*This chapter contains text taken directly from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling. The quote is properly cited and no copyright infringement is intended.
~~~~ Chapter VI ~~~~
Return of the Stranger
"I'm calling you a killer ? a natural born killer.
You always have been, and you always will be.
Moving to El Paso, working in a used record store,
Going to the movies with Tommy, clipping coupons.
That’s you, trying to disguise yourself as a worker bee,
That’s you trying to blend in with the hive.
But you're not a worker bee, you're a renegade killer bee.
And no matter how much beer you drank or barbecue you ate
Or how fat your ass got,
Nothing in the world would ever change that."
~ Bill (David Caradine) - Kill Bill Vol. 2
Tom Riddle sank into the comfy sofa by the fire in the living room of his old house in Little Hangleton. He had bought this old mansion back in the fifties just after he was accepted on
In loving tribute to the Riddle family, who died here in 1942.
From the son who was sorrier than they could ever know.
May you rest in peace.
Tom had gone on to restore each and every room to its former glory, or rather how he imagined it would have been, as on his on
Placing his glass of wine down on the table and leaning back in the sofa, Tom removed a large beige package from under his arm and rested it on his knees. He shot a pointed look at a tall lamp, which stood in the corner. The lamp obediently burst into life, and glided out from the corner to stand next to sofa, casting a bright white light over where Tom was sitting, perfect for him to read by. The headmaster opened the envelope he had been carrying and carefully pulled out the manuscript held within. A small movement of his eyebrow betrayed his surprise at the size of the document. It had to be several hundred sheets of parchment, bound together with several brass rings along the left side to form a book. A small slip of parchment also fluttered out from inside the envelope, on which Poppy had scribbled a few words.
They translated a little more than I asked for ? they clearly had too much time on their hands. The part you need is the section on blood, pages 146-201. Also see how to break down magic on pages 119-133, as this might also help test our boy. Hope this helps.
Tom made a mental note of the additional chapter she had recommended and then opened the manuscript to the first page, which happened to be a contents page. As his eyes scanned the list, the headmaster felt a glimmer of a smirk make its way on
Tom continued to scan down the list, looking at the titles of chapters. He would come back to the history of this field of research later, but for now he was more interested in Poppy's recommended section entitled Deconstructing the Blood. Tom turned to the corresponding page and after a sip of his wine he began to read the introduction on the first page of the chapter.
Blood is unique to every individual person, not on
This section details the theory of blood mapping. It details how to break down the blood of a subject, as well as the advanced Arithmancy needed to discern point of origin.
Tom stopped reading the introduction and looked up from the book as an alarm bell went off inside his head. He was instantly drawn to the memory of sitting on Minerva's sofa, concealed beneath an invisibility cloak, watching as Potter collected his timetable. The boy had specifically asked to take Arithmancy, even though he had no history in the subject and had never shown any interest before. Was this a coincidence? Tom had to admit that Harry hadn't fought very hard to get it when Minerva had explained that it was a highly unusual. It did not appear to be something that was particularly vital to him, but Tom couldn't help but wonder if this subtle link was a clue.
The problem was that if he did accept this to be Harry's reason for wanting to learn Arithmancy, then by implication he had to accept this theory about other worlds, and that was too much of a leap of faith based on this strenuous link. Potter was not an alien and even if he was, he couldn't just work on something like this by doing an OWL in Arithmancy. Even if he was trying to work on this theory, Harry would never get near the level of Arithmancy Tom saw as he flicked a few pages ahead. This was definitely post-NEWT. Some of the finest mathematicians and wizards in the world would struggle with these. If Potter knew anything about the theories in this book, he would already know how advanced it was and wouldn't be asking about an OWL in Arithmancy.
Tom stopped: there I go again, accepting this as fact. He pushed the idea aside. It was like the many conspiracy theories he had read. Some of them just sucked the reader in until the voice of reason was drowned out and they could no longer tell fact from fiction. Tom took another sip of wine before continuing to read.
He skimmed over another two pages before he stopped again. This section of the chapter was essentially what Poppy had outlined a fortnight ago as an introduction to DNA. Although, having been written several millennia ago, the translators presumably ran out of comparative words to translate, for the words 'gene', 'genome' and 'DNA' had appeared in the text. Tom guessed that whoever had translated this was cutting corners by adding in new modern words. On on
However, it was not a total loss for it mentioned that in the next section it would detail the spells needed to break down the blood into components using magic, and guide the reader through exactly what to do. As Tom read this, an idea formed in his mind: if he could get Poppy to test Harry's blood with those spells, she might be able to find out more about him. Could she perhaps isolate which genes were different? If, as was likely, it immerged that the rogue genes were not the on
Then again, Tom's mind couldn't help but wonder what would happen if it went the other way?
