- I solemnly swear that I am up to no good -
Title : Death's Waiting Arms
Author : Prongslet
Beta reader : No one...:-)
Disclaimers : J. K. Rowling owns the Harry Potter universe. I own merely this plot, and I gain nothing from this other than satisfaction. All you recognize is not mine, I have maybe some ideas in here that I have read somewhere. If you own something then I beg of you to allow me to have it and to write me, so I can give credit.
Spoilers : Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Warnings : War, deaths and language... Oh yeah, and reference to sex...:-)
Category : Cannon, one-shot, general... Something like that, yeah...
Rating : T (I can't swear THAT much) Someone tell me if I have to change it...!
Main characters : Lord Voldemort, Harry Potter, Horace Slughorn, Minerva McGonagall, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Bellatrix Lestrange and Molly Weasley.
Summary : We all know what went through Harry Potter's mind through the final showdown, but what was the Dark Lord's last thoughts?
Author's note : If you don't like it don't read it. Sorry for all grammar and spellings mistakes. I'm not perfect! (English is after all my fifth language)
Harry Potter is dead. He was killed as he ran away, trying to save himself... We bring you his body as proof that your hero is gone... The Boy Who Lived is finished...
He could almost taste the sweetness of victory as he elegantly twirled out of the way of Kingsley Shacklebolt's killing curse. A swoop of the Elder Wand and an ice blue curse slammed into the wall two feet behind the spot where Minerva McGonagall had been a mere second before.
Had he been any other he would have frowned, but his stoic mask was in place and no one alive would be able to see the frustration in his eyes, Dumbledore, the old fool, would no doubt have been able see right through his mask and perhaps Potter, whom he had always had trouble with. Severus would have known something was off, but he wouldn't dare pointing it out.
Where the curse had only left a scorch on the wall where it hit, is should have had a path of torn up and blackened stone floor in its wake.
"NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!" A bellow of rage was heard and Voldemort saw Molly Weasley storm forward, forcing everyone out of her way to Bellatrix. The Weasley matriarch threw of her cloak.
He heard Bella roar with insane laughter. Too bad Azkaban had left her mind a bit worse for wear, but she was a formidable duellist. It looked like she would finally get a decent challenge out of this one.
"Why, Tom?" Horace Slughorn managed to ask his once favourite student this in between ducking and cursing.
Twirling out of the way of a purple spell from the auror, he sneered. This wasn't right!
His wand still didn't work right, and he had thought that the death of their saviour would make them lose faith. Quite the contrary it seemed to have fuelled their anger even more.
"Are you all ready to join your supposed child saviour in the afterlife? I imagine that he is waiting with the old fool!" Oh, they are so easy to anger. He could smell victory in the air.
His old potions teacher sent a nasty looking yellow hex at him, but he didn't even move out of the way as it sizzled beside him, half a foot to his left. Their curses turned deadlier and stronger, fuelled by rage. It was obvious that these three had never worked together like this before, but it worked out amazingly well. Voldemort didn't even look at Slughorn as he sent a killing curse at him; he had eyes on Shacklebolt, who had just sent a borderline dark curse at him. The man had potential.
"The blood boiling curse, really, Shacklebolt!" He said, Shacklebolt sneered and cast it again, this time closely followed by a killing curse. For a light wizard Shacklebolt sure knew how to power his dark arts.
There where three kinds of witches and wizards. Light ones, neutral ones and dark ones. It wasn't about dwelling into the dark arts, but simply about having easier time learning. Having an affinity for light magic simply meant an easier time casting light spells and having more power behind them. If a light witch or wizard wanted to master the dark arts they had to work extra hard to get the same result someone with affinity for dark magic would get on his or her first try. Affinity for dark magic was exactly the same, and neutral witches and wizards had an easy time with both branches. It was like a blood type, magic simply was. For all it cared it could be called the green and red arts, or perhaps the kitchen, the battlefield and the hospital arts.
