A/N: This early update comes at a very small price. Next Monday, I won't update. Instead, I'll update the Monday after next Monday(October the 10th) instead of October the 3rd, as I usually would


Chapter 21

Mercy

The world had stopped moving.

There was a knife in him.

There was a knife digging into his flesh.

The cold metal penetrated deep, and the wound seared in burning agony. Albus wanted to scream. He wanted to shout. He wanted to let his physical anguish out for the world to rebel in it. But, he couldn't. He couldn't move. He couldn't move a muscle.

He could only give a broken gasp as his eyes shot open wide, as the knife dug in deeper, and as Mopsus twisted the blade.

Deeper, deeper...

It hurt.

It hurt a lot.

This was it. This was the end. Albus' mouth fell into a silent 'o' as the pain filtered into his veins. He'd never felt something like this before. This was torture. This was agony. This was death, and he was dying.

His heard was beating frantically, even as blood began to evade out of the new hole in his body. Albus felt as the metal left him, as it slid out, and shuddered against the wall. He couldn't help it. He couldn't help it if he tried.

Be that as it may, he couldn't continue on. It hurt too much. The wound was too great. Chains, he could handle. Some odd immunity to an energy siphoning being, he could handle. The knife dug into his chest, he could not handle.

Mopsus let him drop, and the expression he wore was almost apologetic

Albus heard music. The tempo was increasing, the beat kept accelerating, and the sound itself was odd. It wasn't like any music he'd ever heard before. But, it was all that filled his ears, all that filled his senses, and, at the moment, all he really knew.

It was his heartbeat.

And, it was breaking.

There were yells, shouts. Slowly, they began to break through as Albus crumbled to the floor. He slumped up against the wall, and watched with foggy eyes as the scene played out before him.

He expected to see his father, or one of his Uncles, or even Olethea. Hell, he was still half expecting Dante to begin leaping up and down in some demented and delirious state of joy.

What he wasn't expecting was James, and his eyes snapped back on their own accord. Suddenly, he found strength to stay awake, strength to stay alive, strength to place a hand on his wound and strength to put pressure on the ever-burning part of him.

No sooner had Mopsus let Albus drop and turned back to the battle had James tackled him. Straight to the ground, kicking and screaming.

"That's my brother you bastard! Ugh! UGH!"

And, James was hitting him. Repeatably. His fists swung back and forth as he beat Mopsus with blow after blow in rapid succession.

It was then that the others noticed.

Dad's silent scream was more deafening than any other sound Albus had ever heard.

Predictably, Dante began to jump up in down with glee, pumping his fists in the air joyously. Enraged, Harry Potter lifted his wand at the Ifrit, and fired.

This time, he wasn't aiming to capture.

This time, he was aiming to kill.

James lifted his fist one last time before Mopsus caught the fist in his own. Twist. Snap. James cried out in pain before Mopsus gripped him by the throat, shoving him off while keeping his fingers wrapped tightly around his neck. James gasped for breath before Mopsus slammed him into the ground.

James' eyes fell close as a little blood seeped from his skull.

Carelessly, Mopsus stepped over Albus' brother and made his way towards the fight currently reengaged. He pulled out his wand, and shot out a curse, aiming at Uncle Ron. Uncle Ron deflected it with ease, and fired one of his own.

It never hit, because Mopsus wasn't there anymore.

He was a shadow, leaping from wall to wall, shooting across the room even as they tried to catch it. Dante took full advantage, letting his flames sweep the room before concentrating his power.

Lightning.

Pure energetic lightning.

It ripped through the shield Uncle Neville had constructed, and his body went flying.

Mopsus managed to get a hold of Uncle Ron. Up they went, soaring into the air, before Uncle Ron was flung. He soared in the air, and Dante shot him with flames still before Uncle Ron could land. Wisps of smoke charred at his robes as Uncle Ron's body somersaulted in the air, before finally rolling it's way onto the cold stone ground.

How did things become so terrible?

Albus was on the ground, bleeding, unable to move, with his only support being the wall behind him and his own will to not let his eyes shut, despite the overwhelming pain he felt and the thundering beating of his own heart in his ears.

McGonagall was still up on her post, her skin sagged and her eyes closed. There wasn't enough life left in her to open them. She wasn't dead, but she might as well be, considering the condition she was currently in.

James lay on the ground, blood falling lovingly from his lips, his nose, even his skull. Somehow, he looked peaceful in his slumber. Peaceful, despite the full-blown hell that surrounded them all.

Uncle Neville was down as well. His body had a soft tinge to it, a small little glow underneath his skin. The lightning that had struck him had literally lit his bones. It was a wonder he wasn't a mess of burnt rags and flesh.

Uncle Ron was still smoldering from the fire. Small wisps of smoke rose from his robes, but Albus could see. He could see his Uncle was still breathing. Barely at all, but he was alive. Alive, and defeated.

