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To Fight the Coming Darkness
To Fight the Coming Darkness
Standard disclaimer — I don’t own the Harry Potter universe. This is done for purely my entertainment and not for profit.
Chapter 2 Confrontation
Susan watched wordlessly as her aunt Amelia died. She had been placed in a full body bind, while attempting to cast a cutting curse. Her mother had died mere moments before and the horror of her situation was already starting to sink in. Less than 20 minutes ago they had been discussing how her Aunt would reshape the ministry and now both her Aunt and her mother were dead and she was helpless.
In front of her stood the epitome of evil, Lord Voldemort. If there was any comfort to be had, Susan thought he looked exhausted from the battle. Auntie Amelia fought him to the bitter end, but Susan couldn’t dwell on that or her mother’s death now. She knew that she was in grave danger. They wanted her alive for some reason and she doubted that their plans were in her best interest.
Voldemort reached into his cloak and retrieved a potion vial. He uncorked it and drained its contents adding some color to his previously pale complexion.
"Let us collect our prize and leave." He said to the remaining death eaters.
Susan saw one of them approach from the corner of her eye. He took the wand from her paralyzed hands and released her from the body bind while grabbing her wrist roughly. Now wandless and practically helpless, she began to shake at her predicament. It was at that exact moment that all hell broke loose. She heard the sound of a body falling to the ground.
"Pryrus Impactus!" She heard a voice cry out as the stranger stabbed his wand towards the Dark Lord. She had never seen this curse performed before, only reading a description of a powerful spell that earned the nickname "Smash and Burn". The spell combines a moderately powerful bludgeoning curse with a jet of fire. It was illegal to use in match duels, but fell short of being categorized as an Unforgivable. Whoever he was, the new combatant was not pulling any punches.
Voldemort erected a hasty shield, but it lacked the necessary energy to fully protect him. The spell shattered the protection and hit the Dark Lord in the chest, sending him a dozen feet backwards and out the gaping hole created in the front of the house. Susan saw him scream in rage clutching his chest with his wand hand and using the other to brush flames away. It was as if time had stood still during those moments as even his minions had been frozen during the exchange. The stranger in the smoke and haze had used this to his advantage. He tapped the throw pillow that her aunt had used to create a port key earlier and banished it at a death eater, who had been tending the injuries of one of his cohorts. Instead of bouncing off the death eater it stuck to the side of his head and the surprised Death Eater and the woman whose arm he was mending disappeared.
Susan stared open-mouthed wondering how the stranger could have known that Amelia had turned the pillow into a Portkey. She shook herself out of her reverie and began to struggle with the Death Eater who had her arm. She clawed at the exposed flesh on his face and neck where his mask did not protect him. The man gasped in pain and rage and began to manhandle her using his larger size and strength as leverage against her. Susan was already regretting her decision to struggle with the obviously larger opponent. Looking back it would have been easier for her to have escaped his grasp and dive for her mother’s wand, but she had committed to this plan on instinct. She could see the barely contained rage in her assailant’s eyes as he smacked her roughly across her face. The sting of the blow stunned her momentarily and she released her grip on the man’s wand arm as she stumbled away from the blow. Susan breathlessly waited for the next blow or curse, which strangely did not come. When her vision cleared, she saw the Death Eater was dropping to the ground stupefied. She immediately lunged forward to retrieve her wand from the ground. It was only then that she managed to catch the face of her rescuer. Her knight-in-shining armor wore only a pair of gray sweatpants and glasses. A mass of unruly black hair covered his head. He had the look of a person who had just been awakened from sleep with the exception of the grim expression on his face and the fire burning in his green eyes. As if her night had not been strange enough, she realized that her rescuer was none other than Harry Potter.
"Harry! What are you doing here?"
"Later. Reducto! Impactus! Protego! Fight now, talk later!" He grunted in reply sending curses towards a Death Eater and raising a shield.
Susan fired a quick cutting curse at another Death Eater, while scanning the area for any sign of Voldemort. She did not see him anywhere and concluded that he must have Apparated away. This made her blood race and her heart hammer in her ribcage. A boy her age had driven off the Dark Lord! Letting herself be distracted was a costly error.
"Imperio!" Susan heard a voice say, but she suddenly seemed unable to focus on her surroundings.
"Kill Potter!" The Death Eater by the shattered window commanded.
"Yes." Susan thought in a detached manner. Harry had been very helpful coming here this evening, but it was perfectly reasonable that she should kill him now. She was in the process of raising her wand to shoot a cutting curse at him, when Harry stepped inside her guard and smacked her wand out of her hand. At the same time he sent a burst of magic towards the man controlling her.
