Disclaimer: Harry Potter is owned by J.K. Rowling and her various corporate partners. I own nothing, and I am making no profit by my little ventures into the shadowy realms of fanfiction. I do so purely for enjoyment. I would, however, like to thank JKR for allowing us all to play in her sandbox.

Author's Note (AN) to be found at the end of the chapter.


Harry Potter and the Knight of the Radiant Heart

I

"I killed Sirius Black! I killed Sirius Black!"

The crazed witch sang that refrain over and over as she ran toward the exit from the amphitheater that was hewn out of the bedrock deep below London in the Department of Mysteries.

With a vicious cry, Harry wrenched himself out of Lupin's grasp and leveled his wand at Bellatrix.

"Confringo!" he shouted, heedless of the battle raging all around him. Harry's world had seemingly contracted to simply himself and the fiend that stole his godfather from him.

"Confringo!" Harry screamed once again. However, his aim was off. Harry's first spell went wide by several feet, while his second struck the top of the doorway that Bellatrix was running toward. Showing more awareness than Harry thought possible for such a deranged witch, Bellatrix quickly changed direction and dove against the wall just as the ceiling above the doorway came crashing down.

"Looks like wittle, baby Potter came to play!" the witch gleefully shouted as she regained her feet, "but does the wittle baby know the rules? Incendio!"

Harry hastily conjured a shield to fend off the flames hurtling in his direction, but he was unable to dodge the simple tripping jinx that Bellatrix sent following after.

As Harry sprawled out on the floor, Bellatrix took up her chant once again, "I killed Sirius Black!" and ran toward a different doorway.

"She will not get away because of a bloody tripping jinx!" Harry screamed as he scrambled off the floor and took off after Bellatrix. In the back of his mind, Harry heard various shouts for him to wait, for him to stop, but he ignored them all. At that moment, Harry Potter had only one purpose: find Bellatrix Lestrange.

What he would do with her once he found her, well, he could worry about that later.

The stone corridor that he was racing down twisted and turned with scarcely a moment's notice. The torches lining the walls which gave off the little light that was available were few and far between, making Harry's flat-out run into the darkness that much more dangerous as he could barely see more than a few feet in front of his face. But the echo of Bellatrix's hurried footsteps on the cold, stone floor and the taunting refrain of her voice impelled him onward.

A sudden flash of light was warning enough for Harry to throw himself to the ground as a spell crashed into the wall where his head had been just a moment before. Flecks of stone rained down on his back as he painfully slid to a halt against the hard stone wall in yet another bend in the corridor.

"Awwww… the wittle baby fell down," shrieked the madwoman from her ambush, "let's see if we can help him get up again! Reducto!"

Spells began raining down upon Harry's position and he hurriedly rolled to the side, desperately trying to avoid being hit. Flat on the floor and seeing no other option, as Bellatrix kept up her steady barrage of hexes and curses, Harry blindly pointed his wand in her general direction and let loose with his own Blasting Curse.

Suddenly, the spellfire slamming into the ground all him ceased. Harry looked up with desperate hope.

Did I actually hit her? Harry incredulously thought to himself, only to hear the witch's insane laughter once again.

"Hehehe, He did come to play after all!" Bellatrix exclaimed from her end of the hallway. "Catch me if you can, Potty!" she yelled as she once again took off down the dark corridor.

She's playing with me, Harry thought to himself, I'll teach her to bloody well play with me!

Harry once again scrambled to his feet and took off after the mad witch. He quickly turned a corner only to see Bellatrix duck into the first doorway that they had come across and slam the door closed behind her.

"Confringo!" Harry screamed at the door without slowing his pursuit. The barrier exploded into the room in a shower of wooden splinters. Harry crossed the threshold and dove to the right, just in time to avoid a dark jet of purple light. The anger flowing through his veins allowed him no regard for his own safety and he unleashed an all out assault upon his enemy.

"Confringo! Reducto! Stupefy! Petrificus Totalus!" Harry let loose with anything and everything he could think of. Amazingly, it seemed to be working, and Bellatrix was forced to defend herself.

