Yeah, last chapter, I said that there were only three chapters (epilogue and this chapter included) left but, depending on how this chapter ends, there might only be the epilogue left. Just depends. Also, some Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione and Remus/Tonks fluff at the end, just a little bit.
Chapter Thirty Eight
Luna groaned before blinking her eyes open. She was lying on a cold, tiled floor and, as she lifted her head, she could see she was surrounded by hooded Death Eaters with Voldemort sitting nearby on his throne; Nagini was draped over his shoulders.
Voldemort hadn't noticed she was awake yet; his gaze was fixed on one of the Death Eaters in the circle. Luna shifted only to find that her arms and her legs were bound tightly with ropes and she couldn't wiggle free. She tried though but, eventually, gave up and began looking for her wand.
"Is everything prepared, Lucius?" Voldemort said to the Death Eater he was looking at.
"Yes my lord," Malfoy replied and Luna was surprised to hear that his voice was taut with distress and yet it remained level.
Voldemort must have noticed to for, narrowing his eyes, he said, "Are you thinking about your traitorous son, Lucius?"
"He is no son of mine," Lucius said but even Luna could tell he didn't sounding convincing.
"Then you will not mind if I kill him personally along with Dumbledore, Snape and Potter," Voldemort said with a cruel smirk. "Of course, after I let Bellatrix play with him."
Bellatrix, who was standing to the right of Voldemort's throne, grinned. She was twirling two wands in her hands; Luna immediately recognized hers.
Luna glanced briefly at Malfoy; he stood to the left of where Voldemort was seated and his eyes were fixed on the ground. He remained motionless and said nothing in response to Voldemort's words.
"Unless you wish to be the one to kill him, Lucius," Voldemort said.
She wasn't positive but Luna was sure that she saw Lucius flinch. "No my lord, he betrayed you," he said undercurrents of pain and sadness in his voice that Luna was sure he was trying hard to hide.
Does he still care about Draco? Luna wondered silently.
"That is so and that is why I would have denied your request if you had made it but you understand that if anyone is going to kill that traitor then it will be me," Voldemort said before he turned his crimson gaze to Luna. "Until they arrive, however, why don't we have some entertainment, shall we? Bellatrix?"
Bellatrix grinned drifting forward. "It will be my pleasure, my lord," she said with a bow before she came to Luna's side and, kneeling down, she dug her wand into Luna's side and hissed out, "Crucio!"
Luna screamed and writhed in agony as her entire body was engulfed in pain and her nerves were set on fire. It hurt so much and yet she couldn't get away from it. Bellatrix, with an insane laugh, removed the wand before jamming it into her stomach and hissed out, "Crucio!" again.
The pain was intense and yet it was so painful that Luna couldn't even go unconscious to escape the pain. Her entire body felt like it was on fire.
"That's enough, Bellatrix," Voldemort said and Bellatrix, pouting, removed her wand before standing up.
"Yes my lord," she said and returned to her spot near Voldemort's throne.
"It will not be long before Potter and the Order arrive. Remember to not let the wards fall unless Potter is with the group," he ordered Lucius who bowed his head.
"Yes my lord," he said softly.
"And make sure everyone is in place. The Order must not know they are there if this ambush is to work but make sure to leave Potter, Snape and Dumbledore for me," Voldemort ordered.
"Yes my lord."
The entirety of the Order of the Phoenix gathered in the conference room within Grimmauld's Place. Harry stood with Hermione, Ron, Draco, Neville and Ginny at his side; despite not being of age yet, they were invited to attend the meeting though Molly Weasley didn't agree.
"They aren't of age yet," she protested when she spotted the six soon to be sixth years.
"This may be our only chance to defeat Voldemort once and for all, Molly," Dumbledore said gently, "and he asked specifically for Harry."
"He's not even sixteen yet!"
"Yes, I know that but he's not going alone. Voldemort expects him to come with help but Severus has a plan that might just work," Dumbledore said.
"What kind of plan?" Tonks asked warily.
Everyone looked at Snape who was seated next to Dumbledore. Snape gazed back at them before he began to speak. "Harry told me that he knows of a way to get into Malfoy Manor without triggering the wards. Voldemort likely wishes to take out as many members of the Order as he can as well as Harry, Albus and myself but he will likely not use straightforward methods. They have home field advantage and it's possible they've set up an ambush for us."
"If Harry can get some of us into Malfoy Manor without triggering the wards then we'll have the advantage of surprise. We can stop the ambush, if there is one, or we can attack from two sides, if there isn't one."
"How're you going to get into Malfoy Manor though, Harry?" Sirius asked.
"Dobby," Harry said. "He's a former house elf that I freed in my second year. Draco said that he can still bypass the wards without alerting anyone inside."