"How dare he hit me?" Susan thought to herself. He really must suffer now.
"My wife will be so disappointed that she isn’t here to see you boy! She has been so happy since she got rid of her mutt of a cousin. Such poor aim you have there boy." Rodolphus Lestrange taunted Harry, while urging his puppet to kill him.
"Wasn’t aiming for you. Ouch! Dammit! Susan, snap out of it!" Harry muttered as he fended her off with his non-wand arm only to have her bite it. Harry’s charm had hit the tattered remains of the burgundy drapes and they now sprang to life coiling around the sole remaining Death Eater. Lestrange struggled with the window treatment as Harry threw Susan down to the ground on top of the previously stunned Death Eater. Free for the moment, Harry dive rolled forward underneath a cutting curse that still managed to open a gash on his right shoulder. He gasped in pain, but had closed the distance to a mere six feet between him and Lestrange. It was here that Harry had wanted to say something really witty and malicious, but a painful memory of his godfather toying with this man’s wife combined with Harry’s general lack of witty banter to begin with dissuaded him.
Harry simply leveled his wand at the struggling Death Eater could only come up with "Reducto!"
Rodolphus Lestrange had been lucky to escape the debacle at the Department of Mysteries. He was separated from the main pack of Death Eaters and became lost. Disillusioning himself, he managed to sneak out of the Ministry and Apparate back to a safe house, while Dumbledore and the Aurors had rounded the others up. His master had actually been pleased that he had escaped, reserving his ire for the imprisoned Lucius Malfoy for leading that doomed assault. In the brief moment it took for the Reductor curse to cross the short distance and strike him in the face he had a chance to reconsider whether he had actually been lucky to escape that day.
Harry grimaced in disgust as he watched a fine bloody mist and assorted brain matter spray out the window. He had just killed a man. He should feel ashamed, but he did not. He should be angry, but instead he just felt empty. It certainly would not bring Sirius Black back. He should have stunned him and the ministry could have interrogated him, but when Harry had raised his wand he knew that the word "Stupefy" was not in his current vocabulary. He had spent so much of the last two weeks since the term had ended wondering how he was going to kill someone, when he realized that killing Voldemort or his minions was not much different than killing Quirrell in his first year. Once he accepted the fact that he had already killed a man, he stopped berating himself on that topic. Harry knew at that moment that his innocence died the second his godfather fell through the veil in the Department of Mysteries.
Susan had been scrambling to recover her wand and was in the process of raising it when she saw Harry kill Rodolphus Lestrange. The fog that had clouded her mind lifted and she let the curse she had been forming die on her lips.
"Harry! I am so sorry! I couldn’t fight it!" She said in an almost pleading tone. She was starting to hyperventilate as the evening’s events caught up with her.
"Take it easy, Susan. Calm down. You need to stay focused. Stay with me." Harry said in a calm but reassuring tone. "We need to call for some help or get ourselves out of here."
Harry walked over towards her stopping at the stunned Death Eater. He quickly removed the mask and just as quickly began cursing under his breath. The stunned Death Eater was none other than Severus Snape.
"Holy Merlin Harry! Its Snape! The greasy shit is a Death Eater! Everyone always suspected. Harry what are you doing?"
Harry had tossed Snape’s mask aside and vanished it. He changed the color of the potion master’s robes from black to green. He grabbed Snape’s wand off the ground and cast a quick "enervate" on Snape.
"Please trust me Susan." Harry said with a pleading quality in his voice.
"Potter!" Snape sneered. "What in the hell are you doing here?"
For a change Harry actually had a witty comeback ready. "I was bored in my summer prison. It has been a few weeks since I ran foolishly into a battle. Plus, there is the added bonus of seeing you again. Are you coherent enough to Apparate out of here?"
Severus Snape was about to answer when the cracks of multiple apparitions could be heard on the lawn. Moments later they heard a voice.
"Ministry of Magic! Lay down your wands step outside!"
"Shit!" Harry muttered looking at Susan and then his most hated instructor. "New plan. You were with me the whole time and we came here together. Susan, I will explain all of this later, but trust me and follow my lead for the moment."
Conrad Dawlish was not having a good week. Up until a few days ago he had been the Minister of Magic’s personal bodyguard. Now, he had been relegated to leading the second shift rapid response unit. It was not exactly a position that was widely sought. It was only slightly more popular that the Defense against Dark Arts position at Hogwarts. From 2pm until midnight they waited for the watch captain to dispatch them to a location that may or may not be teeming with people ready to kill them. Usually the delicate instruments in the bowels of the ministry would detect high concentrations of magical activity and the response team would Apparate or Portkey to the coordinates. Sadly, Dawlish realized that this week had been anything but usual.
