DISCLAIMER: I do not own Harry Potter, or anything you may find in my story that in any way resembles a character, story, or plot that is owned by another person.

Harry Potter and Yet Another Version of His Hogwarts Years

Hogwarts Year 7

Grimmauld Place was a hive of activity all summer long. Ted Tonks, Dora's muggle-born father had suggested an interesting avenue of research. He had heard that it was possible for muggle doctor's to actually bring a patient to a clinical death, operate on them or whatever they needed to do, and then bring them back to life. It seemed incredulous to everyone, but if such a thing were possible it might be just the thing. So, with Ted's help and Remus' as a guide, based on his more recent proclivity for working in the muggle world, they began searching out the names and numbers of the best doctors in the UK that they could find.

While that went on, Harry and all his friends worked day in and day out on a training regimen put together and run by Sirius and Dora. Essentially a condensed Auror training, so that they would gain the physical fitness and endurance as well as good practical fighting and team-work skills.

Around mid-summer, early one morning they had a visit by Arthur Weasley who wanted to give the news first hand. Everyone was already doing warm up exercises to get ready for the day. "Hi Arthur. This is a surprise. Aren't you on your way to work?" Sirius asked after he answered the floo. "I've been there all night as it is. The Minister called in all department heads at three a.m. I'm actually on my way home for quick kip and some breakfast before heading back." Arthur answered.

"Why, what happened?" asked Remus, as Arthur stepped through the floo. "Voldemort happened. Last night at midnight he and his death eaters attacked Azkaban and released the rest of his old followers." sighed Arthur, tiredly taking the offered seat. "Did any of the guards die?" asked Sirius. The kids just stood around and listened, not interrupting. "Yes, several. I won't get into that now." he said with a glance to the kids. "Not only did he break out his followers but, he also turned the Dementors to his side, who left with him." Most of them gasped when they heard that. "No, that can't be. The Ministry has control of them." said Ginny.

"Had control, had." answered Arthur. "And that's not all..." he said, with a meaningful and pitying look at Harry. Ginny recognized that look and knew bad news for Harry was imminent and grabbed his arm tightly. "Harry, I'm sorry. But, the death eaters attacked your family on Privet Drive after the breakout. They've all died." he added, unnecessarily. No muggles would've survived that. "And he left words inscribed on the roof underneath the Dark Mark that said, You're Next." Everyone looked at Harry in silence wondering if he would explode or what. All Harry did was straighten his back, nodded slowly and said, "I'm sorry for Dudley. He was just a kid like us, not a nice kid, but just a kid. He didn't deserve to die like that." he paused, realizing people expected something more. "My aunt and uncle wanted me dead my entire life. I just can't feel bad for them. I'm sorry." he said through gritted teeth, ready for someone to challenge him on it with their unwelcome advice or something.

Ginny loosened her grip on his arm and started rubbing his back in support and some of the stress seemed to loosen up a little bit. "It's okay Harry. It's perfectly understandable considering how they treated you." said Remus. Not everyone in the room knew as much as a few closer to Harry did about that, so they were unsure of his reaction. But, with Remus' affirmation of Harry's feelings on it, the rest just let it go. Ginny was not one who knew that much of the darker treatment he endured and she vowed to herself to ask him about it sometime, long after all this had blown over.

"Thanks Arthur, for letting me, letting ...us know, all of that. I guess we need to make sure we are ready more than ever now." Harry turned and took in the room. "Sirius, Remus; I think I've waited long enough to decide on this. Let's go forward with the plan you and Ted put together with the muggle hospital." he said, changing the subject back to actions, not mourning or vindicating the lack of.

"Very well." Remus answered with a nod, "I'll get with Ted and we'll get it set up as soon as possible." "Thanks." said Harry. Everyone still just stood around wondering what they should do next. So, it was up to Harry to get everyone moving again. "Well, let's not sit around here wool gathering, we have training to get back to." and he started back down the stairs where the group does its calisthenics to warm up for the morning run. The other kids: Ginny, Fred, George, Lee, Percy, and Luna just shrugged and followed Harry down the stairs, and with a look back to the rest, Dora just shrugged her shoulders and followed, to coach them as usual. "I'll be down to join you all in a minute Dora, after I've had a few words with Arthur and Remus about something." said Sirius.

...

During the following week Dora reported that Dumbledore's order learned that Voldemort had sent representatives to speak to the Vampires clans, Werewolf packs, and the Giants, to assist him in the coming war. And that Dumbledore had likewise sent Hagrid with Madame Maxine to do the same with the Giants. And was still looking for ways to reach out to the Vampires and the Werewolves, to at least get them to remain neutral and stay out of it.

That weekend, Harry was admitted to the University Hospital of Wales for a faux surgical procedure on his brain, courtesy of liberal use of confundus charms and conjured paperwork. For this rare procedure, Harry would (as the doctors therefore believed) need to be temporarily killed (induced clinical death), to prevent bleeding out during the surgery. Now of course, the operating room would also be full of several well practiced wands from the Order of the Dragon, in disguise, helped again by more confundus. They would not actually be opening up Harry's brain. But they thought they were, so they performed all the appropriate pre-op precautions and readied him for the procedure using their best muggle medical techniques for just this sort of procedure. Harry had faith in his crazy uncles and Bill Weasley to be able to pull it off. If things didn't go exactly as planned they would use an emergency portkey to St. Mungo's. That would be the last resort. Harry had to trust them for all this because he would be unconscious for all of it. Ginny almost had to be put under as well, but she was back at Potter Castle being kept under a cheering charm and house arrest by her brothers.

