Content Harry Potter Original Works Harry Potter/New Battlestar Galactica
  • Previous
  • Next

Bungle in the Jungle

Author Notes:

 Disclaimer - It's just fanfiction.   Enjoy the entertainment.

Acknowledgements - Thanks to the folks at Alpha Fight Club for the comments, thanks to Aaran St. Vines for the beta work, and thanks to the readers for their patience.  

Chapter 15

So Why Don't You Turn Me Loose?

The trip through to the other side is about what you’ve come to expect from magical travel – dizzying, nauseating, and uncomfortable – but it is over fairly quickly and you and Bill stumble out into the dimly lit area and join the battle already in progress.

It’s like the Gringott’s branch in the lost city all over again.  This time, there aren’t any inferi.  Instead, there's a cave full of goblins.  Leveling your wand, you add to the firepower of the wizards who came through a minute or so before.

In South America, there was only silence.  With the Bubblehead charms, you couldn’t even hear the other spells or gunfire.

This time, screams, explosions, and the sounds of the dead and dying fill the air as you drive the disgusting vermin back and establish a foothold in the tunnels under the goblin bank.

“Move!  Move!  Lacero!”  You shout and slice your way through a pair of blade wielding goblins.  A quick charm taught to you by Flitwick animates the blades of the fallen and turns them on the group immediately beyond them.  When those fall, you fire off an overpowered banisher that sends at least ten of them sailing through the air.

War is ugly.  It moves so fast that sometimes that you can’t keep up unless you simply become brutal and ruthless.  More spells fueled by your adrenaline pound the now fleeing goblins.  A kinder and gentler Harry Potter would let them go.  You’re not him.  You trained with a group of goblins for that trip into zombie hell and know a thing or two about their tactics.  The survivors will break into groups to warn the others and reorganize.  Then, they’ll ambush your group using every side tunnel, crevice, and hole they can fit into.

A quick guess is that there were about eighty gobs stationed here, maybe as a second wave to secure the inside of the castle.  Now, there is a little less than half that number and your hired muscle is chewing them up and spitting them out.

You waste no time and start working through a quick chain of various Cutting curses intermixed with Reductors.  Unfortunately, you can’t risk the more powerful blasting curses in such a confined area.  In a sick, detached way, it reminds you of weeding at the Dursley’s. 

It is strange how the slaughter of dozens of living beings doesn’t bother you that much.  Of course, they’re filthy, stinking, traitorous goblins, who’ve allied themselves with Riddle.  Something like an inferius has no choice to be evil.  The goblin clans under Gringott’s chose to do this.  They do things like steal children from homes in the middle of the night for slaver markets in both the magical and muggle world. 

Now, they must face the consequences of those choices … in other words, you.

You switch to a wide area Cutter and push more energy into it.  Three bloody worg firebats fall to the stone floor and flop on it while bleeding out.  You kick one of the smoldering bodies out of the way and push forward.   More wands join yours.  It seems odd to fight alongside people wearing Death Eater masks and cloaks, but the first six wizards through the closet disguised themselves in the enemy’s garb to cause confusion – Kwan’s idea.  He has a long history of using his opponents’ weaknesses against them and the fact that these idiots walk around in capes and masks make things much easier.

The frantic pace slows even as the dust cloud builds and air clearing charms are required to help with visibility.  With the entire group in now, the sheer volume of the spells decimates the remaining creatures.  Two minutes of non stop fighting give way to an eerie silence with only the moans of the dying breaking it. 

This group wasn’t even a challenge.  They were what Jake Collins commonly referred to as REMFs or rear echelon mother fuckers.  The highly skilled warriors were already slaughtered inside Hogwarts or are outside the castle on the war barges, probably giving Dumbledore and Snape fits.  Those left are the ones that aren’t big enough or deadly enough to be in the first wave.

Now it’s time to break out the muggle firepower and give your assault group a rest.  The vanishing closet is only so big, so the crates come through and have the reduction charms removed. 

Kwan couldn’t get much on short notice and let you know how much he didn’t appreciate his “stash” being destroyed back at Riddle’s cave.  There’s no Mossberg this time, so you have to settle for a charmed Remington pump action.  The next wave of goblins will be bringing crossbows to a gunfight.  It won’t go well … for them.

Hack is close.  You can feel him down there and he knows you’re coming.

“Rearguard,” Kwan orders.  “Go seal the tunnel leading down to here and then fortify this position.”  Four wizards don’t make much of a rearguard, but you can’t really spare any more and have any chance of success.  Still, they carry two charmed M-60 machine guns and float several crates of ammunition with them.  The rest of the Mercs and Brazilian Aurors carry either AK-47s or shotguns and seem skeptical.  That’s probably what made Kwan and Collins such a dangerous tandem.  They didn’t think twice about using Muggle weapons. 

Kwan carries a sniper rifle.  It fires a fifty caliber shell.  He’d wanted to bring a 40mm grenade launcher, but the possibility of causing a cave in was just too great.  The question you’re not certain you want answered is whether or not the sabot light armor piercing slug will penetrate a dragon’s hide.

There are plenty of things down here more dangerous than a pack of goblins.  You watch as some of the Mercs smash vials of dragon repellent on their robes.  It’s a specialized potion that in theory makes it less likely that a dragon will try to eat you.  Clinical trials are favorable, but the results are questionable, mainly because it’s tough to tell when a dragon is going to eat something whole or char it to a crisp before consuming.  The balm stinks, loses effectiveness in wide open spaces, and offers no flame resistance, but the user can rest assured that if the dragon does indeed eat the burnt cinder of the corpse that it will probably have a bad aftertaste.  You’re sure that’s comforting on some level.

Obviously, you don’t have time for that kind of crap, but don’t want to irritate the troops with your opinion. 

Kwan, on the other hand, has no qualms about that, “Enough foolishness.  If I say my pee protects you from dragons would you let me urinate on you?  Move!  Now!”

The main artery is ahead.  This isn’t the winding cart paths to the vaults.  According to Bill’s hand drawn and slightly dated map, those are reachable, adjacent to your position.  This is where the goblins move and live.  None of the suit wearing, welcome to Gringott’s types down here either.  You’ve long since realized that is just a “dog and pony” or is it “worg and firebat” show for the sake of looking less threatening.  Down here, it’s just a bunch of killers in loincloths, leathers, and furs.

