Disclaimer – I do not own Harry Potter or anything associated with it, blah blah blah.
A/N – I know, I know! Save your curse words, they have no effect on me, I'm just... well truthfully I've been lacking the will to live since, well actually for most of 2013 actually, so finding the motivation to write has been next to impossible. But 2014 is going okay so far there have been a few ups and downs, but I'm hanging on in there. So considerably later then I intended and I'm sure far far later than you wanted, here it is Chapter 22!
Ginny was still staring at the spot where her husband had just flamed out from when the stunner hit her, she crumpled to the floor instantly; Hedwig let out an almighty screech and flew over to settle on her masters mates chest glaring daggers at Dumbledore.
"Albus!?" Remus asked, as he and Sirius came sprinting back round the corner after hearing Harry's shout.
"She would have insisted on coming along."
"Coming along? What are you on about, and where has Harry gone?" Sirius asked.
"The Castle, Voldemort has acquired the Philosophers stone. Harry will engage him, I stunned Mrs Potter to protect her, as well as ourselves, as I'm fairly certain Harry would have killed us if we brought her along."
The two marauders shared a quick look and both silently agreed with the old mans theory.
Albus took a deep breath before beginning a light run to the ground floor, the marauders kept pace with the old wizard, it was Sirius who spoke between breaths.
"Why can't you just portkey us straight to the third floor?"
Albus, being much more winded than the other two, answered in short bursts.
"I could. Only. Go to. My office. But now. Harry is. Master. Of the wards. I can't. We will. Have to. App-apparate. To the gates."
The trio made it to the lobby and ignoring the startled looks from the other patients and healers, ran straight across it and through the door, once outside they all completely disregarded the statute of secrecy and apparated in full view of over a dozen muggles.
Both spells splashed harmlessly across shimmering shields, Harry smirked in smug satisfaction when he saw Voldemort's eyes widen at the sight of his killing curse being stopped by a shield.
"You are more skilled than I hoped Potter." Voldemort said as the two combatants slowly circled each other in front of the mirror.
Harry didn't bother answering with words, instead he launched a volley of curses and hexes with such speed and ferocity that the dark lord had to actually dodge some instead of shielding against them.
Even then one piercing hex still got through the dark lords defences and clipped him in the shoulder, as the dark lord winced in pain and staggered back half a step from the impact, Harry raised his wand and prepared to launch another volley, before he could start, he watched dumbstruck as the wound on Voldemorts shoulder healed itself, the flesh regenerating in seconds.
Voldemort smirked at the dumbstruck look on his opponents face, "Do you like what I've done with the stone Harry?"
Harry gave a grudging nod in acceptance as he gripped his double phoenix feather wand a bit harder quickly realising that the difficulty of his task had just increased exponentially.
Within the confined space of the dungeon chamber Harry's style of curses and hexes was far more effective than Tom's style of dark spells and transfiguration. That said, Voldemorts regenerative abilities combined with Harry's fatigue stacked the odds heavily in favor of the Dark Lord.
The two titans of magic tried their utmost to kill or mortally wound the other, other than his opening salvo, the dark lord didn't fire any killing curses or even a cruciatus in an effort to conserve his magic.
Spells splashed across shields, hit the dungeon walls, or destroyed conjured items or hit summoned stone rubble. Soon all manor of debris was flying around the room, or transfigured into rabid animals.
With the amount of damage done to the walls, it was only the sheer strength of Hogwart's that was preventing the entire room from collapsing on top of the two of them.
Harry managed to gain an advantage when the dark lord conjured a python and told it to bite the young mage, only to stumble in shock when Harry spoke to the snake and ordered it to bite the dark lord, Voldemorts shock was soo great the python managed to get close enough to bite him in the leg.
The sudden pain from the bite snapped the dark lord out of his stupor and he quickly vanished the snake, but the momentary distraction was all the opening that Harry needed.
The dark lord couldn't raise his wand to get a shield up in time, and with his leg still regenerating from the bite, his mobility was greatly reduced, the light wizard took full advantage and unleashed his full might into a barrage of blasters, piercers, and cutters.
The spell salvo was launched with so much intensity that the spells blurred together, the dark lord managed to avoid the first couple by diving to the ground, but Harry wasn't the most feared Law man in the world for nothing, and anticipated the dark lords dive, the rest of his salvo slammed straight into Voldemort, and sent the dark lords now heavily battered and bloody body flying across the room and into the far wall.
Pressing his advantage home, Harry brought his off hand to bear for the first time, snapping out the dark lords own wand, and flinging spell after spell after spell at the dark lord's body.
After a minute of endless spellfire Harry lowered his guard and put Voldemorts wand back into its holster. His magical senses were severely dampened not only by his fatigue but also by the amount of magic lingering in the air, so he couldn't feel if the dark lord was dead.
