Chapter Fifty

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

Note: So Voldemort went down in one hit. Then again, it was an Avada Kedavra cast by two different people (who didn't intend for that to be the case because if the timing was off, they might have hit each other once Voldemort fell) and Voldemort was already weakened from having a non-father relative's bones and Harry's willing sacrifice of blood. Also, while he certainly wouldn't want to have to go through the whole process of being reborn again, he didn't realize that he was mortal or that Harry 'power of love' Potter would resort to a killing curse and have it work.

Death Eater Plot to Revive You-Know-Who Foiled by Potter

By Rita Skeeter

The Third Task of the Pentawizard Playoffs proved to be something to behold and it did not disappoint. What no one expected was the after-Playoff entertainment. Bartemius Crouch Jr – not quite so dead as his father would have us believe – abducted Champions Harry Potter, Fred Weasley, and Cedric Diggory from inside the Third Task maze with the intention of sending us back to the terror of thirteen years ago.

Crouch attempted to use these boys in an elaborate and insidious ritual to bring back He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Fortunately, the ritual merely produced a golem who was quickly brought down by the combined efforts of Potter and Sirius Black. While Weasley and Diggory were off destroying the snake that the ritual used to keep the golem alive, Potter called for reinforcements on his two-way mirror and Black – eager to make up for his stunning failure as a guardian until two years ago – delivered in the form of two dozen Aurors. Needless to say, the Ministry's finest had no problem rounding up those who still secretly wished to serve You-Know-Who and came to see if Crouch could really revive him (he couldn't).

How, you might ask, did Crouch get to be in such a position as to kidnap some of Hogwarts best students and drawing He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's old followers to his side as he attempted a bit of ill-fated necromancy when he is supposed to be dead himself? Interesting question with an even more interesting answer. Crouch Jr's mother died shortly after he did many years ago – or so we thought. It turns out that while she did indeed die, she did not do it in her home but in Azkaban prison. Knowing she was dying and her husband would do anything for her, the late Mrs. Crouch begged her husband to smuggle him out with Polyjuice and died in his place. As Crouch Jr. was undoubtedly a Death Eater, Crouch Sr. kept him under the Imperius Curse until one day Jr's resistance became so great that he overpowered his father and started off on his mad quest to bring back his dark master. Crouch Sr. is facing charges for his actions and Azkaban prison is increasing their security after two people have escaped, one of which left completely unnoticed.

The arrested Death Eaters turned out to be – much to everyone's surprise and horror – seemingly respectable members of our community who had faced accusations of Death Eater activity in the past but either bribed the previous, clearly corrupt administration or pleaded being under the Imperius Curse. As Lucius Malfoy, a true victim of the Imperius Curse back in the day, put it, "It truly saddens me that so many people that I had counted as friends could take advantage of my suffering and the suffering of others like me similarly affected by that dreadful curse to escape prison and then turn right around and take the first opportunity to seek out their 'Master'."

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"Unbelievable," Harry said, shaking his head and putting the newspaper down. "How does your father always manage to land on his feet, Draco?" Once again, it was the end of the year feast and Harry was seeking solace with the Slytherins.

"I don't know what you mean, Harry," Draco said cheerfully. "But I agree with him; war is such a terrible thing and aren't we lucky to have avoided it?"

"Oh, whatever," Harry huffed. "I saw him in that graveyard you know."

"Really?" Draco drawled. "I thought you said they were all wearing masks and you can't possibly have spent enough time with my father to be able to accurately pick out his voice among others during such a time of duress."

"The golem called him 'Lucius'," Harry protested.

"How would a golem know?" Draco asked reasonably. "And if he was there he would be in custody, simple as that."

"Apparently one escaped," Harry pointed out. "I'm not sure how, though, since the Aurors put up Anti-Apparition wards pretty quickly…"

"Maybe whoever it was was carrying around a Portkey," Draco suggested. "Mum always insists that all of us have one on us at all times although it doesn't work within the Castle."

"So you're suggesting that someone else just happened to be carrying around a Portkey like your father does?" Harry asked skeptically. "We both know it was him."

