From blackened seas
Ascending dead
In chains their souls
In flight their pride
Death lurks the corners of the earth
And one by one
In endless demise
Relive their death with no reprise
Son of perdition and false pretense

March 16, 2019 – Saturday, 12am
Riddle Manor

Harry watched with a mixture of horror and relief as his daughter disappeared from the battlefield. Shouts from behind caught his attention. Across the sky came large, dark shapes. The whirring of motors clued him into what the beasts might be. It appeared Voldemort brought more than shadowy demons into their little war.

"So you've teamed up with the AWG then?" He questioned, wand raised. "How unlike you."

Voldemort chuckled. "They are merely pawns in this little game. You should know all about pawns, my dear Harry, you were such a good little pawn for so much of your life."

A guttural growl escaped the Boy-Who-Lived and he sent a powerful blasting curse at the Dark Lord. It was easily blocked and sent back. Harry wiped it away with a wave of his hand. Dumbledore shifted nervously at his display of power.

"Don't show your anger too much Harry, it frightens your puppet master."

"I believe I can speak for myself, Tom." Dumbledore replied calmly. With a small but intricate wand movement he caused the ground beneath Tom to crack and then split. The Dark Lord jumped lightly to the side, avoiding the large hole in the ground.

Voldemort then did something odd. He raised his wand to his arm and cast a cutting curse.

"He's lowering the wards," Dumbledore whispered fervently.

Harry knew the implications of that and began sending curse after curse at the Dark Lord in an attempt to break his concentration, but it was all for naught. Shadow creatures threw themselves in front of the man, wrapping him in a cocoon of darkness. When they finally parted, Voldemort stood smirking, the cut on his arm already healed.

"You should know that all of the wards have been taken down," Voldemort explained. "What is happening right here and now is open for all to see, wizard or muggle. I wonder how long it will take for the muggle government to find out about our battle. What will their little satellites see among the stars?"

"No!" Dumbledore shouted. "We must end this now," he urged.

Voldemort chuckled. "But I've barely even started. Besides, I've just gotten my magic returned to me, you can't expect me to just walk away without trying a few spells first. Avada Kedavra."

The killing curse was sent before Harry or Dumbledore knew what had happened. Time seemed to slow and Harry watched in fascination as the curse raced toward his mentor. He moved to intercept the green light, but Dumbledore cast an invisible barrier at his side. The curse hit and Albus Dumbledore collapsed to the ground.

"No!" Harry screamed. He fell to the ground, reaching for the old wizard. "No, you can't be dead! Not now! Please!" The world around him fell away and all he could see was the man who had taken him in, the man he loved like a father. After what seemed like hours, but was merely a few seconds, he turned blazing green eyes to the Dark Lord.

Voldemort's brow was furrowed, his expression one of confusion. "Well, that was much easier than I thought it would be. It's a wonder I hadn't killed him long ago. Perhaps he'd gotten slow in his old age."

"Shut up!" Harry shouted and the ground shook. "Shut your mouth!" The dirt around his feet exploded forward, carving a path toward Voldemort. "I'll kill you!"

The Dark Lord blocked the wild magic but was thrown toward the ground. "Better be quick about it then, our friends have arrived."

Harry looked up to the sky to see the AWG helicopters begin to descend. Off in the distance he could see more helicopters coming their way.

"Those are your friends Harry," Voldemort sneered. "It seems the muggles have moved faster than I expected. I wonder if one is a news helicopter. Wouldn't it look wonderful if the muggles could watch magic tear apart their little army men from the comfort of their sitting rooms? Perhaps our battle will be sent all over the world through the, o what do they call it? O yes, the world wide web. Seems a fitting name for something used by insects, wouldn't you agree?"

The helicopters grew closer as the battle continued on around them. Harry clenched his jaw as he imagined what muggles would make of magic if this was the way they were introduced to it. How could they not see it as a threat?

"They'll wipe you out too," Harry stated assuredly. "There's billions of muggles in the world and they've created horrible forms of warfare. They could drop a nuclear bomb and wipe us out."

Voldemort laughed. "Let them!" He shouted. "Let them drop whatever they wish, it will only make me stronger. The magical world will rally against them and in doing so they will rally to me because I was right and you and Dumbledore were wrong. I will be the savior this time and you will either bow to me or be crucified by those who once worshiped you."

