Summary: (AU) The final battle has been won, but was it worth the cost? Harry, alone and determined, sets out to rewrite history for a better world … only to find himself stranded in another.
Disclaimer: All belongs to the one and only J.
Treachery In Comfort
His blood turned cold. His ears rang. His eyes stung.
"Hey, Evans - "
The voices spun around in his eardrums, jumbling into a low, grinding silence. Time lapsed into nothing. The world stopped spinning. Nothing made any sense … he couldn't breathe. He couldn't stand to listen anymore.
The train was coming - late, as usually predicted - thundering loudly down the tracks.
The assault continued, spell fire turning in every which way, ripping and biting savagely through the air. Harry swung his wand in another arc, forming a small golden dome around himself. Nothing could get it - not until it broke. Cho was still beside him, with her own wobbly, rather feeble looking shield in comparison. She was in the way, if he were to be perfectly honest - in his way, more hindrance than any little help.
Harry pointed his wand at the bench where Hestia Jones had sat, just moments before.
The vending machine. BAM.
The barrier between platforms - BAM.
Pandemonium reined; debris fell from the sky, planks of wood and crumbling brick and Mars bars. A Malteser hit Dedalus Diggle square on his forehead. Tonks tripped and slipped on a packet of salt and vinegar crisps.
The muggles began to panic.
"What was that? That light?"
"Aliens! Aliens are attacking!"
Screams. Cries. Shrieks of utter, ignorant terror.
Harry looked back around and Cho had gone, mysteriously vanished. He was glad - no one would hurt her, not on purpose. She was really much better off without him, he thought stiffly.
The Order kept up their vigorous attack, tearing away at Harry as if he were their enemy, another evil, another Dark Lord … just another rotten Death Eater to be put back in his place. And it was all so wrong - so unjust, so unfair! All that he'd given for them, all that he'd done. They didn't know him and they didn't want to.
Harry lashed back passively, with tight, meticulous care - weaving childish jinxes with the borderline illegal, the painful with the humorous, the flashy and the simple. The purpose only was clear in his mind - to make them stop and to make them learn. He was not one to be messed with, to be taken lightly. They had made no small mistake by any means.
The fight carried on - a stunner skimmed Harry's shoulder, a hardy binding charm twisting just over his head, singing his hair. The array of multicolored lights and flashes was blinding; red and blue and yellow and green.
Seven spells collided at once against him, suddenly, and Harry's shield faltered.
James dashed towards him, just as a disarming spell came from nowhere and Harry's wand was yanked out of his hold, whizzing through the air into another's waiting outstretched palm. Growling, Harry lunged forward, tackling James onto the ground. James, forgetting his own wand, punched blindly at Harry's face, cracking a heavy fist solidly into his jaw. Harry brought an elbow crashing down onto James' stomach, winding him.
There were so many more wizards and witches, all piled forward, all against Harry.
The odds of success were impossible, surely, Harry thought. He had to get out and away, and fast too - but where was Cho? Should he leave her?
Just as another jet of spell fire spat out is his direction Harry rolled over, bringing James up in front of him. The spell hit his father's back and James was out cold.
Harry tossed the body off him, uncaring.
Without a wand Harry was ridiculously vulnerable. The shield he had erected before struggled, straining to hold up as curse after curse relentlessly slammed against it. Knowing it could give at any moment, Harry launched himself towards the nearest wand-bearing wizard, just off to his left.
In the muggle sense, Harry had never been much of a fighter. He didn't have the build and he'd never had the time, let alone the patience to hone such skills. Magic was his forte; the power he carried and dealt in plenty, with talented ease. Harry hadn't the need to learn any other way to vent but through this familiar, more powerful source. Regardless of this, Harry gave the fight his all - tooth and nail if he had to.
Leaping on top of the wizard, they both tumbled to the ground - Bill, as it was, he realized a moment later. Harry kicked and punched viciously, his aim wild and spontaneous. Bill cried out and Harry kept punching, as more and more spells collided against them both. It was the Order's own ill aimed fire that brought Bill down, finally unconscious, and Harry had jumped up again, quickly snatching up Bill's fallen wand.
