The Crow: Phoenix Rising

By: Belcris

Summary: What if "the power the Dark Lord knows not" had nothing to do with love? What if it had everything to do with justice? Crossover of Harry Potter and the Crow.

Harry Potter created by: JK Rowling

The Crow created by: James O'Barr

I do not own these characters and I do not seek to profit from this story. I only wish to pay tribute to two great authors.

WARNING: This story contains scenes of graphic violence, foul language, and death. Rape is implied. You have been warned.

Category: AU. Dark Fiction.

Chapter 7: Its hour come round at last

In the blink of an eye, I was standing in the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic. A lot had changed since I was here last. The statue that had once stood in the fountain had been replaced with an abomination in the shape of a witch and wizard sitting on thrones made from the bodies of dead Muggles. I nearly lost it when I saw that the base of the statue proclaimed, "Magic is Might." Once again, it was obvious someone needed to prove to these stinking racists that what they thought they knew was just a lie.

He's here, Harry. I think you can guess as to where.

"Yeah," I agreed with a nod as the Crow lifted off my shoulder and flew up into the shadows that hid the ceiling. "Only place he could be now, the Death Chamber."

Yes, was the only answer I got, but it was all I needed.

"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done;" I quoted as I walked past the statue. "It is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.i"

By the time I was standing next to the fountain, alarms were ringing all through the building. Within seconds, I saw green flames appearing in all the fireplaces around the room and the elevator doors opening to reveal Aurors and Death Eaters alike. They poured into the room like rats from a sinking ship until they had me surrounded. It was a daunting sight, but I knew something they didn't. You can't kill the dead.

With a crooked grin, I looked around at all the wands now pointed at me before asking in the cockiest tone I could manage, "Shall we dance?"

I don't think they expected me to actually fight back, so when I ran towards the closest person and slammed my fist into his face, no one moved. As the body of the unconscious Auror slid to the ground, the rest of them started to move. There easily could have been over a hundred people casting spells at me all at once, which worked out well for me. Over half of them succumbed to spells fired by their own allies in that first volley of spells. It was a very good thing for me, but very bad thing for them, not that I was going to complain.

What followed, at least for me, really did feel a lot like dancing. Back in my fourth year when it was required I attend the Yule Ball, dancing had seemed a torture to me, but this was different. This sound of spells being cast accompanied by the non-stop shouts and screams of battle, now that was a song I could dance to. Fighting against unbelievable odds in the middle of the Ministry of Magic Atrium, I think I finally figured out what it meant to be graceful. I wished Ginny could have been there to enjoy it with me as I danced my gruesome dance of death and justice.

I leapt through the air, feeling as if gravity could no longer touch me and rained down death upon my enemies. Then ducking into shadows, I would leap out from behind my foes with fierce blows that robbed them of their ability to fight. I have to imagine that it was strange to watching me dodge in and out of heavy spell fire. The spells cast at me causing no harm, or what they did cause being quickly healed by the power of the Avatar. I know for me that it was so interesting to watch I actually let a few spells hit me just so I could watch my own skin knit back together almost instantly. It must have been a terrible yet beautiful battle to watch. For my part, I only felt one thing. I was horrified.

"This is the power of the Avatar of Death and Justice," I thought to myself with growing understanding. "This power should never exist in this world, or any other. It's a good thing I'll be gone soon."

Focusing back on my attackers, I saw that there were only five left now. Four were Aurors, but the last one was wearing the black robe and mask of a Death Eater. So far, I had spared the lives of the Aurors who only fought because they had been forced to, but the Death Eaters had not been so lucky. As far as I was concerned, if you took Voldemort's mark, you were as good as dead already. I didn't even stop to think as I spun around casting four stunning spells and one blasting curse. The Aurors never even had a chance to shield and the Death Eater was well on his way to Hell before he even realized I had just turned his head into a fine pink mist. It actually looked rather pretty when it was illuminated from the back by the atrium lights.

"That's it," I said, tearing my eyes away from slowly settling blood mist, "I've fucking lost my mind finally."

Who says you ever had it?

"Oh! Listen! It's the bloody magical bird that leads me on my merry adventures!" I shouted, plopping down amongst the dead and injured.

