STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I own nothing and I'm not getting paid anything for writing this, so keep your damn lawyers away. BEGONE!
Brothers in Arms
It's remarkable how the human psyche can react in various situations. When faced with the death of a dear friend a person can summon enough courage to perform feats of wonder that can boggle the mind, yet that same person can also turn into a stuttering idiot when faced with the prospect of talking to an attractive girl he desires. When faced with danger, the mind can either freeze with fear as it stares into the unknown void of uncertainty, or completely shut down and revert to the primal survival instincts that have allowed their species to thrive in an uncertain world. The muscles floods with adrenaline as the body prepares for the mind to make a critical choice – fight or flight?
Of course, a person suffering from such hyper-arousal would not be aware of such facts. Such was the case of Harry Potter as for the second time that night he stared down the shimmering golden thread that led from his wand to the vilest Dark Lord in recent history.
If Harry was able to concentrate on anything besides that glowing magical thread he might have cursed himself for being in this situation. Harry knew, he knew, that some twisted psychotic remnant of the last war was out to get him – again. Who else would enter him into that thrice-damned Tri-wizard Tournament made famous by not only for its 'eternal fame and glory', but also for it's high mortality rate? Surely some little poser like Malfoy and his Slytherin cronies could never swindle an ancient artifact like the Goblet of Fire and trick it into entering a student under a fourth school. No, someone far more dangerous then a few underage Death Nibblers had to have pulled it off.
Yet despite knowing this, Harry did next to nothing to negate this threat. He trained –for the tournament - but usually his friends had to repeatedly remind him of what was really at stake in order to do so. And even then, with his small amount of training, he ran into the tasks half-cocked and half the time with little to no clue about the repercussions of his actions. Instead of thinking about the big picture he thought of proving himself to the world – not coasting along on who his parents were or a scar he would prefer never existed in the first place. He thought of showing international Quidditch star Victor Krum that he could also compete with the best. He thought of proving to the beautiful Half-Veela Fleur Delacour that he wasn't some 'little boy' to be so easily snubbed. He thought of teaching Cedric Diggory and the school that although he never wished it, he was also worthy of being a Tri-Wizard Champion. And finally, Harry thought of welcoming the pretty Ravenclaw Cho Chang into his arms when she discovered he was just as worthy, if not more so, of her affections then Cedric when he hoisted up the Tri-Wizard Cup in victory. Thoughts of love and acceptance ravaged Harry's hormonal angst ridden mind and he lost sight of the big picture – there's a bloody lunatic out there trying to kill you!
Those thoughts swirled through Harry's mind as he stared at the Tri-Wizard Cup at the end of the maze and for one brief moment he was able to overcome his own festering desires and managed to convince Cedric into sharing the victory - Yet still forgetting that this was the last chance for someone to spring a trap and kill him . "For Hogwarts!" they said together, but as the portkey activated and swept them away Harry once again gave in to desire and submitted to his dizzying daydreams.
"Wands out, d'you recon?" Cedric asked nervously.
"Yeah," Harry replied uncertainly. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted the cup, seeming glowing in the dark, dreary graveyard they found themselves in. He once again saw himself on the podium, holding up the cup as Cho gazed on admiringly. "Er…you think we should keep the cup close?" Harry asked quietly.
Cedric gave Harry an odd look, as if trying to find hidden meaning in his words. "Yeah…sure" Cedric replied, but when he reached out and touched the cup he suddenly vanished, taking the trophy with him.
It was at that moment that Harry's mind cleared, and he finally realized that he was alone in a dark graveyard in the middle of nowhere and at the mercy of some unknown threat with no real means of escape. Harry had finally realized the truth – he was well and truly screwed.
Harry luck from that point continued to go downhill as he was tied to a large gravestone and was forced to watch as Peter Pettigrew, the man who had betrayed his parents, started a dark ritual to fully resurrect his former master. Using Harry's blood, the bones of Tom Riddle, and his own hand Peter was able to successfully reunite the Dark Lord Voldemort with his physical body. After summoning his remaining followers and chastising them for their lack of loyalty, the sixty-eight year old Voldemort proceeded to gloat about his miraculous return and then tortured the fourteen year old Harry Potter before challenging him to a duel. Underestimating Harry would prove to be Voldemort's first mistake.
