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To Fight the Coming Darkness
To Fight the Coming Darkness
Disclaimer — I still don’t own Harry Potter. The characters are not mine. It’s still only fanfiction.
Acknowledgements — Though I may not have particularly cared for book 7, I must first thank JKR for providing us with the playground. Next is Kokopelli for his beta work and constant reminders that my grammar and mechanics still need lots of work. Finally, Alpha Fight Club for the way they help me toss around ideas. You folks are the best.
Chapter 36 — Utter Chaos
Sunday September 22nd, 1996
Neville Longbottom looked down the stairwell in horror. It wasn’t supposed to be like this! Things were going so well; this shouldn’t be happening! Several steps below them Ginny Weasley lay in a pool of her own blood. The fact that she wasn’t screaming in agony told Neville that it was too late. Even still, he ran down to the landing and silently prayed for a miracle, but there was none to be had. Those beautiful eyes, previously so full of emotion, stared back, lifeless, filled with hateful accusations.
Turning towards the bare-chested Pansy Parkinson, his face contorted in rage, "Why did you do this?"
"I was just following orders, Master. You told me to stop her. Oh what’s the matter Master? It looks like this will be pretty hard to cover up won’t it? Maybe you’re not as smart as you thought you were!" Pansy sneered at him; an odd sight, considering that her hair was still colored in Ginny’s brilliant hue.
He knew he didn’t have much time. Pansy had practically screamed her spells. People would be here any second. He had to think of a way out of this!
The sickeningly sweet voice of his thrall interrupted his desperate thoughts, "Face it Master, you’re finished. You may have been screwing me, but I’m pretty sure I just fucked you good!"
"You bitch! I’ll kill you! Throw your wand on the ground! Go down there!" He said gesturing to the landing where Ginny lay. Pansy mechanically complied with while desperately starting to protest.
"No Neville, don’t make me do this — please!"
"You’ve left me no choice. Climb up onto the banister! On your way down you can think about who’s really going to get screwed. Goodbye Pansy. Now jump forward!"
As the Slytherin plunged to her death, screaming all the way, Neville started working on his cover story. The two girls were fighting over him. Yes, that was it! Pansy went too far and murdered Ginny. Oddly, it was actually the truth. Next, when he rejected Pansy, the distraught girl jumped to her death. Such a horrible tragedy . . .
"Am I the only one who had no idea what Ginny was talking about back there?" Susan asked.
Harry shook his head at his wife and said, "No, I’m pretty confused as well, but the map says she’s heading straight towards Neville and Pansy. We better make sure nothing bad happens. I’ve got a bad feeling about this."
The two of them, accompanied by Tonks, moved quickly down the hallway towards the staircases. They were almost there when they heard a piercing scream. Looking up, they saw a girl with red hair falling. Harry and Tonks instantly drew their wands. He cast a cushioning charm on the stone floor while the Auror attempted the Arresto Momentum spell. She wasn’t slowing down fast enough! He couldn’t let Ginny die and he cast the only spell could think of.
"Levicorpus!" The spell he had learned from the portrait of his godfather yanked on the falling witch’s legs. A horrible snapping sound occurred as both her legs broke and then her head slammed into the cushioned stone. Thanks to the charm, it was more forgiving than stone should be, but in the end, it was still stone.
The trio rushed over and heard a voice yelling from up above. "Help! Help! Someone’s badly injured up here. Get help!"
"Merlin!" Susan exclaimed. "That’s not Ginny. It’s Pansy!"
"Susan, Harry stay here! I’ll go help out above."
"I’m coming too, Tonks!"
"No. You stay with your wife. Tend to the Parkinson girl." Tonks sprinted up the stairs and used a leaping spell to reach a level where the ever moving staircases were not impeding her progress.
Harry looked at Pansy and saw that the witch’s legs were badly broken. He used his wand to cast the basic medical diagnostic charms while Susan sent some other students to fetch the Nurse.
