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Bungle in the Jungle

Author Notes:

Disclaimer — More fanfiction

Acknowledgements — Just a trio of people to thank this time.   Perspicacity and Voice of Nephilim for the commentary and Aaran St. Vines for the quick beta.

Chapter 14 – You Had to Have it Your Way I’m Saying No Way

You’ve spent a good deal of time over the last few years (ever since that incident a graveyard) wondering just where Tom Riddle (also known as Voldemort) is.  To some, it would border on paranoia, but in your defense, he is fairly preoccupied with killing you.  It’s like the old saying – you might be paranoid, but that doesn’t mean someone is not out to get you.

Problem solved.  You know exactly where Riddle is.  He’s on the other side of a few tons of earth … waiting to kill you.

That’s about the only silver lining you can come up with in this.  Your assets include an unconscious troll, a homicidal house elf, three dementors (with the other three dragged into the bottom of the water inside this cave and turned into dementor-cicles), a box full of Muggle weapons, ammunition, and explosives.  Finally there are two dinged-up and exhausted cursebreakers.  A few inferi are still wandering around, but they’re useless outside of the cave and an annoyance inside.

Got any ideas, Bill?  You draw in the air with your wand.  The area is silenced as well.  The fun never stops.  If you’d remembered to pack some Peruvian Instant Darkness powder things might be a bit easier.  Maybe there is time to send Kreacher back for some?  No.  Not likely.

They’ll probably let us dig ourselves out and wait to kill us. If we had the sapper, we could activate it and drop the wards in here pretty quick.  Maybe the elf can get it for us?  If not, we can look for the master set of runes and break just the Anti-apparition wards and get the hell out of here. 

You like his idea.  Of course, finding the master set of runes in a fairly large cave that is in complete darkness, is a bit much to ask.  The broomstick jinxes make getting up to the ceiling problematic and your gut feeling says that Riddle put them under the waterline.  Sure you want to cross wands with Voldemort again.  It’s all been leading up to this, hasn’t it?  But you want to do it on your own terms and not his.

We could send Kreacher to the Ministry and have them send enough Aurors to chase him off for now.  You’re not the only one who loses sleep wondering where the Dark Lord is.  Scrimgeour doesn’t like the tosser either.  How many times over the years did you have to run to somebody else’s aid?  When’s it going to be someone else’s turn to be the cavalry?

The Order?  Bill asks.

You shake your head and reply.  Snape can’t leave the castle and he and Shacklebolt are the only two left that are worth a damn in a fight.  We need a distraction, not something else for him to kill while waiting for us.

Bill gestures at Kwan’s box of weapons and explosives.  Boom boom time?

What do you mean?

Drop a ten second explosive rune in there and have the elf transport it to the other side of the cave in.  If we play it right, we’ll take a few of them out.

What if that drops the rest of the mountain on us?

We fall back to the island over there.  If the cave starts to go, the wards will go along with it.  As soon as they fall, we’re out of here?  If the cave doesn’t go, we bust our way out, and use our dementor friends as shields.

Hack?  You point at the troll.  You can probably get him to the little island in the middle, but the troll is notoriously resistant to magic and difficult to Apparate when he’s conscious.

Bill frowns.  Hack needs more medical attention than either of you two can provide.  No breaker worth a damn likes it when teammates go down. 

Firebolt?  You offer.  You’re lightning fast on that broom.  The problem is even that might not be fast enough.

Maybe, but my broom could never keep up.  He responds.  What if I turn into my niffler form and you carry me?

Not a bad idea, Bill.  Maybe I can transfigure Hack into something small enough and it will hold until we reach the edge of the water and can use a Portkey.

Stupid plans are your specialty.  This seems like the most workable of the stupid ideas available at the moment and Bill begins to add some embellishments that should slightly enhance the odds of your survival.  Tests performed on the unconscious troll show that he reverts to his normal – if that’s a word you can use to describe your friend – form in one minute.  So, you’ve got a whopping sixty seconds to shrink him, blow the tunnel open, fly through the Death Eater gauntlet, while evading Tom Riddle himself and Portkey the hell out of there.  Easy right?

You suppose it could be more complicated and difficult, but you’re fairly satisfied about how completely fucked up this will be.


There are no further preparations to make.  You’ve summoned a golem out of one of the larger pieces of rubble and it is clearing the debris away.  The thing will be one more item that will hopefully get between you and Death Eater spells in a couple of minutes.  One thing you absolutely must do before jumping on that broom is clear the entrance to the cave.  There’s still a serious broom jinx inside the cavern.  Bill is drawing some temporary wards. 

That’s when all hell breaks loose.  A huge chunk of the mass just disappears right in front of your golem.  Tom is tired of waiting!


Bill jumps toward you and changes in midair.  Tiny niffler claws dig into your back while the three remaining dementors rush out of the cave.  One intercepts a sickly green death curse that causes it no harm.

