On any other regular evening, if there had indeed been students left at Hogwart's school of witchcraft and wizardry, they would be on their merry way to the Great Hall to eat dinner amongst their friends, however, this was no regular evening, and Hogwarts was no school, not anymore. Various dead bodies littered the grounds amidst and within the great castle, both Death Eater and Order members alike. Fate hadn't taken a side in this battle; she claimed numerous numbers from each. Curses and hexes could be heard from every direction one dared to walk in, and if you weren't careful you could very well fall victim to a stray one.
"Confrindo!" Harry shouted as he pointed his wand behind him, narrowly missing a Cruciatus curse from none other than Bellatrix Lestrange. Bella laughed manically as Harry's curse grazed her sleeve, causing it to burn away. Harry didn't wait to see what she would do next and made his way quickly through the abandoned, now hostile corridors of Hogwarts. Sporting what he knew to be broken ribs from his various duels tonight, he was afraid to stop and assess what else was broken. Judging by the throbbing pain in his wrist…that was broken as well, but nonetheless, he kept running.
He knew that unless he ran into Voldemort himself, no one would dare shoot a killing curse at him. That curse was reserved for Voldemort, and Voldemort alone when it came to Harry Potter. He could hear Bellatrix treading menacingly behind him, trying to keep up with him. Anyone else would be terrified beyond belief, but Harry was relieved. As long as she was following him, that meant she wouldn't be following his friends. He hoped that they weren't having as much trouble as him right now. So far, he hadn't caught site of that damned snake, the last horcrux. Besides the one that lives inside you, but Voldemort needn't know of that one just yet, he thought sadly to himself. To think, for the past 17 years he had been walking around with a piece of the dark lord's soul (if you could call it that) lurking inside him. The thought would make anyone sick. He remembered the look on Hermione and Ron's faces when he broke the news to them. He had expected them to be fearful of him, maybe even disgusted, but to his never ending surprise they still stuck with him. Of course it took Ron a little longer to accept it. The first few days he wouldn't even be alone with Harry, let alone near him, which became quite annoying.
"You'd better watch out Ron, my eyes just might turn red and I could lose all my hair instantly and become a murderous dark lord if you don't watch your back," Harry would taunt dryly. He couldn't blame Ron for his behavior, who would want to be alone in the same room with a piece of Voldemort's soul lurking about? But that didn't stop it from hurting Harry's feelings. Of course, being Ron, he came around within a week or two, Hermione encouraging him to do so the whole way. "It's still your friend Ronald Weasley! It's still Harry Potter, and it will always be!" was one of the few things she would remind him of daily on their quest to destroy all the horcrux's. Now, after nearly a whole two years they were down to the last one, or last two, however you wanted to put it. The trio tried not to think about the seventh one, at least not until they absolutely had to.
Before the battle at Hogwarts had begun, the trio discussed finding and killing the snake, Nagini, and that this might just be their only chance to do so. "But how do we even know 'you know who' is going to be here? The sodding bloke doesn't show up to half of his own raids, unless he suspects your going to be there..." Ron protested as he stole at glance at Harry. After all, hunting after a big demonic snake was not his idea of fun at the moment.
Harry sighed and rolled his eyes, "I've told you before Ron, this is Hogwarts were talking about, he wouldn't pass up the chance to spill some blood on these particular grounds, plus he knows I'll be here to defend it."
"Well maybe if you didn't make yourself so heroically predictable Harry," Hermione countered. Harry shot her a look, and was about to retort when Ron interrupted again.
"But it's not even a school anymore Harry! Students were sent home ages ago! What could he want with Hogwarts?" Ron had argued in vein.
"Seriously? Hogwarts is the only place Voldemort called home, and he'll be damned if he's going to let the Order use it as stronghold any longer." The rage in Harry's voice made the other two cringe, it was almost as if he was speaking for the dark lord himself. Harry didn't want to admit to himself that he could feel the dark pride Voldemort held for the school invade his thoughts. "Plus…I can feel him here which means Nagini will be nipping merrily along at his heels." He pointed to his scar and waited for a couple of seconds, making sure Ron didn't have any other protests he wished to voice before continuing. When the other two remained silenced, he went on. "Ok so here's what we are going to do…spread out, look for the snake, if she's with Voldemort, being the most likely scenario, don't attempt anything, Voldemort will kill both of you before you've had a chance to raise your bloody wands. Just try and find me." Ron nodded quickly but Hermione looked downright angry.
"That's it? That's your master plan? And what if we can't find you? Not that we want you anywhere near 'you know who' either!" She questioned, repulsion evident in her voice.
"Unless you've come up with something better, then yes, it is my plan." He then abruptly stood up and thrust his invisibility cloak at them. "Stay together, and please try to stay under this, it might just save your life."