Harry was so focused on his enemy that he barely noticed what was in the room around him. At first glance, the chamber appeared to be floating in the darkness of outer space, as thousands of tiny, bright stars shone all around. A closer inspection would reveal that the "stars" were really countless, glowing crystal pendants, each one hanging from a tiny hook on the pitch-black wall. No other source of light was found in the room besides the strange, shining crystals.

But the two combatants were heedless of their surroundings as they continued their duel. Even though he seemed to have her on the defensive, Harry couldn't land a single spell on his enemy; she either countered his spells or dodged and twisted out of the way. Soon, the magical onslaught had the tiny, shining crystals flying and scattering throughout the room. Wherever they landed, tiny flashes of lightning sparked about, shooting brilliant flashes of light into the darkness.

"Enough!" Bellatrix screamed, fury overtaking the demented glee that had earlier adorned her face, "playtime is over!" With that she brandished her wand and summoned several of the tiny, glowing crystals to herself. They came together in a brightly shining ball of tiny shards and hovered before her. Another flick of her wand banished them directly at Harry.

"Protego!" Harry quickly shouted, only to painfully discover that his shield had no effect whatsoever on the tiny, razor-sharp crystals hurling straight at him. Several of the tiny shards sliced open his arms as he instinctively covered his face while others stabbed into his stomach. Each impact jolted Harry with what felt like an electric shock.

With a grunt of pain, Harry clutched his now bleeding gut with his left hand and crouched down to the floor. He looked up only to see another ball of crystals floating in front of Bellatrix.

"Now it's time for the wittle baby to be punished!" she mocked before banishing another volley, "Depulso!"

Knowing his shield was of no use, Harry desperately cast a hurried Blasting Curse at the shards flying his way, hoping to disperse them or deflect them.

He did not expect the violent explosion.

There was a blinding, white light and a terrifying blast.

Harry was thrown, tumbling through the air before slamming head-first into the wall behind him.

For what seemed like a few seconds, Harry could hear nothing but silence as dust tumbled down from the ceiling in the aftermath of the explosion. The silence gave way to a high-pitched ringing as it became evident that the blast was too much for Harry's ears to bear. He groaned in pain as he tried to sit up, only to see the room spinning around him, and he promptly fell back to the floor. He desperately groped about him, blindly hoping to locate his wand in case Bellatrix renewed her assault.

Finally, after what seemed like ages, Harry found his wand, miraculously it was unharmed, and he somehow managed to make the world stop spinning. He was surprised that during this time he was not subject to a renewed barrage of curses, but looking around, Harry saw no sign of Bellatrix other than a small smear of blood on the wall and a slightly larger pool gathered on the floor just outside the door.

She must've run off again. Great. Bloody well fantastic! Harry cursed in his head. With a groan, he managed to get to his feet, intending to take off after his foe once again. However, he was stopped short by something odd lying on the floor in the middle of the room.

There, in what would have been the center of the blinding ball of magic that exploded when Harry's spell crashed into the flying crystals, was the body of a man.

He looked like some sort of medieval knight, lying face down on the floor, covered head to toe in shiny, plate-metal armor. On his left forearm was strapped a circular shield, polished so brightly that it could have easily been mistaken for a mirror. A few inches from his right hand laid a large, ornate looking sword. The knight wore no helm, which allowed Harry to see his short-cropped, gray hair.

Harry, his mouth falling open in surprise, stared at the man in a moment of confusion. I must've hit my head bloody hard, he thought to himself, now I'm seeing things.

In that moment, the knight moved with surprising quickness for someone covered almost completely in metal. His right hand grasped the hilt of his sword as he lurched to the side and rolled to his knees. The knight appeared to be around fifty years old. A short, graying goatee matched the hair on his head, and a few small, faded scars marred his otherwise handsome features. One particularly noticeable scar cut across the bridge of the man's slightly crooked nose. It seemed that the his brown eyes quickly took in Harry's shell-shocked state. His mouth opened in what Harry assumed to be speech, but the ringing in Harry's ears made any attempt at communication pointless.

