Harry Potter and the Gemini Curse
Act V: The Lost City
Authors Notes: We're back! And we've finished writing the story! The whole thing is done. Just the Disclaimers and editing left! It's also worth noting that we know flying is supposed to be super rare in the Wizarding World. But the battle at the end of the Order of the Phoenix movie is just too cool, and the Dragons can already fly so we don't really care about the Order of the Phoenix and the Death Eaters being able to do it too.
Previously, on Harry Potter and the Gemini Curse
Harry and the Defenders Army have put together a plan to retrieve the Prophecy and get rid of Madame Umbridge. While Fred and George work with Daphne and Astoria Greengrass, Lance Hunter, Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons to put on the biggest prank show in Hogwarts history (all live broadcasted on the Wizarding Wireless), Susan Bones and the Defenders Army led a protest against Umbridge in the Ministry Atrium with a large group of younger year students. Using the rally and the pranks as distractions, Harry and the Defenders snuck into the Department of Mysteries to spring Voldemort's trap and retrieve the Prophecy. Harry, Ron and Hermione successfully completed their objective and escaped the ensuing carnage while the Defenders defeated the Death Eaters. Jessica Jones found herself facing her Death Eater mother, Allisandra Jones, and killed her.
However, just when victory seemed assured, Voldemort arrived, attacking the Atrium. The protesters were scattered, and Harry, Hermione and Ron crushed beneath piles of rubble as Voldemort fired the Killing Curse at them.
Meanwhile, Ginny Potter, who is still trapped in another dimension, may have found a way back to the real-world, Doctor Strange is in the Dark Dimension battling the dread Dormammu, and Professor Albus Dumbledore is attempting to rescue William and Clarissa O'Neill from the depths of Hell, where Voldemort trapped them earlier in the year.
The Defenders Army:
Hufflepuffs: Danny Rand, Susan Bones, Hannah Abbot, Ernie MacMillan, Eloise Midgen, Zacharias Smith, Megan Jones and Justin Finch-Fletchley.
Ravenclaws: Terry Boot, Anthony Goldstein, Michael Corner, Padma Patil, Foggy Nelson, Mathew Murdock, Luna Lovegood, Leopold Fitz and Jemma Simmons.
Gryffindors: Fred and George Weasley, Lee Jordan, Alicia Spinnet, Katie Bell, Lavender Brown, Parvati Patil, Dean Thomas, Seamus Finnegan, Neville Longbottom, Colin and Dennis Creevey, Demelza Robbins, Vicky Frobisher, Hermione Granger, Harry Potter, Ginny Potter, Ron Weasley and Luke Cage.
Slytherins: Daphne Greengrass, Astoria Greengrass, Lance Hunter, Emilie Brindle and Jessica Jones.
Voldemort = Horcruxes: Diary, Ring, Locket, Cup, Diadem, Snake.
Non-Azkaban: Barty Crouch Jr, Macnair, Lucius Malfoy, Allisandra Jones, Nott Sr, Jugson, Avery, Yaxley, Crabbe Sr, Goyle Sr.
Azkaban: Dolohov, Rookwood, Greyback, Bellatrix, Rabastan, Rodolphus, Zebadiah 'Kilgrave' Jones, Travers, Selwyn, Alecto and Amycus Carrow, Rowle.
Students: Draco Malfoy, Pansy Parkinson, Theodore Nott, Blaze Zabini, Crabbe, Goyle etc.…
The Enigma Forces:
An Enigma Force is a reservoir of cosmic energy. Not all Enigma Forces function on the same rules. Some have sentience, others do not.
The Aether Force: The manifestation of cosmic good. Generated by the existence of Ascended beings. It exists as an energy reservoir that separates Heaven from the Circle of the Gods. It fuels the powers of angelic beings. It can be tapped with the permission of Ascended Deities like God or the Vishanti.
The Nether Force: The manifestation of cosmic evil. Generated by the existence of Descended beings. Exists as an energy reservoir that separates the True Multiverse from the Dark Multiverse, keeping the Great Destroyer trapped within. It fuels the powers of demonic beings. Access is achieved through Dark Magic artefacts.
The Dark Force: The manifestation of cosmic destruction. Generated by the destruction of Universes. Originally created as an energy reservoir to power the World Forge, now it fuels the powers of the Great Destroyer, and can only be accessed by surrendering one's soul to it.
The Speed Force: (Also called 'Hyperspace', 'the Time Vortex', 'The Superflow', and other names.) The manifestation of cosmic motion. The Speed Force maintains the barrier between the three dimensions of space and the fourth of Time. Without it, the fourth dimension would collapse into the other three, and all of Time would start happening at once. It exists as an energy reservoir that can be found within the 'space-time' continuum, and it separates the Multiverse from the Circle of the Gods. It generates its power from kinetic motion. People imbued with its powers are known as 'Flashes'.
The Conflict Force: The manifestation of cosmic conflict. The force that powers the Story Machine. It is generated by any and all forms of conflict in the Multiverse. This force is protected and hidden by the Travellers.
The Dragon Force: The manifestation of cosmic balance. It is responsible for keeping Universes from colliding with one another. It can be tapped by 'avatars' imbued with its power through the use of 'Shards'. Shards are often drawn to points of imbalance between 'good' or 'evil', offering a powerful advantage to the weaker side. Some shards hold more power than others, allowing them to actually speak to their bearers, though this is uncommon, while others hold far less power, and many avatars never even know that they are avatars at all. The Shards will often 'leave' through one means, or another once equilibrium has been achieved.
The Phoenix Force: The manifestation of cosmic rebirth. This force determines the death and resurrection of the universe, and each universe has its own Phoenix Force. Its power comes from its cycle of rebirth, drawing strength from creation and using it for destruction. It bonds to unsuspecting individuals in attempts to find those capable of harnessing its true power.
The Source: Information Classified.
Act V, Chapter 1: Enigma
Act V – I: Ginny I
Ginny snapped back out of the City, landing with a thud in the Duelling Room of the Home.
"Mrs Potter!" Professor Flitwick exclaimed, dropping down beside her as she panted, her entire body covered in sweat. Flitwick placed a hand on Ginny's shoulder, before gasping and jerking away. Ginny's own gaze snapped towards Flitwick.
"Did you just…"
"Harry did something. Touched something. I don't know."
Gi….y! Gin…. can y..u ….ar me!
It was like a weak radio connection. Harry's voice was covered in static and corruption, but it was there. And the Gemini Rune was blazing with warmth once more. Ginny reached out and attempted to touch Flitwick, but her hand slid through his arm once more, and she deflated.
Harry! Are you there?
Flitwick reached out again and tapped her shoulder. His fingers were rough, and he needed to cut his nails. Ginny locked eyes with Professor Babbling, who was standing over Flitwick's shoulder, a look of utter shock on her face.
"Impossible…" She whispered.
…..y, c..n you hear m..?
She'd slid back somehow. She must have. Something Harry had done in the Department of Mysteries had jolted her just a tiny bit closer to the real world, or at least the dimension the Home resided in. That's when she realised she could no longer feel the pain in her hand. She glanced down and gasped at the sight of the wound, now just a series of faint clean lines. Lightning peaked his head out of her robe pocket and licked her hand.
Yes! I didn't make it all the way back. But I'm close enough to try!
"My wand!" Ginny exclaimed, jumping to her feet and bolting towards Harry's bedroom.
"Mrs Potter, wait! We don't know what happened! It could be dangerous!"
Ginny ignored him, yanking the door to Harry's room open and lunging for her wand, sitting on the desk where Harry had left it. Her hand phased through it, but her head slammed into the wood, and she collapsed to the ground. She groaned and cursed, before pulling herself to her feet. But then she stopped. Because under the desk was a compartment she'd never seen before. A compartment with a plaque on it, featuring the same writing as the plaques on the doors. Lily Potter's handwriting; and it said Ginny's name.
"Mrs Potter!" Ginny jumped up - dismissing the draw for the moment.
"I'm so close! We have to try bringing me back!" Ginny begged the two teachers as they entered the room.
"It might not be safe. We could make things worse!" Professor Babbling exclaimed.
"And waiting could let me slip even further!" Ginny snapped.
