A/N: I do not own Harry Potter. The italics that open this chapter are quoted from Order of the Phoenix pp. 791-792.
Summary: Hermione falls and Harry goes nuclear.
Chapter 1: Remade
With a cry of triumph, both [Death Eaters] yelled, "IMPEDIMENTA!"
Harry, Hermione, and Neville were all knocked backward off their feet. Neville was thrown over the desk and disappeared from view, Hermione smashed into a bookcase and was promptly deluged in a cascade of heavy books; the back of Harry's head slammed into the stone wall behind him, tiny lights burst in front of his eyes, and for a moment he was too dizzy and bewildered to react.
"WE'VE GOT HIM!" yelled the Death Eater nearest Harry, "IN AN OFFICE OFF—"
"Silencio!" cried Hermione, and the man's voice was extinguished. He continued to mouth through the hole in his mask, but no sound came out; he was thrust aside by his fellow.
"Petrificus Totalus!" shouted Harry, as the second Death Eater raised his wand. His arms and legs snapped together and he fell forward, facedown onto the rug at Harry's feet, stiff as a board and unable to move at all.
"Well done, Ha—"
But the Death Eater Hermione had just struck dumb made a sudden slashing movement with his wand from which flew a streak of what looked like purple flame. It passed right across Hermione's chest; she gave a tiny "oh!" as though of surprise and then crumped onto the floor where she lay motionless.
Suddenly oblivious to everything around him, Harry crumpled to his knees next to the fallen form of his best female friend. An angry red line of Hermione's lifeblood was already seeping through her shirt between her breasts. Internal dams Harry had long held in check—sadness, anger, betrayal, despair—were creaking under the intense pressure of watching Hermione struck down by the Death Eater now standing in front of him. Harry realized the Death Eater, whom he recognized as Antonin Dolohov, was casting spells at him, but they were all dissipating in front of him as if they were encountering some kind of shield.
Harry's eyes turned back toward Hermione. His mind was a whirlwind of panic and paralyzed rage. He didn't know the first thing about tending to her wounds, if she was even still alive…
And with a deep mental jolt he realized that whatever curse Dolohov had used might have been fatal. He could be looking at the corpse of his best friend right now; the girl that had stuck with him through everything, even when he was hacked off at her back in third year over the stupid broom. Ron might have been his first friend, but Hermione was definitely his best friend, and if he was honest with himself, he hoped to someday call her more than just a best friend. He hoped to call her his girlfriend. He had slowly been falling in love with her, if he even knew what love truly was, since sometime during first year. And now, because he'd insisted they go on this little adventure to the Ministry, she could be dead on the floor in front of him.
Without even realizing the sob that escaped his lips, he started crying at the thought of living life without Hermione. She was his rock. She talked him down when he was being impossibly stubborn. He was her rock too, though. He had talked her down countless times from similar states. They understood each other well enough to have entire conversations with facial expressions, leaving unsaid what need not be uttered. It had always worked like that with them. But now, if she was gone, that part of his life would forever be missing. He might never see her bright smile waiting for him as he descended to the common room in the mornings.
His fists clenched on the floor as his tears fell on Hermione's crumpled form. He felt so useless, leaning over her but unable to do anything about her injury, or even ascertain whether she lived or died.
Those blocks that had been in place since he'd known himself as "boy" were cracking along long-buried fault lines, letting all of the emotions he had refused to feel course through his system, which was already wired from the adrenaline and magic of the last ten minutes. Despair at Hermione's motionless form, rage at everything and everyone including himself that had allowed events to get to this point, and betrayal at the cruel bitch of fate for taking everything he had ever knowingly or unknowingly cherished from him were just a small sample of the cornucopia of emotions swirling through him.
As Harry let out an anguished cry of grief and frustration, eldritch arcs of magic snapped out from his kneeling form, scorching the walls where they impacted. Neville, having just stood up from behind the desk, ducked quickly back down. Dolohov stopped casting the ineffectual spells at Harry, staring at the young wizard with wide eyes. One of the magical bolts had passed fairly close to his body; he could still feel the raw magical power in the air all around him.
Before his self-preservation kicked in, though, another wave of magic exploded from Harry, causing several more magical lightning bolts to flash out from his body. One directly impacted Dolohov's head. The resulting sizzling explosion splattered the wall behind the falling Death Eater's body in smoking gore.
Harry had eyes for only Hermione. His thoughts and his feelings and his entire existence were focused on the lovely face of Hermione Granger; even in what he supposed was death, her features were graceful.
