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A Friend In Need

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June 10, 1992, 1:55 PM, Final Room, Hogwarts

Harry Potter

"Filius Flitwick." Adam said in a voice that made Harry's skin crawl. "We meet again."

"Indeed we do." Professor Flitwick said, keeping his voice calm. "Though I had not expected to do so under such…"

His eyes flitted towards Professor Quirrell's mangled and desecrated body before looking at his foe once again. "Unpleasant circumstances."

"Indeed." Adam nodded towards the body, and Harry finally realized that the boy's eyes were as red as the blood pooling around Quirrell's mutilated corpse. "I seem to have made quite the mess, as it were."

Harry felt himself get sick at the sight. He ignored the flare of his scar and confronted his friend. "Merlin, Adam... What did you do!?"

Adam only smiled in reply and thrust his wand forward. Flitwick raised his own, deflecting the flash of purple away from Harry and sending it crashing into the corner of the room with a loud crack.

"Harry." Professor Flitwick said sharply. "Go and see to Professor Snape. He needs your help."

"What?" Harry said, his anger at being dismissed overwhelming the unease and fear for a few moments. "I—"

"You will do as I say, or I will make sure you are expelled, myself!" Flitwick raised his voice, startling the boy into silence.

Never in his entire time in Flitwick's class had Harry heard the man shout at anyone like that.

Even when the children had been rowdy, Professor Flitwick had always kept his voice at normal enough levels.

But now… that had been real venom in the man's voice.

As such, the man's shift into aggression had Harry ready to obey his every command. The boy nodded and immediately headed to his least favorite Professor, ignoring the duel that broke out behind him.

"P… Potter." Snape said, looking both relieved and disgusted that he was finally receiving some aid. "So you went and… found help."

"Professor." Harry said, trying to ignore the flashes of light, the rush of blood to his head, as well as the loud exclamations of both wizards coming from behind him. "Can you move?"

"No." Snape said, though he was loath to admit it, especially to him.

Harry fished in his robe's pockets and brought two Potions out. "Here, sir."

"What…" Professor Snape gave the boy a wary gaze before actually looking at them. His eyes widened with recognition when they saw the labels. "From the Hospital Wing?"

Harry only nodded as he tried to figure out which to use first. "This one is… Pepperup. And the other is Wiggenweld."

"The Wiggenweld, first." Snape said, trying to raise a hand to try and grab the bottle, but Harry shook his head.

"Let me, sir." Harry said without thinking, unstopping the vial and holding it up to his Professor's lips.

Snape looked like he was about to react in a very poor manner, but seemed to swallow whatever it was he was going to say down. Instead, he opened his mouth and let Harry administer the Potion.

"Thank you." Snape said, and Harry recoiled as if he'd just been slapped.

Harry stared at Professor Snape in sheer disbelief. Truly, the end times were coming if things like this were happening. Never would Harry have expected the man who had been tormenting him all year to thank him.

He wasn't stupid; at Adam's behest, Harry had done a little digging to find out just why Severus Snape seemed to hate him so much.

There had been a few hints here and there— something relating to his father— but he was never able to get the proper details sorted.

That was, until he had met Sirius and Remus, who finally had shed some light on the reasoning behind the man's behavior.

That had been one of the few stories regarding his father that Harry despised.

How was he supposed to accept the fact that his father, the man who brought him into this world, the man who'd sacrificed his own life to save Harry, was a bully?

Sirius had told him that James regretted his actions later on, but it had still soured Harry's view of his own father, if only slightly.

"You know what the worst thing in the world is, Potter? A bully." Adam had told him, so long ago. "Is that what you want to become?"

No. Harry thought with vicious fervor before his eyes turned to watch the boy in question. Adam was engaged in a vicious duel with his foe, lobbing spells front, left and center without breaking a sweat. "Adam, what's he…"

"That is not Adam Clarke, Mr. Potter." Professor Snape said, placing his hand on Harry's shoulder as he felt a little strength return to him. "It may look like him, sound like him, but it is not him."

"Then…" Harry said, frowning as he kept his eye on his fellow student, watching as he swerved out of the path of a few spells with the grace of a snake— not at all how he'd seen Clarke fight when he'd gone up against the Imperiused students that they had faced together. "Who is it, then?"

