PREQUEL

The raven hair teen panted as he stared at the empty spot Voldemort had stood just moments earlier. Every inch of visible skin was covered in a combination of blood, sweat, and ash; the teen was filthy. But he had finally done it, the Dark Lord was gone! A loud, long roar of triumph and inexplicable grief came from the Gryffindor as he sunk to the ground, his wand disappearing into its holster. He could hear the other fighters echoing his shout, many joining in to express their relief and grief for their long-awaited success. The Light had finally won, and those who were loyal to the Dark Lord began to flee the battleground that Hogwarts had become. Several pops signaled that many were apparating away now that they were able to.

Harry tried to calm his erratic heartbeat and ragged breathing, but there was nothing he could do about the adrenaline that continued rushing through him. The roaring of his blood flowing through his veins and ears nearly drowned everything else out. It felt like that was all he could hear. There was so much destruction to the once majestic castle behind him, but before they could take care of the castle, they needed to get their wounded off the battlefield. As Harry moved to help the remaining survivors and those injured; a black vortex opened beneath the teens semi-bent legs. With no chance to regain his balance Harry wobbled and fell in. There was no time for the teen to shout for help, but he could hear echoes of his name being screamed by several different people. Why did things like this always happen to him?

There wasn't much he could do as the inky darkness swallowed him.

It was nearly impossible for the teen to know how long he was falling in the blackness that had swallowed him. Though it was calming in the same way it was disorienting. Since his wand was not responding for the moment, the teen was content for the moment to just drift wherever it was taking him. But he began to panic when he noticed an increasing light and a forest floor rushing to meet him. With his wand not working there was no way for him to slow himself down like Albus had done during the Quidditch game the Dementors had interrupted. He screamed as the ground got closer just as he was suddenly suspended a few feet off the ground, before landing with a muffled screech. The heat attacked him almost immediately and he could feel himself beginning to sweat, still Harry struggled to his feet and nearly fell back on to his rear. He did not recognize any of his surroundings.

"What the bloody hell was that?" The teen grunted as his body protested any sort of movement, he really needed to work on his landing.

The teen was still covered in remnants of the final battle, his holly wand was in his hand even though he did not remember drawing it. Yet the teen could feel a second wand in the arm holster. Harry stared at the new wand in confusion. Albus' wand had found its way to him and he couldn't figure out why. It should have remained with the former Headmaster. Glancing around the trees, the teen assumed he'd been sent somewhere secluded to recover until a Helicopter labelled 'USAF' flew over him. Never one to miss an opportunity, Harry stumbled after the air transport. He hoped it would lead him to a city that had a magical district, a shower and a floo. He needed to contact the others and figure out what the heck was happening.

Even as the teen lost direction of the helicopters nor could he hear them; he kept moving in the direction he had seen it traveling and hoped it would lead him somewhere with people. Harry was not sure what to make of the semi-loud aerial vehicle. Sure, he had been in Uncle Vernon and the Weasleys car, but they never saw the helicopters in Scotland and very rarely in Surrey. After a few more hours of trekking and climbing, the teen stopped for a break after he nearly tripped and brained himself on several rocky outcrops.

While resting in the shade, Harry cast a Patronus charm then waiting for his Stag to materialize before him. But when he asked Prongs to find Ron or Hermione, the glowing creature just nudged him but made no move to deliver the message. Harry could not help but stare at Prongs in shock. The thought of never seeing his friends again was devastating in a way he had not allowed himself to think about. He dismissed the stag quickly, refusing to dwell on what that meant for him at the moment. There would be time later to think about the implications, especially once he got home.

Moving his wand, the way he'd seen Dumbledore in the Ministry's Atrium, the teen used aguamenti to summon a soft spray of water. "That is still wicked."

Harry took several large gulps before he used the gentle spray to try and rinse as much dirt off. He sorely needed a shower and some soap. But knew he would have to get somewhere near civilization first, preferably a city if possible. But he would take a stream or lake at this point. It was in the middle of drying himself off that Harry realized he had used underage magic twice now. It made him resume his hiking without another thought as to resting. America's Magical Ministry might not like that he had basically just appeared here without permission and had begun using magic willy nilly. In no way did he want to get arrested.

