A/N: Here it is, the last chapter. First off, I want to thank you all for sticking with me. Secondly, I want to apologize if this chapter seems rushed, because, well, it is. Heh... I have a plot bunny that wont leave me alone but I wanted to get this finished before starting on that. That and I want to finish Beyond The Veil. I miss it.
ANYway, yet again, this is unbetaed. Seel'vor seems to have dropped off the face of the planet, so I am without a beta or brit-picker for the time being. I'll replace this with his edited version when he gets back to me.
The first thing Rose noticed when she woke up was her headache. Her head was pounding and for the life of her she couldn't figure out why she had it in the first place. She was groggy and she felt like her mind was full of cotton; she couldn't think clearly at all. The next thing she noticed was that her mouth was extremely dry. It felt like she had eaten a mouthful of baby powder. She tried to smack her lips to moisten her mouth but found she couldn't. Her mouth was full of something. When she reached up to remove whatever was in her mouth, she found that she couldn't. Neither of her arms could move more than a few inches from where they were lying above her head and she panicked.
The sudden adrenaline burst cleared her senses and she remembered everything that lead up to this moment…or her unconsciousness. She remembered watching Harry taunt Voldemort and the awe she felt as he almost carelessly tossed spells about. Then, she remembered, she was surrounded by men in dark red robes. She fought them off well enough. In fact, she had been winning when she was unbalanced by a huge shock wave and…hit her head on the same mausoleum she had been taking cover behind. Wonderful, she groused mentally. Looks like they got me…
She forced herself to open her eyes against the dim light that aggravated her headache and look around. She was on a raised, obsidian dais in the center of a massive chamber that was made out of the same material. The ceiling rose a good twenty feet above her and looking to the left and right she couldn't see any walls very clearly. That might have been because of the black obsidian blending in with the gloom though. The dim light was coming from runes and symbols carved in to the glassy rock walls and inlaid with what looked like gold.
On the dais, Rose was manacled with her arms above her head and feet straight below her. The chains attaching each manacle to the dais were short; only about two, one-inch links. And to top it off, someone had stuffed something in her mouth that was beginning to taste like an old sock. For Merlin's sake, she was unconscious. What was she going to do? At least they left me clothed. She thought…
She had to escape and she had the perfect method to do so. There were no wards that could keep phoenixes out, or in for that matter. She focused on the house she and Harry shared and willed her self there…Or tried to at least. The moment she called upon her phoenix powers, her body was wracked with the most unimaginable pain. It lanced through her very bones and made her muscles feel like they were on fire. She imagined that this was what the cruciatis curse felt like…
When Rose stopped trying to teleport the pain faded leaving only a dull ache in it place. As she lay there gasping and crying from the agony that had passed, she heard someone approach the dais. "Oh, you're awake. Pity," he said. "We've locked your animagus transformation and abilities. Can't have you escaping on us, can we?"
Unable to get the old sock out of her mouth or relieve her headache without her hands, she focused on trying to push the wad of stuff in her mouth out with her tongue. If she couldn't flame out, or transform, she needed to be able to cast some spells at least. She had almost gotten it out when the man roughly stuffed it back in her mouth. She squinted angrily at him and could make out the color of his robe, but not much else thanks to her pounding headache. Perhaps she had a concussion too.
"Ah, ah, ah," he taunted. "Can't have you casting any spells either."
Rose groaned through the gag and bit down hard on it. The man's jovial attitude to her kidnapping grated on her nerves. That's not to say she wasn't scared though. She was; terrified in fact. But if there was one thing Harry had drilled into her during their training, it was; keep a clear mind. It looked like she had to get out and free first.
The first thing she tried was silently and wandlessly pushing magic into her limbs. She thought that if she could make herself strong enough, she could break the chains like Super Girl. She focused hard and gasped when she felt her limbs twitch. It was working! She concentrated, pushing more and more magic through her arms and legs. Then when she thought she was strong enough, she pulled. And pulled, and pulled. The chains groaned and creaked, but not much else.
"It won't work," the man watching her said nonchalantly. "The chains have been charmed unbreakable."
Perhaps for the first time in her life, Rose hated magic. Bloody ass spells, she thought bitterly. She closed her eyes and called out to Harry mentally. Perhaps she could clue him in to where she was and he would come rescue her like always. But no, that didn't work either. All she heard was the strange muggle static. She thrashed fruitlessly against her bonds and growled at the man in the maroon robe standing guard over her.
"I know it won't do much good, but try and relax," he said. "It won't do to get worked up before the ritual."
Rose raised and eyebrow and grunted in confusion. "Whuh?" The robed man scoffed before waving to yet another man in identical robes. Rose noted then that similar men bustled about busily. She wondered if they were preparing for this 'ritual'.
"Didn't we tell you?" the man said. He seemed anxious to tell Rose something since his cocky grin turned maniacal. "This ritual requires your sacrifice. It will remove your soul and give it fully to Mr. Potter. It is necessary after all."
Rose's eyes bugged out and she couldn't stop the whimper that escaped her throat. "Don't worry," the man continued. "It will be painless and quick."