"Nurse Rogers, are we ready to begin the procedure?" asked Head Surgeon, Doctor Richards. "Almost doctor, the patient is three-quarters on the way to induced hypothermia." she replied. They waited as the monitors progressed indicating that Harry's internal body temperature had fallen to sixty-four degrees Fahrenheit (17.7 Celsius). At the appropriate moment, the machine beeped where it was supposed to and the nurse reported: "He's ready doctor." "Okay, standby" replied the Doctor as he used several instruments of his own to manually check that Harry was indeed ready. Unfortunately, since the muggles had to believe they were really doing this, Harry's head was shaven for the event. They neglected to inform him of that beforehand.

At that crucial stage, the Doctor then induced circulatory arrest on Harry, and the life signs monitor beeped a solid warbling tone, indicating that Harry had coded. Even the wizards in the room knew that sound when they heard it and they almost froze on the spot, nearly forgetting what they were there to do next. They were reminded when Harry suddenly began shaking, his scar split open on his forehead, not bleeding at all owing to the hypothermia, and black mist began seeping out. That was a good sign, and the sign they were waiting for. The medical staff seemed to panic and as planned, the wizards immobilized their assigned muggle nurse or doctor. After one minute had passed, one minute thirty seconds since he coded, the black mist stopped seeping out and Harry stopped shaking, just laid there dead. The next steps were the most crucial and time was everything.

They needed the doctors and nurses back to the job doing their thing, and they were going to burn in hell for what they would have to do next, but as Dumbledore would say, "it was for the greater good." The wizards imperioused each of the doctors and nurses so they wouldn't resist their commands and would work urgently without stopping to first ask how and why things were happening the way they were. They restored their mobility and Bill Weasley, as had been his pre-assigned role, began barking orders: "Doctor, there was a problem and we had to cancel the procedure, the boy's forehead scar split open. We need to resuscitate him now!" urged Bill. The doctors and nurses went into motion without seeming to need any words to pass between them, this was something these professionals could do in their sleep. The nurses began the protocols for raising body temperature as quickly and as safely as possible; while at the right moment, the doctors began cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Soon thereafter when Harry's body temperature was high enough again, another doctor administered defibrillation. Harry still did not resuscitate on his own. The Order members exchanged worried glances. The doctor ordered Epinephrine, and Harry's life sign monitor began showing a spark of life. That being their queue, Bill silently cast Enervate at Harry and he woke up with what little amount of a scream he could get out with all the hoses and tubes stuck in his throat and nose. But, he was back and out of the woods. His life sign monitor gradually began restoring to normal and he began taking normal fluids again from the IV drip as his blood flow began to return to normal.

With the doctor's and nurses still imperioused, they had all but one nurse move over to seats and sit down. As things in the operating room had calmed down and Sirius and Remus' hearts also restarted; and with Harry also beginning to relax a bit more, Sirius approached his bedside with the remaining nurse and instructed her to remove all of Harry's monitors and support. He explained that the doctor said he was now fine and would be discharged. The nurse having no recourse obeyed and Harry was slowly helped up to a sitting position by Remus. "Did it work?" Harry groggily asked with a sore throat. The nurse instinctively handed Harry a small cup of water to drink. "Just take a couple sips at first dear." she said. "Thank you," Harry answered and did as he was told. "Yes, it actually did. The same black seeping mist and everything. We ended up having to do the Enervate at the end to make sure. You were coming around but once you were back on some of your own power, we didn't want to leave it up to the muggle medicine to make sure you came back to us." answered Sirius.

"That's fantastic... Whew." exclaimed Harry. "Let's get out of here then." "I couldn't agree more." replied Sirius putting one hand on Harry's shoulder as he waved a finger on his other hand at Remus and indicated to the doctor's and nurses. They had all the doctor's and nurses resume their normal stations, while still under imperious. Bill obliviated all of them. Then Remus confounded the Head Surgeon who signed Harry's official discharge papers. Leaving them their copy and taking Harry's copy in hand, Remus said, okay let's release them from Imperious and make nice like happy people being discharged...

"Doc, I'm sorry." began Remus. "We should have mentioned Harry's old scar during the pre-op. We didn't know it could break open like that. We'll try to re-schedule this." he concluded, shaking Head Surgeon Richard's hand. "Oh, don't worry. We should've caught it ourselves." said the Doctor, not really sure what or how it happened either but making nice since they were. He turned to Harry, put a hand on his shoulder and said "I'm sorry son, I hope we can get this re-scheduled. I hate to have to put you through all that again. But, that was just an unexpected fluke. We couldn't go forward with the operation this time under the circumstances." Harry answered, "It's okay Doctor Richards. I appreciate you trying. We'll figure something out and get this rescheduled." The Doctor wasn't sure what else to say at that point and just nodded along with everyone else as they said their goodbyes and left.

Back at Potter Castle there was a huge celebration both for the fact that Harry lived through the ordeal and that Voldemort's last Horcrux was gone. Finally, the next time someone could off that bastard he would stay dead. If it weren't for the stupid prophecy, Harry would've wished that job on someone else but, he knew better. The whole lot of them knew better and assumed that it would probably come as a result of Voldemort invading the Ministry or Hogwarts or both. They were in no rush to hurry that along, as Harry and the whole team really needed to continue to train.

