Disclaimer: Sadly, I didn't even come up with the joke in the title, let alone Harry Potter.
Jamie Evans and Fate's Bitch
Chapter the Tenth – In Sierra Nevada, Always Foxtrot Uniformly
Dreams are weird when Hedwig's talking with people. Normally, she does it when I'm awake, but it happens every once in a while.
Furries in a Jacuzzi, surrounded by jungle. Specifically, a deer with an impressive rack, a black dog, a red fox, and a white owl are all relaxing in the hot tub. I'm the wolf, asleep on a nearby rock, and something immeasurable, unknowable, but loving all the same, is wrapped around me.
"Is she alright?" asks the fox.
"She's fine. Tired, but fine," says the owl. "She gets like this, whenever she thinks about the past. A lot of her memories are locked away with occlumency."
"She seemed fine to me," says the deer. It's grumpy, angry about something.
"She's good at making everything seem fine."
"And you know better?" asks the deer.
"Of course. I don't know her memories, but I know her emotions. She doesn't hide them from me."
The deer isn't happy about this, and looks to the dog.
"Do you believe this?"
"I've worked with her," says the dog. "She's closed off as can be. I don't think I've ever seen her smile or laugh. Then again, she and the bat get along."
"Mostly because they both hate you," replies the fox.
"She doesn't still hate me, does she?" asks the dog.
"Hate's a strong word for her," says the owl after a moment. "She does think you're a giant dick, though."
"I guess I deserve that," says the dog.
"You do. How is she adopting her daughter?" asks the fox.
"No changing the subject!" says the deer.
"Blood adoption," replies the owl.
The deer winces at that, while the dog is confused.
"Really?" asks the dog.
"Best way to do it, her being of impure blood and all that rot."
"What aren't you telling me?" asks the dog, looking pointedly at the deer. The deer looks pointedly at the owl, and the owl just looks smug.
"You have been hanging around the bat too much," says the fox.
"I know. That also means I can't tell you until the year's out. The wolf doesn't want to explain more than twice."
"Oh, come on, it can't be that bad," says the dog.
"She only drinks once a year," says the owl. "On the anniversary of her son's death. When it gets too much, and she needs to drown it out."
The fox looks aghast, the deer ashamed, and the dog horrified.
"She had a kid? And he's dead?" asks the dog.
The owl nods.
The dog is decidedly uncomfortable now.
"She's really dead set on building herself a family, isn't she?" asks the dog.
"She loves the shifter, doesn't she?"
"She does," says the owl.
"She's got my blessing, period, end of story." The dog looks to James. "You've got a few things to talk with her, don't you?"
The deer nods.
"Alright, I'll turn in then. I expect you lot to come clean about it, though."
"Once the brats are loose," says the owl. The dog shakes his head, and then leaves.
"Blood adoption? Really?" asks the deer.
The owl grins. I'm not sure how, given the fact she has a beak.
"Well?" I ask Hedwig. It's about three in the morning. I'm awake, now and I'm halfway convinced Hedwig doesn't sleep.
"James and Sirius were impressed by your little display in Sally-Anne's bedroom."
"James still hates you, though. He respects you, but he hates you."
"He thinks it's because I couldn't save Jessica, isn't it?"
"Pretty much. Too much ego to blame himself, so he has to blame someone else. You're alive, and you stole his daughter."
"What? He thought his daughter would be magically healed because Mummy and Daddy found her?"
"I guess? It's James. His thought processes make even less sense than yours. He also thinks the blood adoption is an insult to him, for kicking you out by blood."
I roll my eyes.
"Lily likes you. She hates herself, but likes you," continues Hedwig.
"Oh. What now?" I ask.
"I think she's just wondering what went wrong."
"With what?" I ask.
"With Petunia. Lily looked up to Petunia, and now... well. That much hate? That much disgust? How'd it come about? What imagined slights can Lily dream up that she's done wrong? Did she not write enough? Write too much? What?"
I shouldn't have left that whisky for James. There are a few bottles of Burgundy, but I'm avoiding those.
"She's a loving person," says Hedwig, interrupting my personal brooding. "She cares about you. She cared about you even before she found out you were her daughter."
I sigh before continuing.
"Doesn't know, yet," mumbles Tonks, stumbling out of the bedroom, and then off into the bathroom.
We both stare at the bathroom door for a second.
Tonks was wearing nothing but boxers and a shirt, and obviously not a bra. And is also quite obviously wearing my boxers. She was mostly dressed when she went to bed. Then again, so was I. I glance down at myself, and realise I'm wearing my shirt and boxers. I do hope she didn't vanish that sports bra, comfortable ones aren't cheap. She takes a few minutes, and is still a little groggy when she steps out.
"So why are you wearing my boxers?" I ask.
"They're more comfy," she says, adjusting herself.
Hedwig giggles, while I roll my eyes.
"Well, either buy your own, or move in."
"Okay," says Tonks. "When should I get my stuff?"
Hedwig openly laughs at me.
Minerva is not pleased with my pre-marital living-together-ness. She's also very uncomfortable talking with me about it.
"At least tell me you are not performing... such deeds while in the castle."
"We aren't. To be honest, well... I'm not entirely comfortable being that intimate with someone I trust."
Minerva's discomfort spikes to entirely new levels. I do this to her. She doesn't like it, but she's willing to listen. I have that effect on people.
"And to be honest, she surprised me with agreeing."
"You have a very honest personality, Jamie." Well, there's a first. "When you lie or withhold the truth, it's quite obvious, but it has entirely been with good reason."
I nod, and thank her.
"Such an arrangement is not without precedent, although I would prefer a ring on someone's finger sometime soon. If only for the sentimentalities of an old woman."
"I'm... I'm working on it," I say.