Rose began to trash in earnest now. She needed to get out. In her panic, she tried to flame away and only succeeded in hurting herself again. Eventually she collapsed back on the flat surface of the dais completely exhausted and trembling with the pain. I wish these wankers would just die, she thought bitterly. Then, she had her answer.
It repulsed her. As much as holding hands with Voldemort and frolicking through Hogsmeade would repulse her, but she knew it would work. She remembered Harry telling her about his second animagus form; the basilisk. At the time, she hadn't thought much of it beyond, that's pretty awesome. But when she realized that she might have a second form after the rune chamber, it had made her skin crawl. Every time she thought about what her second form might be, she wished for anything but a basilisk. Hell, even something as mundane as a regular cat would be better than a basilisk. She would have even taken the form of that traitor, Wormtail; a rat.
But it seemed that fate was mean and vindictive. She knew what her second form was. And as much as he hated it, as much as he loathed taking any human lives, she was thankful. It would give her a way out and back to Harry. With a weary and resigned sigh, she concentrated on what she remembered of basilisks. She remembered the fight against Slytherin's basilisk in the chamber to save Ginny. Everything was in crystal clear focus despite her headache and in a smooth two seconds, Rose transformed.
When Harry flamed back to the spectator stands, he found the site of the third task a scene of absolute chaos. People were shouting and darting back and forth and it seemed there was nothing the ministry officials could do to calm the crowd. Harry's arrival with Voldemort's desiccated body did nothing to calm the panic. If anything it got worse. As people fled from the gruesome site of Harry and the torso, Harry tried in vain to get someone to talk to him. It was a few minutes later before Dumbledore noticed him.
"Mr. Potter," Dumbledore greeted him. His eyes were completely void of any twinkle.
Harry's eyes in turn narrowed in suspicion. "Dumbledore," he said shortly. "What's going on here?"
Dumbledore explained the situation as completely as he could. When the charms surrounding the cup told the officials that it had been reached, everyone expected the portkey to bring the victor back to the entrance to wild applause. But after ten minutes, when no one showed up, people started to worry. After fifteen minutes, Dumbledore had vanished the entire maze only to find that there was no one left in it. The other three champions had been removed but the winner, Rose never reappeared. About ten minutes after that, Harry showed up.
Harry sighed wearily. Of all the rotten luck… He should have expected this. None of his plans ever go right.
Dumbledore waved a hand at Voldemort's body. "I believe an explanation is in order, Mr. Potter," he said sternly.
Harry glanced at the body then back at Dumbledore. "Not here. We need to do something with Riddle."
Dumbledore's face registered shock. "That is Voldemort?" he asked incredulously.
"What is left of him, yes," Harry answered.
"Is he…alive?" Dumbledore let his question trail off. Harry nodded and Dumbledore then banished the body away.
"I can't kill him," Harry started explaining as the two of them headed back to the castle. He and the headmaster decided to let the ministry officials take care of the panic. "Only Rose can. But he is trapped in his body now since I cast a soul cage on him. He is mortal now too, since I destroyed his horcruxes."
At Dumbledore's raised eyebrow, Harry explained his plan to the old man. As loathe as he was to trust Dumbledore, Harry had no other choice at this point. When he finished his explanation, Dumbledore was shaking his head sadly. "You should have come to me with this, Mr. Potter."
"I'm sure," Harry said skeptically. "I don't trust you, Albus. Not since my fifth year, when you dumped the prophecy on me and I don't think I ever will again." Dumbledore opened his mouth to say something but Harry cut him off. "Any version of you."
The two of them continued toward the castle in silence before Harry said. "I need you to find out where Rose was taken."
Dumbledore hesitated for a second before saying, "I am sorry, Mr. Potter, but I cannot-"
Harry stopped in front of the old man, his considerable temper finally breaking lose. "Bullshit," he snarled. "Don't you dare lie to me. I know that my Dumbledore had ways of tracking me. Things are too similar here for you to be any different."
Dumbledore still wasn't forthcoming if his scowl was any indication but Harry didn't give him a chance to say anything before he continued in a low, threatening voice. "If anything should happen to Rose, I will willingly become a dark lord the likes of which this backwater, misbegotten little world has never seen. Voldemort will seem like a toddler with a wand compared to the horrors that I will bring."
Dumbledore's eyes widened almost comically before he deflated. "Very well, Mr. Potter," he said wearily. Harry noticed that Dumbledore's eyes were trained on something back by the tournament stands. "But first, I think we should take care of one loose end."
Harry followed his gaze and noticed that the fake Moody was subtly trying to sneak away from the crowd. Harry growled deep in his throat before flashing away and reappearing in front of Moody. "Evans!" he blurted in shock.
Harry lazily waved his wand, dispelling the polyjuice potion and revealing Crouch Jr. before grabbing the man in a sleeper hold and viciously snapping his neck. This only added to the chaos and confusion but Harry didn't care. The first and foremost thing on his mind was where Rose was. He flamed back over to Dumbledore who wore a shocked look on his face though Harry thought it looked rather forced. "What?" Harry snapped.