Olethea was perhaps the worst of them all. Sure, Albus was bleeding slowly to death. Sure, McGonagall's skin was sagged and clutching to the bone almost lifelessly. But, Olethea was paler than the rest. The veins in her body popped out like a thousand little segments of a highway. She didn't just look dead. She looked tortured.

There was only one last man left standing; Harry Potter himself. The chosen one. The champion of the Wizarding world. The legend, the hero, the savior. The marked one. Albus' dad, his father, his own personal superman.

Mopsus came flying at him with such speed he was nothing more than a blur.

Harry, however, was ready for him.

Light. Pure light escaped from his dad's wand. Not a curse, not a hex, not a jinx or anything of the like. Just a simple Lumos spell... Times one hundred.

Mopsus screamed and shrieked and fell away from the light as if burned before returning to his natural form.

A small part of Albus wondered why dad hadn't done that before, when it quickly became obvious the same trick didn't work on Dante when the other shifted into shadow-mode and tried to strike, only being deterred by a rapid shield his father made.

As Albus watched Mopsus and Dante circle his father like a pack of wild wolves, it clicked.

It had been an act. It had been an act all along. Mopsus, the notorious double agent no one catches until the last second. The double agent that strikes when one is least expecting it, the one that causes hell, and suffering through a betrayal not seen.

Dante had brought Mopsus to his knees three times in rapid succession.

Yet, after each, Mopsus rose without so much a scratch.

It was an act.

Albus was sure even Dante's 'hatred' of Mopsus had been merely for dramatic effect to convince the others of his role as their ally. Convince them of the lie that was going to cost them everything.

The wound in him pulsed.

Albus bit his lip and glanced down.

Of all the places to stab him, why the leg? Maybe to keep Albus from running? After all, a leg wound did that just fine and, from what he'd heard and seen, Dante seemed keen on not just killing him, but making it as symbolic as possible. Psychopaths these days...

Clatter.

Albus looked up.

No.

No, no, no, no!

Dad had fallen. His body was tossed careless on the ground, but he kept moving. He wasn't unconscious, not yet. His wand was lying mere inches from him, but, before he could get it, the traitor kicked it away and spat on him, before backhanding dad.

Any other day, seeing that would have sparked anger in Albus.

Right now, all he could feel was terror.

He tried to yell out, when he found his voice gone. Gone, again. Dante had robbed him of it again, and he was helpless to do or say a thing.

"Traitor!" Dad spat.

"I'm sorry." Mopsus spoke as he walked around dad, before standing next to Dante. Dante merely stared at dad, shaking his head in disappointment like an adult scolding a child for putting his hand in the cookie jar.

He didn't sound sorry at all.

Albus wanted to throttle him. Hard.

"I'm sorry things had to be this way, Harry." Dante spoke, before he kneeled, grabbed dad by the robes, and lifted him to his knees. "But, that boy... He must die. You know this."

"You're mad."

"The stars have spoken, and they are firm in their judgment. Albus Potter must die. And you... Gracious you, you brave little toaster, you brought me just what I needed to sacrifice the boy properly." Dante said as he twirled the Elder Wand in between his fingertips. With an insane smile, Dante tapped the wand on Dad's nose, before he winked.

"What happened to you?" Dad gasped. He was wounded. Tired. Most of all, he was broken, because he'd failed. He'd failed, and it all ended here, now.

"Life. Really, I'm surprised insanity did not grace me oh so much sooner. I've been alive thousands of years, yet only now does it all catch up to me."

Then, Dante was gripping dad by the throat, choking him.

Albus tried to move.

He found his body refused to listen to his mind. His body was in shock. He was in shock, and he couldn't move a muscle, because this could not be happening. It just couldn't. It couldn't, but it was.

Reality was a thing that crashes around one against their wishes, and it was crashing around Albus now. Endlessly, it crashed around him. This was happening. This was really happening. And, nothing could stop it. Nothing in the world, because Harry Potter himself had already failed, and there was no hero in the world greater than Albus' dad.

Dante's grip became vice like around dad's throat, but, even then, dad did not look at him. Instead, his eyes were locked on Mopsus.

"Why?" he rasped out.

Mopsus looked sorry. He really did. He looked like he hated this, like he abhorred this, like he would prefer to be anywhere else but here. He looked as if he would regret this day for the rest of his life, but there was something else shinning in his eyes, something shining so fiercely that Albus knew he had no hope that the situation would be turned around.

It was a fanatical determination, the kind which nothing in the world can shake. The world could be dieing around you, and it's the kind of principle and belief that cannot be broken and continues on forever, infinitely.

That was what shone in Mopsus' eyes as he spoke. The tone was soft, it was caressing, it was the final words before the blow that takes one's life and leaves it bare for the world to see, broken and mutilated for eternity.