They were in the ready room when an alarm signifying an incoming Portkey activated. Everyone grabbed their wands, because there was no current team in the field. The seven Aurors in the room were quite surprised when two people in full Death Eater regalia appeared directly in their ready room. The man had a decorative pillow attached to his head. Five stunners immediately hit them and they fell to the ground.
Lars Anders, the watch captain ran into the room shouting "illegal Portkey usage at Madam Bones’ residence!" He stopped when he saw the two stunned Death Eaters.
"Holy Merlin! Edwards stay here and help me bind these two! The rest of you, what are you waiting for? Go! Go! Go!"
Dawlish’s training took over. "Apparate to the perimeter and move in. Taber and Harrison left flank! Cortez and Spinnet right flank. I’ll take point. Get hot and loose! Wands free! On my mark five, four, three, two, one …"
The five Aurors appeared at the hedgerow and scanned what could only be described as a war zone. Bodies littered the lawn. Evidence of a very thorough and very expensive warding job. Seeing that some of the bodies were already in various stages of decomposition reminded Dawlish of his early days during He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s first reign.
"Inferii! Be careful! Taber and Cortez disillusion yourselves. Make it look like we are a threesome." He hissed using a privacy charm to prevent his team from being overheard.
Triggering a vision charm he scanned the damage from the battle. One freshly dead body was on the porch and another was bent backwards out the window. He had never particularly liked Madam Bones, but he respected her. From the look of things, she put up one hell of a fight.
"Ministry of Magic! Lay down your wands and step outside."
A minute later three people emerged, with no wands visible. The first was a man in green robes; he recognized the figure as Severus Snape. The other two were teenagers. The girl was slightly supporting the boy and he seemed to be whispering reassurances in the girl’s ear.
"Harry!" Susan hissed. "How can you of all people cover for that slimeball?"
"He’s working for the headmaster. That’s all I can say until we are alone. Dumbledore trusts him."
"Do you trust him?"
Harry wanted to scream "Hell NO!" Instead he merely said, "I don’t have a choice at the moment." He winced in pain from the gash on his arm and he wasn’t even sure where he the curse burn on his thigh had come from.
"Snape! On the ground now!"
"He’s with us!" Harry yelled.
"And just who in the nine hells are you?"
"Harry Potter. She’s Susan Bones and you have already met Professor Snape. Voldemort was just here! We need to leave now before he sends reinforcements."
"Shit! Potter is here. Spinnet. Move up and secure these three! Harrison, you and I are going to check out the house." Dawlish said knowing that the disillusioned partners would follow and cover their backsides. His mind was spinning. What was Potter doing here? Dumbledore usually has his golden child in the suburbs. Was he being moved around? It didn’t add up. Madam Bones clashed with Dumbledore almost as much as she fought with Fudge.
Dawlish moved to the front of the house flanked by Harrison. The Death Eater on the porch looked as if a wild animal had mauled him. He removed the mask, but did not recognize the youthful face that had been revealed.
"Newbie." He muttered. The Dark Lord was already recruiting children.
"Circe’s rings!" Auror Harrison cried out. "We can scratch Rodolphus Lestrange from the wanted list. Someone blew his brains out the back of his ruddy head!"
He scanned the living room. Madam Bones and a second woman looked like they had received the killing curse. There were no other bodies to be seen. Curse burns and magic residue wallpapered the space.
"Sir." Doug Spinnet called out. "Potter is injured. Permission to take them to the sanctuary point three for healing and statements?"
"Make sure you take there wands first." Dawlish didn’t believe for a minute that they would drop their wands. Hell he wouldn’t have either if the Dark Lord had actually been here.
Harry watched as Susan and Professor Snape handed over their wands. Reluctantly, he parted with his own wand. The Auror was muttering about getting something for a temporary Portkey.
"Wait here sir," Harry said. With that, he staggered over to the porch and picked up the two fragments of Lestrange’s Death Eater mask. Doug Spinnet had heard his little sister talk quite a bit about the young celebrity she played with on the Gryffindor Quidditch squad, but he was unprepared for the cold and distant look on Harry’s face as he offered half of the broken mask to him.
"Why this?" The Auror challenged.
"Wanted to take it with me. Reckon I should find a way to send it to his wife, so she has something to remember him."
