When a Plan Comes Together
The Forbidden Forest
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
For the past week, I had been staying with Hagrid's 'little' brother, Grawp. It had been the most enlightening experience of my life. I had never realized the extent of the complex society that the giants had built over the years, although I should have had some hints. After all, the muggle religious literature I had once studied held a myriad of clues. From the description of Goliath in the bible, it was obvious that he was, like my friend Hagrid, a half-giant, being only about 9 feet tall. He had fit in well with the advanced society of the Philistines, much like Hagrid interacted with ours. The people then believed him to be a full giant since he was the largest they had seen. It was only the fact that full blood giants were invisible to non-magic folk that they held that inaccurate belief.
My original plan had involved a lot of possible bloodshed, however after my time with Grawp, I could not go through with the plan. The giants were not malicious per se, they were victims of the lies of Voldemort. The giants themselves were honest and upfront, if naturally violent within their own society, and had no real suspicion when Tom made his empty promises. It was by guile that they had arrived in this conflict, it would be by guile that they would leave it. As far as Voldemort's Death Eaters who were tending the giants, I had no such mercy. I would have to destroy them in order to keep Voldemort from realizing that he no longer had the support of the giants.
The first part of the plan was carried out with Grawp's assistance. He allowed me to use Legimency while he brought up visions of all of his tribe's females. I had found out that Voldemort had only brought male giants to the conflict, leaving the females to tend the home fires. This enforced absence of female companionship had the effect of making the males that much more aggressive. Once I had solid mental pictures of the different females of the tribe, I set the second part into play. I transfigured Grawp's tattered clothes into what would be considered high fashion. I also supplied Grawp with a giant sized pull cart loaded with numerous bolts of fabric of all sorts and patterns. I then sent him on his way with instructions to stop by the giant's camp in the forest and tell them that he was leaving the forest, and that he would not be opposing them. He was to leave at that point and return back to his home.
Grawp had told me that he missed his homeland, dangerous as it was. He had only come with Hagrid out of curiosity, but that he was homesick. He was only staying in order to protect Hagrid, but when I promised to protect him, he took me at my word and asked me to leave a message for his brother that his visit was over and he was going home. I knew that Hagrid would be crushed, but the consequences of Grawp and Hagrid being in the thick of battle against much larger, more aggressive giants would probably be fatal. I followed Grawp to the camp, watched him give the message, and watched as his tribesmen bade him a relieved farewell. They were not really concerned that Grawp would be a threat, considering him puny, but they did not like the idea of having to kill a tribesman for any other reason than the normal tribal rivalries. I then settled down to give Grawp as long of a head start as possible. I was using Fawkes to keep me informed of what was happening with the assault team at Hogwarts.
The Giant's Camp
Two Days Later
I was beginning to wonder when I would hear from the assault team when Fawkes opened up our connection with an urgency that I had not felt for a while. It seemed that he had followed Harry to the sweat lodge at Godric's Hollow and listened in on a strategy session between Harry and Sirius. He sent me a verbatim memory from the meeting.
"So, have you decided when you are going to challenge Voldemort?"
"I have been letting him stew in his own juices for a while. He went spare when he found Nagini gone and the Riddle Manor burned to the ground. He ought to be just about ready to try to put me away by now. Everyone says they're ready, we've trained until we can go through it in our sleep."
"If I could make a suggestion…. Halloween is in three days. What better time for justice to be delivered than on the day that he killed your parents?"
"You know, that may not be a bad idea. The only thing that I'm worried about is the giants. I don't know where they are right now. A couple of weeks ago they were in Scotland, but they've had enough time to be just about anywhere by now. Hagrid found traces of them in the Forbidden Forest, and the centaurs have been keeping a loose watch on then, but I haven't heard anything in a few days." Harry explained. "That is why I need Dumbledore. He would probably know something that would give us an edge."
The two talked for a short while longer, then Sirius returned to the Spirit World and Harry went out to join his guards.