...

The rest of the summer was almost casual compared to the first half of the summer. With major things taken care of it was a matter of preparing for the inevitable showdown. They trained and worked hard. And even though the younger kids weren't officially allowed in the so-called Junior Order, they all trained with them just the same. It also helped to keep them focused on something productive. No one was sure when Voldemort would make his move, but since he seemed to consolidate the bulk of his death eater forces after Azkaban, he had begun sending out raids, apparently for training and spreading general fear. The Ministry was amping up its own preparations, even though Fudge was an incompetent leader. He allowed Madam Bones and Kingsley Shacklebolt to lead on recruiting and training more Aurors and Hit wizards as well as improving security at the Ministry.

...

In the Voldemort camp, since he realized that he would never get the real prophecy, he decided it was time for the gloves to come off. If it was another confrontation with Potter then so be it, he was confident. In the meantime they would plot an attack to conquer the Ministry. Once he held that and its resources and was able to conscript people to fight in his Army, he would eventually have the forces to take Hogwarts.

First he had to raise a new dark army to take the Ministry. He had made good progress with the death eaters and the Dementors; but he wanted to engage first in a broader recruitment campaign on the continent and wait to hear back about the giants, the vampires, and the werewolves. They would not be ready by end of summer but that would play into his plan. He wanted to attack the Ministry during a school day, during the following year when Dumbledore, his Order, and his teachers would have a harder time responding and backing them up.

Meanwhile, he would order Lucius to have Draco make attempts at Hogwarts to assassinate Dumbledore on the threat of the death of his mother, maybe they would get lucky and get him out of the way before the Ministry. Snape would be kept out of the loop (as far as he would know) because he was unsure yet where his loyalties laid after all these years.

...

Except for reports of death eater raids on civilian targets that both the Ministry and the Order of the Phoenix responded to, the rest of the summer past by normally and school restarted on September 1. There were Ministry guards all over the Hogwarts Express but no incidents there. Harry and his Order of the Dragon continued to train in secret in the Room of Requirement and Dumbledore was giving Harry private lessons on Tom Riddle's history. As if that would help them identify and get the last Horcrux. Harry for his part would not tell Dumbledore his horcrux was already gone or indicate that he knew he ever was one. The game Dumbledore wanted to play was a good and useful distraction for the old fool, so he just played along.

After Malfoy got frustrated from his failed attempts at using poison and dark artifacts to get to Dumbledore, he tried a more direct approach. Of course, he knew he could not take Dumbledore in a duel, so he thought of a way to trick him to let his guard down. Then if he could disarm him quickly, he would have the upper hand. To do that, he would try to pretend to turn spy for Dumbledore, saying he could find out who was trying to get poisons and dark artifacts into the school. He could not admit straight away that he knew Dumbledore was the target, that would be giving the game away. Dumbledore of course pretended to fall for it, to play along with the game.

During his third status meeting with Dumbledore late at night in one of the unused classrooms, he acted. He came early and waited under an invisibility cloak, inside an open closet within the classroom just inside. Also, knowing the danger he was in during this final all or nothing move, he had relented and allowed Snape to help him, knowing that he had made the unbreakable vow with his aunt Bella and his mother to protect him and do the job for him if he should fail.

Showing some real cunning for the first time in his life (it was amazing what you could do when your life was on the line), he would not tell Snape what he needed him for until he met him thirty minutes before his meeting with Dumbledore. That way if Snape was playing both sides, he wouldn't be able to stroll up to Dumbledore beforehand and warn him. Thus, if Draco failed, Snape would be forced to act on pain of death. Snape was to hide around the corner, wait to see Dumbledore enter the room wait one minute then follow him in. Draco thought he had all bases covered.

So, when the time came right after Dumbledore casually strolled into the classroom, Malfoy silently cast Expelliarmus at his back, causing Dumbledore to sail forward ten feet and fall on his face, with his wand sailing into Draco's other hand. On cue, as Dumbledore tried to quickly recover, get back to his feet, and spin around to face his attacker with a little wandless magic to take back his wand, he heard Snape before he could see him: Petrificus Totalus, Incarcerous; Snape cast in quick succession immobilizing and binding Dumbledore in ropes.

Snape was bound to help, so as he watched Draco seem uncertain what to do next and hesitate over the final deed, Snape hastily thought of a way he could continue to meet the terms of the vow while possibly getting Dumbledore out of the mess alive. Draco hadn't seemed to notice that Snape's choice of spells left Dumbledore perfectly conscious if unable to move at the moment. He would need to be careful now so that the magic of the vow didn't perceive him as not carrying out the deed, thus he had to allow Draco to continue to fall to his own apparent conclusion not to do it, while protecting him. But he could not let Dumbledore go either.

"Draco, if you are uncomfortable doing this here, let's sneak him out of the castle to somewhere remote and out of the way, then perhaps your nerve would return." suggested Snape. Draco agreed with the idea. So, they draped his invisibility cloak over a disillusioned and levitated Dumbledore and appeared to just be a professor and student heading outdoors albeit in the late evening after dark, discussing lessons and such. No one short of Minerva would question Snape anyway.

As they snuck Dumbledore out the front door, an invisible Harry and Ginny, heading back to their dorms from an evening date in the Room of Requirement, saw the pair going outside. They did not see Dumbledore, they had done that job well, but they still thought it was suspicious. So, remaining in their own state of Intangible Invisibility, they followed them out. Harry whispered to Ginny that if something weird happened and he had to reveal himself, that she should not. They would not want Snape to catch them outside together out of bounds and after curfew.

