Chapter 18
The Final Curtain



Harry looked up at the silvery ropes that would take him up to the Divination classroom, gathered his courage, and began to climb.

"Hello?" He called up into the North tower. "Is anyone here?"

Waiting for a moment, and hearing nothing Harry made to scramble back down the ladder, his brain trying to come up with a way to Fudge's house.

"Wait." Lavender's voice called to Harry. He stopped, and then finished climbing the ladder. He stood in the classroom, trying not to cough from all of the incense fumes. He almost succeeded.

"Lavender, I need to know where Cornelius Fudge lives."

"And?"

"And what?"

"Why should I help a Death Eater?"

Harry sighed. "Lavender this is the situation, okay." Harry was not about to let Lavender keep him from the Weasley's. "The Weasley's have been taken to Fudge's house, and he is going to kill them if we don't stop him."

"He wants revenge?"

"He does. Lavender, this is no time to mess around."

"Look Harry I don't-" She was not happy with this interruption.

"Lavender don't say it. Ron is my best friend. Do this for him if you must. For Hermione. For all of the Weasley's. But just do it."

"Okay. Fine." She said, getting out her Locator. She wiped it off, pointed her wand at it and whispered softly "Cornelius Fudge locus." Suddenly the small ball unfolded itself and a map of Britain drew itself. At one end of the island a dot representing Hogwarts appeared. On the other end of the island, a dot representing Cornelius Fudge's current location appeared and the two connected themselves.

"Can this thing show me how to Apparate there?"

"Yes." She hit the paper once and a view of the three story house appeared. Harry nodded once, and then made to leave.

"Lavender, why didn't you use Divination to find Fudge?"

"Divination is inexact sometimes Harry. You've got to rely on something more established than that."

"Thanks. And Lavender?"

"Yes?" She said to him as she was stroking the fire.

"I'm sorry about your parents."

"Thank you Harry. I guess that I've been so angry at you for so long that I can't recognize an apology when I see one." She told him sadly. A tear ran down her cheek. Harry went back to her, hugged her once, and then fled the tower as quickly as his legs would take him.


Twenty minutes later Percy, he and Hermione walked from the castle as quickly as they could. Once they were outside of Hogsmede, they Disaparated from the village.

It took them a few minutes to arrive at the Fudge household, and when they did, they were caught in a downpour of rain. Harry squinted and looked at the house before him. Three stories thrust out of the ground, with a short fourth story devoted to a glass covered atrium. Bright light shown against the darkness, and Harry assumed that the fourth story was their goal.

The trio moved forward without a word, each lost in their own thoughts, pushing against the pounding rain. Harry had a thought.

"How are we getting in?" He asked aloud.

"How about just knocking and saying that we need to see Fudge?"

"Sounds good...I think." Hermione said, unable to think of another way of getting in.

They passed onto the front walk, and took shelter under the overhanging roof of the floor above. A large painted door stood between them and their goal. Percy was the first to notice the knocker, and so he did what any reasonable person would do. He knocked.

For a moment nothing happened. The house was quiet, and Hermione was about to suggest turning back around, but then the door opened slightly. Before them stood a very glazed looking Chase. His hair, which usually was immaculate stood in disarray, and his clothes were not much better.

"I've been instructed to bring you to my father. Please follow me." He said evenly.

"Chase, fight it," Harry told him, recognizing the Imperius Curse when he saw it. "Remember what I told you about people changing? I believe you can change, Chase. Don't stand in your father's shadow. Fight him, and help me free my family. That's right. My family. I couldn't bear it if your father killed all of them while I was in the room. Please Chase." Harry let a desperate tear fall from his eye, letting it fall on his robes. While they had been talking, the four people had been walking as well, and now stood before the oak double doors leading to to atrium. Chase knocked three times, and the double doors opened.

Hermione and Percy both drew in sharply at what they saw before them. All of the sleeping Weasley's were bound to the poles that kept the glass ceiling in place. Arthur had been stunned as well, and was bound just as the others were.

"So glad you could join us, Potter." A voice called from behind some large ferns.

"Fudge, let them go," Harry strode forward, his eyes darting from one side to the other trying to find the source of the voice. "It's me that you want, isn't it?"

"Correct. And I have all of you now. Their deaths are just a side note." Percy cringed at the sound of his family being reduced to a footnote in a larger drama.