He worked through the myriad colors glowing on Pansy’s body. Orange meant broken bones. Purple was contusions. Black indicated internal bleeding. She was pretty busted up, but still alive. Susan returned to his side and conjured a blanket to cover the Slytherin girl’s half naked body, but stopped short of putting it on top of her. Harry glanced out of the corner of his eye to see what was wrong with her.
"Harry, look at the necklace she’s wearing!"
His eyes were drawn towards the necklace nestled in the girl’s cleavage. Husband and wife shared a look of befuddlement before Harry told Susan to summon their elf.
After telling Tonks that Ginny and Pansy had been fighting over him, Neville claimed he was going to be sick and fled. Quickly, he made his way to another stairwell and swiftly descended. He needed to speak with his Uncle.
He used the signal they agreed on — two quick knocks, a delay and three additional knocks on the door to announce his presence.
The door opened, it was one of the few magical spells the Vampire could do wandlessly.
"I was resting, Neville. What is so important that you must disturb me?"
"There have been two more deaths."
"Really? Get in here and close the door! Move, fool!"
Neville found himself dragged into the room and thrown bodily into a chair. The Vampire snarled at him, "Tell me everything!"
When Neville finished speaking, he could see his Uncle quivering with barely controlled rage. "You fool! I warned you about proceeding too quickly! Stay here! I will go to the Infirmary and try to recover the necklace from the dead girl. You will not leave this office until I return, unless a teacher or Auror comes for you. I think I can still salvage this, but we need to retrieve the necklace before someone notices it."
Coedus raced up the hallway — startling the few students milling around with the speed with which he moved. His mind was moving even faster. He might have to take the blame and flee to preserve the boy’s innocence. Or he might have to â€˜kidnap’ his nephew and flee with him. Thinking ahead, he’d have to clean out his personal laboratory, otherwise when they search his personal lab, they would find the subjugation potions he was preparing for the Malfoy brat. After transferring his essence to the brat, as Lord Voldemort had promised, the â€˜new’ Neville Longbottom could resurface, claiming to have escaped and have been controlled by the â€˜nasty, dark’ creature.
Entering the Hospital wing, he found chaos. Two Aurors and the Nurse circled around the bedside, working. Another small group stood around a bed occupied by a body covered in a sheet.
His sharp eyes and piercing gaze spotted Harry Potter, holding a necklace in his hands. A house elf stood next to him with an empty jewelry box. He locked eyes with Potter and instantly knew that his Nephew’s actions were beyond repair. It was time to retreat.
"Stop him! Reducto!"
The spell was fast and the boy’s aim was flawless. Coedus was only marginally faster and lost a divot of flesh from his forearm. Fortunately, the impetus of the spell threw him back towards the hallway and towards freedom.
He dodged the successive spells that slammed into the wall behind him as he sprinted down the hallway. Three loud gongs sounded, for the second time, to inform the school of an emergency. The remaining Aurors would already be sealing the entrances of the castle. He changed into his bat form and flew. It would be painful, but not immediately lethal to fly during daylight. He could only do it for a short distance, enough to get him into the forest. From there he would find a dark place to hide until nightfall and determine a way to salvage this situation. The injured bat wobbled unsteadily, shooting past the closing doors and into the searing pain of the early morning sun.
At the same time, the Minister of Magic stood in his conference room surrounded by his advisers. This was to be a massive strike at the heart of the enemy. The five strike teams of 20 witches and wizards had been carefully screened and assembled. The intelligence was reliable. The fact that the Death Eater headquarters would soon be conquered was very good news indeed.
In the center of the table was a Muggle contraption typically used for communicating with the Prime Minister of Great Britain. Today, Rufus Scrimgeour was waiting for the battlefield reports from Ada Dawson, his commander in the field.
"Sir, if you’d like to wait in your office I can come and get you as soon as she gets on the line?" the specter once known as Percy Weasley offered.
"No, I’d rather wait here. The only thing waiting for me on my desk is a stack of worthless paperwork. If the attack is successful, that can most certainly wait for another day."
Rufus did not even want to entertain the idea that the attack might not be successful.