“Watch out!” Bill calls to a Brazilian peacekeeper and yanks him back as you pump a round of buckshot into the area.  The goblin wedged into the crack ahead can’t get out of the way in time and takes a full broadside.  The poisoned knife it carried clatters on the smooth stone of the corridor.

“How did you know?” He asks first in his native tongue and then in English.

“I’ve spent years in goblin tunnels.  They can wedge themselves into narrow cracks everywhere, in the walls or on ledges in the ceiling.  Watch for ambushes and don’t forget where your bezoars are.  They will be using poison.”

Something you have no difficulties noticing is the charging footsteps of six trolls supported by a score or so goblins - probably the first guards of any significance that the survivors of the earlier battle could rally.  They’re the mountain trolls, common to Britain, and slightly taller and stronger than an average jungle troll, but less resistant to magic.  And that’s where you’re going to make them pay.

Your sneer would likely make Snape pleased.  Three first year students working with nothing more than what could be found in a water closet took one of them down.  You've come a long way since then, and this time there's a bit more than just Hermione and Ron backing you up.  The only troll bogeys you’ll get on your wand is if their heads explode like a melon and you get some of the backblast.  You level the Remington and start firing away.

Honestly, if it was just your twelve gauge, you’d be in trouble, but the sheer volume of gunfire is somewhat deafening even with noise reduction charms on the weapons.  The lead troll stumbles in disbelief as buckshot sands away flesh and steel jacketed slugs gouge deeper wounds.

The one behind it dashes the creature to the ground.  Directly next to you, a wand fires the killing curse and for a moment, you’re shadow is illuminated by that spell.  The troll falters, but does not collapse.  The curse wasn’t thrown with much conviction from a mind controlled Peter Pettigrew.  Too bad Diggory wasn’t lucky enough to catch Wormtail on an off day.

A couple of other curses impact that troll along with rifle and shotgun fire.  That finishes what the traitor started.  The fools won’t conserve their energy!  There’s a loud clang and a bolt shatters on Pettigrew’s metallic arm that’s protecting his emotionless mask of a face and you wonder if the rat could’ve done that without the influence of Kwan’s imperious curse.

The battle cries of the goblins mix with the screams of pain from the trolls and injured goblins, and wizards shouting  spells.  A bloody and dirt covered troll rises and prepares to throw its spear.  Your wand draw is faster and you disintegrate it just after it leaves the creature’s hand.  It turns to run, but is cut down in a hail of gunfire.  Just like that, the second wave is done.  The problem is, you know it won’t get any easier from here on out.  These mercenaries are already burning through the ammo too fast and those uncomfortable with it are already switching back to using magic.

One merc is slouched over on the wall.  Kwan pulls him backward only to discover a bolt through the man’s eye.  Since he’s polyjuiced to look like you, it’s somewhat disturbing seeing yourself quite dead from a lucky shot.

At the juncture to the main artery, the goblins scatter rather than engage.  The distant sounds of gongs and bells ring out, but you’ve caught them flat footed.  Kwan instructs Peter to change into his Animagus form and go down to free your troll friend while ten identical versions of you work to seal this section's main artery.  You chip in and help mold the ground into a wall.  Goblins from above would have to bring something more substantial than a couple of trolls to dig through it anytime soon and Kwan’s illusion placed right in front of it would make them wonder why they weren’t making any headway.

You cough and do your best to clear your lungs, realizing that if you’re lucky enough to survive all of this, you’ll be hacking up black shit for the next few weeks.

Bill and two mercs carry bags of what look like marbles.  They toss them down each side tunnel.  Each “marble” is a potion filled gelatin ball containing acids and whatever the NEWT level potion students have been brewing these last few weeks.  Since goblins typically don’t wear any kind of footwear, it should be particularly effective at slowing down anyone trying to out flank the attack.

Tempo.  Long battles are all about tempo.  The big guns are likely still being roused.  You glance at the master strategist and ask, “Kwan?  Time for the shields?”

“Yes.  We’re approaching their habitats.  Conserve your strength and ammunition.  Everyone, prepare your shields.”  The cavern widens and you see frantic movements ahead as the goblins try to rally their defenses.

They cannot be allowed to slow you down!  To reach the area where the Death Eaters and Voldemort are, your group must overrun them in a hurry.  That’s where the shields and the other assorted goodies come in handy.

You slide the wooden shield off your back and onto your left arm.  It has a dozen one shot fire arrow runes carved into it.  You did yours personally and the rest were done by the fifth through seventh year rune students.  Bill nods and grabs his runic shield and takes the one from the dead body.  With two to three arrows for every rune, it will be like there are a hundred archers here as well.  Altogether, you’ll unleash a volley of flaming death that should scatter whatever resistance is up ahead. 

Kwan reaches into his bag and pulls out a pair of origami birds and releases them.  He points his wand at a ballista being manned by six goblins and the animated constructs fly as fast as real birds sweeping in and exploding.  They knock out the heavy weapon before it could line up a shot.  With the corridor wide enough that most of the fifteen remaining wizards can walk in a line, you all charge forward until Kwan gives the signal. 

Up ahead, you get a good look at a goblin village on the landing.  It reminds you of the pictures Lauren Thudercloud had in her room of the cliff dwelling American Indians of the southwest.  Structures carved directly into the rock, remind you of jugs from which a steady stream of goblins spill out and flow down the earthen ramp.  A stone wall with a pair of wooden gates blocks the corridor leading downward.  The wall is equipped with two more ballista crews, but a trio of blasting curses at each turns them into so much rubble and carves large divots out of the protective wall.

A few additional spells are lobbed to further disorganize the few hundred goblins massing there.  The gates are in the process of opening and you almost wish Hagrid was here.  He’d be chuffed to see that nine headed hydra being led by a giant using a cat o' nine tails coming up the passageway.  Unfortunately, you’re not nearly as pleased to see it or the giant escort.

A goblin general astride what must be Fluffy’s litter-mate is hurriedly preparing his battle lines.  Everyone halts about fifty feet out, just at the effective range of their tiny crossbows.  The general is caught trying to get his missile troops close enough and organizing a charge.

“First volley, fire!”  Kwan commands.