"FUCK." The entire head table looks at me, as do most of the students in the hall. I ignore them, and instead drag Sirius over from his seat using a wandless Accio.
"Get James and Lily, tell them to get to Hogwarts, and to bring the cloak," I tell him under a Muffilato.
"Miss Evans?" asks McGonagall, stepping inside the silencing charm.
I show her the paper.
"You think he would come here?"
"Albus won his wand, Minerva, James has a rather nice cloak as a family heirloom, and I have a certain stone hidden in a Chamber of Secrets."
"Won his... Cloak? Stone? You don't mean..."
"Yes. Hedwig, where is he?"
"Still in Eastern Europe," says Hedwig, having landed and joined the conversation. "He's placed an owl redirection spell on himself, I can't narrow it down any further."
"I'll get James and Lily out of Godric's Hollow." With that, he takes off at a run. I see Harry and Sally-Anne looking worried.
"He's gathering weapons to assault Hogwarts. Minerva, please evacuate Hogsmeade into the castle, and then lock down the wards. I'll be building defences."
"You truly believe he will come here?"
"I do. We need to get ready."
"Of course. Do we want Ministry support?"
"No. If they're outside the castle, they'll be in my way. If you excuse me, I need to get a few things."
Minerva nods. It's sad that she's so willingly accedes to someone else's direction, but I suppose that's what comes from dealing with Albus for so long. I jump the head table, and am already out the Great Hall doors by the time Minerva has everyone's attention.
Hedwig's with me, saying he's still moving around Eastern Europe. Mostly Germany, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was in Poland and Austria as well.
I barely stop for the door to the second floor bathroom, and I have to stop to wait for the sink to open. I don't slide down the tunnel, this time. I can fly, and damn it, I will fly. Headfirst, it takes barely a minute to reach the Chamber itself. I open the doors, and then open Slytherin's mouth. The basilisk corpse is already gone, only the bones remain. The Basilisk's blood is so toxic it actually eats apart the flesh once the magic sustaining the beast is gone. Inside Slytherin's mouth is a small box containing the Stone. I collect it, and I don't bother with touching down to leave the bathroom. In fact, I don't bother entering the rest of the castle to leave the bathroom, and fly out through the window.
It's a bright, clear sunny day as I stop at Hagrid's hut. He's outside, pulling his crossbow taught as he sees me.
"Professor Evans!" he shouts, surprised.
"Hagrid. I need you to go into the forest, and warn the various inhabitants that Grindelwald's coming. Keep them away from the castle."
"You think he's coming here?" asks Hagrid.
He looks out across the lake, towards the white obelisk that is Albus' tomb.
"Suppose he would, wouldn't he," says Hagrid. "You going to take a whack at 'im?"
"That I am," I reply.
"Alright. Give 'im a good 'un from me," says Hagrid.
He takes his crossbow, and charges into the forest, Fang right behind him. He'll keep the centaurs and the Aragog's lot out of the way. I fly out across the lake. It takes me five minutes to unravel the protections on his tomb, and retrieve the Elder Wand. I can feel its connection to me, my magic resonating with it. I shudder, as it feels like I've just regained a missing limb. There's a sense of disgust, a sense of guilt having reclaimed the Deathstick.
Still, I return to the shoreline to find James and Sirius glaring at Severus, while Lily and Tonks stand in between. Hedwig is with them. I land, Elder Wand in hand, and begin chanting in a form of Assyrian that would border on gibberish. The language was all but lost, and only rediscovered when some idiot found the Tower of Babel in the eighteen hundreds. He was promptly murdered by one of the creatures I'm summoning into the lake, and the Tower itself sealed and hidden by the ICW. At least until I took a poke through it. Being both a Warlock and Master of Death has its perks.
Maybe I was still Master of the Wand before Albus died. It raises the question of who the cloak belongs to. I'll worry about it later, though.
"Where's Andi?" Hedwig asks for me.
"Up in the castle," says Tonks.
"Sorry, I'm going to be doing the talking," says Hedwig. "She has a fair bit of chanting to get through. Grindelwald's still in Eastern Europe. Anybody know when he escaped?"
"A little before dawn," says James.
"I presume you killed Albus?" asks Severus. Everyone looks at him, surprised.
"She did," replies Hedwig.
"Voldemort as well?"
Severus gives me a long look, before performing the most grotesque and terrifying action I have ever seen Severus Snape perform. It was a thing of horror, an event to make baby Jesus, and all small children everywhere cry. Nearby fish died, and floated belly-up. I felt the fabric of space and time twist and churn, as an abomination against nature and all that is Right and Good with the world occurred.
Severus Snape grinned.
His face contorted, wrinkled creases forming in it from obvious disuse. His hook nose seemed to shift upwards, becoming even more ponderous and jutting. His lips cracked and bled as dry skin was stretched in a manner that had never before been used. Blackened and crooked teeth were placed on display, and the good Doctors Granger would have cringed.
For the first time since I made the journey, I doubted whether or not it actually was a good idea.
I shook it off, and didn't let it disturb my chanting. The others were not so lucky. Sirius vomited, while James merely looked ill. Lily smirked, and Tonks turned white as a ghost, her hair limp and white. Hedwig laughed at them for me, having not looked at Severus.
Severus' repulsive grin shortens to a smirk at the sight of Sirius retching out his guts.
"You will deal with Dumbledore again?" he asks, somehow combining his smirk and sneer into a sort of unholy paradox of a facial expression.
"She will. It's what she's doing right now."
The spell snaps together, finally, and a thick fog rolls over the lake.
"One down, three to go," I say out loud.
Snape stares out over the water, eyebrow raised.
"I will be working with Minerva on the castle's inner defences. Do try not to die, Miss Evans. Intelligent conversation is so hard to find these days."