It was dwelling into the black arts that were dangerous, mind altering and addictive. Any who dabbled too much in the black arts, be it light, neutral or dark wizard was affected the same.
"You disgusting, narrow- minded, hypocritical, bastard son of a bitch!" Minerva hissed as she danced of range of his vomit coloured hex, and Voldemort wondered somewhere in the back of his mind if she would have been able to say so in Parseltongue.
"That is not what you were moaning that night in the Head's common room, is it?" He asked mildly and took great pleasure in her obvious anger. She had always been too uptight, but when she was angered she wore her feelings on her sleeves.
It was a pity that she had sided with the old fool, after school. She was powerful, feisty and as fellow Head had most of the males of Hogwarts lusting after her, including him, but nothing would get him to admit that. In their school days she had been one of the few who could keep him on his toes.
"Yes, I liked Tom Riddle, but you are not him! Tom Riddle is dead! He died when you first committed murder at the age of sixteen!" Minerva spat at him as he twisted his upper body out of the way of a spine shattering curse from Slughorn.
"Did you know that your Golden Boy Saviour killed the first time when he was eleven?" He asked mockingly. His three enemies froze at that.
"Oh yes," He said seeing disbelief in their eyes. He smiled dangerously. "Do you remember Quirrell?"
Minerva's anger exploded into a inferno of mind boggling rage. The other two took a step back, it was best to be out of their way when women are in a killing frenzy.
She had gotten a crazed gleam in her eyes, reminding them of Bellatrix Lestrange. With amazing skill and agility she slashed, twirled and ducked. She gave as well as she got. Her curses turned deadlier and stronger, fuelled by strong emotions. He had never before seen Minerva so dangerous. Her once raven coloured hair, now almost all grey, was falling around her face in curls and her eyes were burning with hate. Her age hadn't taken any toll on her. They were locked in a deadly dance.
The other two kept themselves a bit back but ready to jump to Minerva's aid should she find herself over her head. They knew this had turned personal. Voldemort knew that Minerva was a proud woman, a lioness and she would fight tooth and nail to protect her cubs, and in Potter's case, avenge them.
The dance of death was intense. Voldemort was leading, but found that his dance partner was more that willing to lead too. It reminded him of their graduation dance where she also had been trying to take the lead. Minerva McGonagall was a woman, who liked to be in control of things. For a Gryffindor she sure knew how to fight like a Slytherin.
Their intense battle of wills was broken by a roar. Voldemort turned in time to see the light leave Bellatrix's eyes. He let out a below in rage and, with a single sweep of his wand, sent his three enemies flying. That bloodtraitor would pay!
"Protego!" A male voice roared.
A powerful shield expanded between Molly Weasley and Lord Voldemort. Who cast that shield? Someone powerful, as it reached from one wall to the other. He hadn't cast it and the only others able to that he knew of were the old fool, those three he had just fought and maybe Bella and Severus.
He froze when Potter threw of his invisibility cloak.
For the first time since that night in Godric's Hollow, when Voldemort saw that green light bounce back at him, he felt fear.
Voldemort heard yells, screams and cheers of 'Harry' and 'HE'S ALIVE', but it was stifled at once. They were afraid; they knew as did he that this was it. Eyes never leaving Voldemort's, Harry let the shield fall, and at the same time they started circle each other.
Voldemort was thinking hard. How was this possible, surviving the killing curse twice? Perhaps Potter was immune to it because of that night all those years ago. His mind ran through many other ways to kill. Perhaps he would die this time, because the first time his mother had died for him, last time the connection was severed as Voldemort had felt pain, so if no one died for him this time Potter would perhaps die.
"I don't want anyone else to try to help," Harry said loudly, in the silence his voice carried to all corners of the hall.
Well, that was unexpected, how did he expect to survive then? "It's got to be like this. It's got to be me." Voldemort presumed it had something to do with the prophecy. Perhaps if Potter died he would die too. But, no one would want to be killed, even if it meant victory for them. Wasn't it so? He knew he didn't.
