Disclaimer: Nope, still don't own it. If I did, I wouldn't be publishing things here and I'd be rich. Oh, yeah, and Remus would be mine – ALL MINE!!! Mwahaha!!! Ahem, yes, on with the chapter!
Chapter 2: Harry's Death
I feel the wind in my hair as I fly my top-of-the-line Firebolt broomstick away, it is finished, I've delivered my message. I have left my will on my bedside cabinet, two days ago now (it's not like food matters, I'm going to die, anyway), and I know that Order members will find it when they come to check up on me as I was supposed to write every three days. I guess that Moody, Lupin, Tonks, and Mr. Weasley did that on Dumbledore's orders. That bastard, he doesn't care one bit about me, he just wants to make sure his precious weapon isn't damaged before the time it comes to be used. For I am an 'it,' to Dumbledore, not Harry, not a 'he,' an 'it.' In fact, I hope it's him that finds it and reads it before he shows it to anyone else and reads what I think of him, of his oh, so wonderful plan and the reason he kept me with those Muggles for ten years.
"But am I ready?" I ask myself as I fly. I mean, I'm mad at Dumbledore, there's no doubt about that, my will testifies to it in black and white. However, what about the others? I know that Hermione and Ginny will be devastated and start sobbing once they hear what I'm going to do, girls are just like that (though they aren't nearly as bad as Cho, if I'd put her name in there, she'd have drowned everyone in the room with her tears). Of course, that might be good, because I know that a lot of the people who I've invited would be happy to see me (despite it being in the afterlife). Ron along with the two girls who I've already mentioned would run to me and knock me over, screaming how happy they are to see me, especially Hermione. I remember when she did that when I came to Grimmauld Place in the summer of my fifth year, the summer when all this pain and deception started because of the oh, so wonderful Albus Dumbledore.
However, once they subsided, I think about getting up and drawing Ginny into a passionate kiss, not caring who was watching. I wouldn't care if there were a million people watching, but I should have shown my love for her beforehand. But now it's too late, I won't be able to for years to come. All I can do is hope that she takes pity on my corpse when she sees it and kisses it with those tender, warm lips of hers which I have dreamed of touching with my own so many times before.
Of course, Neville and Luna, who I don't know that well, but acted like heroes in the battle in the Department of Mysteries, were invited to the will-reading as well and I guess Neville would smile at me nervously while Luna would say "Hello, Harry," and then go off to hunt of the ghosts of Crumple-Horned Snorcacks. Are they real?
Then there would be the others, and, though not as close to me, I still love them (with the exception of Snape who I . . . like somewhat). Mrs. Weasley would come and gather me in one of her bone-crushing hugs while Mr. Weasley patted my back and smiled (I imagine that she'll sob into her husband's shoulder and/or attack Dumbledore when she hears the will and Dumbledore's explanation which he had better give - they deserve to know much more than he does). The rest of the Weasleys would do their numerous forms of greeting, Fred and George probably with a Nose-Biting Teacup or a Canary Cream - putting their own twang on it. I wonder for an instant what Percy would say when he heard that all of his family members had died, for I doubt that he came to the will-reading though I invited him.
Then there would be Hagrid, who, mopping his cheeks with a giant, spotted handkerchief would come up and pat my back, seeming to make me sink several inches. Tonks would grin and say, "Wotcher, Harry!" as if we were meeting for a picnic and Lupin . . . oh, I forgot, Remus, would simply stare at me wordlessly, his hand hovering over my shoulder tentatively. He never seemed to be one to get sentimental over things; he was always an authority figure despite being one of Mum and Dad's best friends. When the will is read, he'll probably just stand there, then leave the room for some Order business like tracking down the remaining Death Eaters (and Voldemort, if I don't manage to kill that evil bastard), without showing his true feelings.
Moody's magical eye would probably be swiveling all around to take in these new surroundings while Snape would simply gaze at me in hatred (he probably doesn't even care that I . . . like him somewhat) with an expression that clearly says, "Look what you've gotten us into this time, Potter. You're just as arrogant as your father," or some other bullshit.
McGonagall might look less stern than usual and Dumbledore . . . well, I wouldn't care what Dumbledore's reaction would be. He might start toward me with those sparkling blue eyes of his seeming to X-ray me, trying to figure out what's wrong (besides my death), but I'd ignore him and walk away to join those people I've thought about my whole life . . . Mum and Dad.
But I'm thinking nonsense, soon enough I'll be in one world and they'll be in another and more than space will separate us. I know they'll miss me and I'll miss them, too, but I have to do this. If I don't, then I'll put even more people in danger that I love and care about : Ron, Hermione, Ginny, the Weasleys, Lupin, Hagrid, McGonagall . . . the list goes on and on. If I don't, then they might be killed and I cannot, will not, let that happen.