Flitwick and Babbling still looked unconvinced.
"If you won't help me, I'll do it myself."
Flitwick sighed, and together, they walked back to the Duelling Room.
Act V – I: Fitz III
It took Filch the better part of an hour to get Umbridge out of the Swamp. And because no one could leave the Great Hall, they all had to stand around snickering as they watched. Eventually, one of Umbridge's newly appointed staff Members arrived and levitated her out of the sludge. But that still left what remained of the student population trapped in the Great Hall. So, Filch had been humiliatingly forced to use the rowboat to punt people across the swamp waters. They were supposed to go to classes, but Madame Umbridge declared that everyone was to gather in the Entrance Courtyard for inspection to determine who was helping the Weasleys and Potter. Fitz and Simmons made sure to stand at the back, and with Umbridge starting at the front of the queue, hopefully, it would take quite a while before she reached them. And by then Fitz hoped to have a plan to not be caught with the other two camera spheres in Simmons bag and posthumously expelled.
Fortunately, Daphne solved the problem for them. The Slytherin students underwent far less extraneous searching than the other houses, and as a result, Daphne had the opportunity to brush up against Jemma, sliding the Ravenclaw's bag onto her shoulder before ducking away, with no one the wiser. Now all they had to do was wait for Lance and Emilie to press their detonator. It was earlier than they'd planned, but with everyone out in the Entrance Courtyard, it was the best turnout anyone could hope for.
And Hunter didn't disappoint. Just as Umbridge was getting to Fitz, beady eyes running over each person in turn like a hound sizing up its next meal, a voice rang out from the other side of the courtyard proclaiming, "Madame Umbridge!" followed by several gasps and whispers of, "It's Potter! It's Harry!"
Umbridge, a victorious smirk on her face, abandoned her search and followed everyone's gazes to the front doors of the castle. Standing in front of them was Harry Potter, Defenders Cloak flapping in the breeze. Fitz glanced to Jemma, and couldn't help the smile that broke onto his face at the sight of her, fist in mouth trying desperately not to break the spell by laughing.
"Potter! As Headmistress of Hogwarts School, I hereby banish you from the grounds effective immediately!" Umbridge declared, advancing on him with wand out.
Harry raised his hands in the air rather rigidly, and said, "Oh well. Game's up." It was Harry's voice, but it had an almost robotic hitch to it. Simmons elbowed Fitz and gestured to the sky, where another ball was floating, the camera fixed on Umbridge.
"Leave now, Potter, before I have you removed with extreme prejudice!"
"Oh well. Game's up." Harry's voice said again. Harry stepped down the stairs and started walking towards Umbridge, the students crowding closer to get a better look. There was something about Harry's gate that was off.
"Don't come any closer Potter!" Umbridge snapped, several of her new staff coming up behind her looking incredibly wary.
"Oh well. Game's up," Harry's voice replied.
"Oh well. Game's up."
"I mean it!"
"Oh well. Game's up."
Umbridge's hex flew straight at Harry, and the crowd gasped. The spell hit Harry right in the face, but he didn't keel over. In fact, he remained exactly where he was, but his face was smoking something fierce. Fitz frowned, glancing to Lance, who had a similar look of confusion on his face. That wasn't supposed to happen.
The smoke cleared, and the screaming started. Half of Harry's face had burnt away, revealing a metal skull with a magical green eye fixed in the eye socket, skin melting off it like liquid.
"I'll be back," it said before Umbridge's staff started firing hexes at it, reducing the duplicate to scrap.
"Madame Umbridge!" Everyone spun on their heels again to see Harry, defenders cloak blowing in the wind, standing on the side of the courtyard closest to Fitz, Simmons and the Viaduct bridge.
"Oh well. Game's up."
Curses were in the air before the students could even move out of the way, and at least half a dozen from all four houses went down in the firestorm. The students all threw themselves to the ground, and Fitz and Simmons began to rush, hunched over, towards the wounded. The second Harry exploded, raining metal across the cobblestones.
"Madame Umbridge!" Another duplicate announced, entering the Courtyard via the stairs to the Boat House.
Another round of spells, accompanied by Umbridge's screams, soared over the crowd. Fitz and Simmons dropped to the ground next to a first-year Slytherin with thick blonde hair who was cradling her now bleeding knee.
"Ah!" She screamed as Jemma applied pressure to the wound and Fitz conjured a set of bandages.
The chaos reigned for five minutes before Umbridge seemingly ran out of Harry-duplicates.
"Sorry 'bout that. Kinda rushed those into service for the main event. Life Model Decoys curtesy of Weasley Wizard Wheezes! We can duplicate and replicate anyone! Great for alibies and prank clones galore! We're still working out the bugs. Oh, and word of advice Madame Umbridge? Try not to maim any more students in your first week. I imagine you're already going for a record here." Umbridge screamed and blasted the camera sphere from the sky.
Act V – I: Neville I
Neville pulled himself up from the floor, ignoring the ringing in his ears as he scrambled to full height. He'd lost his wand, and the entire atrium was frozen stiff, staring towards the elevators. The archway into the enclosed space had collapsed, taking the rooms above it with them. Dozens of people lay sprawled across the ground, pieces of rubble scattered all over the place. As the ringing cleared, Neville realised there was an alarm ringing somewhere, but everyone was too frozen to care. For floating in the air just above the wreckage, surrounded by clouds of darkness, purple electricity crackling around him, was a figure with pure white skin, a bald head and billowing black robes. In his hand was a pale white wand. Identical to the one Boggart Harry had held during the first DA meeting.
The Dark Lord.
You-Know-Who raised his hand, and the largest pile of rubble – right under the archway – flew backwards into the crowd of watchers. Neville and hundreds of others dropped back to the ground as rocks flew over their heads and screams filled the air, breaking the silence that had set over the room. Neville glanced up, and nearly crapped his pants when he saw You-Know-Who lift a body up out of the rubble. A body in a Defenders Cloak. Neville couldn't tell who it was and didn't have time to dwell on it, as a voice called out in pain behind him.
"Neville!" Neville turned around, and locked eyes with Hannah, who was desperately trying to lift a piece of debris off a Hufflepuff firsty with braided hair. Disregarding the fact that the entire world was going to shit around him, Neville raced to Hannah and slid his hands beneath the rock.
"Lift!" he exclaimed. Together they managed to get the slab high enough for another first year to pull the little girl out. Neville and Hannah released the rock and dropped to the girl's side. She was unconscious, probably from the pain, and her pelvic bone looked crushed pretty badly.
"Is Emma going to be alright?" the boy who helped them asked, frightened eyes looking at Neville. He tried to summon as much courage as he could at that moment and told the boy that Emma would be fine. Then a reductor curse flew at them, and the floor exploded. Neville hit the ground on his left arm and could have sworn he heard it snap. But his eyes were locked on the boy, whose head had collided with the very stone Neville had just lifted, spilling blood everywhere. Somewhere, Hannah screamed, and Neville tried to pull himself up. But everything was dizzy, and his movements even more sluggish than usual. He fixed his eyes on the little girl, Emma, lying next to him in a crumpled position. But her chest was still rising and falling. He rolled her over, onto her back, and slowly began to drag her towards the wall on the other side of the atrium. As far away from the carnage as he could.
Act V – I: Lavender I
Lavender was certain she was going to die. There was no doubt about that in her mind at all, and if she was honest with herself, which she always tried to be given nobody else was, that realisation provided a clarity of mind that probably saved her several times. When the explosion went off, Lavender had been on the far side of the atrium, close to the Apparation point. She'd watched in horror as the cloud of smoke flew towards the elevators, and heard when the archway leading to the elevators collapsed, but she hadn't had time to actually process any of it, because at the same time, a bunch of people in absolutely garish black robes and silver masks that looked like they belonged somewhere in the 17th century, emerged from the fireplaces lining the walls. Calling to mind all her training with Professor Lupin and Harry, she'd summoned a shield just in time for three stunners to bounce off it. The spells had crumpled her shield, blowing her back, but it gave Parvati enough time to step in and cast a shield charm of her own. Padma was there a second later, then Dean. And finally, Lavender herself reached her feet and fired Disarming and Stunning Spells through the stalemate and into the waiting Death Eaters. A spell hit its mark, and the first cloaked fanatic dropped to the tiled floor. Which led her to where she was now, duelling with a Death Eater, while Dean took on the other and the Patil twins shielded the second year Gryffindors hiding behind them.