His face crumpled and, heedless of her injury, he gathered her limp form in his arms, cradling her against his chest as he rested back on his laurels. He was crying harder now, unable to stem the flow of emotions and magic, and uncaring anyway. His magical core felt like it was undulating in the strongest tide imaginable, ebbing and flowing in a much more robust way than he'd ever felt before. But that observation was barely cognizant; Hermione was his entire world at the moment.
"Hermione," he choked out. Her blood was all over him now. She had lost so much blood.
This time the magical pulse was much more powerful. It immediately shattered every single one of the Ministry's tracking devices throughout the building. Rather than eldritch bolts of magical fire, this pulse manifested as a physical shockwave that emanated from Harry's body, radiating outward in three dimensions in a sphere, traveling through walls and floors and ceilings on its way. Neville was thrown off his feet again, though he was unharmed.
As it swept through the Ministry, it upended desks, bookcases, shattered the false windows, and utterly destroyed the entire Hall of Prophecy.
Before that pulse had completely faded, which it did just as it reached street level, another blew forth from Harry's beleaguered magical core, which was fueled by the strongest and most desperate emotions he had ever known.
This was the wizard that had driven away over one hundred Dementors with a single Patronus when he was thirteen; most magical people could not even cast a corporeal Patronus, and those who could would be hard pressed to defend themselves against more than two Dementors.
This was the wizard that had forced Voldemort's wand to submit in the graveyard at the end of the previous year, something he could have only done if he had more raw magical potential than the Dark Lord.
This was the wizard that had lit his wand from three feet away with a standard lumos, something which was supposed to be impossible based on the laws of magic they had all learned in Charms with Flitwick. Wandless magic was certainly plausible, but manipulation of a wand without it being in hand was impossible—except for Harry.
This was the wizard that had been fighting and winning an unconscious battle with the soul fragment of Voldemort inside his head for his entire life, something even a Master Occlumens like Snape or Dumbledore would not have been able to maintain over such an extended period of time. And Harry had no such Occlumency mastery.
His true magical power was quite frankly off the known scale, and it was finally being unleashed from his expanding magical core as the pulses increased in frequency and potency. No living being was standing in the Ministry now, all having been knocked to the floor, including Dumbledore who had just arrived in the Veil Chamber and Voldemort who was lying in wait in the Atrium.
Harry could feel his magic changing and growing, surprisingly not an unpleasant sensation, but he ignored that in favor of examining Hermione's limp form in closer detail, doing his best through his pooled tears to look at her. With every pulse of magic he could feel escaping his body, a curious thing happened: some of Hermione's blood disappeared.
His best friend's modesty the farthest thing from his mind at that moment, he reached up and quickly ripped the collar of her shirt down the middle, stopping just below her bra.
Harry clenched Hermione tighter at what he saw, increasing the tempo and power of the magical pulses that were still pouring from his body. Vaguely, he could hear Neville shouting his name in the background.
There was a deep, jagged wound between the swells of Hermione's breasts, deep enough for Harry to catch fleeting glimpses of her sternum and ribs. It was ugly and gory, and if it wasn't Hermione he was holding he probably would have been sick.
As his core's pulses continued, he watched as first the wound stopped bleeding; then the edges began to knit together slowly; the muscle and gristle beneath her skin repaired itself as well, covering the shocking whiteness of her sternum before the skin closed over that too.
He could hardly believe his eyes. He wiped his hand down the area between her breasts, clearing away more of the blood. He stared in shock. Where moments ago there had been a mortal wound, there was now only a faint scar, slightly resembling the same lightning bolt on Harry's own forehead, though far larger.
Then her shirt knitted together too, preserving her modesty. It was still stained with some of her blood, but she was no longer in danger of bleeding out.
Harry didn't know what to think.
Neville's voice finally penetrated the hazy fog of emotions, magic, and confusion in Harry's brain.
"Just hold on, please, Hermione," Harry muttered, lifting her toward his face in his arms and planting a soft kiss on her cool forehead. "For me, Hermione," he said. "I love you," he whispered.
He finally turned to Neville, and as he did, the magical pulses, which were coming so fast and furious now as to be indistinguishable from each other, abruptly stopped. The smell of ozone was thick in the air.
The world was supremely quiet for a brief moment, quiet enough for Harry to think he was able to hear the traffic on the street far above his head.
Then Neville was struggling out from beneath the remains of the desk, which must have crumbled at some point under the onslaught of Harry's power. Luckily, he looked mostly unharmed, though his wand was shattered into three pieces and forgotten in his hand as he stared with wide, disbelieving eyes at Harry.
"Harry, what did you do?" Neville asked, awe coloring his voice. "Is Hermione alright?" the next question came, right after the first.
"I don't know, Neville," Harry said, standing with her in his arms. It felt effortless to him, as if she weighed nothing.