They followed the pair to the forbidden forest, where they turned around to check that no one was following them, then pushed something through the shrubbery and followed it in. Something invisible apparently. So that was definitely suspicious and they followed them in a couple dozen meters to a small clearing where Snape lifted an invisibility cloak from a tied up Dumbledore, who obviously was also disarmed from his wand. Harry then spotted the handle of Dumbledore's wand sticking out of Malfoy's robe pocket.

Realizing this might be the opportunity he hoped for to get that wand, he waited for what he assumed would be next, the murder of Dumbledore or short of that possibly they were abducting him. He would bet on the former though. After Snape essentially propped Dumbledore up against a tree, for Draco to take his shot (or not) in the seclusion of the forest. All Snape could think of is that he was stalling for time, but had no idea how Dumbledore would get out of it short of Snape sacrificing his own life to the vow.

He also had just realized that the vow made him subconsciously bring Draco out there to fulfill the protection part of the vow. Because Snape knew that if either of them fired the killing curse inside the school, that the wards tied to that curse inside the school would have sent off caterwauling alarms, possibly getting Draco caught in the act. At that point he hoped Draco still lacked the darkness or the raw nerve to do the deed. What he would do then, who knew. One catastrophe at a time.

Harry didn't know Draco's intention. And when he saw him draw his wand, Harry quickly returned to tangibility, but remained invisible and silently cast two Expelliarmus at Draco in succession. As Draco flew back on his skinny arse, they watched as both wands sailed into the air and simply disappeared at a spot 20 feet away.

Having secured his prize, Harry returned to the safety of intangibility with a wiggling of his eyebrows and a smirk to Ginny who burst out laughing, silently to the material world of course, safe in their alternate dimension. They decided to stay and watch the show. Snape had a wand. What would he do? Would Harry act to save Dumbledore if he had to?

Harry thought Snape was a secret agent for Dumbledore, so he figured Dumbledore was safe now, and whatever he was playing along with Malfoy to do was over now that the blond boot licker had no wand. Snape on the other hand was mortified. He could not have foreseen that, whatever it was. Clearly they'd been caught but, by whom? Perhaps it was something Dumbledore did. It must be, they were not presently under attack...

Since Draco had been disarmed, he could not complete the deed. Then he thought, if they'd been caught, giving up now would surely count as protecting Draco because he wasn't guilty of anything yet. Well other than what Dumbledore himself had seen, and he'd been telling Snape all year how he wanted to redeem the boy, even if it came to this situation. And that if had to come to it, Snape was to kill him and not Draco. So, he just turned to Draco. "Run Draco...I'll hold off whoever is out here. Get back to the school, do not be seen, stay safe."

"What about our job." Draco replied. "Shhh." whispered Snape, "not here, they will hear you. Now go..." and he gave Draco a shove in the direction of the school who took off running. Snape was sure that counted for protecting Draco. Draco wanted to ask what about Dumbledore, he knew everything now, or enough. As he ran he realized Snape had to have a plan or he wouldn't have sent him back to the school. He thought, "he will probably Obliviate him of tonight and we can try again another time." "I hope he can get my wand back too."

After Draco cleared the forest, Snape turned back to Dumbledore and silently cancelled both spells. Dumbledore was suddenly free of his restraints, slumped a bit, caught himself and said "Good thinking dear boy..., thanks for getting us out of that one without harming Draco... Now, may I have my wand back please?"

Snape gulped. "Uh, Headmaster, I thought that was something you did wandlessly?"

"No. ...Oh, shit." said Dumbledore. "That means someone else is out here." "And they have my wand." "Not good, not good at all." thought Dumbledore.

Ginny and Harry had tears of laughter streaming from their eyes, and she asked: "Should we turn visible and tell them what happened?" "No, no Gin. You see, now Dumbledore doesn't even have a clue where his wand has gone. And he'll wonder if Draco is now the master of it, or someone else. And we know Dumbledore loves his mysteries. And he doesn't need to know we had anything at all to do with it. It's perfect. Let's just head back to the dorms ourselves. I will sleep good tonight."

...

The following day, on the Ides of March, Voldemort and his Death Eaters invaded the Ministry of Magic. That would be a bad day for Dumbledore since he responded with some of the Order anyway, but only with his backup (original) wand. Without the edge of the Death Stick, Dumbledore fell while trying to protect Minister Fudge's life. They didn't get along, but he felt it was his duty to make the last stand with him. Only Kingsley Shacklebolt, Dora Tonks and Madam Bones made it out of the Ministry alive out of the fighters. Shacklebolt had to drag Bones out, she seemed to be determined to go down fighting too. Arthur and Percy Weasley were both lost to Death Eaters in the fracas as well.

Back at Hogwarts the mood was a combination of anger, sorrow, fear, and confusion. Minerva McGonagall, suddenly acting Headmistress was receiving scores of owls asking what the school would do? Send the kids home? Surrender to Voldemort when he came? What?!

Additionally, others with their own ideas in mind, as the word went out over the Wizarding Wireless Network as well; began slowly in some cases, rapidly in others, migrating to Hogwarts. Some believing it would be the safest place left, even with the loss of Dumbledore, others thinking it had to be next and would go to risk their lives to protect it. Still others were parents on their way to remove their kids from the school out of fear regardless of what McGonagall decided.

