From the Shadows
by Magical Knight
The Grand Finale
Disclaimer: I own nothing. All hail to J.K.R. for showing us the way!
The final confrontation had raged across the grounds of Hogwarts for what seemed like day, but in reality had been only a few short hours.
Death Eaters literally littered the grounds, intermixed with the bodies of the dead and dying; students and some of their parents, professors, aurors and several members of the Order of the Phoenix .
Voldemort's now decimated forces had killed with extreme prejudice. Neither child nor mother were spared from so much reckless hate.
Only one of the Wizarding World's terrorist still remained,( the vile head of the serpent), Voldemort himself. Fate was unfolding before the eyes of hundreds of stunned witnesses as Harry Potter battled against the Dark Lord in a 'winner take all', wizarding duel to the death.
Voldemort had pulled every dirty trick in the book, but Harry Potter was still standing and growing more powerful as the minutes wore on toward hours.
Belatrix Lestrange had fallen before an onslaught spear headed by Hermione, Ginny and Mrs. Weasley. In the end, a couple of well placed cuttinghexes had severed the evil bitch's head from her shoulders- in mid rant. From the corner of his eye he could see Hermione fall during the exchange, and Harry was desperately worried for her, but could do nothing as he was locked in mortal combat with the most powerful Dark Lord in history.
Voldemort had held himself in check and bided his time, content to wait as Harry exhausted himself battling thru a sea of Death Eaters and dark creatures to get to his adversary.
Once a bruised and bloody, Harry Potter had finally won his way thru, Voldmort had little choice but to engage his sworn enemy,( largely due to Dumbledore's having reinforced the previously breeched anti-apparation and anti-portkey wards over the grounds of Hogwarts).
Unable to flee as was his want, Voldemort had entered the fray with his usual taunts, quickly followed by a barrage of cruatiushexesandkillingcurses . Harry had easily dodged and blocked Voldemort's initial volley. He'd relied on razor sharp reflexes to dodge some curses and hastily conjured stone walls and boulders to block those curses he could not avoid.
Harry had not wasted his time solely on defense during the initial exchange. He started off conservatively throwing back the occasional cuttinghex and the odd reductoas he regained his strength.
Twenty minutes later , Voldemort's frustration was reaching an all time high as Harry had not only managed to avoid or block all of his curses, but had even managed to batter and bloody the Dark Lord,.. probably the first to do so in history.
Things were starting to get interesting…
"Say Tom,…" Harry called out mockingly. ",now that you're warmed up, can we dispense with the basics and get down to some serious dueling" Harry challenged in a bored tone.
Voldemort growled angrily and threw another crucio at Harry. Harry rolled under the curse and came up on his knee firing off a nasty bonebreaker that caught the Dark Lord a glancing blow and dislocated his right shoulder.
Voldemort cursed vehemently, not so much from the pain, but from the frustration and abject humility over his inability to return the favor to his young nemesis.
Impossible, he can't be this adept? He's a mere boy.Dumbledore must have found some way to channel power into the whelp. It's the only thing that makes sense.Voldemort thought incredulously as he renewed his attack with increased ferocity.
"Would you care to know what the prophecy says, Tom? You know the one you've spent so much time and effort to obtain, only to have it slip thru your fingers time and again. Corse, I suppose you could blame it on the incompetence of your followers, but then again, you are their supposed leader. Doesn't that make you ultimately responsible for the failure of your subordinates?" Harry continued to distract and mock the Dark Lord.
Voldemort found that a dose of his own medicine was not to his liking.
"I'll see you dead, Potter. You and every one of you're mud blood friends." Voldemort snarled as he thru a boneliquefyingcurse back .
Harry sidestepped the purple light of the curse, sighing in mock boredom as he did so. "I was beginning to wonder if you new any other spells beside your trademark, 'Advara Kedavra' or 'Crucio'. Seriously, Tom? Getting back to my suggestion before,.. let's stop fooling around!"
Harry cast his wand aside. His magic poured off him in waves, scorching the earth beneath his feet as it expanded outward in an ever increasing arc. Despite the distance between them, Voldemort could feel the air crackle with energy. For the first time, in a long time, Tom Riddle remembered what it is to be afraid.
Riddle howled in desperation as the ground beneath his feet turned sandy and viscous pulling him inexorably down like quicksand. As soon as his last flailing appendage was sucked under, Harry blasted the sand with a wandless incendio,the heat from which could have rivaled a crematorium. When the eldritch fire had finally burned itself out, one could readily see that the sandy ground had been melted and fused into a thick plane of confining glass.
Harry conjured an ordinary cleaning broom and set about dusting off the surface of the glass, seemingly oblivious to the shocked stares of those that had been watching the battle all around him.
Harry finished and stepped back to admire his handiwork. " You're not exactly photogenic, Tom, but ,all the same, you've never looked better. " He chortled.
The sound of cracking glass warned Harry to beat a hasty retreat. He'd barely made it a few meters before the glass plate ruptured into a thousand jagged shards and splinters that filled the air like a glimmering cloud of angry wasps.