"My parents preferred our house elves to never be seen or heard and they didn't want to be bothered with hearing our house elves leaving or entering the manor if they ever had to leave to run an errand," Draco added. "That's why they won't trigger any alarms."
"It's a risky plan," Moody growled.
"Yes but, at the moment, it might be our only plan," Snape said.
"I, for one, think it might work," Dumbledore said.
"It's risky but that's why I like it," Sirius said with a grin.
"You would," Snape sneered.
"You're the one that thought of it, Snape," Sirius retorted.
"He's got a point, Sev," Harry said and smirked when Snape glared at him.
"Who's going to be in which group though?" Arthur asked.
"I have to be part of the group that Voldemort knows about," Harry said. "Or else it might not work."
"It's too dangerous though," Mrs. Weasley protested.
"He's not going alone, Molly," Dumbledore assured her. "I will go with him."
"As will I," Snape said.
"We're going to," Hermione said.
"No, absolutely not! It's bad enough Harry has to go!" Mrs. Weasley shouted.
"That bloody bastard killed my mother. I'm not just going to sit aside and do nothing," Draco snapped.
"We started this with Harry and we're going to end it with him," Hermione said firmly.
"We're all in this together, we have been from the very beginning," Neville said.
Dumbledore smiled gently at the group of children. "I do not want to put you in any danger…"
"Professor, like Neville said, we started this together and we're going to end it together. Besides, Luna's my friend and I'm not going to sit aside and do nothing either," Ginny said sternly.
"I agree," Ron said.
Mrs. Weasley opened her mouth to protest but, before she could, Dumbledore said, "I have an idea. No matter which group you are a part of, I want you to stay near an adult at all times, two adults if you can. They will keep an eye on and protect you. Do you agree with this, Mrs. Weasley?"
"I don't like it, not at all, but fine," Mrs. Weasley said. "But if we tell you to get out of there, do as we say."
"All right, now who will be part of which group?" Remus asked.
"We should probably see how many people Dobby can transport into Malfoy Manor at once," Snape said.
"Dobby!" Harry called. Normally, Dobby was always near Harry ready to help him and today was no exception.
A pop sounded and Dobby the house elf appeared before them. "Master Harry," he greeted him.
"Hey Dobby," Harry said with a smile. "We need a favor."
"Anything for yous, Master Harry," Dobby said though he eyed Draco warily.
"Don't worry, Dobby. Draco won't hurt you," Harry assured him. "But we need you to do something for us but first, how many people can you transport from one location to another at once?"
Dobby seemed to think for a minute. "As many as ten Dobby think, Master Harry," he said.
"That should work," Snape said.
"All right, Dobby. Will you be willing to transport ten members of the Order straight into Malfoy Manor?" Harry asked.
Dobby looked worried.
"It's our only chance to save Luna and defeat Voldemort once and for all," Harry said ignoring Dobby's slight flinch. "All you have to do is get ten of us into Malfoy Manor and that's it. Dobby, will you do it?"
Dobby hesitated then he nodded causing his large years to flop. "Anything for yous, Master Harry," he said.
"One other thing," Snape said thoughtfully. "Is it possible for you to transport these ten members into Malfoy Manor and keep them from being seen by anyone inside the Manor?"
Dobby nodded eager to help even if he did still look a little worried. "Yes, Dobby can do that," he said.
Snape nodded. "Then that would be the best thing to do."
The majority of the Order would be going with Harry and, despite Mrs. Weasley's protests, all of Harry's friends decided to go with him as well. They were instructed to stay near an Order member at all times. Harry, naturally, would stay near Snape and Dumbledore though Sirius and Remus said they would be nearby in case.
"But we'll keep an eye on your friends, kiddo," Sirius said.
"Okay, so when do we leave?" Ron asked.
"First things first, we need something to kill Nagini and destroy that horcrux as well," Harry said.
"We will not need to worry about that," Dumbledore assured him.
"What about if Nagini bites anyone?" Mrs. Weasley asked worriedly.
"I have a few antidotes with me," Snape said, "but we will have to be careful since I don't have enough for everyone."
"Are we ready to go then?" Dumbledore asked.
Everyone nodded though Harry could tell he wasn't the only one who was nervous.
"We're going to finally end this," Harry told himself.
"Yes we will, Harry," Snape said softly. "But be careful, Harry."
"I will, Sev but you be careful too. You too, Sirius, Remus, all of you. I don't want anyone else to die for me," Harry said.
"We'll be careful," Remus assured him softly.
"Then let's do this."
Mad-Eye Moody was in charge of the group Dobby would transport directly into Malfoy Manor. He was also in charge of figuring out if there was an ambush or not and preparing for it; he always suspected the worse so he was prepared for an ambush.
He, along with nine others, gathered around Dobby in the conference room before he cast a silencing charm over them so that they could talk freely when they reached Malfoy Manor. "Okay, yous need to stay close together," Dobby said. "Hold hands if yous need to so yous won't get left behind."