I resemble that remark, Harry, replied the Crow as she settled onto my shoulder. You're starting to understand why my Avatars should never stay for long amongst the living. This is not your world any longer and to remain can only bring you pain and madness.

"Well that's just bloody fucking lovely, innit?" I groused, looking up into the black eyes of the bird. "Lucky for me, I don't want to stay any longer than I have to."

Well of course you don't, you silly prat! That's why I don't use the living to do my work for me. Only the dead, and a few lawyers in New York, would be willing to do the things that have to be done when you are an Avatar of Death and Justice. Only someone like you, someone pure of spirit, can give up the power when the time comes.

"Please," I begged. "Tell me that time is coming soon?"

The Crow nodded her head and I felt relief. I just wanted to see Ginny again and after this last battle was over, I would. All I needed to do was make it though one last fight and I could rest. If that isn't motivation, I don't know what is. Climbing back to my feet I stretched and looked around again. I had really done a number on these guys, and that was fine with me now. The ones that deserved it got dead and the ones that didn't, didn't. It was as simple as that. Now I was going to head down to the Veil and put paid to a long overdue bill.

"Let's do this," I grunted, heading towards the elevators. "I've got a date with the girl I love and I don't intend to keep her waiting anymore."

So, you're over your angst?

"Yeah, just needed to vent for a moment," I answered, entering the elevator.

It happens to the best of you humans, so I guess it can happen to you as well.

"Gee, that's not too much of a backhanded compliment," I deadpanned as the elevator reached my floor.

Trying to lighten the mood, Harry.

"Not really working," I grunted as I made my way through hallways and doors I had not seen since my fifth year at Hogwarts.

You know that old saying, "time flies when you're having fun?" Well take it from me, it also flies when you are on your way to kill the man responsible for the rape and murder of the woman you love. You know, it might even happen if it was the man you love, though I don't swing that way. In any case, as I opened that last door I saw three things. The first was the damned Veil that had taken Sirius from me. The next was the second biggest bloody snake I've ever seen. I mean it was almost as big as its master's ego, and that's saying something. Yep, old Moldy Voldy was standing there right in front of the Veil with a shit-eating grin on his face. The Crow took off into the shadows again and I started walking down the stairs towards the engineer behind my demise.

"God," I groaned. "I really hate this prick."

Now before I died I would have stood around and listened to Lord Mold-in-my-shorts for a while, but I didn't have the patience for it right at that moment. "Gonna kill you tonight, Tom."

"Potter, I don't know how you," began Tom, but I cut him off with a raised finger.

"Hold on, Tommy," I said in a sickly sweet voice, much like what Aunt Marge used to use with Dudley. "Papa is busy at the moment and then he's going to clean you just like the cock stain you are."

I don't know what surprised my archenemy more, the way I dared speak to him, or the fact that I suddenly drew the Elder Wand and summoned his snake to me. Talk about impressive, seeing that damn snake flying through the air was downright scary. Even better was the look on Lord Flight of Death's face as the Crow swooped down and swallowed his little pet whole before vanishing back into the shadows. Hell, he hadn't even gotten his wand drawn before his last Horcrux was happily making its way straight to hell.

"Do you know what you've done, Potter?" screeched Voldemort, and I mean screeched like a little girl.

I was trying to muffle my laughter, but I think he figured out I was laughing at me, "Of course I do, Tommy. I just destroyed the last of your Horcruxes."

I think that was the one answer he wasn't prepared for. I never wished for Colin Creevey and his camera so much as I did right at that moment. A picture of Tommy boy with his jaw hanging down to his chest would have been worth all the Galleons in Gringotts, but being the one to make him do it was abso-bloody-lutely priceless. He just stood there in shock for a few moments while I finished walking to the bottom of the stairs. Finally, as I walked over to stand in front of him, Tom seemed to gather his wits again, at least enough to step back away from me.

"There is no way you could have destroyed my Horcruxes," declared Voldemort, looking at me with a mix of fear and disbelief.

I just laughed and shook my head, "Destroying your six little anchors, including Nagini, was the easy part. The hard part was cleaning the blood out from under my fingernails after killing your little fan club. You can ask them about it when you reach Hell, well, except for Bella. That bitch is going to be busy for a very long time."