They waited in silence for the old telephone to ring. Twenty long minutes passed before it rang. He scooped the receiver off the hook, "Scrimgeour here. Report."
"Sir, our detection equipment is registering increased activity in the general area for the last hour. Our Arithmancers estimate that the entire ward structure will collapse within the next fifteen minutes."
"Very good Director, the moment the wards fall, you have my authorization to launch the attack."
Rufus heard his old friend acknowledge his orders. Part of him felt that he should still be out there — leading the charge, but this wasn’t like the last time. This was not some tiny safe house, isolated and alone. This was their main headquarters and it was likely to be heavily defended. Many people were going to die today because of his orders. He only hoped that it would be worth it.
The Minister did not have to wait very long for the wards to fall. He could feel his heart beating slightly faster as the anticipation built. Running his hand through his hair, which had far more gray than it had a mere two months before, Rufus nervously waited for any word.
He gulped hard when the telephone suddenly went dead. There was a momentary sensation of panic before he realized that it had gone dead on his end and the thunderous sounds of explosions could be heard throughout the building.
One of his bodyguards looked out the window, "Minister! We’re under attack! It looks like dozens of them and they’ve brought Giants!"
There were only a handful of personnel in the Ministry on a Sunday morning. Scrimgeour immediately knew that he had been out-maneuvered.
Minutes ticked away while Neville fidgeted in his Uncle’s spartan quarters. He hated not knowing. The castle was in lock-down. He doubted he could escape if he wanted to.
Finally, he could stand it no more. "Bessie!"
The house elf responded to his summons. "Go to the infirmary and listen to the conversations. Find out what they are saying and report back to me in five minutes!"
The sad little creature disappeared and Neville returned to his waiting.
While he waited, he tried to figure out where it had gone wrong. Pansy! That’s where he went wrong. He should have just killed the bint straight away and left it at that. All of the Slytherins were no damn good! Poor Ginny, she was easily worth ten of them, if only she hadn’t been so jealous and hot headed! Really, when you looked at it objectively, it was her fault. She shouldn’t have acted so rashly.
The elf reappeared. "You is in trouble! The Vampire runned away and they is searching for him nowly. Wizards coming to get you nowly too."
"No!" he exclaimed, knocking priceless books from the shelf. He wasn’t done yet! He hadn’t avenged his family, Luna and now Ginny. He hadn’t made those damn Slytherins pay! Now they were coming to stop him. He wouldn’t get to kill any more of the Slytherins who so desparately needed to die! What could he do? They would be covering the exits. He would be dragged out and his wand snapped, because they didn’t understand. They didn’t have the courage to do what must be done.
Suddenly, his path was clear. He wondered why he hadn’t seen it before. He was right next to the Slytherin Dorms and they were all in there, just waiting for him to judge them.
"Bessie, bring me a potted Mandrake and a set of earmuffs!"
"No, Bessie can’t! They has taked away all the Mandrakes from the greenhouses and Hogwarts’ elves are forbidden to leave the grounds." Neville cursed himself for a fool. Why hadn’t he just ordered Pansy to take one into the dorms that morning and wipe out the entire house! He’d have to do this the old fashioned way. Pansy had already told him the password. He’d go into the snake’s hole and kill them all. Then everyone would realize that he was the hero.
The might even give him an Order of Merlin…
Lord Voldemort hurled spells with reckless abandon. The rebuilt fountain in the atrium was destroyed for a second time. As anticipated, resistance was both light and pathetic. He moved swiftly up the stairs heading for the Minister’s office as his minions tossed open doors and used incendiary curses on anything burnable.
A plan can be beautiful in its simplicity — sack the Ministry, kill the Minister, and throw the government into chaos.
Slashing his wand he sent a cutting curse through a nearby door and heard a scream from behind the broken woodwork. It made him crack a thin smile.
He leaned over the banister and called down to Peter, who was directing the forces in the atrium. "Peter, don’t forget to stop by Arthur Weasley’s office."