With that, Severus Snape turns, and heads back to the castle.
I shake my head. Then look at the open expanse of ground in front of me. I focus my magic, drifting into the resonance of the Elder Wand, and point it at the empty patch of grass in front of me.
I've rarely had a need for incantations or fancy wandwaving. This is pure finesse, pure magic, pure visualisation and intent.
The bones form, the feet first, four massive talons, drifting into a wide step. The legs, kneecaps, spaced wide with strength. Hips to hold them together, and a spine with a long, thick tale. The ribs are massive, and the arms are a little short, but powerful. The head is perched over it all, with spaces for large eyes. A careful eye will find runes on all of the bones. Unbreakable, unbending, unyielding. This will not be fragile.
The others are silent, staring with awe at the thirty-five foot skeleton.
"Is that... is that adamantine?" asks Sirius.
I nod, but don't speak.
I retrieve the stone. It's still mine, and I shan't lose it. I shall, forever, know where it is kept. I lift from the ground, and place it behind the sternum. There's a spot for it, because this is where I will hide it. This is how I will protect it.
Inside the belly I conjure a single aquamarine, half a foot across. Engraved on its surface are runes for buoyancy. Above that are now a pair of bags made of tungsten mesh. At the back of its throat forms a fiery red ruby surrounded by three sapphires. In the eye sockets I conjure two black opals.
I pick copper for the muscles. I let the magic guide me, here, as thick, heavy coils of muscle form, runes for strength and power and control form on all of them. Copper is a far more fluid element than others, and it's a good choice.
The skin comes next. Some people would call it a work of art. The scales are without runes, and come out in a deep charcoal black. The spines running down the back have rounded tips, but have runes faintly engraved in them for gathering magical and physical power, and focusing through the array of gems at the back of the throat.
James, Sirius, and Tonks are standing in awe, while Lily is struck dumb.
"You're kidding me, right?" asks Lily.
I lift off the ground, and hover over the forehead. There's an incantation in Aramaic, and I breathe into its open mouth. It takes its own massive breath, chest expanding, before it bellows.
I smirk. I even got the sound right.
That should have rattled a few windows in the castle.
It looks down at me, and growls. I can make it out, barely.
"What do you want?"
"Defend the Castle. Defend your heart. Become their guardians, and destroy all who attempt either. Your first challenger will be here sometime today. Also, don't pick fights with what's already in the lake. They're there for a reason."
A snarl of acceptance and it disappears beneath the waves of the Black Lake.
I know I'm smiling like a kid in a candy store. I then point my wand at the front gate, and begin chanting in Assyrian again.
"You are your father's son, aren't you?" asks Lily.
"What the hell was that!" shouts Sirius.
"Oh, no, there goes Tokyo," sings Lily, rather off-key.
Hedwig just breaks down into giggles at this. Which reminds me. This means I can go to Japan and see them in theatres. Awesome.
"No, really, what the hell was that!" shouts Sirius. James is sort of just standing there, dumbfounded.
"We need a movie night," Hedwig tells Lily.
"We do," replies Lily.
"Is there anything we can do?" asks Tonks, confused by all of this.
"Shore up the castle's bombardment defences with McGonagall," says Hedwig after a moment's thought. "Tonks, can you check on Sally-Anne?"
"Of course," replies Tonks. "Before I go..."
"Yes?" asks Hedwig.
"How do you know Gellert's coming here?"
"He'll want his wand back," replies Hedwig. "He'll be coming for Jamie because of that."
"But... how would he know Jamie has it?" asks Tonks.
"Didn't you listen to Severus? Jamie's not fighting just Grindelwald. She's also fighting Dumbledore."
They look at each other, confused.
"But... Dumbledore's dead..." begins Lily.
"Yes. Much in the same way Voldemort was dead."
"He had another one? But who did he murder?" asks James.
"Dumbledore never murdered anyone," supplies Hedwig. "His diary was made after the death of Ariana, where he literally poured his grief and despair into it over his sister's death, and with it a piece of his own soul."
"But... splitting your soul..." says Lily. Of course she studied the Horcruxes. She probably even asked Slughorn. It's not like he could say no to her.
"Takes power. Something Dumbledore has in spades. It's not a joke to say he's the most power wizard in the world."
"Then his second?" asks Sirius.
"Albus had to make himself fight Gellert. A part of him still loved the man."
"Loved?" asks Sirius.
"In the bedroom manner. Ask Bathilda. She still has some of her nephew's letters."
"I think I'll hold off on that," replies Sirius, looking a little green. There's the pureblood disgust I was expecting. "So, er, back to the fight?"
"Of course. Much as Albus felt he needed to defeat Gellert, he couldn't. He still loved him. So, being the foolish idiot Albus is, he poured his love of Gellert... into Gellert."
"He made Gellert Grindelwald a Horcrux," says James.
"Indeed. And then locked the man away, safe and protected."
The three of them watched as a fog bank bubbles forth from the ground, enveloping the fields outside the gate.
Wand in hand, I grab Tonks, and give a kiss. Maybe it's a little fervent, maybe it's a little wanting, and maybe I'm worried about the combination of Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald killing me.
"Get going. I'm going to be putting down more defences, and none of them are going to pleasant. I'll be back when this is over."
She nods, and follows the others back to the castle. The Elder Wand points once more towards the gates, and I chant once again in Assyrian.
I'm sitting on the roof of a tower, staring at Hogsmeade, under a rather large umbrella. A few charms are protecting me from the gale-force winds, as there is now a localised Typhoon in Northern Scotland. It's a Japanese ward that I've added to the castle. It's the same bit of spellwork that capsized two Korean invasions over the last millennium. I've prepped the defences and weighted the field of battle to my advantage as much as possible. Hogwarts may be a school now, but it was once a castle. There's only one good approach to it. There's the valley on the western side, the forest to the north, and the lake to the east. Hogsmeade is to the south.
