Three weeks after the Christmas holidays Harry found himself sat in Dumbledore's office, "We believe we may be close to locating where Lord Voldemort is currently staying." The Headmaster said, watching Harry closely from behind his desk. Harry blinked, wondering what this meant and what Dumbledore was planning. Harry knew that Dumbledore wanted Harry and Voldemort to come head to head at some point, he just wasn't sure if Voldemort knew about it, it had been obvious for a while that Dumbledore was trying to silently work against Voldemort. "And once we've pinpointed this I think we should move in, the prophecy, as you are aware, speaks of a final battle between the two of you."
"I want to fight!" Harry demanded, knowing it was what Dumbledore expected.
The old man smiled, "Sometimes I forget how much you have grown." He murmured, "Of course you are of age now. If you choose to face the Dark Lord then it is entirely your decision."
Harry nodded slowly, "So what now Sir?" He asked quietly.
"Now we wait. I will inform you as soon as I know something." Dumbledore said, "You should get back to class."
"Yes, thank you Professor." Harry smiled, nodding his head to Fawkes as he left the office. Harry glanced at his watch as he headed down the corridor, there really wasn't much point in heading back to Transfiguration now but he knew that Remus had a free lesson so he decided to go and visit the man, although he knew they wouldn't be able to speak freely since Dumbledore probably had ways of listening in on Remus' office.
The man was half slumped over some papers, staring at them blankly, the lines on his face and the bags under his eyes looked worse than usual and Harry frowned but then Remus looked up and smiled, "Shouldn't you be in class?" Remus asked and the boy laughed, sitting on the edge of his desk.
"Had a meeting with Dumbledore." He explained quietly.
"Professor Dumbledore." Remus corrected automatically, looking concerned and Harry smiled to show that everything was fine and he would explain everything later. "Saw you talking to Joshua earlier." Remus commented casually.
Harry rolled his eyes, "Yeah he uh… He says he misses me, but whatever. Screw him." He said with a shrug.
"You'll find someone else." Remus murmured.
"I don't need anyone else." Harry protested, "I'm fine on my own. Really."
"Hmm." Remus murmured, putting his hand on Harry's knee briefly, "What lesson do you have next?"
Harry wrinkled his nose, "Charms." He mumbled, "Still, it'll all be over soon. Can't wait to graduate. Don't get me wrong I love it here but… Be nice to be living my life for myself and not by all the school rules." He said quickly, making sure that if Dumbledore was listening he wouldn't think Harry really wanted to leave. "Are you all right Rem? You look tired."
"Thanks!" Remus laughed, running a hand over his face self-consciously, "I'm just getting old." He chuckled.
Harry's brows furrowed, "No you're not." He murmured after a while, moving forwards to hug the man.
"And you're sure he's here?" Harry asked quietly, staring up at the manor.
"We are certain, the Order will be here soon." Dumbledore said, Harry knew he was lying, "We should wait for them."
"No." Harry murmured, "I have to do this, the prophecy…" He trailed off, knowing that Severus would know he was out of the castle by now, knowing that the man would be freaking out. But this was his chance right? His chance to change at least part of the outcome of this whole mess, sure it might be dangerous but if he could cause some damage to Voldemort or Dumbledore then… "I want to go in."
Dumbledore gave a long sigh, and just for a second Harry almost believed that the old man truly cared, then he nodded, "Then let us enter."
Voldemort had definitely been expecting them, he was sat in a large, overstuffed, green armchair in front of a fireplace in the main room, looking at them expectantly, "Harry Potter."
"Tom." Harry replied evenly, hoping his voice didn't betray how absolutely terrified he was, oh Merlin he was probably going to die here, and the people he loved had no idea where he was.
"Apparently you want to duel me, you actually think you have a chance against me…"
"I've duelled you before!" Harry spat, "And won."
Voldemort sneered, rising from the chair, "You do not win a duel until your opponent is dead." He said casually, twirling his wand, "Right Albus?"
Harry glanced at the old headmaster, wondering how he was going to play this, it was fairly obvious that he wanted Voldemort to kill Harry, so would he even bother keeping up the façade, "Right." Was all Dumbledore said, leaning against the door frame.
"You remember the rules of duelling right Harry?" Voldemort asked as Harry mentally went through every spell he knew, shit he wasn't going to win this, but maybe he could cause some serious damage. If he had to die then he could at least try to take the two men with him. He knew how to summon fiendfyre but not how to stop it, still if he was to die anyway then… Well. "Remember to bow." Voldemort interrupted his thoughts.
Harry clutched his wand, bowing slightly because he knew he would be forced to otherwise, "Wait, one thing first…" He turned to Dumbledore, "Why?"
The man looked amused, "So you do know. I did wonder." He murmured, "How did you figure it out?"
"I'm not as stupid as I look." Harry snapped, "Why did you do it?"
"Oh my dear boy… Why not?" Dumbledore smirked and Harry barely had time to react before Voldemort had shot a crucio at him. As Harry lay gasping on the floor he briefly wondered how on earth he had managed to keep hold of his wand, then he tried to pull himself upright, ignoring the burning pain in his veins. Voldemort laughed softly, watching Harry closely, they were going to make this last then, going to make it hurt. Although why, he wasn't sure, after all they had pretended to kill so many people and actually just obliviated them and sent them on their way. It didn't look like they were willing to do the same with him though, looked like they actually wanted him dead. Harry clung to a chair as he finally made it to his feet, trying to stop his hands shaking.