Instead, I will enjoy what I know will be up there waiting for me: my parents, the people I've dreamed about my whole life, of me seeing them and talking, just talking and enjoying their presence. Sometimes I think I can remember a bit of them, Dad tossing me up in the air, laughing, Mum rocking me to sleep, humming a tune that I can barely remember, bits and pieces, but I want more than bits and pieces, I want it all, I want all of the pieces to fit together in the puzzle, to know everything, to relive everything, to see them again.
Of course Sirius will be there, too, I know and I'll be able to apologize for as good as killing him, though my guess is that he'll blow it off as easily as a dust mite. Then, we'll catch up on the few weeks that we missed of each other and I'll tell all of them about my will. I am sure they'll sympathize with me, after all I'm their son and godson, and, I've been told that Dad and Sirius are a lot like me (or rather, I'm a lot like them), and they will obviously share the same feelings that I have toward Dumbledore.
I think of what we'll do up there, Dad will probably show me his Animagus form just to show off and Mum will roll her eyes. Sirius might have some form of his flying motorcycle up there, who knows? I can make up for all those years I didn't spend with them by being with them for eternity, I can tell them about my life on Earth - Ron, Hermione, Ginny (she does look a lot like Mum, except her eyes are hazel), how Snape's just as prejudiced against me as he was toward them, Remus (as much as I know about him, anyway), the Weasleys ("did you know that Fred and George are planning to open a joke shop?"), and so many other people that I can't name - both good and bad.
With these happy thoughts of spending eternity with my parents, I allow my mind to drift and steer my broom with deft motions, not sure where it is leading me or what I'm getting myself into, but knowing that I need to. I almost want to call out, "Hey, Voldy, come and get me!" but stop myself. Suppose there are Muggles around?
However, almost as if my thoughts have summoned it, there are jets of spell-fire coming from the ground far below and I steer my broom to avoid the Stunning and Disarming Spells that are being sent up at me. Instead, I bring my broom's nose down so that I am diving straight toward the ground - dives are my specialty - dodging the spells as if they are merely Bludgers that the Slytherins are sending at me. Finally, I get to the ground and see that there is a group of Death Eaters there (they were blocked by cloud cover while I was flying), consisting of Bellatrix Lestrange, Lucius Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle Sr., and the rat himself: Peter Pettigrew, along with numerous others who I recognize only from that night in the graveyard and a few from the battle in the Ministry.
"Oh, look, it's ickle baby Potter," Bellatrix says in her sing-song voice that I so greatly detest. "Come to avenge your dead godfather, baby Potter?"
Before I could answer, a voice that I had heard only in my nightmares these past few weeks was heard and Voldemort appeared, saying, "Oh, it's much more than that isn't it, Potter?"
"You know that just as well as I do, Tom," I say mockingly.
"Let us duel, then," Voldemort says, sending a Cruciatus Curse at me which I just manage to dodge by diving behind a boulder and the Curse dashing it to bits. The Death Eaters laugh maliciously and close in, in a tight circle, sending their own spells at me, but Riddle raises a hand. "He is mine to finish. Do not fire unless I tell you to," he orders and they subside, simply creating a barrier around me while Lord Voldemort has me to himself.
I try not to show my fear as I dodge the spells and send back feeble hexes and jinxes of my own (or at least they seem feeble to a Dark wizard of Voldemort's caliber). Why the hell was I thinking this? What am I supposed to do to defeat him? However, I put a brave face on by saying sarcastically, "Didn't you say that last time, Tom, and I ended up escaping from you in the graveyard?"
"You dare to speak to the Dark Lord like that, Potter?" Lucius demands, sending a Stunning Spell my way and I am just quick enough to use a Shield Charm.
"Silence, Lucius!" Voldemort snaps to the Death Eater as if he were a child. "Potter is right, but he won't escape this time, though. For there's no Dumbledore to save your life this time, is there? There's no Portkey that you can run to and go back to your savior, Dumbledore, is there?"
"Shut up!" I scream, sending a Disarming Spell at the Dark Lord which he easily parries and I have to dodge quickly to avoid it.
"But I don't think that Potter wants to go back to the great Albus Dumbledore, this time," Voldemort concedes as if he is at a scholarly convention rather than on a battlefield. "No, Potter hates his great savior; he's run away and now look where it's left him. There's no Dumbledore to save you now, Harry!"
"Do not insult the Dark Lord, Potter," Bellatrix warns. "He knows, he always knows. Isn't that true, My Lord?" she asks, turning to him for affirmation. I want to chuck, she reminds me of Malfoy with Snape.
"Yes, it is true, Bella," Tom confirms. "And do not deny it, Potter. In that will of yours, you used many Muggle swear words, isn't that correct? Why, I would guess that some of them were even worse than 'Mudblood,' in other words, your filthy Muggleborn mother," he says, with that cold laugh of his.
