the little girl was beside herself with delight. They would all be staying together again over the summer, at the little house in Ottery St. Catchpole. Harry would no longer be going to the Dursley's.
Harry had sent her aunt a nice letter, thanking her for taking her in and watching over her, even though she did not have to. She told her that if she ever needed anything she could get word to her through her neighbor, Mrs. Figg, as she would know how to contact her. She did not tell her that Arabella Figg was a Squib. She received no answer. She had not expected one.
Finally, the night came for the leaving feast. The Great Hall was decorated and all the students were in the mood to celebrate, but were acutely aware of the two empty chairs. In an effort to lighten the mood of the students, there had been a memorial for the two teachers the week following Voldemort's death. The students had all decided amongst themselves that there would be no House Cup this year, as there could be no real single winner. Instead, the seventh years had magically made a huge cup, emblazoned with the Hogwart's Crest, and the translation of the school motto, "Never Wake a Sleeping Dragon." The names of the teachers were inscribed on it along with the date of the final battle. It was to be a surprise for the faculty. As Head Girl and Boy Harry and Neville would present it along with all the Prefects. She had managed to arrange a special signal as soon as Dumbledore went to present the cup. She found it difficult to conceal her smile, when he tapped his glass for attention.
"Good evening, students. Another year has ended on both a sad and a happy note. Some of our numbers are no longer with us. Let us not forget them or the sacrifice they made. I want you all to know, that they gave their lives to buy Harry Potter the time to defeat Lord Voldemort. They sacrificed their lives so Harry could save our world from a great and powerful evil," Dumbledore smiled, as Harry pretended to drop something under the table and disappear. "Harry stop trying to hide, we all know how you hate the attention," the room went wild with laughter.
"Ah...I just dropped my wand on the floor is all," she said popping back up, embarrassed.
"It is now my pleasure to announce the House Cup..." He began only to be interrupted by Fawkes flying in with the Sorting Hat, as the stool suddenly appeared. Draco Malfoy had quietly done a summoning charm to bring in the stool, and winked from across the room. "This is most irregular, but it seems my Phoenix and the Sorting Hat have decided to join the celebration," Dumbledore said puzzled as he looked quizzically over at the teachers who were all shrugging. Fawkes put the Sorting Hat on the stool and it began to sing.
I am the Hogwarts Sorting Hat
This year draws to its end
Nevertheless, before you go
This message I will impart,
A thousand years or more ago,
When I was newly sewn,
There lived four wizards of renown
Who built this place of learning,
But alas, they did divide
Their brightest and their best,
By creating competition
It split this house in four
To put them to the test
To Gryffindor the bravest went,
While those who were the cleverest
To Ravenclaw were sent,
For Hufflepuff hard workers lent
A name of great renown,
While those of cunning and ambition
Were seen as Slytherin bound
Yet all these groups
They could not know,
That there would come a day
When one so black of heart
Would try to take control away,
So reunited they came to be
As the founders had intended,
For their instructors had taught them well
In Potions, Charms, and Spell
To protect this house of learning
So evil would not dwell
For when the Dark Lord he did come
He forgot to heed the warning
Written over our great door,
And upon the school standard
Never wake a sleeping dragon,
For you will come to see
The Griffin and the Serpent,
The Badger and the Raven.
All joined to act as one
As they were meant to be,
For in this House Cup I do present
Their thanks, with love and gratitude,
To Headmaster, Professors, and staff alike,
That gave the opportunity
To protect our Dragon's Heart.
The Prefects then all got up and pointing their wands towards the standards hanging above them changed them all to the Hogwart's Coat of Arms. Harry and Neville made the large House Cup appear on the table in front of Dumbledore. He was moved to tears, as were most of the teachers. Even Severus Snape reacted emotionally, and smiled. Sirius winked and beamed with pleasure, while Remus went over with McGonagall and hugged Harry and Neville, and shook hands with all the Prefects. The students went wild with applause that lasted for ten minutes. Everyone agreed that it was the best Leaving Feast Hogwarts had ever seen, and would be talked about for years to come.
The next morning saw Harry getting ready to leave, and as she prepared to go down to the carriages to take the train, Dumbledore stopped her.
"Harry, I have something for you." He handed her a piece of paper.