You brace for the release and press your wand into one of the controller runes.  Four of the runes activate and a cluster of twelve flaming arrows emerge from the crudely made wooden shield.  Immediately, you reposition and wait for Kwan to give the next order.  The cave brightens and the shrieks of terror rise to a deafening level.

“Fire second volley!”   The next cluster leaves just as the first strikes.  The results are devastating.  It’s been well established that you don’t like the goblins, but part of you almost pities them.  Each wave consists of easily one hundred and fifty arrows.  The goblin general is slouched in his saddle while the gravely injured Cerebus crawls away.  Those that survived the onslaught are already fleeing.  Most run back up the ramp, but some make the fatal mistake of fleeing through the gates only to realize the nine hungry mouths of the hydra are waiting for them.

Kwan assesses the situation.  “Save third volley for Hydra.  Aim high and blind it or take out a head.  Advance!  Clear path to the wall.  We fight it there.  Use rifles to finish goblins.”

You’ve come to know the Hitwizard too well.  He’s nervous.  Words disappear from his English when he’s being rushed.

The giant driving it forward takes shelter behind the hydra’s mass as you move forward.  Yeah, it’s that big.  You opt for the shotgun and sweep the area while rushing forward.  Some that were “playing dead” find they are no longer playing.  Being one of the first to reach the half-open gates you are forced to busy yourself with mopping up the goblin resistance.  It’s frustrating to see the amount of exhaustion mirrored in the faces of all your doppelgangers.  This is only the beginning and there’s still a long way to go.

Somewhere back a Hogwarts there’s probably a bunch of scared first and second years frantically asking the upper classes what to do if they actually have to fight a goblin today.  You’re somewhat jealous.  You’d be willing to trade with them right now.  The filthy critters are the least of your worries.

“What’s the word, Bill?” You say as he slides up to the other side of the gate and puts his back to the wall.  He’s limping and you can see him swallowing a bezoar.  He flushes the wound with his wand and then closes it before holstering the wand and gripping his AK-47.

“Effing goblin slashed my leg as I went by.”

“Tough break.  Got anything in your bag of tricks for the hydra?”

“I was kind of hoping you’d have taken it out already.”  Somehow he manages a grin.

A pair of your duplicates tries throwing blasting curses at it and you watch as they pretty much fizzle against the creature’s thick armored shell.  The damage is mostly cosmetic and the ground trembles with each impact.  Bill empties a full clip into the advancing mass, but the scales are just too strong.  Kwan's heavy rifle breaks through the hydra's scales, but don't seem to do much damage beyond that.

“Well shit!" Bill says, “Might as well be spitting on it.  You ready to go all giant jaguar on its arse?”

“I was hoping to save that for later.  Seriously Bill, have you taken a good look at how big that thing is?  I’d rather take out some of the heads or at least a few eyes first.  Conjunctive curses worked well enough for Krum against the dragon in the tournament.  I’ll try that while you see if you can hit an eye or two with your rifle.”

“Aim for the center heads.  On three!  One.  Two.  Three.”

Bill hits and a heads thrashes in pain.  You’re about to cast again when Kwan’s hand on your shoulder stops you.  “Let the others do that!  Your aim stinks anyway.  Help me.”

You aren’t certain what he wants you to do, but he uses a cutter on the ropes lashing the thick wooden poles together and one of the falls to the ground.  Two more quick slices and Kwan makes a point at the end.  He transfigures the tip into a metal point.  It’s a giant metal tipped spear.

“That’d be great if Hack was here and could throw it,” you say. 

Kwan laughs and he levitates it, bringing the point around toward the advancing monster.  “How strong is stupid kitty cook’s banisher today?”

Second guessing Kwan should be illegal. 

“Let’s find out!”  Gripping your wand like a cricket bat, you swing it upwards and scream the spell.  The giant wooden bolt launches and arcs toward the hydra.  The crudely made spear slams into the beast somewhat high, but the point drives into the base of one of the monster’s necks.  That head rears back and looses a blood-curdling scream before flopping forward and falling silent.

Encouraged by your success, the rest of your group redoubles their efforts to slow the damn thing down.  Golems teaming with boulders coated in sticking charms latch onto the Hydra’s legs, impeding the mighty serpent’s progress.

The Korean is already breaking off the next piece and you call to your cursebreaking buddy, “Bill, do the transfiguration on the tip.  We need stronger metal.”

“I’m on it!”  Bill says joining your makeshift magical ballista crew.

It’s a good news-bad news deal.  As the hydra gets closer, your hastily created giant spears are doing more damage and sinking deeper into the flesh.  There are three wedged into the monsters massive front torso and it screams with every hit.  The only problem is that the hydra is still getting closer and its six remaining heads are very angry and still moving.

With your Parseltongue skills, it sounds like someone screaming in a foreign language.  Hydras must be closer to snakes than dragons.  Maybe if you could speak to it, you could convince it to turn around.  Of course if you had a few RPG-7s, you could do the same thing without all the talking.

Since you don’t, you banish the next spear into it and yank one of the growth potions from your belt.  Popping the seal you say, “Concentrate your fire on its right side.  I’ll try and take it from the left.”

You drop the miscellaneous Muggle and magical gear and shed the dragon armor vest and drink the contents.  Snape brewed this draught and you’re curious to see how big it will make your animagus form.

First your vision distorts slightly as you shift into your jaguar.  Then you feel the sensation while your flesh expands.  You’re just taller than the wall, at perhaps fifteen foot.  That puts you roughly level with the hydra’s torso.  It still dwarfs you, but you’ve made a living being David and leaving Goliaths in your wake.  What's one more?

Coiling your legs, you leap over the wall and speed toward the monster.  Breaking left, you leap onto the flat area where some fleeing goblins scatter away from you.  The nearest head is already descending.  You leap and get under it, wrapping your entire body around it like one of Mrs. Figg’s cats on Dudley’s leg that time he tried to play kick the cat.  With claws digging in and prying scales off of the neck, you rear back and clamp down on the neck.  Those poison fangs push and strain and drive into flesh. 

Hydras don't taste like chicken - they remind you of that iguana chili Lone Thundercloud had you make a few times.  Except it's all bloody, raw, and missing a selection of spices.  Other than that, it's not too bad.  Who'd have thought?  Sadly, it's too much to hope the thing drops dead from a single poisonous bite, but a glance at all the other irritated heads says that it's time to go somewhere else.  There's a nice spot on the back that looks hard for all those teeth to get at you and that might slow it down some.  Plus if the poison isn't doing much up here, you should try and bring it closer to the heart.

