Summary: Harry defeated Voldemort at a price he doesn't yet understand. He wasn't certain he would survive the final battle and so wasn't terribly concerned about any price he had to pay... But he DOES survive and he wakes up to find himself in another dimension where Neville is the boy-who-lived and Harry is... A HUFFLEPUFF!? What?
This is my very first chapter ever! I hope you enjoy.
(btw, this isn't beta read, so forgive me if I missed anything. I do try to make sure there are little to no errors, but if you find one, point it out to me and I'll try to correct it.)
Chapter 1: A Necessary Prologue
Harry could hardly see for all the rain clouding his vision. Flashes of light, from wands and sky sent men falling and thunder rolling. There was too much going on around him, like he was moving in slow motion, everything else was happening too fast. Water and sweat and mud and smoke, the smells of the battle seeped into his robes. He could hardly think through the pain in his scar; it meant He was close, and that soon, everything would be over. One of them would die here today. One of them would finally be able to live.
The Order and several ministry aurors had been fighting for hours against an army of giants, dementors, and Death Eaters. It was utter chaos. Magic electrified the air making it difficult to breathe, to move, to think. Several wizards had simply stopped fighting only to laugh as though they had gone mad, so elated were they by the magical currents swirling around them. They were quickly swallowed by death not long after.
There was a strange scent to the air, like the coming of a great wind and the temperatures rose and fell with the movement of the dementors. Mists of silvery patronus charms set a fog upon the battle field, distorting sight, but also driving away the cold sorrow.
For a moment it felt as though the ministry and the Order fighters were pushing back the Death Eaters, but then from out of nowhere a flanking army of wizards descended upon the battle, throwing curses and growling like animals. At the first howl, a shiver of fear spread like fire along the resisting aurors, and though it was not the full moon, a panic took hold. It was not only the bite wizards feared. A werewolf possessed impossible strength and had an innate resistance to most offensive magic. Only those that bore silver were spared a violent death.
It had taken a taxing amount of magic, but this war would be finished once and for all. Harry had finally breached the internal wards. There would be no apparating out of here, no portkeys, and no escaping by floo. All escape was warded against or, in case of the floo network, shutdown temporarily. The only way out was to fly or run, but the chances of evading every fired curse was very small.
Harry's heart thrummed deeply in his chest. This was the end, he could feel it, in his blood and in his magic. As he prepared to blast the door to the stronghold from its hinges, it swung open and out of the entryway came a death eater, blood trailing from beneath his dark robes. Harry held his wand, a curse on his lips, but before the spell was cast, the figure fell hard to the ground.
The hood had slipped just enough to see a shock of white blond hair, but it seemed to be matted with blood. Harry knew instantly who lay at his feet.
"Malfoy?" Harry said quietly, his voice betraying no emotion. A few years ago, Harry might have sneered down at his school rival and made a snide comment. Now, though, he believed he could understand the young Slytherin, why he had chosen to take the mark, and any hatred Harry had felt towards him was replaced with pity. The blond would no doubt despise him for it if he knew, but judging by the rate of blood he was loosing, he would likely never find out.
"Potter," was the choked reply. There was a fit of heavy coughing and after a long pause for breath the young man continued in an almost casual tone that was ruined only by his harsh breathing, "Have you come to kill him?"
"I have," Harry answered. He recognized the signs of the Cruciatus Curse immediately. But it was more than that, Harry could see. Draco Malfoy had been beaten harshly, and something about him felt disgusting, like hot tar pouring down his throat, something vile had happened, and Harry felt sick.
"Kill him." The blond managed to pull himself up to lean against the doorframe, "You kill him, Potter, and kill him dead." Those piercing grey eyes looked up at him with so much emotion, hatred, respect, fear, and dare he think hope, "Don't let him come back this time."
"It will end." Harry promised.
"Oh," a cold voice interrupted the two, "it will end of course." From the doorway stepped the Dark Lord, his cloak slowly becoming wet with rain as he stepped regally over the fallen Malfoy. "This battle will end with your death!" The declaration almost made Harry want to roll his eyes.
"I've heard that enough times not to take it seriously,"
"Avada Kedavra!" Voldemort hissed. Harry dodged the green bolt and returned with a blasting curse followed by a disarming charm. Both of which failed. Harry however was not overly worried. This casting was mostly for show anyhow.