Resigned to his fate, Harry faced off against the Dark Lord, determined to go down fighting. What no one expected was the inherent bond that exists between wands that share the same core to come into effect – Priori Incantatem. Encased in a golden dome of light, Harry and Voldemort began fighting for control of the link. Through sheer willpower alone, Harry managed to take control of the connection and force Voldemort's wand to start regurgitating its previous spells. Seemingly locked in reverse spell effect, Harry watched as the specters of the dead began appearing from the Dark Lord's wand: an elderly grounds keeper, a young witch, and…
'Dad', Harry thought silently as he struggled to maintain the wand's link, despite the mad trembling in his arms.
"Your mother's coming…" the smoky form of James Potter said quietly. "She wants to see you…it will be all right…hold on…"
Then Harry's mother appeared, and walked over to him. "When the connection is broken, we will linger for only moments…" the shadow of Lily Potter quietly spoke, "but we will give you time…you must escape…run towards the village and summon the Knight Bus and have it take you back to Hogsmead… do you understand?"
"Yes", Harry spoke as trembling wand connection became almost too much to bear.
"If Voldemort attacks you again, dodge or fire a spell as he does to establish the connection…" James spoke. "Voldemort's at his weakest when the wands are linked; he cannot attack you without a second wand…this is a fight you cannot win…hit and run if you must, but get clear of this graveyard and summon the bus, all right?"
"Yes", Harry quietly repeated, his face screwed up with effort holding the wand.
"Do it now", whispered his father's voice. "Be ready to run…do it now…"
"NOW!" Harry yelled, jerking his wand upward and severing the connection. Harry ran as hard as he could, the shadowy forms of his parents and other victim's surrounded Voldemort, blocking his view. Knocking two stunned death eaters aside, Harry ran through the graveyard, adrenaline helping with the pain in his leg from the Acromantula's bite from the tournament. He ducked throughout the tombstones as spell-fire seemingly rained down on him, tearing up the surroundings.
"Stun him!" Harry heard Voldemort scream in anger behind him as he continued to run.
Hearing the Death Eaters chasing him, Harry pointed wildly behind him as he shouted "Impedimenta!" Harry then heard a muffled shout as the spell hit, but ignored it as he continued to weave through the graveyard, looking for an escape.
"Stand aside! I will kill him! He is mine!" Voldemort raged as he came closer to Harry's position. With a simple wave of his wand the tombstone next to Harry's exploded into pieces. Harry quickly dodged and scurried around, trying to find good cover. "Don't run from me Harry!" Voldemort screamed. "I want you to face me when I kill you! I want to see the light leave your eyes!"
Harry continued to run through the graveyard, ducking and weaving as he searched for an escape route that was not in the open and would leave his back unprotected. With a snarl Voldemort began sending waves of destructive light after Harry, tearing up the surroundings. Looking behind him at the absolute carnage the Dark Lord was crating, he did not see the spell that Voldemort had fired ahead of him, destroying a large tombstone and creating a hail of granite that Harry ran straight into. His reflexes barely saved him as Harry raised his arms in front of him and dodged to the side as his front was pelted with debris. Small cuts littered his arms and a rather nasty gash had formed on his right cheek.
Stumbling to regain his balance, Harry tripped over a body lying on the ground. There, lying in the grass was a frozen Death Eater. Harry realized in his haste to find an escape route and avoid the Dark Lord's attacks, he had actually circled around the Death Eaters. Looking at the man, he noticed he bore an uncanny resemblance to his Sltyerin classmate, Gregory Goyle. Pulling his wits together, Harry took the wand that was still in the man's frozen hand and, seeing the still conscious man glaring at him, delivered a quick punch to his face. Hearing a satisfying crack as Goyle Sr.'s nose broke; Harry pocketed the stolen wand and continued on. Harry decided he would head to the nearest structure, Riddle Manor, as it would provide enough cover to get away.
Jerking around, Harry stared into the livid red eyes of Voldemort. Quickly raising his wand, Harry screamed, "Expelliarmus!" With a casual wave of his hand, almost as if swatting a fly, Voldemort caused Harry's spell to rebound and curl around him, sending him flying backwards.