Drawing on some gryffindor recklessness Harry approached the bloody pulp that used to be Voldemort, as he got closer Harry started to feel the beginnings of magical exhaustion, he briefly paused and shook his head to try and keep himself conscious.
The dark lord was experiencing pain greater than any he had experienced before, he could feel every cut, and every hole that the Potter boy had made, he could feel his magic combining with that from the stone to repair the injuries, he slowly regained his awareness as his body restored itself. The stone's regenerative powers having to work overtime to overcome the amount of damage Harry had managed to inflict. He felt the warm handle of his wand still in his mangled hand; he gathered what reserves of magic he could spare, and as soon as he felt the regeneration begin to show, he struck.
Harry was taken completely off guard by the dark lords attack, and only managed to dodge part of it thanks to his lightning reflexes, but he knew deep in his heart that the fight was already over.
Their second duel was as brutal as it was short, in less than thirty seconds a barely conscious and bleeding profusely Harry Potter lay on the dungeon floor, whilst the dark lord stood over him.
"You are weak Harry Potter, and now you shall die." Voldemort said as he raised his wand.
Harry stared through bloodied eyes at the green bringer of death that came towards him, 'I love you Ginny.'
With a flash of white and a screech the killing curse was stopped in its tracks, a cloud of ash fluttering to the ground, with gleaming white feathers scattered around it.
"Hedwig... HEDWIG!" Harry screamed.
Looking up from the baby phoenix to the dark lords shocked form, Harry felt something snap inside of him, as he raised his hand and unleashed magic reserves he didn't know he had.
The blast of raw unfocused magic slammed the dark lords battered and now burnt and crispy body into the far wall so hard that it was embedded several feet into the solid stone.
Harry slumped back to the ground as his arm dropped beside him, he tried to summon Hedwig to him, but realised he had used all his magic up, he was running on empty. Knowing he only had a minute at most before exhaustion claimed him, he crawled over to where baby Hedwig was chirping at him from, "Hey girl, thanks for the help."
Harry was just closing his eyes when a noise from behind him dumped a shedload of adrenaline into his system as his eyes snapped open, and he spun round.
There dragging himself out of the wall was Voldemort, still alive despite the massive damage to his body,
Harry wanted to slump back down in defeat, but using strength he didn't know he possessed, Harry climbed to his feet. He wouldn't give the monster the satisfaction of killing him on his back, he would die on his feet like his parents before him, like Sirius and like Remus, 'I'm sorry. Ginny'
The dark lord glared at him as he raised his wand, this time he didn't bother with gloating or words.
Albus Dumbledore was also using strength reserves he didn't know he had as he ran at a full sprint all the way from the gates to the third floor corridor. The senior staff joined up with the trio from St. Mungo's outside the locked door, having been ordered there by a patronus from the headmaster, sent as he arrived at the gates.
Poor Fluffy was brutally smacked aside by the only man Voldemort feared, as the group of Albus, Sirius, Remus, Minerva, Filius, Pomona and Severus, all jumped down the trap door, the devils snare was already burnt to a crisp before Sirius had landed on Dumbledore's cushioning charm.
Filius quickly worked around the enchanted keys and the group made their way into the large chess chamber when they were stopped dead in their tracks by the person emerging from the next room.
Angry blood red met ice cold furious blue as Voldemort and Dumbledore stared at each other for a moment before they both pounced.
Voldemort shot a killing curse at the old man only for it to be stopped by a now fully animated chess piece, courtesy of McGonagall. Dumbledore attacked with his fire-whip spell, Voldemort flung the incoming spell away with a fire whip of his own, this one comprised of black flame.
The two marauders had been momentarily shocked at seeing the dark lord in the flesh, both of them trying not to think of what it meant regarding Harry. They overcame the shock and started flinging the most powerful and deadly spells they knew, the other teachers had also started firing curses with the exception of Snape, who was staring at the dark lord, indecision written all over his face.
"Severus, kill the others the old man is mine!" Voldemort shouted out over the sound of spellfire.
"Severus!" Voldemort shouted again when his loyal servant did nothing.
"No!" Snape's shout stunned the dark lord enough for several spells to hit him, he merely shrugged them off with a half step back as his body regenerated.
Voldemort stared at his servant whilst everyone felt their hopes plummet at his regenerative abilities.
"What did you say!?" Voldemort screamed.
"I said NO!" With that the fighting resumed with Snape showing why he was considered one of the best fighters in the death eater ranks.
The light fighters were beginning to make some ground, as Voldemort had to rely more upon dodging then shielding. But Tom managed to get an unknown spell through McGonagall's defences, she went down instantly, the animated chess pieces all stopping and collapsing with her.
Seeing one of their own go down the light started to lose hope, with every spell they were able to land on Voldemort he just regenerated and carried on fighting.