"Stupefy!" Lavender shouted, barely dodging a convulsing yellow spell she definitely didn't recognise from Defence Against the Dark Arts. Although, Lavender had never really paid attention in DADA. Divination was much more interesting in her opinion. But she had never been gladder for Harry's lessons than she was right now.
"Protego!" She cried, blocking another hex she didn't recognise.
"Crucio!" The man snarled, and Lavender immediately summoned a chunk of rock thrown in their direction from something happening elsewhere in the atrium into its path. The rock exploded, and Lavender stumbled backwards. But she recovered, and quickly recast her shield before two purple spells could fly out of the dust and strike her. Her foot caught on a piece of debris, and she had an idea. She needed to play dirty. Literally. She ducked, dropping her shield, and pointed her wand at the ground before flicked it at her assailant.
"Depulso!" She banished all the dirt and dust around them towards the man, and his eyes widened behind his mask. The dust storm engulfed him, and Lavender pressed her advantage.
"Petrificus Totalis!" The spell struck the man in the chest, and he fell flat on his face, frozen. A scream filled the air, and Lavender spun to Dean, who was wreathing on the ground.
"Ventus!" A blast of air shot forth from Lavender's wand, and the Death Eater shot off his feet and into the Fireplace behind him. He vanished in green flames, and Lavender let out a ragged breath of relief.
She dropped her hands to her knees and watched as Dean rolled onto his side to face her, groaning. Then his eyes slid past her, and he yelled, "Look out!" Lavender spun around, just in time to see a red spell hit a Death Eater in the side. He stumbled slightly, and Lavender took no time to fire a stunning spell at him. The Death Eater crumpled to the ground, and Lavender's eyes locked onto one of the second years, who had his wand pointed in a shaking hand at the fallen terrorist.
"I… I did it…" He breathed, staring at his wand in amazement.
"Potter! Give me the Prophecy, or I'll kill every last person here!" The voice was high pitched and cold as ice, holding a malice Lavender couldn't even begin to describe. She chanced a look deeper into the atrium. Anthony and Ernie were being suspended by their ankles by a cackling woman with thick curly black hair and a gaunt face. Colin and Dennis were standing between the Ravenclaw first years and a Death Eater with short hair and a maniac look in his eye. Demelza and Foggy were standing by one of the Fireplaces, ushering kids through the flames much faster than the Floo was designed for. There were another half-dozen Death Eaters between the Fountain of Magical Brethren and the remains of the inflatable frog, torturing screaming people Lavender really hoped weren't students. And floating in mid-air, a pale hand gripped around a figure in red's neck, was He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Just like Harry said.
"Stay here, I'm going to help the others!" Lavender called to Dean and the Patils, before bolting towards the cackling woman, wand in hand. She was totally going to die, but she would make sure she took out as many bootlicking terrorists as she could. She only hoped Harry had something up his sleeve, or You-Know-Who would surely kill everyone in the Ministry, and it wouldn't matter who she saved.
Act V – I: Harry IV
"Hermione? Ron?" Harry hissed into the darkness. He couldn't see anything, and dust was heavy in the air, making it very difficult to breathe. He was sure his leg had been crushed by the falling roof, as he couldn't feel anything from the knee down. It didn't even really hurt, though he supposed that was more shock than anything. Fortunately, the collapsed roof hadn't completely crushed him. Instead, it'd been caught by a scaffolding beam.
"Harry?" a soft voice whispered from not far away from him.
"Yeah. Are you okay?" Harry tried to move his foot and winced.
"Not okay then," Hermione said, seemingly hearing him, though he still couldn't see where she'd ended up.
"My leg's fucked. How about you?"
"Something's pushing into my back, and I can't feel my legs," she told him shakily, and Harry bit his lip.
"Where's Ron?" Hermione asked.
"I… I think he pushed me down when Voldemort sent the Killing Curse at us. I don't know," Harry admitted, something he couldn't describe gnawing at his stomach. Hermione let out a shaky breath before going silent. There was a slight rustling in the debris above them, and dirt particles rained down into their hair. Harry began to run his hand along the ground, feeling desperately for his wand, and praying that it wasn't damaged. If Voldemort was still up there…
The second the thought entered his head, a 'crack!' split the earth above them, before all the stone and tiling was thrown aside. Light exploded in Harry's vision, and he slammed his eyes shut. Not that it did much considering the backs of his eyelids seemed just as bright as the outside. The stone on his foot was pulled aside, and the numbness dissipated slightly, replaced by throbbing pain that began coursing through his leg. Definitely not good. Then the Firebrand began searing against his arm.
That's when the ground pulled away from him, and Harry realised he was being pulled into the air. That's when the screaming started. He forced his eyes back open and chocked in horror at the sight that met him. A dozen Death Eaters were standing around the atrium and the courtyard with the fountain. The inflatable toad was lying deflated on the floor, and dozens of Aurors lay scattered about, unconscious or dead. The damage to the arch was much worse than he intended, the whole level above having collapsed onto the floor, and debris Voldemort had cast aside were now scattered throughout Ministry. Half the black-robed figures were torturing adults in the Courtyard, and the Defenders Army members were desperately trying to hold off the others. The air in Harry's throat constricted, and his head was compelled by some invisible force to face towards a pale figure wreathed in darkness with flaming red eyes. He choked, his hands rising to his throat as he desperately tried to bring much-needed oxygen into his lungs. He drifted closer to Voldemort's outstretched hand, and his pale fingers latched around Harry's throat. The force surrounding him vanished, and Harry took a deep, ragged breath, before Voldemort's hand began to replicate the feeling, though his grip carried a coldness to it that the force he used couldn't replicate.
"Hi Tom," Harry coughed.
"Potter! Give me the Prophecy, or I'll kill every last person here!" Voldemort fumed.
"What prophecy," Harry whispered, his brain working far slower than usual. Voldemort squeezed tighter.
"You know… choking me to death… while very satisfying I'm sure… isn't going to get you the answer you're looking for," Harry coughed, gripping Voldemort's hand in an attempt to pry it away from him. His vision was starting to glaze over, and the pain in his leg wasn't bothering him anywhere near as much as it should be. Voldemort loosened his grip slightly, fury burning away in his cold red eyes as they bored into the scar on Harry's forehead, and Harry took as deep a breath as he could manage.
"The prophecy Potter, or they all die," Voldemort snarled.
The Firebrand was burning against his arm, keeping Harry lucid enough to concentrate on Voldemort, and to grasp at the beginnings of a plan. Harry lowered his hand to his pocket and withdrew the smoky glass sphere from within his robes, which, remarkably, hadn't shattered when he hit the ground.
"What? Too scared to dig around in my head for it yourself. I know what it says, go and get it," Harry teased, before taking a deep breath just in time for Voldemort to begin squeezing again.
"Okay, okay, okay!" Harry was going to have serious bruising on his neck tomorrow. It'd be a miracle if he could even talk. Keeping his gaze fixed on Voldemort, he lifted the sphere from his pocket and let it slip through his fingers.
"Oops," Harry hissed as black spots started dancing across his vision. He definitely couldn't feel his legs now. Voldemort frowned in confusion before wide-eyed panic filled his gaze. His eyes shot towards Harry's hand, then down to the glass orb, just in time to see it shatter on the ground and release a ghost-like mist.
'The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches,' it whispered, before fading away to nothing.
"NOOOOO!" Voldemort screamed. He drew his free hand back, purple lightning crackling off his fingernails and wand, and pointed it at Harry's head.
Act V – I: Sirius I
Sirius rushed out of a Fireplace near the Fountain of Magical Brethren and into the Ministry. He'd been dispatched to Azkaban with Scrimgeour to find out why everything had gone silent at the prison, but the second they stepped foot on the island, it had become clear what happened. The Dementors had revolted. Almost every guard in the prison had been kissed, and an explosion had ripped apart the side of the black wind shorn tower that Sirius had called his personal hell for twelve years.