"No one will ever again question my power", Voldemort spoke softly, almost reverently as he watched Harry stand on quivering legs. Coldly staring into Harry's eye's, Voldemort raised his wand again and cried, "Avada Kedavera!"
Harry's mind raced as he thought of the quickest spell he knew. "Stupefy!" Harry cried just as Voldemort finished his own spell, once again causing the spells to merge and form a golden thread that connected both wands.
Voldemort bellowed in rage as he quickly concentrated and forced the large beads of light that danced along the connecting thread towards Harry's wand. Struggling to hold his wand and force the beads back, Harry couldn't help remembering what had happened the last time their wand's had connected. Harry remembered the word's of his father, saying that Voldemort was near defenseless when his wand was connected to Harry's, unless he had a spare. Harry continued to ponder this, 'A spare wand…" Meanwhile, Voldemort continued to force the powerful beads of light closer to Harry's wand, confident he would win this battle of wills. Voldemort's overconfidence would prove to be his second mistake.
Carefully letting go of the wand with his left hand, Harry struggled to maintain his grip with the right while he reached into his robes. Watching the beads of light grow closer, Harry tried to think of the most lethal spell he knew to attack Voldemort with. Having decided, Harry tried to aim at the Dark Lord through the glaring light of the connected wands.
"R…" Harry tried to get out, but the trembling in his right hand and body was affecting his aim with his left. "Re…" Harry stuttered, as the beads got even closer. His entire body was now trembling, as if his phoenix wand were trying to buck him off. His very bones seemed to rattle and his body was cramping up from the strain of the connection. The beads of light were almost touching his wand…
Forcing everything he had into his left hand, Harry pointed Goyle Sr.'s wand and screamed "REDUCTO!" The large red light raced through the air and connected with Voldemort's right arm, blasting clear though the bicep and bone in a spray of blood and tissue, separating the arm from the elbow down. Separated from its body, Voldemort's wand hand relaxed and the golden thread connecting the wand's snapped like an elastic band, flinging the powerful Yew wand straight towards Harry and lowering the golden shield caused by the reverse spell effect. Reflexively catching the wand in his right hand, Harry suddenly felt a warmth race through his hand, down his arm and into his body. Harry couldn't help but be stunned by the sense of completeness he felt holding the brother wands in his right hand as well as the shrieks of Voldemort who was on his knees cradling his now bleeding stump of an arm.
Standing there stunned, Harry didn't notice the man come up behind him until his large hand was firmly around his throat, chocking him. "Gib be back by wand you libble shyth!" Goyle Sr. growled, his broken nose distorting his words. Unable to breathe, with Goyle Sr.'s stale breath tickling his neck, Harry instinctively stomped on the older man's foot and used his last breath to point the man's wand behind him and choke out "Reducto!" Goyle Sr's head exploded spectacularly, covering Harry's left shoulder and face with blood and brain matter. The hand gripping Harry's throat relaxed, but the now headless corpse pitched forward and dragged Harry to the ground, knocking the deceased man's wand from his left hand.
The graveyard seemed to become completely silent for a few precious seconds as the Death Eaters reined in their shock at the gruesome death of their comrade. Then, as if a silent shot was fired, a wave of glowing green light flew at Harry from several directions. Quickly rolling behind the former Goyle Sr. Harry let the dead body take the brunt of the killing curses as the sheer force of the spells sent them both flying backwards. Harry impacted painfully with a large tombstone before opening his eye's as one of the Death Eaters made a slashing motion with his wand, causing a stream of purple fire to fly out towards him. Harry quickly ducked as the tombstone behind him took the spell and was severed cleanly in two. Harry rolled to his left before part of the tombstone fell and crushed the section of earth he had just been crouching on.
Harry continued to roll as the ground around him was torn up in lethal spell-fire. He tried to dive for cover behind another gravestone when his robe caught on a jagged edge of a partially destroyed headstone. One of the Death Eaters took advantage of this and sent a sickly yellow blast of light straight at him. Harry quickly brought up his right hand and cried, "Protego!" and watched as golden light seemed to arc between both wand's in his hand before a powerful shield rose around him. The sickly spell bounced off the shield before returning to its sender with twice the power. The spell hit the Death Eater in the face as his skin seemed to melt off. With a shriek of pain and terror he collapsed to the ground as all the flesh melted off his face till only a skull remained and he fell silent.