What if the tests did reveal Harry was an alien? What would he do with a boy from another world? The question was so vast that Tom had no real idea.
Another world, a completely different universe? he thought to himself. A world like our own perhaps, but slightly different.
He could imagine meeting another version of himself, a slightly different on
No! Tom thrust the thought aside. He was doing it again, accepting this ludicrous theory without any proof. It was a wonderful story, an interesting idea, but it was just a story. There was no proof it had happened, and Tom was just fantasising at this point.
Right now he had to base his opinions on facts, and the facts were simply anomalies in Harry Potter's blood and his change of attitude. That was all he had, and so imagining alternate realities was not helping. As far as the blood was concerned, Tom didn't even know if the anomalies in Harry's blood would coincide with the details of this text. If they did not and it was simply different genes that had changed, then the whole book was useless. As for his attitude, that was a different concern altogether. The on
Kingsley Shacklebolt had been called to St. Mungo’s when an intruder had broken into the Security Office, attacked the security chief, and stolen recordings of the fire that had killed Lily and James Potter. His enquiry had begun normally; he had interviewed all staff who had seen the intruder and reviewed the security footage as per the standard protocol. Unfortunately, the intruder's face had been covered and the recordings stolen, meaning the on
It was then that things had become more complicated when out of pure chance on
This raised two problems: Firstly how did Harry get there? Tom himself had seen Harry at the Quidditch game just before it had started and the Gryffindor students had said he had returned to the Tower shortly after the game. He would not have had time to run all the way down to Hogsmeade and then to Floo to London without being seen, do whatever he needed to do at the hospital and then return to Hogwarts again without being seen. The on
It seemed impossible but the nurse was adamant he had been there and had visited Gilderoy Lockhart. Why would he visit the former professor? It made Tom's head spin. He tried to push these endless questions out of his mind and focus on Harry. He needed to wait for Poppy's results.
In the meantime, it would not hurt to look through some more of this text. He opened the book again, and after taking a sip of wine, began to read. He hadn't gone more than a few pages when he was aware of a light to his right. He looked up just in time to see a ghostly walrus come soaring through the door. The glowing white Patronus swept across the room, coming to a stop in front of Tom's chair. The creature opened its mouth, exposing its large white teeth, and then spoke with Horace Slughorn's booming voice.
"Tom, Dolores has Kathryn and her friends. She has asked for Veritaserum, which I have not supplied. Kathryn gave me a message. ‘They have Padfoot in the place where it's kept’. I think she knows, Tom."
Tom felt his stomach clench tight as the creature melted into wisps of smoke and then was gone. Dolores had Kathryn and her friends! If she was willing to resort to Veritaserum on children, what else? Surely...no, she wouldn't. Fudge was paranoid, Umbridge was vicious and spiteful, but surely they wouldn't condone... No, Kathryn was safe as long as she was at Hogwarts. She may not be particularly happy, but at least she was safe.
That, of course, was not the most pressing problem. They have Padfoot in the place where it is kept? Did Katie know what it was they were protecting? Did she know where? How did she know they had Sirius? There was on
He was digressing again from the most pressing problem. Grindelwald has sent her a vision and she had believed it. Was it real? As far as Tom knew, Sirius was not on duty tonight and so he would be at headquarters. First things first, he needed to check and see if Sirius was okay and that the person who was on duty tonight, Alison Crawley, was safe.
Tom rose from the chair and grabbed his pot of Floo powder from atop the mantelpiece. Hurling a handful into the fire, he called out the destination aloud. Leaning forward, his head disappeared into the grate as he knelt on the hearth. He felt the familiar rushing sensation and then found himself staring out into the gloomy sitting room of number 12 Grimmauld Place. The curtains were drawn and the on
"SIRIUS!" called Tom loudly after a brief pause.
At the sound of his name the man in question sat bolt upright as if he had been electrocuted. The book that had been on his chest was sent soaring through the air and landed with a loud thud as Sirius looked around in panic for the source of the voice. As he turned, his eyes fell on Tom in the fireplace.
"Bloody Hell, Professor," he muttered, sliding off the sofa and approaching the fireplace. "You scared the hell out of me. What’s up?" he asked on
Well at least Tom now knew he was safe, but his greatest concern was that Kathryn still did not. She still believed he was in danger, as far as Tom could tell. She would do just about anything to help her godfather, even if it meant going to the Ministry herself. For the first time Tom was glad Dolores had restrained Kathryn. At least she could not leave the safety of Hogwarts. Still, Tom needed to work out exactly what was happening before anyone got hurt.
"Sirius, has Kathryn contacted you this evening?" he asked in a clipped tone that did not hide the fact that he was worried.