Two of his Death Eaters were already trying to breach the Minister’s warded door. It was a pity that Lucius was dead. He claimed to have been familiar with the previous Minister’s emergency escape plans, though Scrimgeour would most certainly have tailored any plans to his needs.
The door exploded, sending shrapnel and debris everywhere. One of his Death Eaters was caught unaware and badly injured by the explosion. Voldemort raised a vanishing shield that disintegrated the wood as it approached him. He stepped through the smoking wreckage into the outer office and batted away a bonecrusher and a cutting curse.
He snarled and sent a spray of acid into the face of a bodyguard, as the Minister hurled a pair of errant curses at him in rapid succession, before diving into his office and slamming the door.
"Would you like me to knock before I enter? I’m afraid I don’t have and appointment. There’s no escape for you Minister! Like a captain with his ship, it is fitting that you are going to die at your desk. Know that I will crucify your carcass and mount it over the main entrance for all to see."
He sensed the wards on the inner door and cracked a gleeful smile — it was a waste of power, but it had a sense of style to it. Instead of fighting the heavily warded rune-covered portal, Voldemort vanished an adjacent section of the wall and stepped through.
The Minister’s heavy oak desk was banished at him only to be vaporized. He had hoped for more from the former head of the Aurors — no wonder Amelia Bones had always outclassed him. The Dark Lord prepared to finish him when a hazy whiteness obscured his vision.
"Die you bastard!" The ghost of Percy Weasley screamed swinging his fists ineffectively through Voldemort’s body. The distraction was well conceived; a powerful cutting curse slammed into his Unicorn hide vest. The Dark Lord hissed in pain as he felt the material give way and the curse drew blood underneath.
A killing curse passed through the ghost and struck Rufus Scrimgeour, sending the Minster toppling backwards. Lord Voldemort had wanted taunt him a bit more, but the injury was grave enough that he simply needed to finish him off.
Thrusting his wand inside his cloak and uttering the words to close the wound, he mocked the ghost in front of him, "Again, you come up short Percy. I hadn’t expected to see you again."
"Your days are numbered Riddle."
Voldemort laughed at the feeble attempt to rile him. "I was never certain if the Muggles decided whether Infinity is a number. Most Arithmancers seem to be divided on the subject. Since you obviously have the time, why don’t you look into it and get back to me."
Even with all the hidden knowledge he possessed, there was no permanent solution for eliminating a ghost, so he settled for the temporary one, "Phasmatis Conturbo! I must apologize Percy, but time is short, and I must be going. So, do spend the next several hours trying to reincorporate yourself. We can continue this at a later date."
Amidst the screams from portraits of Ministers long since dead, Lord Voldemort conjured a column of living fire and commanded it to lay waste to the room. He summoned the corpse of the Minister and began making his way out of the building. Idly he wondered, with the Wizarding World being largely wary of Christianity, how many would actually appreciate the Christ motif that he intended to create.
Staring down into the atrium and listening to the explosions, he flared his nostril slits and savored the sweet smell of chaos. For a moment, he almost considered manning the building and forcing the Ministry to reclaim their building by force, but it would be a waste of resources. To the wild applause of his lackeys, he transfigured the ruins of the atrium centerpiece into a cross, he vanished the Minister’s clothing and mounted the corpse with a careful, artistic eye.
"Come, we are leaving! Our task here is complete. We should leave. They continue to underestimate our fighting skills. Let us see who they appoint as my next opponent!"
Daphne Greengrass looked at her housemates milling around the common room in disgust. "Rourke! Can you go see if the Ferret Prince is in his room? Missy’s gone to see what in blazes this is all about, Parkinslut is probably bent over somewhere, and Ashley and Carl are still off school grounds for the funerals. Malfoy’s a Prefect too. It’s about damn time he remembers that and starts pulling his weight! Screw it! I’ll go get him."