I feel my blood turn to ice and my hatred for him is immense. I send a Cruciatus Curse his way and he laughs and turns it toward me, instead, putting his own power into it to outweigh my own. I'm not quick enough to dodge it and am flooded with pain, screaming, while intermingling it with swears. Voldemort easily casts a Silencing Charm on me and laughs as I mouth silently, trying to show him how much I hate him. Finally, he stops the spell and leaves me on the ground, silently panting.
"No swears for you, Potter. You should wash your mouth out, your filthy mother would want you too, you know," he says, casting a Scourgify on me and my mouth fills with soap and bubbles which I spit out onto the ground, fumbling around for my wand which I dropped when the Cruciatus was sent my way.
I finally find it and get up wiping the soap off my mouth, so I look less like a rabid animal and the battle begins in earnest, Voldemort now going from so-called 'harmless,' curses to Killing Curses. I have to use every bit of my Quidditch training to dodge the network of jets of green light being sent my way, sending my own feeble hexes and jinxes, now and then trying a Cruciatus on the Dark Lord. I think of using Priori Incantatem for the briefest instant, but stop, for Voldemort has probably learnt not to let that happen and, even if I did, what would I do when the ghosts of my parents appeared? There's no Portkey to run to this time, the only thing I could do was run to my broom, but, the Death Eaters and Voldemort would shoot me down like a goose and that would not accomplish my mission - to defeat Lord Voldemort.
I come out of my reverie by dodging a Killing Curse that just brushes the top of my messy head of hair. I'll die here, I know it, and there's no Dumbledore to save my neck this time, I know that Tom's right. But this is what I was meant to do, I need to do this, and Dumbledore risking his neck for me would only delay the time that I finally need to do it. Plus, I doubt that he'll ever do anything for me again after what I said to him in the will. But I believe it . . . don't I? I mean, he could have easily put up wards in another wizard's house, such as the Burrow or Remus's place (maybe he and I could have become closer then), but he chose to put me with those blasted Muggles who didn't give a shit about whether I was dead or alive. To them, I wasn't the Boy-Who-Lived, the wizarding world's savior, but a rag-tag freak who didn't even thank his 'wonderful relatives,' for the clothes they put on his 'ungrateful back.' However, suppose Voldemort had returned earlier in some obscure manner? Suppose he had gone after me and the wards at the Burrow or Remus's house hadn't been enough to protect me? I would have been killed; I know that and probably the others along with me. But he just wanted to keep his precious weapon safe, I remind myself angrily. He doesn't give a shit about me.
However, maybe since I'm so near death I'm starting to go crazy and relive the past or maybe it was a dream anyway, but I remember something so obscure that I don't know where it's been in my mind these many years. There is an old man looking down on me (I guess that I'm only a baby at this time) and I know that it's Dumbledore. He smiles at me, his blue eyes twinkling behind his half-moon spectacles, but there is a deep pain in him which the baby me does not realize. The baby me reaches up and pats Dumbledore's long, silvery-white beard, gurgling in pleasure as I feel the ticklish hairs. Dumbledore chuckles and kisses me on the head, his mustache tickling my head and I giggle.
The old wizard smiles down at me tenderly. "Oh, my dear boy," he says. "I love you so." And now his voice drops to a whisper as if I can actually understand what he's saying in my baby state and doesn't want others to hear. "I'm so sorry I had to put you with these dreadful Muggles, but it's for your own protection. I'll explain all of it to you when you're older, but, believe me, Harry, I'll get you out of here someday. I promise." And as Dumbledore said this, I notice that a tear slips into his long beard and the baby me reaches up a hand to wipe it away. Dumbledore smiles sadly and grips my tiny hand in his own weathered one. "I love you, Harry," he repeats, before standing up from where he had been kneeling next to what I guess is my cheap, makeshift playpen and disappears with a pop and a swish of his midnight-blue robes. Then, my baby self is left alone in a corner of the room and I begin to cry.
He loved me, was my first thought once I was brought out of this flashback of sorts. He really loved me! And I doubt that someone who cared about me that much would want to put me with such blasted Muggles. In fact, he even said, "I'm so sorry I had to put you with these dreadful Muggles, but it's for your own protection," and I'm guessing he would care that I went off to kill myself, that he wants to keep me safe (and hopefully alive) at the end of this Second War against Voldemort. But it's too late to turn back now, I know, all I can do is hope for the best and hope that maybe somehow with that great magic of his, Dumbledore will take pity on me and come to help.
I'm sorry, Dumbledore, I think with all my heart and mind and soul as I dodge the many Killing Curses being sent at me. I'm so, so sorry.