"No, she hasn’t," Sirius said. The lopsided grin on his face melted as he saw the concerned expr
"Has anyone here been contacted by her?" asked Tom, ignoring the questions since his own concerns were more pressing. Surely Kathryn would check that Sirius was not here? If she had made no attempt something was wrong.
"Tom, what’s happening?" repeated Sirius, looking annoyed that he was being ignored. "She's my Goddaughter and I have a right to know what’s happening!"
His voice became louder with every word. Tom could see that arguing was on
"She's fine," said Tom, trying not to sound impatient. Sirius looked slightly relieved but still highly agitated so Tom continued. "She's still at Hogwarts. Relax. Dolores Umbridge has her, but she is in no danger in the castle. Minerva will keep Dolores in check. Now, please Sirius, answer the question: has anyone there been contacted?"
"No," said Sirius shaking his head. "No on
"Sirius!" Tom cut him off. "This is not the time. We have a very serious problem ? it seems Kathryn has been sent a vision of you being tortured in the Department of Mysteries."
"Are you sure?" asked Sirius, going pale. "Is she alright?"
"Horace's Patronus has just reached me," Tom explained. "Kathryn believes you are in danger. This is vintage Grindelwald: divide, confuse and pick off the stragglers. You are the on
"But you said she’s alright?" argued Sirius.
"She is safe as long as she stays in the castle," repeated Tom. "The point is that he is trying to draw her out...hang on!"
Tom was suddenly aware of a presence behind him in the room at Little Hangleton. He cautiously pulled his head backwards out of the fire, rising to his feet as he did so. As he drew himself up to his full height, Tom turned back to face the room, his hand reaching for his wand.
To his great surprise, there was another Patronus standing just inside the door, its misty eyes staring at Tom as it gracefully trotted up to him. The creature's glow was dimmer than the Walrus had been, almost grey in fact, but it was perfectly corporeal as it marched across the room. He didn't recognise the creature as belonging to anyone he knew and had no idea how it had found him here, or how anyone outside the Order could know the spell. When the animal spoke it was not a voice that Tom recalled. Its voice was calm, precise, and sounded a little cold in Tom's judgement. Its words were not loud, but immediately started banging away at Tom's mind.
"Riddle, the Dark Lord has planted a false memory in Kathryn Bell's mind to lure her to the Department of Mysteries. She has already left Hogwarts and is walking into the trap. Crawley is already dead and twenty Death Eaters are lying in wait. Hurry. Please remember this when we meet, for I have made a terrible mistake. Forgive me."
Tom suddenly felt sick. The creature faded into nothing along with Tom's certainty that he had done the right thing. If he had told Kathryn about what lay in the Ministry, warned her that he would tempt her there, she would never have gone tonight. If he had taught her himself, maybe she would have learned Occlumency. So many mistakes had been made.
Tom knew what he had to do now ? he just hoped there was enough time. He thrust his head into the fireplace on
"Sirius," he said as he reappeared in Grimmauld Place. "Send messages to the others. Kathryn has gone to the Ministry and Death Eaters are waiting for her."
"SWEET MERLIN!" erupted Sirius, jumping to his feet.
"Sirius, calm down," ordered Tom, trying to take control of the loose cannon. "Tell Shacklebolt, Tonks, Lupin, Jones, Diggle, and Moody to head to the Department of Mysteries at on
"You mean for me to stay here?" asked Sirius, his tone accusing. He had obviously picked up that he was not on the list. Tom felt a glimmer of frustration ? this was not the time for egos or for him to stretch his legs.
"You are still a wanted man, Sirius," replied Tom, his tone firm. "Swanning into the Ministry of Magic under the noses of the Aurors is just asking for trouble. You can't help Katie from Azkaban."
"But she's my Goddaughter," he protested, looking frantic.
"We can handle this," said Tom, his tone final. "Stay where you are. That’s an order."
"In that case, Tom, " said Sirius, glaring at the fireplace. "I quit!" With that the man Disapparated, leaving Tom alone in the room.
Cursing under his breath, Tom pulled his head from the fireplace and stood back up. Raising his wand, he sent his Patronus soaring out of the door carrying a message for Kingsley, Nymphadora, and Alastor.
Tom knew that he needed to get to the Ministry as soon as possible. If he could bring down the Apparition wards, he could minimize the time taken for the Order to get there. Hopefully it would not be too late.
~~~~ + ~~~~
Neville instantly threw himself to the side, his Quidditch reflexes saving his life as the curse shot over his head and into the wall, raining fragments of debris down on top of him. He rolled over again and again, tumbling away from danger. On
Aside from the numerous combatants, the room seemed empty except for its central point ? an archway covered by a veil, which stood on a raised platform in the middle of the room. There was a balcony up the stairs to his right on which the door they had entered through was still hanging open.