â€˜When exactly had the Prefects turned into such wastes of human flesh? Oh wait, I know the answer, shortly after they stepped off the Hogwarts Express.’ Daphne shot Millicent and Tracey exasperated look as she walked past and they smiled back at her innocently. They knew about her obsessive nature; they could be giving her a hand too! Instead, her two best friends chose to sit back and watch the confusion. She detested chaos and disorganization.
To this day, she could still see the shocked looks on Millie and TD’s faces when she showed up without the Prefect Patch on her robes at the start of fifth year. It seemed Snape decided that giving his precious Draco the run of the castle with his promised wench was more important than things like grades, skill, talent, looks … the list went on, but she wasn’t the least bit bitter. She was actually one of the few Slytherins that didn’t miss the greasy bastard one bit!
Working her way through â€˜The Maze’ with practiced ease, she found herself in the sixth-year boy’s dormitories — a veritable pig sty which challenged the powers of even the house elves. There was sleeping dickhead himself, wallowing in his filth. She stepped inside the silencing charm surrounding his engorged bed.
"Malfoy! Get up!" She stared at the shifting black silk sheets — black silk? Just when she had thought her opinion of him couldn’t sink any lower!
Draco blinked at her trying to wipe the sleep out of her eyes, "Fly off Greengrass! What the fuck did I do to deserve you this morning?"
Daphne crinkled her nose in disdain. Malfoy was always so delightfully vulgar, but she could play that game as well. "Keep dreaming, limp-dick, that’s the only way you’re getting close to this witch. In the meantime, get up and do your damn job. The castle’s gone into lockdown and Rourke’s the only Prefect around and if there is one person even less capable in this house than you, it’s Rourke the dork."
Daphne smacked her head so hard it actually hurt. Shaking her blonde curls, she quelled the urge to transfigure his clothes into polka dotted pajamas and float his worthless arse out into the common room. With a deep sigh she held both of her palms outwards, "I won’t even bother repeating myself, just go out there and act like you actually earned something instead of having it given to you, for once in your misbegotten life."
She turned and stormed out of the room wondering, not for the first time what Salazar would think of his house now? If there was any justice in the world, Draco would have choked on that silver spoon a long time ago. It was depressing. As she walked back, she heard shouts and screams. That was just great. The wands had come out already — just further proof that Rourke couldn’t organize his own bowel movements much less a room full of students. Drawing her hickory and Abraxan wing feather wand, she turned the corner, wondering what mayhem awaited her.
A trio of students ploughed through her, knocking her to the ground in a complete panic! On her hands and knees, she managed to grasp her wand as another student stepped on her bloody hand and tripped and fell into the wall!
"Bloody fucking Rourke! What is your problem?" Daphne looked at the seventh year Prefect in the dim light of the passageway, his head lolled to the side and she saw his hand holding his stomach. Despite the absence of good lighting, the dark liquid staining his shirt was unmistakable. The sound of a thunderclap shook the wall she was crouched next to, releasing a cloud of dust that made her cough as she closed Rourke’s wound. He might have lost too much blood already, but Daphne didn’t care. That thunderclap was Tracey’s signature move and she wouldn’t dare do it indoors unless something was dreadfully wrong. She scrambled forward and tried to stay low as she peered out into the common room.
The ductwork had been the idea of a previous Minster who didn’t like clutter. With all the flying memos that constantly circled the building, one of his predecessors disliked the unending stream of paperwork entering the office and had this installed to direct all the traffic through these ducts. Memos to the Minister’s office would traverse this path instead of molesting people trying to approach the office.
It was this predecessor’s sense of decorum that Rufus Scrimgeour had to thank for his escape from certain death. He was currently four inches tall and riding a six inch long, fully functional broom through this very same ducting. Of his two bodyguards, one had balked at facing a Dark Lord for a paycheck — a well-placed Imperius curse had been required before the man would drink the Polyjuice and take his place. It was getting harder to find bodyguards with the requisite willingness to lay down their life for his — and now he needed more.
