Disclaimer: Everything belongs to J.K.R.
Author's Notes: Almost there! I hope after this chapter you'll forgive me for the cliffhangers. Thank you for pointing out the misspelling of the Killing Curse. I was so concentrated on wrapping up the lose ends I didn't think to check the spelling of the curses. It's now fixed.
Another round of applause to Shygui, please! He's working faithfully on this story until the end. You rock!
Chapter 102, 28/11/19
Ristaurante Da Cosimo, London, June 5th 2008
The green flash raced towards Daphne's head.
Daphne slumped bonelessly to one side.
The poison green spell raced towards him. He blinked and his whole body became weightless with giddiness. She survived!
'Move, idiot!' Daphne screamed.
He lent to his left, but kept his wand trained on Carrington. The spell sizzled at him, it tugged at his jacket before it flashed past, and the wall behind him exploded under its impact. Tiny shards of red bricks and mortar pelted his back as he straightened, and finer dust rained down from above.
He didn't care. His steady hand pointed his wand at his opponent. One wrong move, and he'd blast the bastard into the next dimension or maybe even the one after that. Making sure that Carrington couldn't see what he was doing, he signalled Daphne with his left hand to get lower and she dropped onto the floor silently, her eyes wide and fearful.
He ground out, 'Give up, Carrington. Your game is over.'
The bastard didn't even flinch. His wand pointed at him, ready to cast at the tiniest sign of weakness, his face morphed into an ugly sneer.
'So you've finally caught on, have you Potter. Congratulations, it only took you five whole years. What gave me away, if I may ask? For it surely must have been a mistake on my side, you're too dumb to draw the right conclusions, given the plethora of evidence before you.'
Harry ignored the taunts. Just like his opponent he waited for an opening.
'You know, I once held a wizard at wandpoint who was far more powerful than you, although just like you he loved to try to belittle and taunt me. Not that it did him any good in the end, he's been six feet under for more than ten years now. Oh, but you know that already, don't you? Weren't you and your parents among his little group of fanatical brown nosers? Tell me, how bright was the light after you pulled your head out of Voldemort's arse?'
'Don't you dare say his name, you filthy half blood!' Carrington's face turned into a crimson mask of hate, loathing and fear.
Harry shrugged. 'Well it's not really his name, is it, but alright, I don't want you to wet your pants. To answer your question, your body language gave you away, and you also possess a faint likeness to Cyrus. You might have disguised your appearance with Polyjuice for five years so you looked like Williams, but you didn't change the way you move.'
A man clad into an impeccable Muggle suit minus his tie turned up slightly left of Carrington's shoulder, a wand pointed at the back of Carrington's head.
Harry almost sagged with relief and gratitude. Greco! Between the two of them they should be able to overcome the bastard, if he had the room to move he wouldn't need the help, but he was currently pinned in this booth. He had to make sure the bastard had no more opportunities to hurt Daphne. He'd better keep talking to distract him.
'Just out of curiosity, what happened to the real Williams, the poor sod?'
Carrington sneered at him.
Behind Carrington's shoulder, Greco held up three fingers. Harry didn't bat an eyelid.
'I've kept the imbecile in a hidden compartment in my trunk.'
Greco bent one finger down.
'I'll get rid of him as soon as I've dealt with you and your whore.' Carrington taunted him again, his voice full of hate.
Greco's second finger went down.
'Taking a page out of your masters book, aren't you? He failed, and you'll also fail.'
'I wont! The Greengrass fortune will be mine to control, and the Potter fortune on top of it!' Carrington screeched. 'I got Cyrus and the two bitches with that Portkey, and today will have seen the last of you and your whore!'
Greco lowered his hand.
'BOMBARDA MAXIMA!' he and Harry shouted unison. Harry put all magical strength he possessed into that spell. Carrington's confession that he had murdered Cyrus, Isabella and Tori doubled his power.
Both spells impacted with Carrington's head and chest at the same moment. His skull cracked open like a melon hitting the ground, and a huge hole appeared in his chest.
There was a long moment of silence. No one in the room moved.
'Well, he was a presumptuous little bastard, wasn't he,' Greco said at last, and stared down at the crumpled mass sprawled across the table of the booth that once had been Carrington.
'Uh-huh,' Harry said. His eyes searched for his wife.
She was still hidden behind the bench of their booth, her wand in her hand. At the metallic smell of blood in the air she gagged and pressed her hand in front of her mouth.
Harry stashed his wand away and rushed to his wife. 'Come on, darling, let me get you out of here. Close your eyes and don't look, what's left of Carrington is not a sight for an expectant mummy.' He held out his hand and helped her to her feet.
Daphne's hand was clammy, and her breath came in shallow gulps. She trembled all over her body and had her eyes closed.
