Disclaimer: You know the drill, JKR owns it all, I have just snuck in under the fence so that I can play in her most excellent sandbox.
Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft
It had all come down to this day. A seventeen year journey beginning when he was just a year old. On that fateful day, the Dark Lord had marked him as his equal, guaranteeing that there could be no chance of normality for the slightly built, raven haired, green eyed young man who was striding through the entrance doors to meet his destiny. Eighteen year old Harry Potter was now ready, or at least as ready as he could ever be. On his hip rode the Sword of Gryffindor, in a holster on his left wrist was his wand. Behind him were his friends, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Ginny, and Luna. The six of them had been forced to grow up way too quickly, and it showed in their faces, the battle hardened visages of warriors.
The last year had found the sextet looking for and destroying Horcruxes. Originally it was to be just the Golden Trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione, however Harry discovered that he needed the unusual talents and powers of the other three. Harry's relationship with Ginny had never been repaired to the point of them once again becoming lovers, that could wait until after today, if ever. They had rather become confidants and friends, closer than lovers, more like siblings. If Harry and Ginny survived this battle, this war, maybe there would be something even deeper, the joining of soul mates.
As the group strode up to the edge of the wards, Harry saw that his Auror backups and the teachers were already in place. The arrangements for this duel had been in place for the past week. There was a large runway style platform, 4 metres long with two 2 metre circular platforms, one at each end. Hermione had remarked about how the dueling platform looked like the receiver of an old fashioned telephone. The non muggleborn wizards had no idea what she was talking about. Each round platform had a removable ladder laid against it, and one way wards around it. Once up on the platform, neither could leave until the other was dead.
This duel had actually been Harry's idea. Even though the Horcruxes had been destroyed, the influence of the Dark Lord had been growing. There had been attacks on everyone that Harry could call a friend, culminating in the deaths of Percy Weasley, Dean Thomas, and the Grangers, parents of Hermione Granger. It was at that point that all of the people close to Harry had moved into Hogwarts in order to be under the protection of the school's wards. The situation grew worse daily until Harry had snapped from the pressure.
Flashback, 2 weeks prior
Although it was summer, the Great Hall had numerous people inside. They were the people most in danger from Voldemort. The rest of the Weasley family, all of the teachers, excluding Snape, he had not been found after the murder of Dumbledore, and various friends and family members of what was now called the Diamond Sextet. This name had come from Fred and George Weasley. They had pointed out that they could no longer be known as the Golden Trio since there were six of them, and that Gold was soft, something these warriors could never be accused of. Since a diamond is harder than steel, the name stuck. And make no mistake about it, they were hardened by the flames of conflict. All had killed, although they had never stooped to using the Unforgivable Curses. Light spells could kill as well as Avada Kedavra. Just ask the five death eaters who died the month before at the hand and wand of Ron Weasley. There had been a skirmish in the streets of muggle London and the Death Eaters had Ron and Ginny pinned down. Ron had levitated a parked limousine and dropped it on the heads of the bunched up Death Eaters. The cleanup was very messy. The six had honed their skills at the light magic using Ron's insight of various tactics, an offshoot of his Wizard's Chess skills. They could now think beyond the box, not just outside it.
Hagrid was looking through the Daily Prophet and commenting on a story about the latest Death Eater attack on the ministry, this one leaving the Minister of Magic in a coma that he would never recover from. Hagrid was talking about how he would like to meet a few Death Eaters in a dark alley with his new wand. He had finally been cleared by the Ministry over the events of 50 years ago, and reinstated as a wizard. Of course, he had never really quit being a wizard, he just had to do it underground with the broken pieces of his old wand inside that ridiculous pink umbrella. That was how he had been able to open the gateway into Diagon Alley all those years ago.
At another table, a squabble had broken out between a couple of other friends. Everyone's nerves were on edge. Finally Harry stood up and cleared his throat, causing conversation to stop.
"It's time." With that, he left the hall, his five closest friends close behind them.
He returned a couple of hours later looking pleased. "I will know in the next couple of days when this will be over." He would not say any more than that.