"Him." Professor Snape said, and Harry immediately understood, not needing further clarification. "You know of whom I speak."

"...Voldemort." Harry breathed, his scar flaring again and making him wince.

Snape glared at the child for daring to say the name, but nodded regardless.

"But how?" Harry said, watching as Adam— No, Voldemort— continued to weave his way through Professor Flitwick's salvo of spells, evading them with ease, though they were always done by a hair's breadth. "He's supposed to be dead!"

Professor Flitwick increased his spellcasting pace, and Harry saw that the man's aim had turned shoddy, missing his foe entirely several times.

"Your aim is getting sloppy!" Adam's voice called out. "Have you already reached your limit?"

"Is that so?" Professor Flitwick said with a deadly smile. Harry turned his attention to the spells which had missed and stifled a gasp.

Voldemort was now surrounded on all sides by a multitude of floating orbs, each of a different color. The spells around him writhed with suppressed power, but the Professor held them still with willpower alone.

"Centrum!" Flitwick opened his arms wide before sweeping them closed, launching all of his spells towards the surprised Voldemort, who bit off a hasty incantation just in time for the onslaught of magic to reach its mark.

A loud boom burst forth from the ensuing impact, and Harry was forced to close his eyes and hold onto Snape, lest the powerful winds blow him away.

When everything began to die down, Harry heard the voice of Professor Flitwick from his left and opened his eyes.

"Are you two all right?" Professor Flitwick asked, getting a slow nod from Professor Snape. Flitwick turned to Harry. "Mr. Potter?"

"Yes." Harry said, awed at his Charms Professor's sheer skill.

He'd known, thanks to Hermione and Adam, that the man had been an accomplished Duelist in the past, but he had seen no sign of that man's side for the entire school year.

And yet, here he was, having defeated Voldemort with a move as brilliant as it was devastating.

Holding all of those spells in mid-air and directing them all at the center at once… Harry could not fathom the sheer level of talent, practice and skill that such a maneuver would require.

"That was incredible, Professor." Harry said, elated at the victory they had achieved. "You stopped him!"

But Flitwick shook his head, tearing through Harry's relief like a rusty saw blade through bone. "No. This level of magic is nowhere near enough to defeat him, Mr. Potter. At best, I've only delayed him a little. Severus, can you—"

"The Pepperup." Snape said, holding up a hand.

Harry, still reeling from the revelation, handed him the Potion without question, turning his eyes back to the slowly thinning smoke. Despite Professor Flitwick's words, Harry hoped that this was the end of it.

He hoped beyond hope that, when the smoke cleared, he would see an unconscious Adam, free of Voldemort's taint; but the sinking feeling in his stomach told Harry another story entirely.

The smoke did indeed clear, but it only revealed that Voldemort had withstood the multidirectional assault. He stood within a perfect sphere of translucent, white energy; worse than that— he was unharmed.

The barrier pulsed once, twice and then a third time before fading away, revealing Adam's malevolent, grinning face. "Marvelous! This body is most marvelous. The sheer power, the potential! Far better than I had expected— and more than that, I sense absolutely no rejection from it. Curious indeed."

Harry had no idea what the horrible, murderous man was talking about, but he had a feeling that none of it meant anything good for his friend, Adam.

"I believe I will accept this gift with open arms." Voldemort said, smiling down at himself. "With a body filled with such latent magical potential, there is no real need for the Philosopher's Stone, after all."

Professor Flitwick took another step forward, not saying a word as he prepared to engage his foe once again.

"Another round then, Professor Flitwick?" Voldemort said, chuckling with a certain amusement.

He did not receive an answer. Harry gulped, realizing that the Professor looked more like he was walking towards his death, rather than a fight he had a chance of winning.

Were things really that bad for them?

Professor Snape held the Pepperup Potion in his hand, murmuring nonsense as he closed his eyes. Had the oily-haired man also given up on them?

Maybe there truly is no hope. Harry thought before he felt a strange, warm presence brush up against his own. In his head, he heard the strange sound of excited buzzing.

What? He thought, bewildered as the sensation of confusion washed from himself towards this presence and then back at him. What's going on? Who are you?