With a great tug Harry's robe's ripped free and he hid behind another tombstone. Harry slowly accepted that he had just killed two people, albeit in self-defense, in a rather gruesome manner. Harry had frozen one Death Eater and they had come back and nearly killed him; if they weren't going to play nice, why should he? Harry stared at the brother wands in his hand and came to a decision. Placing Voldemort's Yew wand in his left hand and keeping his Holly wand in his right, Harry quickly looked over the headstone he was crouched behind. Pointing both wands at the group of Death Eaters that was fast approaching, Harry screamed "Reducto!" Light once again arced between both wands and sent two massive red jets of light at the incoming opponents. One Death eater had a massive hole blasted through the left side of his chest while another raised a large silver shield in time to protect himself, but was still knocked off his feet from the force of the blast.
"Bombarda!" one of the Death Eaters cried, as a large white bolt flew towards the headstone Harry was hiding behind. The spell hit similar to a grenade, causing an explosion and sending massive chunks of stone flying. Harry tried to dodge, but one large piece of stone crashed into his side and Harry swore he herd a crack as his left rib's broke.
Collapsing to the ground, Harry began painfully crawling towards Riddle manor as it seemed his only chance of escape. Several more small explosions peppered the ground around him, launching him forward till he landed painfully on his left side, coughing and struggling for air. The coppery taste that filed his mouth let him know that he had probably punctured a lung and needed to get to a healer. Struggling forward, Harry heard the phrase "Avada…" behind him before he spun and pointed to the large chunk of granite that broke his ribs and cried "Accio!" The large chunk of stone intercepted to killing curse before spinning off behind Harry, who countered with a "Diffindo!" The spell sliced cleanly through the Death Eaters neck and beheaded them in a massive spurt of blood.
As Harry rushed towards the manor, another wave of purple fire nearly ripped him in half and created a long gouge in the ground. Aiming both wand's at his attacker, Harry shouted, "Diffindo!" but his opponent easily dodged the attack and launched a large lance of blue light at Harry that nearly tore his right arm off. In the light of the spell Harry was able to see his attackers face; Macnair, the man who tried to execute Buckbeak. Diving for cover Harry looked to his right and saw a large gravestone shaped like an obelisk. Pointing his right wand at the stone Harry cried "Diffindo!" but only managed a shallow cut in the stone. He then pointed both wands at the obelisk and once again screamed "DIFFINDO!" which cleanly cut through the stone horizontally.
Harry noticed the eerie purple light on the ground a second before the spell hit the stone he was hiding behind. Harry was able to evade the worst of it but it scraped along his left shoulder, slicing and cauterizing the wound at the same time. Growling in pain, Harry pointed both wands at the sliced obelisk before screaming, "WINGARDIUM LEVIOSA!" and throwing the massive stone at his attacker like a javelin. Macnair quickly cast "Bombarda!" on the flying projectile, but only blew a chunk of the tip. The obelisk drilled straight into his chest through his heart, carrying him backwards as the massive chunk of stone embedded into the ground, with the now dead Mcnair still impaled halfway through.
Harry was finally approaching the manor, all he needed to do now was go around the back of the house and he would have better cover then the graveyard to escape. He was almost there when there was an inhuman shriek and a line of flames circled the entire graveyard, including the manor, trapping everyone inside the fiery cage. 'Voldemort', Harry thought bitterly as his last clear path of escape was cut off. Making a quick decision, Harry entered the manor and cast a locking charm on the door, determined to make his final stand. Using the knowledge of the manor's layout he obtained for his vision's last summer, Harry made his way to the kitchen, pulling out the entire cutlery and casting a Levitation Charm on them. He then went back to the main entrance and waiter several feet from the front door for the first Death Eaters to come through.