Something pricked at the edge of his magic. He focused on it and realized that it was a familiar, ugly sensation—Voldemort was in the building. Harry focused harder and located the source of this malignant magic. The Dark Lord was in the Atrium.
He looked back into Neville's eyes. "Voldemort's here."
Neville flinched and looked around quickly. "He is? Where?"
"The Atrium," Harry told him. "He's up there waiting for us to emerge. I need you to take Hermione, Neville."
"Sure, of course," Neville said, stepping forward and holding out his arms. His eyes were wide still but he seemed to be trusting Harry completely.
"Be careful with her. I don't think I will be long."
"You have my word, Harry."
Harry nodded and handed Hermione to Neville, who grunted slightly under the weight.
"Keep her safe," Harry said; he then focused on Voldemort's magical signature and translocated to the Atrium. He didn't think it was Apparation, since he had made no noise, but it was instant.
He was greeted by the sight of the long Atrium with its Floos. At the opposite end were the lifts and the Fountain of Magical Brethren. It was completely silent and empty.
"Come out, Tommy," Harry called, drawing his wand and looking around. He could feel his magic flexing in anticipation of the coming fight. It amazed him that he could feel his core so closely now, as if it was completely and undeniably under his control. He knew he could make it do whatever he wanted.
Dark chuckles filled the Atrium. The sound seemed to be coming from all around, but Harry could pinpoint precisely where Voldemort's magical signature was. He'd had enough of these games.
"BOMBARDA!" he called, flicking his wand.
This was no mere spell. The force and size of the pressure wave that burst forth from his wand were enough to make every single hair on his body stand on end. The noise was truly cacophonous in the enclosed space, but Harry watched the magic stoically as it raced the length of the Atrium.
Voldemort finally made an appearance as the spell neared the Fountain because he could no longer maintain the invisibility spell. Because it was so large and wide, the Dark Lord could not simply dodge it; he had to shield against it. With a cutting motion, a wedge-shaped silver shield of magic surrounded his form as the spell roared into him.
The spell was split in two and veered off in two directions, blowing huge chunks out of, and cracking, the solid concrete walls where they impacted. Voldemort was thrown off his feet into the Fountain, but otherwise appeared unharmed.
Harry smiled grimly to himself. This was about to get very interesting.
"That's for Hermione, you prick," Harry called, walking slowly down the Atrium toward the Fountain. Voldemort stood, glaring furiously at Harry as water dripped from his form.
"You'll regret that, boy," the Dark Lord growled, jumping from the Fountain and raising his wand in one fluid motion.
The sickly green of the Killing Curse rushed toward Harry, who rolled out of the way and came up firing. He wasn't using words anymore—just pushing his magic from the tip of his wand, one supercharged bolt of energy after another. Voldemort dodged the first few bright red masses of chaotic power; when they impacted the wall behind the Fountain, they left sizzling craters.
Voldemort countered with more Killing Curses, finally forcing Harry to do more than dodge; he conjured a metal shield, blocking one that he knew he wouldn't be able to dodge; the intense vibrations as a result of the death magic hitting it hurt his arm like a bitch, however.
Suddenly, as Harry raised his wand to counter once again, the various pieces of the Fountain of Magical Brethren came to life behind Voldemort. The Dark Lord heard the animated beings scuttling toward him across the hard floor of the Atrium, and he turned toward them. Harry heard him roar in frustration at this new development.
Not wasting an opportunity, Harry cast another shockingly power spell:
"IGNIS!" he cried, shielding his face from the blinding heat of the sphere of white fire that erupted from his wand. He could hardly look at it because it was almost as the bright as the sun.
Voldemort's red eyes widened as he saw the new spell racing toward him, its hungry white flames licking at the air all around it. The Dark Lord abandoned all pretenses at that point and dove straight back into the water of the Fountain. The flame spell flew over the water and exploded against the far wall.
Harry briefly thought that if someone didn't put that out soon, the entire Ministry would burn. Luckily, help was just behind him, in the form of the wizard that had animated the Magical Brethren.
"Impressive power," Dumbledore muttered, coming to stand next to Harry. He waved his wand at the far wall; the flames died quickly.
With the animated statues circling the Fountain, Voldemort had stayed submerged. Harry and Dumbledore readied themselves for more fighting.
"Careful, Harry. He's extremely intelligent."
"Is he?" Harry wondered. "Maybe's he's slipping in his new body." Dumbledore looked at him, and Harry smirked.
"Glacies," Harry incanted, flash freezing all of the water in the Fountain. Voldemort was now trapped in all of that ice. It wouldn't hold him for long, but it might give him and Dumbledore enough time to plan something.
"What's the plan here, sir?"