Sirius had summoned every happy thought about Harry, Lily and James he could muster, and sent Patronus after Patronus to repel the hordes, but it was a losing battle, and he and Scrimgeour both knew it. So, they'd called a retreat, battling back to the guard outpost to Floo back to the Ministry and alert the world. But Sirius had a more important task. Warn Harry that Voldemort was most likely already on his way to the Ministry to stop Harry from getting the prophecy, with much greater numbers than his godson could hope to defeat alone.
But they were too late. Voldemort was already here.
Sirius swept the atrium, wand in hand, and forced himself to remain calm in the face of what he saw. To his left, Voldemort had Harry in a choke hold, floating above the ground supported by a cloud of darkness, wand fixed on his head. Directly in front of him, Augustus Rookwood was torturing an assistant Sirius had gone out with just a few weeks ago named Mandy with the Cruciatus, while five other masked Death Eaters submitted others to the same fate. And on the right, his cousin Bellatrix cackled away as she fired spell after spell at a Hogwarts girl with honey blonde hair while the rest either hid behind various pieces of debris, duelled with their own Death Eater, or raced for a Fireplace being held open by two other kids Sirius didn't recognise.
"Fuck," he exclaimed, before summoning his Patronus once more. "Get Remus Lupin, Alastor Moody and Albus Dumbledore here now!" He told it, and the dog raced away. Brian and Scrimgeour came out of the Fireplace behind him.
"Mary have mercy," Brian breathed. Sirius looked to Harry, still held in Voldemort's grip, then back to Bellatrix, who had the same honey blonde girl on her knees screaming in silent terror.
"Ignore Voldemort!" Sirius snapped, quashing the guilt that welled up within his chest, "Save as many people as you can!" Then he bolted towards his cousin. Sirius wasn't an idiot. He knew his limits. And he knew he didn't stand a chance in hell of fighting off Voldemort. Only Harry, the Dragons, and Dumbledore could do that. Not only that, but Voldemort wouldn't kill Harry, not until he knew what the prophecy was according to the girl he spoke to from the protest procession. Bellatrix, on the other hand, wouldn't hesitate to mutilate her current victim. And that he could do something about.
"Stupefy!" He cried, sprinting in Bellatrix's direction. She spun around, deflecting the curse into the roof and releasing the girl, who crumpled to the ground unconscious. Another kid was lying at her feet, and Sirius knew from the look of glee on his cousin's face, combined with the sinking feeling in his gut, that the boy was dead.
"Look who it is! It's Sirius Black!" Bellatrix cackled.
"Reducto! Stupefy!" Sirius cried, and Bellatrix deflected them.
"Let's have some fun!" She exclaimed, before firing a blood-red curse at Sirius. He jumped over the spell, firing a bolt of blue electricity at the vile woman as he landed. She dodged and sent the Killing Curse his way in retaliation. Sirius summoned a block of nearby debris to intercept the spell, before launching a curse of his own.
"Confringo!" The spell shattered Bellatrix's shield, and the explosion went off right in her face. She blew backward, flipping through the air, but before she hit the ground, she cloaked herself in black smoke and flew up towards the roof, still cackling away. A blast of wind shot from behind him, and Sirius spun around, a shield spell on his lips. But it wasn't a spell. It was Tonks, rushing past him and jumping up into the air. White dust began pouring from her body, and she charged into the sky, chasing after her Aunt. Three cracks filled the hall, and Sirius breathed a sigh of relief as Moody, Remus and Kingsley raced forward into the atrium via the apparition point. Moody immediately took over duelling Dolohov from two young Gryffindors, while Remus bolted to the fireplace where the students were fleeing. Kingsley rushed to Sirius, and together they turned towards Voldemort, just in time to see something that Sirius would never forget for the rest of his life.
Act V – I: Fitz IV
By the time everyone calmed down, it was lunchtime at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Fitz and Simmons were sitting back at the Ravenclaw table eating chicken schnitzel when the Twins brought it home.
The entirety of the Great Hall was eating in dead silence. Umbridge was sitting in Dumbledore's chair at the head of the room, sipping a cup of tea as she glowered at the student populous. Half her staff were missing, having been sent out to find Harry and the missing students. And that made it the perfect time for the final phase of the 'Get Umbridge out of Hogwarts' plan.
It happened ever so suddenly. There was an odd crackling sound from outside the hall. Umbridge, her body shaking in rage, slowly rose up from her seat and advanced towards the doors. As she neared them, a tiny speck of sparkling red light shot into the hall. It danced in front of Umbridge's face for a moment, before flying up into the air, and exploding with a bang in the middle of the room, transforming into a blast of blue fireworks.
That's when the guitar started.
"Oi, oi, oi
Oi, oi, oi
Oi, oi, oi
Oi, oi, oi
Oi, oi, oi,"
Dobby's cardboard chariot, with Fred and George standing on the back, soared down from the Grand Staircase and into the Great Hall, the Twins belting out the words to the AC/DC song at the top of their lungs as a muggle stereo blasted out from retrofitted speakers installed in the chariots' sides.
See me ride out of the sunset
On your colour TV screen
Out for all that I can get
If you know what I mean.
Women to the left of me
And women to the right
Ain't got no gun
Ain't got no knife
Don't you start no fight
The Weasley's threw a box of fireworks into the air, and with perfect timing, they exploded as the soothing tones of Heavy Metal ripped through the air.
'Cause I'm T.N.T. I'm dynamite
T.N.T. and I'll win the fight
T.N.T. I'm a power load
T.N.T. watch me explode
Fireworks of every colour, shape and design you could possibly imagine filled the air, splitting the silence with crack after crack after crack.
I'm dirty, mean and mighty unclean
I'm a wanted man
Public enemy number one
So lock up your daughter
Lock up your wife
Lock up your back door
And run for your life
The man is back in town
Don't you mess me 'round
Specific fireworks seemed targeted at certain people. Crabbe, Goyle, Zabini and Parkinson were all attacked green sparklers that screamed, "POTTER!" in Malfoy's voice. Daphne and Astoria were confronted by vampiric butterflies. Fits and Simmons both collapsed in laughing fits when they were assaulted by a fluorescent pink dementor with Umbridge's face and the long tongue of a toad. Malfoy was up against the wall as a dancing orange Hermione replica floated a pristine white ferret up and down in the air. And Umbridge… Umbridge was saved until last.
T.N.T. (oi, oi, oi)
T.N.T. (oi, oi, oi)
T.N.T. (oi, oi, oi)
T.N.T. (oi, oi, oi)
T.N.T. (oi, oi, oi)
I'm dynamite (oi, oi)
T.N.T. (oi, oi, oi)
George threw the biggest rocket yet up into the air as the crowd jumped up and down, screaming "oi, oi!" into the hall. The missile detonated, transforming into a fiery red Dragon. The Dragon let out an ear-shattering roar, before charging at Umbridge. That's when Fitz saw the person on its back. Riding the dragon was a replica of Ginny made from white sparklers.
And I'll win the fight (oi, oi, oi)
T.N.T. (oi, oi, oi)
I'm a power load (oi, oi, oi)
"Watch me explode!" Firework Ginny cried in a very non-Ginny like voice, and Umbridge lost it. She screamed in terror and ran out of the hall as fast as her legs could carry her.
The Dragon's jaws slammed shut around Umbridge, and the entire creature detonated. Red, White and Gold Fireworks blasted out into the Entrance Hall, and George commanded Dobby to fly them towards Umbridge. The House Elf nodded so fast Fitz thought if his head didn't fall off at the very least his hats would. The chariot flew back towards the doors, and Fred grabbed a crispy and mortified Umbridge's leg, and yanked her up from the ground. The student body charged after the chariot out into the Entrance Courtyard and watched in awe as Madame Dolores Umbridge was dragged kicking and screaming upside down from a cardboard chariot, out of Hogwarts. Fred dropped Umbridge into the Forbidden Forest as they flew past, and George launched one final firework into the air. It detonated, forming a giant letter 'W' in the air over Hogwarts.