Moody grunted but he and the others did as they were told and, suddenly, they were gone.
It wasn't long before they reappeared in the entrance hall of Malfoy Manor. The fact that the two Death Eaters in the hall didn't notice them though they had appeared right in front of them told Moody that the house-elf had managed to make them invisible. They also cast verbless and wandless disillusionment charms while under Dobby's protection; he and Snape had assured them that, once inside Malfoy Manor because of how much magic was concentrated there from the Death Eaters and Voldemort, no one would notice if they cast that spell after they got inside.
"When's the brat supposed to show up?" One of the Death Eaters in the hall growled.
"Any time now," the other Death Eater said.
"Is everything set up?" Bellatrix demanded as she walked into the entrance hall. Moody stiffened as she passed dangerously close to where the group was located.
"Yeah, everyone's in place. Once they get here then they won't know what hit 'em," the first Death Eater said.
"Better be sure about that," Bellatrix sneered before walking away.
Moody felt someone tap his shoulder and he looked toward Shacklebolt who gestured and the group backed away from the Death Eaters. "Looks like they are setting up an ambush," Shacklebolt whispered very softly. "What kind though?"
"My guess is they're disillusioned or hiding," Moody murmured back barely moving his lips.
"There, I see someone," an Auror whispered pointing and Moody looked to find a black-cloaked figure crouched beside one of the pillars.
"Spread out," Moody whispered. "Find as many of these people as possible but don't reveal yourself. Remember that many of them are likely disillusioned and remember constant vigilance!"
Everyone spread out, some making their way up the stairs while others wandered around the entrance hall still hidden by the disillusionment charm. Dobby was either invisible or he already left; Moody didn't know.
He was joined by Shacklebolt near the bottom of the winding staircase where two Death Eaters were crouched in the staircase's shadow. Shacklebolt, casting a wandless and verbless silencing charm since the other one had been canceled when they split up, before whispering, "I just saw Malfoy. He's heading here."
A moment later, Malfoy walked into the entrance hall.
"Bellatrix already came to check on us," the Death Eater that was standing guard near the door said.
"I know but I'm making sure everything is fine. Just go back to your duties," Malfoy said. He sounded tired and there was an undercurrent of sadness in his voice.
The two Death Eaters just looked at each other, shrugged and turned their gaze back to the door. Malfoy remained standing behind them before he lifted his wand and cast a spell, wandless and verbless since Moody didn't know what it did. He then turned and walked away passing close enough to Moody that he heard him murmur, "It's not much but I hope it will help. This is for you, Cissy though I don't know if it will make amends. Also, I hope that I will be able to apologize to your face for being such an idiot, my little dragon," and then he disappeared down the hall.
Moody frowned wondering what Malfoy did but decided now wasn't the time to worry about that. He refocused his attention on the hidden Death Eaters as he waited for the final battle to begin.
Harry stood nervously beyond the wards of Malfoy Manor. He gazed at the creepy manor but didn't move; he had to wait until Dobby told them that everyone was in position. Snape stood at his side with a hand resting on his shoulder while Dumbledore stood on his other side.
Suddenly, Dobby popped into existence in front of them. "Everyone's in place, Master Harry," he said.
"Thank you, Dobby," Harry said and Dobby popped away. He took a deep breath before looking at his friends. "Well, this is it."
Everyone nodded and then Ginny dashed forward, wrapped her arms around Harry and kissed him on the lips. Harry's eyes went wide but he kissed her back wrapping his arms around her and holding her close. She pulled free and smiled at him. "We'll finish this, Harry," she said. "I know that we can."
Harry smiled before looking toward Ron and Hermione who were also kissing and holding each other as if this would be the last time they would be seeing each other, which it possibly could be.
Sirius smirked as Remus, putting an arm around Tonks, froze when Tonks turned and kissed him on the lips.
"You boys are too slow in making the first move," she said pulling back and smirking at a shocked Remus, her hair turning a lavender color. Remus said nothing but simply kissed Tonks back.
"Way to go, Moony," Sirius said with a grin.
"Shut it, Padfoot," Remus snapped pulling free.
"Now that that's all done and taken care of, we should get moving," Snape said flatly before he looked at Harry and his eyes softened a little. "Don't do anything stupid, Harry."
"I won't, Sev," Harry said before he hugged his guardian resting his head against Snape's chest as Snape slowly put his arms around him holding him close.
"You better not, brat," Snape said affectionately as he released him.
"Are we ready now?" Dumbledore asked.
Harry took a deep breath before turning to face the manor. "Let's do this," he said.
a/n what do you think?
Blaze: okay, so there really are three (well two now) more chapters in this story including the epilogue
Blaze: so short author's note since I'm off to type the final battle scene, wish me luck since battle scenes really aren't my forte. Please review as they are much appreciated.