The three gawked at Harry. Even Snape was shocked that Dumbledore’s golden boy would take a trophy from a kill and the audacity to plan to send it to Bellatrix Lestrange. He had seen Bella’s psychotic episodes and getting this would definitely cause one worth seeing. Though he would not admit it, Professor Snape was impressed with the whelp. Still, Snape was not about to allow the ignorant fool to act without considering the ramifications of his actions.
"Don’t be foolish Potter! Taunting her would only send her in a fit of rage to find ways to hurt you. No, she would not immediately come after you. She would go after your friends and their parents. This is not some little prank war with those pathetic Weasley twins."
The angry fire in his eyes dampened and the darkness on his face lifted. He seemed to shrink almost before their eyes. Susan blinked hard as the bold warrior, who had appeared from the ether and drove back Voldemort suddenly transformed into an awkward and embarrassed looking teenager.
"You are right sir." Harry almost whispered. "Let’s get out of here."
This of course left Susan with even more questions. Only moments ago, Snape had been dragging her off to the Dark Lord’s grasp and now he was insulting Harry like nothing had ever happened. Amazingly enough Harry had just taken it in stride. She was beginning to dread Harry’s promised explanation almost as much as she was determined to hear it. With all these thoughts clouding her mind and the ever-present feelings that any moment she was going to lose control of her emotions, she felt the pull of the Portkey.
They landed in an area with several beds and a mediwizard waiting for them. He quickly assessed the arrivals and began treating Harry’s injuries. Doug Spinnet started to pull Susan and Professor Snape aside for questioning, when Harry called out to him.
"Sir. Would you mind taking my statement while the healer patches me up? It helps take the edge of the pain."
"Oh sure." Doug was actually eager to talk to the Boy Who Lived, so eager that he did not catch the expression of relief that crossed Susan’s face.
"I was at my home doing some extra training with Professor Snape, when I had a vision. Apparently, there must be a little seer in me. I saw Voldemort attacking Susan’s house. I snapped out of my trance and we Portkeyed to her house. Voldemort had just left and they were going to take Susan with them if Professor Snape and I had not stopped them. He drove a couple of them off, while I fought with Lestrange."
"Who made the Portkey?"
"Uh, well I did sir."
"They are teaching fifth years how to make Portkeys?" The Auror asked skeptically.
"No sir. I kind of did it with accidental magic. You can check my wand. I think it was tied to the power of my vision." Harry offered looking embarrassed.
"So let me get this straight. You have a vision, create an illegal Portkey without using a wand directly to where He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is, knowingly Portkey there and the good professor fights of some Death Eaters while you give old Rodolphus’ head a new inny and an outy?"
"Yes sir. I don’t really know what I was thinking. I am sorry I risked your life like that Professor." He said looking sheepishly at the potion master.
Susan had to admire Harry’s acting skills. She wasn’t sure how Harry had arrived. She had assumed Harry had received special training on how to Apparate, but his admission that he made a Portkey and a wandless one to boot surprised her! She returned to the "facts" Harry was relaying, knowing that she would have to make sure that nothing she said contradicted his version.
"Did you consider stunning Lestrange?"
"He had Susan under Imperius. I was wearing out real quick and I was pretty sure that Lestrange’s curse would not wear off if he was just stunned. So I reducted him point blank."
The Auror stopped the dictation quill for a moment and carefully looked at Harry. "If you had to do it again, Mr. Potter?"
"Him or Susan? Do you even have to ask?" Harry said without hesitation wincing a little as the mediwizard rubbed some veela cream on his curse burn.
"That’s what I figured. My sister Alicia played Quidditch with you. She told me that you want to be an Auror after Hogwarts. From what I have seen, you won’t have a problem with it."
"Thank you sir. Alicia is a good friend. I heard she was thinking about going pro. Did she ever get a tryout?" Harry asked steering the conversation away from the battle.
"Oh yes. She had two good ones with Falmouth and Chudley and one not so good one with Holyhead. I think she will at least make second squad. Well I need to get Ms. Bone’s and Mr. Snape’s statements. So why don’t you relax? There is a break room down the hall on the right. Go get yourself something to drink. I will send the others down to join you."
"Thank you sir." Harry said as he slowly walked out of the room favoring his injured leg. Somewhat pleased with himself he thought that things were beginning to look up for the moment. That moment became short lived as he rounded the corner and saw the face of Albus Dumbledore. The headmaster’s eyes were completely devoid of their customary twinkle.
"I see you have had a busy evening Mr. Potter. Perhaps you would like to join me for a brief discussion."
Many of you will wonder why Voldemort seems fairly weak. It will be explained in the coming chapters. I do want to give you a Dark Lord who is more action oriented and realistic. This is not a horcrux story.