"Good luck proving it," Draco said with a smirk.

"So why won't anyone else talk to me?" Harry wondered.

"Apparently I'm still not ' allowed'," Blaise replied dryly.

"Don't encourage him," Daphne said absently.

"See!" Blaise cried.

"The subject matter bores me," Pansy sniffed.

"You got my father arrested," Theodore Nott said, looking at Harry like he was stupid. Then again, that's how he usually looked at Harry so he wasn't concerned.

"I did not!" Harry insisted. "He got himself arrested by appearing at a madman's side who was trying to kill me and since Crouch summoned everyone through his Dark Mark, everyone caught was obviously a Death Eater, no matter what their bank account has to say about it."

"That is true," Theodore acknowledged. "But it's still a bad situation and I never liked you to begin with."

"But we've been through so much together!" Harry objected.

"Most of it your fault and all of it annoying," Theodore reminded him.

"Excuse me, 'Arry?" Fleur's voice sounded from behind him.

Harry turned around to see Victor Krum was with her.

"Ve vould like to congratulate you on your victory," Viktor told him. "Even though ve vish ve could have von, I am sure that vhatever happened in the graveyard more than earned you your victory."

"Thanks," Harry said, touched. "How did Beauxbatons and Durmstrang take it?"

"Zey did not take the fact zat all three 'Ogwarts champions won very well," Fleur admitted. "Which is why we are seeking you out as everyone else is packing."

"Well, that's nice of you," Harry told her. "It was great meeting you guys this year and I'm warning you now that if you don't keep in touch, I'm going to have to personally come to France and/or Bulgaria and visit you."

Fleur and Krum exchanged horrified glances.

"Ve'll keep in touch," Krum promised.

"Yes, most definitely!" Fleur agreed.

The two Champions practically ran from the Great Hall. Strange.

"Attention everyone," Dumbledore said, standing up and waiting for the Great Hall to quiet down. "Before I go ahead and release the point totals, Professor Lockhart has an announcement to make."

"Why is he even still here?" Harry wondered.

Draco shrugged. "Free publicity, I'm guessing."

"Thank you, Professor Dumbledore," Lockhart said, beaming at everyone. "First off, I would like to say that this has been an amazing year. Being back here, seeing how much you've grown…it's been a wonderful experience. To be honest, I was a bit hesitant about being a Headmaster because I've only had one year of teaching experience though I was certainly more than qualified. Young Harry was very persistent, however, and I'm glad he was as it was a truly rewarding experience for me. That's why I'd like to announce that as of right now, the Harry Potter School of Awesomeness will be accepting transfer requests and I hope to see some of you next year."

"Thank you, Professor Lockhart…or should I say Headmaster?" Dumbledore asked rhetorically. "Next, I am pleased to announce that our very own Professor Moody has agreed to stay on and teach another year to prove that there is no such thing as a curse on the position and to rid me of a long-term staffing woe. And finally…the point tallies. As things stand, Hufflepuff is in fourth place with 867. Ravenclaw is in third place with 916 points. Slytherin is in second with 1037 points and Gryffindor, of course, is in the lead with 1177 points."

"'Of course'? I love it how he's not even pretending to be objective anymore," Draco muttered. "Stupid blatant favoritism."

"I'm just as outraged as you are," Harry assured him.

"Of course, due to recent events, I am going to award Hufflepuff 500 points for their champion Cedric Diggory winning the Pentawizard Playoffs and 1000 points to Gryffindor for Harry and Fred Weasley for having done the same," Dumbledore announced. "That brings Hufflepuff up to second place with 1367 points and Gryffindor still in first with 2177 points."

"Why is it that Gryffindor wins every year with last-minute Harry-related points and Ravenclaw and now Hufflepuff have benefited from association with his deeds, but Slytherin never gets anything despite Harry spending more time with us than he does with any member of another House besides Luna Lovegood?" Blaise complained.

Harry opened his mouth to reply, but Daphne beat him to it.