Harry remembered how he felt seeing them split off into the other direction, enveloping each other in his dad's cloak as they did so. He felt an ache in his heart at the thought that he would ever see them again. He knew they wouldn't find the snake; there was no way in hell that Voldemort was letting that reptile out of his sight, and judging by the intense pain Harry seemed to be experiencing in his scar tonight, Voldemort knew that Nagini was his last horcrux and would greedily guard her. Of course, Harry had no intention of sending his best friends off after Voldemort anyway. If anything, he sent them in the wrong direction to begin with. His scar drew him to Voldemort, almost as if they were calling out to one another. He briefly wondered if this 'new found' sense of direction worked with Voldemort as well.
"Expulso!" Bella shrieked.
Harry narrowly dodged the curse again, his broken ribs screaming in agonizing protest. "Sectumsempra!" He yelled while Bella flung herself to the left, losing her footing as she did so. That was all Harry needed to lose her as he turned a sharp left down another corridor.
"Looks like Severus has been teaching you a few things baby Potter!" He could hear the venom in her voice as it slowly faded into the distance, leaving him utterly alone. He stopped suddenly and leaned back against the cold stone wall, desperately gasping for air. His chest heaved in and out at a choppy pace as he tried to relax himself, his ribcage in excruciating pain. He could feel the warm sensation that was blood trickle down his skin through various openings of his body. The taste of metallic mingled with the sweat that clung to him selfishly. The thought of taking a nap right now slithered errantly through his mind, but he pushed that down as quickly as it had emerged. "Come on Harry, you've gotta find that snake…" He assured himself.
Pretty soon Harry found himself in one of Hogwart's many courtyards. It was completely devoid of life except for the few bodies that lay here and there. Harry dreadingly glanced over all of the dead, hoping he wouldn't find a familiar face, or even worse, Ron or Hermione's faces. His heart gave a slight leap of joy at the fact that mostly everyone here had been a Death Eater; obviously the Order was doing much better than he thought. That thought almost made him smile, almost.
There was still no sign of Voldemort yet. Every second he wasted not finding him was another second closer to Voldemort finding his friends. "Well, I guess it's time to improvise…"
Gripping his wand tightly, he pointed it at himself and muttered, "Sonorus." Since Harry didn't care to talk in Parseltongue all that much, he had a hard time performing it without a snake in his presence. He closed his tired eyes and tried hard to picture a snake in front of him so that he could pull this off.
"Nagini…I know that your master seeks to bind you to him, but wouldn't you rather help him by seeking out the one he wishes dead above all others?" He paused, hoping that he was speaking in Parseltongue, or else this was all a failed attempt, he had to try and draw out the snake and Voldemort without giving away his position to the Order, he didn't want them involved in his final attempt against Voldemort. However, it was impossible to know if you were speaking the snake language unless you could elicit some sort of response out of one. Being that his voice was greatly magnified now by the Sonorus charm, he hoped he didn't just make himself out to be a complete idiot in front of the Order and Death Eaters by speaking in regular English all over the school.
"I'm in the courtyard…if you have any kind of balls Tom, you'll see to it that you find me." He spat (hopefully in Parseltongue), knowing full well that he had just signed his own death certificate by doing so. It didn't matter though; he would gladly give his life if it meant killing the snake. He wasn't sure what would happen to Voldemort, obviously the murderous bastard would kill Harry, and as a result all of his horcrux's would cease to exist, making him mortal, thus killable. Or maybe without his horcrux's he would die immediately? One could only hope.
The sudden white hot pain that erupted in his scar proved that he was successful. Harry took a deep breath; his nerves threatening to get the best of him. There was no time to lose, he disengaged the Sonorus charm and, summoning what little nerve he had left, threw himself behind one of the stone pillars. "Protego Totalum." He muttered, the longer he could stay hidden, the better chance he had of catching Nagini and her master by surprise. Really all he needed to do was catch the snake off guard, the rest he hadn't planned for nor cared about.
It didn't take long for Voldemort to come slithering around a corner, his trusty reptile right there by his side. Voldemort's red eyes greedily scanned every inch of the courtyard, Nagini followed her master's lead, her red tongue making an appearance every few seconds. "Perhapss massster, another courtyard?" Nagini prompted, her yellow eyes stealing a look at Voldemort who was shaking his demon-like head.
"No my sweet…he is near…I can feel him." Harry tried hard not to feel queasy at that statement; he most definitely didn't want Voldemort feeling any part of him. "Come out come out wherever you are Harry Potter, come out and face me like a man."
Harry decided to make his move. Silently he maneuvered himself around to the back of the courtyard, trying desperately to keep Voldemort's back to him, all he needed was that snake, it would only take the right moment.