"Would you let them go if I gave myself to you freely?"

"Perhaps."

"Why are you doing this?" Harry asked, still looking for the owner of the voice.

"I told you once. Revenge. That's all. It's a simple fact that I should have stayed Minister of Magic. You are a Death Eater, and I cannot let you walk free. All Death Eaters deserve to die. Slowly. Painfully."

"Then you are no better than they are."

"Still deluding yourself Potter?" The voice asked.

"What do you mean?"

"After all of this time, you're still a Death Eater. I heard what happened to Zach. Your will should have been enough to withstand the temptation, but I guess not. Even the great Harry Potter gets to be human after all."

"Who said I wasn't?"

"Enough of this." The voice came from the Harry's right, and a slightly dirty Fudge walked out of the ferns, his wand and pruning shears at his side. He raised his wand at and Hermione and Percy and said simply "Petrificus Totalius." With a thump, the pair fell to the ground, no longer able to defend themselves.

"And now it's just you and I Potter. Just as it should have been there at the trial. We will finish this here. Now. Defend yourself. Tarantallegra!"

A light shot out of the end of the wand, and Harry dodged it. He raised his own wand. "Rictusempra!" Fudge wasn't quite as lucky, and ended up clutching his sides, doubled over in laughter.

"Finite Incantatum." He cleared the spell that held him and took aim once again. "Crucio!" Fudge did not miss this time, and Harry's face contorted in pain. Nothing was like the pain of the Cructiatus Curse, and nothing could surpass what strange feelings it brought out in him. Harry focused on a single point in the pain, forcing everything else into that point. Suddenly the pain grew less, and Harry was able to look at Fudge once again. The other man's face had gone white, and he began to retreat as Harry advanced.


Chase was fighting for control of himself. At times he could see clearly and moved to help those bound, but as soon as he moved, he was snapped back under control. He fought for control of his mind as he watched his father and Potter duel more and more viciously. From somewhere, his own voice became clearer, and the second invading voice grew weaker, and dissipated all together.

Acting quickly, he realized that all of this was wrong, that revenge should never be this way, but more than that, felt regret at the murder of Dumbledore, even if he had no control over it. With a start he understood how Harry felt in a small way, and sympathy for his plight washed over Chase.

Kneeling down to Hermione, he softly, "Finite Incantatum," and watched as she shook herself standing. Percy was next, and he gave a grateful look to Chase before point to Hermione.

"Do you have your vial?"

"I do."

"Then let's get to work."

Chase let the other two deal with the bound Weasley family while he covered the length of the atrium cautiously. When he found the dueling men he was not surprised at what he found. Harry Potter was winning against his father, and his father was getting desperate.


"Alright Potter. I've changed my mind." Fudge tried to hide his nervousness, but was unable to do so successfully.

"About what, Fudge?"

"If you surrender yourself to me, then I will let them go."

"Sorry, but that deal ran out when we started to duel." Harry told him, dodging the Jelly-Legs Jinx that Fudge threw at him.

"Fine." Fudge collapsed under the weight of yet another of Harry's spells. He began to laugh. "You can't do it, can you Potter?"

"Do what?" Harry approached the fallen man cautiously.

"Kill me. Use the Killing Curse."

Harry froze. Beads of sweat pearled on his forehead, and his wand arm began to twitch. I can't do it. He thought, wanting nothing more than to be done with the whole business. "I can't. But Azkaban will be a wonderful place for you."

Fudge smiled malevolently. "But I can. Avada Kedvara!" He cried, and a green light hit Harry directly in the chest. Then everything crashed to black.


Harry awoke almost a day later, his head heavy. He tried to stand up, and found that he rose above his missing body. I'm dead. He was at peace with himself and the world. He hovered above the flora, looking for signs of the Weasley's. No life stirred in the atrium. Harry looked around the room, searching for any signs of where they might have gone, but found none. Instead where Fudge lay the night before there was a gaping break in the glass, almost as if a body had fallen through. Harry saw Fudge's cloak on the edge of the hole and correctly assumed that he had also died.

I wonder what Hermione and Ron will say when they see me. Harry thought, passing through the glass and out into the crisp morning air. Where will I haunt? Let's see, and Harry began listing off the available places. Gryffindor Tower was off limits, as was the Potions Office. I don't really want to haunt there either. He thought of the perfect place, thought of himself there, and shimmered out of existence.