"Potter doesn't mean that," He hissed, eyes wide. "That isn't how he works, is it? Who are you going to use as a shield today, Potter?"
What was Potter playing at?
"Nobody," Was the simple answer.
For the first time in many years Voldemort really looked at his arch enemy. His raven coloured hair, curly and shoulder long was dirty with blood and sweat. His ivory skin was beaten and bleeding. He was short and lean, but you didn't see it, perhaps it had something to do with the way he carried himself. When he talked you listened, even if he just was there you knew it. All in all, he was a shorter more feminine version of James Potter. His blazing green eyes followed his every movement.
Avada Kedavra green...
"There are no more Horcruxes. It's just you and me. Neither can live while the other survives, and one of us is about to leave for good..."
Green eyes were unfazed as they stared death in the face, just as another pair seventeen years ago.
Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead...
"One of us?" Voldemort jeered.
Harry's green eyes weren't like his mother's, no matter how often it was said. Lily Potter's eyes had been almond shaped, grass green. They were burning emerald when she had been angry. Harry's eyes were almond shaped with the colour of blazing killing curse green, swirling intense power in those hypnotic depths.
Harry was straight backed like his parents.
Bow to death...
"You think it will be you, do you, the boy who has survived by accident, and because Dumbledore was pulling the strings?"
Voldemort didn't understand why people thought that Harry Potter would be his death. He didn't see anything out of ordinary with him. He was just a boy who was Goddess Luck's favourite. No amazing power, no brilliant talent and average grades.
And here he is… the boy you all believed had been my downfall…
"Accident, was it, when my mother died to save me?" Harry asked as they both continued to circle each other. No one was getting the upper hand in their battle of wills, but neither willing to back down. They both slowly circled the dead centre between them, like a death's dance with both partners trying to take the lead and on the same time not letting the other. They danced a mocking version of a waltz, with death's open arms waiting for the leading person to swirl his partner into.
No, it was no accident that Lily Potter died. Voldemort killed her, knowing what he was doing. Lily stood straight backed, determined, knowing what was coming, yet ready.
There is nothing worse than death, Dumbledore!
You are quite wrong...
"Accident, when I decided to fight in that graveyard?"
No, Voldemort had seen the acceptance of death that night in Potter's eyes, and he had also seen the look on his face that told everyone there that if he was going down, then he was going down fighting. Somehow the boy's will to live was stronger then his fear of death, but he was ready. A man who stood straight when facing death was one who deserved his respect, no matter how unwillingly it was given. Gellert Grinelwald, James Potter, Lily Potter, Harry Potter...
"Accident, that I didn't defend myself tonight, and still survived, and returned to fight again?"
For once he didn't know. Was it an accident or on purpose? Why?
"ACCIDENTS!" He screamed. He wasn't about to admit not knowing.
Neither can live while the other survives, was that it? The prophecy, were they merely an part in destiny's chess game? No, he was destined for greatness, not for some child with a hero-complex at the size of Hogwarts to get the better of him.
"Accident and chance and the fact that you crouched and snivelled behind the skirts of greater men and woman, and permitted me to kill them for you."
That was not all true. Yes, he admitted that James and Lily Potter could have been great, he admitted that his old professor in Transfiguration had been great, but in the chamber with the mirror it had only been Harry, as it had in the graveyard, and tonight he had come into the forest alone.
"You won't be killing anyone else tonight!" Eyes were locked; the Gryffindor looked with Slytherin green eyes into the Slytherin's Gryffindor red ones.
"You won't be able to kill any of them, ever again. Don't you get it? I was ready to die to stop you hurting these people-"
"But you did not!"
"- I meant to, and that's what did it. I've done what my mother did."
Voldemort was listening intently to what the boy said, because of that he did not feel Harry's magic clash against his own. The windows cracked along with the ancient stone floor around them. The air was tick and filled with energy.
Not Harry! Please - I'll do anything...