Tom sneered at me saying, "You may have destroyed my Horcruxes, but I will not die so easily. Besides, how hypocritical you are when it is obvious that you did the same as I in order to be here. Tell me, who did you kill to create your Horcrux, Potter?"

I laughed even harder at this question. "You think I would stoop to your level, Tom? Besides, you are assuming I'm still alive. I tell you what, I'll give you a free shot. Kill me, if you can. I won't even try to stop you."

"Like I need your permission to kill you," snarled the Dork Lord, pointing his wand at me. "AVADA KEDAVRA!"

Okay, talk about a Kodak moment. Tom looked so smug as the spell hit me right the face. Too bad for him that it didn't even phase me. I admit, for a moment I was worried, but it was only for a moment. As the green light of the spell faded and I was still standing there laughing, Lord Boldly-fart actually looked like someone had just taken his favorite toy away from him. I swear, he even started stamping his feet like a little child and whining about how he was the most powerful Dark Lord to ever rise. It was actually funny seeing him act like a little child, even if it only lasted a moment or two.

"How is this possible, Potter?" he finally asked after composing himself again.

"It's all about Justice and Death," I answered with a straight face. "You crossed a line that should never be crossed, and I'm here to make sure you pay for it."

"Just die!" screamed Tom Riddle and started casting spells.

You want to know what a real Wizard's duel is like? It's an ongoing test to see if you can cheat more than your opponent. Sure, those professional duels are great, but they play by so many rules that it becomes more like a tennis match than a true battle. No, if you are just trading spells with an opponent, you are not fighting him, you are merely seeing which of you knows more spells than the other. Don't get me wrong, competitive dueling is a lot of work, those duelists are exhausted by the time they are done, but I doubt even one of them could really handle a full scale batter against more than one opponent. Well, maybe Professor Flitwick could have taken on more than one opponent, but then he always did strike me as having a bit of nastiness hidden away inside. I mean that in a good way, of course.

A real Wizard's duel is mean and nasty with a side of "fuck you" added in for good measure. That was our battle and our destiny. Tom and I weren't trading stinging hexes or jelly leg curses. No, the first spell cast was a deep, rich purple that missed me by a mile, but destroyed half the stairway behind me. The second was another killing curse, because I guess Tom just couldn't believe that his favorite curse wouldn't work on me. After that, things got nasty. As I dodged everything that He-Who-Has-No-Sense-of-Humor cast at me, I recognized some of the spells. I have to admit, he wasn't mucking about because some of those spells were just bloody vicious. Personally, I hadn't even drawn my wand yet, but I sure was moving like a toad on red hot skillet. In fact, it wasn't until I drew my wand that things really got nasty.

I remember watching Dumbledore and Voldemort fighting in the Atrium. Back then, before I died, I thought that was the most impressive thing I had ever seen. Now, running and dodging every spell Tommy cast at me, I realized it was just a tired old man fighting as best he could. Dumbledore didn't stand still because he could thanks to his spectacular ability to block Tom's spells. No, he stood still and blocked because he was too old and too tired to move around like he needed to. Necessity had forced him to become better at blocking, and that was the difference. Where Dumbledore could not outlast Tom magically thanks to all the blocking he had to do, I just had to keep moving. Yeah, if I was still alive I would have grown tired, but since I'm dead I can just keep moving. That means, very simply, I was going to outlast Lord Can't-Get-It-Up.

"Hold still and fight me, Potter!" shrieked Tom.

"Yeah, like that's going to happen, Tommy-boy!" I answered back, jumping over yet another killing cure. "You're persistent, I'll give you that."

While I jumped and ran, spun and slid, around the spells Lord Flees-From-Women cast at me, I was firing cutting curses all around him. Reason being, he was standing not ten feet away from the Veil on a rather large and solid looking stone platform. So, in my honest opinion, if the Veil was good enough for Sirius, it was more than good enough for Tom. Well, at least that was the plan until snake face decided to leap off the platform and hover near the ceiling. Wanker can fly without a broom. That's just not fair.