"Brotherhood, we must retreat!" Harry ordered. "Everyone retreat now!"

The black cloaked wizards disappeared without a sound. McGonagall and her son followed soon after, leaving Harry standing alone with Voldemort and his demons. He knew that their retreat would not save the muggles that were headed their way, but their involvement would not be beneficial either. The muggles were already dead.

"You would run away Harry?" Voldemort questioned in surprise. "You would leave the muggles to die by my hand? I'm going to blow them out of the air Harry, can you live with that? Can't you hear their screams now as they burn?"

Harry's eyes dropped but his wand remained out. "There's nothing I can do for them."

"Finally learning some strategy, that is shocking," Voldemort chuckled. He walked slowly toward the Boy-Who-Lived, a pitying look upon his pale face. "Will you be taking your garbage with you? If you'd like to leave it here I'm sure my pets would take care of it for you."

"Don't touch him," he growled, taking a step in front of his fallen mentor.

Voldemort sighed. "Harry, Harry, Harry, are you so starved for love that you would care for a man who has tortured you all of your life? Perhaps that is why you could not kill me. Perhaps you secretly enjoy being tortured."

"You know that's not why," Harry replied, shaking his head. "I did it for her. It was all for her." He reached down and grabbed hold of Dumbledore's arm before apparating away.

dSz

"She cannot stay here," a quiet voice argued. "Her mere presence is blasphemy."

"Please Father Enoch," another voice cut in, "We cannot send someone away when they've asked for sanctuary."

I slowly opened my eyes to find two priests arguing at the foot of my bed. Evelien didn't appear to be in the room and a spike of fear shot through me as I imagined what might have happened to her. Had she ran away on her own, or worse, attempted to return to Voldemort?

"Excuse me," I called out softly. My throat felt scratchy and dry. "Excuse me," I called out a little louder.

Both men turned to look at me, eyes wide with surprise. The blonde priest smiled at me kindly, but the black-haired man frowned. I assumed that must be Father Enoch.

"Hello, I am Father Stevens," the blonde priest said in greeting.

"Can you please tell me where my friend is?" I questioned.

"Of course," the blonde priest replied. "She's attending mass and should be back shortly."

"How long have I been asleep?"

"You've slept a whole day away," he chuckled.

Father Enoch cleared his throat. "And now you should be going," he stated firmly.

I nodded. "Yes, you're probably right. I'm assuming you know who I am."

The blonde man wrung his hands together nervously. "We are aware of the magical world and there have been more than one wizard who has left that world to join the clergy. We have heard rumors of your existence, but never believed it to be true."

"Rumors?"

Father Enoch nodded. "A human created by a man in man's image, but lacking a soul."

I rubbed the back of my head and stared off into space, contemplating his words. It was true then, what I had feared ever since I'd heard of my true origins. I was born without a soul.

"But what can I do?" I questioned. "I don't want to be this…this thing. What can I do?" I looked at them both, begging them for answers.

Father Enoch looked to be at a loss for words, but Father Stevens was spurred by my words. He rushed to my bedside and grasped my hands.

"We can pray," he stated. "We can pray to God that he take mercy on you."

"Mercy," the other man scoffed. "God can give her no mercy and no grace. She was created by another in another's image."

"God is all powerful," Father Stevens argued. "Whatever happens is due to his will, including this."

"Enough of this! She is not even human. She should not even exist." Father Enoch fixed me with a stern glare. "You must leave as soon as possible, your very presence here is an affront to God." He turned and stomped out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

Father Stevens let out a loud sigh. "I apologize for Father Enoch. He is a very good priest, but I think he's spent too much time closed off here in the Basilica. He's forgotten the wonders in the world. You are a wonder Jenny and I believe there is a reason that you showed up at our doorstep. It is my understanding that magical people can only appear at a place they have been before."

I nodded slowly. "Yes, that's true, but I've never been here before."