"Come come Potter, you dare to summon me in the most noble of languages and yet, you are afraid to face me? It is blasphemy that you are even allowed to speak in such a language you filthy half-blood." Harry had to conceal a laugh at that, out of all the hypocrites in the world, this one dared play the half-blood card on him? He was closer now; he could feel the sweat and blood coming to a point on his chin and nose, threatening to give him away. The moment wouldn't get any more perfect than this.
"I GUESS THAT WOULD MAKE TWO OF US THEN!" He shouted as he jumped out of his hiding place. Voldemort's head wasn't even turned around by the time Harry had his wand pointed straight at Nagini, screaming the one spell he had yet to utter in his entire life. "AVADA KADAVRA!"
For a split second he thought that maybe it wouldn't work, maybe he wasn't powerful enough to accomplish such a curse, maybe he didn't have enough hate in his heart to 'mean' it. However, seeing the life leave Nagini's serpent eyes was proof that even…how would Malfoy put it? Oh yes, that even Saint Potter was capable of performing the killing curse.
Harry's scar split open in agony at the sound of Voldemort's screams. Obviously the death of Nagini, his horcrux caused quite a bit of pain for the dark lord, which in turn caused pain to Harry. His bloody hands cradled his forehead in vein as he collapsed onto the grass, not sure where his screaming began, and Voldemort's ended. He managed to pull his hand away and gasped as he saw fresh blood all over it, obviously coming from his scar. The pain was so unbearable that he honestly didn't care if he died right here and now, as long as this pain would cease to exist.
It grudgingly came to Harry's attention that Voldemort was no longer screaming, but standing right in front him. Suddenly, white bony fingers grasped the front of his robes and pulled him up hastily and none to gentle, he felt his ribs protest angrily. One bony hand found its' way to Harry's scalp and grasped a handful of black unruly hair, whipping his neck back in a barbaric fashion.
"YOU! YOU HAVE DESTROYED MY HORCRUX'S!"
"Noticed that rather small intricate detail did ya?" Harry replied, inwardly slapping himself; this wasn't a time to make jokes, not when the dark lord had you by the hair with his murdering hands. A livid animal-like sound erupted from him before he thrust Harry wandlessly through the air. The abrupt impact of the wall knocked all the breath out his lungs and all he could do was heave desperately for air. Not to mention, he could have sworn that he heard something snap in his arm. The searing pain the quickly flooded his right arm caused him to grit his teeth. His heart deflated at the fact that even though all of his horcrux's were gone, he was still quite powerful. Don't forget about yourself you idiot! He remembered grudgingly, and quickly wondered if Voldemort would soon suspect that particular fact, what would happen then? Hopefully he'll kill you before he can come to that conclusion. He reassured himself, if you called that a reassurance.
"CRUCIO!" Voldemort shouted. The pain from the torture curse only added to the pain that he was experiencing in his scar, and arm. He hoped that Voldemort would quit beating around the bush and end it. When the curse lifted, all he could do was lay there, clutching his head. Very soon he became aware of the reason for the torture show. Here in all their sinister glory was the Death Eaters. He inwardly groaned, flashbacks of his 4th year and the graveyard assaulted his memory. He knew that Voldemort would put on a show before killing him now, the flashy son of a bitch.
"Now your friends can watch you die…" Harry blinked at him with alarmed confusion before looking around him. Sure enough, there was Bellatrix Lestrange, holding on to a tear ridden Hermione while Lucious Malfoy had his slimy hands all over Ron. Tonks and Remus were also there along with a few other Order members and some people he couldn't see due to the angle he was positioned in. He errantly wondered where the other Order members were, if indeed there were any left.
"Take one last look at them Potter, it's the last one you will ever make." Bellatrix sneered jubilantly. Hermione was reduced to uncontrollable sobs by now, while Ron just looked numb with shock. The sight of him looking like that made him slightly nauseas given the usually playful aura Ron had about him. He could always count on Ron to cheer him up, to see him like this was downright upsetting.
"Harry, were right here with you." The sound of Remus's voice only further depressed Harry. This wasn't how it was suppose to end. He, Harry, was the only one that was suppose to die, not his friends, not the people he considered family, they weren't suppose to die for him.
"Shut your mouth you half breed!" Bella sneered, causing the other Death Eaters to laugh, but they were soon silenced by Voldemort.
"No, it's quite alright Bella; let the werewolf exchange petty sentimentals to a dying boy, we all know he has not the courage to face death alone, hence the reason he has brought all of his friends here to die with him, such cowardice." Voldemort taunted. Something in Harry snapped as he made one last attempt to lunge himself at the Dark Lord who simply waved his wand, sending Harry crashing back to the ground. He grimaced at the new pain in his back but that wouldn't stop him from standing his ground.
"Your one to talk Tom, especially about being afraid of death. You, who has taken the utmost care in securing your immortality only to witness it all come crashing down, tell me, how does it feel to know that death itself can come knocking at your door any time now eh?"