"You just murdered a man in cold blood," Dumbledore said.
"Wouldn't be the first time," Harry muttered. Dumbledore scoffed and looked about to say something but Harry plowed on. "Oh please, don't give me that crap. First, he was a death eater. Second…" At a loss for a second reason Harry just waved his hands vaguely in the air. "Besides, I feel bad enough about it already. Now come on. We don't have time. I need to find Rose."
The two of them made their way into the headmaster's office pointedly ignoring the panicked activity in the castle. Harry was singularly focused on getting Rose back. He couldn't focus knowing that she was in danger and it was his fault. As soon as the gargoyle moved aside, Harry ran up the spiral staircase and began to look at the spindly metal things Dumbledore kept in his office. He gave it up as a lost cause however. Dumbledore had never told him how they worked.
The headmaster however bustled around checking each and every device before turning to Harry with a pensive look on his face. "Well?" Harry snapped again. His temper was completely frayed and his patience had run out.
"She is to the south."
Harry's arms fell to his side limply. "That's it?" He asked. Dumbledore shrugged. "All your fancy devices and that's all you know? AUGH!"
Harry then took to pacing back and forth in his impatience. He needed to think this out. He knew that Rose wasn't dead, as he still felt the pull on 'his' soul. He couldn't contact her through their link however. She would have most likely been taken to a ritual site, since anything having to do with soul magic took lengthy rituals. "Are there any ritual sites south of here?" he asked.
Dumbledore pondered for a moment. "The only one that springs to mind is Stonehenge," the aged man said. "But that hasn't been used since Merlin's time."
Harry waved that off. "Whatever. We're going to check that out anyway." With that, he grabbed a hold of the headmaster's robe sleeve and flamed them both to Stonehenge. The two of them landed; Harry gracefully on his feet and Dumbledore in an undignified heap in the grass. Harry noticed a few muggles watching them with wide eyes but he didn't care.
"I'd suggest you leave," he called to them as Dumbledore regained his feet. The muggles took his advice and hurried away. Harry then concentrated, sending his magic out in pulses, much like sonar. He could tell that there were tunnels beneath him, but he didn't know how far down or big they were. "Help me look for a way in," he said to Dumbledore.
The two of them searched futilely for any kind of an entrance. Dumbledore reaffirmed that there was indeed a web of tunnels that spread for miles beneath them but they couldn't find any kind of an entrance. Harry was beginning to become frustrated and if the rippling grass and gathering clouds were any indication, he was about to lose control of his magic again. "Stand back," he said suddenly. Dumbledore wisely back off as Harry pointed his wand at the ground and began to gather his magic. "Cavare Antrum!" he shouted. A wide beam of white energy erupted from the tip of his wand and literally melted its way into the ground leaving a red glowing tunnel into the catacombs beneath them.
Harry staggered slightly on his feet feeling the drain on his magic. The spell he had just cast was used by miners in the middle ages to dig tunnels into mountains. However, back then the spell was cast as a ritual spells by a group of miners. Harry had just cast it alone. That might account for the horrified expression on the old man's face, thought Harry wryly. It didn't take long for the tunnel to cool and the two men hurried down the steep slope into the catacombs. But whatever they expected to find down there, this wasn't it.
Bodies littered the floor. Most of them, like the one at the bottom of the tunnel Harry had carved looked like they had simply dropped dead, a look of terror on their faces. A few others had been petrified so thouroghly that Harry thought a full strength Mandrake Draught wouldn't revive them. They were as good as dead. Then still others had been mangled, disemboweled or had limbs or heads chopped off.
All of them were Illuminatus members.
Harry smiled maliciously as he realized what had happened. Rose had discovered her second animagus form. The mysteriously dead people had been killed by her stare. The petrified ones had been caught in Rose's stare reflected off the obsidian walls and floor. As for the mangled ones...Harry suspected that she had used her sword. From his kneeling position next to one of the eviscerated bodies, Harry looked over his shoulder at Dumbledore and noticed that the old man had schooled his features into an expression of revulsion and shock. He even looked fake.
"What do you think, Mr. Potter?" he asked.
Harry stood and wiped the blood on his hands off on his jeans. "I think Rose needs me," he said simply before starting off down the corridor at a jog. Now that he was in the catacombs, he could clearly feel Rose through their link, even if she wasn't answering his call. Amazingly, Dumbledore managed to keep up with him. As Harry ran, he could make out the sounds of a fight in the distance. The screams, shouts and grunts seemed to be magnified as they echoed down the hallway. He turned his jog into a sprint for the last few meters before skidding to a halt at the sight before him.
Rose stood limply in the center of a large chamber next to a raised platform, her Sword of Gryffindor clutched loosely in her hand. Almost every exposed part of her body was covered in blood. Amazingly enough she looked unharmed save for the haunted look in her eyes as she looked at the writhing and suffering man on the floor in front of her. Eventually the man stopped suffering and died.
