Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or settings described in this story. This is purely for my own enjoyment, and hopefully, for yours.
A/N: Please read, Enjoy, and don't forget to review!
A wavering jet of green light burst from the tip of Voldemort's wand and flew the diameter of the Great Hall. It hit Harry Potter squarely in the chest and he fell, his wand half-raised, a silent curse weighing on his tongue.
Harry Potter saw the curse rocketing towards him, raised his wand a fraction of a second too late, took the curse directly on his heart and fell, the screams of his fellow students echoing in his ears. Then, an abyss engulfed him.
He woke up in an unfamiliar place. A warm pillow lay beneath his cheek, and he could feel fluffy blankets piled high on top of him. He opened his eyes, instinctively fumbled for his glasses and slid them on, and saw, on the far wall, a bookshelf, piled high with kids' books, and a miniature broomstick propped up against a wall. A basket of stuffed toys was overflowing in a corner. He heard a small noise from the other end of the room and tensed. The last thing he remembered was Voldemort firing the killing curse at him. Where was Voldemort now? More importantly, where was he, Harry? Slowly, he turned his head and saw a woman with long, deep-red hair and emerald green eyes smiling at him. Hardly daring to believe it, he whispered "Mom?" She smiled and nodded.
"Where am I?" he asked, feeling rather groggy.
"Home" she said, moving to sit on the end of his bed.
"What happened?" he groaned, rubbing his head.
"Voldemort won" she whispered, wrapping him in an embrace. Harry sat, speechless. All those years, he had fought to protect himself and others against the evil Dark Lord, and in that one instant, he had failed. Ron. Hermione. Neville. Luna. Ginny. All the faces he would never see again; all the people he would never fight alongside, or have fun with. He felt his lips tremble.
"I know. I know," his Mum soothed, as Harry fought to repress the overwhelming despair that rose up in him like a tidal wave "How about you come downstairs. There are some people there that want to see you." Harry struggled out of bed, and followed Lily Potter down the stairs. Around a circular table, talking and laughing were four very familiar people.
"Harry! Son!" James Potter called, striding up to him and giving him an enormous bear hug.
"James! Stop, you'll crush him!" Lily reproached, slapping James on the arm.
"Can't really, since he's already dead." James reasoned, but he released Harry nevertheless. Sitting to the left of James was Sirius.
"Sirius!" Harry gasped, throwing his arms around his godfather. Sirius returned the hug "I missed you!"
"And I missed you Harry" he grinned "It wasn't fair that you had to watch me die. We should have been together for longer, but all that's past now. We have all eternity before us!"
To Sirius's left were Lupin and Tonks, holding hands and looking much younger.
"He's got nothing to complain about now" Tonks said, grinning at Harry, then Lupin "He's not a werewolf here."
Lily pulled a chair out from the table and motioned for Harry to sit. He did so.
"So Harry," Sirius said, grinning broadly and rocking back on his chair "Got yourself a girlfriend, huh?"
"Sirius!" Lily exclaimed, shocked "Of all the tactless things to say!"
"Sorry, sorry!" Sirius apologized, holding his hands at shoulder-height in a gesture of surrender, but he raised his eyebrows at Harry all the same.
"How did you know Ginny was my girlfriend?" Harry asked.
"We were all watching your first kiss with little Miss Weasley. Very sweet, not too much tongue. You have a natural talent, my boy." Harry grinned in spite of himself.
"How were you watching me?" he asked. He couldn't see any way to make contact with the living.
"Would you like us to show you?" James asked, enthusiastically springing up from his seat. Sirius and Harry stood up just as excitedly. James led them to the front door and pulled it open. Harry, who had been expecting to see a snow covered street, saw instead the bright, cosy interior of-
"Dumbledore's office!" Harry breathed. Sirius grinned and ushered him inside, to where Dumbledore sat placidly, his fingertips interlaced, smiling pleasantly at them all. His office hadn't changed much. The Sorting Hat was conspicuously absent from its usual place and Fawkes's perch was empty, but all the little gadgets and knick-knacks were still there.
"Hello Professor," Harry said.
"Ah, hello to you too, Harry. Sirius, James, I hope you are well." They nodded in unison and nudged Harry forward slightly. "How's Death treating you?" Dumbledore asked, motioning for him to sit down.
"Fine thank you, Professor." Harry smiled.
"I suppose you want to see your friends?" the Professor asked. He looked alert and bright again, not like the tired and weary Dumbledore Harry had come to expect.
"Yes, please. Is that possible?"
"Of course." Dumbledore moved to a small cabinet and extracted a circular bowl that Harry recognized instantly.
"There are a few of these around. It works the same way as a pensieve, but instead of showing you the memories that the owner has decided to put into it, this shows you the events that are taking place in the world of the living. If you so desire, this will take you to wherever your friends and loved ones are." Harry edged forward eagerly.
