Just a few quick author notes before the story begins. This Fan fiction is a crossover taking place between the Harry Potter and Stargate Universes. I encourage everyone to give it a chance. The crossover in my opinion has been crafted masterfully and blends the two canon worlds together quite nicely. I think fans of either series will really enjoy it.
At any rate I hope you all enjoy this fiction as much as I have enjoyed writing it so far.
Harry Potter and the Veil of Time
Chapter One: The Final Battle
A patchwork of clouds covered the still-black sky. Thick banks of mist, like clouds unwilling to confine themselves to the sky above, rolled glacially across the lawns and between the thick ancient trunks of the Forbidden Forest. A waxing moon beamed down from above, partially obscured by the clouds, unwilling to abandon the night to the slowly-cresting wave of purples and golds boiling up through the clouds on the eastern horizon. The warped obsidian mirror of the Black Lake cast a second moon, as though through a curtain of tears, upon the scene. It did not appear, in Harry Potter's mind, to be a particularly good day upon which to die.
The remnants of the winter cold were still in the air, confined these days exclusively to the night hours, and even now retreating before the advancing sun. Still, Harry clung tightly to Ginny's hand, feeling her warmth flow up his arm, the way a first sip of butterbeer would climb its way merrily down your throat. As he exhaled, he watched the wisps of his breath flee from him into the air, and wished that he could join them, wished that he could escape from this place into the ether above…but only for a moment. He knew, in his heart, that he could never live with himself after perpetrating such a betrayal on his friends. Before turning his attention to Ginny again, he caught the flickering gaze of a few fading stars peering through the clouds overhead, and wondered briefly if they were ever visited by a calamity such as Voldemort.
"You're nervous," Ginny said, leaning closer to wrap an arm around him. Harry twisted up one corner of his mouth in what he hoped looked like a casual smirk.
"Been practicing your Legilimency I see," he retorted, and when she chuckled, he leaned in and kissed her gently on the forehead. The smell of her hair brought him fully back to Earth, and cleared his mind of distraction even as it dropped a stone of dread into his stomach.
"Yes," he continued. "I'm nervous. We've been moving towards this for so many years…and even longer before then, before I even realized it. And now that we're on the threshold…" he lapsed into silence.
For a while Ginny seemed unsure of what to say. Harry felt her hand clasping his own, felt her hot breath on his neck, felt the slightest tremble of cold or fear run down her spine, but heard no words of comfort. In a way, it was comforting to have his fears validated.
"I believe in you, Harry Potter," she said at last, almost a whisper.
"You and everyone else," Harry said, a bit too bitingly. He exhaled through his nostrils, blinking sullenly as sunlight began to twinkle through the cracks in the cloud line. Ginny didn't retort, but merely cocked her head to one side, nestling it in the crook of Harry's neck. Harry sighed.
"I guess I believe in me, too," he said, defeated by his own self-resolve.
"You've got the whole D.A. at your back, Harry, and the instructors, and what remains of the Order. This battle isn't as desperate as you seem to think."
Harry thought of all his friends and mentors, throwing themselves to the wolves with smiles on their faces and "Harry Potter!" on their lips. He closed his eyes, squeezing the bridge of his nose, trying to expel the images with darkness and pressure.
"And you've got me," Ginny chided.
The stones in Harry's stomach were multiplying. He saw Ginny, cursed or killed or torn apart by any number of Voldemort's beastly servants.
"Ginny, listen, I-"
"Don't! Don't even think it, Harry Potter, I know what you're about to say."
"The main fighting is going to take place in Hogsmeade," he began pleadingly. "If you just stayed here at the school…"
He felt himself pushed roughly to the cold dewy grass. Ginny Weasley was standing over him now, clenching and un-clenching her fists at her sides.
"Always the saint, Harry, always the martyr! So eager to leap into the jaws of death that you'll push everyone else out of the way to get there! You can't dictate my life, Potter, and if I am…" she paused, her lip quivering, but pressed on, "…if I am to die today than it will be by your side."