It was now time to put the rest of the plan in action. Using Legimency, I chose a giant at random and sent mind pictures of his tribe's females with hints about how lonely they were. I then sent him a picture of Grawp dressed in his finery with his pull cart of what could only be presents for those same lonely females. I watched as a scowl darkened his face, then watched in fascination as his mind began connecting the dots to draw a picture of Grawp showering the females with gifts and building a harem of all of the tribe's available females, leaving the larger giants out in the cold.
I then took that giant's mental pictures and began placing them, one at a time, in the minds of all of the other tribesmen, then sat back to watch the results. I was not disappointed, they were spectacular. One at a time, they began to get to their feet, muttering such words as 'sneak' and 'thief'. They began picking up their belongings, alerting the Death Eaters to the fact that something was afoot. A Bulgarian Death Eater confronted the Gurg, demanding to know what was happening. The Gurg told him that they were going home, then turned to leave. The Death Eaters then did something that would go down in the annals of stupid moves. They attempted to stun the giants to hold them there by force.
The results were something of which the muggle scientist Darwin would have been proud. By this extreme act of stupidity, the Death Eaters cleansed their little corner of the gene pool by removing themselves from it. Having forgotten about the giant's natural resistance to many offensive spells, they were caught completely off guard when their spells only enraged the targets. The giants turned as one to crush the Death Eaters beneath their feet, grinding them into the ground until they were unrecognizable. Within minutes, the entire tribe was gone into the depths of the forest.
I took the next few minutes speaking with Bane and the Centaur tribe, telling them that the giants were leaving, the Death Eaters were dead, and asking them to give a clear path to the retreating giants. My plan was to follow the giants and stretch their journey out by obscuring their path and at the same time, prevent Voldemort's forces from bringing them back into the battle, keeping the giants moving by reinforcing their suspicion of Grawp's intentions. Once I got them out of Voldemort's sphere of influence, I would start to lessen their animosity of Grawp so he would not be in any additional danger when the tribe arrived home. Hopefully, by the time they arrived, they would see him as a non-threat, one too weak to battle.
Having escorted the giant tribe as far as eastern France, I checked in with Fawkes just hours before the battle was due to begin. I knew that Voldemort would not be able to catch up with the giants on the route I had sent them, and even if he could, there was no way that he could transport them to the battleground at Godric's Hollow or back to my beloved Hogwarts. They were effectively out of the equation. I had a detailed vision of how the battle was to be carried out, and had even been able to plant one helpful thought in Harry's mind using Fawkes as an invisible go-between. It seems that Harry had plans to use Godric's sword in the battle, but knowing that the battle was to be inside a null-magic field, I was able to drop the hint that Harry should use a muggle sword, since Godric's sword would be non-responsive inside the null area at best, and non-corporeal at worst. Harry was never sure just from where that tidbit of information had originated, and I surely was not going to tell him. It was at this time that I wished that I could control my own portrait. I would have been able to freely give advice, but this was not to be.
Using a combination of portkeys and apparition, I made my way to Godric's Hollow, arriving less than fifteen minutes prior to the arrival of Harry and his team. I levitated myself up into the upper branches of an old oak tree where I would be higher up than the null-magic field, then cast a disillusion spell on myself. Soon after I got settled in, the assault team came in using a portkey. As they headed toward the sweat lodge, Alistair Moody veered off.
"You go ahead. I am going to stay out here and set up the anti-apparition wards and keep an eye out here, so to speak."
"Need any help?" Tonks asked.
"No, just go on and I'll join you in a bit." With this, the rest of the team entered the sweat lodge while Moody began setting the wards. Once that was finished, he walked the perimeter, coming to a stop directly underneath my perch. He never looked up, but then again, he didn't really need to.
"Hello, Albus. I was wondering when you would show up. I'm just surprised that it took so long."
I smiled. "Now I can die knowing that I have done everything, including surprising Alistair 'Mad-Eye' Moody. How long have you known?"