For a few second's there seemed to be silence. Harry almost wondered if they were too dumb to look for him in the house when the wall right next to him was blasted to pieces. Harry lost control of his Levitation Spell and all the cutlery fell to the floor as he turned around and the first two Death Eaters came through the home's new entrance. Harry quickly levitated a large kitchen knife and sent in straight into the skull of the first Death Eater. With barely a sound the man pitched forward as his partner used the same trick as Harry and levitated several steak knives to fly into his opponent. Harry dodged most of them but one managed to get lodged into his right leg, just above the Acromantula's Bite. With a cry of pain Harry used his right hand to pull out the knife and the left to cast a Reductor Curse. The man managed to block the spell but stumbled a little, losing his hood to reveal someone who looked like Vincent Crabbe, another Slyterin student in his year. Now pointing both wand's Harry tried a spell that had been cast on him numerous times that night. "Bombarda!" Harry cried as two destructive blasts of light launched from his wand towards the same spot. The upper right side of Crabbe Sr.'s body dissolved in a fine mist of blood and bone as the hole behind him was further extended from the blast. With a look of surprise the man slowly fell to his knees before he pitched forward, dead.
Coughing up more blood, Harry began ascending the stairs as yet another Death Eater entered the house. His hood was down and Harry also recognized this face – father of Theodore Nott, yet another Slyterin. Beginning to question the sanity of Slytherin's in general, Harry quickly ascended the stairs as a fiery whip seemed to crack from Nott Sr.'s wand, leaving large flaming gouges in the walls. Nott followed him up the stairs to the second floor, continuously making burning slashes in the stairs, walls, and banister. Just as Nott was about to reach the second floor Harry cried "Depulso!" banishing the fiery broken banister straight into Nott, knocking him down the stairwell and crushing his neck under the large chunk of wood.
As Harry heard more people enter the house, he rushed up the stairs to the third and final floor. Harry entered the main bedroom where Voldemort had spent most of his time in the last year, waiting for his body to be resurrected. Harry hid behind the corner of the stone fireplace, watching the door. When a Death Eater kicked the door in Harry cried "Depulso!" banishing the fireplace poker at the intruder. The man deftly dodged the poker which embedded into the wall and pointing his wand at Harry screamed, "Bombarda Maxima!" Harry quickly cast "Protego!" as the spell hit, sending him flying backwards and completely destroying one side of the room.
Harry's pain riddled body recognized the sensation of falling and he cast "Wingardium Leviosa!" on himself, stopping his fall just before his head would have impacted on a tombstone with a large, weeping angel lying over it. Disoriented, Harry looked up towards the ruined manor and saw half the third floor completely blown away. The Death Eater that caused the explosion was standing near the edge, looking around for his target. Growling, Harry saw that his right hand was a mess; it had taken the majority of the damage and was badly burned. Raising his left hand, Harry pointed at the Death Eater on the third floor and cast "Accio!" causing him to fall to his death.
The first Death Eater that exited the house Harry cast "Bombarda!" on, blowing up the majority of the upper half of his body before his legs slowly crumpled to the ground. After that the Death Eaters stopped charging out and began cautiously looking around for him from inside the house.
Harry crawled behind the large angel tombstone and examined his hand more closely. He could still use it, but it wasn't strong enough to have a good grip on his wand. Tearing off a piece of his robe, Harry tied it around his right hand with the wand still in it to keep it in place. He gave a few experimental waves and was satisfied that it would do for now.
Before he could move, Harry felt two lithe stone arms encircle him and bring him around the tombstone facing the manor. Standing before him was an enraged Lucius Malfoy. With a small wave, the statue of the formerly crying angel tightened its hold on Harry, pressing against his broken ribs and forcing a painful and bloody gurgle to escape his lips.
"I warned you that you would meet the same sticky end as your parents Potter," Malfoy snarled, spitting out his last name as if it were a curse. "You should have never defied the Dark Lord; that path leads only to suffering and ruin." Malfoy slowly raised his wand with a snarl, "I should have expected no less from you, the son of a filthy common mudblood."
Harry could see the change in his eyes; from fiery rage to the chilly disregard of a murderer. Harry thought up a plan during Malfoy's little tirade and now just needed to time it perfectly. As Harry saw him raise his wand, he watched his lips, waiting for those first syllables: "Avada…"
Harry quickly raised both wands and pointing just behind hi shouted "Bombarda!" The explosion was so close that his back got torched and he was pelted with debris; one large chunk from the fallen angel struck him in the side of the head. Quickly dropping to his knees, he barely dodged the killing curse before raising both wands and shouting "Bombarda!" Malfoy merely sidestepped one of the curses and with a flick of his wand re-directed the other around him where it slammed into the house, causing more damage. Rolling right to avoid a Cruciatus Curse, Harry raised both wands and shouted "Bombarda Maxima!" Two blinding spells left his wands and merged into one before hitting the elder Malfoy. The explosion was big enough to leave a medium sized crater where it hit, as little bits of blood and flesh rained from the sky.