Harry thought for a moment, still lying flat on his back. Slowly, he raised himself up to his elbows. Ginny sighed, extending a hand and helping him up.
"Ginny…like it or not, and believe me I don't, I am to play a fairly pivotal role in this battle. Voldemort and I…it's got to happen, Ginny, and it's got to happen today, one way or the other. If you're there, in the thick of things…if I have to watch you…" he stopped. The words lodged in his throat, so bitter and vile that he couldn't swallow, couldn't even breathe or blink. He stood like a statue for several seconds, while Ginny's eyes searched his face, trying to divine what was in his heart. Harry blinked at last, closed his eyes, and felt time drag onward in spite of his deepest wishes.
"If I have to watch you die, Ginny," he said, his voice quaking, "it will be the end of me, I'll never last after that. I need you to stay here, at the school. Someone has to take care of the wounded—and there will be wounded—and fend off any surprise attacks if the Death Eaters try to take the school behind us and trap us in the open."
Ginny's eyes roved across Harry's face, trying to find some angle she could press to her advantage. Finally she rushed forward into an embrace, and Harry felt her shaking against him as she shed hidden tears against his chest.
"Oh, Harry, I'm so afraid," she said around her halfhearted sobs. "How am I to know what's happened to you?"
"You'll know when I stroll into the Great Hall with the Army at my back," Harry said, feeling himself swell with bravado he hoped was real. "It's the only way this can happen."
Liar! hissed the voice in his mind, and Harry knew his bravado would be helpful only to her. He would have to carry his terror with him into battle, and hope that it did not destroy him at the first opportunity.
Ginny wiped her eyes and stood back from him, brushing the grass and wrinkles out of her clothes. The sun broke through the clouds behind her, bathing her in its soft golden light. Harry couldn't help but smile.
"Come on then," he said, wrapping an arm around her. "We've got to go get ready and meet with the others."
The pair made their way away from the Lake towards the main building of the castle, while behind them the fog clung to the ground, and the recalcitrant clouds shrouded the sun from view once more.
The Great Hall was a bustle of activity as Harry and Ginny entered, but inevitably, first one and then another noticed Potter's arrival and the assemblage gradually quieted into a staring silence.
"God, I hate it when they do that," Harry whispered. Ginny stifled a chuckle.
"'Arry," Hagrid said with a nod from a corner of the Hall. Harry returned the nod before casting his eyes out among the crowd, reading the insecurity and hope mixed evenly on the faces of his friends and former classmates. He wondered how many of them he would see again in the evening.
"Say something, Harry!" a voice shouted from the back of the crowd.
"Speech! Speech!" the scattered cries echoed off the walls, and Harry felt the weight of the crowd's eyes upon him more than ever.
The few students standing near him paced back to give him room, and Harry found himself alone on the stone floor of the Great Hall, with the cloudy skies from outside moving tumultuously overhead. He looked down at his feet. Whose feet were those? The Chosen One? The Boy Who Lived? And whose robes? Whose hands? Whose ridiculous body was this, swollen to bursting with prophecy and foregone doom? For a moment, Harry was struck with the weight of his own cosmic arrogance, and that of Voldemort. He and the Dark Lord were about to march two armies against one another in a clash of violence and fire and death, for the sake of fate, to play out some sort of grand tragedy or drama. Harry's hands trembled and he felt like all the stones in his stomach were about to come up on him. He looked out at his friends, forehead damp with sweat. What a figure he would cut, The Boy Who Lived retching all over the floor of the Great Hall!
Breathing through his nose, Harry forced himself to relax. Voldemort was going to play out this confrontation whether or not Harry was there to participate, and whether or not his heart was in it. The consequences of failure were very real, for him and for everyone else, even the teeming masses of Muggles who had no idea that the tipping point of their fates rested on the fulcrum of one seventeen-year-old boy. If the world is thrust upon your shoulders, he told himself, even if you never asked for it, never wanted it, and had no idea if you were strong enough to hold it, you were at fault if you did not try. So with one final sigh, Harry shouldered the weight, and opened his mouth to speak.