"Blaise! You're encouraging him again!" she hissed.

"Oh for the love of-!"

"So just between us, Voldemort actually came back and you killed him, right?" Neville asked once they were on the train ride home.

Harry smirked. "Totally."

"What?" Hermione looked startled. "You killed someone? But you're only fourteen! Think of the irreparable damage this will surely do to your soul!"

Harry held up a hand to stop her. "Hermione, this is Lord Tom Riddle Voldemort we're talking about. He kind of had it coming. Besides, he was already mostly dead."

"I'm fairly certain you already used that reference," Luna told him.

Harry shuddered. "How unoriginal. In my defense, though, I was talking about the same person and it was two years ago."

"Then how do you even remember that?" Ron wanted to know.

Harry turned to stare at him incredulously. "Because 'The Princess Bride' is one of the most epic movies ever. How could I not remember it?"

Ginny snorted. "Since when do you care about 'epic'? You put off doing anything until Voldemort himself showed up!"

"At least I did something then," Harry defended himself. "And I didn't have to. I could have just called Sirius immediately and have had the Aurors deal with it."

"For all I know, that's exactly what happened," Ginny pointed out. "Since you released such a Chamber of Secrets version to the press."

"What does she mean 'Chamber of Secrets' version, Harry?" Ron asked, frowning.

'Doctored beyond belief?' Harry guessed silently. Out loud he said, "Presumably 'Epic' since that was what my defeat of the basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets was."

"I have very rarely seen its match," Ginny swore.

"And it's not like I escaped unscathed," Harry told them. "My psychic, Parselmouth scar took an Avada Kedavra for me."

"You got hit with an Avada Kedavra?" Hermione cried.

"No," Harry shook his head. "My scar did. Don't you listen?"

"You…I just…never mind," Hermione said, deciding once again that it simply wasn't worth it.

"So how put-out are you that I won the Playoffs?" Harry asked Luna.

Luna looked mystified for once. "I was your representative on the panel of judges. Why in the world would I be upset?"

"You consistently gave me a lower score than everyone but Viktor?" Harry offered.

"Only for caring more for showmanship than the tasks themselves," Luna reminded him . "But as far as the maze goes…well, if that sphinx is to believe you tried harder and really need to brush up on your basic riddles. You wouldn't have lasted one week in Ravenclaw if it took you ten minutes to get 'glove.'"

"Yeah, well…no one asked you!" Harry exclaimed.

Luna raised her eyebrows. "Really? Because I could have sworn you just did…"

"Why couldn't you just tell what really happened, Harry?" Hermione inquired. "I mean, sure it would have been a bit scary to know that Voldemort has been out there all this time, but if he's gone now, why not put everyone's mind at ease?"

Neville laughed. "Right, because telling everyone that someone that nearly everyone you meet who hasn't met him personally or taken classes with Sirius and basically been bribed is afraid to say the name of wasn't dead after all but wandering around doing God knows what for thirteen years would go over well. What are they supposed to say 'Yeah, he wasn't really dead last time, our bad, but this time he is, we swear!' If losing one body wasn't enough, why would losing a second be any more lethal?"

"Because of the Horcruxes, of course," Hermione began. "I'm sure that if-"

"Yeah, there's no way that bit of information is coming out," Harry said firmly. "Strictly speaking, I probably shouldn't have even told you guys. Although I really don't remember why I saw fit to tell you guys that and not about Voldemort having actually been back."

"Wrackspurts," Luna suggested.

"Seriously, someone ought to do something about them," Harry said vehemently. "Most people haven't even heard of Horcruxes because if people – especially unscrupulous people who have already killed – found out about such a convenient and relatively safe method for relative immortality, people would use it. Besides, the Ministry is very happy to keep Voldemort's return away from the public eye and the public is ecstatic not to be aware of what almost happened so who am I to go against the will of the people?"

"I'm not even going to answer that," Ginny said, shaking her head. At least she seemed more amused than hostile.

"So what are we going to do this summer, Sirius?" Harry asked once he met his guardian on the platform.