After the Sextet had left the hall, they had gone to the Owlery. He had summoned Hedwig and given her instructions to locate a vulture and bring it back. When she had completed the mission, Harry took a piece of parchment and tied it to the vulture's leg. "I want you to locate Lord Voldemort and give him this." Vultures kept track of Voldemort and the Death Eaters, there was always a meal in store for them after attacks in out of the way places. The vulture took off with a pleased look on its face.
"What was that all about?" asked Neville.
"I have decided that it is time to end this, once and for all. I have challenged Voldemort to a duel, winner take all. If I win, we are all free, if I lose, then he will not have to go through me anymore. Either way, it will be settled. A lot of folks may end up leaving Great Britain, most won't care as long as the war is over." Harry thought bitterly of the people who had come out against him when the newspapers began printing their slanders about him. "I need to go back down to the Great Hall and tell Hagrid what I need to have built.
Voldemort had taken the challenge well. He was also wanting to end this, knowing in his flinty little heart that he could take everything that Potter could dish out and still be victorious. He told Wormtail to get himself to Hogwarts and spy on the preparations. He quickly wrote a reply to Potter and sent it off with the vulture, only singing the bird's tail feathers slightly to hurry it on its way. Wormtail then appearated to Hogsmead to watch and wait.
Several hours later, the vulture squeezed itself through the owl entrance to the Great Hall, followed closely by Hedwig. The ugly carrion eater had landed in front of Harry and held out its leg with the message. Harry took it, read it, then dismissed the bird. Hedwig then landed on the table in front of Harry. She did not look well.
"What's the matter, girl? You look sick." Indeed she did. She had a dazed look on her face, shaking her head in distress. Just as Harry reached for her, she vomited directly onto Harry's plate. Among the fur and bones she expelled was a flash of silver, the paw of a rat. Harry laughed and Hedwig looked much better.
"Eeww!!" said Hermione. "That's disgusting." She then caught a gimpse of the silver rat paw. "Is that what I think it is?"
Ron looked over and also started laughing. "Ah, Wormtail! It looks like you disagreed with something that ate you!"
Hermione shot a quick glance at her boyfriend. "Ron, I had no idea that you were a James Bond fan."
"Never mind. Harry, is Hedwig alright?"
"She seems to be, but I don't think that she will be eating anymore rats for a bit. At least not ones with metal paws."
Harry could see Voldemort and crew walking in from the other side of the field. The Dark Lord walked with confidence, his Death Eaters arrayed around him, much as Harry's friends were around him. They knew that this was not going to be a fair, one on one fight. As soon as Harry and Voldemort would start to duel, all hell would break loose. All sides were ready.
The two main combatants climbed the ladders to the dueling stage and stood in their respective circles. Standing next to the runway was Mad-eye Moody, acting as referee.
"Combatants, take your places. This is a winner take all duel to the death. Neither combatant will be able to leave this platform until the other is dead. Those are the only rules. Wands up! 3, 2, 1…Duel!"
Harry fired off a wandless protego shield and at the same time sent the Avada Kedavra curse at Voldemort, who easily dodged it, sending back a crucio that was deflected by Harry's shield. It was at that time that the Death Eaters and the Light forces began firing spells at each other. Things were even, neither side able to best the other. The duelers on the platform were experiencing the same problem. They knew that their wands were matched, but neither attempted to bring a different wand, each believing that they would be able to win by either guile or sheer force of will. Harry had brought Godric's Sword and Voldemort had brought Slytherin's, which he had stolen from Hogwarts so many years ago when he had first opened the Chamber of Secrets. Both figured that the final part of the duel would be with these weapons.
It was two minutes into the duel that the wands locked. They had sent matching killing spells at each other, with the magic meeting in the middle. The beads of power were not moving over an inch either way when Voldemort brought out his secret weapon. Muttering a spell under his breath, he activated the Dark Marks on his Death Eaters, drawing their magical power out of them and into him. The beads of power began to slide toward Harry. Hermione glanced up, saw the thin ropes of light running between Voldemort and his Death Eaters and screamed at the other 4 members of the sextet.