You finish turning Hack into a suitcase and grab the handle.  Sprinting toward the cave mouth, you trigger the temporary wards with your wand work and close your eyes.  Brilliant light flashes even through your closed lids.  At least you were prepared for it.  The dementors have their backs to it.

You hit the mouth of the cave and swing your leg onto the broom as your golem explodes and you feel the pain in your scar.  On a positive note, you can hear again.

“Die Potter!”  Not exactly the first words you want to hear though.

The golem you summoned buys you a second to get airborne as Riddle’s disintegration curse vaporizes the thing and the dust cloud allows you to accelerate right through someone’s owl-shaped patronus that was warding the dementors back.

Yanking hard on the Firebolt, you, Bill and “suitcase” Hack veer hard left and away from Riddle, bowling bowl over a Death Eater in front of you.  Somehow, you manage to hold onto Hack as you throw a few destructive spells over your shoulder into the mayhem behind you, but you can tell the transfiguration is beginning to wear off.  The suitcase is already adding weight and that is forcing you to fight the Firebolt to stay level.  A part of you realizes that you didn’t factor in the fact that you wouldn’t be able to concentrate fully on maintaining the Transfiguration spell while in the midst of a fight.

Any second now, Kreacher!

A giant hand reaches out of the ground and grabs your left leg, jerking you forward.  It clamps down like a vice and you scream as the pressure shatters your bones.  You are dangled off the end of the cliff barely holding onto your broom, but losing your grip on Hack.  The case, now with feet, slips from your grasp and falls onto a ledge below you.

Caught like you have one leg in a bear trap, you summon a shield behind you out of the rock.  You have the luxury of knowing what’s coming.

Riddle’s mouth opens wider than humanly possible and his gloating smile proclaims final victory as dispels your shield and raises his wand for the killing blow.  Your eyes lock and you feel him pushing through your defenses, but you’re looking past him at the wooden crate being banished out of the cave mouth.

The enemy spins realizing what is happening as the box filled with Muggle ammunition and explosives detonates.  The stone hand vanishes and ironically, Riddle’s shield helps protect you and Bill.  Even so, you’re flung away by the shockwave.  The injured leg makes controlling the spinning Firebolt even more difficult.  Bill is tossed off and plummets to the unforgiving waves below.

Steadying the broom, you reach out with tendrils of magic, slowing his fall and drive the racing broom toward him.  You catch him like a Quaffle and cradle him in your arms.  Spinning, you glance back and see that Hack is now back in his regular form.  Some bodies have landed on the rocks and in the water.

For a brief moment you consider going back for your troll.  He’s still alive.  You know that, but the cloud on the plateau clears unexpectedly and you see Riddle kneeling at the edge.  He’s injured, but not nearly as bad as you are and he’s angry.  Already he’s sweeping his arm toward you and bolts of energy leave his wand like World War Two anti-aircraft cannons.

All you can do is hope Hack lives to forgive you as you activate the necklace Portkey before Voldemort’s spells arrive.


There actually was a time when you thought the bone growing potion hurt.  To be honest, your experiences with pain were pretty limited at age twelve.  Fast forward a few years and it isn’t so bad – by comparison.  At least you have your own quarters and don’t have to worry about too many people pestering you.  Thirty-six hours after the debacle at the cave, the bones in your lower leg are mostly back together and you’re resting somewhat comfortably, although the man standing at the foot of your bed isn’t helping matters.

“So Potter, I trust you learned not to take the Dark Lord for granted?”  Snape asks in a casual manner mocking you.

“He wasn’t exactly in good shape either.  That was his best shot at an ambush and it failed,” you remind the “de facto” Headmaster of Hogwarts.  With Dumbledore sleeping this one off and McGonagall dead, Flitwick is running the day to day operations with the occasional use of Tonks and her abilities, but as far as you are concerned Snape is Hogwarts now.  Oddly, it’s not the nightmare scenario you thought it would be.

“Did it?” Snape responds with scorn.  “He has your troll familiar now.  From your own admission, he crafted a dangerous creature out of Lily’s wallflower of a sister.  Imagine what he could do with something more substantial than a housewife for base material.”

The git has a point.  You were shocked to learn that Snape actually knew Petunia at some point in his life.  Bill was set to rally some of the Order members to go and retrieve Hack, but you sensed Hack was being moved.  Kreacher wasn’t terribly happy about being sent back to the cave, but he returned and confirmed that the troll was long gone.

“He’s probably under Gringotts now,” you say.

“Yes, and I fully expect that the beast will be made into bait for a trap.  I would advise against a repeat of the foolishness that led to Black’s demise.”

“I’ve come a long way since then, Snape.”

“For both our sakes, I hope so.”

“Where is Bill?”  You haven’t seen him since he’d disbanded the rescue mission.

“Your man, Kwan has sent word via the Brazilian embassy.  He is back in the country with a band of mercenaries.  Weasley slipped out of the castle to rendezvous with him.”

