Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. I just like messing with J.K. Rowling's characters.
Thanks to everyone who read and/or reviewed. By the way, I was wrong. This will be the last chapter.
Warnings: Language, death. A bit descriptive in places, just a heads up for those who are a bit squeamish.
Last Time: "Ginny Weasley will be joining you. Make sure she knows everything she needs to know. Be prepared to attack over the week before the Easter holidays. A month after I deal with the Ministry, we will deal with Dumbledore. Also, begin look for some help. I sure plenty of people in Hogwarts will be willing to follow you."
The winter holidays went by quickly. Upon their return to Hogwarts, they chose the Room of Requirement as their new headquarters, and the room became what they both wanted and needed.
Black and gray hangings framed the thick windows, and there was an area for practicing spells and dueling. There was a study area with bookshelves, tables, and chairs. In case of emergency, Harry also asked for a space to stay. Several sets of bunk beds appeared in the corner.
Harry explained to his friends, "We'll need a place to stay if something goes wrong."
The vanishing cabinet had already been relocated to their new training space, but it was currently locked.
Once the room was finished, Theo left and returned with Ginny. Then the six older student explained the Dark Lord's decree.
"So I'm one of the Dark Lord's apprentices?" she asked in a hushed voice.
"Ginny, you're powerful. You have to realize that," Theo said. "Since you've recovered, the six of us will be training you. We'll have to work fast, though. The Dark Lord has plans. He wants to take over the Ministry and he wants us to lead an attack on Diagon Alley the week before the Easter holidays."
Blaise said, "It's a diversion. We'll be in Diagon attracting all of the attention while the Dark Lord pays a visit to the Ministry and takes over."
Ginny nodded. "I understand."
"Good. Let's get to work."
All of them buckled down and started looking for not friends, but followers. It was no secret that most of Slytherin supported the Dark Lord, so they started with their own house. It was an unspoken rule that they wouldn't allow anyone below fourth year to join them, no matter how eager they were.
Jessica and Jack were among the first to sign up. There were several others, and after a few days, they had over twenty volunteers from Slytherin alone.
Next was Ravenclaw. The conflict had divided Rowena's house in half, but a fair number of them sided with Harry and his friends. Among them were Luna Lovegood, one of Ginny's friends, and Cho Chang.
After dealing with the Ravenclaws, it was time to move onto the Hufflepuffs. It was tough to deal with the overly loyal members of the house, especially because many of them believed in Dumbledore. They ended up with significantly fewer recruits than they did from Ravenclaw and Slytherin, getting less than ten followers.
Then it was time to tackle Gryffindor. The only person that Harry would guarantee would join them was Dean Thomas. He was almost right. They only got one other person from Gryffindor, Parvati Patil, who only joined up because her twin sister, Padma, had already done so.
Everything was kept very hush-hush as harry and his friends worked right under Dumbledore's crooked nose. They called themselves the Dark Knights.
At their first meeting, Harry took charge.
"Welcome. As you know, we support the Dark Lord. We will be his eyes and ears within Hogwarts for the next several months. If at any time you think that anything we teach you is wrong, get the fuck out and don't come back. We'll make sure to wipe your memory so that you don't go squealing to Dumbledore."
"You will be our force within Hogwarts," Daphne continued. "If the six of us are forced to leave the castle, we will leave instructions for what you are to do."
"Before we say anything more, each of you has to sign this parchment as an oath of your loyalty to us and the Dark Lord," Theo said. As each person signed the parchment, his or her signature glowed white. Little did they know, Theo put a charm on the parchment. If someone betrayed his or her oath, something much worse than having his or her memory wiped would happen to them.
Once everyone had signed his or her name, Harry continued to speak. "I'm telling you now that the Dark Lord will win. He practically already has. By this time next year, Dumbledore will be dead, and the Dark Lord will be making our world a better place."
From there, they moved onto practical things, such as what the six apprentices would be teaching and when they would meet.
The training of the Dark Knights progressed well, considering how difficult it was for everyone to get together at the same time. Meetings had to be scheduled around prefects' meetings and classes, as well as Slug Club dinners.