Fudge had counted on someone to come save him and had a safe room available through a trapdoor under the desk. Rufus was a firm believer that if someone had gotten that far, no warded room was going to protect him. Instead, he had what he called the Alice in Wonderland plan — complete with a bottle labeled â€˜Drink Me’ and a shrunken package of biscuits to reverse the process, appropriately labeled â€˜Eat Me’.
Reaching a recently installed vertical section, he angled his broom upwards. Smoke was starting to invade the shaft as he reached the roof. The bend switched to a horizontal one and a thin flap of metal was all that separated him from freedom.
First he stopped and looked out the tiny holes that had been drilled into the end. There were still Death Eaters on the rooftop. Reaching into his cloak he removed his tiny wand and cast a glamour. Satisfied, he flew directly out of the pipe.
"Eh, what was that?" Rufus heard a voice call.
"Looked like a bat — nothing to worry about. Hey look! They’re giving us the signal to set off the Dark Mark. We’re done here."
He would fly well clear of the building before returning to his regular size and then on to Auror Headquarters. His frustration at being fooled began to infuriate him. "This is not over, Voldemort! Not by a long shot!"
In his reduced state, his voice sounded like an angry squeak, which only served to anger him more.
Neville had to admit it was a cute trick from Davis as the deafening shockwave sent him flying backwards, but having been manhandled by an angry Vampire had given him a deft proficiency with cushioning charms. Things were going well. There was precious little fight in the squirming snakelings. It was almost disappointing.
With a cloak over his head masking his face and disillusionment charms hiding his presence, he slipped through the door a few minutes earlier, leaving the Auror he had stunned back in the hallway. So this was the Slytherin common room. He didn’t waste any time and cast a detonation curse on the table several were gathered around. The explosion injured many and started the screams. It was a symphony to his spirit as he started tossing around banishers, Reductors, and cutting curses as fast as he could cast them. Where was their vaunted superiority now? They were screaming like a bunch of babies looking for their Death Eater mumsies. The chaos and confusion worked to his advantage as most gave into their instincts to flee. The disillusionment charm faded and he blinked into existence.
He managed to fire off at least five spells before the first person came to their senses and started returning fire — with a stunner? Merlin above, what kind of ludicrous spell choice was that? He dodged it and returned a blasting curse that drove through the boy’s shield, sending pieces of his body flying backwards. This caused yet more screams.
It was just as he expected. They were all talk. Most were running into the passageways leading to their rooms. Pansy had told him it was designed to be a maze. He looked forward to stalking them in their little snake holes. Neville had his very own Triwizard Tournament Task now. He’d be the champion this time!
Stepping over a body he sent a cutting curse that Tracey Davis dived under. It didn’t matter to Neville as it struck the already injured Nott who had been cowering behind the Slytherin witch. It served him right. Neville didn’t recognize her return curse, but dodged it so he could use another detonation curse on a row of chairs that he saw someone hiding behind.
That’s when Davis responded with an area effect spell of her own. There was some impressive raw power behind the spell. That and the girl’s attractive figure made Neville wish that he had used the necklace on Tracey instead.
Rebounding off the wall, he stumbled narrowly avoiding a disarming curse intent on separating him from his wand. There was murder in Davis’ eyes. "I’m going to fucking kill you!"
Neville whipped his wand out and released a quick Reductor curse catching the girl and sending her flying across the room. â€˜Stupid bint! Don’t talk about it, just do it!’
An angry cry accompanied a piercing curse that gouged his leg. He staggered to his left and scanned the room filled with almost a dozen bodies for his opponent — a flash of blond hair by one of the passageways. â€˜It’s Malfoy! No such luck, it’s only Greengrass. Why can’t they just all die already?’
She followed with a severing charm. Finally, Neville felt like they were taking him seriously! All those jeers they had hurled at him over the years and the faces of his dead relatives killed by their parents fueled his anger and forced more magic into his spells. His Reductor blew a chunk of stonework just where her head had been a split-second before. Neville needed to finish her quickly so he could start hunting more of them.
He banished a burning couch towards her. She tried to banish it right back at him, but the force of his spell was too powerful for her and it smashed into her pinning her to the wall. Her head smacked into the wall and she slid bonelessly on top of the smoldering sofa.