It tries to buck you, but it's no match for your agility.  The necks are thicker at the base, but the armor plates are only on the underside.  Genetics fails the giant reptile in this instance.  This area is thick and meaty.  You claw and bite, hoping for an artery or something equally damaging.

Two heads dive.  You leap off onto the ground and find yourself on the defensive dodging both the heads and the spells from the panicking wizards behind you. 

Faster!  You need to be faster.  There’s just so much of it.

You accelerate this time to the left.  A jump up and off the wall of the cavern redirects you toward the creature’s back again.  Instinct alone guides you.  There is no real plan.  A jaguar is the “beast that kills in a single bound,” but the hydra is just too massive for a lone strike.  You must attack it again and again until it falls under the weight of the wounds.

Bite, claw, scratch.  Leap.  Evade!  Repeat.  Anything to slow it down.  Rolling off the monster’s backside you go after the nearest leg.  It’s fleshy.  You do your best imitation of Dudley and a leg of lamb.  It shakes you off and kicks you backward.  The blow sends you back into the cave wall and the impact momentarily stuns you.  The claws on its foot are dulled by all the walking on stone, but they still break skin.  You’re bleeding, but not that bad.

There's a sudden sharp pain on your flank.  The giant driving it forward just whipped you!  Yowling in pain, you turn on it.  Bill and the others will have to handle the great serpent as best the can while you deal with this.  The hydra is much bigger, but the giant is on roughly equal footing and he knows it.  He slashes with his club at close range.  Leaping away from the swing allows it to catch you but not do much damage.  The momentum propels you sideways and further to the giant’s left.  A cloud of dust and pain causes you to sputter and snarl.  His only weapon on this side is the whip.  You plow into it willing to take the blow of the iron chains on your back in exchange for running him to the ground.

Giants do taste like chicken  … unwashed, decaying chicken that’s been rolled around in feces before being served.  You gag on the arm he stuffs into your mouth, but keep working the claws on the midsection area.  He rolls over on you and it reminds you of the weight of Dudders and all his Harry Hunters on those occasions they caught you.

More pain.  You twist and wriggle, releasing the bloody and useless hunk of meat that used to be an arm.  The giant flails and you feel his remaining arm fumbling for something on his waist.  He’s got a knife!  Well, considering the relative size of the two of you, it is a knife.  Really, it’s more like a Scottish Claymore.  He rears back and intends to pin you to the ground like a butterfly in someone’s collection.

You move faster and use the space created to snap forward and lock your jowls around his neck.  There’s a squeeze and a snap.  Locking eyes with the monster, you watch the life fade from his eyes.

Death is violent, often messy, but it was him or you.  Satisfied with the outcome, you roll away and spit the foul tasting, greasy flesh out and hack like a house cat with a hairball.  The hydra is still moving, but it has slowed noticeably.  It’s preoccupied with the tiny morsels of magical flesh and seems to have forgotten you for a second.  Your companions have been thinned out a little by the snapping jaws of the remaining heads.  It makes you worry about how many fighters Riddle has held in reserve.

Still, you need something to get that awful taste of giant out of your mouth and it looks like a second course of hydra is on the menu.

With a barely audible hiss-like growl and a flick of a bloody tongue, you advance on it from behind. 


"I tell you what, Harry, you sure know how to make one hell of a mess!  You'll likely need this," Bill says and tosses you a towel.  You finish transforming back and your human form and catch it. 

None of the hydra's heads are moving.  In reality, only two of them are still attached, but one of the forelegs is still twitching and convulsing.  The growth potion lasted three minutes longer than it needed to.

"I'll write on its tombstone and thank it for dinner," you quip and wipe the fluid covering your mouth and cheeks on the towel.  It's a gory mess.  Being an Animagus isn't always the prettiest thing in the world, but it's pretty damn useful.


"Never mind," you say and shrug.  It sucks when you're the only one who gets the reference.  You turn your attention to Kwan as he gets a head count and the results aren't particularly satisfying.  Judging from the number of polyjuiced pieces of Harry Potter strewn about, your merry band has lost another four members.  The rest of the group looks uncertain if they want to continue.  Is that what you really look like when you're indecisive?

One of "you" begins a rather animated conversation in Korean with your favorite hitwizard.  He hops up and down and points angrily to the hydra's body.

Bending down, you retrieve your wands, armor, and cursebreaking glasses.  Bill shakes his head at the argument taking place and says, "What did they expect?  Did they think Gringotts would guard their caverns with a bunch of animated teddy bears?  Fortunately, that's their biggest beastie.  There're more than enough of us left to stop a dragon or whatever else they can drag out."

"Unless they brought in another one for it to mate with after you quit," you add.

"Ever the optimist, Harry."

"Why are you so happy?"

"Survivor's delirium … I didn't think we were going to make it there until you pounced on that thing.  My life's still flashing in front of my eyes and it's a bloody good show!"

"Great, I'm stuck with the insane Weasley brother.  So would you change anything?"

"I'd have taken you under my wing sooner," he says.  You were prepared for something involving Fleur and a bunch of edible items and he goes and plays the friendship card on you!

"Since when am under your wing?"

"The mark of a great teacher is subtleness.  Shall we go over there and help Kwan kick a little tail?"

"Nah," you say, "He eats clowns like this for breakfast."

"Yeah, but we need to get moving."

You peer into the dimly lit cavern ahead and the pressure inside your skull is building.  Summoning all the pain, frustration, and hatred, you push back.  Two can play at that game.  Fumbling in the pouch on your belt, you pop a simple pepper up potion.  You need energy, but not too much. There are dozens of draughts out there that are more effective, but you can't cheat the system too much.  You'd peak and then crash if the fight goes longer than ten minutes. 

Snape taught you too well.  How's that for irony?

"No we don't.  He's on his way.  Kwan!  The main event's coming down the passageway.  Get a defensive perimeter."


His Death Eaters come first.  They pour out from the darkness at the other end of the cavern and immediately start tossing spells.  The distance is a few hundred feet.  Instead of engaging at long range, Bill sprays his AK-47, hoping they hadn't bothered to enchant their robes against weapons.  At least one didn't and falls screaming. Others join in and the enemy advance stalls behind hastily erected shields.  You don't mind at all and are grateful for the brief respite.