When he arrived at Hogwarts he looked around his old classroom. Perfect. There were no classes today for some reason, and furthermore, no one in the halls either. He glided over to the window and looked out at the lake...and his eyes were drawn to the sea of black cloaks next to it. It looked as if a gaggle of redheads, a blond or two and a bushy haired woman stood in front of the crowd.

Harry popped himself into invisibility, and flew out of the window onto the grounds. He was careful to avoid any of the living, and made his way behind his coffin. He floated on top of it, positioned himself to lounge, and reappeared.

Almost immediately the assembled witches and wizards gave shrieks of horror. Several of the more delicate fainted.

"What?" He asked the crowd, as Hermione, Draco, Ginny, Ron, Fred and George and most of the others sitting back to his coffin turned towards the ghost. All of their faces were streaked with tears for not only Harry, but all that they had lost in the long fight against the Dark.

"Harry?" Hermione exclaimed, her voice betraying her disbelief.

"Yes?"

"You're a-" And she fainted in Ron's arms.

"What? You didn't think you could get rid of me that easily, did you?" He smiled, came down off of the coffin and flew into the crowd to talk to his family.

For the first time since he could remember, he was truly happy.

Fin


A/N - The end. Hope the ending lived up to expectations. I will say that I ended up re-writing it about 4 times, so there you are. Anyway, not much to say at the end of a work, but thanks to all of my wonderfully dedicated reviewers,each of whom recieve 5 points to the house of their choice. Also, pop over to my name and read "Requiem" the story that contains the cookie that I sent you last time. Enjoy reading it, and don't forget to review this one either.

Now onto the moment you've all been waiting for...my massive thanks section!

Crazycutee831 - Thanks. I may eventually write that, but until then, please move onto my new fiction, "Requiem". You 'played' sick? I am honored. :)
Lin-z - Thanks for coming on board! No, there won't be more. (Of this at least)
Wyltk - Thank you for the compliment & don't forget to pop over to "Requiem"
White Lady - Thanks for all of your great reviews
Jacks - Thanks for all of the wonderful reviews. They really make my day.
the golden dragon - Nope. No triology here. Sorry.
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College HPFan - Thanks. I did much the same thing when I discovered the heavywieghts of Fandom - Barb, CassieClaire, Al (Who is amazing), and many others. I spent days reading all of the fanfiction I could. And there was alot of it.
Christy - All the Weasley's hadn't been put under. That's what I mean. Thanks for all of the reviews & read on!
Sophie - Thanks!
Liz Skywalker - Actually only one. The cookie was for my next story - "Requiem"
Katameran - Thanks for being such a great soundboard! Have fun in Spain!
Meag/ - Thank you. Yes, I'm writing another - "Requiem". It will be up today, so go read it as well. The whole Peter thing - Ron & Hermione's son's name is Peter, which as many pointed out, is also the name of the Potter's secret keeper...I didn't even think of it until someone mentioned it, and by then it was too late to change it.
Lana Potter - Thank you. (Hands a box of tissues over)
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Lily Evans - What was slightly odd? EHowland@Anselm.Edu is my address if you wish to write more. I'm looking to revise this, so there you are...
Idono - Yeah, I get strange looks as well, we just have to learn to ignore them. :)
amadeaus - It is slightly OC, but then again Fudge turned into a Crouch at one point, so it seems possible. Slightly, but oh well. Thanks for the advice way in the beginning, and I hope that you follow me to my next story...
InsaneVampireWriter - Thanks for everything & happy writing! Keep updating me, please.
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Terra - Well, maybe not cry, but it was an emotional scene. Please read my other work & tell me what you think. You make a great reviewer & wonderfic thanks you. I think, in terms of quality, that it really depends on the day & time you take with writing it. If it's quickly done, then it can be good, but it's much harder to work with it and make the characters believable. The cookie that you read is the third start of that story, so there you are.
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And a special thanks to Caty, for being the first to review my humble fiction. Now take a deep breath, and go read the other fic, please. Thanks! Also, 25 points to anyone who read the entire list of thanks! It's been fun & thanks to all for making my first & second fanfics such a resounding success. Can we go for three?

Don't forget to tell your friends!

A/N 4 - Oh yeah. I own none of this. Just to let you know. :)