They had discussed this possibility, that of the Dark Lord being able to siphon power to his advantage, and Luna had told them about PowerShare amulets. These would allow the sextet to send their power reserves to Harry. The five quickly activated their amulets and the beads of power stopped their advance toward Harry, slipping back gradually as the energy drained from the five friends. They stopped, still on Harry's side, but not as close now.
Voldemort, with a look of rage on his face, called up more power from the Death Eaters, draining the weaker ones completely and putting a much larger drain on the others. The tide of the battle below the stage began to turn as Death Eaters, their spells and stamina weakened to the point of exhaustion, began to fall to the Aurors and Teachers. Harry's friends were also at the point of exhaustion, but they fed their power into Harry, draining themselves. They at least were not fighting anyone themselves. The power flowed heavily, the sky itself lightened with the expended power, then….
The Death Eaters and Harry's five friends collapsed, unconscious. The only Death Eater still on his feet was Lucius Malfoy, greatly weakened. He lifted his wand to cast the killing curse at the five, but was unable to carry it out. This was because a small house elf, Dobby, appeared in front of him and stabbed him with a butcher knife, courtesy of the Hogwarts kitchen. Dobby then popped out as Lucius fell forward, dead.
"Who was that house elf?" asked Lupin, with a smile on his face. He knew exactly who it was, but he wasn't telling.
"I don't know, never seen him before in my life." Said McGonagall, a rare smile also gracing her face. She also knew Dobby, but would carry that secret to her grave.
They turned to the stage, expecting to see a vanquished Voldemort. What greeted their eyes were the swords of Slytherin and Gryffindor, lying sheathed, still on their belts, in the middle of the dueling circles. Harry and Voldemort were gone.
It took the Aurors mere minutes to clean the battlefield of casualties, portkeying them directly into the Department of Mysteries. Those with the Dark Mark were sent directly through the veil, no trial, no waiting. This included Bellatrix Lestrange and Severus Snape. Draco Malfoy had died on the battlefield, having been strangled by plants that Neville had charmed to grow up around him. He was the first of the Death Eaters to fall, quickly followed by his mother, whom Hagrid had dropped a tree upon. The surviving injured who were on the side of Light were given a quick examination and either sent home or to St. Mungos. The war dead would be mourned, Harry Potter would be lionized by proclamations and statues, and the celebrations would go on for weeks as what passed for normality returned to the wizarding world.
The Dursley family would not care either way.
The two combatants landed waist deep in a swamp, still locked in dueling position, the beads of power holding place in the exact center of the magic's arc, moving not an inch either direction. They were oblivious to their surroundings. A small, elf like creature in a robe turned toward his companion, a young, sandy haired human who was holding his hand out, attempting to levitate some sort of flying machine out of the swamp. His concentration was broken by the appearance of the two combatants, and the machine sank.
"I sense that the Force is very strong in these two. One from the Dark Side, one from the Light. Pay attention!" The small creature was about to comment on their technique, when..
The two combatants landed on their feet in the midst of a vast green desert, a red sun burning overhead. A small human male was standing to the side, but neither noticed him. Suddenly a silver machine like person rolled up, arms waving wildly.
"Danger Will Robinson, Danger!" He also went unnoticed.
They landed on the nose of a ship in space, still locked deep in the duel. For some reason, the absence of air did not affect them, they had carried a bubble of the breathable air with them. Wands still locked, beads of power unmovable. They did not realized that they were being watched from a distance.
"Captain, something has appeared on the bow of the Klingon ship." A black haired humanoid with pointed ears looked up from his instruments in curiosity.
"Can you tell what it is, Spock?"
The humanoid known as Spock seemed slightly disturbed, but fascinated. "Unknown at this time, Captain. I will need more data.
"Engineering, Mr. Scott."
"Lock transporter beam onto the anomaly on the bow of the Klingon ship and bring it in for a closer look."
Before the transporter could lock on coordinates…
The fighters landed in a large royal court. The March Hare turned to the blond haired girl next to him.
"Five bucks on the ugly one"
The old wizard and the young hobbit had just left the mountain trail and walked into the meadow when they stopped in amazement at the scene before them. Two obvious wizards were dueling, unmoving, lights reaching from their wands and meeting in the middle.