"I don't think I need to tell any of you what we've come through to get here now," he began. The crowd responded with murmurs of agreement.
"Out there," he pointed towards the door of the Hall, "is where it's all going to happen. This will determine the future, not just of the Wizarding world, but of everyone. If you've got Muggle parents, their lives are on the line here, but so are all their Muggle friends', and their children, and…" he trailed off, letting them extrapolate where he was going.
"I'm not trying to scare anyone, I'm just trying to underline what's at stake here, which is everything." He punctuated this with a pointed finger.
"A great man once told me that…that we mustn't sink beneath our anguish, but battle on." He let them take a moment to draw conclusions about who that might have been. "Dumbledore was the greatest wizard I have ever known," he said, and continued over the murmurs of assent. "He saw something, in me and in all of us, that for the longest time I couldn't pretend to have seen myself. To be honest, I'm still not entirely sure where he got his confidence. But Albus Dumbledore gave his life so that we could have this moment, and that alone should be reason enough to win this day." Harry was forced to pause here due to the roar of the crowd. He smiled solemnly.
"Fellow members of Dumbledore's Army, I want to thank you for reclaiming this school in its hour of need and driving the servants of Voldemort from it. Three cheers for you all." The requisite cheers were uttered, Harry's own straining voice blessedly engulfed by a crowd of other voices.
"Going forward, know that I do not ask this of any of you. Follow me of your own free will, but do not think of me as some kind of savior or king. I am your friend, and your comrade, and by some twist of fate I am the Boy Who Lived, but I will never presume to rule." No one knew exactly what to say to this, except for a few scattered cries of "We're with you Harry!" or "D.A.!"
"Enjoy each other," Harry added, and his eyes were fixed on Ginny as he spoke. "If you have anything you'd like to say, to anyone, for any reason, say it now, and go into battle with a clear heart."
Harry could hear his heart beating like a drum, even over the applause and cheering. He could even hear it skip a beat when Ginny mouthed I love you to him over the din.
The rest of the day passed as a blur for Harry. He would spend a few moments with Ginny here and there, and would otherwise be caught up in preparing the castle, casting defensive charms (although he was clearly outclassed in this regard by the professors and even some of the other students), or offering words of encouragement to fellow students. Some, including Lavender Brown and Nigel Wolpert, seemed exceptionally shaken, and Harry spent a good deal of time reassuring them of everything from their own wizarding skill to the inevitability of good's triumph over evil, anything he could think of to put their minds more at ease. Often these pep-talks would draw a crowd, and he would find himself scrambling to put together more impromptu speeches, such that he eventually sought out Hermione for a charm to rid him of his headache. He found her and Ron near the main entryway, their heads together, whispering conspiratorially.
"Oi then, how're you two holding up?" he asked, after Hermione had murmured a few words over his aching head.
"Well, you know, facing down our likely deaths, the usual sort of thing," Ron said. Harry managed a halfhearted chuckle at the joke, and Hermione punched Ron in the shoulder.
"Come off it, Ron, what's the use of talking like that?" she said. "Harry, you know, with all the Horcruxes in Hogwarts destroyed, that just leaves-"
"Nagini," Harry confirmed. "I know. And…" but he didn't go on. No sense underscoring the prophecy everyone had already heard. Neither can live while the other survives.
"Have you caught a glimpse of Neville anywhere?" Ron said, changing the subject. "Never seen him like this before, you'd never think he was the same pudgy little- Ow! Hermione, quit it!"
Hermione wrung out her hand from the punch. "Ron Weasley, when will you ever learn to keep your mouth closed?" Her smile betrayed the lie in her anger. "It's true, you know, Harry, everyone seems so much more serious, ever since you've been talking to them."
"You should run for Minister when this is all over, Harry, I'm sure it'd be a sweep."