Lily had died for her son, what had her son done?
"Haven't you noticed how none of the spells you put on them are binding? You can't torture them. You can't touch them. You don't learn from you mistakes, Riddle, do you?"
"Yes, I dare," Harry answered with a steely voice.
Only the old fool had had the nerve to talk to him like that, and Minerva. Now Potter too.
"I know things you don't know, Tom Riddle. I know lots of important things that you don't. Want to hear some, before you make another big mistake?"
Potter is surly bluffing. But what if he is not? What had he learned, what did he know? Had Dumbledore told him of old and ancient magic's? Dumbledore...
"Is it love again?" He asked mockingly. "Dumbledore's favourite solution, love, which he claimed conquered death, though love did not stop him falling from the Tower and breaking like an old waxwork? Love, which did not prevent me stamping out your Mudblood mother like a cockroach, Potter – and nobody seems to love you enough to run forwards this time, and take my curse. So what will stop you from dying now when I strike?"
Love is for old fools and weaklings.
"Just one thing," Was the answer. The mock of an dance continued on and on, both twirling around dead centre, waiting for a moment of weakness to take the lead, and send their partner into the arms of death.
"If it is not love that will save you this time, you must believe that you have magic that I do not, or else a weapon more powerful than mine?"
We both know that there are other ways of destroying a man, Tom...
"I believe both," Said Harry firmly.
Voldemort was so shocked that his stoic mask slipped of two seconds before he began to laugh, the sound more frightening than his screams; humourless and insane, it echoed all around in the silent Hall.
It was impossible.
"You think that you know more magic than I do?" He asked in disbelief. "Than I, than Lord Voldemort, who has performed magic that Dumbledore himself never dreamed of?"
The one with the power to conquer the Dark Lord will be born...
"Oh, he dreamed of it," Said Harry with a twinkle in his eyes, the only emotion on his face. "But he knew more than you, knew enough not to do what you've done."
"You mean he was weak!" Screamed Voldemort angrily, he hated the twinkle in Potter's eyes; it reminded him of the old fool's. "Too weak to dare, too weak to take what might have been his, what will be mine!"
"No, he was cleverer than you," Answered Potter, eyes still twinkling. "A better wizard, a better man."
"I brought about the death of Albus Dumbledore!"
He was dead; his body was rotting in the tomb outside. He had seen it.
"You thought you did," Potter answered. "But you were wrong."
Voldemort barely managed to keep the shock from showing.
"DUMBLEDORE IS DEAD!" Voldemort refused to believe otherwise. "His body decays in the marble tomb in the grounds of the castle, I have seen it, Potter, and he will not return!"
What mind games was Potter playing at? He refused to fall for it.
"Yes, Dumbledore's dead," Was the calm answer.
Then what is he talking about? What is going on?
"But you didn't have him killed. He chose his own manner of dying, chose it months before he died, arranged the whole thing with the man you thought was your servant."
Voldemort really wouldn't put it past Dumbledore to have a hand in there somewhere, but he did not have anything to do with Severus Snape. That he knew for sure.
"What childish dream is this?" He still didn't strike as he wanted to hear Potter's reasoning.
"Severus Snape wasn't yours," Harry Potter answered with a smirk. Voldemort had seen that smirk before and he really didn't like having it directed at him. It was at smirk that said 'I know something that you don't'.
"Snape was Dumbledore's, Dumbledore's from the moment you started hunting down my mother. And you never realised it, because of the thing you can't understand. You never saw Snape cast a Patronus, did you, Riddle?"
Both were predators, ready to strike and tear each other apart. Like animals fighting for their territory.
"Snape's Patonus was a doe, the same as my mother's, because he loved her for nearly all of his life, from the time they were children. You should have realised,"
Was it possible to hate an emotion, if so, then he hated love.
"He asked you to spare her life, didn't he?" Potter finished sweetly. For a while Voldemort saw himself in the boy, this was how he taunted his victims before he killed them.