"Rose?" Harry called softly as he took a few tentative steps forward. He glanced back at the headmaster to see him stop at the entrance to the chamber, a look of unfeigned horror on his face. Rose didn't respond so Harry tried again. "Rose, talk to me."
Rose simply stood there, a blank expression on her face. "They wouldn't stop coming…" she said suddenly, making Harry jump. "I…I had to…but I didn't…didn't want to…"
Harry closed the last few steps toward the girl softly and slowly. "I know, love. I know," he said. He placed a hand gently on Rose's shoulder and she startled. The sword dropped from her hand and clattered against the blood smeared obsidian floor before fading back into the ether.
"I'm here," Harry said as knelt next to her. Rose sunk down against him and began to sob. Harry clutched her to him and discretely cast a few scourgify charms to clean the blood from her face and hair. As she continued to blubber incoherently, Harry did his best to soothe her. He was never good at consoling emotional women, but he tried. He stroked her hair and muttered soft words in her ear. Eventually, Rose's hysterical sobs calmed into whimpers and hitched breaths and Harry pulled her gently away. They locked eyes and Harry's look conveyed everything his words couldn't; you did what you had to, I'm not ashamed of you…I still love you.
"I'm fine," Rose answered to Harry's unasked question. She smirked slightly when Harry raised his eyebrows skeptically.
"My friends never believed me when I told them that," he said. "And I know you're lying."
Rose looked down at her shoes and frowned slightly. "I'll be okay." She said softly.
As Harry helped Rose to her feet, he felt a slight pull, like something was trying to get his attention. He glanced down at Rose to see if she had felt something, but she seemed oblivious as she clung to Harry's midsection. He ran his fingers through her hair comfortingly and glanced around the room. The pull tugged at him again, this time a little more insistently and Harry knew that he needed to follow it. He pushed Rose away to arms length and put both hands on her cheeks lovingly. "Rose, I need you to go with the Headmaster."
"But- I…why?" she said sadly.
"There's something down here I need to take care of," he explained loud enough for Dumbledore to hear. "We'll meet up afterward. I promise." He looked into her eyes which were shimmering with tears. I don't trust him, Rose, but I have no other choice at this point. If you need to, defend yourself and call for me. I'll come flashing in. He said mentally.
I don't have my wand… Rose said back.
Harry frowned and handed Rose his wand. He could defend himself well enough wandlessly if necessary. I love you Rose, and I always will.
Dumbledore approached and laid a gentle hand on Rose's shoulder and led her out of the chamber. Harry saw that she tried to not flinch but only marginally succeeded. He hoped he was doing the right thing as he turned and headed deeper into the catacombs.
The bodies thinned out and eventually disappeared the deeper Harry went. He didn't know how, but he knew that he was heading to the end of this adventure. Something in his gut told him as much. Eventually he reached his destination. It was a large circular room that had been carved out of the same obsidian that the rest of the catacomb was made out of. In the center near the far wall sat a throne like chair in which a man in a maroon robe sat. Violet rimmed black rips hovered at intervals in the air casting an unsettling violet light around the room and as Harry watched, another one opened up. He felt inexplicably drawn to these. The man in the chair moved slightly and Harry's attention was drawn back to him. As the man stood up and removed his hood, Harry couldn't help but gasp.
It was Mathias Elderberry, the kind owner of the apothecary on Nocturne Alley.
Rose watched Harry as long as she was able as Dumbledore lead her away from the ritual chamber. She tried to avoid looking at the bodies of the men she had killed, no slaughtered. It was necessary, she told herself, over and over again. Harry had told her too with that look he gave her. But she couldn't help but feel guilty, like there was some other way she could have done that. She stumbled slightly and realized that the headmaster was hurrying her along.
"Professor, sir?" she asked but the old man ignored her save for his grip on her shoulder tightening almost painfully. He seemed to have a very intense look on his face. Rose wrenched her shoulder out of his hand. "Where are we going?" she asked. Her right hand was clutched tightly around Harry's wand.
Dumbledore smiled at her, but it was far from a friendly smile. It caused a shiver to run down her spine and the little hairs on the back of her neck to stand on end. "We are heading back to my office, Rose," Dumbledore said. "As soon as we are out of these tunnels, I will make a portkey for you and join you shortly."
Rose nodded stiffly and shied away as Dumbledore reached for her again. "I can follow you well enough, sir."
"Very well," Dumbledore said and he continued up the slope to the surface. Rose followed him, not for the first time wishing Harry had come with. She was confident in her ability to get away should the need arise though. She watched as Dumbledore picked up a stone from the ground and tapped it with his wand while saying, "Portus." The rock glowed blue for a moment before the glow faded.
"If you will just take this stone, we can get on with business as usual," he said.
As soon as Rose touched the stone, Dumbledore activated it and Rose felt the disconcerting sensation of having a hook pulling her by her navel. She landed sprawled on one of the rugs in the headmaster's office and clambered to her feet, her hand still gripping the wand. Dumbledore popped into existence beside the bookcase in his office. Without another word, he then pulled a book out and the bookcase slid to the right revealing a hidden ante-chamber. How cliché, Rose thought.