Sipping on a Muggle cola through a straw, you smack the mattress and say, “Damn!  If we’d had him at the cave, things might’ve gone better.”

“For a change, I agree with you, Potter.”

You ask, “What do you think Riddle’s next move will be?” Snape is more qualified than anyone else to make guesses about the bastard.  It takes one to know one.

“Your encounter with him did net him a prisoner, but it cost him.  Based on what Weasley showed me in the pensieve, he could have lost as many as nine Death Eaters.  We know one was Miss Parkinson, but the identities of the others are a mystery.  My guess is that he would have brought any available members of his inner circle, so they could see him vanquish you once and for all.  So, it is reasonable to say that he lost the services of several powerful spell casters.  Perhaps we no longer have to deal with the likes of Lestrange, Malfoy, or the Carrows.  At the very least, they will be healing their wounds.  I suspect, he will turn his attention back to raids against the Ministry for the immediate future.  It will net him a few victories with relative ease and save face with the Goblin nation.  It should buy us at most two weeks, but I believe he will assault the castle at some point.”

“That’s what I was thinking as well,” you say, ignoring the mental distaste at thinking the same thing as Snape.  Still it does make you wonder something.  “So what happens if I lose and he wins, Snape?  What move do you make after that?  Humor me.”

The man smiles at you and there is no hint of compassion on his face.  “You ask for a honest answer, so I will give you one.  I have the still sleeping Dumbledore and the castle to offer him.  Assuming that is enough, I will either take my place at his side in the new order of things, or I will see how vulnerable he is now that the prophecy concerning you has been fulfilled.  Rest assured, Potter, I will do what is in the interest of my own survival.”

“Wouldn’t expect otherwise, but remember your debt to me extends to Hermione and the child she’s carrying.”

“Quite likely,” Snape concedes.  “If he does not bring down the wards, Granger will still be alive.  She and your spawn will be protected.  I can send Dumbledore’s body out as a peace offering.  Negotiating with the Dark Lord from behind Hogwarts’ protection is preferable to doing it without.  If he does bring down the wards, she’ll perish as they fall and the point is moot.”

You nod.  He is a completely unrepentant bastard, but he isn’t lying to you.  


“Shouldn’t you be resting,” Bill asks.  He gestures to the magic carpet you’re floating on.  “Those things are illegal in England, you know.”  The Marauder’s Map floats next to him.  “I was wondering how you were making such good time.”

“Kwan borrowed it from one of his mercs for me.  I’ll play the diplomatic immunity card, if I have to.  I don’t know about you, but the castle feels just a bit safer with Kwan around.  Still, he insulted me for getting injured and letting Hack get captured.  After that, he promised to find a way to make me faster.  You’d think that after another run in with Riddle, anything Kwan promises wouldn’t scare me so much.”

Bill laughs and says, “But it did, didn’t it?”

“Too right you are,” you agree.  “Voldemort just wants to kill me in a grand spectacle.  Kwan seriously wants to hurt me.”

The two of you share a quick laugh. Bill asks, “So what brings you out at this ungodly hour?”  It’s three in the morning and he is working on “booby trapping” the area around the Room of Requirement.  It’s a task that can’t be done while students are roaming the halls.

Sadly, you can’t use any of Chilotha’s assorted nastiness here, because of Snape’s oath to protect Draco.  That said, one of these days, the little light-haired piece of shit is going to actually fix that vanishing closet and lead a group of Death Eaters into the castle.  Bill is in charge of organizing the “welcoming party” for the guests.  Even though there is nothing lethal here, your buddy has gotten quite creative.  Between the babbling hexes, stuttering charms, confundus curses, and something he picked up from a Greek ‘breaker he met in Egypt called “Sisyphus’ Rock,” the bloody fools will be lucky if they manage to cast a spell when the trap is sprung.

“I was getting lonely in my quarters.  The only people that visit me besides you and Kwan are Pomfrey, Snape, and Hermione.  Pomfrey’s been strange around me ever since the third floor was leveled.”

“I’m guessing since you saw her panic and leave the Bell girl to her death that she doesn’t want to be near you.”  Bill says, using is wand to draw a straight line from the wall to the door to the Room of Requirement.

“Right in one, if I had to guess,” you answer.  “Just because Snape appears to be on my side for now doesn’t mean I actually enjoy his presence.  Finally, there’s Hermione.  Things are just plain weird between us.”

“You could always shag her again.  Unless you’re worried she’ll get even more pregnant than she already is!”

“Low blow, Weasley.  Maybe when you’re older I’ll explain to you how all the problems between people of different sexes can’t be solved by inserting tab ‘a’ into slot ‘b’.”

“So is your first novel after the war going to be a memoir about defeating a Dark Lord, or Relationships according to Harry Potter?”