He leapt passed her cackling, "You can’t stop me little witch. Harry himself said I was worth ten of you and now, I’ll kill you all!"
"Damn! He’s not here! Pull out the map and find out where he went." Harry looked at Tonks and the other Auror who had come with them. Harry had hoped that Neville would respond better to his presence and they could find out what Coedus’ plans were more easily. They had spotted him on the map, waiting in the Vampire’s quarters and hurried to collect him.
Tonks unfurled the original Marauder’s Map and they scanned intently for the name. There was a rumbling noise that shook the items on the shelves. All three of them shared a worried glance.
"There! The Slytherin Dorms!" Tonks nearly shrieked. Harry stared at the map. Neville was in the Slytherin common room? Suddenly the dot labeled with the name Tracey Davis leapt from one end of the common room to another and began to fade from view. Harry blinked hard. She was dead.
"Come on, he’s killing them. We have to stop him!" Harry sprinted for the door with the other two on his heels. The Vampire must have brainwashed him. It was the only logical choice. Harry began to wonder how strong Neville really was. The prophecy could have just as easily applied to him. There was an Auror on the ground stunned. They enervated him as the other one gave the password to open the door.
The common room he had once visited in his second year looked like a war zone. There were far too many bodies for the few names that still registered on the map clutched in his hand. "This way!" he shouted, only to be stopped by Tonks’ hand on his shoulder.
She addressed the pair of Aurors. "You two are going in. Use your copy of the map and stop him — alive, if possible. If he tries to leave the dungeon, Harry and I will cover the common room and try and save the ones still alive here. No arguments from you Potter! We’ll stop him here if he tries to come back out." She looked at one of the portraits carefully looking out from her damaged frame. "You there, is help on the way?"
The portrait echo, with tears running down her face, nodded at Tonks, who was already moving towards the first name on her map. She pointed at the damaged couch and told Harry to check out the person there.
Harry reined in his response. Tonks was only doing what a bodyguard would do and his proclivity to head on into danger attitude wasn’t always a good thing. He doused the embers and heard a soft moan as the water must have awakened the witch. Daphne Greengrass looked up blearily up at him.
With a thin line of blood dribbling from the corner of her mouth, she hissed at him, "My legs! Come to finish off the job, bastard!"
"No. We’re here to help."
"Help Tracey first, she’s badly hurt." Her words surprised Harry. It wasn’t the plea of an ambitious, mercenary pureblood. It was a teenage girl desperately wanting to help her best friend. Bill’s comments about teenagers fighting wars flashed back to haunt him. Using the same diagnostics he had recently used on Pansy, he could see that she had a skull fracture with a likely concussion, internal bleeding and a broken hip.
"I’m sorry, Daphne. It’s too late for her, but you I can help. You’re bleeding internally. I’m going to stick you to the wall so I can move the couch without you falling down. Here’s a blood replenisher."
He hoped her crying was from her injuries. Unlike the loss of her friend, the injuries could be fixed.
A shirtless Draco Malfoy moved carefully through the maze. Crabbe and Zabini had fled back into the dormitories saying that a bunch of wizards were slaughtering people out there. Draco wasn’t going to cower in his room, not when he knew the myriad twists and turns of â€˜The Maze’ like the back of his hand. There were hiding places, false walls, and choke points scattered throughout. His pulse raced as he heard the sounds of spells being cast nearby.
He circled around pushing through a false wall and heard two older voices. "Fast little bugger isn’t he? Give it up you can’t shield against us forever. We’ll wear you out soon enough."
Draco didn’t recognize the voices, so he immediately sent a pair of bludgeoners at them from behind, smiling as both smashed into the wall in a heap and finished them off with stunners. â€˜Capturing prisoners! I’ll be a hero! Look out world, because Draco Malfoy is back on top where I belong!’
He could move them into the vacant fourth year dorm nearby and stash them there, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a bit of help. He called out to the boy who had been pinned at a dead end. Smugly, he said, "I took care of them. We need to move before more show up!"