They were still confined to the castle as a precaution, so there was no Quidditch or Hogsmeade visits, although the village was slowly being rebuilt. But then something happened that made everyone even more worried.
A few weeks before the Easter holidays, a Daily Prophet headline screamed:
GREYBACK ATTACKS! 6-YEAR-OLD BOY DEAD!
Harry grimaced. The Dark Lord had to do something about the werewolf, who was clearly going rogue. There was no use for him. Harry looked up to the staff table and saw Remus' ashen face. His professor's hands were clenching the paper so tightly that his knuckles were turning white.
"That mutt needs to be put down," Draco commented.
A six-year-old boy, whose identity is yet to be released, was attacked by infamous werewolf, Fenrir Greyback. The boy's parents rushed their child to St. Mungo's, were he died of his injuries.
"It was a mess," an onlooker, who wishes to remain anonymous, commented. "There was blood everywhere. His face was gone."
While the extent of the boy's fatal injuries are not known, Greyback is known to be vicious and bloodthirsty. Should you encounter him, remember that he is a dangerous wizard and a known follower of You-Know-Who. Do not engage him, and get away from the area as quickly as possible. Do not leave young children alone. Report all sightings to the Auror Office.
"Something needs to be done," Daphne said. "Greyback's become too dangerous. He's not even a marked Deatheater. I wonder who the boy was though."
"By the looks of it, it was the Patils' younger brother." Harry nodded in the direction of the Ravenclaw table, where both sisters were sitting. They were huddled together, looking blankly at a piece of parchment.
"You should talk to Remus," Blaise said. "The Patils aren't the only ones who look like they're hurting."
"I will," Harry assured her.
The Patil sisters' grief became much more obvious when the truth hit home and they both began to wail. The sound echoed around the Great Hall.
After classes that day, Harry went to Remus' office.
"Are you alright?" he asked his professor-slash-surrogate-uncle.
Remus sighed heavily. "When Lucius spoke to me thirteen years ago, he told me that I could get revenge for what happened to me. But this isn't about me. This is about everyone else that Greyback's infected or killed."
"You know what we're doing, right?"
"Of course I do. I'm not stupid, Harry. Just whatever you do, leave Greyback to me. I want to see the light leave his eyes. I want to see the predator become prey."
Padma and Parvati's absence was conspicuous over the following few days as they attended their brother's funeral and mourned with their family. But when they returned, they kicked things into high gear. They wanted revenge too.
As the Easter holidays drew closer, Harry and his friends planned the logistics of the attack on Diagon Alley. They decided to make it more of a scare, and only kill people if they got in the way.
They would be wearing black cloaks and silver masks, so they people would know that they just weren't common Deatheaters. The Dark Lord gave them forty low-ranking Deatheaters to command, who were instructed to obey their every word.
Every Dark Knight was given corresponding alibis for Harry, Daphne, Pansy, Blaise, Draco, Theo, and Ginny, so that their tracks would be covered. But in the event that returning to Hogwarts wasn't possible, the group was given instructions for the vanishing cabinet. Their family's house elves would retrieve their things.
Finally, it was the Tuesday before the winter holidays. As soon as classes ended for the day, Harry and his friends rushed to their rooms. Once they had everything they needed, they snuck out of the castle. Once they were outside the wards, they used their portkeys to go to Diagon Alley.
They landed in a shadowy corner of Knockturn Alley, where the forty Deatheaters and Neville were waiting for them. They pulled their cloaks and masks on before the Deatheaters could identify them, and then Harry said, "This is the plan. There are eight of us and forty of you. So we will lead five each. Cause as much destruction as you can, except for Gringotts, Ollivander's, and Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes. Don't kill unless you have to. If you see us go down, apparate away. Don't wait around to get captured."
The Deatheaters nodded from behind their masks. Harry could see in their eyes that they were ready for their first taste of the action. He was ready too, and so were his friends.
They rushed out into Diagon Alley. Shop windows were smashed, displays were set alight, and people were sent scattering. It didn't take long for a large force of red-robed Aurors to show up. That's when the really fighting began.