You chuckle and reply, “Haven’t decided.  Maybe I’ll use the title ‘I Did It My Way’ for whichever I end up choosing.”

“There’s a Muggle that would sue.  Actually, I’m not entirely certain he’s a Muggle.  Better choose something else.  How about, ‘Harry Potter’s Life or I Have No Idea What I’m Doing?’ We could change the ‘What’ out for a ‘Who’ and you’ll be covered either way.”

“Good thing you’re a better ‘breaker than you are a comedian.  Here, I brought you presents.”  You offer the leather bag to him.  “Aside from the awkward visits, I found plenty of time to carve.”

“Oh ho, what’s this?”  Bill pulls out a glass jar filled with tiny little statues.  “Soapstone bees?”

“A baker’s dozen.  Charmed to animate when the command phrase is said.  That vanishes the lid too.  I went ahead and put stinging hexes on the surface.  I figure that I’ll float up to the top of the hallway and use a sticking charm right there in the shadows.”

“Not bad, Harry.  I might have to steal this idea from you for future work.  You should have left out the stingers and gone to Snape for a paralytic poison to soak them in.  Not too many will be coming through the door with a bezoar in their mouth.”

“Didn’t think of a potion,” you mutter, “Already stealing from the journeyman you’re supposed to be mentoring?”  You float up and invert the jar while sticking it to a crossbeam.

Bill shrugs and says, “Potions aren’t good long term solutions.  They lose their potency after time, but for something that’s going to last a few weeks, don’t overlook the possibility of using potions.  As for your baseless accusation, I’ll let that slide Journeyman Potter.  How many times have I told you the golden rule of cursebreaking?  Good ‘breakers come up with their own schemes.  Great ones make someone else’s good scheme better.  You’ve got the talent, Harry.  I look forward to what I can appropriate from you next.” 

Well there is the old saying that imitation is a form of flattery.  You feel … flattered.


You collapse in pain before Kwan’s curse strikes you.  Usually it’s the other way around.  He immediately lets it go, but the pain doesn’t go away.

The old man limps over to you.  “What is it?  Is it leg?”

“No, I think Voldemort just did something to Hack.”

“Is the troll dead?”

“No, I can still sense him.”

“Then we assume he has someone ready to torture troll when you and he fight.  You must be prepared.  We keep training.  If pain goes away, let me know and I put hex on you.”

The funny part is that he really expects you to tell him when Voldemort stops whatever he is doing to your friend.  “Can’t say I’ve missed our little sessions.”

The Korean hitwizard glares at you.  “You still too arrogant.  Faced Dark Lord and lived again.  One day soon, you have to stand and fight.  Think you are ready to fight him, today?”

“Not today, but I can try and work him into my schedule next week.”

Kwan makes a guttural grow of disgust and says, “All one big joke to you isn’t it?  Think he will fight you fairly?  In some kind of stupid duel?  Remember when you asked me to teach you how to duel?”

“Easy Kwan.  I know what I’m up against.  Best thing to do is make fun of it.  Otherwise I’d have gone insane a long time ago.” 

“Joke with Bill.  Serious with me.  I go away and you turn back into stupid kitty cook!”

Obviously, something is bothering Kwan.  It couldn’t be that he’s concerned about you, could it?  “I’m ready to do anything necessary to beat him.”

There’s a long pause while you’re climbing back to your feet.  “Do you mind a personal question?”

“What do you want to know?” He asks.

“I’ve always wondered why you never use the Killing Curse?  I’m just curious,” you ask.  “You don’t have a problem with either of the other two Unforgivables, but in all the time I’ve known you, I’ve never seen you do it.”

The hitwizard sighs and looks downward.  You’ve never seen him do that before!  “Two years ago, we had a job.  Kill a powerful Greek mage named Manos.  He was slippery one, polyjuiced decoys, bodyguards, professional wards everywhere he went.  Took time, but I managed to get inside the estate and finish job.  Big fight.  Nasty fight.  Killed many bodyguards and finally Manos.  Thought everything was done when girl, same age as you are now came in - Manos’ granddaughter home from Durmstrang for winter break.  She was a decent fighter and there was no need to kill her.  I controlled her with an Imperio and was starting to fix her memories, but Collins said it was taking too long and used Killing Curse.”

“You were connected to her when she died.”  You speak the obvious.

“Yes.  Her life flashed before my eyes and then disappeared.  Still able to kill, but have never been able to use Killing Curse since.”

Being the only person to ever survive one of those spells, you can appreciate what he is saying.

You start to say something to him, but he cuts you off.  “Enough talk.  Back to work.  Dark Lord still wants to kill you.”

Now you know why he always says to not get too fond of that curse.

Kwan stands and looks at you.  “Dark Lord wants to kill you himself, doesn’t he?”


“He probably tells all his followers that only he can kill Harry Potter, right?”

“It’s a pretty good assumption.”