"Wait here please," Dumbledore said as he disappeared into the room. Rose didn't have much time to wonder what he was doing before the old man reemerged levitating what looked to be a mangled side of beef behind him. Rose recoiled in shock when she realized that it was the remains of a man.
"What…" she started to ask but Dumbledore cut her off.
"This," he started, dropping the torso to the stone floor with a fleshy thud. "Is the remains of Lord Voldemort. It is your job to end his pitiful existence."
"He's still alive?" she asked incredulously. Dumbledore nodded.
"It is your job to finish him," he said. "I assume you know the prophecy?"
Still fairly numb from her experience in the catacombs, Rose approached cautiously and leveled her wand. "I do," she said. Voldemort's eyes blazed with hatred and insanity. Rose could only imagine what torment he must be going through, to be stuck in a mangled corpse of a body. She decided to end it swiftly. Clenching her eyes shut, she fired a silent bludgeoning hex at Voldemort's head, crushing it beyond recognition.
Almost immediately she felt a tingling in her scar. The headache she had learned as a very young girl to ignore faded leaving her mind blissfully clear. She reached up and touched her forehead with a smile to find that the scar itself had faded from her brow. "It's over?" she asked no one in particular.
"Not quite," Dumbledore answered. Rose snapped her head toward him so fast she was sure she would develop a crick in her neck later.
"What do you mean," she asked.
Dumbledore looked remorseless as he explained. "I plan on taking credit for Voldemort's downfall," he began. "What I require of you now, is your full cooperation in turning yourself into the authorities as a willing servant of Harry Evans, a rising dark lord. I need you to sign these documents." He gestured at a stack of parchment on his desk.
Rose could only stare at the headmaster incredulously. "You're crazy!" she blurted leveling her wand at the old man. "Harry is no dark lord!"
A sinister smile spread across the headmaster's face looking completely out of place there. His eyes were twinkling, but this time is was malicious. "Ah, but he confessed to me directly," he said walking over to his pensieve. He placed his wand to his temple and withdrew a silvery strand that he placed in the stone bowl. He swirled it for a moment and a tiny image of Harry emerged from the glowing liquid.
"I will willingly become a dark lord the likes of which this backwater, misbegotten little world has never seen. Voldemort will seem like a toddler with a wand compared to the horrors that I will bring." The image of Harry said.
Rose was silent for a moment before shouting, "That was probably because you were trying to keep him from coming to get me!" Rose was defiant as she pointed Harry's wand at Dumbledore's head. "Harry wouldn't do anything he didn't think he had to."
"Regardless my dear," Dumbledore said. Rose shuddered at the 'my dear' title. "I will have your cooperation, with or without your consent. Imperio!"
Rose couldn't dodge the spell even if she had any warning. A warm fuzzy feeling enveloped her along with a soothing voice that commanded her to, 'sign the papers.' But she didn't want to sign the papers. The voice was insistant however. She had to sign the papers. Rose felt herself walk aimlessly to the desk and reach for a quill. Then, in addition to the soothing voice that wanted her to sign the papers was another voice that sounded like her own. It was reminding her that should she sign the papers, both her and Harry's lives would be over before they even started. Rose stopped with the quill touching the parchment. "No…" she ground out.
Dumbledore sighed. "I suppose I have to do it the hard way then. You are about to be killed resisting arrest."
Rose quickly transfigured the quill into a dagger that she threw at the headmaster. "You'll have to catch me first you son of a bitch!" she growled. As Dumbledore deftly dodged the knife, Rose flamed away to the only place she now felt safe; Harry's house.
She appeared in the living room and took a few deep breaths to calm her racing heart, only to have it nearly stop as Dumbledore popped into existence right behind her. Harry must have forgotten to put the Fidelius back up! Rose thought frantically as she dove behind a couch. How did he even know I was here!?
"Don't make this harder than it has to be Ms. Potter," Dumbledore said in a false cheery voice. He waved his wand and simply vanished the couch but Rose was ready for it.
She popped up and rapid-fired bludgeoning hexes at the old man who had to twirl out of the way to avoid them. Rose took the opportunity to flame away, back to the one place she thought she would never see again; Number 4, Privit Drive. She appeared in an inferno in her small bedroom that used to be Dudley's second room. She quickly put out the small fires her appearance had caused, but evidentally she wasn't quiet enough.
Petunia burst into the room brandishing a carving knife. When she spotted Rose, she shrieked and dropped the knife to clutch her hear. "What the bloody hell are you doing here, brat?!" she demanded harshly. "Shouldn't you be at that freak school of yours?"
Rose wouldn't let herself be baited and simply frog marched her aunt out of the room and back downstairs into the immaculate kitchen. "You need to get somewhere safe, Aunt Petunia," she said quickly. Petunia turned and shoved Rose away.
"What are you talking about!?" she spat.