"Weasley Fireworks Extraordinaire! Available soon at Weasley Wizard Wheezes in Diagon Alley and now via Mail Order! Thank you so much for watching our broadcast today, it's been loads of fun bringing it to you all! We hope you enjoyed it! So, for now, I'll bid you a due on behalf of Fred and George Weasley. This is Harry Potter, signing off. See you soon, True Believers!"
The final camera ball exclaimed, and the entire crowd broke out into cheers. Fitz and Simmons were standing at the back, near to the doors with Daphne, Astoria and Lance.
"I think that went well don't you?" Simmons said.
"Well? That was fucking brilliant!" Lance beamed.
"I hope the others are having as much luck," Astoria whispered.
Then, as if the youngest Greengrass had jinxed it, screams not of hilarity but terror escaped the Great Hall. They raced back inside, just in time to see Seamus Finnigan charge out of one of the Fireplaces lining the walls.
"Attack! Attack at the Ministry!" He cried, before three first-year Ravenclaws ran out of the Fireplace behind him.
Fitz grabbed Simmons hand, and together with Lance and the Greengrass sisters, they raced to the Floo.
Act V – I: Jessica II
Jessica flung herself out into the hallway, and punched the first Death Eater she encountered so hard he flew backwards through the solid stone wall of the hallway, and into some sort of abyss judging by the screams of terror that slowly faded into the distance. The second Death Eater to go down was Matt's doing. He jumped up in the air, and sideswiped a man in the face with his leg, crushing his jaw and splattering blood against the wall. He landed on the ground and forward rolled beneath the legs of another black cloak, and swept his other leg out, knocking the man's legs out from under him.
Danny was next. He came into the hallway like a storm, right hand ablaze with golden energy, wand in the other crackling with red power. He sent a stunning spell with his wand, hitting his mark – a very surprised Death Eater further back – before punching another with his glowing fist. The number of ribs Jessica heard crack then was a statement unto itself.
A spell hit Jessica's back, but she shrugged it off, advancing down the hall, wand drawn and face dark. She bit off a strangulation hex and full-body bind in a few seconds and narrowly dodged a Cruciatus curse that hit the wall somewhere behind her. She kicked a cloaked figure in the groin and was highly satisfied when she met flesh and heard an agonised whimper before the apparent man collapsed, revealing Greyback standing behind him. Greyback lunged at her, and she braced herself, but Luke charged into the breach, taking Greyback in the chest like a wrestler and throwing him to the ground.
Matt jumped to his feet and kicked off a guy's back, so he could right cross another cloaked Death Eater in the face. He finished his move by firing an impediment jinx at a guy coming up behind him. Then a Death Eater kicked him in the shin, and he tripped, dropping his wand.
Jessica slammed her fist into the wall, and a large chunk of the tiling came loose. She grabbed it, not even fazed by the weight and ignoring the rekindled stinging of her burns and threw it over Luke and Greyback's heads. A Death Eater blew up the slab, but then Danny was there. He vaulted over Luke, and swung out, taking down two Death Eaters in one move. He thrust his fist out in front of him, and a shockwave blasted five Death Eaters back into their comrades.
Matt drew one of the red Eskrima Sticks forever strapped to his legs, and smashed it into the guy who'd tripped him. He stumbled back, giving Matt all the time he needed to punch him in the stomach, knocking him down for the count.
Greyback snarled as Luke punched him in the face, Luke reached back to hit him again, but the werewolf was stronger than he looked, intercepting Luke's hand, though his arm was shaking. Luke looked to his hand, stunned for a second, which gave Greyback enough time to slash through the Defenders Cloak and run his long claw-like fingernails down Luke's arm. Greyback's fingernails shattered against Luke's invulnerable skin. Luke grinned savagely, before punching Greyback in the face once more. The child murderer fell unconscious, his mouth and nose leaking blood all over the floor. Jessica ran into the fray with Matt, shooting two stunning spells, though one missed. She deflected a body-bind with a shield, but a Combustion Curse smashed through it, catching her in the chest.
"Ahhhh!" she screamed as what felt like a gunshot ripped through her chest. Her abdomen exploded in pain, and Jessica lost her grip on her wand, falling to her knees and gasping for breath as flames engulfed her cloak and began to lick at her skin.
"Alias!" Matt cried, running along the wall for a few seconds to get past Luke, and shooting a water spell at her chest. She breathed a sigh of relief as the cold water hit her, putting out the fire, but the burns remained, searing in agony at her stomach. She coughed, and the taste of blood flooded her throat. So not good.
But Matt's inattention cost him. One last Death Eater still standing shot him with a repulsion hex, and he sailed almost ten metres before slamming headfirst into the floor. Danny launched forward, casting spell after spell towards the final Death Eater. The figure deflected them all, long black hair flaring out as the two got closer and closer. Danny lit up his fist, and the woman dropped her wand, instead thrusting her own hands forward and creating a shimmering black shield. Danny's fist crashed into the shield… and bounced back. Danny stumbled, losing power to his fist, and the woman drew two blades from within her robes. They were long and thin, like daggers, but protruding from the hilt were two curved and sharpened prongs.
The woman went toe to toe with Danny, something Jessica didn't think was possible. Not even Matt could go punch for punch with Danny. The guy was trained by mystical martial-arts monks for crying out loud, and when he graduated from Hogwarts fully intended to return to Kun Lun to undertake his final tests as a ninja. As bizarre as it sounded, Jessica had never questioned it. She felt he earned that given the glowing fist. But now she was terrified.
"Alias!" Luke exclaimed, dropping to his knees beside her. He grabbed what remained of her Defenders Cloak and ripped it away, leaving her in a grey singlet and jeans.
"Crap," he whispered, "I'm not good at healing shit!" Jessica, her head feeling much heavier than it had any right to be, looked down to her stomach. Her singlet had a large hole burnt in it, and pieces of the fabric were stuck to her skin, which was red and blotchy with the edges already starting to peel and inflame.
Luke tore away the rest of her singlet as she screamed, exposing the black sports bra she wore beneath it.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry…" He muttered. He grabbed Jessica's arm and reached into his robes to pull the emergency portkey, forgetting in his panic that it wouldn't work in the Ministry.
"Help Danny," Jessica croaked through the haze of pain descending on her. She found it ironic she supposed, that it would be burns that killed her.
"Jessica, I can't…"
"Go!" she exclaimed, taking a deep long breath. Luke glanced to Danny, who was on his back foot deflecting and dodging strike after strike from the cloaked woman, to Matt lying unconscious on the floor.
"Shit," He fumed, before jumping to his feet, and barrelling towards the woman. Jessica breathed a sigh of relief, and let her eyes fall to Matt, crumpled on the ground. She saw the rise and fall of his chest and let herself rest a little easier. Her last thought before her eyes fell closed, was of their kiss.
Act V – I: Ginny II
Ginny screamed, and her hands flew to her head as Voldemort began his assault on Harry's mind. The Duelling Room and Professors Flitwick and Babbling fell away, replaced by the Portal Room of the City. She fell to her knees atop the staircase, Harry falling into place beside her.
"Harry! What's happening?!" She exclaimed, pulling him into a hug that sent the Gemini Rune into tumbles of blissful pulses of heat.
"Voldemort's trying to get the Prophecy," Harry exclaimed, releasing her and rushing into the Control room. Ginny's eyes locked onto the portal at the bottom of the stairs, truly taking it in for the first time. It was a perfect ring shape, though a section at the bottom was embedded within the floor, made from solid grey metal with swirling patterns within it. Separating the outside of the ring from the inside was a track of silver metal, with dozens of glowing blue runes in a single line following the curvature of the ring itself. Each rune was distinguished from the one beside it, sitting in a divided rectangle of the track. Situated at equal distances from each other around the circumference were large triangles that hung over both the outside grey metal and the silver track of glowing symbols.
Then, as she stood there staring at it, the silver track began to move! It was like the sound a car makes when it starts up, and it groaned and whistled as the track began to rotate around the ring. All the symbols stopped glowing.
"Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert! Incursion Detected!"
The alarm echoed through the room, and dozens of flashing red lights illuminated the Control Room. The track stopped moving with a jolt, and the first triangular shape slid apart, before locking back into place like a jaw opening and closing. One of the symbols was now glowing brightly beneath it. Then the track began to move again.