Everything was descending into chaos, Harry tried mostly unsuccessfully to console and comfort Ginny over the loss of her father and brother. Not before long, the rest of the Weasley clan became one of the groups that started trickling in to Hogwarts meaning to add aid to a defense if it were necessary. The Weasley boys were hoping he'd come and soon, because they wanted revenge. Shortly after, Shacklebolt, Dora Tonks, and Bones arrived from the Ministry explaining in person what happened and who was lost and so forth.

McGonagall with the help of Bones who was the senior member of the legitimate government in exile, summoned a makeshift gathering of experienced leaders to a meeting in a large classroom to discuss options and next steps. While she asked Harry, who was also Head Boy, and Susan Bones, who was Head Girl, to work with a couple of the other teachers and Hagrid to calm the students and other family members who were still arriving and keep order.

Harry and Susan could think of nothing more appropriate so they ordered the entire school into the Great Hall, and had the house-elves prepare a hastily contrived buffet of light foods and drinks to occupy and refresh everyone, while keeping them relatively safely confined to one area. He had wanted to get the Order of the Dragon together to plan, but half of them were in McGonagall and Bones meeting and the other half were with him in the Great Hall running interference everywhere.

"Fred and George," Harry panted after finally locating them, "I hate to ask this of you but, could you organize some of the better fighters and less upset upper years to stand a watch on the castle towers, to alert us if any hostile forces are on the way?" The two nodded as Harry continued, "With everyone running in a hundred different directions, we might lose sight of the most important thing if he comes straight away." "Will do Harry." they said in unison. "You're doing a great job here Harry." added Fred, "We'll get this figured out." concluded George.

Ginny just clung a little tighter to Harry watching her older brothers go off to place themselves in some danger, while still thinking of the loss of her father and Percy. "Are we going to make it Harry?" she asked sorrowfully. "I don't know." Harry answered honestly. "I do know that if we don't get this chaos sorted and get a plan together, if they do come, we won't be ready. So that's what we have to do." he said with determination; and the pair went back to rejoin Susan and other prefects trying to keep herd on things, dealing with some Slytherin troublemakers, greeting and meeting new stragglers as they arrived to Hogwarts, as well as keeping track of the several students who did in fact leave with their parents when they arrived. So, they could at least report that to Headmistress McGonagall.

...

Two hours later, McGonagall, the Heads of Houses, the remaining government in exile, the several members of the Orders of the Phoenix that didn't respond at the Ministry, and all the adults of Harry's Order of the Dragon, emerged from their big meeting. Arriving at the Great Hall, McGonagall told Harry and Susan "Good idea bringing them all here. Let's get everyone seated and settled and then I and Madam Bones have several announcements to make." ...

With everyone straggling into seats and others still standing as the room was way over capacity, McGonagall rose to begin making announcements. "Everyone, please quiet down, this is very important for you all to hear." began McGonagall, and she first recapped what everyone already knew about the taking of the Ministry, simply confirmed it and made it official. After getting everyone to again quiet down she restarted. "I will soon turn the podium over to Madam Bones, after I finish our business." "The school wards have been activated locking down all entrance and exits, and also blocking all forms of magical communication to and from the school," she added with a glance over to the Slytherin section of the room. "If any more help wants to arrive or if anyone wants to now leave, they will be screened at the gate by Head Auror Kingsley Shacklebolt and his assistant Auror Dora Tonks." .. "Next, it has been decided that effective immediately, Hogwarts will be closed."

She paused for the cacophony to break out, and after giving them some time to vent their spleen, retook control of the room. "Yes, it is necessary." "All students and their families who wish to leave will be given one-way portkey's directly from Hogwarts grounds to the location of their choice. We will not risk the train or a marching of students through Hogsmeade to make it safely home."

"Next. All students fourth year and below will be sent home, without question and with no exception." she paused again to allow a brief outburst. "Any student fifth year and above who wishes to stay and defend Hogwarts may do so, only if you have your parents permission or you are of age." "Before you decide, you should know that also effective immediately, Hogwarts Castle will henceforth and until this emergency is over, become the new official home of the government of the British Ministry of Magic, under acting Minister, Madam Amelia Bones and that we fully expect that announcement to bring You-Know-Who and his forces to this Castle directly, as soon as they are ready." "So, make your decisions wisely. Heads of Houses assisted by the prefects will coordinate your plans to leave or stay forthwith. The Head Boy and Girl along with the civilian defense organizations known as the Order of the Phoenix, led now by yours truly, and the Order of the Dragon, led by Sirius Black, will meet with me in the Headmistress' office immediately after Madam Bones dismisses you; for us to begin planning Hogwarts defenses." "That is all I have at the moment... Madam Bones, please the floor is yours." concluded Headmistress McGonagall.

"Thank you Headmistress." began Madam Bones. "And thank you for offering this ancient castle to be the bulwark for the defense of our way of life." she announced, to uncertain applause for McGonagall's leadership and a general acceptance of the decision. "This is a dark time. But, in conference with the leaders you see before you. We are confident that You-Know-Who can be defeated. It is not impossible as he would like everyone to believe." she paused for chattering, while reserving her words...she and others who were non-plussed had just been briefed on the Order of the Dragon's progress in the background waging the war under everyone's noses, and now actually believed her own words, with a subtle glance over to Harry Potter, whereas three hours ago she would not have.