He put his arm around her waist and led her past the frozen Muggles in the restaurant towards the door. From the corner of his eyes he caught the silhouette of a silvery four-legged animal. A fox? He didn't care, Merlin bless Greco that he'd thought of alerting the Aurors, and probably the Obliviator Squad, too.
He opened the door and led Daphne outside.
Out on the pavement, he took her in his arms and rubbed her back in soothing circles. 'Shh, love, it's alright, it's finally over, we're safe now.'
She nodded and buried her head deeper into his shoulder. Eventually, the trembling subsided and her breath became even.
He caressed her cheek with the back of his hand. 'I'd love to take you home, darling, but I guess we'll have to stay until the Aurors took our statement, or Ron will never let me hear the end of it.'
'Too right,' a voice said behind him.
Harry whirled around, his wand flowing into his hand at the ready.
'Whoa, hold in your Hippogriffs, Potter!' Ron raised his hands and took a step back.
Heat shot into Harry's face. 'Sorry, mate.' He let the wand slip back into its holster. 'Right now I'm a trifle jumpy.'
'No kidding.' Ron cocked his head towards the restaurant. 'What happened inside there?'
'Carrington.' Daphne stiffened at the name, and Harry tightened his grip around her. 'He came after us tonight. He's masked himself as Williams with Polyjuice for five years. He's the one responsible for the two attacks on Daphne, and probably also all those accidents that happened to us. It was his body language tonight that gave him away, he moved like Williams and I got suspicious, but didn't act before he could fire the Killing Curse at Daphne. It missed, obviously, although it was a close call.'
Ron's mouth became a grim line. 'Bastard. You dealt with him?'
Harry grimaced and nodded. 'Yeah, together with Greco. You'll find him and what's left of Carrington inside of the restaurant.'
'Is that so?' Ron's eyebrows shot up, and he gave Harry a respectful nod. 'In that case, good for you. Although I must say I didn't think you had it in you.'
Harry's stomach tightened into a hard ball as the impact of what he'd done sank in. He'd killed a man in cold blood for the first time in his life. Voldemort didn't count, he'd brought on his own death on himself by choosing to cast the Killing Curse with a wand that owed its allegiance to Harry. He always thought of that as collateral damage. This time, however…
He listened into himself for the familiar feeling of guilt and found - nothing. Carrington would have been a constant threat to his family, even if they'd captured him and brought him to Azkaban he wouldn't have felt safe. The world was better off without him.
He shrugged. 'I wasn't exactly out to kill him, I just chose the spell that would cause the most damage across a wide area, without giving a damn for a lethal outcome.'
Ron gave him a knowing look. 'Good for you,' he repeated. Then he took a deep breath. 'Alright, Harry, take Daphne home. Merlin knows you two have been through far too much during these past weeks. I'll deal with the mess inside and come over to your place tomorrow morning and take your statements.'
Harry gave his friend a small smile of thanks. 'Thank you, Ron, you're a good friend.'
He was about to take his friends advice when Ron looked past him and nodded at someone over his shoulder, so he turned his own head around.
Nicholas Greco stood a few yards behind them, his head tilted back and seemingly looking up at the night sky. Though, given this was London, no stars were visible, so what was the man looking at? Was he trying to find his inner balance after he'd just helped killing a man, or was he just trying to pass time until the Aurors were finished with the mess he'd created together with Harry?
Ron gave his shoulder a squeeze and then moved towards the restaurant. He stopped when he reached Greco and muttered a brief comment.
Greco nodded his ascent and then turned towards Harry, who still cradled his wife in his arms.
Before Harry could open his own mouth Greco had beaten him to it, 'Mr Potter I just wanted to say ... '
Harry cut him off, 'It's Harry to you Nicholas, you've just helped save my wife's and my life, so please call me Harry.'
Greco look momentarily taken aback before a small frown appeared. 'Not sure I have earned that right, Harry, but thank you. I just wish I had put the clues of Carrington masquerading as William's together sooner.'
Harry smiled at the man and held Daphne tighter to himself, her shaking had almost subsided. 'You still figured it out before anyone else, Nicholas, and you came as soon as you could. We couldn't ask for more than that, so thank you.'
Greco shook himself. 'Sorry I didn't mean to keep you, you should get Daphne home. I just wanted to thank you for the generous bonus, as I am not sure when I will see you next.' A wry smile broke across his face. 'I'm planning to take my wife for a long overdue holiday to Australia with it as soon as I can arrange four weeks off for us both.'
'That's a very good idea Nicholas, but I have a better one, schedule your time off and then schedule a meeting with us in a couple of weeks. I'll have a… well, a token of our thanks for you then.' He almost laughed at the shocked look that appeared on Greco's face before he looked down on the head of his wife against his shoulder. She looked pale and tired to her bones. It was high time to get her home. He gave her a small nudge. 'Come on, love, let's get you home.' He tightened his arms around her, spun on the spot, and Apparated her away, into a hopefully bright future.