Master, may I ask you something?
Speak you mind.
Master, please, if possible, spare Lily Potter's life.
I desire her. She is easy on the eyes and she is a gifted witch.
"He desired her, that was all!" Voldemort all but spat it out, Severus had not lied him in face. "But when she had gone, he agreed that there were other women, and of purer blood, worthier of him -" Voldemort said, but was interrupted.
"Of course he told you that," Potter said calmly, but the smirk didn't leave his face. "But he was Dumbledore's spy from the moment you threatened her, and he's been working against you ever since! Dumbledore was already dying when Snape finished him!"
Dumbledore, what are you playing at? No matter, even he was unable to work from beyond the grave.
"It matters not!" He shrieked out.
The fact that Severus Snape had been lying him in the face for years didn't bother him. The traitor was dead; he died a painful and slow death. But everything worked out in the end, his plans hadn't been disturbed, which only proved that he had thwarted all of the light's attempts to stop him. He let out a mad chuckle. This only served as proof that he was truly greater than Albus Dumbledore.
If this had been the light's attempt at a plan for victory, it showed how desperate they were. The Elder Wand was still his.
"It matters not whether Snape was mine or Dumbledore's, or what petty obstacles they tried to put in my path! I crushed them as I crushed your mother, Snape's supposed great love! Oh, but it all makes sense, Potter, and in ways that you do not understand!" He breathed deeply through his nose.
"Dumbledore was trying to keep the Elder Wand from me! He intended that Snape should be the true master of the wand! But I got there ahead of you, little boy – I reached the wand before you could get your hands on it, I understood the truth before you caught up. I killed Severus Snape three hours ago, and the Elder Wand, the Deathstick, the Wand of Destiny is truly mine! Dumbledore's last plan went wrong, Harry Potter!"
As the master of the Elder Wand, Voldemort thought, I am invincible.
"Yeah, it did, you're right."
See, even Potter admits it.
"But before you try and kill me, I'd advise you to think about what you've done... think, and try for some remorse, Riddle..."
"What is this?" The words slipped before he could stop himself. He almost stopped dead in his tracks and thus giving Potter a clear shot at him. He narrowed his eyes, sneering at Potter. Noble to the end, eh?
"It's your one last chance," Potter looked at him in the exact same way as Dumbledore had when he had framed that half giant for the death of a mudblood girl. "It's all you've got left... I've seen what you'll be otherwise... be a man... try... try for some remorse..."
One last chance... be a man...
The only way for someone to heal their soul is to truly feel remorse...
How dare he accuse him of being something lower than a man? He was so much better!
"You dare-?" Voldemort managed to growl out before being interrupted once again.
"Yes, I dare," Said Potter flatly. "Because Dumbledore's last plan hasn't backfired on me at all. It's backfired on you, Riddle."
Seconds away, the moment was only seconds away. Everyone could feel it. Voldemort's wand hand was trembling. He could see Potter gripping his wand tighter. Voldemort was confused, as he saw it everything was to his advantage, but then why was Potter so sure of himself? What was it that he didn't know? What was the missing piece of the puzzle?
Red eyes staring into green eyes...
Red as life liquid, green as Avada Kedavra...
Life and death...
"That wand still isn't working properly for you, because you murdered the wrong person. Severus Snape was never the true master of the Elder Wand. He never defeated Dumbledore."
"He killed -" Voldemort was interrupted yet again.
"Aren't you listening? Snape never beat Dumbledore! Dumbledore's death was planned between them! Dumbledore intended to die undefeated, the wand's last true master! If all had gone as planned, the wand's power would have died with him, because it had never been won from him!"
Why were Potter's eyes still twinkling? Was he missing something?
"But then, Potter, Dumbledore as good as gave me the wand!" Voldemort practically purred with pleasure at the thought. "I stole the wand from its last master's tomb! I removed it against its last master's wishes! Its power is mine!"
But Potter just smirked, a smirk worth of Salazar Slytherin himself.