"Since the day you left your tomb. I happened to be there looking through the walls when Fawkes took you out. I had been wondering why your portrait had not awakened. Then there was the fact that Fawkes was sitting invisible in every planning meeting. I assume that you have been doing some behind the scenes work?"
"Yes, the only possible flaw that no one had covered was the giant involvement. I just took care of that. Oh, and I dropped a hint that Godric's sword would not work in a null-magic field."
"Kind of thought that had your wand print on it. Makes sense though, since that sword is a magical construct. Glad you took care of the giants though. I had been worried about that. Are you planning to show yourself?"
"No, not unless everything goes to hell. The plan is a good one, it doesn't need me sticking my fingers in it. It is my fault that Riddle ever got powerful. I saw his character when I visited him in the orphanage to give him his Hogwarts letter. I should have bound his powers and obliviated him then. Instead, I taught him what he needed to know to terrorize generations of people."
Moody snorted. "Yeah, both you and Potter have that damned 'saving people' thing, as Granger describes it. The only difference is that Potter tries to save lives, you try to save souls. Face it, Albus. You're a wizard, not a damned priest. Save lives and leave the souls up to the Maker to sort out. He's been doing it a lot longer."
"I'll keep that in mind. Meanwhile, I plan to sit in my perch and keep quiet unless I am needed. This is Harry's show, my day is past."
"I'll keep my mouth shut then. It is a relief that we have a back up plan, just in case. I'll leave you to your own devices then."
"Alistair, if everything works out alright, I will leave a portkey up here on this branch that will bring you to my cottage. We can have a drink and talk over old times."
"I'll look forward to it. And Albus…."
"Constant Vigilance, old friend."
It was several hours later that Harry and the assault team left the sweat lodge and positioned themselves for the battle. Dudley Dursley climbed a tree below and to the right of me. I then watched as events unfolded.
POPPOP POP POP The Death Eaters and Voldemort appeared in the meadow outside of the sweat lodge. Harry's team, sans Dudley, were behind various points of protection. They had to make sure that all of the enemy was in place. Suddenly from the upper branches of a tree came a shout.
"AUFERO VENEFICUS!!!" This was called out by Dudley from under Harry's invisibility cloak. Immediately Harry felt the loss of something.. He could tell from the expressions on the faces of Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange that the spell was successful. The rest of his team came out from behind their hiding places holding one litre squirt bottles. Neville led the charge. He ran up to Bellatrix as she desperately attempted to cast a spell in what was now a null-magic area. Neville held out the squirt bottle and sprayed Bellatrix directly in the eyes.
The effect was drastic. As the pure habenero pepper juice hit her eyes, blinding her, she screamed in pain. From inside his robes, Neville pulled a wooden billy club and, with all his might, hit Bellatrix right in the teeth while yelling, "YOU BITCH! This is for my parents!" Two more hits from the billy left Bella unconscious on the ground. Neville quickly stripped her of her wands, both the main one and her back up, then using the flex cuffs, trussed her up so that she could not move if she did come to. He then went after another Death Eater.
All around, the same situation was happening with the other team members. Lupin, Tonks, Mad-Eye, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny were actively taking the battle to the enemy. Dudley was still in the tree holding the spell that robbed the power from the battle zone. Harry tried listening for the telltale crack of trees falling that would herald the arrival of the giants, but never heard anything. Death Eaters, seeing that they were losing a battle that they did not know how to fight, tried to get away, but any magic that they attempted in order to leave also did not work. The same for portkeys and brooms. They were now no different from muggles. The dead zone was also too large to run out of to escape. They were faced with the fact that all they had as weapons were oddly shaped sticks and their fists. One squirt from the spray bottle of pepper juice in the eyes would immobilize them, then all the defender had to do was billy club them and truss them up.
In this vein, Harry walked boldly up to Voldemort, hands empty. Voldemort sneered. "What, no bottle of whatever potion the others are using? Why the special treatment?"