Someone latched onto the teen with a bruising grip, digging their nails into his skin. "Oi! Shove off mate!?"

The teen struggled against the restraining grip before being able to point his wand and casting a reducto over his shoulder. Yet no sound of pain followed the action. When the others grip loosened Harry got a good look at his assailant but wished he hadn't as his stomach lurched queasily. The corpse, because the person was obviously dead, was grotesque. There were several large slivers of skin and tissue hanging off the body, leaving gaping holes in their place; bite marks and bullet holes were scattered across the body and it looked as if his spell had taken the males head off. The sight of what remained of the man's head had the teen gagging as he noticed several other missing chunks of flesh. The teen could not believe what he was seeing.

"Where the bloody hell did that void drop me? Besides the States." The teen murmured softly as he continued to examine the body.

Other than a few muggle movies, and that freaky trip last year to Tom Riddle's cave; the teen had not realized they could be made in the Muggle world as well. What had the Headmaster called them again? Inferi! The sound of another helicopter approaching caught Harry's attention and the teen was quick to abandon the corpse as he hurried after it. While he knew he would not catch up to it, the teen still jogged in its general direction. Knowing that eventually it would lead him somewhere other than his current position. It was only a matter of time and he was very patient.

Harry only came across one other corpse while walking through the thick trees, but it had been missing the lower half of its body. Ignoring it, the teen continued until the trees started to thin out and the terrain became rockier. It was as he thought of trying another spell that he noticed buildings in the far distance. He had finally found a city! While his initial plan had been to return home as soon as possible, he knew that they would not need him anymore. Ron and Hermione often ignored him when they were together, and he hated being the third wheel.

'Unless they are all dead,' a snake-like voice hissed in his head, 'because of you.'

He blanched at the thought, not wanting his friends to suffer anymore because of him. Harry still was not convinced that they had destroyed every one of the Dark Lords horcruxes, but the bastard would not be rising for some time if they did miss one. Oh, he knew the wizarding world would want him to be an Auror, just to boost attendance if nothing else than to use his face and accomplishments for their own gain. But the only thing he wanted they could not give him, so he would rather not deal with that community for a while. Perhaps he should think about a long holiday in America? Harry felt he earned it.

It was much later in the day, hours later as the sun was going down, that the teen found an expansive ridge that overlooked the city. Which seemed to be closer than he had first thought. Emerald eyes narrowed as they took in the dozen helicopters hovering above the smoky, burning city. Had the Americans been invaded by other Europeans? It was as the teen was looking for a safe way off the ridge that several loud explosions rang out around him, the ground shook slightly. Disbelief and apprehension filled the teen as he watched the Helicopters bomb the large occupied city.

Harry felt that if he listened hard enough that he could hear the echoes of screaming survivors and their pleas for help. The teen could not believe they had not tried evacuating the people first, it just built up a mistrust in the American government. He would have to find a way to contact the Ministry without them. His instinct to save the dying people was strong, but he did not know anything about how the Americans operated or about the city. Harry was sure he'd get lost before he would be able to save anyone; not to mention the dead people that were walking around. There was no telling how the disease was transferred, so it was probably best to avoid the cities if possible.

Several more explosions went off and the teen could nearly feel the heat from his place on the ridge. Harry was pretty sure that the bombed city would belong to the Inferi before the end of the day, there was no way any people could survive all that and the dead. Soon the teen would have to find supplies and someplace safe to stay the night, but he didn't even know where to start except for the newly burning city. But the bombing of the city lasted for hours and the teen tried to block out the vague chaos he could vaguely hear.

As much as his Gryffindor pride demanded he try to save them, he was going to start embracing his Slytherin side and protecting himself first. So, he turned away from the city and kept walking along the tall ridge. The teen kept walking long after the sun went down not wanting to stop until he found safe shelter. He only stopped when he came across a deserted vehicle, well, a whole highway of vehicles. The teen chose the larger truck he had run into and crawled into the backseat. Soft leather greeted him. Harry couldn't help but melt into the padded cushions. As much as he wanted to stay awake, he lazily hit the lock button and passed out.