"Shouldn't you help the good wizard?"
"It looks like a private disagreement, and they are out in the middle of nowhere, not hurting anyone. Besides, we have an adventure to finish!"
From behind a rock came a confused voice. "My Pretty….?"
The duelers appeared on the beach of a small desert island. The determination in each of their eyes had not wavered. As they stood rigidly in place, two beings appeared and each took a place next to a fighter. The being close to Harry appeared to be a beautiful woman. Had it not been that she had an unearthly glow around her head and a set of pure white wings coming out of her back, she could have passed for a top fashion model. That and the old fashioned white robe she wore. The figure next to Voldemort was wearing a pinstriped suit, carried a briefcase and had on highly polished black shoes. He also had wings, bat style wings, but they were folded and hidden under his clothes, out of sight. He was extraordinarily handsome, but there was just something wrong with his features, as if the handsomeness was a veneer meant to deceive.
The male looked over at his counterpart and whistled. "Evie, even after 10,000 years, give or take, you're still looking great."
"Flattery will get you nowhere. You should know, you have been trying at least that long. Nice suit though, not your normal dress."
"Just got out of court. I got a child molester off with 6 months probation. He will probably kill the next one so that he doesn't go back. You know, prison is hell for those types. So it was a win-win all the way around. He will twist the innocents, then send them to you."
"Thanks. I appreciate the recognition. So, about these two, are you satisfied with the arrangements?"
The woman glanced over at the fighters. "It seems like the best solution. Out here, they can't hurt anyone else. The fighters for Light have sent you a harvest of your kind of souls, I didn't lose any this time, but I would have lost a lot of assets had we not come to this agreement."
"I'm glad that I don't have to face you in court.." he started.
"Yet, but that day is coming."
"Well, you know what they say, make hay while the sun shines. I'm not sweating it. I think that these two should be good for a couple of hundred years, then we can make other arrangements."
Just then, Voldemort and Harry broke wand contact and grabbed for their non-existent swords. When their hands closed on air, they both stopped, then looked around in amazement.
"Who the hell are you?' asked Voldemort, looking at his unearthly shadow.
"Funny that you should ask that question, that way."
"You two are us," said the woman. "Or at least as close to us as we could get with imperfect materials. My name is Gaia, my friends", she looked pointedly at her counterpart, "and some others call me Evie. This, hem, gentleman is Damien. We have no last names."
"Why are you here? And just where is here?" asked Harry.
"We are the embodiment of good and evil. We have been fighting for millennia, and frankly, we are just a bit tired of it. Sometimes Damien is ahead for a while, such as during the Dark Ages, sometimes I pull ahead, as in the Renaissance. We have held the balance in all worlds since the beginning of history."
"So what does that have to do with us?" Voldemort was willing to let Harry do the questioning for now, he was still somewhat gobsmacked by the whole affair.
"Just what Evie said. We are tired of fighting right now, so we have decided to delegate the responsibility. We chose you two from before your births and have geared your entire lives toward this point. Tom, you have become my representative, Harry is Evie's. We plan to take a couple of centuries off the battle, an R&R, so to speak. It will be a time of peace in the worlds while those who follow us can be nurtured and grow to their best…or worst. Meanwhile, you two will take up the battle, out of the way where you can't hurt anyone else. You are evenly matched, you should survive that long. At the end of your lives, you can both reap the rewards that you have earned and will earn. It would be the same result as if you had both died on the dueling platform. Tom, you will join me as my second, and Harry can go play a harp on a cloud, or whatever it is that you guys do there."
"And why should we play along with you? I don't like being anyone's pawn. I didn't like it when Dumbledore did it, I still don't like it." Voldemort shot Harry a glance of approval. What he could have done with Harry as an ally!
"Simple," said Evie. "You have no other choice. Tom, all of your followers are dead, any possible new recruits are scared spitless of joining a 'Dark Lord'. The world knows now that you are a mixed blood, you will have no pureblood following back there. Harry, you also have nothing left but an empty shell of a life, you can never be normal. Every minute of both of your existences have been guided toward you becoming our delegates. Harry, the world honors and respects a dead Harry Potter, alive you would trouble them. They would be terrified of anyone with that much power. And if I sent you back, Tom would also have to go back, and the war would continue for a century or more."