"I want you to see it all coming, Tom. I want to make sure that you feel everything." With that, Harry brought up his fists and smashed Voldemort in the face. "That one is for my Dad. Another punch. "And my Mum". As Harry moved in, hard fists smashing in with 16 years of anger and months of training by Dudley in the art of boxing, he drove Voldemort back while saying the names of everyone who he knew to be dead at Voldemort's hand.
As Voldemort went down on one knee, he dropped his wand and, reaching in his robes, pulled out a dagger. He lunged forward and Harry jumped back out of the way. Harry was sure that the dagger would be poisoned, and he could not afford even a scratch.
Voldemort staggered to his feet, sneering. "Now you will die, boy. Did you really think that you could kill me by brawling with your fists? I'll be eating your heart!"
"I don't think so, Tom." With that, Harry reached back between his shoulder blades and drew his katana sword from its sheath. Bringing it in front of him, he slashed down and severed Voldemort's hand holding the dagger. As Voldemort screamed and grabbed his arm to stop the blood flow, Harry spun around and sliced at the back of Voldemort's knees. Voldemort fell face down on the ground. Harry then brought up his sword over his head.
"Tom Riddle, for crimes against humanity, multiple murders of both wizards and muggles, you have been tried by the Wizengamot and sentenced to death. By authorization by the Wizengamot and the Ministry of Magic, I hereby pronounce and carry out that sentence." With that, Harry swung the sword downward towards Voldemort's exposed neck. The razor sharp sword bit into the flesh and cleanly severed the head, digging into the ground a good 2 inches. He then kicked the head away from the body.
Smoke arose from Voldemort's body and it began to decompose right in front of Harry's eyes. He stood, fascinated, as the flesh fell off the bones and a putrid odor arose. Tearing his eyes away, he saw that his combat team had disabled all of the opposition. The Death Eaters were tied up with the flex cuffs and all of their wands had been collected and broken.
"Dirt Eaters! Here is your Master!" Harry shouted. He grabbed the hood of Voldemort's robe and pulled the stinking corpse into a sitting position. He saw Bellatrix's eyes open in shock. Ginny was standing next to Bella, and as Lestrange began to scream, she stuck Bella in the buttocks with a hypodermic needle. A few seconds later, Bella's eyes rolled to the back of her head and she collapsed, unconscious once again. This procedure was repeated with each of the remaining Death Eaters. When the last one had dropped to the ground, unconscious, Dudley reversed the magic nullification spell.
With that, the magic flooded back into the area. Dudley, exhausted from holding the spell for so long, fell from his branch in the tree and collapsed on the ground. Ginny hurried over to him with a restorative potion. A few seconds later and he looked much better. Harry, Hermione, Ron, Lupin and Neville were going around the prisoners and turning their flexcuffs into portkeys that would transport them directly to the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry. They purposely saved Bella and Lucius until last. As they turned the last prisoner's cuffs into portkeys, Neville grabbed hold of Bella's cuffs while Lupin did the same with Lucius' cuffs. The four promptly disappeared.
Harry walked over to Voldemort's body, looked around, then picked up Riddle's wand. He immediately felt the power travel through, no wonder since it was identical to his own. He tucked it into his pocket, then turned Voldemort's robe into a portkey, and, taking hold of the cowl in one hand and the head in the other, took the body to the Ministry.
From my story, 'The Best Defense'
After the battlefield had been vacated, I called for Fawkes and had him take me to my cottage, leaving a nice wooly sock as a portkey for Alistair. I then began to pack, leaving out only a bottle of firewhisky and two glasses. A few minutes after I was finished, Alistair appeared. He walked over to the table, picked up the glasses and bottle, checking them for threats. He then opened the bottle and filled the glasses, then handed me one.
We sat for quite a while just enjoying each other's company. After about an hour, Alistair cleared his throat.
"So, Albus. What are your plans?"