Voldemort must have used Legilimency on me again, I decide for he laughs his cold laugh that I so despise and says, "No one can save you now, Potter. No one!" and, before I can react has sent a Killing Curse straight at me which I know I won't be fast enough to evade. My last thought is, "I'm sorry," before a scarlet blur darts in front of me and is hit squarely by the jet of green light. There is a scream of rage from Voldemort and a cry of sadness from me as Fawkes the phoenix becomes a small pile of ashes with an infinitesimally small red head of fuzz and beak with a small bundle next to him.
I look down and see that it is a long and rectangular bundle, and, with a deft motion, unwrap it to reveal Godric Gryffindor's sword. Somehow, somewhere, Dumbledore knew! Thanks, Dumbledore, I think, relieved as I wield the sword to the assembled Death Eaters and, of course, the Dark Lord himself.
As I touch it, a strange feeling comes through me, and I feel the weapon pulsing in my hand, creating a golden aura around both itself and me. I remember Dumbledore saying to me at the end of second year that only a true Gryffindor could pull that ('that' being the sword), out of the hat and I decide that that must be true for the Dark wizards are staring at me in horror as I stare at them in hatred, my green eyes glowing with anger; even Voldemort himself looks skeptical. With an almighty cry, I thrust the sword forward and run into the crowd of the Death Eaters who have come around Tom (on his orders, of course), swinging left and right and crying out maniacally as I deftly avoid the many curses being thrown at me, some as weak as Stunning and Disarming Spells and quite a few Avada Kedavra itself.
Finally, my path to Lord Voldemort is clear and, just as he sends the Killing Curse at me, I drive the sword into where his heart should be (that is, if he still has a heart from all the evil deeds that he's done), and I see the evil red light leave his eyes and the still living Death Eaters scream in horror as the jet of green light hits me squarely in the chest and I hear a burst of melancholy phoenix song before the life is knocked from me.
I am walking down a long, dark tunnel now and there's a feeble light at the end of the tunnel which is getting brighter and brighter as I approach. This is how I've always thought of dying, I decide as I get closer and I can distinguish three figures waiting just beyond the entrance and I'm close enough to know who they are, it's Mum, Dad, and Sirius, just as I'd always imagined them waiting for me. Dad and Sirius are grinning and waving jubilantly at me while Mum is smiling, but is also wiping a tear from her eye. I guess it's a bittersweet moment for her, seeing her child again after nearly fifteen years but having that child die.
I hear Dad's voice say, "Come on, son. We're getting old here," and then Mum reprimanding him.
"James, he's just died if you didn't remember." I grin and run all the faster. I'm their son! As I run, I hear that burst of phoenix song again, becoming fainter and fainter as I travel farther and farther down the tunnel. And I know what it means and what it's telling me to do. I have to go make things right.
I'm at the end of the tunnel now and Dad and Sirius are grinning at me while Mum smiles softly. "Hello, sweetheart," Mum says reaching and smoothing my messy hair away from my forehead.
"Hey," I breathe. It's funny, I've been thinking of meeting them all my life, but when I finally have (or at least have in a sense), I'm tongue-twisted.
However, Dad brings me out of this reverie with a well-chosen remark. "Well, are you just going to stand in this entryway all day or come on in? We only have eternity, you know."
I grin at him and then say, "Er . . . well, I just have to go back."
"Go back? You're dead, Harry," Sirius says.
"But people can come back as ghosts, can't they? Can't they?" I demand. I have to, can't they see that?
"Is that what you want to do, Harry?" Dad asks. He sounds hurt.
"Only for a little while," I promise. "I did something wrong back there and I need to fix it, then I'll come back. Don't worry." Now all three adults look very grim. "What is it?" I ask worriedly.
"Harry, dear," Mum starts. "When one leaves this world and becomes a ghost it is very hard to come back into the afterlife realm, in fact it's usually impossible. Are you sure that you want to do this?"
"Yes," I answer. "This is really, really important, Mum."
"What is it?" Sirius teases. "To tell Ginny that you love her?"
I blush somewhat and Mum and Dad exchange glances. "Who's Ginny?" Dad asks.
"I'll tell you when I get back and I will find a way back," I promise. "Believe me," I say, giving each of them a hug. Dad and Sirius return it gruffly and Mum kisses me on the forehead.
"Please come back, little one," she begs, holding both of my hands in hers.
"I will," I say. "I will," and with that I turn around and go back through the entrance to Earth, setting my sights toward Hogwarts and hoping that it isn't too late to repair the damage that I've done.
Note: Well, this is the last chapter. However, I will be publishing a sequel/companion fic to this soon that is called "An Ironic Title" (Boy-Who-LIVED's DEATH – get it?). It basically details the reactions of everyone mentioned in the will in this story.