"Who’s there?" The boy called back. Draco couldn’t quite place the voice.
"Malfoy. Now move your arse!"
"Oh, just the person I’ve been looking for! Tonare!"
Draco leapt backward and the blasting curse impacted the wall next to him, showering him with stone chips. He grimaced in pain and shielded against the second spell, moving backwards. Spells were flying at him at an almost impossible speed. Summoning a torch holder off the wall he used it to block the next pair of curses. Who in Grindelwald’s name was he fighting? He blocked a bludgeoner and answered in kind, when the burning heat of a spell dug into his shoulder, causing him to sink to the ground.
One of the stunned bodies was banished into and through the shield Draco had erected. He tried to fight his way free of the dead weight on top of him and swallowed hard when his wand was summoned from the ground next to him. The shaped staggered closer to him and he heard a hoarse cackling.
"Draco Malfoy, I’ve been dreaming of this day since first year."
Draco desperately felt around the body on top of him for a wand. His hand closed around a penknife in his pocket. It would have to do. He pulled it free as the body was magically levitated off of him. A stinging curse raised welts on his chest and caused him to yelp in pain.
"Fuck you Potter!" Draco guessed that the great hero had finally snapped.
"Oh you flatter me, Malfoy. I want to enjoy killing you. Get up!"
It wasn’t Potter.
Draco tried to get to his feet, but was hit by a leg locker jinx and another stinging curse. He barely held on to the small penknife in the darkness of the hallway.
"Aw, what’s the matter little ferret. Can’t you do the counter to a simple leg locker? Are you a squib or something?" The words sounded familiar, of course he did that to first years all the time to watch them cry — so who could it be? The knife wasn’t balanced for throwing, so he’d have to get him closer. Draco was a bully and he knew just what bullies liked.
"No! No! Stay back."
"You don’t seem to be complying, so let’s try something different. Maybe this will help you obey! Crucio! Wow that spell sure takes a lot out of you! How’d that feel? You really do scream like a girl. It’s not enough for you to be in pain, I need to see your blood."
Draco wiped the spittle away, not caring who his assailant was as a pair of wounding curse carved thin lines of blood across his chest.
"Wait! I know things. I can tell you."
The figure got closer. "What could you possibly tell me?"
"Names! I know names. Real Death Eaters! I can tell you."
The mystery person shambled closer, levitating Draco up on his feet. Draco felt helpless, but kept the blade of the small knife hidden against his side as he struggled to maintain his balance.
"How interesting, but I don’t care about the Death Eaters. I just want to kill their children. They need to know what it feels like. They need to suffer like I have…"
His torturer’s sentence was cut short by voices in the distance. Distracted Draco saw the wizard look around him. "I guess I should quit wasting time and finish…"
Draco made certain that the wizard in front of him never finished that statement. He fell forward and shoved the knife as hard as he could. The blade buried itself to the hilt in his assailant’s chest making him stagger backwards. Draco was already crawling away, towards the corner as a bludgeoner slammed him forward and into the wall. Trying not to think about the pain, he kept crawling around the corner as fast as he could — leaving a bloody smear on the stones behind him. He spared a glance backwards as the wizard was now visibly staggering, but gaining on him.
Flames licked his back as an incendiary curse caught his pants on fire. He thrashed with his immobilized legs and put the flames out. A wand driven arrow plunged into his buttocks. The pain was too great. He flattened against the wall as the injured spell-caster closed. The wizard took three more steps towards him and collapsed to the ground.
The voices were getting closer as Draco pulled the magical arrow out of his hindquarters and crawled forward to make certain the wizard was dead. No, but he was finally close enough to make out the face and the glassy eyes staring back at him.
"I don’t believe it! Neville Fucking Longbottom!" was all he could choke out before collapsing in exhaustion.
As you can see, I went a different route with Neville than book 7 and thus his part in this tale has ended. Discussion on FFA forum threads and on Darklord Potter.