"Harry please stop!" Pleaded the voice of Mrs. Weasley who obviously couldn't bare the thought of him angering the dark lord anymore for his sake. Harry's heart completely deflated, he didn't know she was here too. Now not only would Ron lose his friend, but his mother too.
"You should listen to your friends Potter, for they will pay for your cheek after you are gone. Besides, while you have managed to destroy six of them, I can still make a seventh. As long as there is one in existence, I am still immortal Potter, no matter how hard you tried it was all in vein for it still wasn't enough to remove me from this world. Nothing can!"
"So seven is the magic number? The limit?" Harry asked innocently, oh how he wished he could be alive when Voldemort discovered that a seventh had already been made. How he wished he could reap the reward of witnessing Voldemort kill his own self when he killed Harry. How ironic would that be? "Well? What are you waiting for Tom, once again you continue to beat a dead horse when all you have to do is utter the damn curse." He retorted, he was growing tired of this dog and pony show.
He could just imagine the look on Hermione and Ron's faces, not to mention Remus's, since he also knew about Harry being the seventh horcrux. " Was this your plan all along Harry? To die like this? " Hermione sobbed, she knew more than anyone how Harry liked to play the hero, even if meant an ill fate for him. Harry silently willed her to stop talking, the last thing he needed was for her to give away his secret, and then everything would be ruined. He didn't know how to respond to her. The look on her face was tearing him apart. It wasn't that he liked playing the hero; that was the cards that life dealt him.
"ENOUGH!" The sheer volume at which Voldemort spoke silenced the entire court yard, even Hermione dared not shed a tear out of fear. He then smoothly and confidently walked over to Harry and yanked him up by the hair, his wand piercing into his cheek. Suddenly Ron seemed to come to his senses at seeing his friend being done in such a way. He began to struggle and shout obscenities at the dark lord. Molly tried desperately to quiet her son for fear that Voldemort would retaliate on him.
"Harry! Let him go you bloody motherfucker! Let him go!" He demanded, tears finally starting to escape his once numb stricken eyes. Harry felt a sense of pride at his best friend's words; even if it was all a vein attempt.
" Lucious, it would do you well to shut. That. Blood. Traitor. Up." Voldemort practically seethed. Malfoy blushed slightly as the Dark Lord addressed him and hastily took action.
"Silencio," Ron's mouth was still in vivid motion, but his demanding words for Harry could no longer be heard. Voldemort smirked at him.
"Don't worry Weasley, you've just elected to go next. And as for you," and he moved his snake-like face so close to Harry's that he could make out the tiny blemishes on his teeth. "I want to be so close to you in your moment of death that I can hear your last breath…" With his wand now held in front of his face, not less than 6 inches away, he spared not another second for witty banter. "AVADA KADAVRA!" Harry closed his eyes tightly, waiting for death, but it never came. After what felt like hours but was only seconds, Harry opened his eyes. Voldemort still had him in his clutches, but there in between them was the green light that was supposed to be the infamous killing curse. However, instead of hitting its victim, it just seemingly remained in a halted stance, and hovered. In fact, if one looked closely, the curse hadn't even gotten a chance to spring itself fully out of Voldemort's wand. Shock was evident on everyone's face, including Voldemort's. Something else wasn't right either. The air for instance felt all wrong, almost electric, and Harry suddenly got the feeling that the ground would drop out beneath him at any second. Then it happened.
A loud bang came from every direction all at once and the skies lit up with tremendous lightning. Voldemort stole a glance upward but kept a firm grip on Harry who very abruptly began to feel a tugging sensation on his abdomen. It almost felt like a portkey except this was a much more intense feeling. He felt that at any second his body might explode in every direction from the sheer force of it. Voldemort obviously could feel Harry being pulled because he held onto him even harder, not willing to lose his very hard fought for prey to whatever magic this was. The lightning grew more intense as it started to strike in very close proximity to Harry, almost resembling a tornado. The tugging sensation spread to his arms, legs, and head as it pulled at him fiercely. Death Eaters and Order members alike scrambled about, unsure of what was going on. Remus, Ron and Hermione attempted to get to Harry, but unknown forces kept them at bay.
The force, whatever it was, threw Voldemort back and into a wall. Harry couldn't tell if it knocked him out or not, the lightning was blinding him. He tried to call out to Hermione and Ron, but he felt himself being pulled aggressively backwards. He shut his eyes, waiting for the inevitable impact of one of Hogwart's walls but it never came. He could feel swift wind and the charge of electricity, and upon opening his eyes, all he could see was bright strident light mixed in with lightning. It existed everywhere and unless he was mistaken, he seemed to be traveling insanely fast through some sort of tunnel, so fast that it was impossible to keep consciousnesses.