A/N: Hello everyone! So, it is with heavy hearts that we present the last chapter of Nothing to Lose. It has been amazing having you all with us, and we thank everyone who has read this work. You have (for the most part) all been amazing, and you all deserve these *passes around a tray piled high with food we made from the flames over the chapters*
Lastly, we would like to inform you that there are TWO versions of this chapter. This is version TWO. Verson ONE is posted right before this one.
Also, for those who have been reading Escape to New York, we are working on the next chapter. We have not been able to meet in the past couple of weeks to discuss it, but we are working on it now.
Chapter Twenty-One: Liberation
Ministry of Magic 10th Floor
Ten Months Later
Albus Dumbledore was unfamiliar in this role. Standing in line for various ministry offices to get forms filled out when before all he had to do was to send a representative to request information and things would immediately happen. Now that he was a private citizen, getting cooperation from Ministry employees was much more difficult.
He was still trying to pull together information on the loose ends of his life. He was no longer Headmaster – the Board of Governors had sacked him and requested him to leave the castle by the Christmas Holiday break. But they also refused his handpicked successor – Minerva McGonagall was still a transfiguration teacher, but she was no longer Deputy Headmistress.
Losing his seat at the ICW was even quicker – only two weeks after the motion of censure had passed the Wizengamot, he was advised that his position was under review and shortly afterwards, the South African Zulu Medicine Man was the new Supreme Mugwump.
But the ultimate disaster was the loss of the Elder Wand. Still cursing himself months after its loss, he had snapped it accidentally when the staff and students had seen Fawkes flame away from him never to return. It had turned out that he had forgotten that the phoenix had always remained with the current Headmaster and once he had lost that position, Fawkes had left to await the new school leader. Striking the wand on the head table had resulted in an audible snap.
Subsequent attempt to blend back into wizarding society with only his original wand was made almost impossible with the publication of The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore by Rita Skeeter. While the book contained some elements of fancy which reflected Rita's well known journalistic style, there were enough points of truth to cause Albus' standing in the wizarding community to descend to levels he had never seen since before his defeat of Grindelwald.
Even his brother made it clear to him that he wanted Albus far way from the Hogs Head as possible as he would drive business away.
So, now he was forced to peddle his extensive knowledge of the workings of the Wizengamot and the Ministry of Magic to working as a researcher for various lawyers and consultants for old and arcane laws of the past and thus, here he was, at 9:00 p.m. still working near the Hall of Records where all major magical registries were maintained for the British magical world.
And it was for this reason that he was present when the Potter scion, the Lady Hermione Granger-Potter and her new consort arrived at the Hall of Records to record their new relationship.
At first, ensconced as he was behind a partition in an office across the Hall of Records, he did not notice the young couple as they entered the Hall. The hour was late and the Hall was empty, relying on ancient magic to protect the registries and records. Albus could hear soft voices and only when he heard the name Lady Potter did his curiosity get the better of him and he peered from behind the office door to see the familiar bushy hair of Miss Granger or rather Lady Potter walk out of the hall hand in hand with a familiar raven haired young man with green eyes…
Shock nearly stopped his heart as Albus saw someone he had last seen ten months earlier in the Atrium of the Ministry. The face looked older and there were strands of white hair now nestled among the black hair – the telltale scar was hidden behind a low hanging fringe. But there was no doubt of who this was.
"Harry, my dear boy, you're alive!"
The young couple looked up startled at the old man.
"Dumbledore," Hermione spat. "What are you doing here?"
"Miss Granger, I am working on legal research these days. Without my position at Headmaster, I find myself forced to work at more menial positions to pass my time. "But Mr. Potter, Harry…you're alive."
The green eyes Albus remembered so well pierced the old wizard with a cold gaze.
"Harry James Potter is dead, old man. You killed him – remember. My name is Lord Black."
Small pieces of information that had frustrated Albus for some time now fell into place. While Daniel Granger-Potter had indeed taken up the seat of the Potter family, there had been no accompanying rise of a successor to Sirius Black – ether to his estate or to his seats on the Wizengamot. Yet, there was no word from the goblins that the Black estate had gone dormant – there had been recent words that the heir to Lord Black had been seen at Gringotts and was a person who abhorred publicity and hated the spotlight.
"But I saw you dead," he blurted out as these thoughts were racing through his mind.
"Yes, you did kill me, old man. You almost rendered an entire family line extinct and then tried to convince your associates at the Wizengamot that my body would find a welcome home at Hogwarts. So you could say that the last time we met you did kill me."
"But how could you survive the killing curse" Albus was still too shocked to consider what he was saying.
"Are you admitting that you fired the killing curse at Harry, Dumbledore?" Hermione asked in a dangerous voice.
"Let it go, 'Mione. I would normally have called him out or sought vengeance for what he did, but I believe his current status is punishment enough."
Albus' face grew sorrowful. "My boy, what I did, I did for the greater good. I did not want to do what I did, but the British magical world had to be protected."