Spells became deadly as people on both sides went down.
And then Harry's favorite person showed up. Dumbledore. And he was leading members of the Order of the Phoenix.
Harry and his friends fired spells as quickly as they could, but they he heard a shout of victory come from one of the members of the Order. Neville had gone down. The Deatheaters under his command began to apparate away.
It was a losing battle, but it didn't matter. Hopefully, the Dark Lord had been successful. Harry saw Theo rush over to Neville and portkey away with him. It was definitely time for them to go.
"Retreat!" he yelled. He made sure that the rest of the Deatheaters had started to apparate away, but then a spell blindsided him and knocked him off his feet. And it knocked his mask off. As he sat up, he noted the shock on Dumbledore's face, and then portkeyed away.
Harry was the last to arrive at the Dark Lord's headquarters. "We can't go back," he told Daphne, Blaise, Pansy, Draco, Theo, and Ginny. "Dumbledore saw my face."
They summoned their house elves and had them go to Hogwarts to get their things. They wouldn't be able to go home, either, as their families would be under suspicion.
After the logistics were taken care of, and he had showered and changed, Harry went to find Neville. He found him in his room, pulling on a fresh set shirt. His middle was bandaged and he winced each time he moved.
"I take it that the Dark Lord wants to see us?" Harry asked.
Neville nodded. "Rabastan says that their mission was a success." He finished getting dressed and they headed to the Dark Lord's meeting room together.
The rest of their friends were already there.
"Congratulations on your first mission," Voldemort said. "Although it could have gone better, I commend you for your effort. Seeing as you're still here, I'm guessing that Dumbledore recognized you?"
Harry nodded. "A spell knocked off my mask."
"That's fine. Your allies within Hogwarts are ready, correct?"
"Yes," Draco answered. "We left them instructions in case of an emergency."
"Good, good. Go to sleep. I've spoken to your parents and we have decided to go with the story that they had no knowledge of your activities. They'll deny everything."
The teenagers all nodded in understanding. It was necessary, after all.
Back at Hogwarts, the news of the attack was just breaking.
"I knew they were evil!" Ron exclaimed after Professor McGonagall delivered the news to the Gryffindor common room.
"What does this mean, Professor?" Hermione asked.
"Hogwarts is in complete lockdown, Miss Granger. A professor will escort you to each class. The school will continue to function as a school, but no one is to leave these walls. Not even for the Easter holidays."
The Dark Knights still gathered in the Room of Requirement, as they had to prepare for the arrival of the Deatheaters via the vanishing cabinet.
At Borgin & Burke's in Knockturn Alley, Voldemort, his apprentices, and twenty loyal Deatheaters were waiting for the clock to strike midnight. Then it would be time for them to infiltrate Hogwarts. Over a hundred Deatheaters were waiting for the Dark Lord's command for them to apparate to Hogwarts.
The Dark Lord cast a quick spell. Then he said, "It is time."
They each entered the magical cabinet and ended up at the other in, in the Room of Requirement.
"Welcome back, Harry," Jack said.
Harry acknowledged him with a nod, and then the Dark Lord spoke.
"Is everything ready?" he asked Jessica.
The seventh year nodded. "Students are monitoring the common rooms and the four largest groups are waiting for your signal to move. We expect resistance from some of the older students. Rumor has it that Weasley and Granger created something called 'Dumbledore's Army'."
The Dark Lord turned to his apprentices and said, "Handle this so called army. I'll deal with Dumbledore and his pathetic Order of the Phoenix." To his right hand man, he said, "Rabastan, being dismantling the wards. Do it as quickly as you can."
The room obeyed Rabastan's request for a window that gave him a clear view of the night sky and the invisible wards that protected Hogwarts. He stood next to it and aimed his wand at the sky, and began muttering the words that would bring the wards crashing down.
"Get ready," Harry told the Dark Knights that were still there. "Dumbledore's going to figure things out soon. Alert the groups that are waiting."
Then there was a rumble as the first ward fell.