"I have already given an order, one that is sure to be controversial, but I believe necessary, to the remaining Auror guards at Azkaban to fall-back to this position at Hogwarts, bolstering our numbers here with fifty highly combat trained wizards. They should be arriving momentarily." That announcement was met with stunned silence so she continued. "I wanted to execute that order before You-Know-Who got organized and prevented it. Unfortunately that does mean that the prison will go unguarded for some time. But, also unfortunately, You-Know-Who had already broken out his loyal supporters. The cells and gates will remain locked and other non-combative support staff will still tend to the other prisoners food and other needs. But, we simply cannot secure that place and protect it while we are all needed to defend Hogwarts. He has already shown that he can breech Azkaban defenses anyway; while Hogwarts defenses when fully armed, have never been breached in its history." she paused as some hopeful applause broke out for that sentiment.

"We would expect no less than a day reprieve as he consolidates his hold at the Ministry, regroups, heals his people, and plans the next step. I would not expect him to take long to decide to come to Hogwarts once this announcement goes out. Which we will also delay for twenty-four hours." "Now, as the Headmistress said I am assuming the duties of acting Minister of Magic. And I am deputizing all adults who volunteer to fight for the Ministry and Hogwarts as temporary Aurors and authorizing the use of Unforgivable curses to defeat the enemy." she had to stop for gasps and yelling of dismay over that decision. Yelling over the din: "We cannot defend ourselves against him and his army if they are willing to kill and we are not. That is how we just lost the Ministry. Hogwarts is our last hope. We cannot fail now." ... "Now, when we our Auror reinforcement arrives we will bolster our support at the gate and begin setting up defenses and patrols; and together with Headmistress McGonagall and her teams we will organize a comprehensive defense." "I believe the next order of business is to get our young students and anyone who doesn't want to stay and fight evacuated. So, let's get that done." "Thank You and Good Luck to us all." Madam Bones said in conclusion and then turned to leave the podium, signally that the assembly was over and they were dismissed to begin the evacuation.

...

An hour later, the Auror reinforcements had arrived and the Ministry contingent once again looked like it could actually be in charge of something. Evacuation was well underway and discussions with the volunteers who were staying were being conducted in manageably sized groups; while the most senior leadership of all of them were once again in a secure meeting conducting strategy now that they knew pretty much what their numbers and resources would be for the fight.

After the planning meeting broke up, teams went out immediately to begin setting new wards and bolstering the original wards, forming great shields over the Hogwarts grounds and castle. Each of the twelve student teams were broken up into groups of 14 fighters; twelve students plus their one prefect leader, and one Auror. The teams would immediately go out to the ground to practice shielding and other supportive charms to help their Auror captain fight and not have to watch his own back, in addition to lending in offense when they could. Fred, George, Neville, and Seamus supplied all twelve teams with deep portable swamps, devils snare bombs, and explosive fireworks that were minus the pretty.

The remaining thirty-eight Auror reinforcements would build an entrenchment to provide the first line of defense inside the grounds between the gate and the castle. Shacklebolt and Tonks would remain behind with Bones and McGonagall to command the defenses from the school and provide part of the fall-back line of defense if it is needed. A hit team that would aim to take on Voldemort consisted of Remus Lupin, Harry Potter, Professor's Flitwick and Vector. They were joined by a decoy team which would attempt to get Voldemort's attention by pretending to be the hit team, lead by Sirius Black, supported by Professors Sprout and Hooch, with Bill Weasley under polyjuice looking like Harry. Bill wanted his shot at the Wanker-Know-Who that killed his father and brother.

The other twelve Order members would stagger through the thirty-eight front-line Aurors to support them, for a total of fifty on the front line. Eight of the twelve teams of students and their Auror captain would be disillusioned and distributed evenly on the flanks on the far edges of the grounds, with the intent to draw in the bulk of Voldemort's forces toward the center of the front-line and once most were in position, the eight teams would join the fight to create cross-fire and chaos within Voldemort's ranks as well as target specific asymmetric threats like giants and werewolves. The other four teams were stocked with fighters who had been in the DA and learned how to cast the Patronus, this group is where Ginny Weasley would take position alongside her mother who would not allow her into the field without her being by her side in person. Their job would be to hang back at a second line of defense just outside the main castle entrance, and cast and maintain Patronus against the Dementors that were sure to take part in the attack. They simply had to keep them a manageable distance away from the front-line and flanking fighters who would be busy dueling and shielding and throwing Weasley traps at the enemy.

The forty village volunteers staggered throughout the four teams of Dementor defense at the main entrance, and were quickly brushing up on their shielding and in-field healing charms. The big four (Shacklebolt, Tonks, McGonagall, and Bones) set up shop directly inside the front doors of the castle, directing their units and in McGonagall's case, directing the wards. Which for her the first order of business was to animate the castle's armored defenders, and secondly to set the Weasley twins, Neville and Seamus onto setting up explosive traps on all the other bridges and entrances into Hogwarts. All in total, the Hogwarts defenders consisted of two hundred sixty-one people fighting or supporting. One hundred forty-seven of them (two thirds) were students, plus the other forty volunteers. It took all night to make preparations and they were tired. They were hoping then to get a reprieve to catch some sleep. Counting on Madam Bones belief that they would have twenty-four hours at least.

That didn't happen. Not any sooner than the defenders finished their last drill to take their positions and test their communications with captains and commanders, and began to unwind to retire to the Great Hall for food and hopefully to bed. The Death Eaters arrived en masse.