Voldemort dragged himself out of his earthen tomb, coughing and gagging as he struggled to fill his oxygen starved lungs. Allowing himself a moment's distraction, he cast a malevolent glare in Harry's direction and thrust his hand forward; sending a storm of the hovering glass shards hurtling toward his smirking foe.
Harry was prepared for this eventuality, having witnessed Voldemort use this same tactic against Dumbleore at the Ministry of Magic on the night when Sirius was murdered by Lestrange.
Harry's hands shot out and halted the advancing shards just inches from impacting his person. Harry pursed his lips and blew gently, sending the shards racing back toward Voldemort, where the latter still struggled to regain his feet.
The shards did not impact Voldemort as expected. They instead swirled around him faster and faster, fusing themselves into a gigantic glass sphere that bodily encased the shaken Dark Lord.
Harry snapped his fingers and the sphere filled with water, completely submerging the shocked Dark Lord.
Voldemort pounded uselessly against the spherical walls of his watery tomb, his face bluing from the effort as he quickly used up his reserves of oxygen.
Harry pointed to the sphere and called out merrily. "Hey everybody, look at the funny fish!"
With a last desperate effort , Voldemort was able to rupture the sphere with a reductor hex. His sodden, spluttering form washed out across the Hogwarts blood drenched lawns.
Harry glanced at his wristwatch before asking in a mocking tone. "Had enough, Tom. I'd just assume we wrap this up. Azkaban is calling you home, or if you'd rather, we could have a dementor just give you a little smooch here and now? Awe, wait a minute,.. that's right.. I killed all of your personal dementors earlier didn't I? Just as well, I suppose, your soul would a probably given them an awful belly ache,... not that you have much of a soul left." Harry finished in feigned regret.
"E-Enjoy your moment, l-little man." Volemort spluttered out between gasps. "There the last moments you'll ever have. Die Potter!" Voldemort snarled as his hands shot forward sending dual beams of foulest dark magic, rocketing at Harry.
"There's the spirit." Harry clapped his hands appreciatively. The night black beams were nearly upon him when Harry responded in kind. He shot his own palms forward and sent twin silver beams of pure magical energy to intersect the dark magic that was nearly upon him.
The four beams of energy intersected in the air with an ear splitting 'CRACK' of static discharge that wafted across the grounds. The static discharged prickled at people's skin and lifted hair as it washed over the gathered throng.
Harry pressed his hands outward as if he were pushing against a great weight. His twin beams of magical energy responded and pushed back Voldemort's beams toward their source.
Voldemort's eyes bugged out in terrified disbelief. Despite his best efforts his own magical beams were inexorably being pushed back toward himself. Knowing that the backlash of power would tear him to shreds, Voldemort halted his present assault and instead, muttered a transformation spell that instantly transformed his body into that of a gigantic black cobra with glowing red eyes.
Voldi-snake's black, undulating body slithered menacingly toward Harry, who for his part looked wholly unconcerned by this deadly turn of events.
In a flash of lightning, the air split with a peel of thunder and where once stood a young wizard, now a golden brown Griffin pawed the earth and let out a might screech of challenge to the suddenly hesitant, giant snake.
Venamous fangs struck with lightning speed, encountering only empty air as the mighty wings of the griffin launched itself into the air just out of the enraged snake's reach.
Talons extended as the griffin plummeted down onto Voldi-snakes exposed back, just below the giant cobra's hood.
The griffin tore out great gouges of scaly flesh. The snaked wreathed in horrific pain as Harry tore into its flesh, trying to work its way down to the snakes' spinal column.
With a last desperate effort the snake tore free of Harry's unforgiving talons, only to twist and thrash uselessly across the ground in maddening pain before turning back into Voldemort's blood drenched, ruined form.
Voldemort clawed his way unsteadily to his feet, pulling his wand haltingly from beneath his shredded robes. Night black blood dribbled from the ruin of his back and splattered the ground at his feet.
Harry's griffin form landed and pawed at the ground defiantlyin a triumphant roar. A flash of lightning and peel of thunder later; the young wizard returned from whence a proud griffin had stood moments before.
Voldemort's chest heaved with exertion as a leaden hand struggled to raise his wand one last time.
Harry shook his head in resignation. "You're finished, Tom. Surrender, let there be an end to this madness." Harry pleaded for a sane resolution.
Aged eyes watched with a calculating eye from across Hogwart's lawn. No 'twinkle' of pride did these eyes hold for his once apprentice.
Surrender? Surely not? The venerable headmaster thought in disgust.
One alone would be a delicate undertaking to supplant, but the two of them would seriously jeopardize his plans for continued glory and with it…power.
Albus Dumbledore had planned long and hard . His plans were not at the precipise of fruation and he would be thrice cursed before he would let Potter ruin his years of careful planning thru an act of foolish mercy.
His plan had been for Voldemort to survive their final duel and then he, Albus Dumbledore, would again become the savior of the wizarding world, by delivering the 'death blow' to the battle weary dark lord.
If Potter had somehow managed to survive and dispose of Voldemort, though a n unfortunate eventuality, plans had been carefully laid to implicate Potter. Dumbledore still held Harry's memory of casting the cruciatus curse on Belatrix Lestrange. Though the curse had been ineffective would be of no consideration, that part of the memory could easily be erased without altering the integrity of the more damning part of the evidence.