The Dark Lord saw his enemy's resolve falter but knew he too was struggling, he could feel his magic reserves waning, so he tried to gain a psychological edge, "Are you not concerned for your great champion, Dumbledore?"
Dumbledore didn't answer with words he just focused harder on fighting as his spells became brighter.
"I must confess he fought better than I expected, but he was no match for Lord Voldemort!"
"You are no lord Tom."
Voldemort snarled at the old wizard as he continued being selective with his spells, and dodging a lot more than shielding.
Albus, Filius and Severus were the only ones who picked up that the dark lord was being very picky with his spell choice, using only spells with a minimal magical component, and that he was moving a lot more.
Dumbledore knew that they would have to actually fight as a team to defeat Tom, instead of just a group of individuals.
Before Albus could begin shouting orders for teamwork, Sprout went down to a cutting curse across her torso.
After another couple of minutes, with everyone moving around to dodge the dark lords attacks, Snape ended up beside the two marauders, when Sirius had an idea.
"Even Rosier, 6th year!" Hoping that his year mates knew what he was on about, Sirius advanced.
Remus caught on to Sirius's plan immediately, and began to advance as well, Snape was only a few seconds behind Remus in figuring it out.
With the three year mates advancing to surround Voldemort, Albus and Filius shared a split second look, and moved to flank the dark lord from behind.
Voldemort quickly worked out that they were trying to surround him, but with is magic waning there was nothing he could do, except move.
So he did; he started to back up trying to keep them all in front of him, Sirius proved his marauder status when he flung a spell wide of the dark lord.
Voldemort assumed Sirius had just missed and ignored the spell, when a second went wide he forgot about them, until a powerful set of jaws clamped around his wand arm. Instinctively he dropped his wand and tried to swat the transfigured creature away, too late he realised his mistake.
Before the dark lords wand had hit the floor, a trio of killing curses came flying at him along with a high-powered explosion curse. Dumbledore flung a blasting curse at the wand before sending a pure white lance of magic at Voldemort's chest.
Voldemort spun his body round and used the creature still clamped to his arm to take two of the killing curses, the third caught him in the back of the shoulder, followed instantly by the explosion curse, which blew his entire right arm clean off; the explosion turned him back around to face them, as the white lance of magic from Dumbledore reached him and struck him square in the chest.
Voldemort clutched his chest with his remaining hand has he collapsed to his knees, the fighters all ceased firing as they watched the dark lord struggle to breath.
Once again the side of the light could do nothing but stare and watch in abject horror as his breathing eased and a new arm started to grow out of his shoulder.
As the dark lord climbed back to his feet he spoke, "You see old man, unlike all of you, including your precious boy-who-lived, I am immort-Ack!" Voldemort gasped in pain as he looked down at the silver sword protruding from his chest, shards of the stone embedded in the blood now covering the blade.
The sword was withdrawn and the Dark Lord fell back to his knees as blood started pouring out of the hole in his chest along with the rest of the stones fragments, his new arm had stopped growing and resembled a babies arm stuck onto his torso.
The fighters all stared at the figure wielding the sword standing behind the dark lord.
"Harry." they all breathed out as one.
There in the doorway down to the dungeons, stood Harry Potter with a baby phoenix on his shoulder, the remains of his clothes soaked through with blood and covered in dust and debris, vast swaths of newly healed skin were visible through his clothes, including the ring on the chain around his neck. Dumbledore gasped as he saw the stone in the ring was glowing an eerily familiar shade of green.
But Harry ignored them all, including the cries of happiness and relief from the marauders, as he walked round the rapidly paling form of Voldemort.
The Dark Lord raised his head to see the one who stabbed him and his eyes widened as he tried to shuffle backwards.
"What's the matter Tom, you look like you've seen a ghost." Harry said as he subtly adjusted his grip on the sword of Gryffindor.
Voldemort was slowly shaking his head as the blood loss and the shock started to get to him, when his eyes laid upon the ring Harry had around his neck, the dark lord tried to lunge at Harry, only to have the sword plunged back through what remained of his heart.
This time Harry kept the blade still as he spoke, "Yes Tom, my sword has destroyed the stone within you, and I have already collected and destroyed all of your precious little trinkets. The diary you gave to Lucius, the ring you hid in your grandfather's home, the diadem you hid here in the castle, the locket you hid in that cave, and the cup you had dear Bella hide in her vault at Gringotts."
The dark Lord's eyes had grown more and more frantic as Harry spoke; when he pulled the sword out, Voldemort tried to speak, "No, mer-mercy."
"Mercy!? You dare ask for mercy after all that you have done!?" With those words Harry pulled out, and swung the sword of Gryffindor through the air towards the Dark Lords neck.
A/N - And there you have it. I know its not what some of you were hoping for, but this was always my intention for this story. I am tempted to leave it here, and let you use your imagination as to what happened and will happen. But I might do an epilogue if there is enough demand for one.