Riddle is coming.  Any second now, he'll show himself.  Every other time, he's been waiting for you at the end of some elaborate trap or ambush and you've had to rely on others or luck to escape.  This is different.  Now, you've come for him and face him on "neutral" ground.

Kwan takes a moment to reload the powerful sniper rifle and finish the one Bill injured.  There's a flare from the Death Eater's shield as it collapses under the raw power of a fifty caliber round.

Cold and calculating, he lines up a second shot and another Death Eater dies.  You toy with the idea of picking up the Remington, but the shotgun's limited range wouldn't be able to break through their defenses from this distance.  Instead, you focus on protecting Kwan and the few remaining assault rifles from the spells being hurled in their direction.

The rest period comes to an abrupt halt when a figure steps into the light.  His face is even less than human than you remember.  The black robes seem to absorb the light.  Oblivious to the gunfire, he walks straight ahead, shoulders forward, and wand twitching in agitation.  He carries himself with a swagger that reminds you of the days when you had faith in Dumbledore.

"Fools," Voldemort shouts.  His voice rises above the loud stuttering of the rifles.  "You cower from Muggle toys!  Rise and fight or be found unworthy."

Kwan empties a full magazine from his weapon.  The shells are vanished before they ever reach him.  You had hoped it might be that easy, but it's not meant to be.

"We meet again, Harry Potter!  So eager to die?"  Voldemort's voice comes from every direction at once.  You have to admit that it's a nifty little trick.  "And you're so thoughtful.  How nice of you to bring me a gift.  I get to kill you over and over again, or do you wish to continue pretending to be my old friend from South America."

Well at least he isn't intimidated by you.  Speaking of Veras Chilotha, you switch your holly wand out for the one you took from the spirit possessing Collins' body.  You have no time for the brother wand effect.

This is it, Potter!  Now or never.  The voice in your head is a blend of Kwan and Snape … doubly frightening.

You hold fire for a moment and watch him strike down one of your dopplegangers and pounce when you have an opening.  Throwing caution to the wind, you unleash Collins' Tex-Mex butchering curse, which leads into your "kitchen sink" spellchain.  It's made up of a German favored blasting curse, a bone exploder some craftsman in the underbelly of Singapore created, African and Greek piercers, and topped off with a good old fashioned Norwegian ice spear.  The solid mass right at the end can often get through a weakened mage shield.

He's too quick!  Riddle frustrates you by pulling a boulder out of thin air and banishing it into the "teeth" of your onslaught.  The jagged column of ice splatters ineffectively on the pock-marked stone.  Kwan uses a banisher like a pool cue and sends the rock careening away.

Like you are really going to fight him alone!  No bloody way in hell!  The fight back at the cave was just a quick exchange of spells.  This time, it's going to be a slugfest.

All around you, spellfire lights up the cavern.  The growls of transfigured beasts blend in with the screams and the explosions.  Its war, stripped bare of the make believe glamour children envision when they get their first wands.

 Trusting Kwan with your defense, you keep casting.  There's a familiar shiver of fear running down your spine, but you fight through it.  That fear can actually be a good thing.  Bill calls it "Goldilocks" - as in "just the right amount of terror to help you in a fight."  It sharpens your senses, reminds you that you are mortal, and sends jolts of adrenaline coursing through your tired body.

You fought Chilotha to a standstill, but it was really Kwan that killed him.  Chilotha was just a shadow of Riddle's strength.  Even so, you have certain advantages.  The Dark Lord is used to cowering opponents with both his magic and the terror generated by his reputation.  Against a determined opponent, like yourself or Dumbledore, he can only rely on his skill.  By refusing to collapse in front of him, you've taken away half his arsenal.

Also, you know he doesn't fight wizards of your caliber all the time.  If the rumors are to be believed, the toughest opponent he's had to face down since the debacle at the Ministry last spring was Amelia Bones.  In contrast, you've been in far too many life and death situations since then.

With that knowledge comes confidence.  He's just started fighting while you've been fighting for the last eight months!  There's something to be said for having momentum … and a hitwizard.  That helps too.

Kwan disrupts the trio of bone breakers Riddle answers with as you switch to a blasting curse heavy spellchain.  It's a dance of destruction.  Wait for the tempo change. Here it comes … now!

Just like you've practiced a million times in the Room of Requirement, you hit the fourth spell in this chain and switch to defending as Kwan goes on the offensive with his "exotic" chain.  Riddle's repertoire is substantially better than yours, but Kwan likely has a few that even he has never seen before.  You have the power, he the skill.  Making your enemy adjust to the changing styles keeps him off balance.

There's a sudden jolt of agony and your shield buckles.  It allows part of a wounding curse to get through, digging a furrow into your dragon hide vest and almost breaking skin.  Hack!  What are they doing to you?  Riddle doesn't fight fair anymore than you do.

Brushing aside Kwan's efforts, Riddle's next spell rips a massive stalagmite from the ground and sends it like a missile, forcing the both of you switch to defensive to destroy it.  The dust burns.  Instinct kicks in and you counter with a gale force wind driving the cloud of Voldemort transfigured acid away.  Kwan sprays you with water and then douses himself while you somehow find the strength and focus to conjure the same solid shield Riddle was forced into using against Dumbledore back in the Ministry.  Not one, but two lethal curses batter the barrier.

"Crucio!"  A third voice joins the fray.  Fortunately, it's Bill.  His Unforgiveable isn't nearly as powerful as Kwan's, but it drives the vile wizard back and buys you even more time to regroup.  The bonus is he'll be able to tell Fleur that he managed to get the Dark Lord with an Unforgiveable … assuming he lives.

Take a chance!  You throw the Killing Curse.  The hairs on your skin itch with the perverse energy.  Just wide left, but Kwan's Piercing curse draws blood.  Arrogant berk didn't bother wearing any armor.  Riddle's anger fuelled Killing Curse bears down on Bill, but your Banisher tosses your friend roughly aside and out of the path.  It's like chess with a five second timer.  The only difference is when a piece leaves the board, it's usually because he is dead.