All around him cloaks swirled, wands flicked, and jets of light zoomed through the air in a morbid firework display. The ornate lightshow spelled certain death for anyone unlucky enough to catch a stray curse. Black robes billowed all around him like a storm and the white masks flashed like lightening in the gloom, guiding the aim of the Order towards the Death Eaters. As such, most of the Death Eaters had discarded their masks, revealing the dark faces contorted with rage beneath.
Neville could see his parents in the thick of the battle, both of them battling separate Death Eaters. There were more Order members as well, on
Suddenly there was a scream. Neville turned to see Luna clutching her leg as dark red blood began to seep through her fingers. She collapsed as a Death Eater stood over her victorious, his wand held high ready to finish the job. Neville didn’t hesitate. He ran forward, jumping the fallen body of Professor Moody, and surged towards Luna. A curse shot past his head as he charged but he continued, closing the gap quickly.
The Stunning Curse shot out of his wand as he came close enough to guarantee a hit. The Death Eater had seen him coming though and in an instant his shield snapped into place, reflecting the spell straight back at Neville who was moving too fast to stop. He dived to the side in an effort to avoid the curse, landing awkwardly on his shoulder.
He cried out in pain as he landed, his arm had bent where it shouldn't and a piece of debris pressing into his flesh as his full weight landed on it. He on
Neville’s mind flew into a panic. He tried to raise his wand to defend himself, but his attacker was too quick. He grabbed Neville's arm and thrust his wrist into the wall. Neville cried out in pain as his forearm cracked into the hard stone and lost his grip on his wand as the man choked the life out of him. His arms and legs flailed wildly, kicking, punching, and clawing at anything he could get his hands on in order to get the man off him. He could feel himself going red, and his lungs crying out in protest as the air was choked out of him.
Suddenly Neville felt an impact in his stomach. He opened his eyes, not even aware that he had closed them. His father had crashed into the Death Eater’s back, slamming the man into the wall with his arm bent up behind his back. Neville’s father drove his elbow viciously into the small of the Death Eater’s back, causing him to cry out in pain. He grabbed the man’s head by the hair and yanked it back before thrusting it violently into the wall. Neville was sure he heard a crack as the man’s head hit the stone and he fell limply to the floor.
"Come on," said Frank urgently, taking his son's wrist in his hand.
Just as his father was guiding Neville away from the chaos, a thunderous explosion sounded on the far side of the room, launching several bodies into the air. Neville and his father covered their faces to protect themselves from flying debris as chunks of stone hailed down around them. As Neville removed his hands and was able to see on
Neville scarcely had time to climb back to his feet before four more Death Eaters emerged from the chaos and smoke, surrounding them. He didn't catch the incantations being thrown at them as his father rugby tackled him to the floor, desperately trying to avoid the incoming barrage of curses. Somewhere in the back of his mind he knew his father was using his body to shield him as the volley of curses tore apart the wall behind them, showering them in debris.
"Go!" hissed Frank, pushing Neville into cover in the corner as another volley of curses hit the wall. The Death Eaters were so close that they must have been deliberately missing, shepherding them into the corner. Neville glanced out from his hiding place, but was forced do duck back in under another volley of curses. There was no way out, no escape. At best they could take two, on
All eyes turned to the ceiling as the glass roof shattered into a million pieces with a tremendous explosion that echoed off every wall in the room. Glass rained down like a shower of razors, tearing apart the poor Death Eater unfortunate enough to have been beneath it.
The Death Eaters, the Order, and everyone else gazed up as a figure in a black cloak fell from the heavens. He landed gracefully on the balcony through which the Order had descended moments before to join the fight. Under the cloak the Stranger wore all white, from his neck down to his hands and feet covered in white gloves and boots. There were holsters on his thighs and a handle visible over his shoulder, as if he had a sword strapped across his back. Neville looked up at the new arrival, and as he landed Neville got a clear view of his face.
It couldn't be... surely not! This was not the quiet and scared boy they had invited to the RA.
"KILL HIM!" screamed a voice from the other side of the room.
Instantly a volley of curses shot upwards towards the newcomer. He reacted in an instant, diving forward off the balcony into a front flip, his black cloak soaring out behind him. The curses blew the balcony to pieces but the figure landed completely unharmed on the floor below, crouching down to avoid injuring his knees. Before anyone could react, the Stranger rose to his feet, a wand in each hand.