Harry's lip curled involuntarily. "Ugh…politics. Don't even make me think about that, Ron, not today. I'd sooner eat a Blast-Ended Skrewt. Raw."
The trio chuckled at this, and for a moment Harry could pretend that they were just three friends, just three kids having a laugh. But then Professor McGonagall was behind him, placing an icy hand on his shoulder.
"The thestrals have been saddled, Potter. It's time now."
Harry turned to go, but then turned back to his friends.
"I'll…I'll see you guys later?" he offered, somewhat meekly.
Hermione walked forward, hugging him tightly, while Ron could only muster a half-smile and a nervous nod.
"Sure, Harry, sure. Butterbeer's on me."
"How am I supposed to hold onto this thing if I can't even see it?" a Gryffindor second-year complained as Harry watched the thestral he was holding stamp its feet and flap its wings impatiently. Striding forward swiftly, he took the bridle out of the youth's hands.
"Here, don't worry about that," he said, then looked uncomfortably away from the child's worshipping face. "With any luck, you'll never have to catch a good glimpse of one of these."
"You're aware of the plan, Potter?" McGonagall said from behind him. Harry nodded.
"Provide support for the first ranks moving into Hogsmeade, then locate Voldemort as swiftly as possible and…end things," Harry said. The Professor nodded.
"And for goodness' sake, Potter, do be careful. Always keep an eye behind you and a firm grip on your wand."
"Thank you, Professor. For everything."
McGonagall's lips pursed tightly as she nodded, blinking rapidly. Harry turned and mounted his thestral, to give her a chance to wipe the tears out of her eyes. Looking to the other thestrals, he saw Katie Bell, Angelina Johnson, Alicia Spinnet, Padma and Parvati Patil, and Dean Thomas.
"Good to see you guys," he offered somewhat underwhelmingly. "Just like playing Quidditch, eh?" he added to the three ladies from the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
"I just wish we had Fred and George to be our Beaters," Katie said.
"I'm sure they'll be up to something fantastic on the ground," Dean said.
The thestrals stamped their feet as the students gave a moment's pause. Harry finally exhaled a breath he didn't even realize he had been holding. Raising an arm, he pointed towards the skies over Hogsmeade.
"Alright, lads, let's make Dumbledore proud." With a gentle nudge of his heels, he coaxed the thestral off the ground, and the other six followed, making their way into the air over the Hogwarts grounds. They made a low pass over the courtyards and outer grounds, waving to anyone who noticed them. Harry's eyes roved across the grass, looking for Ginny, but he didn't find her. The cheers of their fellows lost on the whipping wind, the seven took wing towards Hogsmeade, into the low-hanging dark clouds that thickly shrouded the sky. Harry took one last look at the feeble sun before plunging towards his dark purpose.
The thestrals bore them onward faithfully, while they clung to their reins tightly; Harry's fingers felt like they were petrified in the freezing wind, but he was at least relieved that there was little chance of him losing his grip. His thoughts moved forward, towards Voldemort—there was no more time for wishing about the past. He could deal with the snake, Nagini, at least he was fairly sure he could. If he was lucky, they could even snipe it from the air, or one of the D.A. members on the ground would put an end to it before he even reached Voldemort. But after that…Neither can live while the other survives. Harry swallowed hard, but his mind was drawn back to the present by the sudden movement of clouds up ahead.
A great cloud bank ahead to their left shifted suddenly, crackling with magic as it reformed into the familiar Dark Mark. Along with the serpent erupting from the skull's ethereal mouth came a host of Death Eaters on brooms. Harry was quick to shout "Bank! Bank away!" turning his thestral to the right and sweeping away from the encroaching Death Eaters, the others following his lead. He winced as a bolt of green light streaked over his shoulder before the flight of thestrals entered into a cloud bank. Hoping to lose them, Harry motioned to the Quidditch chasers, watching them break away to the right, then motioned through the cloudy air to the other three as they cut a left, sweeping around to try and locate the Death Eaters in the clouds. Everything was eerily quiet, with only the whistling of the wind in his ears, as Harry strained his eyes to try and locate any sign of movement. Then, out of nowhere, they were upon them, a trio of broom-riders descending from above, forcing the four thestrals to scatter so as not to collide with them in mid-air. Harry wordlessly deflected a hex thrown by one of the wizards, before pointing his wand purposefully at him.
