Title: A Twist in Fate (Deathly Hallows fic; SPOILERS)
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all characters presented in the series belongs to J.K. Rowling.
Timeframe: During the Battle of Hogwarts
Characters: Harry Potter, Voldemort, Remus J. Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks Lupin, Dolohov, Bellatrix Lestrange, Fred Weasley, Percy Weasley, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom, and a few others
Summary: AU of the last few chapters of Deathly Hallows; nothing is as it seems to be
A/N: In response to the Ravenclaw Challenge on the DLC (www. darklordscouncil. com)
Because some things leave me too depressed to think about.
A few members liked it there, so I thought I'd let more people see :)
Just a warning, this is pretty long, about 12 pages in Word.
"I couldn't stand not knowing—"Tonks looked anguished. "She'll look after him—have you seen Remus?"
"He was planning to lead a group of fighters into the grounds—"
Without another word, Tonks sped off
- Nymphadora Tonks Lupin and Harry Potter, Chapter 31 of Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, pg 624, American version
Remus Lupin's wife didn't need to worry…much. There was no time to allow for any sort of confidence; but if there were, he would be thinking that he was faring pretty well. After all, hadn't he been one of the greatest Defense Against the Dark Arts professors Hogwarts had seen in years?
But the time to think these types of thoughts wasn't now, and all Remus could think of was what spell to use next and hope that Dolohov's counterspells were ones he could easily dodge or reflect.
He was hoping he would only have to reflect them. The ground had become very cluttered with debris and a few bodies, and the duel was taking a toll on him. A person could only keep going on for so long and with the full moon coming up, he felt older than his 38 years.
Dolohov jumped to the side to escape a binding spell Remus cast and tripped over some of the rubble. His shock only lasted for a second though, for he was able to evade the curse Remus quickly shot at him and he cast a spell with yellow light as quickly as he could.
Another thought came unbidden to Remus' mind, a thought he had been trying so hard to push aside.
If I die and end up in some sort of afterlife, I'll hear the constant nagging of Dora coming from the living, never allowing me hear the end of how I let myself die and have Teddy grow up without a father.
That last thought bolstered him and adrenaline pumped through him again at the thought of leaving his son without a father. No, he had to live so Teddy could know his father and so Tonks wouldn't have to be widowed after less than a year of being married.
He glimpsed extra movement over Dolohov's shoulder, and even though he couldn't afford to be distracted, it was the flash of pink and the familiar sound of Bellatrix Lestrange's laughter that caused him to look past Dolohov.
No! She was supposed to be at her mothers, safe! Watching their son! Not here, making sure he was all right.
That was the last thought that flitted through his mind as he saw a familiar flash of green rush towards him and he jumped to the side to avoid it…only to have something hit him in his back and cause the world to go black.
"Remus!" Tonks' cry was anguished as she saw her husband fall and Dolohov turned back to the castle, stopping only to fight others. Bellatrix laughed again.
"One down, one to go, my unfaithful niece." Suddenly Tonks found herself in a fierce duel with a more experienced Bellatrix and it took all of her energy to take the defensive.
And Bellatrix could tell that she was weakening. Her increasing laughter and jests only proved that.
"You're a filthy infection, young Nymphadora. I'm more than happy to rid you of our tree."
"Don't—" Tonks said, deflecting a curse. "Call me—" finally shooting off a hex herself. "Nymphadora!" She yelled as she rolled away unsuccessfully from the Cruciatus Curse. Bellatrix cackled as she let the curse go almost as soon as she cast it.
"That's just a taste, you little nymph." As Tonks cast more spells in quick succession, Bellatrix blocked them with a small pout.
"Is that all you can do? I thought they teach Aurors more than that. Or maybe being with the wolf made you weak."
"Oh yes," Tonks retorted sarcastically. "Staying up all night with my baby and fighting fatigue certainly is weak."
The shock in Bellatrix's eyes allowed Tonks' curses to hit her perfectly and this time Bellatrix's yell wasn't in joy.
"You and the beast procreated? Filth! You have brought shame into my family and—"
But what Bellatrix was saying was lost on Tonks as she tripped over some of the debris on the ground and, as she tried to get her balance, broke her ankle.