The village itself has been emptied, the villagers either in the castle, or at the Ministry. A force of Aurors has stationed themselves in the castle, cowed by McGonagall into hiding behind the battlements to let me do my work. There are also a few reporters. The map says Skeeter is skulking about, somewhere.
Hedwig lands on the roof next to me, hiding under the umbrella.
"Sally-Anne's worried about you."
"I know," I reply. "You tell her to stay safe?"
I smile, and nod.
Hedwig perks up, looking around.
"He's on the move again."
I nod, and look down at the fields around Hogsmeade. The anti-portkey wards on the castle have tightened down. Nothing's getting through them, not even the Headmistress' own. The other wards are in full lockdown. The common rooms are sealed, not that it means anything.
One moment, the farmland around Hogsmeade is empty, the next, it's filled with boxes of beige and dark green.
Gellert knew he wouldn't just be fighting the Wizarding World. He watched as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union performed tank duels and ran bombing runs. He observed the D-Day invasion of Britain into France, making careful note of the huge bombardment of shells, bombs, and firepower into the Normandy coast. He realised how the muggles would conduct war, and began preparing appropriately.
He couldn't power them with petrol, and he couldn't put a team of wizards inside of them. Instead, he made them from clockwork, and stole the work of Charles Babbage to give it a brain. Clockwork machines, backed by a clockwork intelligence, powered by magic. Each and every one of them modelled after German tanks.
A quick count says around two hundred and fifty tanks have just portkeyed into the farmland around Hogsmeade. I'm not sure on the actual model numbers, but I know the two hundred medium tanks are Panzers, while the fifty heavy ones are Tigers. The Tigers immediately become stuck in the mud of the fields. Some of the Panzers break off to free the Tigers, while the rest begin to advance on the town.
Much like my house, I've scattered animated statuary through the town, alongside things best described as "runic landmines" in the fields outside of it. Just outside the very gates of Hogwarts are my final two defences, wreathed in fog. They're awake at the moment, but they aren't yet mobile.
My friend, alongside my first summon, are still hiding in the lake.
I don't want to make any mistakes with this. I don't waste any magical power on spellwork to destroy the Tanks.
"He's arriving," says Hedwig.
I glance at the lake, and smile at the sudden massive splash that appears there.
I consider a portkey that can place a two hundred and fifty meter battleship in the exact centre of the Black Lake, from Eastern Europe, to be a work of art. What must be fifty thousand tons of metal displaces a small tidal wave, and the boat rocks back and forth regaining its balance. I take a moment to examine it.
I was never one for history, but even I can recognise a battleship when I see one. I blink a few times in realisation of how big the thing is, larger than any mobile object the Wizarding World has ever built. The fact that it was built in secret is something that both terrifies and amuses me. I now feel like Luke Skywalker taking on the Death Star, except there's no thermal exhaust port to shoot a torpedo down. Hmph.
A quick look at the battleship itself, and I can already tell that its big guns can be classified as "large enough to fit Hagrid's leg." They're already swinging towards the castle. They're joined by three small turrets and four even smaller ones around the bridge tower and smoke stack, probably in the range of four to six inches. I can guess that there's an equal number on the opposite side of the ship. Hedwig says Grindledore is on it.
I name her the SS Goatfucker. And yes, I'm calling him Grindledore. It's almost as amusing as Fudge saying "Lord Thingie."
I'll deal with Grindledore first, then.
My first bit of spellwork of the day was in Ancient Assyrian. Calling it Ancient Assyrian is a linguistics Professor's joke on everybody else. It's linguistically unrelated to any other language on the planet, except for Finnish.
Four thousand odd years ago, King Nimrod, son of Cush, ruled a segment of ancient Shinar. Within his domain was the city of Babel. Nimrod was an arrogant fool, and others gathered behind him. The records claim he was building a tower to the heavens. Those records are bullshit.
Nimrod was building a gateway to the Land of the Dead. His favourite wife had died in childbirth, and he refused to accept it. I suppose I'm a man after his own heart, but I was smart enough to fail properly, rather than face Death. Death was kind to those under Nimrod, and merely sowed discord and confusion amongst the people, taking away their common language: Ancient Assyrian.
Nimrod, however, was forever banned from the Land of the Dead. His soul was split into sixteen pieces, and those sixteen pieces were placed into indestructible Colossi. The Master of Death can summon and direct them.
I've summoned three. Two of those Colossi stand at the gates to Hogwarts, and were the final two I summoned. The first one is in the lake with the protector of the stone. I was tempted to try and summon one as a guardian for my back yard, but didn't feel like rebuilding my house after an attack.
I smile as I hear the first thunderous boom of the colossi attacking the Goatfucker.
"Should I attack?" comes a girl's voice. I turn, surprised, to see... to see... Jessica. She's standing in the rain, dry and unassuming, dressed in the same plain clothes she wore the day she died. I swallow.
"Jessica?" I ask.
"Should I attack?" she asks again.
My mind does the quick math. She isn't truly there. She's a ghost, called up by the stone to be the intelligence behind its protector. That doesn't mean I can't be kind.
"Stay below the water. Keep to the centre of it, below the smoke stack. Tear apart the hull, rip it open and let in the water."
She seems to look out through the torrential downpour to see the battleship. I don't physically see it, couldn't see it even on a bright clear day given how terrible my eyes are, instead I'm paying attention to it all magically.
Right then. First magic of the day. I need to break this fucker.