"The Order's arriving," Jessica said, looking a piece of charmed parchment. The leaders of the groups had the others, so that they could communicate. "There's a good view of them from the Ravenclaw Common Room."
"Don't have them move yet. It'll be easier once they're all in the castle."
Meanwhile, outside the Room of Requirement, panic ensued as the students found out that the wards around Hogwarts were somehow collapsing.
Prefects corralled the younger students and herded them to safety. Dumbledore had called in a favor with his brother, Aberforth, and had created a secret passageway from Hogwarts to the basement of Hog's Head.
While most of the students were escaping, others chose to stay. Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger were among those students the other members of Dumbledore's Army.
The group of thirty or so students burst into Dumbledore's office as the heads of houses and the members of the Order of the Phoenix planned a strategy.
"We want to help!" Ron exclaimed.
"Ron, get out of here!" his father shouted, suddenly gaining a backbone.
"We're here to fight," Seamus said. "We've been training for this."
"And we're all almost of age," Hermione pointed out.
Dumbledore sighed and looked at the assembled group of students. "Fine. After all, we need all the help we can get."
While they got back to planning a counter attack, Voldemort was already ahead of them. The wards were almost down and the Deatheaters were massing outside the gates, getting ready to attack. The Dark Knights spread themselves out around the castle, from the courtyard to the Great Hall, and from the Astronomy Tower to the dungeons. The very youngest members held down the fort, so to speak, in the Room of Requirement.
Remus arrived at the Room of Requirement as the last ward fell. "Harry!"
"Are you alright?"
Harry nodded. "I'm fine, and I'm ready. You should be to. Greyback's been spotted among the Deatheaters."
Remus' eyes hardened and he tightened his grip on his wand. "Good." The professor left the Room of Requirement and headed to join the group in the courtyard.
Then Voldemort amplified his voice with a spell. "DEFENDERS OF HOGWARTS. SURRENDER, BECAUSE YOU HAVE ALREADY LOST. I AM INSIDE YOUR FORTESS, THE FORMERLY IMPENETRABLE CASTLE KNOWN AS HOGWARTS. SURRENDER NOW AND I SHALL BE MERCIFUL. SURRENDER NOW AND I SHALL SPARE YOU. FIGHT AGAINST ME, AND YOU SHALL DIE."
Dumbledore's office was completely silent, until there was the sound of a body hitting the floor.
Seamus had fainted.
A blast of water from Ron's wand had him sputtering.
"Albus, what do we do?" Kingsley Shacklebolt asked. He had been holed up at Hogwarts since Voldemort's takeover of the Ministry.
"We have to go down fighting," Dumbledore said in a weary voice. "That's all we can do." He then amplified his voice, much like Voldemort had done a few minutes earlier, and said, "UNLIKE YOU TOM, WE ARE NOT COWARDS. WE WILL GO DOWN FIGHITNG."
From his office window, Albus could see the force of over a hundred Deatheaters sweeping towards the castle. "Go," he said to his small, yet determined band.
They rushed out of the headmaster's office and down the spiral staircase. They ran straight into an ambush. Blaise and Dean led a group of ten Deatheaters who were lying in wait for them.
The first beam of light hit Arthur Weasley straight in the chest. The first shot had been fired.
Spells lit up the hallway as Deatheaters surged through the castle, battling against older students and the Order of the Phoenix.
It was quickly becoming apparent that the Light was losing.
Harry led his group through the castle, eliminating as many members of the opposition as possible, when a spell almost hit him in the back. He turned a saw a seething Ron Weasley, backed by Seamus Finnegan.
"Go," Harry said to Daphne. "I've got this covered." Once Daphne had nodded and left, leading the group to another part of the castle, Harry said to Ron, "I see that your aim still needs work, Weasley."
"I've heard that from you over a dozen times in the past year alone. Try to be more original."
"That's a really creative one. Stupefy!"
Ron dodged the spell and returned fire. "Expelliarmus!"