The presence continued to buzz, and Harry suddenly felt a sense of deep frustration, sadness, but also hope, determination, and excitement.

He took his eyes off of Clarke's possessed body to try and process the information, but the sensations faded the moment he did.

He turned his eyes back towards Clarke, and the feeling returned in full force.

You want to kill Voldemort, too? Harry thought, wondering if he was finally going crazy, but to his surprise, the presence began to buzz erratically. Perhaps that was the wrong thing to say?

I'll take that as a no. Harry thought. You want to save him, then? You want to save Adam?

He got a single buzz in reply, watching as Professor Flitwick engaged the possessed boy in a duel, once more. Beside him, Professor Snape downed the Pepperup Potion in his hands in one, swift gulp.

Harry realized that the man hadn't lost his wits, after all, but was waiting for the right time to drink his own Potion.

If he'd taken both, things might not have ended well for him. Harry thought. He's already hurt and exhausted, so this will just make things worse.

Immediately, color began to return to Snape's cheeks, and Harry realized with a start just how pale he had gotten.

How is he still awake? Harry wondered with no small amount of awe as he watched the man he disliked the most get to his feet with a little difficulty.

"You have done… Well, Mr. Potter." Professor Snape said, shocking the boy again. "We will take it from here."

A compliment? Even after everything, Harry was caught flat footed.

Harry dared to hope as the battle began to unfold. He watched as Professors Flitwick and Snape stood side by side, blocking his view of Voldemort ahead.

Surely, with the both of them, they would prevail.

Voldemort, however, laughed, and it made Harry's teeth grind together in anxiousness. "Do you think two-on-one will do you any good? Do you truly believe you have enough power to defeat me?"

But the two men did not answer, instead facing off against their common threat.

"Very well." Voldemort said, Adam's face twisting into a horrible grin that sent shivers down Harry's spine. "Let us see how Dumbledore's little lap dogs can fare against more of my magic! Perhaps I will even exert myself— show me what you can do."

Harry's eyes widened at the boast. Had Voldemort been toying with them this entire time? There was just no way, right?

And then Voldemort moved, launching a hailstorm of spells at the two men. Professors Snape and Flitwick met the attack with their own, bouncing their own spells against Voldemort's while also deflecting what few spells managed to get all the way to them.

It was a distraction, however; with a single swipe of his wand, Voldemort made a massive ellipse made of the darkest shadow appear on the stone floor. It swirled with an ominous, chilling wind.

Within a few seconds, it shrunk to the size of a small plate. The next, it disappeared, leaving the four wizards in an unexpected silence.

Harry frowned.

Had the spell failed?

Perhaps Voldemort doesn't have as much control over Adam's body as he thinks he does. Harry thought. Maybe, somewhere in there, Adam's fighting back. Maybe.

He had to hold onto that thought.

The two Professors sent each other a glance before they began their own furious onslaught, lobbing their spells towards the possessed Adam.

The two men moved in relative sync, with Professor Flitwick taking on the role of the defender, while Professor Snape was the one on the offense. Together, they were a wondrous sight to see.

Harry gaped at the sheer speed and viciousness of the offensive, and he knew that it would take him years upon years of training to even get close to their level; but, what concerned him even more was that Voldemort was having absolutely no trouble deflecting every spell which was sent his way.

No. Harry thought as his eyes acclimated just enough for him to see that the Dark Lord was being pushed back, glaring as he was forced to give ground to his opponents. Definitely some trouble.

Soon enough, they would have Voldemort's back to the wall, and maybe— just maybe— the battle would be over, then.

A second later, Harry's eyes widened in shock. Behind the two men, the large, dark shadow reappeared, assuming its full size once again. It had been a trap.

"Behind you!" Harry cried out even as he witnessed several animals emerge from the darkness.

They were no regular creatures, though; apes, birds, snakes, wolves, lions and all manner of beasts made from the darkest of shadows erupted from the dark portal.

They screeched, yowled and mewled even as they swarmed the two men, attacking them from all sides. Flitwick and Snape had no time to react with any defensive magic, and so were forced to lash out at them with offensive spells at short range.

Flitwick and Snape showed valor and courage befitting members of his own House, however, as they continued to fight with a determination to succeed, despite their circumstances.