Ginny bolted into the control room beside Harry, who was staring at the buttons and controls on the desk in confusion, running a hand through his hair.
"Come on, come on. One of these has to be a shield," he muttered to himself.
"You know what the Prophecy says?!" She exclaimed.
"No. But Voldy thinks I do, and he's trying to find it. So, keeping him out is kind of a big deal."
Ginny glanced back to the portal and watched as the fourth symbol locked into place.
"Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert! Incursion Detected!"
Ginny followed Harry's example and began scanning the flashing screens. But they were all in the strange language, Ancient, and she had no idea what any of them said.
"Come on! Why couldn't this be like Star Trek!?" Harry stopped dead. "What if it is like Star Trek?" he whispered to himself. Then he turned towards where Ginny was standing, just in front of the console covered in the same runes as the portal. He rushed over and tapped his fingers on a large red button displayed prominently on the console.
"Please…" He muttered as they both turned back to look at the portal. The last rune locked into place, and all seven chevrons lit up a brilliant white that filled the room. The ring filled with liquid rainbow light, which then exploded out of the ring with a roar like a lion. The energy flared out like a wave of water, before being sucked back into the ring itself, leaving a spiralling whirlpool of rainbow energy sitting within the circle. Then a shimmering transparent shield materialised over the vortex, stopping anything that might attempt to pass through it.
"Gate Shield Engaged!" the voice of the city proclaimed.
"YES!" They screamed, before embracing once more. There was a loud bang as something collided with the energy shield, and it rippled slightly, but nothing passed through, and the portal shut down. All the symbols illuminated themselves once more, and the lights in the triangular-shaped mechanisms shut off.
Ginny blinked, and found herself sitting on the floor, her two minders – plus Madame Pomfrey – hovering over her, with concerned looks on their faces.
"Mrs Potter, what's going on!? Your eyes rolled into the back of your head, and you collapsed, we feared you were having an attack!" Professor Babbling exclaimed.
"I was in the City. Voldemort's trying to get into Harry's head," she said candidly, eyeing her wand in Flitwick's hand.
"Are you sure you're alright?" Madame Pomfrey asked, brushing her hand over the Gemini Rune, which was bubbling with residual warmth from their time in the City.
"I'm fine. I have to get to Harry. We have to do this now!" She begged, turning all her attention on Flitwick.
The diminutive teacher huffed, biting his lip.
"Okay." Ginny held out her hand, and Professor Flitwick activated her wand, before starting the trace on her hand. She closed her eyes and sent up a prayer to anyone who could hear her.
'Please. Just let me get back to him. Let me help him.'
Act V – I: Peter II
Peter raced with Gwen, MJ and Luna towards the exit of the Hall of Prophecy, which turned out to be a lot harder than it seemed. The explosions coming from above were causing the shelves around them to rock and shudder, dropping prophecies from above them like rain. It was only thanks to Spider-Sense that they made it out without anyone getting a sphere of glass embedded in their heads. Eventually, they made it to the door, and what they found as they stepped inside, made Peter's stomach heave.
The hallway was littered with bodies, most of them bleeding or seriously injured. Over a dozen Death Eaters lay prone on the floor, all of them either unconscious, pretending to be, or suffering grievous wounds. But it wasn't just Death Eaters on the floor. Two red cloaks were among the fallen, and the battle was far from over.
Iron Fist and Luke Cage were going head to head with a woman who moved like a ninja, and they were losing. The woman wielded the most bizarre blades Peter had ever seen and had even Danny on the ropes. Forcing him further and further backwards, though Danny was smart enough to avoid the woman's attempts to corner him against the walls. But he was clearly tiring. If it weren't for Luke, who was trying unsuccessfully to get his own punches in, which the woman elegantly dodged and countered, Danny most likely would have been defeated already.
Wasting no time, and forcing himself to ignore Luna's scream of, "Matt!" Peter thwipped two webs to either side of the hallway, before using them to launch forward the second he saw an opening. As Danny ducked down to avoid a kick, Peter flung forward, smashing the woman in the face, and knocking her to the ground. He forward rolled, and spun around, firing a web line at the woman's leg. Adapting far faster than Peter even though possible, she sidestepped the line, and cast a throwing star from within her sleeve straight for him. Peter didn't need his Spider-Sense to tell him to get out of the way of that.
Peter flipped over the throwing star and rushed forward as Luke grabbed at the woman's shoulder. She weaved away but was too slow to avoid Danny's glowing fist, which clipped her in the side, causing her to hiss in pain. Peter joined the fray and managed a punch to the woman's jaw while she was off balance. His spider-sense went ballistic, and he dropped to his knees just in time to avoid a spell shot from the end of her blades. It struck the wall, blasting the tiling away, and Peter had an idea. He webbed one of the fallen black cloaks, silently apologising in his head, and whipped it over his head, straight for the woman. The woman dodged, right into Danny's waiting fist. It crunched through her ribs, and she screamed in pain. She crashed into the wall and fell to the floor heavy breathing. Luke grabbed her by the collar, pulling her mask off with his other hand.
"Elektra?" Peter spun around, and his eyes met Matt Murdock's unseeing ones. He was being held up by Luna and MJ, his hood having fallen down as they hobbled up the hallway. There was blood dripping down his face, and the robes around his ribs and shoulders looked a far deeper red than they were supposed to be.
"Hello, Mathew. Long-time no see," the woman said in an accent marking her as definitely not British or American. It was exotic, maybe from somewhere along the Mediterranean, but Peter wasn't sure. The woman whom Peter deduced was probably around his own age, was quite pretty, with long black hair, a circular face and a tanned complexion. She had a dark, mischievous glint in her eye that he didn't like, and a tattoo in the rough shape of a scorpion on her neck. It had to be the Scorpius Rune. The Awareness Rune.
He glanced to Gwen and watched for a few seconds as she used a combination of web fluid and the Aguamenti Charm to tend to what looked like a nasty burn on Jessica's stomach as she lay unconscious, slouched against the wall.
"How are you still alive?" Matt whispered, tilting his head rapidly from one direction to the other - like one might do when shaking water out of their ears.
"The same reason you are. Maybe you should have a think about where those chemicals we were exposed to that day actually came from Mathew. I have. And it's something the ICW would be quite terrified about I think." Elektra smirked, and Peter's spider-sense went up the walls.
"Look out!" He exclaimed, diving for cover. Elektra detonated something that released black powder dust into the air.
"Shit! No!" Gwen exclaimed, hastily conjuring a bubblehead charm around Jessica's wounds.
"Elektra!" Matt bellowed, rushing forward only to cry out in pain and slip, Luna and MJ catching him.
"Stop! You need a hospital!" Luna snapped.
"Shit, shit, shit!" Gwen exclaimed, doing something Peter couldn't see. The tensing in his spider-sense vanished, and the dust slowly fell to the floor.
"It went through the charm!" Gwen shrieked, desperately trying to web up Jessica's stomach. Peter dropped to his knees, ignoring the fact that Elektra had vanished in the chaos, and started helping her, casting an air purifier that he'd learned, though it didn't seem to be doing much.
"It's going to get infected, she needs a doctor, now!" Gwen exclaimed.
"Jess…" Matt muttered, trying to remove himself from MJ and Luna's grips again, but the girls were ready for him and kept their grips tight.
"No way lover boy. You're in almost as bad shape. You're both going to St Mungo's. Stat!" MJ admonished, her eyes locked on Jessica.
"She's gone," Danny said, walking back to join the group while Luke pulled Jessica into his arms.
"There's a Floo in the DMLE for the Aurors to use, we can get out through there," Matt hissed.
Then, slowly but surely, they made their way towards the elevators, leaving the smell of blood and dust behind them, all of them harbouring guilt and dread at what was to come.
Act V – I: Will I
Will was running, which seemed to be the only thing he'd been doing of late. His basilisk skin cloak, the last thing he owned of his father, had been destroyed three days ago. Almost all his remaining clothes were burnt to a crisp, with just his shorts, threadbare and torn, and a rough cotton shirt he'd salvaged from a corpse protecting his skin from the boiling heat of the Deadlands. Clarissa was little better. She had a sash recovered from what had looked like a Wood Elf tied around her chest to hold her breasts in, and her necklace, a powerful enchanted artefact Will himself had made for her, was holding her long hair – now so caked with ash and blood it had utterly lost its golden shine, and her dyed red highlights had long since faded away – back in a poorly tied ponytail. At least her pants from Earth were still intact.