Harry's next spell, a bludgeoning hex, soared over Ron's shoulder and hit Seamus in the face. He crumpled to the ground for the second time in the space of a few hours. Except this time, he wasn't getting up.
Ron looked at his friend in shock before returning fire as furiously as ever. Harry ducked, dodged, and dived as quickly as he could before sneaking a spell past Ron's defenses and knocking him out. The Weasel had gotten good.
But there was no time to finish off his enemy how he wanted, so a beam of bright green light had to suffice. Then he rushed off to rejoin the battle.
Neville and his mentor had joined the members of the Dark Knights that were stationed at the top of the Astronomy Tower, firing spells at the reinforcements of renegade Aurors, led by Alastor Moody, that were arriving.
Neville saw a spell out of the corner of his eye. BUt it didnt't hit him. Rabastan suddenly pitched forward. Neville reached out, trying to reach the man's robes to pull him back to safely, but his hands only grasped empty air. He watched as Rabastan's eyes cycled through various emotions, beginning with shock and ending at acceptance.
Then he fell limply through the air. Neville forced himself to watch as his mentor's body landed with a unheard crack on the cobblestones below.
Then an inhuman scream wrenched its way out of Neville's throat. He whirled around, looking for the source of the spell. And then he saw Hermione, hiding in the shadows and on the verge of fleeing.
"Neville?" the Muggleborn witch whispered in shock. "You're alive?"
Neville didn't answer. He simply strode over to her and snatched her wand out of her hand. "You don't deserve magic," he growled, before snapping her wand in half and throwing it over the battlement. And you don't deserve to live either."
He lifted her by the neck, ignoring her desperate struggles.
"Neville...please," she wheezed.
Neville squeezed tighter.
Hermione's lips were losing their color and her struggles became weaker.
Neville let go and let her broken body fall to the floor.
As he exited the tower, Jack sprinted past him and shouted, "The Dark Lord and Dumbledore are dueling!"
Neville went to the only place that made sense. The Great Hall.
Fenrir Greyback didn't care who was dueling whom. He cared about himself and himself only. He watched as a young witch, with long, curly blonde hair fell to the ground, courtesy of a stray body-binding spell. She hadn't even been part of fighting.
Seeing a golden opportunity, Greyback did what he did best.
Soon, the girl's blood tricked down his throat, both inside and out. Her eyes were slowly gazing over.
Remus had been saving his one use of the spell for one person and one person only. And that person was Fenrir Greyback. He watched with a look of grim satisfaction as the light bled out of Greyback's eyes before he slumped to the floor.
Remus levitated him off Lavender to see what damage the monster had done. He did what he could to staunch the flow of flood from Lavender's neck, but he knew it was too late. He undid the body-bind and simply sat there.
"Thank...you," Lavender gurgled through the blood that was slowly choking her.
In the Great Hall, it was clear that this was it. It was the end and only one of the two great wizards battling it out would survive to see the morning.
And Voldemort knew who it would be.
By daybreak, Dumbledore was dead. The legendary duel had lasted for over three hours, and by the end of it, Voldemort was more tired than he ever had been.
But they hadn't been without causalities, and Neville had been catatonic since the end of the battle. He hadn't left Rabastan's body, which lay in the shadow of the Astronomy Tower.
The Dark Lord swept through the Great Hall, taking note of the surviving Deatheaters. The students had been sent home for the summer, and the teachers and other defenders who had refused to swear allegiance to the Dark Lord had been killed. But most of them had compiled, and were currently thinking up ways to repair the school as quickly as possible.
The battle had done significant damage to the castle. There were marks on the walls from spells, shards of glass in the corridors, and broken pieces of stonework all over the place.
Voldemort was already thinking up his own places for where to go after his conquest of Britain. Of course, there would still be some resistance, but his apprentices would be able to handle that.
He had the Ministry. He had the school. And betst of all, Dumbledore was dead. There would be no more hiding. Now it was time for the Dark to rise.
So that's it. That's the end (*runs away while dodging flying pitchforks*). I hope everyone enjoyed it. Thank you to everyone who's read, followed, favorited, or reviewed. I appreciate it very, very much.