Overcoming his moment of confusion, Harry growled out, "I don't have time for this! She's getting away!" and with that, he ran through the door with renewed vigor in pursuit of his enemy without sparing another thought for the strange newcomer.

Once more in the dark and winding stone corridor, Harry took off in the direction that he and Bellatrix had originally been heading, hoping to catch her once again. He kept to the hallway, deciding not to veer off into any of the closed doors that he passed by, lest he get lost in the maze of mysterious rooms and corridors. He could only hope that Bellatrix had made the same decision.

After a few moments, Harry finally saw an end to the corridor up ahead. It looked like the stone wall at the end of the hallway had been blasted apart to make an exit. Multicolored lights flashed back and forth from the opening, and the ringing in Harry's ears began to fade just in time to be replaced with the cries of shouted incantations. Harry ran flat out toward the opening and emerged in the atrium of the Ministry of Magic. There he found Dumbledore locked in furious combat with both Bellatrix Lestrange and Lord Voldemort himself.

"Your little schoolboy is dead!" Bellatrix shouted at the aged headmaster as they traded spells, heedless of Harry's emergence onto the scene, "I left him in a pile of blood and broken bones back in the Department of Mysteries!"

"How's this for a pile of bones, bitch?!" Harry screamed in rage. "Reducto!"

His spell caught the insane witch by surprise as it slammed into her shoulder. With a high-pitched yelp, Bellatrix spun around and went crashing to the floor.

Only then, with Bellatrix down and writhing in agony, did Harry truly register the fact that the Dark Lord was present in the room.

"Well done, Harry," sneered the high-pitched voice of Voldemort, "I didn't think you had it in you."

"Go to hell, you bastard!" Harry shouted as he leveled his wand at the Dark Lord and began furiously casting.

"You can't win here, Tom," Dumbledore said calmly as he continued to engage Voldemort at a lightning-fast pace. "Give up. You're outnumbered and outmatched."

"I am Lord Voldemort!" returned the snake-like being with a crazed gleam in his red eyes, "I cannot be defeated!" And with that, he unleashed a wave of concussive force that lifted both Harry and Dumbledore off their feet and tossed them tumbling through the air.

Harry landed awkwardly on his left arm, and felt a bone snap somewhere near his wrist. Dumbledore somehow managed to keep his feet, and hastily erected a shield between Harry and Voldemort.

"I am the greatest wizard to ever walk the earth!" exclaimed the Dark Lord as he continued spinning and flicking his wand in intricate and exact motions, "you maggots are nothing to me. Nothing!"

"Harry! Get out of here!" Dumbledore shouted to the prostrate student. The effort of trying to protect Harry while simultaneously engaging Voldemort was clearly putting the headmaster at a disadvantage. But Harry paid his mentor no mind as saw Bellatrix once again moving, trailing a steady stream of blood toward the row of fireplaces that would give her access to the Floo Network and freedom.

As Harry was trying to bring his wand around to prevent Bellatrix's escape, the sickly, yellow beam of a Cruciatus Curse found him instead. Blinding, white-hot agony exploded in Harry's mind. The excruciating pain lasted only an instant, as Voldemort quickly lifted the curse in order to fend off Dumbledore's next attack, but its effects remained. Harry could do little else but helplessly curl up on the floor, twitching in agony, and watch as Bellatrix disappeared in a flash of green flame.

It seemed to Harry that Voldemort's eyes lit up in triumph as he realized that Dumbledore would be unable to effectively both protect Harry and continue their duel at the same time. Harry could do nothing but watch in despair as it only took the Dark Lord a few moments to maneuver Dumbledore to his advantage. The furious spell casting came to an abrupt halt as bright green chains wrapped themselves around the headmaster's torso and bound his arms to his sides.

Voldemort laughed and bowed grandiosely. "At last… at last I shall put you both where you belong."

The Dark Lord pointed his wand at the helpless Harry Potter who was lying bleeding and broken on the ground.

But then a cry came from the hole Bellatrix had blasted in the stone wall. With a loud shout, the old knight leapt into the atrium, his mirrored shield held steadily in front of him and his sword brandished above his head. Without pausing or slowing, the armored knight gestured at Dumbledore with his sword and the chains that held the headmaster captive shattered with a flash of white light.