"Now who's running away, Tom?" I asked, running up a wall slightly before flipping backwards over yet another killing curse. "The man really does have no imagination. I can't seem to hit him and he can't seem to hit me. At this rate I would have to lay down and..."

And leaping through the air, riding the pressure wave of a blasting curse, I remember an old poem I had read in grade school. At the time I thought it was confusing and far too long, but I never forgot the end of it.

"This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.ii"

"Brilliant," I whispered to myself, watching Tom closely to see what he was going to cast next.

I was in luck, the next spell was another blasting curse that hit just to my right. Pushing off from the ground, I rode the shock wave right down to the platform and landed on my side, facing the Veil. Peeking though my right eye, the one against the ground, I calculated that there was approximately nine feet between me and the Veil. That would work perfectly for what I had planned. So, acting dazed and moaning slightly to add to the effect, I waited for Tom to get cocky, he always does when we fight. Didn't take him long to figure I was down for good, so the arse floated back to the ground, landing between me and the Veil.

"At last," Tom said with a sneer. "You should have known you could not best me, Potter. I am Lord Voldemort. You are nothing compared to me!"

"You know," I calmly replied, leaping up to my feet and looking Tom right in the face, "You're absolutely right. I am nothing compared to you. Though not for the reasons you think. See, I'm so much better than you that it would be like trying to compare pumpkins to peanuts, there just is no comparison."

Voldemort stepped back, slightly shocked that I was not nearly as incapacitated as he had thought. "You are insane, boy, and I don't care what you think, Potter. All I care about is that I will find your secret, how you came back from the grave, and I will rip it from you and make it my own. You could save yourself a lot of pain if you just told me now."

"Oh, I'll tell you, Tom," I assured him, stepping forward and forcing him to take another step backwards. "It's actually very easy. See, all you have to do is be killed by your worst enemies and know that they will escape justice for it. Then you have to get lucky enough for a mystical bird to notice you and grant you the power to met out the required amount of death and justice to those that require it."

"What nonsense are you talking about, Potter?" spat Tom, but he still took another step backwards when I stepped forward again. "I don't want to hear your delusions. There is nothing after death! When you die, you are gone! Unless you have anchored your soul here, then when death claims you, you are gone! Forever!"

"You really are a moron, you know that, right?" I asked, stepping forward again and watching as Voldemort took another step backwards, his back now inches from the Veil. And this is how Justice was finally delivered to Tom Marvolo Riddle, not with a fancy spell or a titanic battle, but by a young man and a few home truths.

"You split your soul to keep you here," I said calmly, looking right into Tom's eyes. "But did you ever ask yourself why you had a soul at all? What need is there for a soul if we disappear after death? What need would we have for something eternal, that lasts long after we are gone, if we just fade away?"

I could see growing understanding in Tom's eyes as I spoke, but I continued before he could answer. "You've damaged that which is eternal in order to hold onto that which is fleeting. In the process, you have committed great crimes against others, and against yourself. Now, with only a shred of your humanity left, you cling to life in desperation because you know you will have to face your punishment when your time comes, Tom. And it will come. In fact, it's here right now."

"Foolish child!" roared Tom, trying to rage against what I had told him. "There is nothing after this world! The soul is nothing but a shadow of the mind. Nothing more than a…"

"Nothing more than the complete and utter sum of everything you ever were, are now, and ever could have been," I completed for him. "And you threw it away. You tore it to shreds and in so doing, you abandoned the last of your humanity. I feel sorry for you, Tom, because you will never understand what you have lost until it is too late for you."

"BAH!" roared Voldemort. "What utter nonsense! I am immortal. I have no need of your lectures on a mythical afterlife. I will rule for eternity and you will watch as I kill all those you love."

I had to laugh at that point, I couldn't help myself. "You've already done enough of that, Tom. You were responsible for my parents and Ginny, not to mention Dumbledore and Cedric. Those souls are calling for your death and I'm not one to deny the dead their wants. Not my job."

"Oh, and what is your 'job,' Potter?"

"I'm the fucking Avatar of Death and Justice, Tom," I answered with a manic smile. "My job is to send you to Hell. So, off you go!"