The Elder Wand twitches in my hand and Black Lightning arcs down from the heavens, crashing down through one of the turrets. The magazine goes up, and it's a fireworks display the Weasley twins wish they could pull off. Even as the back-end is going up, another bolt comes down from the heavens, smashing into one of the front turrets. A golden shield is already beginning to form, but the bolt still manages to strike one of the turrets. It bursts into a rainbow of flames, the steel of the armour pouring out onto the deck. Only one turret's left, but that's still two thirteen-inch guns.
"Jessica, take out the propellers and the rudder, then rip up the back end."
She nods again, even as I order the wind to change. Waterspouts form over the lake, and begin to pound Grindledore's golden shield. They won't get through it, but that's not my concern. I want him wasting his strength on that shield. I watch as the flames go out, not because of the water, but because of charms. One of the front turrets is trying to rebuild itself, but it's not getting anywhere very quickly.
Honestly? Repairing charms on steel? The only substance harder to work with magically is cold iron. The fact that he's trying means he's either supremely confident in crushing me, or he feels he needs the Goatfucker to establish his power.
The first pair of thirteen-inch shells hit the tower I'm standing on, shaking it. Hogwarts can stand up to this sort of punishment, though, but I send Hedwig into the air to keep an eye on the tower itself. I don't need it coming down while I'm still standing on it. The smaller shells screech by me, Hogwarts' own cannon redirection ward dealing with them easily. At a guess, he's using the big guns to break the tower I'm on, while using the smaller shells to just blast me off the roof.
The bright glow of flames appears from Hogsmeade. There's nothing I can do about the Goatfucker at the moment, so I switch my attention to something I can deal with.
The tanks have moved into and around the village, and have hit any number of the tricks and traps I've left for them.
Grindledore, at least, knew how to enter a village using tanks: Namely through the houses. Unfortunately, he didn't expect there to be that many basements and lost seven tanks to falling into them.
Animated statues and gargoyles from the castle assault and assail the others, attacking from the cover provided by the village, stripping off treads and breaking barrels of guns. I don't need the tanks destroyed, not yet, at least, but "Mission-killing" them is important enough. The tanks actually work well together, making me think they have some sort of interconnection, and quickly begin to support each other as they back out of the town, deciding it's a death trap. The fields around the village aren't much better, though.
When I was drunkard alcoholic, I did exceedingly stupid things. One of them was play with Gubraithian Fire. The standard Gubraithian Fire will be a lit campfire for practically forever. There's a modification of the spell that does the opposite, bright and fast for five minutes, burning hotter than thermite. Add a few modifications to the spell to shape the direction of the flame, a few different types of immobilization spells around it, and a small detection ward, and I have myself an improvised explosive magic that'll melt the Ring of Sauron. I've never tried it on a Horcrux, but I didn't come across any after I killed Voldemort.
They make short work of tanks, I will say that.
It turns out the mission-killed ones aren't mission-killed. Instead, they're single-use mine sweepers.
Given the visibility, I decide it's worth the risk, and have the army of statuary in the village attack the Panzers. I watch as they charge through the fields, whether galloping, running, or skittering.
"You're starting to lose the tower," says Hedwig, even as another blast of those two damn guns hits it. He's managed to get one of the guns in the damaged turret working, but with a heavily damaged double-gun turret, the Goatfucker can't keep it lined up between shots and has to re-aim every time.
"Jessica, travel along the underbelly, and tear it open. That boat probably has compartments to prevent it from sinking."
She nods, and disappears. I drop off the tower, taking flight to keep from splattering on the ground, but still keeping a good view of the battlefield.
I'm losing statues fast enough that the charge was almost wasn't worth it. More Panzers have broken off to try and free the Tigers, and I decide I don't want them entering the fight at all.
I send a command to one of the Colossi. It begins to move, unfurling from its position as a burial mound, and beginning to close the distance at a ponderous gait. About sixty feet tall, covered in heavy brown fur, and carrying an appropriately sized club, everything else on the battlefield stops for a moment.
The Tigers figure out what's going on, and immediately open fire, not that it notices. Hell, the Goatfucker fires on it, and it doesn't notice. A colossus isn't some creature to be beaten by prolonged fire. It is a creation of Death Itself, and does not fuck around. The loud bangs of tank fire are drowned out by the thundering footfalls of a thing that cannot be killed, merely vanquished or destroyed, destined to rise again.
This is the grand-daddy of all Horcruxes, made by the original bastard that invented them. It is the hand-crafted masterpiece that the cheap Chinese knock-offs are based on. Destroying it makes it go away, telling it to lie in wait to be summoned again. I've never put any effort into studying how to permanently destroy these things. I'm not one to piss off Death, after all.
Well, maybe a little bit. But not a lot.
Grindledore apparates from the Goatfucker to shore, and unleashes a blasting curse that levels half of Hogsmeade. No warm-up, no practice, just pop into existence and boom. Half of Hogsmeade is a smoking crater.
The colossus ignores it, although its fur is a little more matted and charred than before.
Grindledore transfigures the rubble into a trio of earth elementals, each towering over the colossus. The colossus swings its club at one of the elementals. The elemental raises its arms to block, but it's not enough. The elemental crumples, the club turning it back to earth. One of the other elementals kidney punches the colossus. It barely notices, and instead continues its ponderous gait towards the Tigers.
Grindledore tries to raise stone barriers, to wrap the thing in chains, and even transfigures more elementals to grapple the colossus. He never manages to even get it off its feet, let alone slow it down.
Meanwhile, the Panzers have managed to navigate the minefield, and are closing on the front gates of the castle, and my fourth and final large friend.
I direct it, and it begins its own assault. Grindledore once more attempt to envelop and entrap this one as well. It appears he's now trying two separate methods for each colossus, trying to find something that will work. I shake my head in disgust, even as several Panzers slip past my final guardian, and crash through the front gate.