The caterwauling alarms of the perimeter wards went off telling the Headmistress and all within earshot that beings with hostile intent were crossing the first ward boundary line outside the grounds. This first line simply a warning that they were coming. It was midnight and difficult to see, but fortunately Aurors were trained for such conditions and were able to make out the composition of opposing forces, who were at that moment being stopped from further progress to the main gate into the grounds by the massive shield bloom of the main ward complex that had never before fallen and had always protected her inhabitants. They knew that this night it would not be so easy.

The enemy had gathered over four hundred fighters. Of those they counted twelve giants and two hundred Dementors. Another one hundred ninety fighters beyond that. Of those they anticipated from their knowledge of his forces to be approximately twenty hard-core inner circle fighters, eighty estimated trained adults recruited from the continent during the past year, and the rest a mix of werewolves and imperioused conscripts, the latter probably hastily arranged leftovers from the Ministry conquest itself. It would be a sad day to have to fire upon the latter group. What a catastrophe the whole thing was.

Harry and the Hogwarts defenders were outnumbered and by all accounts out gunned with those dark creatures. Their advantages if they had any was the defending position with Hogwarts wards and battlements, enchanted defenders, having had some time to prepare a strategy and entrench a little bit; and some quickly mass produced traps and tricks. But, all of that came at a cost of wearing themselves out for the past ten hours. Harry himself was starting to get a pounding headache when the initial adrenalin rush finally subsided only to be hit with a hammer when the alarms went off. His own personal plans for dealing with Voldemort when they got to go one on one were seeming more ridiculous to him all the time. Maybe he would get lucky and Voldemort would fall into one of those portable swamps or something, he hoped.

For the moment, the adrenalin rush kicked back in for everyone. Each defender re-took their positions, their fear and resolve all ticked up a notch, as well as their weariness. Then they got treated to having to wait a while. As the enemy's first business was to try to overpower the wards. Everyone of the attackers with a wand was casting hostile magic at the wards continuously trying to drain them. In time it would probably work. But, according to McGonagall it would take several hours yet. So, without relaxing their posture too much, she had the school's house-elves take everyone in the field something to drink and a snack to hopefully rejuvenate their strength a little bit.

Voldemort taunted them with threats that would've scared most little children, but everyone who was there was ready for what was to come. Finally, by three in the morning the wards started to show cracks and the defenders had to rouse themselves back to alert from their general dozing waiting for the inevitable. McGonagall sent the enchanted armor of one hundred twenty-eight mindless automatons to meet the enemy at the gate. The front line and flanking defenders cinched up and got ready. With a mighty explosion the wards fell and the gates exploded inward. The first to enter was two hundred Dementors.

"God, I just knew they would have to come in first." observed Ginny. Her mother only answered by commanding everyone in their four teams to begin conjuring their Patronesses and to keep the Dementors at bay near the perimeter. Dozens of animal-shaped light creatures swarmed forward to meet the two hundred Dementors, creating an effective shield through which they did not want to pass. The struggle would be on for the teams to maintain them, recasting them in staggered intervals, and not leave themselves open to counter-fire while they did it. The non-Patronus members of their teams jobs were to shield the others.

Next Voldemort sent his twelve giants and it looked like fifty werewolves, fully transformed. How he managed that on a night without a full moon, no one knew. But it was Voldemort after all. This had Kingsley concerned. He didn't want to deploy his flanking forces that was mostly made up of kids until the main forces were facing the front-lines, but they were the ones equipped to combat those threats the best. After a quick conversation with Amelia and Minerva, they decide to deploy just six of those eight teams, three on each flank, keeping one on each flank hidden and in reserve in case there were more asymmetric surprises later.

The six teams of fourteen from their disillusioned positions launched thirty-six portable swamps and thirty-six devil's snares. Thanks to their being unseen when they launched their first salvo they caught all twelve giants in devil's snare, and thirty of the fifty werewolves fell to portable swamps, where they would drown and never be seen again until the magic dispelled and they would be found lying on the ground in that spot dead. Those were very nasty inventions, which had been augmented for the day's festivities with dangerously deep wells within them. The giants were unable to break free of the devil's snare because the more strength they exerted against them, the stronger and more ferocious they got. The giants were hollering and making an undecipherable ruckus, while the surviving werewolves became momentarily frightened to see so many of their pack disappear like that into swamps all over the ground. They tried to back up and retreat but Voldemort had enough of the failures of those creatures and sent his conscripts, about forty or so forward to push the werewolves forward again and join them in their fight. As soon as that group made it onto the grounds, the main body of Voldemort's forces with himself in the middle came up behind them in large numbers, at least another hundred and the defenders assumed those were the well trained fighters.

Instinctively the attacking flanking teams took some steps back when they saw them and Voldemort enter the field which caused them to delay getting a second salvo out to the first line of attackers, when the regular troops began bombarding the front-line alongside their dozen or so remaining werewolves and forty conscripts who were near to the defending front-line and firing "killing curses" left and right. The remaining werewolves attempted to jump the conjured wall the defenders used for cover, only to each be killed by highly trained aurors. The defending line was being outgunned more than two to one at that point by wands, would've been three-to one except the flanking teams, who had been exposed and were under attack by portions of Voldemort's regulars that broke off from the center to meet them at the flanks, were also adding some of their counter-fire to the front-lines.