You know, if I had cast a spell at him, even at such close range, I think Tom would have deflected it. However, leaning back and kicking him in the chest with my foot was not something he ever expected anyone to do to him. I doubt Tom even realized how close he was to the Veil, too busy ranting at me most likely, but in that instant before he fell through it, Tom knew utter terror. The expression on his face as he finally understood what was happening was one of fear. Justice did not require me to kill him in some bloody and horrific fashion. No, Justice required that I make him understand, at least on some level, that he was going to pay for his sins for a very long time. Death was not an escape for him, it was a sentence with no chance of parole.

"Bye, Tommy," was all I could think to say.

It's over now, Harry.

"I know," I meekly replied, feeling very tired.

I'm not sure how I ended up on my arse, but next thing I knew I was sitting on the stone floor with my back against the arch that held the veil. I could hear whispers from just behind it and occasionally a few screams that sounded familiar. What I did not hear was the voice I wanted to hear the most. Maybe I wasn't done yet, or maybe she was just too far away. Whatever the case might be, I was alone and I just wanted to rest.

You're not completely alone.

I look up and see someone standing at the top of the ruined stairs. I hadn't thought I would see him again, but considering I've run into everyone else I know, it makes sense that he would be here. He makes his way slowly down to where I am, I can't seem to stand up, so it's a good thing he does. After a few moments he stands in front of me and then sits, and smiles.

"Hello, Ron," I whisper, barely strong enough to do even that.

"Hello, mate," replies Ron, his eyes a little bright with unshed tears. "I've really missed you, you know?"

I smile up at him and realize that even with the both of us sitting down, he's still taller than me. "I know. I didn't want to go, you know that, right?"

"Of course I know," he answers. "I think I always knew you would be back. Just a feeling I had. I think that's why I couldn't really move on after you were gone. Even when we were out looking for his Horcruxes, I wanted to stay close to home in the hope I would be there when you got back. Bit mental, right?"

"A bit," I agreed. "You know I can't stay, right?"

"Yeah," Ron answered, nodding once. "Your time is up and you've completed what you came to do."

"Exactly," I confirmed, sliding a bit further down the arch. "Ginny's waiting for me."

"I'm not waiting," whispered a woman's voice in my ear, a voice I could never forget.

Looking up, I could see Ginny standing next to me, just on the edge of where the Veil normally hung. God, she looked so beautiful. Shining white light spilled out of the Veil, looking like someone had pulled it aside so that she could be bathed in its light. I looked back past her and beyond the Veil. Standing there, just behind Ginny on the other side of where the Veil had been, were my parents, Sirius, Remus, and even Tonks. They were all there waiting for me, smiling and waving at me. Ginny reached down and took my hand in hers, and I could feel the warmth of her skin as we touched.

"Blimey!" swore Ron and I suddenly realized that he was seeing what I was. "Ginny, oh God! Ginny!"

"Hi, Ron," she said, looking at her brother and smiling. "No hugs, it's not your time, but I want you to know I love you and I am still here, even if you can't always see me."

"L-love you, too, Gin," replied Ron, trying not to cry, but not managing it.

"Tell everyone, especially Mum and Dad, that I love them," continued Ginny. "And you watch after Harry's little sisters and Hermione for us, alright?"

"I will, I promise," he swore, standing up and helping me to my feet one last time. "I'm going to miss you two, so much."

"Hey," I rasped, my throat tight with emotions. "We'll see each other again, mate. Just don't be in any rush to make it too soon, right?"

"Got it," agreed Ron. "I've got a lot to do before then, but I expect you both to be there when it's my time."

"Of course," both Ginny and I replied.

Ron and I hugged, one last time before I pulled away. Turning and facing Ginny again, I held out my hand and took hers in mine. One step was all it took to cross the line between pain and bliss. Instantly I felt my body fill with life and I once again felt the beating of my heart in my chest. I turned back to look past the Veil at Ron. He smiled at me with tears in his eyes and gave me a thumbs up before waving to Ginny. Slowly I watched the curtain fall between the worlds, but not before I heard Ginny say one last thing to her brother.

"Ron!" Ginny called just before the curtain, the Veil, sealed behind us. "Tell Luna we'll talk about it when she gets here, but I'm okay with it!"

"What's that about?" I asked, turning to Ginny and wrapping my arms around her.