The Floos around the Atrium started firing. The Minister for Magic, various department heads, Aurors and Hit Wizards, and Ministry lackeys all streamed into the Atrium.
"Stay back!" Dumbledore shouted, raising his voice above the increasing noise. Many looked at him, quite confused.
"What's the meaning of this, Albus?" blustered Fudge, shambling over in his nightwear. The Minister looked back and forth between the Headmaster and Harry. He was halfway to the pair when the ice exploded outward from the Fountain.
Red eyes gleaming in hateful rage, Voldemort raised his wand and started to rain curses down upon the gathering witches and wizards. Several fell to Killing Curses. One of those green lights was heading straight for the Minister.
"ACCIO FUDGE!" Harry cried, pointing his wand at the Minister; not a moment too soon, either, because the space the Minister's flying body had just vacated was filled with that onrushing Killing Curse. It passed harmlessly off into the space behind them.
Dumbledore slowed Fudge's progress to a stop in front of them as Harry turned toward the Dark Lord.
Rage was coursing through Harry like he had never felt before. First Hermione, and now all these people; none of them had to be hurt or killed. Not a single one of them! He kept seeing Hermione falling in his mind's eye over and over, except this time it was the Killing Curse, something from which there was no possibility of recovery.
Harry snapped and acted. He raised his wand toward Voldemort. Their eyes met for a millisecond.
The incantation reducto flashed through his mind; he was thrown backward off his feet as the spell materialized from his wand.
This was unlike any spell anyone had ever seen though. Its essence was larger than any single man; its pure power sizzled as it flash-fried the air around it; the pressure wave it created knocked everyone to the floor as it passed, including Dumbledore and Fudge who had been standing next to him.
The impossibly large blue bolt of pure destructive magic hurtled down the Atrium toward Voldemort, who was snarling again. Harry watched as Voldemort raised what he could only assume was an incredibly powerful magical shield to block the spell, bracing himself against the plinth of the Fountain.
A pure, gonglike note sounded through the Ministry when the overpowered Reductor curse impacted Voldemort's shield. The Dark Lord's shield was only partially effective, however; some of the blue magic punched through, taking Voldemort's left arm with it. Harry watched as his nemesis's face twisted in pain and shock as blood sprayed from the severed artery.
Shocked silence pervaded the Atrium. It happened in slow motion. Voldemort leaned to pick up his severed arm, casting a coagulation charm on his shoulder. Everyone watched as he picked a Portkey from his pocket and activated it. He was gone.
Time rushed back to full speed. Suddenly everyone was shouting and rushing toward Fudge, Dumbledore, and Harry. The latter tuned them all out and turned, looking around for his friends. He had left Neville rather abruptly before confronting Voldemort; as his eyes traveled around the Atrium, he saw them all huddled near the lifts, looking at him with big eyes full of wonder.
As most people seemed to be occupied with the argument Fudge and Dumbledore were having, Harry was eventually able to push his way through the crowd. There was a slight pang in his heart as he glimpsed some Mediwitches tending to the injured, or pulling conjured sheets over the dead.
"Harry, what happened?" Ginny breathed.
"Is Hermione alright? And what happened to the rest of you?" he asked. Ron was unconscious on the ground next to Luna; Neville still held Hermione in his arms.
"She has a pulse," Neville said. Harry felt a great weight lift from his shoulders. "Ron was attacked by those brains, so we had to stun him to get them off. I'm fine, really, but Ginny here snapped her ankle and Luna was punched pretty hard in the chest."
Now that Harry looked more closely at Luna, it did look like she was groping herself. She was grimacing, however.
"I'm alright, I think," she wheezed. "Boob's probably just bruised…"
"And you, Harry? Are you alright?" Neville asked.
He nodded. "I am because all of you are alive."
"Harry…those spells…so much power," Ginny said.
Harry shrugged. "The Dark Tosser got what he deserved. It's too bad that Reductor didn't take his head off instead."
"Too right," Luna muttered, still holding firmly onto her breast.
"Shall we head back to Hogwarts?" Harry asked. "To avoid all of these people and the press, and especially Fudge?"
Everyone nodded, but Neville asked the obvious question:
"But how are we getting back? We need to transport Ron and Hermione too."
"Leave that up to me," Harry said, thinking he could recreate what he did to get to the Atrium. "Put a hand on my shoulder—and, Neville, hold tight to Hermione," he instructed, crouching and placing a hand on Ron's chest. With varying degrees of skepticism, his friends did as they were told.
Harry looked inside himself, at the bright platinum core of magic that was roiling and curling and flowing, aching to be set loose again. Who was he to deny his own magic? He called upon it and thought of them all standing in the Hospital Wing of Hogwarts.
Silently, they all disappeared.