Curses flew back and forth, and one had yet to find its intended target. The fact that Voldemort feared death more than anything and because of the large age gap, Harry was at a slight advantage. The Dark Lord was being overly cautious, and Harry had quicker reflexes. Voldemort may know far more spells than Harry, but they were useless if they couldn't land. The seeker position he held for six years had greatly improved his dodging skills. It was Moody, the real Moody, who had taught him that a duel was as much physical as it was magical. And it had been Snape who had taught him that a duel was as much mental as it was physical.
The rain made spell casting near impossible. Harry was sure that his accuracy was off it mark at least fifty percent of the time, and Voldemort was fairing no better. With all of the slipping and sliding through the mud trying to dodge curses, Harry was covered from head to toe in water and dirt.
Soon, the dueling pair abandoned using true spells, both knowing that wands and words were only a hindrance at this point. No longer was casting useful; a battle of imagination and wills began. Harry's magic was warm and bright, the color of summer sun and leaves, of a light breeze and shade under a canopy of trees. It grew slowly but steadily, building upon itself and rising like a tide. In contrast, Voldemort's magic was disgusting, slick dark oil, corrupted and misused; there was no oxygen, no life, and no will within it. It did not grow, but it seemed to spread like an infectious disease, attempting to overwhelm and bury everything around it. It tried to seep into Harry's magic, trying to suffocate it, but it burned hot like the sun when the two forces met.
"You cannot kill me." Another flare of powerful magic pressed against Harry's and heat threatened to scorch them both. The rain near them evaporated into steam, causing a light fog to surround them, smelling of sulfur, making it difficult to breathe. It was without warning that Draco hurled himself at the Dark Lord. Angrily, his pale fingers dug themselves into sallow skin and black robes, tearing and scratching.
"Kill him, Harry!" the blond clung stubbornly to the Dark Lord in a flight of passionate hate, but his eyes were resigned. Harry knew that Draco had been hurt in a horrifying way, but he was still strong, and for the first time, Harry felt compassion for his school rival. They would save each other, he decided, there were too many deaths already. He was tired of people dying for him, and Draco Malfoy was no exception.
It was time, Harry knew, to reveal his trump card. He did not particularly like using this power, because it was not something he could really control, and its use often had unwanted consequences. In order to defeat Voldemort, however, it would be necessary. Draco's diversion had given Harry just enough time to perform the summoning.
Harry called on the earth beneath him, and the water and wind above him. The ground began to tremble and the storm picked up violently. Already he knew this summoning could potentially kill him, but unlike Voldemort, he was not afraid to die. He could give his life to the world if it meant saving it. Finally, he called on the fire from the lightning branching through the dark sky. He would need to summon all of the cardinal elements to vanquish Voldemort from existence.
"My heart, my life, I lend, and I ask only for the destruction of my enemy who is also your enemy, I do not bid you, nor do I claim your power as my own. I cannot accomplish this on my own, and I ask as a friend, as an ally, that you help me." The muddied ground began to snake around his ankles, ice freezing his hair and stiffening his robes. "My heart, and my life, I would give, to see our enemy fall, one who corrupts you and bends his will over you for purposes not permitted." Voldemort managed to throw Draco off of him, and as he cast a killing curse towards the body of his no longer loyal servant, a bolt of lightning struck the ground between them. Thunder followed immediately throwing back the two bodies like dolls. The energy rippled through the ground and the wind came heavily, charged with magic and electricity.
The dark wizard screamed over the thunder, but anything he might have said was lost to the wind as it howled in its anger. The world tore the Dark Lord asunder, and Harry could no longer stand under the power, heavy and suffocating as it was, his only choice to give or perish beneath the weight.
Harry didn't know when it was that Voldemort passed, but as the storm cleared and the wind died down to a gentle breeze, Harry knew the battle was over. He and the wild magic had won, and he had somehow survived the storm.
He lay quietly on the soft ground, eyes unfocused, and his breaths slow and shallow. He could not feel his limbs or anything for that matter. He could barely think beyond a simple 'it's over.' All around him, the only thing he was fully aware of was the wild magic's presence lazily washing over his mind.
"What do you wish?" said a menagerie of voices, like a gentle hand across his brow. Harry tried to focus on the voices, but they escaped his mental grasp. Harsh, and gentle, warm and cold, all things and nothing, the voice purred like a wildcat in his ear. "What do you wish?" again it whispered, of freedom and life.
Wish? Harry thought, My only wish, was to have a chance at living a normal life, but I cannot forget… so many other's I wanted to save, so many people who also deserve what I selfishly crave. His body suddenly felt heavy, his limbs felt made of lead, and his eyes finally closed as he drifted off into unconsciousness.
"Granted." The magic hummed, pleased.