Rose gritted her teeth against her anger. Her aunt really could be insufferable. "Look, a very nasty man is trying to kill me. I don't think he will be able to find me here but-" Rose was interrupted by Dumbledore apparating directly into the kitchen. Petunia shrieked again but her scream was turned to a gurgle and she fell to the floor as her throat was cut by Dumbledore's cutting hex. Rose stared at the blood that gushed from her Aunt's corpse. She may not have loved her Aunt, but Petunia was still family.
"You see what you made me do?" Dumbledore said snappishly.
"You monster!" Rose screamed. She flung curse after curse at the insane old man but none of them met their mark, instead being deflected away or dodged to destroy the kitchen. In a fit of fury, Rose banished the entire refrigerator at the Headmaster. It crushed him against the far wall with a sickening crunch. Rose took the opportunity to flame away.
This time she reappeared at the park on Wisteria Walk, scaring the few children and their parents that were playing on the equipment. I need a place to hide, she thought looking around frantically. She didn't know how Dumbledore always knew where she was. She spied some bushes in the distance and thought they would be good enough. As she hurried over to the hedges that ringed the park, her emotions caught up to her and she began to sob. She managed to control them enough that the crying wasn't hysterical, but she was shaken none the less. She pulled her knees up and hugged them to her chest. Harry? Harry I need you…please. She called. But she was answered only with that weird muggle static.
She nearly jumped out of her skin when Dumbledore appeared with a loud pop in the middle of the park, startling the few people that Rose hadn't. He looked ragged, his left arm hanging limply from his shoulder and his purple robes tattered and soaked with blood. It seemed that the refrigerator had done a number on him. "I know you are here, girl," he snarled. It seemed that he had dropped the false grandfatherly attitude. "If you come out now, I promise to make your death swift and painless."
Rose shook her head frantically, wondering just what had happened to the kind old man from her first three years at the school. Was he possessed? Insane? Or was he always like this, just waiting for the opportunity to show his true colors? And how the bloody hell was he… Then it hit her. The strange silver instruments she had seen in his office in Harry's memories. Harry had explained that most of them were tracking devices keyed to Harry when he was under the headmaster's thumb. Was it too much of a stretch to think that this Dumbledore was tracking her?
She tried once more to reach Harry, but still only got static. With a resigned sigh, she then flamed to the headmaster's office, not hearing or seeing the others that apparated into the park. When she reappeared, she looked around for anything she might recognize and for the first time she wondered just where Fawkes was. Perhaps the phoenix had left the headmaster. She then proceeded to completely destroy the office and study more thoroughly than Harry had in his fifth year.
As she finished off the bookcase, she heard a pop behind her near the office entrance followed by a series of other pops. She spun around just in time to see the headmaster collapse, his chest a gaping, bloody hole. Behind her were four men cloaked in maroon robes. Where the hell was Harry?
"You have no idea just how badly you screwed things up, do you?" Mathias said. His voice was forlorn and his posture and face spoke of disappointment.
Harry stood there dumbfounded. Of all the people he expected to find down here in the bowels of the catacomb, Mathias Elderberry was the last person on his mind. How such a kind, generous man could be the mastermind of an organization hell bent on the death of the girl he loved was beyond him. "If you mean Rose's death, then yes, I do have an idea. And I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat."
"You truly have no idea…" Mathias shook his head and sighed. Harry wondered just what it was that he messed up if it wasn't simply keeping Rose alive.
"Care to enlighten me?" he asked.
"You spoke to Mr. Eckerly, didn't you?" Mathias shot back. "He should have explained everything."
"Well, he didn't," Harry said. He didn't know what was staying his hand. He should kill this man for the torment he and Rose had been through. "All he told me was that Rose needed to die, and there was nothing I could do to stop it."
Mathias took a moment to curse Eckerly's name before scrubbing at the graying scruff that adorned his chin. "How much do you know about soul magic, Harry?" he asked after a moment's silence.
Harry held up his fingers less than an inch apart. "About that much."
Mathias huffed in annoyance. "I will try to keep this simple. You know that Rose and yourself are sharing a soul now, correct." Harry nodded and Mathias continued. "Good. To put it bluntly, the ritual that summoned you went wrong. It was supposed to be on a…timer, so to speak, the end of the timer being Rose's prophesied death on June fourth of next year. When she died, the ritual was to pull a…version of you from another reality into this one, create a body for you, and use Rose's free soul to power it."
"Wait, wait…" Harry interrupted. "I thought a soul made you who you are."
Mathias shook his head. "No. Your mind and experiences make you who you are. Your soul is like…" He waved his hand vaguely in the air as he thought of a proper term. "Like a muggle battery. It is what powers your body. Every living being has a soul, just some, like ours, are more powerful than others. When Voldemort split his soul, he didn't diminish it by much. He essentially created seven batteries for himself, where as a normal person only has one. He would have simply lived seven times longer than a normal person."
Something didn't make sense to Harry. He remembered the diary, and the specter of a young Tom Riddle. He explained that all to Mathias.
"That," Mathias went on, "is part of the Horcruxes magic. It imprints a version of your personality and mind on the horcrux. I do not know why.