"But you just said that he has no more followers. The light could work together and banish him."
"That would all change if he went back. There would be another false peace, allowing him to be strengthened, but in the end you would still have to fight it out. And besides, we have no plans to send you back, either one of you, ever. You are in another dimension, far from your home. Let it be, do your job, and we will see you in a couple of hundred years or so." With that, the two immortals walked off, arm in arm, stepping on an invisible stairway. Harry and Tom heard them laughing and talking.
"Evie, I know this great little cappuccino shop in Venice Beach, California. My treat"
"The last time you bought me cappuccino, you spiked it. I should have sued."
"Yeah, right. And just where are you going to find a lawyer?"
Giggling. "You devil"
Ten years later
Harry and Voldemort had settled into an easy routine. At first, they had attempted to finish the duel, but found that much too exhausting. They had finally settled on dividing the island in half and making regular assassination attempts on each other. Over the years, they had attacked each other with wands, fists, and anything else that they could lay their hands on. They had dug tiger traps, set snares, but nothing either of them could do could finish off the other. They had become the most efficient warriors in the galaxy, possibly the universe.
Just this morning, Harry had been swimming in the lagoon on his side of the island. Voldemort put a shark under the Imperius curse and sent it to attack Harry. Harry transfigured the shark into a guppy and dropped it into Voldemort's morning tea. They were keeping their end of the bargain, but had really began to wonder why. Many days they would set up a campfire in the middle of the island's dividing line and share stories and coffee. This was one of those nights. Voldemort had conjured a bottle of firewhiskey and they were pouring liberal amounts in their coffee cups to spike the brew. The two of them were not really feeling any pain at this point.
"Really Harry, just what is the use in all of this? I mean, I am sure that the police of the universe have not gone out of business, neither have the do-gooders. There is still crime, there is still charity."
"How do you figure that? They said that the worlds would be at peace while we are fighting."
"You missed the other part of that. They said that both good and evil would be nurtured and allowed to grow. Take it from me, I'm an expert in this. The power of evil cannot grow unless evildoers do evil." He hiccupped. "All that they said is that there would be no major conflict as long as we were here. You still will have random acts, but there is no grand purpose behind it. The worlds will be weakened. Good and evil are like muscles. Unless they are exercised and have pressure put on them, they cannot develop properly."
"What if I don't want evil to grow? It causes too much pain."
"Then good will become just as weak. You cannot know peace without war. You cannot know good without evil. But there is another thing. Like it or not, we are leaders. Fate, destiny, or the maneuvering of Evie and Damien, we grew up to lead! And leaders need followers, a leader by himself is nothing. And the followers need us! They need that Grand Purpose, a banner to march under. And here we are, the two greatest leaders the worlds have ever known, fighting like a couple of barroom brawlers with no direction. I for one am sick of it and I am not going to play their game any longer!"
"What? Do you want me to kill you or something?"
"Don't be stupid. Of course I don't want to die. But I would still prefer it to the meaningless existence that I have now. What I am proposing is a truce." Voldemort started singing a drunken rendition of a supermarket advertisement. "Since we're neighbors, let's be friends"…
"But what do we tell the immortals?"
"When was the last time you saw those idiots? When they dropped us in this Merlin forsaken dimension. I'm willing to stop trying to kill you if you will do the same."
Harry thought about it. "Works for me. In fact," He stood on his feet, slightly weaving. "Evie, Damien," he shouted. "Screw this whole game plan and screw you!" He then sat back down and took the bottle. "More firewhisky, Tom?"
On thousands of worlds, something began to happen. Evil began to slightly flex its underused muscles. Some beings found that it was great fun to hate. Even more fun to kill, not just the random killing, but serial and mass murders. Others began to find joy and fulfillment in helping others and doing acts of kindness. They saw evil growing and began to gather strength and courage to stand against it.
The experiment had failed, but Voldemort and Harry were still stuck.