For every scratch, every cut, every bite they received, they repaid it threefold, killing Voldemort's creatures with swift, but brutal efficiency.

Still. Harry realized as the two men began to slow down. The damage on them is beginning to take its toll. They won't last much longer.

As if the universe had heard his prediction, Professor Snape collapsed, no longer able to fend the monsters off.

Professor Flitwick gave a cry of alarm as he forced his way through the throng of bloodthirsty animals, trying to get to his colleague, but his momentary distraction proved to be a mistake, Harry realized as he saw the short man take a swipe from a shadow-panther, bowling him over.

No! Harry thought as he watched Professor Flitwick cast the Shield Charm, keeping all of the monsters at bay.

"Severus!" Harry heard the tiny man say. "We can't let it end here!"

Voldemort laughed, and Harry could see the anticipation on his face. "It is time to end this, and what better way than using your own spell, Severus?"

He pointed his wand at the shield and gave it a twirl before snapping it forward. A vomit-green light burst forth from the Dark Lord's wand, latching itself onto Professor Flitwick's shield.

What's he doing? Harry thought. Is it going to eat through it like acid?

But Voldemort tapped the air twice with his wand, a cruel smile playing on his lips.

The green spell shifted to a bright yellow for a moment as it merged with the shield, forcing it to vibrate. Harry couldn't hear what was going on inside, but from the sight of his Professors writhing in pain and holding their heads, he imagined that it wasn't good.

I have to do something! He thought, but his body refused to answer his call.

Harry wanted to go in and join the fight. He truly did.

He wanted to rise to his feet and fight this monster, just how his parents had done. He wanted them to be proud of him.

But he was afraid.

Seeing his teachers being tortured like this had struck fear into the young boy's heart. What could he do against an opponent of this caliber?

His Professors were leagues ahead of him. How could he compare to them, let alone to Voldemort? The best spell in his arsenal was the Disarming Charm. The rest were harmless hexes he'd learned so that he had varied ways to irritate Malfoy and his ilk.

They were certainly not fit for a duel of this caliber.

Voldemort undid the spell, watching as the Shield Charm collapsed with a loud crack. He laughed as his opponents' cries of pain finally reached his ears.

"An intriguing spell, Severus." Voldemort said, smiling. "I thank you for the gift, but I believe it is nearing time for you to go."

The creatures surrounding them growled and mewled with predatory anticipation, but Voldemort raised his hand. At once, they stilled. "Be calm, my pets. There is no need to be hasty."

Harry felt ice grip his heart as the Dark Lord shifted his eyes to take the Boy-Who-Lived in. "Do you see the pointlessness of opposing me, Harry Potter? I have not yet exerted my full power, and these two have already fallen. What chance could you possibly have?"

Harry started. He'd still not been taking this seriously?

"Don't be so surprised, child." Voldemort smiled, and Harry shivered at the sight. "I will admit… They are indeed talented wizards. It is a shame that I have been forced to spill their blood. But, perhaps I will not have to, with you."

"Me?" Harry said, confused and bewildered.

"Indeed." Voldemort said and swept his hand, ordering the creatures to hold his enemies down without saying a word.

He waved his wand, sending the two men's wands flying to his open hand, before walking towards Harry. "You see, Harry, we do not have to fight. I can see it in your eyes; the thirst to prove yourself. To show the world that you are more than what little they thought you are. It is clear that you and I are alike."

Harry frowned, shaking his head. "I'm nothing like you— you killed my parents."

"I gave them many chances to step aside." Voldemort said. "To stay out of my way. They needn't have opposed me."

But Harry stood up. He had had enough. He felt the strange creature buzz within his mind, sharing its anguish and anger, mixing it with his own and washing away the dread and fear.

Harry stepped forward with an incandescent glare, the air around them charging with magic. "You're a liar! Give Adam back!"

Voldemort's eyes widened at the display. "Remarkable. You possess such great potential, just like this boy, Adam—"

"Don't say his name!" Harry said and raised his holly wand, angry beyond anything he'd felt before. "Adam deserved better than you! He'll come back— you can't force him down forever."

Voldemort took in the child's defiance before shaking his head.