Kwan gets an evil smile on his face.  He’s going somewhere with this and wherever it heads, you already like it.  “What are you thinking, Kwan?”

He explains.


Amazingly enough, the next step in you “master plan” has been waiting around for Draco “effing” Malfoy to fix a damn vanishing cabinet.  Would it be too obvious if you had Kreacher leave some manuals on the art of enchanting on the idiot’s pillow?  It’s tempting to just send a bunch of people in there to help him and Obliviate him after the fact, but Snape is in charge of that aspect of things, so the days pass … and you hate it!

Snape’s predictions have been amazingly accurate.  You have to give the man some credit – he knows how dark wizards think.  There were several raids against soft Ministry targets.  Honestly, the goblins couldn’t give a shit about Hogwarts and Harry Potter.  They became allies with Riddle to break the British Ministry and get payback for every lost goblin war before this. 

You suppose students in History of Magic might be paying a bit more attention to Binns’ lectures.   

In your hands is word from Brazil that the goblin nation in that part of the world was even more prepared than any thought.  Things are getting messy.  The rest of the South American ministries are turning a blind eye to the help their tribes of goblins are rendering to keep their branches of Gringotts open.

You toss the messages that the owl from your embassy sent this morning to Hermione.  The senior ambassador would likely be furious with you just handing out sensitive information like that to a foreign national, but he’s not here and you weren’t exactly given this post for your diplomatic skills.

“To tell you the truth Hermione, I just can’t stand them.  I trained with them, worked side by side with goblins for days on end, and went into a cursed city.  Then they betrayed us.  I doubt I’ll ever trust a goblin again.”

She shrugs and says, “Try to see it from their perspective.  What have we done to warrant them trusting magical society?  The ministry is run by awful people like Umbridge.  Something tells me that she’s the rule and not the exception.”

“Playing devil’s advocate, or are you actually sympathizing with them?”

Crinkling her nose, you see a bit of her disgust, “Not really, I just understand what motivates them.  In the eyes of the purebloods, Muggleborns aren’t much higher up the chain than goblins.  If your enemy gets his way, I expect the lot of wizards and witches raised by Muggles to get much worse.”

This is a “safe” topic – the war.  Personal discussions get uncomfortable very fast.  As long as it’s about anything other than that, things are good between the two of you. 

“You’ve got a point, but it still doesn’t mean much.  The goblin leaders aren’t any better than ours.  I’ve watched them sell portions of their tribe out when it suits them.  They use war with the humans to maintain control of their population and keep them in power.”

“Ron asked about you in class the other day.  I didn’t tell him you’d been injured.”  She changes the topic, obviously bored with talking about goblins.

“How’s he doing?  Still seeing Brown?”

“In broom closets from the fifth floor to the seventh.  She boasted that she’s taking him on the tour of Hogwarts.”

“Sounds like Won-Won is pleasantly occupied.”

“Luna confronted me today,” she says.  You sense the awkwardness ahead.

“What did she say?”

“She knew we slept together.  It was strange.  She was oddly lucid.  Why on earth did you tell her about us?”

“She told me Tonks tried to get her to come up and see me that morning.  I said it was Tonks trying to get payback for me being mean to Lupin and she wanted to know why.”

“Luna isn’t in her right mind.  She could be walking down the hallway and just babble it out, for everyone to hear.”

“No, she won’t,” you respond.

“How can you be certain?”

You pause, wondering if it is another breach of trust.  You did tell Luna about sleeping with Hermione, and Hermione is worried.  Screw it!  Let the chips fall where they may.  You don’t have time for this stupid, teenage angst.  “Her whole persona is an act, Hermione.”


“Looney.  It’s just something she does.  She’s been playing a game ever since she got to Hogwarts.”

“You mean she’s not barmy?”

“Oh, she’s just as screwed up as you and me.  She developed the whole Looney Lovegood persona as a defense mechanism.”

Hermione is having trouble processing this.  “When did you find out?”

“The day after I ran away from the Weasleys.  She and her father were at the airport and she was normal as could be.  We became decent friends over the summer through correspondence and tried to give it a go when I got back.  If it hadn’t been for all the stupid shit going on around me, we might’ve made it work.”

“Were you in love with her?”

That question stops you in your tracks and makes you think.  “I don’t really know.  I was having a great time.  When she was around things were never quite that bad.  In the end, it doesn’t really matter, I guess.  She wasn’t going to come out of her shell and the relationship became more of a distraction than anything else.  We might have been perfect for each other, but that’s what happens when the ‘right’ people try to get together at the ‘wrong’ time.”

“That’s so sad!”  Hermione says while tearing up.  “You should try to patch things up with her.”

“That’d be nice, but I’d just end up breaking her heart.”

“Why’s that?”

“The same reason we’d never work out, Hermione.  I probably won’t survive, even if I kill Riddle.  My scar isn’t just a connection to him.  Baba Yaga confirmed that it’s a partial horcrux.”