Suddenly, a huge Death Eater appeared behind the Stranger, but he was ready. As the ape swung at him, the figure turned, ducked under the swing and then lashed out with his foot at the man’s knee. The Neanderthal crashed to the ground with a roar of pain, just as the Stranger brought his elbow down on the pressure point at the base of his spine, causing the man to cry out. The Stranger spun on the spot, and in an instant there was a glowing beam of red light coming out of his hand. He swung the glow-rod, bringing it down on the man's head and the man collapsed in a shower of sparks. The Stranger then swung the rod around his wrist, extinguishing the light and pushing it back inside his cloak in a single movement.
"Wow!" hissed Neville, words failing him. That was cool.
~~~~ + ~~~~
As the Death Eater crashed to the floor Harry glanced around the room, surveying the carnage all around him. Everywhere people were duelling, for his interruption hadn’t distracted them for long. Bodies littered the floor and the air was thick with curses, shouts, and screams. There were several fires burning, presumably the results of stray curses. This on
Nearest him, Alice Longbottom was duelling with Rabastan Lestrange, or at least trying to. It was clear that he had the upper hand and, as Harry watched, on
"That's no way to treat a lady," Harry hissed. Lestrange's other hand came hurtling up towards Harry's face like a hammer towards the anvil. The White Knight was too quick and Harry ducked anyway, slipping underneath the incoming arm. He twisted as he did so, jamming his shoulder into Lestrange's ribs, and then tugged hard on the Death Eater's arm. Lestrange was forced into a front flip and landed hard on his back in a classic judo throw. He then twisted Lestrange's arm so that the Death Eater's own wand was pointing into his throat, his hand clamped over Lestrange's so he could use the wand.
"Stupefy!" Harry shouted to give the curse added power. Rabastan Lestrange went limp.
"Are you alright?" he asked, rushing over to Alice Longbottom. Her leg seemed fine ? perhaps the curse had ended when Lestrange passed out ? but her arm was another matter. It was hanging at a grotesque angle and Harry could see the bone pushing the skin from below. Personally he was amazed she had not passed out from shock or pain.
"My wrist is broken," said Alice, she stared at her wrist as if surprised to see it like that. It had almost sounded like a question.
Okay, maybe she is in shock, Harry realised. He quickly summoned a large part of the door that someone had destroyed. He pressed it flat against her wrist, causing Alice to whimper slightly, then muttered a binding charm. Chords flew from his wand, binding her wrist to the make-shift splint. He wished he could finish it off by casting a numbing charm over her wrist, but he didn't know how. The best he could do was put her to sleep.
Satisfied that she was safe, Harry stood back up, searching for another target.
He grabbed the nearest Death Eater by the arm as the man burst out of the smoke. As Harry spun him around, the man tripped over a fallen body and crashed to the ground. Recovering quickly, the Death Eater rolled over on
Suddenly, he heard something that made his blood run cold.
"Come on, you can do better than that!"
His head snapped around in an instant, a chill running down his spine. Every muscle in his body tensed and his stomach clenched tightly as his eyes came to rest on his Godfather. Sirius was duelling with Bellatrix up by the veil, laughing at her, beckoning her to try again. Bellatrix's face was a sickening blend of rage and hysteria as she screamed another incantation. A jet of light escaped her wand and rocketed towards Sirius, who easily sidestepped with a flamboyant skip as if he was enjoying it.
My God, it's happening again!
He glanced from Bellatrix to Sirius to the veil. No,he thought with determination, clenching his fists tightly. It can’t happen again! I will not watch him die again!
"NO!" screamed Harry desperately. "SIRIUS! RUN!"
Harry darted across the room towards him straight through the middle of a duel, not caring about the incoming curses. Sirius paused for a second and looked over at Harry, his eyes leaving Bellatrix and a confused expr
The second jet of light hit him squarely on the chest. The laughter had not quite died from his face, but his eyes widened with shock. It seemed to take Sirius an age to fall: his body curved in a graceful arc as he sank backwards through the ragged veil hanging from the arch. Harry saw the look of mingled fear and surprise on his godfather's wasted, on
Harry couldn’t move. He stood rooted to the spot, the revelation of what had just happened thundering in his mind. No, no, no... what did I do? It was his fault! He had distracted Sirius at precisely the wrong time ? just when he needed to concentrate, Harry had foolishly called out to him. If on
Sirius! Harry opened his mouth to scream the name out loud, but someone else got there first.
The name echoed around the cavernous room, but it was not Harry's voice. It was a high-pitched shriek, the cry of a girl. Harry turned to look for the speaker amid the smoke. Suddenly there was a surge of motion and a flash of blond hair as Katie darted across the room towards the archway. She charged through the middle of a duel, knocking both combatants aside. She had almost made it before Remus Lupin emerged from the smoke and grabbed her. His strong arms wrapped around her waist, and he lifted her clean off the ground and dragged her away.
