Calamari

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters represented in this work of fiction. It is in no way endorsed by or supported by Mrs. J. K. Rowling.

Madeline Augustine sat straight-backed and ridged in her seat. The regality of her posture transformed the simplistic carpentry into the subtle work of a master. The effect was in fact symbolic. Though born without the immediate wealth and influence of more prominent pureblood families, Madeline rose to power with blinding speed. While others allowed their newfound privilege to change them, separating their past from their present, Madeline always held her history dear. The chair stood as her anchor, the valuable but glamourless experience that held her aloft.

Madeline considered herself lucky. It was rare for a magical artist to put such thought into their work. Fine detail was often considered insignificant in a moving portrait. Why harp on such details as a person's true identity when the illusion of life is so appealing? While muggle artists concerned themselves with abstracts like emotion and message, their magical counterparts were merely interested in creating place holders for those departed.

This train of thought elicited a bitter smile from the portrait. It was thinking such as this that led to her defeat, claiming her life and awarding her with this dusty frame as an eternal home. Wizards of dubious character did not appreciate her respect for their nonmagical brethren. When their motions within the Board of Governors failed they resorted to more direct means of opposition. At least she was asleep when the spell hit.

Unfortunately for Madeline, the spite of her political opponents did not diminish with her death. Her successor as Headmaster decided to "honor" her contributions to medical magic by placing her commemorative portrait in the corner of the Hogwarts hospital wing instead of within the headmaster's chambers. This punishment persisted throughout the past 326 years. Constantly assailed by whining students, freshly hexed with pimple faced spells or others of the sort, Madeline's compassionate personality was no more. The sorting hat would certainly not have placed her in Hufflepuff a second time.

The abrupt opening of a door interrupted the portrait from her musings.

"Ah, Pomphrey, any new cases this evening?"

The tall man in purple wizard robes was certainly not the jovial mediwitch she was expecting.

"Well hello there Madeline, I hope this evening finds you well." The headmaster's words were devoid of the cheerful wisdom usually contained in his speech. His smile seemed unnaturally tight, as if forcefully held in position. "Quickly, take them in here."

The familiar visage of Madame Pomphrey materialized behind a medical trolly. As she pushed the cart into the room, Madeline was surprised by its contents. Two babies, no more than a week old, lied side by side in a makeshift cradle. One exhibited a fair amount of plumpness and accidently knocked into his companion as he shifted restlessly. The other boy did not seem to mind; he was too busy sleeping.

"Albus, surely St. Mungos would be able to provide better care. I was never trained in pediatrics."

" I am sure that your skills will prove sufficient."

"Albus"

Her demand was paid no heed. "I'll be in my office," was Dumbledore's uncharacteristically curt reply as he sped from the room.

Something was wrong here. Madeline's concern grew greater as Madame Pomphrey carelessly jolted the cart away from herself. It glided across the room before loudly crashing against the stone wall. The shrieking of the two newborns immediately followed.

"Shut up you maggots!" The mediwitch screamed, hastily casting a silencing charm. She walked over to the fireplace, reaching into the jar of floo powder. Her head disappeared into the green flames. A few seconds later, a sickening grin twisted her mouth as she finally emerged.

It was then that Madeline finally discovered her voice. "What the fuck do you think you're doing!"

Madame Pomphrey whipped around hysterically. "flagrantia."

Madeline's portrait erupted in flame. She saw another flash of green and the form of a man emerging from the fireplace before she quickly darted out of the frame, carelessly jostling sleeping portraits off their seats. While passing through a group portrait of the 1597 Quiditch House Cup championship team, Madeline slowed down to frantically stamp out the fire on her dress. Two flustered chasers aided her, smacking the hem with their brooms. The former headmistress darted off, leaving a swath of discord on her way to the headmaster's office.

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"They both can't stay here"

"Yes, I thought that would be fairly obvious Frank."

Lily cried in desperation, "But I thought Hogwarts was the safest place on earth!"

"You're smart Lily, think about it. This isn't some fairy tale, all it takes is one person to screw us over. Harry can't stay with Neville. Not even here. If one" he struggled to articulate "dies, the other needs to survive. It's the only way to beat him." James snaked a comforting arm around his wife.