Collapsing to his knees, Harry desperately tried to regain his breath. He felt like he couldn't get a full breath of air and kept coughing up blood. The head wound he received from blowing up the stature was now bleeding into his left eye, and all he could see looking through it was a crimson tint. He was having trouble moving his right leg and he could no longer flex his fingers in his right hand. He was battered and beaten, not to mention dizzy from the blood loss and probable concussion.
Before he could try to move and escape this little slice of hell on earth, a wild, high pitched scream shattered the air. "HARRY POTTER!" Voldemort screeched, sounding like a man possessed. What was left of his right arm had been tied up to stop the bleeding, and he now had the wand of one of his deceased followers in his left hand. His eyes seemed to glint with madness now more then ever and a flush of indescribable rage showed on even his pale skin. He stalked towards the fallen teen, moving with a single-mindedness that clearly portrayed his intentions. He was going to completely eradicate every trace of Harry James Potter that ever existed in this world and nothing would stand in his way. So consumed by his all encompassing rage was Voldemort that nothing existed in his narrow world except his own blood-lust and desire to kill. Voldemort's lack of self-control would prove to be his final mistake that night.
Raising the wand in his left hand, Voldemort screeched "AVADA KEDAVERA!"
By this point Harry was so damn tired, but when he saw the Dark Lord begin his final attack, Harry summoned up his last strength and slashed both of the brother wands in an X-formation. What neither him nor Voldemort expected was for shimmering golden flames to erupt outward, blazing a trail through the ruined earth as it headed straight for the Dark Lord. Consumed by rage, Voldemort just barely pulled his wits together to dodge the attack, which still managed to burn straight through his right leg and graze his left. The Dark Lord fell to the ground, howling as if he were an animal, clutching what was left of his right leg beneath the kneecap and trying to smother the golden flames. The fiery golden flames continued onward, slamming into Riddle Manor with the force of several battering rams, the raw shock-wave shattering every window in the building as it seemed to tremble before the golden flames spread throughout the structure.
With one final inhuman cry Voldemort disappeared with a crack of sound, vanishing from the ruined graveyard. As the clouds above condensed rain began to fall. The fiery wall that surrounded the graveyard began to sputter and die, while the golden inferno that engulfed Riddle Manor raged on. Harry tried to stand, but he just couldn't muster the strength to get up. His right leg was now starting to go numb, but he told his parent's he would get out of the graveyard. Harry told his parent's he would escape. Using the slab of stone the weeping angel statue once lay over, Harry managed to pull himself up and drag himself out of the graveyard. Past the broken and defiled tombstones; Past the exposed and desecrated graves. Past the headless and mutilated bodies of his fallen foes; Past the torn and scarred earth littered with blood and tissue. And as Harry passed the blazing Riddle Manor, alight with purifying golden flames to burn away the sins of previous owners and past battles fought, Harry didn't spare it a single glance. Harry didn't look back; Harry didn't stop. Harry told his parent's he would leave the graveyard…Harry told them…
As Harry passed the charred earth that once held Voldemort's barrier, Harry tripped on an upturned rock. It was only a small rock, barely noticeable, but it caused Harry to come crashing down. Harry barely had the strength left to crawl, the strength left to move. Rolling over onto his back, he stare up at the rain, and let it cascade over him, letting wash away all his blood and pain. A humorless laugh bubbled from Harry's lips, as blood trickled from hips mouth down the side of his cheek.
"I'm sorry…mum…dad…," Harry gurgled through the blood. "Don't think I'll make that bus…" Harry coughed a few more times, causing more blood to trickle from his mouth. "Did I …disappoint you? I'm sorry I failed…but I tried my hardest."
Harry's world was spinning, even as he lay still on the ground. 'So weak…so tired' Harry thought. Harry's body began to feel numb and cold, despite the blazing golden inferno just behind him. Harry slowly closed his eyes, and kept letting the warm rain wash over him. 'I'll see you soon,' Harry thought with a smile, and he welcomed the eternal darkness of night as it wrapped around him like a comforting blanket. And Harry Potter knew no more.