Damn my clumsiness, she thought before hitting the ground hard as curses and other spells shot over her body.
"You actually are joking, Perce…I don't think I've heard you joke since you were –"
The air exploded. …
And Percy was shaking his brother, and Ron was kneeling beside them, and Fred's eyes stared without seeing…
- Fred Weasley, Chapter 31 of Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, pgs 636-637, American version
The side of Fred's head was bleeding profusely. Harry could see a chunk of the stone wall still embedded in it, and Percy's cries filled the air. Harry looked over at Ron to see tears streaming down his face, looking at his brother. The laugh Fred had let out before the wall exploded was slowly fading from his face and his eyes were glazed more than they were a moment before, the light quickly fading.
As a body flew past the hole and curses flew past them, Harry shouted at them to all get down on the floor.
"Percy, we need to get out of here!" he yelled as he, Ron, and Hermione started to move. "We need to get him somewhere safe; he needs to be taken care of!"
Percy was still holding on to Fred's body and starting into nothingness. Harry scrambled under the spells and grabbed one of Fred's arms as a huge spider started to crawl through the hole in the wall. Ron and Hermione kept it and its followers away from the three boys as Percy finally started to help Harry move Fred.
When Percy caught sight of the Death Eater, Rookwood, he gave Fred to a witch who had two hurt people in tow and ran after the man. Hermione prevented Ron from going after him and Harry grabbed him when he looked as if he were going to bolt again.
"Ron." His green eyes pierced Ron's blue ones and he was sure that Ron's tortured and pained look was reflected in his own eyes. It must have been, because Ron nodded once and reached out to hold Hermione's hand.
"Harry, you need to look inside Voldemort's mind," Hermione said. "We need to know where he is so we can get that snake!" So Harry closed his eyes and opened his thoughts to find Voldemort.
"Where is everyone?" whispered Hermione.
Ron led the way to the Great Hall. Harry stopped in the doorway.
The House tables were gone and the room was crowded. The survivors stood in groups, their arms around each other's necks. The injured were being treated upon by the raised platform by Madam Pomfrey and a group of helpers.
- Chapter 33 of Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, pg 661, American version
Not all of the injured fit on the raised platform; many were on the floor in front of it, right before the dead. Some of the injured had already fallen into death's arms, but no one was being moved from where they were.
Pomfrey's helpers weaved through this group, offering whatever assistance they could that hadn't already been given. But the dead bodies that were scattered in that area were all Harry could think of as he, Ron, and Hermione walked closer to the group of redheads crouched in the middle of it. Ron immediately went to Fred's body, his face hopeful at the small moans of pain Fred was occasionally making before one of the helpers went up to him and put him in a deep sleep. Hermione ran to Ginny to hug her and comfort her, and Harry was happy to see all of them together and prayed that Fred would make it through.
And then he saw the bodies next to Fred and his blood turned to ice.
Remus and Tonks were lying next to each other and looked almost peaceful, but very pale. Harry noticed dried blood on their faces and robes, their closed eyes, and…the absence of their chests rising and falling. There was no twitch of the muscles or fluttering of the eyelashes, just two bodies that lay next to each other, even in death.
His breath caught, and he walked back through the doorway, all desire to be with the Weasleys vanished. And then he ran.
This is my fault. If I had just given myself up to Voldemort to begin with, Fred wouldn't have gotten hurt, and Remus and Tonks would still be here…
And what will little Teddy think of me when I tell him that I could have saved his parents?
He found himself in front of a blurry object and as he wiped his eyes, he realized his hands were wet with tears. He faced the stone gargoyle that guarded the headmaster's office.
"Dumbledore!" Harry cried out, saying the first thing that came to mind.
He ran up the staircase and burst into the office, finding himself alone, as all of the portraits were empty. As he clenched his fists, Harry realized his hands weren't empty and he was still holding the crystal flask that held Snape's last thoughts.
Grabbing Dumbledore's (or would that now be Snape's?) Pensieve from the cabinet and putting it on the desk, he poured Snape's memories in and quickly jumped after them, hoping to numb the pain.
Like rain on a cold window, these thoughts pattered against the hard surface of the incontrovertible truth, which was that he must die. I must die. It must end
"Just in case they're—busy—and you get the chance –"
"Kill the snake?"