He turned to Frank Longbottom. " I agree with Frank here. We need to get the boys out. We need to hide them."

They were all against her. Even Alice. Lily could tell her argument was going nowhere. "Alright we'll hide them. Under the Fidelius charm I presume?"

Albus nodded in agreement.

"Well alright," Lily continued. "But let's not be hasty here. There's no place safer than Hogwarts. They can-"

"ALBUS! ALBUS! She's insane. That bitch burned my portrait." Madeline forced Nigelus Black out from his frame. Her charred garments contrasted with the paleness of her face. "Intruders."

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Albus Dumbledore was always an image of calm power, never allowing his emotions to undermine his intellect. He was never afraid. Never flustered. Never confused. Rarely angry. It seems Professor McGonagall would have to alter her opinion of her boss after tonight. She had never seen him so furious. He already had dueling hexes ready on his lips. "To the infirmary Minerva," he bellowed.

Apparently he knew they were coming. The party was greeted by a burst a magic. Voldemort blasted through the door, sending wooden shards flying. Frank went down. His legs peppered by shrapnel. Though he struggled to his feet, Voldemort capitalized on his moment of weakness, his banisher crashing Frank against a metal suit of armor. Its rusty halberd pierced his shoulder. Alice abandoned her training, knowing Moody would be furious. She should keep fighting, any lapse in concentration could mean her death, but how could she abandon her husband? There was nothing she could do but compassionately render Frank unconscious. She was never much at healing.

Lily's hastily conjured shield deflected a curse from Alice's back, allowing her friend to rejoin the battle without incident. The floor rattled with the wave of Dumbledore's wand, marble tiling seeming to melt and thicken. Voldemort thrust his wand upwards, a pilar of earth rising beneath him, protecting him from Dumbledore's dark swamp. James' transfigured hawk dived down from the ceiling, attempting to force Voldemort from his perch. Voldemort laughed, jumping from the pilar and into the infirmary.

James then remembered his son.

"James wait" Lily called, but her husband was already gone.

He was hanging upside down from the ceiling when Dumbledore was finally able to burst through the Dark Lord's wards. James' thrashing and screaming had long subsided, replaced by gentle sobbing. Past her husband Lily saw her son. Reaching up towards Voldemort's chuckling face.

"Cute isn't he?" Voldemort asked placing the child on his lap and reaching behind him for Neville. "It really is a shame that they both have to die." An exhausted Alice limped to Lily's side.

"Please, don't hurt my son."

Voldemort's laugh grew even more maniacal. Dumbledore surged through the doorway wand tip blazing. The smiling babies strewn across Voldemort stayed his hand.

"Let's see, kill them both at once, or one at a time? I wonder if I will I feel something when I kill my vanquisher. I probably will. Let's take things slow and find out, shall we?"

A blinding light flashed from Lily's wand, causing the Dark Lord to stumble backward. Lily seizing the opportunity jumped forward, covering Harry's body with her own. "Fine you mudblood whore," Voldemort muttered before casting the unforgiveable. Before any of the room's other occupants could react, Voldemort turned his wand on the children. Not even Dumbledore understood exactly what happened next. Light consumed the Dark Lord, viciously swirling around him as he thrashed. A second later he had vanished. A plague on the wizarding world gone.

Silence fell over the rooms remaining inhabitants. James crawled over to his stricken wife, he grabbed her hand and wept.

"NO, It isn't true! It can't be true." Pomphrey shrieked. To everyone's surprise she pointed her wand at the babies. "You'll join him then." Dumbledore only had time to save one. He intercepted her banisher before it launched Neville through the tower's window. But Harry was not so lucky. The shattered glass of the window sliced his skin, the tree limbs broke his bones. He hit the surface of the great lake with a tremendous crash.

Minerva was the first on the scene, making up for her minor role in the previous battle. She transfigured dozens of stones into fish, setting them out to scour for the child. With each passing minute the reality of the situation became more apparant. The child was dead. It was over.

Harry's body slowly sunk. Only a bed of algae greeted him at the end of his descent. His eyes closed and he lied back. A looming shadow passed over the child. A single tentacle wrapped around his slight frame.

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