"You still don't get it, Riddle, do you? Possessing the wand isn't enough! Holding it, using it, doesn't make it really yours. Didn't you listen to Ollivander? The wand chooses the wizard... the Elder Wand recognised a new master before Dumbledore died, someone who never even laid a hand on it. The new master removed the wand from Dumbledore against his will, never realising exactly what he had done, or that the world's most dangerous wand had given him its allegiance..."
The missing piece of the puzzle was revealed...
But he still didn't know were it fit in...
Why was Potter always so difficult? Voldemort was a second away from cursing him. Why couldn't he just try his heroic saving of the world and be over with it so he could kill him?
Who had disarmed Dumbledore? It had to have happened after their duel in the Ministry, because Dumbledore had been too good with his wand to anything else. It had happened in the time between the fight in the Ministry and his death... Voldemort knew that Dumbledore hadn't been in any fight in that time, so it could have been one of the members of the order if they had had a friendly duel, but would it then have been against Dumbledore's wishes? Voldemort was broken out of his thoughts when Harry Potter revealed what he was trying to figure out.
"The true master of the Elder Wand was Draco Malfoy."
The true master of the Elder Wand was Draco Malfoy...
The true master of the Elder Wand was Draco Malfoy...
The true master of the Elder wand was Draco Malfoy...
Voldemort once again almost stopped dead in his tracks, once again his mask slipped. He didn't notice the use of past tense.
"But what does it matter?" He asked softly. "Even if you are right, Potter, it makes no difference to you and me. You no longer have the phoenix wand: we duel on skill alone... and after I have killed you, I can attend to Draco Malfoy..."
"But you're too late," Said Potter casually. "You've missed your chance."
"I overpowered Draco weeks ago. I took this wand from him."
Potter twirled his wand in his hand as everyone looked at it, even Voldemort.
But what did it matter if Potter had taken that wand from Malfoy Junior, it wasn't the Elder Wand he had taken?
"So it all comes down to this, doesn't it?" Whispered Potter, and for the first time Voldemort felt their auras clash. The power radiating from Potter was staggering, he could actually smell it. Potter's magic smelt a lot like the killing curse, so he wasn't without after-effects from those two killing curses he had taken. Voldemort absently wondered if it hurt Potter just as much as it had hurt him, being hit with the killing curse, that is.
Voldemort had only been hit by a killing curse gone wrong, and he was rather sure that it was different getting them head on like Potter, literally in one case.
For the first time Voldemort acknowledged the fact that Harry Potter was dangerous. He had to force himself to stare those flashing green orbs head on.
"Does the wand in your hand know its last master was Disarmed? Because if it does..."
Voldemort worked it out at the same time as Potter said it out loud.
"I am the true master of the Elder Wand."
A red-gold glow burst suddenly across the enchanted sky above them, as an edge of dazzling sun appeared over the sill of the nearest window. The light hit both of their faces at the same time, so that Voldemort's was suddenly a flaming blur.
He saw the sun hit Potter, giving the younger man unearthly glow, his eyes shone pure white...
Voldemort acted solely on instincts. He didn't think and had only eyes for his arch nemesis. As he shrieked out the death spell, hoping to send his partner in this mocking waltz into the waiting arms of death, he heard the boy yell out in the same hopes.
The bang was like a cannon-blast and the golden flames that erupted between them, at the dead centre of the circle they had been treading, marked the point where the spells collided. Voldemort saw his green curse meet Potter's blue spell, he felt the Elder Wand being jerked from his hand and he saw his own green jet head back to its caster. Stunned, he didn't move.
As the green light engulfed him, with its rushing sound and cool embrace, his second last thought was that he hoped that he didn't end the same place as those he had killed. He really didn't want to deal with Lily and James Potter, overprotective and pissed of parents.
His last thought was that he was going to be the laughingstock of all former Dark Lords. Losing to a four-eyed, scrawny, seventeen year old brat.
- Mischief Managed -