At present, he appears to be attempting to sink the first one into a Volcano. I'm tempted to shout that it's not a ring of power, but I doubt Albus is one to have read Tolkien.
A flick of Banyan wood and a purple behemoth lunges out of the ground and overthrows the first Panzer, flipping it onto its turret. Two more unbury themselves, assaulting the other Panzers. It's a beautiful sight, to watch twelve tons of muscle-bound fantasy monster overturn a fifty-ton tank.
I'll have to show them to Luna, see what she makes of them. I glance back out over the lake, and note that the water is creeping ever higher on the SS Goatfucker, even as Grindledore's golden shield protects it against the relentless waterspouts.
Given his present distractions of my Colossi, I direct the wards to create another waterspout, this one aimed at those damn heavy tanks. I admit, I really don't like them, but I don't want to personally waste my own magic destroying them. Let Hogwarts do the heavy lifting on that one. She's got the magic to spare, and she bloody well owes me.
By this point, I'm floating on the winds, letting them take me where they will, watching another waterspout hit those damn tanks with the fist of an angry god. It's a work of wonder and beauty, a black column of destruction lifting the fuckers up and tossing them around like Dudley and someone else's ball. Grindledore's too busy trying to protect them from the Colossi to protect them from anything else. I smile. Soon it's going to be just me and him.
And at that point, I frown. I've been very lucky so far, as Grindledore hasn't figured out how to destroy the Colossi yet.
Ah, wait, there it goes. I can feel the detection spell from here. Right now, it's a question of how good he is with it. The detection spell he's using (which is the necessary one) is rather akin to a microscope, rather than the telescope he's using it as. I make it difficult for him, letting him sink into the analysis spell, before twitching my wand again.
It's the same spell I used on the basilisk. There's an incantation to it I haven't used in years (and that I'm not going to repeat), but it's commonly called "The Demon Cutter." It cuts through nearly all shield spells, and is one of the few spells that actually harms dragons. The purple wedge of power slams into a transfigured barrier, hacks right through it, and Grindledore manages to knock it aside. I don't think it made contact, but I send a few more just to keep him on his toes while he investigates the Colossi, slows them down, and tries to save the Goatfucker.
Honestly, he's doing this to himself. If he hadn't brought an army, he'd probably have won by now. I start mixing up my curses, switching to shield-breakers, blasters, bone-detonators, a rather strange implosion curse an American muggleborn came up with after learning about black holes, and then there's the litany of over-powered household charms.
Strange fact: I still don't use dark magic. The Demon Cutter isn't actually dark. It's just quirky. Then again, the modified paint-stripping charm I send at Grindledore would flay his flesh from his bones.
There's probably something to be said about that, somewhere.
I also send a spray of lode iron spears. Casting magic on lode iron is difficult, so I don't conjure it. Instead, I conjure steel, banish them, and then cast an odd purifying charm that removes the impurities and orders it to magnetize it. It's a cheat, but magic is weird about these sorts of rules.
It doesn't hit Grindledore, though, although it makes him pause in his casting enough.
No, never mind, he's renewing the shield charm on the Goatfucker. Bollocks.
I continue my stream of curses, while I try to think of some way out of this that doesn't involve falling into a slugmatch. I know I'm more skilled than Grindledore. It's not a question. Albus and Gellert relied purely on power in their duelling. It's largely the reason I've lasted this long against Grindledore. He's expecting his power to carry the day again.
Given the way he's been using it, it still might.
I spare a glance at the southern fields of Hogsmeade, and see the tornado has destroyed most of Grindledore's heavy tanks, although a few have escaped and caught up with the rest of his army. Damn. Was hoping to get them all. I'll have to kill those myself. Another golden shield has risen over his tanks, and his holding off my tornado once more.
Banyan wood flicks a few times, and more behemoths arise from the earth, widening the trenches to make it harder for the tanks, and barrel off to annoy Grindledore. Maybe I'll get lucky, but I doubt it. I also make a few small animals, including a lone rabbit, and litter them near the gate. He's got to walk through it, at some point.
The Goatfucker is officially treading water. The lake is coming in over the decks, and the Colossi is jumping onto the deck to slam holes through it. Jessica's still keeping below the water, thankfully. Let him think there are two of those things.
The brilliant white flash says everything I need to know. The first colossus reels, a blow struck against it. I smile as Grindledore casts it again. He has to use the full incantation, and then throws with his off hand. His aim's off on the second throw, and hits only skull. There's a few names for the spell, a few jokers of called it the Lance of Longinus, Gungnir, or even Merlin's Spear. Full of shit, the lot of them. The spell was originally created by one of the Scorpion Kings to hunt Nundu.
The third throw sends the colossus crashing to the ground.
I return the favour, by sending three of the lances at him. Let him figure out how the hell I pulled it off, as he dodges like the crotchety old maniac he is. That's my other hope for winning, right there. Grindelwald's an old man, and while the Unforgivables are unblockable, there's a good supply of nigh-unblockables ones as well.
The Goatfucker gives its last gasp, a final broadside that I safely ignore, before it sinks below the waves. Let the squid and the colossus have their way with it. The golden shield protecting it disappears. With that out of the way, I let up on the rain. I don't need it anymore, and it's in my way at this point. It'll take a few minutes to clear up, though.
"Jessica, if you can hear me, make your way to shore. Hedwig, tell McGonagall I'll need blasting curses at those tanks."
"I'll tell her they're cursed muggle machines."
"Whatever you need to do," I reply. My steady stream of nearly lost spells means Grindledore needs five throws to take down the other colossus. Good. Maybe he's finally getting tired. It wouldn't surprise me if he's faking it though.
The first two Tigers through the gate push the trio of behemoths back, only to crash into the trenches I made the behemoths from. Grindledore tries to levitate them, while sending his earth elementals at me. The behemoths have already torn apart the Tigers, and a Japanese Earthquake ward causes their outer skin to harden and shatter, while their insides turn to hydrostatic mud.