"The same thing we do every summer, Harry," Sirius replied with a grin.

"Try to take over the world?" Harry asked innocently.

"Yeah, that settles it: you two are not allowed to be left alone together," Remus declared.

Harry looked over to see his backup godfather and Tonks standing a few feet away. "Hey, what are you guys doing here?"

"Didn't I just say I refused to leave you two alone together?" Remus asked.

"Well, yeah," Harry admitted. "But you kind of made it sound like you just decided that."

"We never thought it was a good idea," Tonks explained. "But our determination to keep the time you two spend alone to a bare minimum is new, yes."

"You never let me have any fun…" Sirius sulked.

"Forgive me if I don't find 'taking over the world' to be as thrilling as you two apparently do," Remus said dryly.

"Of course," Sirius said magnanimously. "After all, you've never tried it."

"This is my best friend," Remus said despondently.

"There, there," Tonks said, patting Remus on the shoulder. "At least you're not related to him."

"Are you guys sure you're not dating?" Harry asked.

"They better not be," Sirius growled. "Well, at least for another year or so. But after that I expect to see some sparks flying!"

"You can't force us to date, Sirius," Remus felt compelled to remind him.

"No," Sirius agreed readily enough. "But I can force you guys to hang out until your hormones overwhelm you and you have no choice."

"I feel so used," Remus complained.

"At least I'm awesome?" Tonks consoled him, looking like she wouldn't mind not waiting.

"So Cedric, tell us about the graveyard-" Marietta Edgecombe was saying.

Cedric's eyes widened and he started breathing faster.

"God, Marietta, he's just been through a traumatic experience!" Cho snapped. "Show some respect."

"What did I do?" Marietta wondered.

"Thank you SO much for that," Cedric said sarcastically as he met Harry's eye.

"Hey," Harry protested. "I saved your life!"

"And I'm grateful," Cedric allowed, "but I have never been more aware that people spend a ridiculous amount of time talking about the g-word until now…"

"You can send me your therapy bill," Harry offered. "It's probably tax deductable."

Cedric rolled his eyes but moved on.

"Congratulations on your recent defeat of that golem," Narcissa Malfoy said as she, her husband, and her son approached him.

Harry shivered. "Thank you. And may I say that you terrify me far more than that golem did despite the five Crucios."

Narcissa blinked at him. "Really, you do say the strangest things."

"That's because he's crazy," Draco added helpfully.

"SO not helping," Harry snapped at him.

"We are grateful for the service you've done us all," Lucius claimed. "Now, if you'll excuse us, we have to go commiserate with those poor unsuspecting family members of Death Eaters."

Well, the Malfoys certainly knew how to keep themselves above the fray. Well, when they weren't caught red-handed at the Department of Mysteries, that is.

"Voldemort's really gone for good this time," Sirius said softly. "I never thought I'd see the day."

"I did," Harry replied. "Of course, it's a lot less bittersweet than before."

"James and Lily would be proud of you, Harry," Remus assured him.

Harry smiled at him. "Thanks Remus."

And then as they continued blissfully into this small but perfect piece of their forever, Harry knew that all was well.

"So, what's this about you funding the twins' pranks?" Molly Weasley demanded, hands on her hips and looking murderous. Behind her, the twins were mouthing 'sorry' at him, not looking even remotely sincere.

"I can explain!" Harry said immediately.

"Please do," Molly said, her eyes flashing and Harry was suddenly very much aware that this was the woman who – in another life – had taken down Bellatrix Lestrange.

Well, some things were kind of well. Assuming he survived this next confrontation, of course.

Note: It's been fifteen months and it's kind of hard to believe this is done. I figured I would have lost interest long before now, but I'm glad I didn't. The reviews probably helped. :p This actually started because I couldn't get through the books without a sarcastic comment every other line of dialogue and really I'm glad that so many people liked it.

The reason Malfoy escaped? Simple: the last thing Harry needs is a vengeful Draco deciding that they're arch-rivals again. :p Besides, Lucius really is the type. Or at least Narcissa.

It's The End so Review Please!