"Because... Because, Harry, Dante is right. He showed me. Showed me, just like he showed you, and he's right. Your son... The boy must die. He must."

"All this time... You were... It was an act... To get closer to us, make us trust you..." dad was growling. He was gasping, spluttering for air, nearly choking to death, and he was growling.

"Yes."

"You betrayed us all."

"Yes."

"I hate you."

"I know."

Silence followed the statement. Then, Dante looked down at dad. "I'm sorry. I truly am. But, this is the way things must come about. You brought me what I needed to do this correctly," Dante waved the Elder Wand. "The Great Pumpkin thanks you for your services, Musketeer of her Royal Majesty, the Wicked Witch of the West. The sands cry out their joy and the worms rejoice in their holes. I'm sorry, but this is the way things must be."

Then, Dante lifted his other hand, his fingers outstretched. Blue glowed from them in tiny little tendrils. He was going to drain dad. He was going to drain dad, and use that magic, use that power, and turn it on Albus. Use it to kill him.

Albus wanted to close his eyes, wanted to look away, wanted to be anywhere but here. But, he couldn't. He was locked in a dreadful morbid sense of fascination, of wonder. As grotesque as it was, he could not look away. Could not look away as the hand latched onto the face, as Dante's eyes glowed blue, as-

Albus' eyes widened.

He could not look away as Mopsus let slip into his hand the knife that he'd used to impale Albus' leg. He could not look away as Mopsus let it slip into his fingertips from it's place, hidden underneath the hem of his sleeve. He could not look away as Mopsus stepped behind Dante, or as Mopsus stabbed the Ifrit in it's side.

He could not look away as Dante gave an inhuman screech, as his back arched, as he glowed with unnatural energy, as Mopsus dug the blade in deeper, as dad fell back to the ground, groaning and whimpering, but otherwise alright.

The Elder Wand fell with a clatter, the wood bouncing on the stone before dad snatched it up.

Dante's head fell back, landing on Mopsus' shoulder as he supported the other. Dante gave a weak rasp, looking up into the eyes of his killer.

"The boy... The boy... You know what he is, brother... You know..." Dante whispered.

Dad snatched up the Elder Wand, rapidly standing and pointing it at the two before him. "You stabbed my son." he snarled.

Mopsus looked up.

"I had to make it look good."

"You stabbed my fucking son!"

"Slytherin's dagger wouldn't have worked! Not after Olethea used it to block a Killing Curse."

"You. Stabbed. My. CHILD!"

"AND HIS BLOOD IS POISON!"

"What?"

Mopsus pulled out the blade and Dante fell to the ground, his body withering in pain. Mopsus lifted the knife, the knife that had impaled Albus and dug into his flesh. "His blood." he pointed at Albus. "His blood stained this knife. And it's poison. It burned my flesh when it touched me. You know what it means, Potter."

Dad glowered at him before he turned and rushed to Albus' side. He came in quick determined strides and was next to his son in a heartbeat. Albus was in shock. His blood was poison. His blood. His blood had caused a being that had single-handedly taken three of the strongest people he knew on in a battle, and nearly come up on top, to its knees.

That was scary.

That was really scary.

Dad was soon kneeling over him, cradling Albus' head onto his lap as he preformed a quick rudimentary healing spell. He wouldn't bother with anything big, wouldn't risk anything big. He wasn't a healer, he only knew the basics.

A wand tap to the forehead and Albus' eyes fell close.

Mopsus knelt down next to Dante, sweeping some of the blood-mated hair out of the others face as he stared into the cerulean eyes.

"The boy..." Dante rasped.

"Shh. Shh. Rest now, brother. You've done enough. Rest."

Dante gripped Mopsus' hand, and stared up at him.

"You know what he is... The beast... You felt it. It crawls inside him, festering, growing. He has... He has no free will. It will dominate him, control him. His blood. His blood is poison. The beast will control him, and he will... he will be forced to watch as another uses his hands, his body, his face, to slaughter all those he once loved. Watch helplessly as his body is used to bring a world to its knees... To slay him now... It would... A mercy..."

"Shh... Sleep. Sleep, Dante. It's over. It's over. Rest." Mopsus commanded softly.

Dante gave a weak gasp.

"You must.. Stop... Hi-"

"No."

"Mopsus."

"I don't intend to kill him. I intend to save him, whatever it takes."

Dante laughed. He actually laughed, and Mopsus frowned. Dante continued to laugh manically, madly, with all the intensity of his insanity. It filed the room, filled the air, and it was everywhere as the laughed bounced it's way off the stone walls. Finally, Dante spoke.

"That's what the last one said... Right before he had his heart ripped out of his chest."

Then, with those final words, the eyes closed.

The Ifrit was, at long last, finally defeated.