"What is it?" She asked curiously.
"Open it and find out, honey," Sirius said coming over to them with Remus.
Tearing open the envelope, she laughed. "It's my license to apparate! Ron will be so jealous!"
"Are you still going to take the train?" Sirius grinned.
"Yeah...I am. It's for the last time. We'll just consider it a right of passage, besides I want to be with my friends for a while. We're all going separate ways."
"I for one am surprised you turned Moody down. I thought you wanted to be an Auror," Snape remarked as he sauntered over.
"Not since I was fifteen. I have had my fill of chasing dark wizards. I told him I would free lance for the Order if there was ever another problem."
"What did he say to that, Princess?"
"Nothing, Remus. He just shook his head and muttered something about losing the chance to train the best Auror he could ever have had."
"What position did you accept?" Snape asked curiously. "I heard you were offered a position as relief Seeker on the Chudley Cannons."
"I turned it down. I love quidditch, but I don't want to play professionally. Besides, I have enough notoriety all ready."
"Then what will you be doing?"
"You know, for a Protector, you really should pay more attention to what I'm up to," Harry laughed. Turning to Dumbledore, she said, "Does Professor Snape know yet?"
"No, I haven't told him. I thought you might enjoy doing so."
"Oh, great, he'll be impossible to live with all summer," Sirius groaned, and Remus grinned.
"What are you talking about?" Snape glared, wondering what was going on.
"The Headmaster offered me a teaching position and I accepted it."
"Indeed, why should that bother me?"
"I'm teaching Potions." Harry replied straight faced as Sirius and Remus snickered.
"But I teach potions!" Snape turned to look at Dumbledore in confusion.
"Now, Severus, Harry did so well on her exams, she is going to study towards her Potions Master Certificate. You, of course, will supervise her, while you perform your new duties."
"Yes, Sirius will be teaching Astronomy since Professor Sinestra has informed me that she will be leaving due to a family illness. She wishes to be closer to home. I also needed to fill the vacancy left by the death of Professor Flitwick. Remus has graciously agreed to teach Charms since it is one of his other specialties."
"Who will be teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts and why wasn't I allowed to apply? You know all positions are subject to staff discussion even though you must approve them." Snape's pale complexion had a hint of red, as he was growing angry. He was not only out of a job, he wasn't even given the opportunity to apply for one of the openings on staff.
"Gee, I was allowed to vote, and I haven't even started yet," Harry sneered.
"Yes, I believe we discussed it last week while you were on that errand for me in Hogsmeade," Dumbledore's blue eyes were laughing. "It was actually Harry who said our new instructor would be perfect for the job."
"Potter, I have gone out of my way to Protect you and have come to care for you a great deal. While I admit I was not very nice to you for your first five years here at Hogwarts I never expected you to...to..."
"Severus," Harry smiled nonchalantly, "you're the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. I said the best instructors I ever had were Remus, who makes it one of his specialties since he is a werewolf, Barty Crouch when he posed as Moody, and you during our private tutoring sessions. After all, who would know better how to teach the students how to defend themselves than a former Deatheater. Remus had no objection to switching so..." Harry shrugged as Snape just stared, his mouth open.
"Honey, I think you put him into shock."
"Yeah, and I'm not done yet."
"There's more?" Snape whispered.
"Absolutely, give me your left arm. I have a present for you," Harry grinned. "It is something you didn't know I was able to do, but I knew it. You simply had to prove to me that you deserved it. I can't have my soul mate running around with this disgusting tattoo on his arm, now can I?"
"Potter, the Dark Mark is irreversible," Snape told her patiently.
"Not for me. Even our Headmaster can't remove it. I know how to put it on and take it off, just like when I put it into the sky when I was stuck on the roof. No one ever showed me how. It was one of the little talents I got with this scar, along with the Parsel Tongue," Harry explained as she grasped Snape's arm and held onto it. His eyes watered in pain as she used her power to cleanse him of the evil mark. Removing her hand, they all gasped. She had done it.
"Child, how did you know you could do that?"