Will had no idea how long they had been here. Time being as complicated a subject as it was when dealing with anything related to the domain of demons. Fortunately, the Dragon Force kept them sustained, so they didn't need food or sleep, as much as they might wish to have it. But rest wasn't an option. The Dragon Force might keep them alive, but it was also a beacon to every single creature here. Like a juicy fruit too delicious to turn down, or the ultimate treasure. So, sleep didn't happen, and there was no food to eat in the Deadlands anyway. It was kind of in the name.
Will and Clarissa ran up yet another hill made from old magma flows. The sharp rocks and obsidian slicing their feet open as they ran. The wounds healed themselves as they lifted their feet, before reopening again as they touched the ground. They reached the top of the cleft dry heaving and looked out over a canyon of spitting lava running a few metres below. Beyond the river was a great tower, soaring into the black clouded sky, with spires like a crown of thorns adorning its peak.
"There's no way Mephisto left this one portal open, Will. Why are we bothering?" Clarissa said, slumping to the ground and pulling a shard of obsidian out of her leg.
Will sighed, "Do you have any better ideas?"
Clarissa looked up at him with tired, hopeless eyes. The Gemini Rune throbbed with old pain on their necks, and Will stared at the Firebrand. It was dull and lifeless, like a watermark on a business document. Then he looked back up at the sky. One of the dark storm clouds parted for but a moment, revealing another realm full of snow-capped mountains hovering in the dark void like an island stranded in outer space.
The magic of the Ascended had no power here in Hell, the realm of the Demons, so the Firebrand's abilities were virtually void. Lucifer Morningstar took great joy in stopping all Ascended power from functioning within his domain. His Demonic Legions were such a plague on the Multiverse that their realm had been sealed away, preventing the escape of any of its inhabitants, unless summoned from the outside. The Kingdom of Hell Voldemort had stranded them in was known as the Deadlands, domain of the powerful Dreadlord Mephisto. And Mephisto wanted the Dragon Force, badly. With it, he could easily break through the barriers sealing Hell away from the rest of the Orrery of Worlds and launch a new invasion. But even between them, Will and Clarissa couldn't channel enough power to puncture through the shield without killing themselves, and if they died here, there were no resurrections. It was game over. So, they'd been racing across the plain, trying desperately to find a gateway to any Universe within the Orrery of Worlds; anywhere that wasn't here. But Mephisto had sealed them all as soon as he learned of Will and Clarissa's presence. Their last chance lay in the tower beyond, a portal the Prince of Hell kept in secret that should take them to the island of Morrowind on the planet Nirn – a world Will and Clarissa had been to before. From there they could make their way back to Earth, and a long-awaited bath.
Clarissa winced as her wound knitted itself shut, and let Will pull her back to her feet. An ear curdling roar filled the air, and the pair groaned. They turned to the bottom of the hill and watched as a figure in glowing gold plate armour riding a nightmare black horse halted, at least a thousand monstrous creatures with burning eyes, horns, various different numbers of limbs, and very sharp looking swords behind him.
"Kill them!" the figure screamed, and the army surged forward. Will and Clarissa summoned blades of ethereal energy in their right hands, and spheres of frost magic in their lefts, and waited for the advancing horde.
Then, the most incredible thing happened. There was a soft pop, and a mangy old boot appeared in mid-air directly in front of them. The boot fell to the ground, making a slight thud as it hit the black earth. Clarissa released her summoned spells and knelt down beside it while Will moved to cover her.
"What is it?"
"I don't…" she stopped, letting out a tiny gasp, "It's a portkey!" She exclaimed, light returning to her eyes for the first time in Will didn't know how long. Will vanished his weapons, and instead held his hands out towards the approaching army.
"Depulsus Maximus Exeilium!" He cried, and the most powerful banishing spell ever seen blasted forward into the horde. Demons went flying backwards like a wave, wretched screams and wails filling their air. Will turned back to Clarissa who had her hand hovering above the boot, a smile beaming on her face.
"ONE!" They cried together, before latching onto the boot. The last thing either of them heard as they were sucked into a vortex of rainbow light, was the sound of a menacing evil voice screaming, "NO!"
They landed in a lake. It was cool, it was serene, it was blissful, it was clean. Will burst his head above water and took a deep breath of fresh air as he looked to find Clarissa doing the same thing. He glanced skyward and laughed in relief as he recognised Ursa Major in the stars.
"We're back on Earth," Clarissa whispered.
"Indeed. You are home, my friends." Will and Clarissa turned towards a mossy bank, where Albus Dumbledore stood naked in the centre of a pentagram.
"Brain bleach! Brain bleach!" Will exclaimed, faux retching into the water.
"A simple thank you would have sufficed, William," Albus said stiffly, clearly not appreciating his joke, before summoning a purple bathrobe that did not hide anywhere near as much as Will hoped it would.
Not as wrinkly as I expected.
Clarissa! That's revolting.
I'm not dead. Give me a few minutes to celebrate before I have to reacclimate.
"Gods. Thank you so much, Albus. I was beginning to think we'd never make it back," Clarissa said as they made their way out of the lake. Will glanced to the Firebrand, and let out a breath he hadn't realised he was holding when he saw its colour rapidly return.
"Much has happened since you were lost. Stephen labours in the Dark Dimension to restore the barriers separating the mortal world from Dormammu. Barriers Voldemort used the Darkhold to tear down. Fudge had me removed from Hogwarts and replaced with a sycophant, Dolores Umbridge. And to top it all off, Ginny Potter has vanished. Trapped in some lost dimension after a mishap with the Sagittarius Rune. Even my attempts to find her failed." Will's jaw fell open slightly, he wasn't ashamed to admit it. Albus shrugged, before making an effort to clear away his pentagram.
"On the bright side, I believe I may have located another of Tom's Horcruxes; I have discovered a solution for Stephen's dilemma, which I have sent to him; a plan to discover just how many Horcruxes Tom created, and I have found you. By no means an easy feat. I scried through seven different Demonic Kingdoms before I succeeded in tracking your magical signature to the Deadlands. I believe Sheogorath, Asmodeus and Semirhage discovered my intentions, but fortunately, I pulled myself out before they could track me. None of the others got their hands on the Dragon Force I assume?"
Clarissa held up her hand, summoning a sphere of Dragon-Force energy into her palm. Albus let out a breath of relief.
"Excellent. Then I would ask that you aid me in…" Albus trailed off, gaze fixed on something in the night sky above them. A silver shape careening towards them. The shape, which formed into an ethereal dog, stopped in front of Albus and spoke with the voice of Sirius Black.
"Voldemort is at the Ministry. Kids in danger. Need help." The Patronus winked away, and Albus stared at the place where it vanished for a brief moment, before disapparating with barely a sound.
Act V – I: Harry V
Voldemort flinched back as he was repulsed from Harry's mind. Harry, on the other hand, smirked devilishly and focussed on the Gemini Rune, which was getting hotter and hotter against his skin. Fiercer and fiercer it burned, until the acrid smell of skin burning filled the air, and vibrant heat filled his veins.
Suck on this.
An ear-shattering crack split the hall, and Ginny materialised in the middle of the air, clothes on fire and a murderous rage in her eye. She fly-kicked Voldemort in the head, and the Dark Lord released his grip on Harry's throat. Harry collapsed to the ground, heavy breathing, but his broken leg crunched even further on impact, and he screamed in agony.
Voldemort didn't fare much better. He crashed headfirst into the Fountain of Magical Brethren, while Ginny landed elegantly on the ground, clothes still on fire, wand pointed at Voldemort's face.
Die you sick bastard.
"Confringo!" The blasting curse leapt from her wand, and Voldemort didn't have time to raise a shield. Instead, he lifted his hand, and the bolt of red light froze in mid-air, inches from his hand.
That's not possible.
"Ginevra? Oh, how far you've come!" Voldemort exclaimed, standing up, spell still frozen in front of him.