Inventive xenophobes, the Japanese.
Grindledore transfigures his own batch of monsters to defend his tanks, an eclectic mix of old-world demons and happy-looking zoo animals. I reply with even more small, venomous animals. Part of me wonders if I can transfigure a basilisk, even as a herd of cats take down a trio of oliphants.
He's finally fighting back directly, but he's keeping mostly to overpowered basic charms. Nothing too frightening, but his overpowered Reductor Curse will make me just as dead f it hits. I keep low to the ground, staying out of the way of the smattering of blasting curses from the castle. Now that the rain's cleared up, it seems asking for the Aurors wasn't a bad idea.
His tanks return fire, but they're facing off against the castle's anti-bombardment wards again. The tanks are wasting ammo, and the behemoths are making short work of them. Grindledore realises he can't back away, otherwise he'll be dealing with an entire castle of wizards firing at him.
I feel a surge of hatred attempt to flow through my veins, and I smile. Albus is here, and I've pissed him off a fair bit.
I utter my first incantation in the entire duel.
Part of me is worried. Will it still be a stag? Will it still be my father? I smile with untarnished, innocent glee. The hate melts away as the familiar stag takes shape, following me through the storm.
My wand goes to my throat for a second.
"Not going to work, Old Boy," I shout out into the storm, and then slash down the Black Lightning on him. Oh that just pisses him off. Prongs stays around me, and I work hard at mixing together minor object-to-animal, major curses, and the rare earth-to-behemoth transfiguration.
There's a frantic joy, a meticulous and ridiculous love of flight and combat, throwing spells and directing death beneath me. I actually spare a single spell to launch some Fiendfyre at one of the Tigers, before returning to Albus with a miscast paint-stripping charm. Grindledore ignores it until it's too late, busy incinerating a group of squirrels, redirecting a massed ballista charm, and shielding one of his Tigers, and mostly manages to dodge. It only flays the skin from his left arm.
My first hit of the battle gets me a wave-banisher that I never use because it's a power hog. Everything is tossed into the air, while I'm sent spinning, and hit the ground hard. A good cushioning spell prevents any major damage, but I'm winded and I've got a broken wrist and dislocated shoulder. A pair of battlefield charms pops the shoulder back in and immobilize the wrist. I ignore the pain and lift to my feet, conjuring the Black Lightning again. I'm not allowed to let up.
"GET OVER HERE YOU BITCH! COME AND DIE!" screams Grindledore in fluent German, even as a spray of rainbow death floods the spot I once inhabited. I'm stupid, and don't shield behind me. An explosion of stone tears up my back, and I crash back to the ground. I'd heal it, but I don't feel like having my skin regrown just to pull all the stone out, and I don't have the time to do it myself. Instead, I lead off with another trio of lances, and then follow up with my own rainbow of bullshit, mixing in shield-crackers, deflection curses, a children's sleeping charm, six different stunners, and a blood-boiling curse.
He deflects everything, nearly everything, but the blood boiling curse makes him wince. Bastard. I can tell he's breathing hard, at least, and whatever battlefield charms he cast on his arm have just evaporated.
Good. Except now I'm staying on the ground. My banyan wand never stops moving, creating more behemoths, oliphants, and other large creatures as mobile walls. The Elder Wand's spells are a bit more what-the-hell, and I know he's got no defence. I lead off with a Roman Earthquake spell, followed up with one of two spells some lunatic muggleborn invented. I shoot three yellow balls above Grindledore, even as more lightning strikes against whatever shield he's using.
He's killing the large animals slightly slower than I can create them. Is it because he's injured, or because he's doing something with his wand arm? No idea, but the M.I.R.V. spell will ruin it.
There's three, quick blinding flashes and deafening booms. I didn't get the timing right, they're not all at once, but I hear Grindledore's yell of annoyance and pain as each ball launches an even-dozen bombardment spells that curve to hit from different directions.
The other spell is just as weird, and a little hard to set up. The motions have to be just right, but the incantation was made up by a half-deaf guy, so it doesn't matter. It amuses me a little to be using a spell that translates to "The Grey Lady" in defence of Hogwarts.
It classifies as an explosion or bombardment curse, just like the M.I.R.V. spell, but definitely doesn't act like one. Well, doesn't act like a sane one. I don't want to know how much effort was put into creating this spell, and I'm thankful I've never had to understand how it was put together. Instead, I just use it.
The spell tried to be the magical version of carpet bombing, but instead turned into a rather terrifying siege engine spell. The underlying arithmancy is the same math that drops bombs from muggle bombers, apparently. The spell travels in a straight line, dropping blasting curses. Except the curses are specially timed, and aren't small, either. Each blasting curse creates an explosion, and the next blasting curse detonates right behind the shockwave from the previous blasting curse, adding to it. Adding more power adds to the blasting curses. For someone like me, it's a pretty nasty spell.
It was also stupid of me. He hits me with a lance. Straight through the lung, missed my heart by maybe three inches. I seal up that part of my lung, and conjure a piece of titanium as I dispel the lance. A little on the fancy side, but I need to be able to continue moving, and an eight foot spear through my chest is going to slow me down.
Well... that assumes I can get back on my feet. I'm kind of beat up by this point.
Fuck it, another goddamn Gray Lady.
"Jessica, any time now," I mutter, as I starting the wand movements again.
"Now?" she asks, once more at my side.
"You're a wonder," I reply. She blinks at that, unsure of what to say.
She actually times it pretty well. I can feel the sudden build up of magical energy, the wave of cold, draining power, and then the blast of super-heated plasmatic death.
Grindledore screams in pain as he shields it, and then is cut short by the Gray Lady.
