Disclaimer: Compared to what JK Rowling's legal team would do, the Killing Curse would be a kindness to any fanfiction writer foolish enough to claim Harry Potter as their own.
I looked to the west and closed my eyes, enjoying the cool breeze while I could before it blew in the storm clouds on the horizon. I was a bit disappointed that Daphne wouldn't get to experience the beautiful Greek sunset on her first evening here; especially from the Parthenon. The cool, early autumn air hung more thickly with magic here than even at Hogwarts, and it seemed to enhance the beauty of the entire city below.
In truth, I was nervous about her arrival. Her and Philip's supposed betrayal still stung, though time and my infinitely better relationship with Lysander had all but buried the pain. And now, after exchanging a few letters in which she explained her subterfuge and her life, she was coming here to meet me. I'd called her many names, a whore among them, when we'd last spoken. Suddenly finding out she was forced into that position against her will before she escaped and became my savior again was like another knife in my heart, except I'd plunged it in myself.
"Are you sure you'll be okay, love?" The concern in Lysander's eyes warmed me.
"Of course, it's my sister," I replied.
I could see he didn't really believe me, but I couldn't really blame him. He had only known of her from the less-than-savory description I gave him. I smiled at him in another attempt to reassure him, and he put his arm around me. I put my head against his chest and enjoyed our closeness for a moment. Then I opened my eyes, which immediately picked out an uncomfortable-looking man with dark hair, a dark beard, and piercing green eyes, the latter of which were only barely hidden behind rounded glasses. He looked familiar...
"Stori?" My sister's voice jarred me out of my thoughts, and I jumped out of Lysander's embrace to face her. She was thinner than I remember, which was no mean feat. I had always hated that she stayed so skinny no matter what she ate, but now, with the thin robes draped loosely over her tall, slight frame, it looked like she could stand to gain a few pounds. Still with her jet black hair and ice blue eyes, she was beautiful as ever.
All of my anxiety melted away. "Daph!" I threw myself into her arms, nearly knocking her over.
"Stori," she whispered. "I've been so worried about you."
"Me?" I pulled back to look at her incredulously. "With all those awful things I'd heard about home..." Her eyes fell at that, and my heart dropped. "Daph, what ha—"
"Another time, Stori," she cut me off. "This isn't the place for that."
Her voice, I only now realized, carried none of the warmth she usually saved for me and our parents. It was the same voice she had used at Hogwarts: that emotionless, dry tone that she and Blaise had perfected by the time I'd gotten there. "I'm so sorry, Daph," was all I could say. I felt tears threatening to leak out.
"Well, introduce me, already," she said quickly. I was grateful for the subject change.
"Oh! Daphne, this is my boyfriend, Lysander. Lysander, my sister Daphne." They shook hands, both faking smiles for the other. It made me frown slightly, but there would be time enough for changing minds later. "Didn't you say you were bringing somebody along?"
"Yeah," she said, glancing over her left shoulder. "He won't come over here, though."
"What? Why not?"
She shook her head. "It was all I could do to get him to accompany me this far."
My eyebrows jumped at that. Hadn't she said the guy had helped her? "Well, who is he?" I grinned at her. "Is he your boyfriend?"
She grimaced in reply. "No." She glanced over her shoulder once more, and I realized she must be looking at him. I tried to follow her gaze, but there were too many people. She turned back and her eyes flickered to Lysander. "Can we talk in private?"
I frowned for a moment, then glanced at my boyfriend, giving him a reassuring nod. "We'll be right back." I led her around one of the pillars, where she quickly put up a Privacy Charm. "Okay, why all the secrecy?"
"Harry Potter," she said without preamble.
I cocked my head back, not understanding. "What?"
"Harry Potter was the one who helped me," she said. "He's here with me now."
Suddenly the image of the green-eyed man leapt to my mind and I gasped. "I saw him," I blurted out as my mind raced through the possibilities. "But...Harry Potter?"
"He saved me," she said simply.
My mind reeled a bit, trying to make sense of everything. "But I thought he was dead!"
She shook her head. "No, he was...alone, all that time." Her eyes were directed toward me, but they were unfocused, far away. "When he rescued me, his voice barely even worked."
I looked at her askance. "Are you sure you and he aren't—?"
She shook her head again. "He's never even looked at me like that. He's...broken, Stori. Even more than I am."
I felt like she punched me in the gut. "Even more...? Daph, you're scaring me."
She grimaced again. "You don't even know the half of it. I watched him execute the Dark Lord." I gasped. She hadn't mentioned that in her letters! "We tricked him, then Harry killed him. It wasn't even a fight. And then he executed thirty Death Eaters – the only Marked ones that were left – right in front of me."
The weight of that news pressed down on me like a boulder. I couldn't breathe, and I felt tears start to leak out. I'd looked into those eyes, and I could picture the haunted look in them more clearly now. I couldn't speak at all.
"It was the most horrifying thing I'd ever seen, and that's still not all. Did you ever read about the Order of the Phoenix back home?" I nodded numbly. "They were all killed several years ago. It was all Harry. In all he's killed two hundred and fifty Death Eaters and sympathizers, as he calls them...and that includes many of our former classmates."
I staggered as if struck, and fell to the floor with my back against the pillar. Suddenly one of my unanswered questions leapt to mind. "Blaise?"
She looked down. "Him, too. Right in front of me. Harry let him say goodbye, then cried when he did it."
I blew out an incredulous breath. "H-how could you even stay with him?"
She looked up with tears in her eyes, which took me aback. She never cried! "They forced Blaise to take the Mark, Stori, and the Dark Lord had some kind of power over it. Harry never said what it was, but Blaise was never the same after that. He did what he could, but...he...it was Harry that saved me."