"Go on then," Dumbledore consented, stepping backwards to allow him room. Taking a deep breath, Harry plunged his face into the murky gas-like substance and the next thing he knew he was falling, falling through a dense layer of clouds. He landed with a small thud on the floor of the Great Hall. Evidently, not much time had passed since the moment of Harry's death, for his limbs were still flopping on the floor from the impact of the fall. Voldemort, realizing what he had just done was smiling in triumph and was, almost tentatively, moving forward a few steps to get a better look.
There were terrible drawn-out cries from the crowd, but one sounded louder than the rest. The next second, Ginny was bursting forward, throwing off the hands that reached out to restrain her. She fell over Harry's body, sobbing his name.
"I'm right here, Ginny. Right here," Harry called to her, but she didn't even look up. Voldemort laughed as he watched Ginny's anguish. Finally seeming to get bored, his hissed "Crucio!" Ginny was tossed onto her back. She writhed for a second, before scrambling upright looking distressed. Voldemort looked confused for a second, but let her be dragged back into the crowd by a few brave hands that dared to approach.
"The boy-who-lived is dead!" Voldemort proclaimed, his arms stretched out like an eagle "Now, there is nothing obstructing my path of domination! I killed Harry Potter!" For once, it was not hot-headed Ron, but calm, rational Hermione that lost her temper.
"Petrificus Totalus!" she screamed, ducking under another girl's arm. Voldemort deflected the jet of red light with ease and sent a curse rocketing back towards her. Hermione was unprepared and she crashed to the floor. Voldemort dragged her a little ways so she was lying at his feet. Hermione's face was grazed and she was covered in small cuts and gashes.
"Filthy Mudblood," Voldemort hissed down at her. Hermione lifted her chin proudly.
"Mudblood and proud." she retorted. For a moment, Voldemort looked like he might fly into a rage, but at the last moment, he laughed.
"Foolish girl" he smiled "Your kind are little more than accidents. Accidents that you inherited the magical gene, accidents that you were ever recognized and trained, accidents that you even exist!"
"My blood is purer than yours" Hermione retorted and closed her eyes, turned up her nose and remained silent. Voldemort made a face that was midway between a grin and baring his teeth. And then, Hermione began to rise. Voldemort was still pointing his wand at her, gritting his teeth, but Hermione was slowly but surely, as if rising through quicksand, getting to her feet. Voldemort lowered his wand, breaking the spell that was holding her down. Ron moved forward slightly and dragged her back into the crowd. Voldemort turned a drifted across the room, stopping at a thin, bone-handled kitchen knife that was lying by the body of a dead house-elf. He picked up the knife, and twirled it between his bony fingers. The D.A had formed a protective circle around Hermione, but Voldemort merely flicked his wand, and Dumbledore's army flew across the room, crashing on the floor. Hermione was left alone and exposed in front of the Dark Lord. Voldemort sent a curse rocketing towards her that sent her sprawling on the ground.
"Hmm… What to do with you?" he asked her, running the blade of the knife up and down her upper arm "You are just a filthy Mudblood, after all. Far too insolent for your own good." Then, almost absentmindedly, he dug the knife into the crook of Hermione's elbow. Hermione screamed and thrashed as her blood spilled over the blade. Voldemort extricated the knife from her arm, and wiped it on her clothes.
"AVADA KEDAVRA!" Ron roared, throwing himself free from the crowd, his wand held aloft, the expression on his face leaving nobody in any doubt that he really meant to kill. Voldemort deflected the curse, looking up only for the briefest second.
"But, there is something I need to know" he mused quietly, returning his attention to Hermione "So, perhaps you are not entirely useless." Almost idly, he raised the knife again. Just then, Harry's world turned grey, like a mist was covering his eyes. Invisible hands were tugging at his wrists, his elbows and the back of his shirt. Then, he was flying through space, the image of Voldemort and Hermione growing fainter before his eyes. With a jerk, his feet landed on solid ground in Dumbledore's office. Harry gasped, and fell back into his chair.
"What… What…?" he stammered, too much in shock to be able to form a coherent sentence. And then, once he had regained his wits, he demanded forcefully, "I want to go back."
"No" Dumbledore said simply "Experiencing too much of the other world in one go, especially when that world is unpleasant, can drive one into madness. Perhaps tomorrow."
"But what will happen to them?" Harry asked, panicking.
"What happens." Dumbledore replied placidly.
"Don't you care?" Harry demanded in a raised voice that was perilously close to a shout.
"My dear boy, of course I care, but there is nothing you or I can do about it. I assure you, witches and wizards have been trying to do the exact same thing you want to do for centuries and none of them have succeeded in anything more than driving themselves insane with worry."
Harry considered sulking, shouting, violence, pleading and jumping into the pensieve before anyone could stop him, but he looked at the expression on Dumbledore's face, and the rebellious beast inside him was quelled.
"Come on Harry," James said gently, laying his hand on his shoulder and coaxing him from the chair "Let's go."