An explosion ripped through the atrium, and everyone looked up to see Tonks fall from the sky, being chased by Bellatrix Lestrange, cackling away like a mad-woman.
"Harry!" Hermione's voice exclaimed, and Harry turned towards the rubble of the arch. Hermione was lying with her back propped against a boulder staring at him with terror in her eyes. In her lap was a head of red hair Harry would remember till the day he died.
Oh god. Ron…
"From the darkness of the Chamber of Secrets to standing here before me now. Look at your power, your rage. I chose well in my host. Join me now. You have incredible gifts, Ginevra. Let me bring you to your full potential."
Harry could barely hear Voldemort's voice anymore. There was a sense of dread permeating everything. He tore his gaze away from Ron, lying still in Hermione's arms, and panned across the courtyard. Harry wasn't sure just how many dead there were, so many people were lying still it was impossible to tell. But he couldn't help his gaze locking onto one body in particular. A body in Hogwarts robes lying beneath what once might have been a table. She had strawberry blonde hair, and her head was lolled to the side, blood-forming a puddle around it. Susan… And in that moment, all of Harry's hope died in his chest. This was where it ended. All this death. He'd promised to protect them. He was supposed to defeat Voldemort. He'd failed.
Everywhere people were screaming in pain, and the stench of death was heavy on the air. Sirius and Kingsley were duelling with the Lestrange brothers, Remus was defending Tonks unconscious body, Brian Braddock and Rufus Scrimgeour were locked in a fight with Dolohov and Rookwood, and Will and Clarissa were cutting through the grunts with flaming swords….
Will and Clarissa!
Harry's gaze snapped onto the Dragons, charging through Death Eater after Death Eater like paper. They looked terrible, dressed in rags and caked in blood and dirt, but they were fighting through it, ploughing through the crowd as Foggy led the last student through a Fireplace.
"This is my potential. This is my place. Standing between you and Harry. I don't fear you. Don't forget, I know more about you than anyone alive. You aren't the master of the chessboard Tom. Because here I stand, a rogue piece, and that's not something the rules of chess allow," Ginny said, standing tall against Voldemort. She still looked gaunt and frail, and her clothes were still smouldering, but the fire in her eyes was undeniable. She was gorgeous.
"Then you'll die where you stand!"
"I don't think so!" Ginny whipped up a shield, absorbing three spells Harry couldn't even describe fired at her from Voldemort's wand before responding with two of her own – a banishing hex and a severing charm.
Voldemort flung Ginny's spells back at her with a wave of his wand, and Ginny pulled up a wall of earth to absorb them. She summoned a blast of lighting and stabbed her wand into the ground, electrocuting the floor directly beneath where Voldemort stood. But he floated up in the air, throwing a bolt of darkness at her instead. Ginny dived out of the way, before firing a bone-crushing curse at Voldemort. He batted the spell into a wall and retaliated with a blast of green light. Ginny summoned a nearby Death Eater into the Killing Curse's path, and the black cloak collapsed with his strings cut. Ginny banished the body at Voldemort, but he transfigured the fresh corpse into a giant snake. Harry snapped his eyes closed and sent a phrase of Parseltongue across their connection.
Ginny repeated the phrase, and the snake turned on a curious Voldemort, who quickly banished it. Harry, who still couldn't get up and had no idea where his wand was, would just slow her down and distract her if he tried to help, but he could direct what remained of his energy into her, just like she did for him in the Graveyard. He focussed all his attention on the Gemini Rune, pushing all his love and will into their bond. The Gemini Rune on Ginny's neck flared with violet light, drawing Voldemort's eye for just a moment, allowing Ginny to point her wand at the sky.
"Pluit Ignus Sanctum!" She cried. A giant crack split the air above them, and white light beamed down on Voldemort from beyond, then bolts of pure white energy began raining from the sky like knives. Two of the holy magic fires passed through Voldemort's hastily conjured shield, spearing through his arm and shoulder, and he grunted in pain briefly. Then something changed. His red eyes darkened to solid black orbs, and the veins running along his head turned charcoal dark.
Voldemort grinned maniacally and pointed his wand straight at the light.
"Tenebris Consumate!" A lance of darkness shot into the light, snapping it closed as if it had never been, and Ginny stumbled backwards. She launched three rapid-fire disarming spells at Voldemort, but they all ricocheted of a shell of darkness that enveloped his body the second they hit, which vanished a second later.
Get out of there! Harry begged her.
No! If I do, he kills you! I won't let it happen. I won't! I'll die first!
"You are truly impressive, Ginevra. Magnificent even. You would have made a fine disciple. But you cannot best me. I am beyond mortality. Did you really think you could stop me?" Voldemort asked, rising up into the air, purple lightning dancing at his fingertips.
"Do you think the Nether Force can defeat me?" Ginny spun around as Dumbledore stormed forward, wand in hand and anger etched across his face. Will and Clarissa were forcing Bellatrix back towards one of the Fireplaces, Braddock and Scrimgeour had finally subdued Rookwood and Dolohov, binding them in enchanted chains, and Sirius and Kingsley had Rodolphus Lestrange on the ropes, his brother already down for the count.
The Nether Force?
Remember what Clarissa and Will said? About the Enigma Forces.
The Evil One? But how did he…
"The Darkhold has taught you much, Tom. But even with it, you are not infallible. Doctor Strange is on his way with the Aether Force…"
"By which time I shall be gone. And you shall be dead!" Voldemort screamed, firing a Killing Curse at Dumbledore and Ginny. Ginny dived out of the way, but Dumbledore transfigured a piece of rubble into a bullseye, which exploded on contact with the spell.
"You are playing with something you cannot control! It will destroy you!" Dumbledore admonished, dodging and shielding from Voldemort's barrage of spells.
"I am the Dark Lord Voldemort. Nothing is beyond my power! The Nether Force is mine to wield! Only I have the strength!" Voldemort snarled. Then he gathered a void of darkness around him and blasted it at Dumbledore. The Headmaster disapparated, leaving Will, who had been running up behind Dumbledore, to get blasted back across the courtyard and into the abyss below the balcony. Dumbledore appeared behind Voldemort and hit him with a bludgeoning hex and a banisher. The bludgeon struck Voldemort in the shoulder, but the wound merely sealed itself in coursing black energy. The banisher didn't even make Voldemort flinch. He turned around, a sinister sneer on his face, and pointed his wand at Dumbledore's shocked face.
"AVADA KEDAVRA!" Green light tinged with black sped towards Dumbledore, but then Clarissa dropped from above landing between the two titans and summoning a giant shield of coursing golden energy. The Unforgivable Curse – the curse that could not be shielded from – struck the barrier with the sound of a gong, sending a shockwave through the atrium that shattered every glass window that hadn't already been destroyed. But Clarissa remained standing, golden energy flaring around her like a hurricane.
"The Nether Force gives you power Tom Riddle, but it does not give you the strength of mind to use it. Many more powerful than you have tried to tap its energy, all have failed, or fallen into madness trying!" Doctor Strange was standing in the middle of the atrium, bleeding white energy billowing all around him. His blue robes had been transfigured pure white, and a golden halo adorned his head as circles of white made from archaic symbols spiralled around his wrists. Behind him stood Sirius, Amelia Bones and the Aurors, as well as Neville Longbottom, Hannah Abbot, Demelza Robbins, Lavender Brown, Dean Thomas and Foggy Nelson. Then Will flew up out of the abyss, entire body wreathed in golden fire, eyes solid gold.
"Give up now, Tom. There are worse things than death. The path you tread leads only to eternal damnation and despair," Dumbledore said, wand pointed at Voldemort. Voldemort looked between Dumbledore, the Dragons, and Doctor Strange, but instead of the defeat Harry expected to see, all he saw was pitch black. Hate, anger and vengeance.
"Nothing is worse than death," Voldemort said. An orange spell flew from the back of the room, colliding with the Fountain of Magical Brethren. The Fountain exploded, revealing the man that had attacked Ginny, who helped bring Voldemort back to life, hidden in the darkness. Barty Crouch Jr. He ducked into a Fireplace and vanished, but by then it was too late.
Voldemort had used the chaos to disappear.