"Do you think you can possibly beat me?  Suffer my wrath!"  An impossibly thick cloud of darkness forms around him and explodes outward.  Jagged swirls of fetid energy lash out.  Kwan rolls behind you and raises an earthen shield.  Whatever forces Voldemort is playing with saw through it like a knife through bread.  For the second time, you find yourself dumping energy into a solid shield that barely holds.  Five others including two of his Death Eaters are struck and cut down.

Shit!  He's ticked off and he's finally taking you seriously. His display of power lasts for a full ten seconds.  Your shield is cracked and pitted, but still in one piece.  Riddle's close now.  Less than thirty feet separate the two of you.

"Any ideas, Kwan?"

"Yes.  Kill him!"

"That's all you got?"  You don't bother to hide your disbelief.

He coughs and spits.  "Fate made you his nemesis.  Master your fate!"

Kwan has a way with words.  You admire that.  Exactly how you are supposed to execute this plan remains to be seen.  Funneling your rage into your own powerful strike, you conjure the largest fire whip you've ever made.  The color is the same deep emerald of your eyes.  "Fine, let's end this!" 

Leaping forward, you slash overhand.  His gust of wind splits your whip momentarily, sending two streams of green fire around him.  Maintaining your focus and bending the forces of magic to fit yours, the whip shortens and sprouts a third tendril.  Instead of a bullwhip, you're wielding a cat o' nine tails.  One of the strands of energy singes Riddle's leg as he rolls out of the way.

You keep up the pressure, but are forced to dodge an errant curse from one of the other fights.  It buys the Dark Lord enough time to Transfigure the earthen ground into a huge sword which he surrounds with deadly black flames.

"Pay attention, Potter!  This is how you play with fire."

He thrusts forward as you sidestep and swing.  Your fire whip wraps around the lower portion of his massive weapon and a sharp pain sends you to your knees.  It's like you're being slowly electrocuted.  There's a piercing scream that fills the cavern with a deafening noise.  Forcing an eye open, you at least want to see Riddle's final strike coming.

It isn't.  Voldemort is as bad off as you are.  Both of your energies are being siphoned into the swirling mass of green and black energy where the whip met the sword.  The pain grows.  It's like both of you are under the effects of the Cruciatus Curse, but you can't let go of the wand.

Riddle's sword starts to shudder and crack from the inside. There's a darkness that seems to be swallowing it.  There's something coming out of there.

"Potter!"  Riddle's barely audible scream reaches you.  It pulls your attention away from whatever is happening.

There's a stab of pain, which is a pinprick compared to everything else.  It's a weak thrust of Legilmency.  Your barely-existent Occlumency shield tries and fails to stop it.

"The wand boy!  What wand are you using?"  Riddle doesn't even bother to hide his panic.


"Fool!  You've doomed us both!  The whole world!"

You're about to ask why when the mental connection breaks and the cavern is filled with a terrifying, but familiar sound.  This one you know all too well.  You hoped you'd never hear it again.

"FREEDOM!  At last!  FREEDOM!"


It's back!  You try to deny what your eyes are seeing and pray that this is just some kind of mental torture Riddle is using, but the bone shivering wave of despair that crashes on the shore of your soul doesn't lie.

The rift splits wider as four arms tear reality asunder and the stuff of nightmares steps through.

"I told you we'd meet again, whelp," the Daemon bares its fangs at you, before turning to Riddle.  "And you, you've come so far on the path to immortality, following the breadcrumbs I kept leaving for you.  How does it feel to be used?  Tell me lesser being … or not.  You'll die soon enough.  I just need you two fools to power my rift.  This time, I've brought my army!"

You'd always wondered what was in the core of Chilotha's wand.  Now you know.  You convulse as each new horrible daemon emerges from the rift, but can't let go of the wand.  The others, even the Death Eaters pit their magic against the new arrivals. 

They don't stand a chance in hell. 

"Kwan!"  You scream.  "Kill me!"

The Korean pauses for a moment and then swiftly nods.  Energy streaks from his wand and you prepare to welcome the release, but the bulk of the greater Daemon shields you.

"That never works, child.  In all the realities I've seen, he never manages to," it chides you.  The foul breath makes you gasp.

Two other hideous monstrosities form a protective ring around Riddle, as the beast that's played the two of you for fools, pounces on Kwan.  The light of spellfire silhouettes the daemon, for a second but then vanishes and you know your friend is gone.

Anger only fuels your magic and opens the breach in reality wider.  It laughs.  You can't see anyone else other than Riddle.  The world is ending and the only thing you can see is that ugly bastard!  At least he's in as much pain as you are.  The only place that doesn't seem to be on fire is that scar Fawkes left on your shoulder.



Damn it!  You struggle to raise the holly wand and catch Voldemort's eyes again.  "Look at me!"  You scream.  The one time you need his help!  It figures.

Finally, he sees you.  He nods with his eyes and starts fishing for his yew wand.  It takes everything you have to cast probably the feeblest banisher you've ever seen.  It arcs toward a shield so pathetic, Voldemort would likely Obliviate it from the memories of any who'd seen it.

A faint light grows in front of the darkness and the song of the phoenix begins to build.  You feel like you're being drawn and quartered.  The sound grows and reaches a crescendo, forcing "four arms" to turn.

The new rift explodes in a geyser of dozens of fire birds.  Their warbling screams fill the space and they descend on the daemons.  It's the most beautiful and terrifying scene ever imagined.

"NO!  I won't let you stop me."  The mastermind howls, rising above the din.  A very familiar creature flashes in front of it and screeches.  Maybe the big nasty monster isn't the only one that is "all seeing."

It rounds on you and backhands you into the demonic rift.  You fly through the air and crash off the body of a daemon.  The tether binding you to Riddle yanks him through as well.  There's a joke about telling him to "go to hell" that doesn't seem so funny now.

The connection finally breaks and you're free again … in the middle of a horde of daemons.  Instinctively, you cast a patronus and then another.  The phantom jaguars force them back, but already the rift is beginning to close.  A few of the phoenixes or is it phoenixi come through and assault the minions of evil.  Whoever said their enemies are big serpents got it wrong.

"Potter!  I need a wand." 

"Fuck off!"  You managed to keep hold of your wands, but Riddle did not.  It sucks to be him right about now.

"If we can't get out of here, we both die!"

"I don't think even a horcrux can get you out of this, Tom."

"We're the only ones that can stop the daemons on the other side.  Don't be a fool, Potter.  There won't be a world left!"  He steps toward you, but you level Chilotha's wand at him.