That memory coupled with some careful manipulation of Harry's Grigott's account , displaying some questionable exchange of funds with known Death Eaters, should prove more than sufficent to cast a shadow of doubt on Harry's integrity, if not damn him to incarceration in Azkaban.
All Dumbledore need do is seize the opportune moment and a well placed wandless spell should prove sufficient to 'killing two birds with one stone', as the muggles say.
Dumbledore shifted his position and raised his hand.
Ron Weasley watched events unfold with a mixture of concern, fear and above all else-Jealousy.
Hermione had been distant and cool since his return after having abandoned his two friends during the 'horcrux hunt'. Now he watched in dread concern as Poppy Pomfrey worked feverishly to save the life of the person her desired, and to his twisted thinking-deserved, above all others. She was the one part of his life that he could claim solely for himself without Harry sharing the limelight. At least that's what he had thought, but since his return things had not been the same with Hermione. He had his suspicions as to the real reason for the change in his love's affections toward him, and those suspicions centered on-HARRY.
Now ,he watch along with the rest of them, not in fear for his friend's safty, nor in awe of his abilities, but in animosity. Harry was doing the impossible, he was beating V-Voldemort.
Probably win himself an 'Order of Merlin' and a lifetime of even greater fame and glory whilst the rest of us who deserve recognition will be shunted aside for the bloddy 'boy who lived'.Ron thought bitterly
Well, he can have it. Maybe he even deserves it on some level, but, I'll be damned if he gets Hermione to . Maybe, just maybe,..Voldemort will take Harry with him. Ron calculated with dread hope.
Another pair of ice blue eyes watched from a pale, sneering face, as Potter once again proved unfailingly 'lucky' he really was.
What would happen if Voldemort fell? Would the 'dark mark' on his arm seal his fate ,and with it his doom? Would he too, along with what few Death Eaters remained, die if Voldemort did?
Draco considered this eventuallity with near panic, along with one other emotion –disdain.
The weaslette is totally smitten with Potty. If he beats the Dark Lord as present circumstances indicated he would,GinevraWeasley would have eyes for no other. It didn't matter to her whether he wanted her in return-she was too far gone for that.
The only trouble was.. Draco wanted her.
She is a pure blood, and a beautiful one at that. He thought lecherously.
It didn't even occur to Draco that he didn't love her- he didn't even know the meaning of the word if he was truthful with himself. He was a Malfoy and he wanted her,. that was all that mattered.
Voldemort considered his options as he struggled to ignore the horrific pain from his wounded back . He was beaten and he knew it, As possible as it was to believe, the greatest wizard since Slytherin had been bested,… and by a wizard who was little more than a child.
Potter was fast-unbelievably fast. If he got lucky, he might be able to take the hated whelp with him.
Frankly, Voldemort did not like his chances in that scenario. Death was not an option he wished to consider in any form.
Surrendering? Though hateful to even fleetingly consider, was his other option.
Imprisonment- an absolute certainty. The 'veil' or the 'kiss' a probability. Still, he would remain alive, receive medical treatment and made whole- it was afterall, the humane thing to do. The wizengamot was rife with bleeding hearts that would insist upon the accused being returned to full health before trail. He would still be alive. He still had many loyal followers amonst the Ministry and the Wizengamot.. escape was always a possibility.
Pale lips stretched into a wicked smile on Voldemort's twisted features as the Drak Lord lowered his wand with the intent to surrender to his young adversary.
Seeing his chance at continued glory slipping thru his fingers, Dumbledore made a desperate gambit. He withdrew the energy required to maintain the anti-apparation wards to power a blasting hex. Dumbledore was both over confident in the speed and accuracy of his spellwork, along with the calculated risk that Voldemort was sufficiently occupied with Harry that he wouldn't notice the temporary absence of the anti apparation wards before Dumbledore could raise them again. His gambit proved doulbly wrong.
With a laugh devoid of all humanity, Voldemort noticed the immediate change in the surrounding magic and apparted away before Harry could curse him.
Harry knew he was betrayed. There was only one person who could have lowered the anti-appartion wards over Hogwarts- the headmaster.
Harry spun around with wand in hand.
Dumbledore seized the opportunity as he accused his once protégé. "You let him get away?
The purple light of a blasting hex, that Dumbledore had intended for Voldemort, rocketed toward him. With the hope of his supposed triumph over the Dark Lord lost, Harry would serve as a sacrificial lamb to further his own ends.
Harry deflected the hex easily, but before he could refute the traitorous headmaster, a barrage of curses and hexes came at him from all sides as others, some from 'innocents' blindly following Dumbledore's lead, and other 'betrayers', who seized upon the opportunity afforded by the venerable headmaster.
Weakened from the battle with Voldemort, Harry's shields cracked under the assault, and fell. Stunning spells from well meaning sycophants paved the way toward weakening his defenses as cutting and blasting hexes tore into his body from his betrayers.
Harry fell with but one thought on his mind before the darkness claimed him- HERMIONE!