"Is he dead?" I ask.
"Not yet," replies Jessica.
"Damn," I say, and drag myself to my feet. "He still moving?"
I grunt, and look across the field of battle. It looks like a massacre on the Veldt, corpses of animals, very few smaller than a car litter the entire field. Crushed and broken tanks hide at the edges, and there's an empty circle where Grindledore is forcing himself to stand.
"Hit him again," I say.
I close my eyes to the sucking cold void of magic, and then the blast of horrible light, and then open them. Grindledore is now twenty feet away from where he was standing, and I can see steam rising up from where he was. Even still, he's expending a fair bit of power healing himself, wand still in hand. I'm not even running, as I start casting again. I solely using my left side, given it's my right lung that has the hole through it.
Poppy will have my hide, but she can have it after I've killed this fucker.
Jessica walks beside me, and I get a rather creepy sense of déjà vu. I shake it off, and instead swat the cutting curse that Grindledore sends at me.
"Give it up, you ancient fuck," I say, my voice magically enhanced. I'm not about to shout with a damaged lung. Hell, it hurts enough as it is.
"Bitch!" shouts Grindledore. He looks more corpse than living man. Half his body is blackened and charred, even as his magic tries to repair the damage. His skin actually cracks apart and bleeds as he shouts at me. "Worthless whore! Do you not understand what I must do?"
"Tom's dead, you fuck, and your Greater Good's at the bottom of the lake."
"I can raise it!" replies Grindledore. "And the prophecy!"
"Was fulfilled," I reply. "It's over. It's all over. Now fucking die, already."
I send a pair of lances at him, and he desperately swats them aside. I notice a flash of white fur behind him, and I wonder if it's really going to come down to that.
"Never! I must complete my work! I must complete our work!"
One of his eyes is as charred as the rest of him, while the other can't seem to focus on me. He's watching me solely on my magic. I use a few more sharp and quick spells, making him focus entirely on me.
"You can't even see, you worthless bastard!"
"The prophecy! The girl!"
"Is dead! Can't you see that, now?"
He's silent as he swats aside another Demon Cutter.
"I will win!" he shouts, and one of his own unknowable horrifying shit assaults me. It takes a fair amount of effort to turn it aside, some sort of twisted acid-based cutter. Nothing Unforgivable, but definitely the kind of thing which doesn't leave enough for an open-casket funeral.
I send a few spells back in response, but we're both on our last legs. We're still standing by sheer force of will, and his magic is keeping him alive much the same way.
The rabbit leaps, and bites Grindledore's good arm. He blinks in surprise, and then his screaming starts as the venom begins killing him.
Death by rabbit. Not the best death one could imagine, but a deserving one. I dispel the rabbit before it does anything stupid, and then drop to my butt. I don't feel like walking now.
"Jessica, if you want to stomp on him repeatedly, you can. I don't think anyone is going to care about him having a flattened corpse."
Jessica's silent, even as her body stomps out of the lake, making its way here.
"Oh, and Miss Skeeter?" I ask, sensing the witch's presence now that the duel is over. "If you keep quiet about that fucker's comments about a prophecy for the moment, I can get you an exclusive interview with both myself and the Potters, and some dirt on Dumbledore. Or I can squish you like a bug right now. If you agree, land on my left shoulder."
I note an ugly blue beetle land on my left shoulder.
"Excellent, Miss Skeeter. I do believe you have a rather fantastical article to write, and I have a rather lengthy stay with Miss Pomfrey ahead of me. You also have an exclusive interview once I'm awake and about. I'll contact you after I escape the good mediwitch's clutches."
I watch Jessica stomp on Grindledore's body, and then grind her heel into the dirt. Which is the point I collapse into the mud and black out.
Author's Notes:Brought to you by Dragonforce's "Through the Fire and Flames" and Fucked Up's "Year of the Pig."
The SS Goatfucker is modelled on the German Bismark-Class battleship. I'd originally planned on stating its class, and listing it's specs, mostly in the form of gun-sizes so it would be easier to state which was firing at what. Then I realised it didn't matter in the slightest, and also I'd never really stated Jamie was much of a history buff, so I didn't bother. For the record, though, the big turrets on a Bismark-class Battleship are 15", while the smaller armoured turret guns are 6" and 4". All of them are in double turrets, with 4 doubles of 15" that can fire to either side, 6 doubles of the 6", and 8 doubles of the 4". The 6" and 4" guns can only fire to one side, and the 4" were anti-aircraft guns. Everything smaller than that, would be comparable to just standing outside the castle wards and spitting at them. The entire thing's about 250 meters in length, and weighs in about 50,000 tons.
Numbers, however, mean very little. If you ever get the chance, there's a number of battleships as floating museums, whether in the US or other countries. Seeing them is always an experience. Looking at a gun with a barrel a small child can crawl down is always weird. Walking through the magazine of one of those museum ships, and seeing how big the shells they fire are is also a strange experience.
Before anyone asks, yes, Hogwarts has anti-bombardment wards. They've likely been around since the castle was first built to defend against catapults and ballista, and were only made stronger when cannons were first built. They were probably modified again during World War II to withstand bombs, even if nothing ever reached Scotland.
In case you missed it, the Colossi are from Shadow of the Colossus. The demon from it is named "Dormin" which is "Nimrod" backwards. Nimrod actually was the king who commissioned the Tower of Babel. The new version seems like such a Wizarding Story. Someone messes with Death, and Death reminds them that he's death, and he does not fuck around.
The SS Goatfucker was a late addition, but I'd wanted to write a story with magical tanks for a while. The story I'm in the process of putting together (and I'm planning it better than I planned other ones, at least) was originally going to be a little different. I'll have to make a few notes about it once I do publish it.