The Final Battle

The scene was a dark and frightening alley. The stakes were high. Tonight was the night—the famous Harry Potter would be fighting a duel, to the death, with the immortal, the only, Lord Voldemort. That was if, by some trick, Harry Potter didn't manage to escape at the last minute—his dead mother, or his brilliant Muggle-born friend, Hermione Granger, might save him. The Order of the Phoenix and the Death Eaters would undoubtedly also be present, although they would likely get distracted at the crucial moment by squabbling among themselves.

And, indeed, by some happy chance, only three people remained in the alley within three minutes of the battle's commencement. These were the tragic orphaned Harry Potter, the incredibly evil Dark Lord, who was wearing black robes just to emphasize this, and Severus Snape, the double agent, and lieutenant to the Dark Lord (and to Albus Dumbledore, but who counts that). The Dark Lord, looking around at his companions, suddenly had a great idea! Given how rare this was, was it any wonder that he got a little overexcited?

Voldemort smiled evilly, and said, "I have it! Snape, you can kill Potter, even though I've been trying to for years (after all, it worked with Dumbledore), since you're his father!"

Harry Potter and Severus Snape stared at Voldemort. Then, as one, they cried, "What?!?!?"

Voldemort looked surprised that they didn't immediately recognize his evil genius.

"How—what makes you think—what?" asked Snape.

"There's no way!" cried Harry, rounding on Snape. "You can't be my father!"

"You're just like James Potter! If we were related I could never hold up my head again!" exclaimed Snape.

"You could never—what about me? You killed Dumbledore, you evil, twisted—!"

"Everyone thinks you're so great—the Chosen One—you're just as arrogant as your father, Potter!"

"Excuse me!" cried Voldemort, looking rather disconcerted and very pouty. "But, who's the Dark Lord here?!?"

Neither Snape nor Harry heard him. They were so busy yelling insults at one another that they had entirely forgotten that they were in a dark alley with the most powerfully evil wizard in the history of—well, ever. Even when Voldemort drew his wand, neither noticed. "Well, it's no fun killing you if you're not even paying attention!" he whined.

Suddenly, Luna Lovegood appeared around the corner, saw Voldemort, and walked toward him. Voldemort would have killed her, but was incredibly distracted by the orange, radish-like vegetables she was wearing as earrings.

His mouth open, his wand hanging uselessly by his side, Voldemort mutely held out a hand to receive the flower Luna held out to him. The moment he took it, he disappeared in a great cloud of dust, with a gigantic crashing sound.

Startled into looking around, Harry and Snape stared at Luna, and the place where the great—terrible, but great—Dark Lord had been.

"What—what happened to Voldemort?" Harry asked Luna, at last.

"He didn't notice the Nargles," said Luna, in her lovely, abstracted voice.

"So—is he dead?" asked Snape incredulously.

Luna shrugged. "Looks that way, doesn't it?" she said, indicating the dust.

At that moment, Harry looked at Luna, then Snape, and finally the big pile of dust. His lip trembled. Then he ran to the other side of the alley, crying loudly.

Before Snape or Luna could do anything, Ron and Hermione came hurrying into the alley, stared at Luna, Snape, and the big pile of dust, then, as one, rushed over to Harry. Luna and Snape followed, the latter rather reluctantly.

"Harry," said Hermione breathlessly, "What's the matter? Where's V-V-Voldemort?"

Ron, recovering from the ludicrous jump the use of the Dark Lord's name had occasioned, echoed, "Yeah, what's the matter, mate?"

"V-V-Voldemort said Sn-Sn-Snape was my f-f-father!" sobbed Harry.

"Well," said Luna consideringly, "There is a certain handsome resemblance."

Ron looked horrified. "There's no way, mate!"

Hermione was looking at Snape, who asserted, "There's absolutely, positively, without a doubt, no poss—" Suddenly, a strange look came into his face, as though a new and startling thought had just occurred to him. And we all know, given his customary stoicism, that this thought must've made a real impression, because Snape had actually allowed his amazement to show.

Now everyone was looking at Snape.

"I suppose it's possible," said Hermione, rather nervously. But Harry was looking at Snape with horror. He was remembering all those times where he falls into the Pensieve and reads other people's thoughts, invading their privacy. And there was that connection between Snape and his mother…He was thinking, this is exactly what happens to me! All my parental figures turn out to be jerks! First my father, then Dumbledore—wait! Did I just think of Snape as a parental figure?!? My life is over!

Snape, meanwhile, had staggered away to one side, his hand over his heart.

Ron, looking at the horrified faces of Harry, Hermione, and Snape (and the sweetly concerned one of Luna), said bracingly, "Well, I'm off to find some food. Should see how the battle's going, too. Good luck with the father crisis, mate!"

As Ron walked away, Hermione and Luna shared a look of rare understanding. Normally, of course, Luna had stunning insights into the world of the fanciful and supernatural, while Hermione, in spite of being an extremely accomplished witch, believed only in the so-called real. However, in this instance, Luna sank down beside Harry, and Hermione went off to comfort Snape.

Harry raised a tearstained face to Luna's. "V-V-Voldemort's dead and I d-d-didn't even d-d-do anything!"

"Well, that's not true, Harry," said Luna calmly. "You helped pile the Nargles onto Voldemort. They like you a lot, you know."

Harry looked up at Luna, immeasurably cheered. Almost immediately, however, he returned to the subject nearest his heart. "Luna, what if—if Snape really is my father?"

"Well," said Luna, "No one except Ron, Hermione, Professor Snape, and you and I know that's what Voldemort said."

"Yeah," replied Harry, "And Ron'll tell Fred and George, and my life'll be over."

And with that, Luna led a now fatalistic Harry from the premises, followed by Hermione and the still distraught Snape, who was missing Harry's mother more than ever. They were going to find Bellatrix Lestrange and give her a piece of their minds, then meet Ron for lunch. Or more possibly a late dinner, since Voldemort never went out during the day. Bad for the complexion.