"Kill the snake," Harry repeated.
- Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom, Chapter 34 of Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, pgs 693 & 696, American version
Harry had started to enter the forest under the safety of the Invisibility Cloak, and his head was full of thoughts about the end; just like the end of a Quidditch game when the Snitch was caught.
As quick as he could, he took the Snitch that Dumbledore left him out of the pouch he still wore around his neck. The words that had appeared so long ago were still engraved on it.
Harry brought the Snitch to his mouth and whispered against it, "I am at the close; I'm going to die."
The shell broke open and he could see the black Resurrection Stone lying in the middle of it. Harry picked the stone out and turned it over in his hand three times. As he completed the last flip, he heard movements in the forest around him and knew that it wasn't Death Eaters.
Three figures stepped out and looked at him, still wrapped in the Cloak. They were more solid than ghosts but less substantial than actual flesh.
James really was the spitting image of Harry. The hard lines around his face that had come from the war he fought in were virtually nonexistent. His hair was as untidy as Harry had seen it in Snape's memories and he pushed his glasses up higher on his nose, grinning at Harry.
Sirius' hard lines were also gone, giving him a younger, more…Marauderish look. His dark hair fell casually in his eyes as he stood casually with his hands in his pockets, smiling wide.
Lily was smiling as deep as the two men were. Her red hair was long, and her green eyes were similar to his own, but more vibrant, he thought.
As they told him how brave he was and how proud of him they were, Harry couldn't help but wonder why Remus hadn't joined the afterlife with them.
Perhaps it doesn't happen right away. Maybe the dead have to first spend their time in limbo.
He didn't allow himself the small hope that Remus was alive, for this was war, and in war people die. And if there were a sort of limbo, at least they would see each other there.
"Does dying hurt?"
Sirius gave him half a smile as he leaned against a tree. "Not at all. It's nice and painless, and much quicker than falling asleep. Especially the way we went out. Nothing like a little A.K. or a mysterious veil to make death quick and easy."
James rolled his eyes. "Sweet Merlin, Padfoot, could you be any more perverse?"
But Harry didn't care. It helped his nerves a bit, and it made him a little less depressed to leave the living behind. After all, if the afterlife had Padfoot, Prongs, and Lily (and soon Moony and Tonks), it couldn't be such a bad place to be.
"You'll stay with me?" Harry asked.
"Until the end," said James.
"Will they be able to see you?"
"No, we're only a part of you," Sirius said.
Lily stepped up to her son. "I'll be next to you the entire time."
They started their trek into the forest, passing through the Dementors until they found a group of Death Eaters in the middle of a clearing.
He made himself known to Voldemort and dropped the Resurrection Stone, causing his three guardians to disappear. As a flash of green light sped toward him, his last thought was how he wished he had been given the chance to kiss Ginny goodbye.
"He took your blood believing it would strengthen him. He took into his body a tiny part of the enchantment your mother laid upon you when she died for you. His body keeps her sacrifice alive, and while that enchantment survives, so do you and so does Voldemort's one last hope for himself."
- Albus Dumbledore, Chapter 35 of Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, pg 710, American version
Harry's mind awoke and he allowed his eyes to open very slightly. He saw Bellatrix standing very near Voldemort who was glaring at his Death Eaters on unsteady feet. He closed his eyes quickly, keeping his attention on making slow and thin breaths.
"Well?" Voldemort asked. "You! You tell me if he's dead." Harry could hear a small note of fear in his voice.
Gentle hands felt for a pulse in his neck and a face lowered near his, presumably to hear for breathing. Then the soft voice of Narcissa Malfoy whispered in his ear. "Is Draco alive?"
"Yes," he breathed back. He felt the hand go to his chest as Narcissa wasted a few more seconds to control her facial expression.
"Yes, my Lord. The Potter boy is dead."
Harry felt himself tossed in the air and dropped to the ground a few times, using all of his power to remain limp and not let any noise escape his lips. Someone put his glasses back on before Voldemort levitated him and brought them back through the forest to the castle.
"Stop." Voldemort's voice filled the night air as he stepped forward, Harry's body levitated at an upward angle in front of him, for all of the survivors running out of the castle to see.