"Reducto!" he shouted. The Death Eater's broom burst into splinters, leaving the wizard to paw uselessly at the open air as he descended into the cloud cover below. With no time for satisfaction, Harry sent his thestral into a roll, trying to sweep over and flank the Death Eaters from the other side.
"One good turn, Potter!" One of the remaining pair of Death Eaters cried, his voice distorted and banshee-like in the wind. "Fera Verto!" he cried gleefully.
The bolt of magic struck Dean Thomas' Thestral in the wing. The animal let out a high-pitched shriek as its flesh began to warp and shrivel, writhing as it shrank and twisted until it was finally fully transfigured into a metal drinking goblet. Dean Thomas' scream was more human, and far more gut-wrenching, as he clung to the chalice on his descent to the ground. Harry grit his teeth as the wail faded into the air below, before shooting a host of curses and stunning spells at the Death Eaters, shouting with rage as they dodged them all. The Patil sisters, however, fared better, one of them managing to hit the cackling Death Eater with a Stunning Spell, sending him rolling out of control straight through the eye of the spectral skull hanging in the air around them. The remaining Death Eater let out sibilant howl before winging away towards the ground. Harry sent his thestral into a dive, giving chase into the thick clouds, shouting "Regroup with the others!" over his shoulder. The Patil sisters seemed unsure for a moment, but then obeyed, winging into the clouds to assist the Quidditch girls.
Harry's eyes strained to see through the clouds, but he gasped involuntarily when he burst out of them altogether, flying over the rooftops of Hogsmeade. The battle was joined in earnest below him, bolts of hex energy, red flashes of Stunners connecting, and even the sickly green glow of the Death Curse illuminating the buildings below. The Death Eater he was pursuing was nowhere in sight, but Harry had to bank sharply to avoid crashing into a giant's head. With a groan, the beastly figure swung a great club at him, and Harry actually thought he might be pulled off the thestral's back by the great woosh! of air made by the passing weapon.
"Avis!" he shouted, pointing his wand at the giant's enormous face. A flock of doves erupted from the tip of his wand with a sound like cannon fire, fluttering with sudden panic into the giant's face. He dropped the club to the ground with a great Thud!, reaching up to try and swat them out of his face.
"Petrificus Totalus!" Harry cried triumphantly, and watched as the giant's enormous legs locked together.
"Half afraid he'd be too big for that to stick…" Harry murmured to himself, watching as the giant, now hopelessly unbalanced, crashed to earth and was immediately set upon by D.A. members, who began tying it to the ground with rope and stakes. He gave a wave and a triumphant holler, but no one seemed to notice.
Harry's exultant cry was cut short by a sudden jerk of his thestral. With a sinking feeling, he knew it had been struck with a curse, and the splash of green light around him only confirmed his suspicions. The lifeless body of the spectral horse plunged towards the ground, taking Harry with it. He braced himself for the impact, but the breath was still driven out of his lungs as the body of the horse struck the roof of one of the village houses. He was thrown from the back of the corpse, skidding violently down the side of the roof and then hurtling to the ground, where he slid through a snowbank—he could swear he felt his ribs crack as he slammed into the wall of a house across the street, gasping and choking for breath. Blinking the stars out of his eyes, he tried to raise himself to his knees, but failed on the first attempt, crashing back onto the painfully frozen ground. As the blurriness of his vision subsided, he recognized the figure standing down the street, the bloodless flesh lightly grasping his old headmaster's wand with pale cold fingers, the nostrils flaring to catch the scent of prey on the wind.
"Do stand up, Harry Potter," Voldemort said, almost cheerfully. "I've had bad luck killing children in the past…perhaps if you at least act like a man this will turn out better for me."