“That’s not possible!”

“Didn’t someone say that magic makes the impossible possible?  Unfortunately, it’s a likely scenario.  Even if I destroy the cup, his spirit might latch onto me.  Like he tried at the ministry last year.  Except this time, he’d have nowhere else to go.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Well, step one is to kill Riddle.  Anything after that, I’m going to make up on the spot, but both Kwan and Bill know what to do if they have to.  They’re my best friends.  I trust them with my life.  If necessary, I’ll trust them with my death.”

“But the prophecy …”

You swish your hand back and forth, dismissing her words.  “Neither can live, not will live.  It’s open to interpretation.  I’m hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.  That’s why I’m telling you now.  I don’t want you to be shocked if I don’t survive.  Patching things up with Luna would just be setting her up for even more heartbreak.”

A knock on the door interrupts this emotional bloodletting.  You’re extremely grateful.  It’s Bill and he’s got that look on his face.  Maybe you’re due for a dose of karma.

“Just got word from Charlie - the cabinet’s been activated.  I sent an owl to the peacekeepers in Hogsmeade.  They’re on their way up here.  The students are being sent back to their dorms.  Get your dragonhide on and meet me in the seventh floor corridor.  It’s showtime.”

Bill’s already leaving as Hermione approaches and asks, “What’s happening, Harry?”

“Go get Tonks and get to Snape,” you tell her. “He’ll probably need your help – even if he won’t admit it.”  Just like that, all the waiting is over.  Strangely, you feel like you squandered something precious.

“Be careful, Harry.”  She hugs you.  It’s nice.  It might be the last hug you ever get.

Hermione breaks away and goes into her quarters to fetch her bodyguard.  You get the worn piece of armor out of your chest.  Sliding it on, you feel a bit safer, but very much alone.  You’ve made a sizeable number of mistakes in your short life.

“Here’s hoping I live to regret them,” you say to the empty room.


Barricades of stone, hardened against spells and transfiguration litter the corridor … Flitwick’s main contribution.  You, Bill, Kwan, eight Brazilian peacekeepers, a dozen mercenaries, a handful of Aurors, and several members from the staff at Hogwarts will fight from behind them.  The Charms professor’s other offering is a glamour hiding all this from view.

The exit from the Room of Requirements is the designated kill zone.  Part of you prays that Riddle will come himself, but you don’t think that’s his style.  You’ll have to chase him through the tunnels and passageways of Gringotts.  You know it.  You’ve accepted it.  Now, it’s just a matter of how much you can weaken him and what chance that gives your counterpunch of succeeding.

“I’m sorry, boy,” the slightly slurred speech of Sybil Trewlaney whispers in your ear. Her breath is worse than Vernon’s on one of his binges. “All signs point to your death today.”

“Death is just the next great adventure.  With luck, it’ll be better than this one.  As long as I take him out, what happens next matters little.  Do the powers have an answer for that?”

The drunk witch is a bit put out by your reply.  “You should not speak ill of the powers.  They know all.”

“Well if they know all, they knew I was going to say that.  And if they’re willing to turn this world over to Riddle because I hurt their all-powerful egos, that makes them awfully petty, doesn’t it?”

Telling her that everyone makes up stuff during her class, now that would be petty!  You refrain as she moves away from where you’re positioned.  There’s a disturbance in the back of the group and you turn to listen in.  Snape or Flitwick has a couple of the Prefects listening to the wireless and one of them just came running up.

“They’re reports that the Ministry and Diagon Alley are under attack!”

“Raids and feints to keep any reinforcements in London,” Snape says and turns to Percy Weasley, the erstwhile replacement for Minerva McGonagall.  “Weasley, you still have connections at the highest levels.  Get in touch with them and make certain they know the main thrust will be here at Hogwarts.”

“But how can we be certain?”

“I didn’t ask you for your opinion, Weasley.  I told you to go and do something.  Move!”

“Severus!  Come quickly!”  Somehow the ethereal voice of Binns manages to rise above the din.  He’s floating partially through the wall.

“What is it?”  Snape barks.  You don’t really envy the man at all.

“Someone should really take a picture.  It would be very helpful to show my classes.  Goblin war barges on the Great Lake.  Who would’ve ever thought?”

Several spell casters crowd the window next to the ghost of the History of Magic professor.

“He’s right!”  Sprout says, horrified.  “Three off them, and two smaller craft that look like transports.  There’s so many of them!  It’s an army.”

“Quite right,” Binns agrees.  “I don’t know how well the walls will hold up against those catapults.”

Snape surveys the situation.  “Obviously, the Dark Lord is throwing down the gauntlet.  Potter, I’ll have to use the Aurors, the staff, and the members of the Order to meet this threat.  The defense of the castle takes precedence.  You will have to deal with this hallway and decide if you will counterattack.”

No!  “We’ll only get one shot at this.  We have to press the attack!”