"Oh, just some girl talk," Ginny answered, standing up on her tiptoes to kiss me. "We'll explain it all to you when she gets here, love. Till then, we've got a lot of catching up to do."

I of course kissed her as passionately as I could, listening to the catcalls of my friends and family. I couldn't think of a better way to start my next great adventure than with a kiss from the woman I loved. Now I was free and could spend my eternity where I belonged, surrounded by friends and family.

All was well.


Ron Weasley would later tell his friends of what he had seen beyond the Veil. It seemed to bring many of them some peace, especially his mother and father. Everyone was glad that he had been there at the end to see Harry on his way to his rest, even Hermione was glad. Oddly, when he told Luna the message that Ginny had given him, the odd young woman had hugged him tightly before leaving, smiling happily the entire time. Ron never did figure out what Ginny had meant, but it had truly made Luna's day, so that was good enough for him. The one thing he never told anyone was of the strange crow that had landed atop the Veil's arch after Harry and Ginny were gone. He doubted anyone would believe him if he told them the bird had pecked at the arch until it collapsed, sealing the Veil forever, so why bother telling them.

Rather quickly after the fall of Voldemort, life began to improve for everyone in the Wizarding world. The Ministry was quickly rid of anyone that had worked for Voldemort's regime and Kingsley Shacklebolt was made Minister of Magic. The former Auror would eventually be proclaimed the greatest Minister the Ministry had ever see. Minister Shacklebolt introduced the Equal Rights Measure that guaranteed fair treatment to all magical races, an act that many considered the greatest achievement in the history of the Wizarding world.

Ron and Hermione would eventually solve their differences and marry. They had two children, Harry and Rose, and spent their lives working to help those that could not help themselves. In the summer of their one hundred forty-first year of marriage, Hermione passed away quietly while taking a nap in her personal library. Ron, crushed by his wife's death, made all the necessary arrangements for two funerals, said goodbye to his children and grandchildren, then went for a fly on his broomstick. After examining his personal pitch one last time, he landed under the goals and sat down for a nap from which he never woke up. The healers would later say that his heart just stopped, but his children believed it had broken when their mother died. Ron and Hermione were buried in the family plot at Godric's Hollow, right next to Harry and Ginny, who had somehow been magically moved there after she came to claim Harry.

Mr. and Mrs. Weasley would both lead very good lives. They raised Megan and Virginia, who never went by Ginny, Potter as if they were their own children. Unfortunately, Arthur passed away when he was only seventy-five. Molly could be heard complaining until the day she died that Arthur should have known better than to try and ride that Muggle Boardskate, it was no wonder he fell off and broke his fool neck. Molly waited another thirty years before she joined her husband. In that time, she helped take care of several new generations of Weasleys and even a few Potters. After she passed in her sleep, Bill and Fleur bought the Burrow and had it rebuilt. The new Burrow would be passed down through their family for generations to come, as would the story of Harry and Ginny.

Megan and Virginia Potter both went on to become famous witches. Neither would ever marry, claiming no one could ever compare to their older brother, but both would have large families thanks to Muggle Science. Oddly, through some facet of magic that no one could ever explain, their children were confirmed as being descended from the Potter line. Further blood work later proved that both women were actual sisters of Harry Potter, even though they had not been when they were born. The goblins had a theory that their Goddess had meddled with the Potter women, but who were they to gainsay a god? Whatever the case, the Potter sisters went on to create one of the largest families in history with fourteen sons and daughters between them and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Not that they did nothing but have children. When not surrounded by family, the two sisters created the Phoenix Mission to help orphans in the Muggle and Magical world. The world mourned their loss most keenly when they died at the age of two hundred and twelve during a skydiving accident.

Luna Lovegood led a sadly short but amazing life. After the defeat of Voldemort, Luna spent the next ten years working for the Quibbler writing stories about the animals she had so loved. It was while writing one of these stories about a new breed of more intelligent Hippogriffs that she sacrificed her life to save the life of a child. While talking with one of the Hippogriff handlers, she noticed that one of the tourist groups to the reserve was passing by. A small child, maybe nine or ten years old, was leaning against the cage of one of the younger Hippogriffs and taunting the poor beasts. In the blink of an eye the enraged Hippogriff lunged at the child, tearing right through the bars of his cage. Seeing that the child was about to be killed, Luna Apparated between the Hippogriff and the offensive little child. Everyone watched in horror as she pushed the child to safety only to be hit in the back of the head by one of the beast's claws. She was dead instantly. According to her wishes, Luna was buried in the same suit she was born in, her birthday suit, and laid to rest next to her mother with a simple epitaph on her stone.