"Harry Potter is dead! Dead at my hands!"
Harry heard more "No"s and "Harry"s echo around him, but the Weasley's and Hermione's hurt him the most. He forced himself stay quiet as Voldemort released the spell and caused his body to fall to the ground.
"SILENCE!" Voldemort yelled as he cast a Silencing Charm. "Yes, your beloved Harry Potter tried to escape tonight, but NO ONE escapes Lord Voldemort."
"LIES!" Neville Longbottom's voice penetrated the Silencing Charm and he rushed forward only to be quickly disarmed. Harry allowed one eye to open so he could see through his eyelashes as Voldemort tried to get Neville to join the Death Eaters.
"I will never join you, you filthy, bald serpent!" And then Neville spit on the ground in front of Voldemort.
Had this occurred at any other time, during different circumstances, Harry would have smiled, laughed and cheered. As it was, all he could do was lay there and silently commend Neville for his bravery.
Voldemort sneered. "So it seems." He waved his wand, causing an object to fly through one of the upper windows and into his hands. Through his lashes, Harry could tell that it was the Sorting Hat.
"There will be no more need for the Sorting Hat, nor will there be Houses. Hogwarts will become a school dedicated to the teachings Salazar Slytherin. Only purebloods will be admitted, and…" he broke off to look at Neville. "Any blood traitors will be punished." At the final word, Voldemort caused Neville to go stiff and slammed the hat on his head. Harry's scar on his hand tingled at the word "punished," knowing that anything Voldemort had in mind would be worse than what Umbridge could give out.
Voldemort raised his voice as he pointed his wand at Neville. "All those who oppose me will be punished severely! Longbottom here will be the first to go." As the Sorting Hat burst into flames, Harry heard a commotion coming from outside of the castle walls. As hundreds of people broke through the defenses and the giants came out from the side of the castle, Voldemort's attention was, for the first time, drawn away from Harry completely. He quickly pulled the Invisibility Cloak over him and saw Neville break through the curse holding him, give the hat an odd look, and then pulled a familiar looking sword out of it which he used to slice of Nagini's head.
And then all hell broke loose.
Dodging curses that were flying around him, Harry put as much space as he could between him and Voldemort so that he could brace himself for the final fight. Voldemort looked for Harry's body and a flicker of fear swept across his face as he looked wildly around. He raced off towards the castle, blocking every spell that came his way and getting off a few of his own.
Whenever he could, Harry would send a curse at any Death Eater he saw, and ran to the Entrance Hall to follow Voldemort. House Elves were throwing things at the Death Eaters while a professor here and a group of students there were battling as best as they could. Harry helped in passing, but went to the Great Hall where Voldemort was dueling McGonagall, Slughorn, and Kingsley. He briefly wondered where the bodies of the dead and injured were as he flitted through the numerous battles, taking all of them in and making his way closer to where Voldemort was.
There were George and Lee Jordan facing Yaxley and winning; there were Ron, Neville, and Aberforth Dumbledore Stunning Rookwood; there were Remus and a mousy-haired witch defeating Fenrir Greyback; there was Flitwick winning his battle against Dol…
Momentarily forgetting what he was supposed to do, Harry's eyes swept back to what was now the falling body of Greyback.
Remus and…Tonks? They were alive? His breath caught, but this time it wasn't in pain and he couldn't help the smile on his face.
Then something else caught his eye: Ginny, Hermione, and Luna were dueling Bellatrix together, but Bellatrix was wearing the three girls down. Tonks turned towards her aunt as the Killing Curse shot between Hermione and Luna and went straight for Tonks herself. Bellatrix laughed as Tonks jumped out of the way and sent her own Avada Kedavra. With four spells cast on her at once though, Bellatrix was trapped and she went down with a surprised look on her face.
Voldemort's scream directed Harry's attention back to him and he finally took the Invisibility Cloak off. Voldemort hissed at seeing the boy alive as others around them cheered.
The yells fell silent as Harry and Voldemort stared at each other. "It's just you and me," Harry said, noticing the people who had started to step forward. "No!" He risked a sideways glance at Remus who looked pained, but stayed back and held Tonks. "It has to be me and only me. Everyone else has to stay back."