"SIRIUS!" she cried again. "Let go! SIRIUS!"
She was fighting Remus with everything she had. Her arms flailed, elbows hitting Remus, her nails scratched at his hands and her legs kicked out against nothing as she fought him off, so desperate to get to the veil, so desperate to get to Sirius.
Shut up! thought Harry viciously. His mind was suddenly full of anger. He was angry with himself, but he felt the need to lash out, to blame someone. He needed someone to blame and in absence of Snape, and he had found his victim. Shut up you stupid bint, he thought viciously, glaring at Katie. He's mine. My Godfather, my friend, not yours!
An explosion next to him awoke Harry from his guilt-ridden stupor. The flash of heat on the side of his face was tremendous and Harry turned away, crouching and covering himself with his cloak to block out the heat as debris landed all around him. When the danger had passed he rose to his feet and glanced around on
FOCUS! snapped the Dark Knight, impatiently. You can cry later to your heart's content but for now, pull yourself together. Stop sobbing like a schoolgirl and concentrate on your objective. Get the students the hell out of here!
Burying the image of Sirius falling, Harry looked around the room. In the corner, he saw Frank Longbottom wrestling with a Death Eater. Neville was cowering in the corner, while his father fought. Frank summoned the man to him and, cupping his fists, swung at the man in mid-flight, breaking the man's jaw and sending him crashing into unconsciousness. He just had time to get off another spell before another volley of curses shot out of the smoke. As Harry watched, Frank's opponents increased in number as four more Death Eaters advanced, stepping over their fallen comrades. Harry hesitated for a fraction of a second on coming face to face with Frank Longbottom again, but thrust the thought aside. Here he had lived and raised his son, here he was not the bitter old man Harry had met in the other world. However, he was in grave danger.
Harry charged over towards them, withdrawing the Dark Knight's sword, which he had liberated from Riddle's office an hour before. He pulled it free from the strap across his back, though he kept the scabbard attached ? enough blood had been spilled today. Frank had moved in front of Neville to protect him, but the Death Eaters were closing in as Harry surged towards them.
Harry burst out of the chaos towards his trapped friend. As he arrived he spun 360 degrees to gain momentum and sank to on
Coming to a stop just as the first two hit the deck, Harry found himself face to face with the two remaining Death Eaters. He threw the sword lightly to the next Death Eater who, on reflex, caught it with both hands, leaving none to use a wand or to defend himself. Harry lifted his leg and, shouting a Blasting Charm as he did, slammed his boot into the man's chest. White sparks erupted from his chest as Harry's boot connected and the spell launched the man backwards, slamming him into the wall. The man lost his grip on the sword in the process and it fell to the floor at Harry's feet. Harry hooked the toe of his boot underneath it and flicked it upwards, catching it at chest height with his right hand. He turned to the last Death Eater, bringing the sword crashing down towards his head. The man reacted instantly, raising a hand and catching the scabbard as it descended. He stood eye to eye with Harry, looking victorious. Harry shrugged and gave the sword a tug. It came effortlessly free from the scabbed. He slashed at the man's leg, cutting a deep but not fatal cut across the man's thigh. The man cried out in pain, clutching his leg with his hands, leaving none to protect his head. Harry raised the sword and brought it down handle-first on the man's head, sending him crashing into unconsciousness.
As the last Death Eater hit the floor, Harry looked up at the Longbottoms. Frank looked cautious and still had his wand aimed at Harry, while Neville stared at him with awe. His jaw was so low it was practically scraping the floor.
"Harry...how...what...wow," Neville stammered as words appeared to fail him. Frank lowered his wand, a look of confusion crossing his face.
"Get the others out, now!" said Harry in a hard voice, his face neutral. He had lost sight of Ron, Ginny, Luna, and Hermione amongst the mass of curses and bodies. God, he hoped they were okay. He had gotten Sirius killed already, he didn't need anyone else dying. What would Katie say when she found out?
"Take your friends and run!" Harry ordered Neville as he thrust him towards the exit. "Frank, make sure they make it!"
Neither father nor son objected to the order and both started to head off to Harry's right, but Neville froze after on
"Harry, look!" shouted Neville pointing upwards. "RIDDLE!"
Harry turned just in time to see Tom Riddle come sailing over the top of the stairs and down on
Harry raised his wand instinctively in defence as he recognised the man who had killed his parents. The Headmaster turned to face him, hesitating for a moment as he came face to face with what he had suspected for weeks: there was another side to Harry Potter. But never in his nightmares had he imagined this. Tom Riddle and the Dark Knight stared at each other for what seemed like forever. Harry felt Riddle eyes scanning him, lingering for just a second on the sword, the wand, the armour, and then settle on his eyes. There was a hint of regret behind the wariness in Riddle's eyes but it was gone a second later.