“Need I remind you of your oath, boy?”  Snape says between redirecting those that answer to him.

“Well the way I see things, the school won’t ever be out of danger until Riddle is dead and I’ve got a chance to end things.  If you need help, wake up Rip Van Winkle, but I’ll be long gone. 

“So be it, Potter,” Snape says, fixing his gaze on you.  “Do what you must.  Fillius, activate the armored suits.  We’ll need to evacuate both Ravenclaw and Gryffindor towers.  Put them all in Hufflepuff and ask for volunteers from the sixth and seventh years to hold the corridor leading to the Hufflepuff common room.  Pomona, will lead that group.”

“What about Slytherin?”

“I doubt any will emerge from their room.  Better still, secure their door and remove a possible wildcard.  I shall go and wake Dumbledore.”

“You’ll need to leave a couple of Aurors to deal with the prisoners, Snape.  I’m spread too thin as it is and can’t leave anyone behind.  Otherwise, we’ll just have to kill everyone.”

As better than half your force withdraws, the door to the Room of Requirements swings open.  Draco Malfoy steps boldly into the corridor holding a mummified hand and hurling darkness powder into the air.  That part of the hallway goes dark.

Like it’s going to help them.  Bill holds one hand up and starts ticking off his five fingers.  Ten seconds pass as the last one closes back into his fist and he shouts, “Bill Weasley says, stop right there!”

There’s a momentary pause when the command phrase is uttered and for the briefest instant, you think something was keyed incorrectly and the scheme doesn’t activate.  The moment of panic passes and you sense the wave of magic roaring like a freight train.  In that little section of darkness, all hell breaks loose.  Stunners, stingers, and paralyzers rain down like a force of nature.  The floor becomes impossibly slick.  Most importantly, hands reach out of the wall and clasp the door firmly, locking it in the open position.  A second hand holds a noxious potion and hurls the beaker inside the room.

Under your invisibility cloak and a Bubblehead charm, and hiding in the back corner of that room, is Charlie Weasley.  He’s been there for three days now and is “master of the room.”  It will prevent the Death Eaters from using the room to stop your ambush.

A gust of wind from Kwan’s wand dissipates the powder and reveals those screaming and already stunned.  Draco is prone on the ground with a couple of goblins piled on top of him.  Yeah, someone should have brought a camera.  Several other Death Eaters are either out or unable to continue.

“Harry!  Dementors.”

You see them coming out and being used just like shields.  Spells fizzle against their bodies.  “Expecto Patronum!”

The niffler and the jaguar race down the hallway and force the creatures to try and flee.  It opens those behind them to the layers of  harassing wards.  Random shots come down the hall, but they are either shielded or avoid.  Bill starts levitating young Malfoy toward our lines.  The little plonker needs to be stashed away securely.

“Advance,” Kwan commands.  The stones roll forward providing a moving shield and shaking the floors of the hallway.  Bill taps his wristwatch, sending a message to his brother and a second door to the room opens up allowing you, Kwan and some of the others apply Bubblehead charms and enter as Bill controls the wards and mops up the hallway.

Inside, the room is filled with mostly goblins.  Many are milling about.  Some attempt to get back into the vanishing closet, but are stymied by those exiting.  It’s chaos.  Beautiful, sweet chaos.  Knowing Bill has already moved ickle Draco, the kid gloves can come off.

Everything on that side of the room is fair game.  Filled with thoughts of righteous retribution, you, Kwan and a dozen other wands open up with your nastiest surprises for the choking goblins and the semi-coherent Death Eaters.  It isn’t even much of a fight.

Of course you shouldn’t get cocky, who knows what is waiting for you on the other side of that cabinet in Gringotts.


“It figures you’d survive.  Trust a bad penny to keep turning up,” you say looking at the disheveled wizard leaning against the wall.  You see your reflection on the “skin” of his arm. 

“Sorry to disappointing you, Harry,” Peter Pettigrew answers and coughs up a phlegm filled mixture of mucus and blood.  He’s lost a lot of hair and there are some awful blemishes on his skin.

“Obviously, that won’t be a problem for too much longer,” you answer.

“What are you talking about?”

“Metal poisoning.  That arm is killing you.”   You glance over your shoulder at the dead, dying, injured, and unconscious.  The Death Eaters number a couple of dozen.  Those still alive are being bound and given to the two Aurors.  There are a couple of big names in there, the Carrows, a Nott, Greyback, and a Yaxley, but not Lucius or Bellatrix.  The goblins number in the hundreds.  No quarter is given to them.  Those still alive are executed on the spot.  Sure it’s a double standard, but you doubt there will ever be an inquiry.

“No, it’s just a passing illness.  The master told me so.”  Peter doesn’t sound very confident in his reply.

“If I had time, Wormtail.  I’d go get the notes of the spell’s creator and watch your face when you realize you’ve been lied to.”