Casting another patronus, you consider the options.  If it wasn't for the prospect of the world being destroyed, you could live with that.  You were already prepared to die, but taking the rest of the planet with you doesn't seem worth it.

"An oath Riddle.  You leave England and never return if we survive this and stay out of South America while you're at it."  Let the rest of the world deal with his stupidity.

"Very well, Potter.  I accept your terms."

You flip him Chilotha's wand and summon another protective partronus to circle around you.  Riddle adds his own.  Wondering what constitutes a happy memory for Voldemort disturbs you to no end.  The "ground," if that's what you can call it, starts to shake and you know that something big is coming.  It looks like another greater daemon.

Riddle is casting up a storm trying to reach the shrinking rift.  You probably can't even fit through now.

"Potter!  Go ahead and use the Killing Curse."

"It doesn't stop them.  The patronus can keep them back."

"On me, idiot!  Use it on me."

Ignoring the irony, you ask, "Why?"

"Because, my wraith form can make it through and I have your blood anchor on the other side.  I can make a new body.  It's the only way.  Strike me down before the portal closes for good."

If you weren't about to die, you'd find this ludicrous.  Prophecies are never cut and dry, are they?

"Remember your oath.  Avada Kedarva!"  His body drops to the ground, soul separated from his carcass.

Killing Voldemort.  It should be the highlight of your day, but it's not.  You're going to die.  He's going to get resurrected again.  How's that fair?

You cast another patronus, but the presence of the greater Daemon draws the ethereal jaguar like a moth to a flame.  The creature has a serpent’s head and two massive snakes for arms.  The jaguar leaps at the thing and is ripped to shreds.  That's not good.  The others advance on you.

Riddle's ghost rises again and starts toward the small hole back to your reality, but one of the things head snaps out and catches his spirit with its mouth.  His screams echo through your soul.  It couldn't happen to a more deserving person.  Prophecy fulfilled.  Fat lot of good it seems to be doing you at the moment.  You duck and dodge as the stuff of madness draws closer.  The end is near.

You don't have much in the way of magic left and all your growth potions are back in Gringotts, but you cast one final patronus and shift into your jaguar form.  Positive energy surrounds you.  Sadly, the only thing you're positive about is that you're going to die.

But you'll go down swinging.  Someone else will have to stop old "four arms."  It's Fawkes and company's problem now.  You've done as much as you can.


Pain.  Numbing pain, but only in the upper half of the body.  You can't feel your back legs anymore.  The serpent mouth on the thing's left arm tosses your body up in the air.  The main mouth opens impossibly wide.  It is going to swallow you whole!  There's no chance your spirit will make it back through that tiny sliver separating the realms.

You hope it chokes on you as you try to come up with something appropriate to be your last living thought.

Several flashes of light appear.  What was it again that you are supposed to do?  Go in to the light?  Stay away?

Doesn't matter.

You thud onto the ground.  What happened to being swallowed?  The one eye that can focus makes out a phoenix wreathed in blue flame.  The other ones that swooped in are trying to drive the greater daemon back.  The firebird looks at you and raises a clawed talon.  With a quick motion that you can barely follow, it slashes your throat.

Death is difficult to describe.  There's a rising sensation.  You seem to have a wraith form … just like Riddle.  Is that a good or bad thing?  The fact that he was ripped in two and devoured by that abomination over there a few seconds ago doesn't bode well.  Better get a move on!

The phoenix that saved you, only to kill you, caws to get your attention.  It gestures toward the tiny opening, no bigger than a teacup.  Guess it was really doing you a favor.

Yeah, that beats being consumed in what passes for hell these days.  You try and float in that direction and gather what speed you can.

The rest of the fire birds break off their attack and are making tracks for the exit.  A couple of them have been reduced to their little "chickadee" form.  They easily pop through the opening.  Pink, Green, and Blue squeeze through leaving a slot open for you.

Just as you start through, something grabs your spectral foot and starts reeling you back.  It's not the Greater Daemon, just something that looks like a dementor on steroids.  Your fingers swipe at the rift in vain.  You're not going to make it this time.  Shit!

Writing off the last hope you have, you turn to face the creature and stare into the abyss behind the thing's hood.  It explodes in a burst of flames and you're free.  You struggle for the opening and look back when your vision clears.  Your savior is Fawkes.

What the hell?  Or is that "what the here?"  It hates you.

Fawkes screeches at you.  The meaning is clear.  "Go!"

Squirming through the last bits of the rift, you escape with no time to spare.  It finally all makes sense.  If Fawkes and the others of its kind can see the future, it knew what it would have to do to allow your spirit to escape.  No wonder it was so hostile to you!  It's going to spend eternity fighting and dying in hell, just to save your sorry arse … or at least your sorry ghost's arse.

The cavern looks a bit different then last you saw it, bodies are everywhere and not just humans either.  Unlike the ones that followed you into the rift, the other phoenixes are employing a different strategy.  They keep teleporting other things in to fight the five or so daemons that remain.

"Impossible!"  Four arms bellows as it eviscerates a sword wielding centaur.  You've been spotted.  It lumbers forward to finish off your immortal soul, but in a flash ten arcomantulas and a rather familiar looking giant bar its way.  The blue phoenix digs into your shoulder before you can see what fate has in store for Grawp and Aragog's children.  The immortal avian tugs you further into the tunnels.  You aren't certain what it's doing until you see a metal door from what looks like a large vault.  It releases you.  You drift through it and discover what is behind "door number one."

There's an unconscious Narcissa Malfoy on the ground, a very nervous Peter Pettigrew, eyeing a very angry troll named Hack.  There are tables, bookshelves, and all sorts of items strewn about.  Two things catch your eye.  The first must be Helga Hufflepuff's cup … Riddle's final horcrux.  It's the final piece of his soul, floundering like a chicken with its head cut off.  The second is the blood anchor bobbing in a cauldron.  Both are calling out to you.

Obviously, fate isn't done with you yet. 

Pettigrew dips the cup into the brine inside the cauldron while you fight the inexorable pull toward the founder's artifact.  You stop trying to break free and are drawn into the vortex.  Somehow you know that the cup is being pressed to that nasty thing you and Bill concocted.  It was only meant to be a proxy for charging Hogwarts' wards.