"Back to yours and Rose's soul. The two of you are more powerful than we expected, Rose more so since you have helped her along." Mathias continued. Harry blushed slightly remembering himself helping Rose. "When you arrived and your body was created, over a year too early I might add…"
Harry muttered something about it not being his fault.
"It needed a soul, your soul, which was currently in Rose, to power it. Unfortunately, Rose was still using it and her magic was loathe to part with it. Thus, the two of you shared the same soul. It is not too different from a soul bond, in which a married couple joins their souls, however…" he paused for effect. "That couple has the power of two souls, where as you and Rose had one."
Harry paled. "Does that mean…mean that I don't really love Rose?" he asked shakily. He didn't want to think his affections for the small red haired girl he had met all those months ago were fabricated.
Mathias smiled happily. "No, Harry. You truly do love her. Love, true love such as yours, cannot be fabricated by any magic."
Harry sighed in relief. "So then, tell me. Why did she have to die?"
Mathias gestured to one of the rifts that were rapidly multiplying. "These," he said simply. "A soul is not meant to be split among two people. The amount of magic it requires the two of you to exert to keep a hold of it is tearing the fabric of reality asunder." He paused to let Harry process that. When Harry's face paled, he went on. "Yes, reality will end if Rose…or yourself, do not die. We would rather Rose perish, as we need you to take care of Voldemort for us."
Harry barked a short laugh that was completely devoid of any humor. "I can't kill him," he said simply. Mathias stared at him blankly and Harry hurriedly explained. "The prophecy…?"
Mathias simply looked confused and Harry laughed again. "Oh come on… Surely the all mighty Illuminatus knows about the prophecy made about Voldemort's downfall?"
Mathias nodded. "That is why we need you to…"
But Harry cut him off. "Here it refers to Rose, not me. I can't kill him." Harry said. Mathias' face fell but Harry smiled. "Oh don't look like that. I've already take care of it. All Rose needs to do is cast one little spell and…it's all over."
Mathias seemed to perk up at this but his mood quickly dimmed. "There is still the matter of the two of you sharing a soul. I'm afraid you can't remain here."
Harry nodded sadly. He knew Mathias was telling the truth and as much as he hated being caught in another leader's chess game, he knew what he had to do. "Is there a way for me to get back to my world?" he asked. Then he panicked. "What about my old body?"
"All you need do is step through one of these rifts. It will carry your mind back to your old world. As for your old body, it was recovered by the good people of Hogsmeade and interred in the long term ward at St. Mungo's. It is waiting on you to reclaim it." Mathias answered.
Harry sighed and, without any delay, started toward the rift that was pulling at him. He stopped when Mathias called for him. "Yeah?"
Mathias handed him a familiar wand and Harry took it reverently. "I believe you need this," he said with a small smile. "It is Rose's but it is identical to yours, yes?"
Harry mirrored the smile as he stared at the piece of holly in his hands. His eyes watered with unshed tears. He would really miss Rose. "Take care of Rose for me, will you?" he asked. He knew he could trust the man. Mathias nodded and Harry stepped into the rift. He was distantly aware that he was leaving his stuff behind, but he didn't care. It wasn't like he needed it.
Harry paused when he heard Rose's voice in his mind, her words interspersed with bursts of static. She was in trouble! He tried to step back out of the rift but the magic already had a hold of him and he could feel his body starting to dissolve. "Go now! She needs you!" he shouted to Mathias over the wind rushing in his ears. He saw the rift close around him before everything faded away.
You-Know-Who, No More!
By Special Correspondent – Rita Skeeter
Late yesterday afternoon, the magical world was shocked to its core by the death of Hogwarts Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore. Normally, a death of this magnitude; of a man as revered as Dumbledore would have the people grieving, but your reporter can exclusively reveal that he was killed by none other than Rose Potter, The-Girl-Who-Lived's bodyguards as she defended her life against the aged man.
Various muggles through out England saw him chasing Ms. Potter about while casting dangerous hexes and curses in an attempt to kill the young girl and claim credit for vanquishing the Dark Lord, who was not vanquished as many people had thought. This reporter had the chance to interview one of the body guards.
"The man Dumbledore was a raving lunatic." The man who declined to give his identity said. "We managed to catch up with him as Rose fled the park in Little Whinging, Surrey and unfortunately had to kill him."
"She Rose was haggard and bloody from her fight with You-Know-Who, and we just couldn't believe that Dumbledore would try and steal all the glory."
Regardless as to what happened, this reporter feels that we owe Rose Potter a debt which can never be repaid. All we can do for now is say, Thank you.
Details of the Battle between You-Know-Who and Rose Potter. Pg. 2
Minerva McGonagall to succeed Dumbledore as Headmistress. Pg. 3
Sirius Black exonerated of all charges, to take position as Transfiguration Prof. at Hogwarts. Pg. 4
Rose tossed the paper down on the table in the dining room of Harry's house. The article got most of the of the important points right, but Rose didn't care either way. Voldemort was gone forever. But so was Harry…
It had been two days since the ordeal. Two long days since Harry had left her. She couldn't fault him. Mathias and the remains of the Illuminatus had explained everything to her, and her feeble Legillimency skills had told her that they were telling the truth. She had grieved, and in truth she was still grieving but she wasn't without hope. If the Illuminatus had found a way to bring Harry here in the first place, she was certain that there were others.