"Come on Potter, you're not even trying." Voldemort mocked and Dumbledore chuckled. Harry felt a shot of anger and raised his wand, blocking the next spell Voldemort shot at him and sending off one of his own. "Better." Voldemort murmured with a sadistic grin and then suddenly Harry was hanging upside down, desperately trying to grip his wand, he let out a scream as he felt a slash across his leg and saw blood drip past him, then he was back on the floor, a loud crack and shot of pain signalling that he had most likely broken a bone, Another slash cut across Harry' chest and he screamed with pain, still clutching his wand he quickly tried to apparate but, as expected, felt the familiar tenseness that accompanied an apparition block. Harry squeezed his eyes shut, trying to block out the pain, his was it, he was going to die here and he hadn't even hurt the other men at all, then he remembered the fiendfyre… Would burning to death hurt more than this he wondered and, before he had a chance to change his mind, shot the spell from his wand.
Harry hadn't been looking at where he was pointing his wand but he couldn't have aimed better as the fire shot out and hit right next to where Dumbledore was standing. It grew within seconds and the man ran, yelling at Voldemort to remove the anti apparition charm as the fire instantly threatened to engulf the whole room, and then suddenly Voldemort was gone and Harry looked towards Dumbledore as the flames shot around him, the man screamed, dropping his wand and Harry grabbed it, racing out of the second door, the only place not surrounded by the flames, he paused for a second before locking the door and running out of the manor, down the path and as far away from the building as he could manage before collapsing to the floor. Harry sat there, watching as the building burned in front of him, he felt a shot of something go through him as he recalled locking the door, leaving Dumbledore there to die. But surely that was right, surely the man deserved it? Harry groaned as he tried to move his leg, his hand moving down to touch it and coming away covered in blood, "Shit." Christ his head hurt, Harry's hand shook as he tried to cast a patronus message and failed. Wait the fire would stop at the manor right? Shit. Harry chewed on his lip before remembering his necklace, he grabbed at it, "Lucius, dad. Help please." He slumped to the floor, suddenly realising he was still holding Dumbledore's wand, if the aurours found out then they'd know he'd stopped the man apparating. Harry hid it under his shirt, wincing as it brushed against the cut on his chest, he watched the flames flicker, thinking that Remus was right when he'd said fiendfyre was unlike any fire he'd ever seen before. After a while Harry noticed that the flames seemed to be getting closer and realised that the fiendfyre definitely didn't stop at just the manor. As he was trying to haul himself to his feet to move away he heard a serious of pops and suddenly Remus was by his side, his nails digging into Harry's arm, "What the hell happened? Are you okay?" He asked desperately as the aurours rushed to stop the fire.
"Dumbledore was in there." Harry mumbled, sliding the wand over to the man, "Voldemort left."
Remus looked down at it with wide eyes, slipping it up his sleeve quietly, "Tonks, get Harry to St Mungo's." He said loudly, before turning to Kingsley, "He says Dumbledore was inside."
"Later, he's hurt." Remus insisted as Harry slumped against him, "Go with Tonks okay, they'll fix you up." Remus murmured, kissing the boy's head.
Six day later Harry was finally released from St Mungo's and the wizarding world was mourning the death of Albus Dumbledore. According to Kingsley the man's wand had been discovered at the manor, somehow it had survived the flames. Harry had repeated his story over and over to the Aurours, how he and Dumbledore had gone to the manor, Dumbledore thought he'd found a weapon to use against Voldemort, but then Voldemort himself was there. How Dumbledore and Voldemort had fought, that Dumbledore had been hurt and Voldemort had cursed Harry. "He said Sirius and my parents weren't really dead." Harry had added, hoping that this would at least mean they wouldn't have to hide anymore. "Then there was just this fire and Voldemort was gone, Dumbledore was hurt, he just yelled at me to leave…" Harry had explained quietly before claiming he was tired. Luckily no-one questioned Harry's story, it made sense after all, Dumbledore was always talking to Harry about the war and planning with him, and of course the man would tell him to leave if things got nasty… Right? Professor McGonagall was the new headmistress of Hogwarts and she'd granted Harry as much time off as he needed, although quietly reminding him that the NEWT's were fast approaching, and so after leaving St Mungo's Harry was heading back to the manor with Remus and Lucius for a while. Severus was going to try and visit as much as possible but it would be incredibly difficult for him to get time away when the school was in such a state of mourning. James, Lily and Sirius had had to go back to their old lives for a while, now that the Ministry believed it was a possibility they were alive it was only a matter of time before they found them. Harry still hadn't told any of his family exactly what had happened, he'd told them what they needed to know, what the aurours knew, but he hadn't been able to tell them the truth, to tell them what he'd done… He was pretty sure they knew, after all he'd given Remus Dumbledore's wand to put back in the crime scene. He was expecting a million questions when he arrived at the manor but instead Lucius just held him tightly, "I am so, so glad you're alive." The man murmured in Harry's ear, apparently ignoring the way Harry tensed.
"Tea?" Remus offered awkwardly, everything the man had done for the past week had been awkward, like he wasn't sure how to act around Harry now, now that he was the reason a man was dead, and that hurt Harry far more than he'd ever admit. The three of them moved into the living room, cradling cups of tea and Lucius handed Harry the television remote, pulling his son close to him and letting him choose what to watch. "I love you, you know." He said softly after a moment, "And when you're ready… Well I'm here for you." Harry gave a small nod, ducking his head and flicking channels until he settled on some crap American sitcom, a few minutes later he was asleep with his head on Lucius' shoulder, his tea threatening to spill out of the mug.