I rubbed the sides of my head with shaking arms. What horrors had I put my sister through? How did I not know how bad it was? "I'm so sorry, Daph. I'm so sorry...if I had known..."
"No," she said vehemently, slashing her hand through the air. "You could not have done anything. Your staying would have only meant both of us would suffer."
I recoiled at her words, but I couldn't refute them. If she and Blaise couldn't get away, what could I have done? I felt so helpless. I hugged my arms around me, but still shivered at the horror of it all. I needed Lysander. That thought made me feel even worse, because Daphne had gone all this time without that comfort. I forced myself to stand, then pulled her into a hug. She went rigid at first, but I only hugged tighter. She started trembling, and I couldn't stop the sob that wracked my body. Soon we were both on the floor against the pillar, crying into each others' shoulders.
I don't know how long we stayed like that, but at some point I looked up to find Lysander standing a respectful distance away. He gestured to me as if he wanted to come over, but I shook my head. I didn't think I could keep all these secrets from him, but I needed time to talk to Daph to figure out which ones were safe to share. Sensing the shift in my mood, she wiped her face and leaned back, once again wearing her impeccable mask of detachment. Idly I considered smacking her for looking like that when I knew my face would be all splotchy.
I took a deep breath, hoping to restore some measure of dignity to my face. "Well, you're here now," I said, rubbing her shoulder. "We can take care of you, so you don't have to worry about that stuff anymore."
To my surprise and dismay, she looked away and shook her head. "I'm going back with him," she said.
"Harry...he would never admit it, but he needs me," she said. "When I said we tricked the Dark Lord, I really meant 'we.' It was my plan, and he didn't want to go on with it at first because I was the bait." I gasped again, but she quickly shook her head. "It was fine. I didn't feel scared at all, even when the Dark Lord stood a dozen paces away. When I'm with Harry, I feel...less broken. I feel safe."
"So stay here with him," I countered quickly. It tore at my heart hearing my sister talk about being broken. "We can...we can take care of you both," I faltered at the thought of keeping Harry Potter around, especially after what she told me about him, but I forced the offer out. Despite that I meant it; I didn't want her to have to leave, and if she grounded him as much as she said...
"It's not over," she said, her voice returning to its usual strength. "The Dark Lord's soul is loose again, though by the time Harry got through with it, it felt incredibly weak. He couldn't be completely killed yet, but I doubt he could possess a pixie at this point." I couldn't believe she could be so nonchalant about that. She'd been through so much... "And that's not to mention all of the un-Marked followers and other sympathizers that infest the Ministry. Harry's going to work on the first one, and I'm going to work on the second."
"Haven't you both done enough?" I couldn't believe she was going to go back, despite what she said about Potter. "And what about Mum and Dad, can't they help?"
Her face turned grim. "They did nothing apart from sending you away, Stori," she said, then looked at me with ice in her eyes – the same sort of piercing stare I'd seen from Potter. It had faltered when we started talking, but now I could see it in her eyes, nearly aglow: her staggering, indomitable resolve. It left me in awe of my sister for the first time in many years. "I will have answers from them."
So there you have it! I'm not really sure what this narrative technique is called (or if it even has a name), but in epic fantasy, some of the best glimpses of the main characters are often the ones from alternative points of view. I took that to its (absurd) logical extreme in this story: this might be a story about Harry, but we never actually experience it from his point of view. In some ways I think it's powerful because his actions are undiluted by his usual modesty, and his apparent madness in Chapter 1 is all the more terrifying. But I admit it adds some confusion and several reviewers said they didn't like it.
When I completed this story, I said that I might expand it if people like it, but I'm not sure that I could do it justice. It might be interesting to show Harry's descent into darkness, but if I added a chapter after the prologue but before Blaise's chapter, it would weaken the effect of Harry's entrance. It might also be interesting to further develop the Harry/Daphne relationship (such as it is) with an extra chapter before Pettigrew's, but it might take more skill than I have to do it believably. As it stands I don't think it's much of a stretch to go from Harry allowing Daphne to help stitch him up to allowing her to help set up Voldemort.
But a lot of people are unhappy with the length. I think part of that stems from my lack of experience when it comes to writing stories of this length. As I told one reviewer, it kind of reads like I cherry-picked a few chapters from a novel, smushed them together, and called it done. The scale of the plot perhaps belongs in a longer story, and a better writer might explore the societal effects of Harry massacring so many people (how he should be punished, how he might react, etc.), or perhaps provide some sort of foil for his behavior since I killed off his best friends.
Lastly, I should mention that I am not planning to write a sequel.
Now for the questions: you might wonder how Harry and Daphne did their plotting when Voldemort apparently had a direct link into Harry's brain. Well, it's subtle and it might not be a very good explanation, but I hope it's there in the story.
There are two important things to note: first, Harry and Voldemort don't have an 'always on' connection, and second, Harry knows when Voldemort is watching. Harry hints at the second in Blaise's chapter, saying that Voldemort is "watching now" – implying he wasn't watching before. Voldemort then hints at the first in Peter's chapter: "[Voldemort] closed his eyes. 'The boy is here. His eyes are closed, as always, but the boy is here, ready to beg for death.'" I was implying that Voldemort has to close his eyes and focus in order to see through Harry's eyes. So Harry taught Daphne patience, and then, when the coast was clear sometime between chapters two and three, they plotted the final confrontation.
Also, back in the first chapter Blaise reflects on Crabbe killing himself at the Battle of Hogwarts. Obviously, the canon Battle of Hogwarts didn't happen, but that doesn't mean a different one didn't take place. You can fill in the details yourself, but to me, McGonagall would only take so much before she would toss Snape out on his ass and organize a last stand.
I can't say I had a lot of fun writing this since it was so dark, but it did feel good finishing a story again that isn't a oneshot. Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think!