Eight months later…
Rose and Hermione sat in the library researching dimensional travel. They had taken every weekend to do so, except Christmas, but information on the topic was sketchy at best. But still, Rose kept hoping.
Rose rested her chin in her hands and tried not to fall asleep as Hermione poured over a huge tome. By her grunts of frustration, Rose could tell that Hermione wasn't making any progress. Rose's mind wandered back to last year, when Harry had helped her train for the Tri-Wizard Tournament. She thought about the dragon and her gamble of casting the ancient ice magic. She thought about the Christmas they spent together, and the portraits he had found for her which were hanging on either side of her bed in her dorm. She smiled as she recalled the tongue lashing her mother had given her father for even thinking of occupying his frame in the girl's dorm.
Eventually, she had given in, if just so they could all be together. Then, her mind wandered to the second task. Specifically on one thing Harry had told her.
"Remember Rose," Harry had told her. "Phoenixes can teleport anywhere."
Hermione waved her hand in front of Rose's face but Rose didn't respond. Hermione was both worried for her friend and excited at the same time that maybe Harry had contacted her. After a full minute of Rose zoning out, Hermione said, "Rose, are you there?"
"OH MY GOD!" Rose exclaimed suddenly, making Hermione fall out of her chair in fright. Madame Pince hissed at them both and Rose had the decency to look abashed before explaining in a frantic whisper. "I can't believe I forgot. Harry told me something before the second task; remember the one in the lake? It was almost like he knew something like this was going to happen, but knowing him he didn't. I don't think he believed in divination, even the prophecy. Besides, if he knew I think he would be here with me now, unless there was something keeping him…"
"Rose, you're babbling. What did Harry say?"
"Sorry," Rose said, thought she didn't sound like she meant it. "He told me that a phoenix can teleport anywhere." At Hermione's sudden gasp, Rose nodded. "Anywhere."
"You think you can…?" Hermione asked. She held up one hand and moved her other past it, pantomiming passing a barrier. Rose nodded excitedly and moved into the center of the library. She scrunched her eyes shut and began to concentrate only to have it broken by Hermione screeching, "Not in the library! There are books here!"
Madame Pince ejected them from the library after that. Hermione felt mortified if the blush and scowl on her face were any indication. But Rose didn't care either way. If this worked, she could have her Harry back. She took Hermione by the hand and all but dragged the bookworm out on to the Hogwarts lawn. Once there, she wasted no time in concentrating again. She disappeared in a flash of fire, taking a detour to the house that she and Harry had shared. She gathered up all the stuff that he had appeared that fateful day with; his trunk, books, cloak and Marauder's map. She then flamed immediately back to the Hogwarts lawn where Hermione was all but sobbing. She immediately dropped it and ran over to give Hermione a hug.
Hermione hugged her back tightly. "I thought you had left without saying goodbye," Hermione sniffled.
"I'll come back as soon as I can, Hermione. I promise." Rose whispered. She pulled away and saw Hermione wipe her eyes. Now for Harry…
Rose closed her eyes tightly and clenched her fists at her sides. Since she didn't know where Harry was, she concentrated on him specifically; his hair, his smell, his eyes…and she willed her self there. Nothing happened at first, but then slowly, but surely, the phoenix fire began to pulse from her. It burst outward in slow but methodical waves, each pulse rippling the grass outward from where she was standing.
The pulsing became faster and more powerful. Had Rose opened her eyes, she would have seen that a crowd had gathered around her. Headmistress McGonagall was frantically trying to gain her attention, but the fire pulses were keeping everyone at bay. Eventually, the pulses merged into one constant inferno that oddly enough left the grass intact. Then, with a ripping sound, Rose finally tore her way through the fabric of reality.
In the blink of an eye she reappeared, oddly enough almost in the exact same place that she had flamed away from. The first thing she noticed was that everything, everything, was wrong. The sky, for one was red. The formerly lush, green grass she had been standing on was gone, replace with hard, unyielding earth. The thing that stood out the most, however, was the ruined remains of Hogwarts.
She didn't have much time to grieve or otherwise admire the scenery as she was forced to roll quickly away from a sickly yellow bone-breaking curse that had been fired in her direction. She bumped into a pair of jean-clad legs on her way back up and was nearly knocked off her feet, but someone steadied her.
"Rose?" he asked bewilderedly.
"Harry!" she shrieked, throwing her arms around his torso. She was mildly surprised when Harry quickly pried her off.
"Now…is not the…best time." He said.
Rose followed his gaze over her shoulder and her jaw dropped.
Leading an army of death eaters in various states of decay was none other than a very young, very beautiful, very alive, Bellatrix Lestrange…
A/N: Just in case any of you were wondering, yes there will be a sequel. I have it planned, but like I said above, other stuff first. Thanks again for reading.