"Death is not the end, only the beginning of something more."

The End

Author's Note:

A door creeks open and lets in the first true rays of sunlight that the author has looked upon in quite some time. His mind, once filled with dark shadows and the screaming of nightmares, is happy that the nightmare is finally over. He is free at last and it is time to walk out into the light once more.

"Hello my dear readers and friends," he says as he exits his dark imprisonment. "I have missed you all and now that my time in the darkness is done, I only hope that you were able to accept my dark vision."

Looking around it is strange to see that the author is now standing in a sunlight field filled with the sound of birdsong and the sight of wildflowers. Walking over to a large mahogany desk and a plush leather chair, the author sits and smiles up at the sun overhead. "I've always wanted to share my visions, both light and dark, with you. As you can tell, this was one of the darkest visions I have had so far, but I needed to share it with you all."

Reaching down to open a drawer the author pulls out four bundles of paper, a pack of cigarettes, and a silver Zippo lighter. Looking at the clearly written titles on the bundles, the author opens the pack of cigarettes and pulls one out. Tapping the cigarette on the face of his wristwatch, he then sticks the cigarette in his mouth and lights it with the Zippo. Taking a deep draw on the cigarette, the author looks back at the bundles and then back up at his readers and friends.

"I have more visions to share with you all," says the author, exhaling the thick smoke slowly. "A third story in the Time's Avenging Angel series called, 'The Prisoner of Time,' is fully outlined and mostly written. I apologize that it has taken me so long to share that one with you, but I wanted to polish it until it shone with the purity of the vision I originally envisioned. Sadly, I focused on too many odd little quirks with the first two stories. This third story in the series will be more of what I always intended for the series and I think you will appreciate it all the more because of the wait."

Looking at the second bundle the author picks it up and looks at it with a smile. "This little gem here is another cross over, but I think it will wait a little longer. It is another crossover between the Harry Potter universe and the DC Comics universe. I will let you imagine what that may mean and when it is finished, I promise I will share it with you. Let me tell you that it is called, 'Green Mage's Light' and that it will combine two of my favorite characters of all time. If it is well received, I may even expand the story to include a sequel."

Setting down the green and gold bundle, the author picks up the third bundle. "I started this one at the same time I started 'The Crow,' but life got in the way of finishing it. I have time now, so I will begin on it once again. This is a romance, though don't assume that means it is all fluffy and light. There is darkness as well, but it will be fun for me to write and hopefully for you to read. I do so love French accents and 'Longing' will have them in abundance."

"Sadly," the author continues, setting down the third bundle and picking up the fourth. "This one is not a vision I will share with you."

Picking up his Zippo, the author sets fire to the fourth bundle and tossing the burning mass into a metal waste bin. "That poor creation was another crossover that I just do not feel is good enough to ever share with you. Maybe someday I will try again, but until then I fear Harry and Buffy will just have to wait.

But, that is the future and this is now. I thank you for sharing these visions with me and I hope you will return again as I show you more. That's all I really wanted to do, share my visions with you and maybe make you smile, cry, laugh, or even snort."

Standing up, the author walks around his large desk and smiles at all his readers and friends. "I dream these visions for my own sake, but I share them for yours. So long as you return, so will I. Join me sometime at my homepage and I may even share new visions with you, but that is up to you.

Anyway, for now, with my deepest gratitude and thanks, I say farewell and hope that we will see each other again someday soon."

Bowing to his readers and friends, the author stands up straight again and smiles. With a snap of his fingers, he is gone. The field now empty, a single crow flies across the field before vanishing into the clouds over head, leaving only a solitary black feather to fall back to Earth and land upon the author's desk.

i Quoted from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

ii Quoted from The Hollow Men (1925) by T. S. Eliot