"Headmaster, I really am Voldemort's equal. I'm sure I will discover all kinds of things I can do or understand as we go along. I'm so glad I'm the good one. All this power can be rather scary. That's why I have the four of you in my life. My dad said to take care of you, and I will. You can all watch out for me at the same time. Now if you'll all excuse me, the carriages are here, and I have a train to catch for the last time. The next time I walk through these doors it will be as a teacher."
"Have a good time on the train, Princess. We will meet you at the station, and will apparate from there. We have already sent your trunk on ahead along with Hedwig and Snuffles."
"Before you leave, Harry, I have one more question. You never did tell me who the old woman was," Dumbledore asked thoughtfully.
She smiled coyly as she looked from one to the other of the four men. They were all waiting for her answer. "Okay, when the hood of her cloak fell back I did recognize her. She had green eyes and a scar on her forehead in the shape of a lightening bolt. There was a time turner in her hand. I knew I wouldn't die if I just did what she told me, since I was looking at myself. I heeded my own advice and remembered what she said to me. To think before I acted, that Neville was an excellent gardener and Ron would be there when I needed him."
"No wonder she did not want me to see her. She knew I would recognize her."
"Yeah, she said she didn't want you to know just yet, so I guess now is when I told you. She did hint that if you knew what she did you would not be happy, so I have the feeling you're going to end up being one of the ancient wizards who come and do the testing for O.W.L.'s."
"Why do you suppose I did not try to stop her from coming?"
"Because you knew she was supposed to come since you know now who she was. You know better than to interfere with the time line, and she didn't really tell me anything about what would happen. She merely gave me the incentive to succeed. It would still be my actions which determined the outcome."
Dumbledore smiled, and nodded his approval at her theory, then gave her a quick kiss on the cheek, "I will see you later on this evening."
Harry turned, and catching up with Ron and Hermione, climbed into one of the carriages for the short journey to Hogsmeade. When they reached the station, she said good-bye to Hagrid, and they all boarded the train. Settling themselves into one of the compartments, Harry smiled at her two friends. Ron would be going to school to train to be an Auror and Hermione was going to work for the Ministry in Muggle Relations.
"Well, it's over," Hermione sighed with a tear in her eye. "I'm going to miss Hogwart's. You had better keep us posted about all the happenings."
"Don't worry, I will, and we'll still have the summer together. Besides I have a sneaking suspicion we will still be seeing a lot of one another. Especially since we are all going to have to testify at some of the trials."
"Ugh, don't remind me," Hermione frowned. "We still have to worry about the Deatheaters that escaped."
"That is why I am going into Auror training my love," Ron grinned giving Hermione a quick peck on her cheek.
"You just make sure you're careful Ronald Weasley. I don't know what I would do if anything happened to you," Hermione scolded with a pout. "Why couldn't you have been sensible like me and Harry and take up a nice safe profession?"
"Because my best buddy has this habit of attracting the bad guys like a magnet," Ron quipped, "and as Keeper of the Goblet I somehow get the idea I am going to be very busy," Ron said turning to Harry. "I still don't believe you chose teaching over Professional Quidditch or being an Auror," Ron shook his head.
"I chose my home, Ron. Hogwart's is where I belong. It is where my heart is and my family, besides you know I am going to free lance for Moody along with my three protectors. After all, someone has to make sure you stay safe for Hermione," Harry smiled sitting back, looking out the window.
"Well, at least we don't have to deal with any more Prophecies," Hermione said with a toss of her head.
"Don't be so sure, Hermione. The way Harry's life is anything is possible," Ron rolled his eyes mischievously. "Of course she may just decide to fool us all and settle down with one of her protectors."
"Now Ron, I promise you and Hermione will be the first to know when I do decide to settle down. Of course, I will have to find Mr. Right before that happens."
"Like you haven't all ready. You just won't admit it, let alone tell us who the lucky guy is. Do you know Fred and George are taking bets that you will marry one of your Protectors?"
"Really, and who is the front runner for my affections?"
"Well, Fred thinks you will end up with Sirius by the way you look at each other but George is going for Snape. He says that he's your soul mate."
"Well, I think they're both wrong," Hermione chimed in. "I think Harry has too much common sense for either of them and will surprise us all by marrying Professor Lupin."
Harry just smiled slyly, her cheeks red, her heart bursting with a new happiness.
She was heading into a new life with a family whom she could call her own, and the adventure was just beginning...