The part of you and the remnants of whatever is left of Riddle slide down the thing's throat.  The experience is surprisingly painless, but maxes out on the disgustingly creepy scale.  Eyes open.  Everything's a blur and you don't really have ears, but you can and do scream.  

This idiotic plan hinges on a sycophant of an Animagus and a troll.  Did Riddle actually think this one through?  At least Pettigrew has done this before and probably still owes you a debt.  The sleeping Narcissa is hauled up by Hack.  Peter slices her arm open and collects the blood in the cup.  You gag as the rim is pressed to your lips.  Will that make you a closer relative to Draco than you already are?  That's unnerving.  The liquid with a significant magical chaser rushes down into your throat.  The fleshy blob that is Peter gestures to the larger green blob who is Hack.  The trolls saws a large finger off and drops it into the cauldron. 

For a second, nothing happens and you think you're either going to die like this or be the "freak" Vernon always thought you'd be.

That passes and instead you get to experience sixteen and a half years of growth in the span of ten seconds.  Strangely enough, it's not the most painful experience in the world … definitely a distant second to the Cruciatus curse, but it's no stroll in the park either.

Hearing develops as the swirling frothing vortex roars around you.  If Narcissa were awake, would she be praying for it to fail as you did back in the graveyard?  Fate must also have an odd sense of humor.  An arm you've never used steadies your convulsing body on the rim.  Legs that have never stood touch the bottom and push upright.

Hack's arm wraps around you and gently pulls you out of the cauldron.  He sets you on the ground and supports your weight for a moment, while you "find" your legs.

"Harry?"  Peter asks.  He seems uncertain.  You're more than a bit confused as well.

Dry cracked lips part.  You swallow a couple of times to try and get the taste of unsavory magic out of your mouth.  It doesn't work.  There's a certain symmetry in your words.

"Robe me, Wormtail."

Hack thwacks you on the back, almost sending you to the ground.  "Hack miss puny Harry."

"Yeah, I missed you too buddy," you say when Peter helps you into some rather dull looking black robes.  Riddle has … had no taste.

Looking at the cup, you say, "I thought it was glowing?"

"It was," Peter answers.  He waves his wand over it.  "Nothing.  Nothing at all.  It's just a cup now.  That's not all Harry, your scar … it's gone."

"Really?"  Tracing your finger across your forehead, you find nothing, just smooth, impossibly soft skin.  Hufflepuff's cup was rumored to have incredible healing abilities.  Some say that Galahad found this rather than the Holy Grail.

"How do you feel?"

His question catches you by surprise.  After everything you've been through, you should be ready to crawl under a rock and not emerge for a few weeks.  You don't feel that way.  It's not even close.  No connection to the Dark Lord and no scar.  All things considered, and that's saying a lot, you feel pretty good.  Of course, there's a chance that you're infused with part of Riddle's power and that of Hufflepuff's cup.

It makes you wonder if this is a permanent increase or something that's going to wear off, which brings you back to the reality of the situation.  Between you and the exit are several pissed off lesser daemons and their big, bad boss.  The grand invasion it had planned isn't quite as grand as foreseen.  Somehow you doubt Fawkes' pals brought you down here to be resurrected just so they can give you a quick lift to the surface.  You're just not that lucky.

"I need a wand."

Pettigrew coughs.  The spasm lasts for several seconds.  When it passes, he gestures to the table and says, "The master was prepared."

"You're being rather helpful now that Riddle is dead," you say.  There's nothing like impending death to bring out the "best" in a person.  The wand was probably a close match for Voldemort, so it’s a passable fit for you.

"I doubt anything I do now will atone for my actions, but I'll at least be able to say I tried.  The troll's club is in the trunk over there."

Hack grins and rips the lid off the magical container. At least twenty items spill out and fill the room.  He pulls the large daemonbone club out of the mix.

"The creature that gave up that bone last time is out there, buddy."

"Hack can give this back to him then," the troll answers slowly tapping it against the palm of one hand.  "Hack smash heads now."

"Sounds good to me.  Pettigrew, you can stay here with Malfoy if you want."  Honestly, he'd probably just get in the way.

The disheveled Animagus gathers himself and says, "She'll be fine here.  I think I'd rather come with you and see this to the end."

In a day full of surprises, a rare Gryffindor streak rearing its head inside Peter Pettigrew is the latest.

"What the hell … why not?  A patronus is your best weapon against daemons.  Cast it as many times as you can."

Peter shakes his head and says, "I never learned that spell."

"Oh," you reply.  "Not much to do about it now.  Just throw whatever you're comfortable with, but don't expect it to be that effective."  Looking down at that crazy bint, Narcissa Malfoy, you truss her up.

Opening the metal door protecting the converted vault, you find the blue phoenix glaring at you.  It caws as if to ask if you're done fooling around. 

"Let's go send that Daemon back where it came from."

  • Previous
  • Next

Author Notes:

Happy Halloween everyone.   I toyed with the idea of ending the chapter in different places.   My options were before Riddle and Harry get tossed through the rift, just after that, where I did end it, or writing the final battle with four arms.

I'm guessing that I'd get a bunch of "evil cliffy" reviews if I had done the first two and I want to take a couple of days to write this last battle, so I'll add the final scene to the epilogue.

One of my alpha's mentioned that canon/JKR says that Voldemort is incapable of casting a patronus.   I would answer that evil people can be very happy with what they do.   Besides, why would Dementors do business with humans who have no defense against them?   In that scenario, Riddle and his Death Eaters would just be "food."

Sorry for the long delay.   I promise the final chapter by next weekend.      

Onto other news of interest.   The first is a free ebook   (until midnight on Halloween - after that it is 99 cents) from Gryphonwood Press.   My short story, "Stupid Pigs" is in it.

The url is

The coupon code is AD94N.   Apply it at checkout and it's free, but act soon before it expires.

It's also available on Amazon Kindle, but there is no coupon for that.

Now, for something I'm really excited about.   If you follow the link to my website you can click on a link to see the cover art for Horror, Humor, and Heroes Volume 2 - New Faces of Fantasy.   You'll only find one story from me in it, but the other authors include several members of this site and some other very well known members of the fandom doing original short stories.

Many have been asking about the sequel to The Lie I've Lived.   I still plan to write it.   My schedule is pretty backlogged at the moment, but I finish what I start.