He could see that young Harry, no, Lord Black was clenching his fists as a spasm of fury went through him. "Don't even get me started, old man. Please don't."
A new thought crossed Albus' mind. Perhaps he could advise and tutor this young man, even if he was now a young Lord and Head of the Ancient and Noble House of Black.
"Harry, you need to finish your studies. You only have your OWLs and you still need to complete your NEWTs in order to take your full place in our world."
The young Lord Black gave a cold mirthless chuckle. "Still trying to get me to stay by your side, old man? There was a time when I would have jumped at the opportunity, but that was a long time ago and many manipulations in the past.
"No, old man, where we are going we don't need NEWTs or any other things that the British magical world is interested in. We're done with this bloody country and this bloody society."
"Harry? You have…"
"Albus, shut up!" Hermione interrupted. He had never seen her like this, but there was a strong wave of anger coming from her as well now. "We're here to celebrate our joining and then move ourselves from this country."
The politician was reawakening in Albus and he could begin to see a potential plan for regaining all that he had lost. This young couple, more this young Lord, was the key.
"It's Lord Black to you."
"Lord Black, we in the wizarding world should be rejoicing at your return to the land of the living. You belong to this world and …."
"I don't care you old fool! I am done with this world and done with you! Come on Hermione, we're leaving."
Albus drew his wand as the young couple turned away. "I can't let you leave, Harry." With a quick flick of his wand, ropes twined themselves around Herminone and pulled her back to him. "I am keeping Lady Potter in my care until you come to your senses, Harry."
Harry turned angrily, wand drawn. "You've gone too far! Incendio! Stupefy! " Harry shot spell after spell at Albus, slowly backing him agaist a wall. "You. Will. Not. Touch. Hermione!"
Albus kept a strong shield between Harry and himself, but could feel it weakening under the assault. "Harry, you're being unreasonable!" When Harry refused to halt his barrage of spells, Albus was forced on the offensive. Drawing on power and knowledge he had not used since his defeat of Grindelwald, Albus began his own attack on Harry. He smirked as he noticed Harry's attack start to weaken. Lowering his wand, he strode towards Harry.
"I'm glad you-" His sentence was quickly cut off and he went flying to the floor, Harry's fist filling the space he had previously occupied.
Without giving Albus any time to react, pointed his wand at his head before flicking it towards Albus. "Translationis Memorias!" Albus cried out as a tidal wave of memoried flew into his brain. He writhed involuntarily as if trying to ward off blows.
It was at thet moment that Amelia ran in, wand drawn. "What the hell is going on here!" Her well trained eyes quickly took in all the details: Harry with his wand pointing at the writhing Albus, Hermione tied up in the corner, the magical imprints left from the spells used, and she automatically went professional.
"What happened here? I want a full report." Harry quickly told her what happened while untying Hermione, stopping when he got to what he had done.
Amelia noticed and nodded in Albus' direction "And what happened to our esteemed former Cheif Warlock?"
Harry sighed "It is an ancient spell...for the worst of criminals...he left me no choice."
"And what does the spell do, Mister Potter?"
"It will make him know my pain. He will both witness and physically feel everything that happened to me because of him. Every cut, bruise, broken bone, he will feel them and see them all. He will not be scarred, but his body will feel it all when he becomes coherent again."
Hermione quickly chimed in "It's not illegal Madame Bones. It was originaly used by victims on the most severe criminals before they were sent to Azkaban."
Amelia nodded "I've heard of the spell before, but I have never used or seen it used. Do you know how long he will be like this?"
Harry shook his head. "It depends on the person and the amout of memories. Some people can take hours to process a few memories, others minutes to process thousands. He has to process about 25 years worth of memories, so it could be awhile."
"Very well. You two can go up to my office for our meeting. I'll meet you up there in a while. I'll sit here and wait abit and see if anything happens. If not i'll have someone bring him to our overnight holding cells."
The three watched silently as tears started leaking from Albus' eyes.
"We didn't want this even for him." Hermione said with a sad expression on her face.
"You may not have, 'Mione, but I sure did," Harry cut in. "That man put me in hell for the greater good and would have kept me there forever."
Hermione just sadly shook her head, looking at Amelia. "If he had just given Harry the love and affection that Harry was so desperately looking for, he would have had everything with Harry.
"When Harry came to Hogwarts at the age of 11, he was desperate for a caring voice and an adult he could trust. Dumbledore had everything then, but in his desire to secure it all, he lost it all." Harry now spoke. "I had nothing to lose when I began my campaign, something that to this day I am not proud of . Whether I lived or died, I would either be with my family or I would have ended the fear and pain for others.
"I had nothing to lose, and now I have gained everything."
They turned and left the now weeping former Headmaster on the 10th floor corridor while Amelia watched them go into the distance.
"Yes, Harry, you've gained it all," she finally said quietly as she sat down to wait the first clear moment for Dumbledore.
"You've gained it all."