"Like all children— foolish." Voldemort said. "Then let us see how you fare against me, Harry Potter."

Harry gulped and took a step forward, jabbing his wand forward as he cast his first spell. "Expelliarm—"

But Voldemort snapped his wand to the left, sending the boy's hand to the right, forcing the wand out of his hand and snapping his wrist with the sheer strength and speed of the motion.

Harry had just enough time to cry out in pain when Voldemort leveled his wand at him once again.

"What's the matter, Harry?" Voldemort smiled as he knelt by the boy's side. "Does it hurt?"

Harry got back to his feet, snatching his wand with his left hand and pointing it at his foe. "Exp—"

He barely had enough time to start speaking when he felt his legs swept from under him. He fell to his side, right on the ribs, and cried out.

"That certainly looked painful, Harry. I expected more of you."Voldemort said, his tone mocking. "But allow me to show you what true pain is. Crucio."

Harry screamed, feeling like his nervous system was set on fire, stabbed over and over by hundreds of poisonous knives. He writhed in place, unable to contain himself and his body's response to whatever was assailing him. And through it all, he swore that he felt the vile man's glee and pleasure over what was happening.

He did his best, he tried and tried.

Get up! He thought. You can't let it end here. Control it, you can fight him!

But his body refused to answer his call, and Harry screamed again. Somehow, he knew, if this carried on for much longer, he would lose his mind.

Then, it was over. As abruptly as it had appeared, the pain was gone.

Harry's senses began to return to him, but he wished that they hadn't. The first thing he saw was the looming figure of Adam Clarke's possessed body over him. Voldemort looked down upon him with his blood-red eyes.

"The Boy-Who-Lived." Voldemort said, his face expressionless as he shook his head. "After today, no longer."

Harry glared and tried to get up, but his broken body could no longer carry his weight. He felt himself break into shivers.

"Allow me to help you up, Harry Potter." Voldemort smiled again as he reached to grab him. "I will bestow upon you the honor of dying at your feet. Do not let it be said that Lord Voldemort does not show his foes the esteem they deserve."

Harry wanted to rage at him, to swat his hand away, but he was powerless to react as he felt the man's hand wrap around his shoulder and neck. He grabbed the man's forearm in an attempt to push it off, but Voldemort was too strong for him.

This is it. Harry thought even as his scrambles intensified. This is how I'll meet my end. Thought I'd be calmer.

Something strange happened, then.

He felt his scar split open as the air filled with the sound of sizzling. Voldemort's red eyes widened with surprise and pain, even as Harry screamed from the sheer, fiery pain that stabbed through his forehead. He scrambled back from the downed boy with a cry. "What is this!?"

Harry stopped his flailing and screaming, took in the scent of burnt flesh and tilted his head in disoriented confusion, trying to get a better view of his enemy. His green eyes widened with shock, for Voldemort's right forearm now looked horribly burned.

What was going on?

"What is this?" Voldemort said once again, his voice rising in pitch with unexpected surprise. A few seconds later, he turned to look at Harry with a murderous gaze full of hatred.

"No more games!" He said, pointing his wand at the boy. "Avada—"

Harry reached for his wand and moved to counter, but he knew he wouldn't make it in time. Just then, Voldemort froze in place, his mouth locked mid-incantation. "Ke…"

Now! Harry seized his chance, thrusting his wand forward and crying out with sheer desperation. "Expelliarmus!"

The crimson spell burst forth from his wand, flying true and sending Voldemort skidding backwards into the ground. Adam's wand, as well as the two Professors' wands flew out of the possessed boy's hand, clattering towards the other side of the room.

Adam did not get back up, but Harry stayed where he was, keeping his wand trained on his foe. The seconds continued to pass before Harry nodded to himself.

He smiled. He had done it. He had stopped Voldemort, and he did it without killing his friend.

Harry turned his gaze to his two Professors, faintly noting that the shadow-monsters had already disappeared, and took a step forward to help them, only to lose all feeling in his body and fall forward.

He crashed against the floor, but Harry thought it odd that he didn't even feel any pain from it.

The last thing Harry heard before he succumbed to unconsciousness was the worried exclamation coming from Professor Flitwick, as well as the strange buzz of the creature which had given him comfort when he needed it.

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