Something yanked Harry backwards through the air, as if caught by a summoning charm. He lost his grip on his sword as he slammed back first into the wall and then fell to the floor, managing to land on on
Again Harry bit back the pain as he collided with the wall.
Suddenly another man jumped on the giant's back and wrapped his arms around the colossal neck. Harry felt his grip slacken as the huge Death Eater released him to contend with the new arrival. The man looked like a Death Eater to Harry, with long black hair, sharp dark eyes and a handsome, if somewhat, pale face. He was also putting up a good fight, for as the giant flailed wildly in an attempt to dislodge him the newcomer adjusted his grip on the man's neck, and then pulled backwards with a sudden heave.
Harry heard the crack above the racket as the giant's neck broke, and his body fell limply to the floor, his killer landing calmly on his feet. Harry raised his wand in response to the white mask hanging loosely around the man's neck. He was clearly a Death Eater, and looked somewhat familiar to Harry though he couldn't place him.
"Go!" hissed the Death Eater impatiently. "Get those damn kids out of here!"
Harry didn't need to be told twice and headed back into the melee, not taking his eyes off or daring to show his back to the Death Eater until the man was gone. Harry's eyes scanned for another student.
A tall blond Death Eater was duelling with Ginny not far to Harry's right. Harry crossed over to them in five paces, arriving just as the man sidestepped Ginny's curse. The man had unknowingly stepped right in front of Harry, who grasped the Death Eater around the neck in the same sleeper hold he had seen used a moment before. Harry, however had no intention of killing the man, he simply held him long enough for Ginny to send a second Stunner straight into his chest. He released the body, which fell limply to the floor like a sack of potatoes.
"Get out of here!" Harry commanded her as she stared wide-eyed at him. "NOW!"
Harry turned back to the veil. The tattered cloth moved gently, as if caught in a light breeze. It was almost as if someone was moving behind it... Sirius, I'm sorry. It's all my fault.
He knew from experience that this was a cruel tease and that there was no coming back. Harry had seen it all before ? Sirius was gone. Poor Katie ? his anger with her had evaporated and was now replaced by pity, for Harry knew what she would be feeling right now. Sirius had been her Godfather this world, or at least someone she cared about deeply, for Grindelwald had chosen him to lure her here. Sirius had been there for her, just as he had been there for Harry in his world, and now he was gone, largely thanks to Harry. He could imagine what Katie was feeling because he had felt it all before. He knew what she was thinking, what she would...bollocks!
Harry suddenly realised exactly what was going on, and what was about to happen. What would he do in her shoes? He didn't have to imagine, for he had on
"Where's Katie?" called Neville, having also noticed her absence. "She was right here."
The remaining Order members looked around, searching for their saviour. Harry was already a step ahead.
"She's gone after Bellatrix," shouted Harry, picking up his sword and scabbard, but not putting them back in the folds of his robes.
"What?" gasped Lupin, a look of terror on his face. "Bellatrix will tear her apart. How do you know? What are you even doing here? Where did you get that sword?"
Harry blanked out the barrage of questions and looked over at Riddle. He was engaged in a duel with two more Death Eaters. In Harry's world Dumbledore had come to his aid, but it seemed that Riddle was too busy to look after Katie. It was up to Harry.
"I know, because that's what I did," said Harry to Lupin. "The rest isn’t imp
A look of confusion crossed the werewolf's face as Harry spoke. He opened his mouth to speak again but Harry cut him off.
"Get the students out of here, Moony. I'll take care of Katie." He didn't wait for a response before turning and sprinting off up the stairs.
He could remember exactly what it was like, the hatred that had flowed through him when he had tried that curse. He remembered the pain and anguish that had driven him to do it, the anger that had placed him beyond the capacity for rational thought. That was exactly what Katie was feeling at this precise moment. She would try the curse ? she would fall to the same temptation he had done. He knew Bellatrix had deserved it, but he also had known that he shouldn't have done it: they were called Unforgivable Curses for a reason. However in a blind rage no moral or rational thought could stop him, just as it wouldn't stop Katie. More to the point, if history was repeating itself, Bellatrix wouldn't be the on
Harry hurtled along the corridor to the lift, but the doors were already closed. He looked up at the half clock above the doors, which showed which floor the lifts were on. On
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"Never used an Unforgivable before, have you, girl?" Bellatrix screeched. "You have to want to cause pain, you have to enjoy it. Here, let me show you how it's done! CRUCIO!"
Katie threw herself to the side, diving out the way of the incoming curse. As she hit the polished floor she began to roll, quickly moving into cover behind the fountain. On
"Come out, come out, wherever you are!" screamed Bellatrix, manoeuvring around the fountain as she tried to get a clear shot at Katie.