Several Dementors began to get through the lines as occasionally gaps would appear in the Patronus defense before new Patronus got up to the line. With Voldemort beginning to engage the front-line himself now with massively overpowered bombarda and other dark curses; the two remaining flanking teams were brought in from behind his group to attack the Dementors that got through and to set a salvo of their own swamps, snare, and that time a barrage of their explosive fireworks.

With that getting Voldemort's attention as several of his own inner circle member's fell to those attacks, he turned to face them himself. That was all the distraction that the hit-teams needed to make their move. First, Sirius' decoy team with Bill pretending to be Harry came in on brooms from the east side and dropped in on Voldemort and started throwing curses. He taunted who he thought was Harry, but wasn't getting through with spells because his team-mates did an effective job of shielding him.

"Stop stalling Potter and stop hiding behind the skirts of your godfather and teachers and face me one on one." he bellowed. Meanwhile the attacking front had broken the center of the defending front, who was then beginning to fall back to just in front of the second line by the main door, and reformed a new larger center. The flanking teams had managed to draw off significant number of Voldemort's regular forces from their center, forcing them to engage them in pitched duels all over the grounds. It was chaos, but the flankers were holding their own, focusing on shielding and distracting; bringing the main attacking line and its center to about the same force strength as the re-formed secondary defense line. The two lines were exchanging fire evenly, taking even numbers of casualties and were in a stalemate of sorts.

The real Harry, assisted by Remus, Flitwick, and Vector jumped Voldemort from ninety degrees away from his battle with the faux Harry and his team. The dueling master Filius Flitwick was a whirling dirvish of blocking and shielding spell chains and Harry successfully hit Voldemort from his invisible position with a silent Expelliarmus, courtesy of all the distractions, misdirection, and the power of the Elder Wand. He immediately threw off his Cloak of Invisibility and followed that up with Incarcerous and Immobulis spells. "What's the matter Tom, having trouble believing what you are seeing? Surprised that we could actually capture you, much less kill you?" Voldemort fought through the immobulis enough to speak. "I will admit it was a cunning ruse Potter, but you cannot kill me. If you do, I shall rise again and again and again."

"No you won't. Perhaps you refer to your horcrux's?" and Harry began ticking them off gesturing with his fingers: "The Gaunt Ring, Slytherin's Locket, Hufflepuff's Cup, The Diary, Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem, and the one you accidentally put in me when I was a toddler?" "They're all gone... destroyed, even the one that was in me." "That's six, plus you, makes seven." "We figured you'd go for seven as the most magically powerful number. That's it. You're done. When you go down now. You stay down." finished Harry. Everyone on the battlefield heard this and even his own people stopped fighting to see what would happen next. Should they try to rescue their leader at that point? Was it true that he was now mortal? An uneasy cease-fire was made between the two forces, but no one gave up ground or posture; they just gave each other the evil eye-ball while keeping one peeled on Potter and Voldemort to see what would happen.

Voldemort was thinking of how he should respond to that. Potter was right, he had planned on seven. But, he didn't know that he'd made Potter a horcrux that night. That meant he'd accidentally now made an eighth soul fragment when he made Nagini a horcrux. That probably wasn't good. But Potter didn't know about that one, Nagini wasn't in his math and she was safe at Malfoy Manor where she belonged. "Go ahead Potter. Kill me if you are so sure of yourself. I am sure that I am immortal. I call your bluff."

At that moment, Severus Snape who had been unable to leave Voldemort's side after the Ministry conquest and had remained at his undercover Death Eater post; had just returned from his little detour on the way to the battle, and got back just in time to hear Potter and Voldemort's conversation. So, realizing this was his moment to shine and play his part to end the madness for good, Snape stepped forward with a sonorous spell so that he was sure they'd all hear him, held out a large bag in his hand and dumped the headless snake onto the ground. Snape said silkily, "why 'My Lord'" he said sarcastically, "You wouldn't have by any chance been referring to your new and final horcrux Nagini were you by any chance? I think you will find that it also is well and truly dead."

Harry understood both his mistake and Snape's save in the same moment and got a huge smile on his face and said. Well Tom, I guess it's goodbye. I wouldn't stoop to this except that the prophecy said it had to be me, so... enjoy eternity in hell...Diffindo..." and everyone got to watch Tom Riddle aka Lord Voldemort's head roll cleanly off his body, dead, onto the ground below. The ropes from the incarcerous slackened and the rest of the body followed. As soon as it hit the ground, the magic holding his homunculus body together dissipated and they were all treated a second time to watching Voldemort's body decompose into tiny particles of dust and blow away.

The End.

Epilogue

Harry and the rest of the Hogwarts defenders were rightfully lauded as the heroes they were.

Madam Bones was elected in a landslide to officially become the next Minister of Magic.

The surviving Death Eater's were all arrested. The Inner Circle members given the Dementors Kiss and thrown through the Veil of Death for good measure. The remaining Death Eater's to life sentences in Azkaban, where the Dementors returned to do their duty until Minister Bones could figure out how to replace them. An item at the top of her agenda, but other rebuilding took precedence.

Harry and Ginny went on to get married and have a nice family. The Weasley's finally avenged the death of their father and brother, husband and son. And welcomed Harry into their family. At some point along the way, Harry and Ginny took leisure time to unwind from the war and embarked on another kind of adventure, one in which they searched for Merlin's legendary Cave of Secrets. I wonder if they ever found it and if so, whatever did they discover there? [...]