With a cry of fury, Voldemort turned the attention of his wand toward the newcomer. A jet of red light was sent barreling toward him, only to bounce off his shield and crash into the ceiling where it exploded in a shower of dust and broken stone.

Dumbledore quickly took advantage of the situation and renewed his assault upon the Dark Lord, transfiguring the paving stones beneath Voldemort's feet into quicksand.

While the wizards turned their attention and their wands to each other once more, the knight took up position between Harry and Voldemort, acting as a shield against further assault.

"Can you move?" he asked in a firm, resolved voice.

It took Harry a moment to realize that the knight was talking to him.

"I don't know," Harry wheezed, "I think I can try."

"Make your way back into the corridor," the knight said in a tone that brokered no argument, "you're in no condition to continue this fight. You can find some shelter there. I'll cover your retreat."

Harry obeyed, and painfully began to crawl over to the opening in the wall while the old knight kept his shield between Harry and the Dark Lord. A few times Voldemort tried to cast a spell at them, but each time the knight intercepted it with his shield and sent it ricocheting off in some other direction. Every so often, the knight would gesture with his sword like he had done earlier, and one of Voldemort's spells, curses or transfigurations would be broken in a flash of white light. Had he been of clearer mind, Harry would have probably wondered at the wandless magic that the knight displayed.

Once Harry reached the opening, he crawled over the blocks of ruined stone and turned his attention back to the fight. As soon as Harry had reached some modicum of cover from the battle, the old knight left his position shielding the teenager, and charged Voldemort head-on.

The Dark Lord was taken by surprise, and he barely managed to avoid having his throat slashed open by the knight's shining sword.

"Give up, Tom," Dumbledore calmly spoke in the midst of the battle as his wand continued moving, "you've lost whatever advantage you thought you had."

"This Muggle is nothing! You are nothing, you old fool!" the Dark Lord screamed as he continued to dodge both the knight's sword and Dumbledore's spells.

Voldemort then conjured a thick, steel shield between himself and the knight, and then forcefully banished the heavy object at the old warrior. The impact of the blow knocked the knight off his feet, falling backwards onto the floor.

And then Harry heard the sound of rushing flames. He turned to see the green fire of the Floo Network light up the far side of the atrium. Out of the fireplaces stepped several Aurors as well as Cornelius Fudge, who gaped in horror at the sight of Lord Voldemort returned from the grave.

With a last sneer of hatred, Voldemort let loose another concussive wave of force that knocked back everyone in the room, and then with a deafeningly loud crack, he disapparated, fleeing the Ministry and shattering the battered wards that were straining to survive the magical battle.

With the excitement finally over, Harry was beginning to a bit feel light-headed. He heard the Minister for Magic stupidly exclaim, "He's back!" into the shocked silence that followed Voldemort's departure.

In the background, Harry could hear the sounds of Dumbledore, Fudge and the Aurors as they began hurriedly moving about the atrium, but he couldn't exactly piece together what they were doing. A sharp jolt of pain made Harry look down at his stomach to see that at some point his hands had clasped onto his gut.

"Wow," Harry said to no one in particular, "that's a lot of blood."

He began to feel dizzy as he held up a red hand to get a better look. A shadow fell across his line of sight and Harry tilted his head back a bit further in order to see where it came from. The knight was standing before him, sword still drawn, staring down at him with a look that could probably cut steel.

"Oo look awf'ly shinny. Did'ja know 'at?" Harry slurred to the armored figure.

And then, with his head falling forward, everything went black.


AN (Updated 10 Feb 2017): This story is now finished and posted in its entirety. However, in an effort to clean it up a bit, I will be going through the text for another edit. (Not that I think that there's too many errors, but I'm being a bit of a perfectionist.) So, if you spot any errors or typos, please help me out and let me know in a review of that particular chapter. Also, I'll be removing many of the longer author's notes. If you want to see my thoughts on the story or read some comments I've made, check out my profile and my forums where I will archive the more relevant notes, responses, etc.

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