"Exactly, which means there must be a reason you are here now. I'm sure Father Enoch is on his way to see the Bishop and from there he may even go to the Pope, but I have faith that they will agree with my way of thinking."

dSz

Dumbledore's large, oak desk burst into thousands of pieces. Harry watched the remnants rain down with a small feeling of satisfaction. He then turned his attention to the rest of the old wizard's office. The former headmasters cowered in their frames, afraid that they may be the next to feel the brunt of his anger. Harry was so engrossed in mindless destruction that he didn't notice the door open and close.

"Harry?" A familiar voice called out questioningly.

Harry's next magical outburst stopped short and he sucked in a large breath. A strange feeling ran down through him as he felt a firm hand clamp down on his shoulder. The warmth of that hand penetrated his robes and stretched to his heart.

"Ron." The name came out in a painful whisper.

The hand left his shoulder and he turned to look at his long, lost friend. Ron stood there looking just as Harry remembered. Red hair flopped down into his eyes as he tipped his head down to look at Harry. He'd grown even taller over the years. The look on his face was nervous but kind. He opened his mouth to say something, but Harry cut him off.

"Dumbledore's dead," he stated abruptly, noting the other man's lack of surprise.

Ron nodded his head. "I know." He crossed to the other side of the room where the late Headmaster's body was laid out on the settee. "He looks like he's sleeping," he observed, before reaching down to fiddle with something around the man's neck.

"What are you doing?" Harry questioned. "What do you have there?"

The other wizard didn't answer, instead he held up a gold necklace. In the center was a phoenix pendant. It seemed to glow in the redhead's hands as he held it up for Harry to see.

"We always wondered how he knew everything," said Ron, eyes distant. "He knew because he'd done it already." Harry gave him a confused look. "Remember when you cast the patronus to save Sirius. Remember what you said about why you knew you could."

"Cause I'd done it already," Harry replied. "I'd already cast it once, that's how I knew."

Ron nodded. "That's how he knew too," Ron explained. "It's also one of the reasons why he cared for you so much. He was your best friend."

Now Harry was really confused. He'd always considered Dumbledore to be his mentor and more of a father figure than anything. He supposed that they'd had some sort of friendship, but he certainly wouldn't call Dumbledore his best friend.

"But you've always been my best friend," Harry argued.

Ron pulled the necklace over his head and dropped it under his shirt. He looked sadder than Harry had ever seen him and he wondered why the death of Dumbledore was having such a profound effect on the man.

"Please don't," Ron paused to sigh. "Don't freak out or anything." He reached out and grabbed Dumbledore's arm. Almost instantly the man appeared to become translucent.

"What the bloody hell?" Harry exclaimed.

Seconds later Dumbledore's body had disappeared, leaving only a slight depression where his body had lain. Ron stood straight and turned, his eyes filled with concern.

"What did you do?" Harry growled. "What did you do to him?" He lunged at his friend, grabbing Ron by the arms and shaking him forcefully.

The man stood silently, allowing Harry to rant and rave. Then, just as Harry moved to pull out his wand, a firm hand grasped the bottom of his chin. He attempted to twist from the tight grip. Instead his head was pulled up to look in the other man's eyes. They were familiar blue eyes, filled with a bright twinkling that Harry had only seen in the eyes of another wizard.

"Dumbledore?" Harry questioned. "But, I don't understand."

Ron smiled down at him. "Dumbledore was me or I was him, or something like that. I wish Hermione was here, she would probably be able to explain it all with no problem. I didn't even know until he died, or I died, or…o bloody hell, this is confusing."

Harry scratched the back of his neck. "Dumbledore was you?"

"Yes." Ron held up the phoenix necklace. "I didn't know any of this until he died and then it was like a bunch of his memories flew into my head, but they weren't his memories, they were mine. Does that make sense?" Harry shook his head. "That's they he always seemed to know everything, because I'd already lived it."

"But, why didn't he say something then? Why did he let all of this happen if he knew it would happen?"

Ron shrugged. "I'm as confused as you are. I have his memories, but not the feelings that go with them. Maybe things had to play out in a certain way or maybe there were things even he couldn't control."

"You mean you can't control," Harry corrected and Ron swatted him on the head. Harry grinned, looking up at his friend through the fringe of his hair. "So you're not dead then?"

"Nope, alive and well," replied Ron. His eyes looked fierce and determined an expression that Harry had seen many times before. "And I'm here to help this time. I'm not going to let you go through this on your own, not like before."