She thought this was a game, but Sirius has paid with his life. She felt yet another pulse of anger directed at Bellatrix. Katie could hear her footsteps echo on the far side of the fountain coming nearer and nearer. She raised her wand, ready for the second when Bellatrix became visible.
Then there was silence.
Why wasn't she moving? Where had she gone? Katie peered out, looking for the Death Eater, her wand raised, ready for the attack.
Suddenly Katie felt a pair of hands grab her from behind, and throw her roughly to the floor. Ignoring the pain, Katie turned to look up at Bellatrix who stood over her, a smirk plastered across her mad face. She felt an overwhelming desire to wrap her hands around Bellatrix's throat, to choke the life out of her. She deserved it for what she had done to Sirius.
Katie raised her wand, "Cruc..."
Bellatrix was too quick. Katie's wand was plucked out of her hand while she herself was sent skidding across the floor. She had on
"’Ickle Kitty-Kat..." Bellatrix cooed in a patronising voice, as if talking to a four-year-old, "give me the Pwophecy and I’ll pwomise to spare your worthless ‘ickle life." For some bizarre reason, Katie found this amusing.
"Well then, you're going to have to kill me," Katie sneered, laughing manically, "because it's gone! It broke as I was helping Ginny up the stairs. It's gone!"
"Liar!" screamed Bellatrix, taking a step backwards. Katie detected a definite note of panic in her voice. This on
"No, you must have it!" she bellowed adamantly. "Accio Prophecy! Accio Prophecy!" She swished her wand at Katie in sheer desperation. Her eyes grew wider and face paler with each spell as it dawned on her that Katie really didn't have it, that she really had destroyed it.
"Told you so," said Katie smugly as she climbed back up to her feet, a smirk plastered on her face. "It's gone ? you failed! Bye, bye, Bellatwix," she added in an imitation of her baby voice, and finishing it off with a sarcastic wave.
"NOOO!" screamed Bellatrix, a high-pitched shriek that would have made a Banshee recoil.
"Aww, ickle baby Bella bwoke master's toy," cooed Katie as she reached down to pick up her wand. "Will Master be cwoss?"
Bellatrix glanced around in panic and then threw her head back and cried out, "Master, I tried, please don't punish me!"
"It's no use!" laughed Katie, advancing on the desperate witch. "He can't hear you!"
"Can't I, Miss Bell?" hissed an icy voice in Katie's left ear.
She spun on the spot, and her jaw dropped open. Grindelwald, the Master of Assassins, had appeared in the middle of the Atrium. He looked as terrifying as the last time she had seen him in the graveyard, on
Grindelwald stepped down from the fountain and walked casually towards Katie, who stood frozen in fear. Her eyes were wide and she opened and closed her mouth repeatedly like a fish gasping for air. No, he couldn't be here, he just couldn't! She took a step back as he advanced, her eyes never leaving his. He paused a few metres from her, and Katie felt his piercing stare move up and down her body.
"Master, it wasn't my fault," pleaded Bellatrix from somewhere behind her.
Katie glanced back and saw that the Death Eater was on her knees, cowering. Her master didn't so much as look at her.
"Silence, Bella," sneered the Dark Lord, his tone icy. "I have not entered the Ministry of Magic to hear your snivelling apologies. I will deal with you later. Now, girl," he continued, advancing on a petrified Katie, "where is my Prophecy?"
"It's gone," said Katie, trying to keep the fear from her voice.
"She lies," screamed Bellatrix immediately.
Grindelwald stared at her appraisingly for a second before sighing. "No, she is not lying," said the Dark Lord, his tone betraying his disappointment, a disappointment that Bellatrix would most likely feel later. "I see the truth looking back at me from her worthless mind. Months of preparation, months of effort...and my so-called Death Eaters have on
As he drew the wand back to cast the curse, Katie knew that it was over. She had not even opened her mouth to resist; her mind was blank, her body exhausted, and her wand was pointing uselessly at the floor. She stood rooted to the spot in fear, and the on
Katie heard the words, heard the familiar sound of rushing death that the Dementors so often forced her to relive.
She was roughly thrown to the floor by the force of an explosion just in front of her. As she hit the marble floor, her eyes flew open just in time to see the remains of the House Elf from the Fountain of Magical Brethren cascade down to the floor in a storm of debris. Katie had not done that, so who the hell had? The same question seemed to be on the Dark Lord's mind, for they both turned to see a figure standing on the edge of the ruined fountain in the same spot where Grindelwald had stood just a few moments before.
Katie's jaw dropped as she recognised the figure cloaked in black.
It couldn't be...
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