Voldemort laughed and taunted him. "You're not going to use anyone as a shield today, Potter? That's mighty brave of you, but it won't save you."
"You don't notice anything, do you, Tom Riddle?" Voldemort hissed, but Harry interrupted his little speech about not using that name. "You haven't noticed how my love for them has protected them. Neville easily broke out of the Body-Bind, Kingsley shrugged off the Cruciatus Curse, the Silencing Charm didn't hold, and no one stayed disarmed for long. They're untouchable, Tom."
"Love," Voldemort spat. "Dumbledore's favorite weapon. It won't be love that will save you this time, Potter."
"I have one other thing, Tom." And Harry went on to explain about the possession of the Elder Wand, how Severus Snape was supposed to disarm Dumbledore so as to get the wand, but events turned out differently than Dumbledore had planned. Draco Malfoy disarmed Dumbledore, and Harry disarmed Draco. Voldemort had the Elder Wand, but Harry had Draco's.
"The Elder Wand is mine, Tom Riddle. You can either believe me and hand it over, or…you can try to prove that I am wrong and see if the wand in your hand knows its true master." Harry smiled tauntingly at Voldemort, knowing exactly what the wizard would do. "Do you dare try to kill me again with my wand?"
Voldemort sneered and screamed, "Avada Kedavra!" but Harry was ready.
"Expelliarmus!" The spells met between the two of them and Voldemort's, knowing its true master, rebounded. The Elder Wand flew in the air as Voldemort fell to the floor, and Harry easily caught it.
Voldemort was finally dead, and Harry Potter was still alive.
We did it, we bashed them, wee Potter's the one,
And Voldy's gone moldy, so now let's have fun!
- Peeves, Chapter 36 of Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, pg 746, American version
"How—?" Harry couldn't finish the sentence.
He was in the Hospital Wing, having already put the Elder Wand back in Dumbledore's marble grave. Now that everything was starting to settle down a bit, he realized he needed to talk to Remus and Tonks.
Harry just looked at them amazed.
"A bit of luck, really," Tonks said.
"Yes, that's all it was. I was hit with a very unfortunate Dark spell that was slowly killing me until Pomfrey negated its effects."
"I was my usual clumsy self, broke my ankle and knocked myself out on some rocks. Dolohov and Bellatrix both thought their own spells killed us and left us for dead."
"Which we would have been if Pomfrey's helpers didn't get to us in time," Remus added.
"But you—you weren't breathing," Harry argued.
Remus' short laugh turned into a rasping cough. "Magic, Harry. It's amazing how some potions can slow the heart to only a few beats every minute and can prevent the smallest movement."
"The helpers were all surprised to see us wake up as they were moving everyone out of the Great Hall as everyone vacated the upper floors," said Tonks. "We were able to sneak away and help fight as the battle moved to the Hall. Probably not one of our greatest ideas."
"Especially not after we almost died, but we couldn't lay back while we knew people were still fighting for you." Remus looked over to where Madam Pomfrey was helping another injured wizard. "Also, having Poppy angry at you isn't entirely smart. She's confined us to stay in bed for at least a week, threatening to hex us unconscious if we even try to use the bathroom without her permission."
Harry winced a bit, knowing all too well how demanding Pomfrey could be.
"You shouldn't even be up and talking now," Pomfrey said, sidling up next to Harry. "I'll make this one exception for Mr. Potter, but when he leaves—five minutes only, Mr. Potter—you both will be sleeping. I'll strengthen your doses if I have to." She turned, muttering about how Remus was never this stubborn when he was a student.
"You heard the nurse, Harry," Remus said with a smile. "But please, do visit us. It can get dreadfully boring in here."
"Right, and I thought I was rid of this place when I left the school," Tonks scowled.
Harry couldn't help but smile. Yes, he would visit them; he would visit everyone. They all fought and risked their lives for him. But he could smile now because those who died would never be forgotten; George didn't have to lose his twin; Remus and Tonks were still alive, and little Teddy would be able to know his parents; and Voldemort was finally dead.
The world seemed a much brighter place.
A/N: I have Tonks' hair being mousy because I figure that since she wasn't up to par and had to use all of her energy to escape Pomfrey and fight Bella, she'd worry less about how her hair looks and more about getting the fight over & done with.