“Never!  I’m his most loyal!” He protests.  It’s not even amusing.  It’s pathetic.

“You’re an expendable dupe, Pettigrew.  Even if you started taking bezoars this moment, you wouldn’t buy yourself a month at most.  I’ve got no reason to lie to you.  I’m just going to turn you over to the Aurors in a moment and never see your face again.  Goodbye Peter.”

He looks crestfallen, but calls out, “Wait, Harry!  I can still help you.  Your troll.  I know where he is.”

“Nice try, but I can track him as soon as I go through the cabinet.  What else do you have to offer?”

“The cup!  I can show you where the cup is!”

Well that is interesting.  “Bill, you have the veritaserum?”

He nods and drips the three drops into Peter’s mouth.  Wormtail doesn’t resist.

“Do you know the location of Helga Hufflepuff’s cup?”


“Do you know that it is a Horcrux?”


“Did Ri … Voldemort tell you?”

“No.  I figured it out myself.”

“Why did you offer to tell me?”

“I’m indebted to you.  If I am truly dying, I want to die having discharged my debts.  Otherwise, I’ll likely turn into a ghost.  I don’t want to end up like that.”

Well that explains things.  “Where is Hufflepuff’s cup?”

“It is protected at the landing to the old vaults.  Four levels below where you will exit from the cabinet.  Your troll is being held nearby.  The master is keeping him as insurance.”

“What kind of insurance?”

“I do not know what he plans, but I suspect it is a ritual.”

“Is Voldemort in Gringott’s”

“Yes, along with goblins, trolls, dragons, and even a chimera.”

“Can you throw off the Imperius Curse in less than a day?”

“No, unless the caster is weak.”

You turn, “Kwan, we’ve got a guide and a spare body.  You’re needed.”

“We are almost secure,” the Korean says as he steps to your side.  “Last of the prisoners being taken care of.”

“This is Peter Pettigrew.  He knows where the cup and Hack are.  We’re taking him with us.”

“You’re going to die, Potter!  I just wish I could be there to watch it.”  The voice belongs to the now conscious Draco Malfoy.

“You really think so, Draco?” you say.  It’s a pity his mouth isn’t still paralyzed.  “So, did you take Hermione’s good luck potion?”

“It didn’t work, if you must know,” the Slytherin answers.

“People make their own luck, Draco.  If it really did work, it might be the only reason you’re alive.  I’d almost like to take you with me, under the Imperius Curse.  A shield is about all you’re good for, Malfoy.”  It’s enjoyable to watch his eyes bulge.  “But I’ll leave you to Snape and Dumbledore’s mercy.”

“Harry,” Bill interrupts.  “Snape’s patronus just found me.  That means the old man is on the move.  We’ve overstayed our welcome.”

“You’re right.”  You don’t have anything left to say to Dumbledore.  He’ll be as dead as Peter soon enough.  The only question is whether you’ll beat him to the grave.

“Done talking?”  Kwan asks.  He removes his fake leg and quaffs a polyjuice potion, made with hair clippings before he lost the leg.  His hair even darkens slightly.  Only now do you see how he’s aged in the last few months.

All the mercs and the peacekeepers are drinking their polyjuice potions and turning into … you.  Kwan’s theory is that Voldemort’s forces know they’ll face his wrath if they seriously hurt Harry Potter.  That’s a distinct advantage.  So, with the exception of Kwan, Bill, and Peter everyone else looks exactly like you.  He wants Harry Potter.  You’ll give him Harry Potter … twenty times over.

To Kwan, you say, “How come you didn’t dupe me?”

“If I die, I don’t want to be locked in your stupid body.  Besides, round eyes don’t look good on me.”

“Can’t argue with that logic,” you reply.  “Let’s go.  Riddle wants Harry Potter!  Let’s give him more Harry Potter than he ever dreamed of!”

With that, you head to the vanishing closet.  Your life has led to this moment.  Destiny is calling.

“Ready for this Harry?”  Bill asks, squeezing into the space next to you.

“Probably not.  But one way or another, this ends today.  See you on the other side.”

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Author Notes:

Sorry about the long delay.   I’ve been busy with finishing and launching my new novel, Spirals of Destiny Book One: Rider (visit   for details and several other projects.   There is one final chapter and the epilogue to be written on this story.   Actually, the epilogue is already written and it’s a matter of connecting the dots right now.   Hopefully, I’ll be able to deliver a serious "one for the ages" battle next chapter, which I will start on sometime next week.   From a fanfiction standpoint, my next task is to finish up The Inner Eye of Harry Potter.   Only after I complete that story, do I intend on getting ramped up for the sequel to The Lie I’ve Lived.   I may have a few other one shots like the one I did on Ron here and there, but I intend to keep only one HP fanfic project open at any given time going forward.   I still enjoy writing it, and hope to for many years to come, but my own creations will take precedence over fanfiction.