"I plan to enjoy something that I have never experienced, that being obscurity. Since I was a young man, I have been carrying a reputation somewhat like Harry. I am tired and just want a nice quiet retirement. I do plan to do some writing however. I am going to study the giant tribe for a bit, I believe that I will be able to rewrite the existing literature on the species. After that, who knows?"
"I'll be looking forward to reading the books. Have you decided where you will live?"
"Someplace warm, I believe. Someplace that I will not need wooly socks. And you?"
"You know me, I'll die in the saddle. In the short run. I will be going to teach DADA at Hogwarts. Maybe now that Voldemort is dead the curse on the job will be broken."
The bottle finished, we said our good-byes, Alistair leaving for Hogwarts, me leaving to follow the giants.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Office of the Headmistress
Five years later
The fireplace glowed green, and the head of Harry Potter appeared. "Minerva, may I come through?"
"Of course, Harry."
The fire flared and Harry Potter stepped through into the office. He was greeted by the sight of Minerva McGonagall and Mad-Eye Moody sitting in the office with a goblin who he recognized as Griphook, his account manager.
"I got your message, What's the problem?"
Griphook stood up. "Mr. Potter, we are here for the reading of Albus Dumbledore's will."
Harry was stunned. It had been almost 6 years since the Headmaster was buried, and six months since Aberforth had died in St. Mungo's. The ministry had attempted to seize Albus' vaults, only to find that they had already been emptied, the assets gone. It was one of the biggest mysteries that he, as head of the MLEO had investigated, with no solution to the case. The goblins had been extremely tight-lipped on the case, citing customer confidentiality oaths. Harry took a seat.
Griphook took out a piece of parchment. "Mr. Dumbledore left the bulk of his fortune to Hogwarts in order to give scholarships to any witch or wizard who cannot afford a quality magical education otherwise. Those assets have already been transferred to the Hogwarts vault. As for the three of you, he left each of you some personal mementos in these three trunks. In addition, he has left Mr. Moody his home, the unplottable Hidden Cottage. The means to access the cottage are in your trunk, Mr. Moody. Now, if you could each sign this will to validate that you have received your property, we can finish up here."
Receiving the signatures, Griphook left the office to the thoughts of the three friends of Albus. Harry opened up his trunk to find many of the devices that had been in Dumbledore's office when he was Headmaster. There were also two books, preproduction editions, the first being called "Overrated. The Autobiography of Albus Dumbledore", and the other called "And Here Be Giants, Travels with the Tribe, by Albus Dumbledore". There was also a sealed envelope addressed to him. Opening it, he read;
I once told you that to a well ordered mind, death is just the next great adventure. I have begun that new journey, however I wanted to leave you something to remind you of the high esteem in which I hold you. You have no need for more galleons, sickles or knuts, but you do deserve the truth.
I failed you, Harry. I kept you in the dark and did not prepare you properly. I also treated you not as a rational fellow human being, but rather as a weapon to save our world. I did not figure in the possibility that I would come to love you as the son I never had. It was shame that drove me out of wizarding Britain. I wrote my autobiography as an atonement for my arrogance. Please read it and do not make the same mistakes.
I have also left you my Family House ring. The title of Lord Dumbledore is vacated, I have no blood heirs. The ring is to remember me by. There are no perks that go with the ring, it is now just an ancient piece of jewelry. One of the newer Houses will take my place in the Wizengamot, the Dumbledore line is now part of history.
Harry sat there hunched over, racked with tears. He was not the only one. Minerva and Alistair were also deep in thought. He looked in the envelope and saw a photo of Albus, beard shorn and wearing brightly coloured swim trunks with phoenixes printed on them. He was sitting on a beach holding a tall tropical drink with a pink paper umbrella. There was also a young lady feeding him bites of fruit. The scene was so funny that he started snickering, then broke out in a full laugh. When the others looked at him strangely, he showed them the picture. They also began laughing. A voice from the portrait behind him startled Harry.