The onslaught continued.
Curses, jinxes and hexes rained over his head - Harry became aware of other noises around him - the sobs of hysterical bystanders caught up in the fray, alarms ringing louder and louder and louder. A chaotic plague of fright and pain; bedlam bounded and swam about the cold, wretched station.
With a wand in his grasp again Harry let loose, forgetting his care of before - unleashing spells without thought, without reason or intent. Faster and faster and faster. About him bodies fell, but he wasn't making enough ground - the Order was too much, too many, as they continued to resurrect any witch or wizard he brought down moments from their fall. Harry needed something drastic. He needed something more.
The train was leaving. No one had gotten off and no one had gotten on.
Harry grinned - a thought, a distant memory, and an ancient paragraph he had read in an ancient tomb, of an ancient spell - forming itself hungrily into another small ploy. He waved his wand again in another complex series and waited impatiently.
The air buzzed. The earth began to tremble. The dirty pavement they all stood upon shook -
Harry watched, distantly concentrating to bend the spell to his own desire, morbidly fascinated as to how it would play out. He had never cast it before, although he'd wanted to since he'd first come across it - only he'd never had the proper opportunity. Harry wasn't exactly sure what it would even do, although he did believe he had a vague idea.
For a moment all was still again, like the calm before the storm.
Then it gave away.
Around Harry the earth rose up in a ring, rising high above his head. And then it flung back - pushing down, spreading out wide. In a sort of ripple effect, the pavement lost, the ground gouged out, acting like a spring.
People - wizards and witches and muggles alike - were all thrown up, flung high into the air, off of their feet. They smashed together and against one another, with a wall here and there and the thick boarded roof. And then, as gravity found itself again, they all fell back down -
They landed awkwardly, on the hard, uneven surface of the crippled floor. Bones easily cracked, broke and shattered.
More than half that had stood before didn't get up again.
Someone was clapping, and then more of the disobliging Order joined in. They were … applauding? Applauding him?
They were crazy, the lot of them, Harry decided vehemently.
"Why are you here, Evans?" someone screamed. "Just to torment us?"
Diffindo. Engorgio. Incendio.
He knew torment. He knew it's piercing vice, it's bitter grip -
"No," Harry laughed. "I thought I'd come for a holiday. I guess I was wrong?"
"How will you live with yourself, Evans?" called Vance, struggling to get up. "How can you sleep at night, knowing the difference you could have made?" Had you not been so incredibly selfish … had you not run
It was the unspoken part that stung more than anything.
"I sleep fine, thanks," Harry ground out.
"Do you? Do you really?" Vance persisted.
Harry didn't want to answer. He didn't sleep well at all, of course. He never had. But how long had he been watched so closely? How long had he been spied upon without even knowing?
"And will you sleep tonight, Vance?" Harry said snidely instead. "Will you dream of the better times, the happy days?"
Vance answered with another curse, which Harry quickly dodged.
They all had their delusions. They were all - the whole bloody lot of them - in some form or another of denial.
"Can't you see how this war is tearing our world apart?" someone called. "Don't you want to see it end?"
Another few curses stopped dead in their tracks.
Harry shrugged. "I'd sooner see it continue forever than have the lesser side the victor."
"And who is your 'lesser side'? Us, or them?"
"At the moment," Harry said, "I'm really not at all sure."
That hurt - that hit the spot. The voices came back, an echo of before like a broken record -
"Damn you, Evans."
"You're wasted - "
" - wasting yourself on your own selfish needs."
" - needs of innocent others should be in consideration - "
"Consider it, just for a second? You've condemned us all - "
" - condemned to Azkaban where you'll rot, mark my words!"
Harry looked at the crippled ground. Pools of blood trickled over the pavement, running away into the gutter by the tracks.
"And where's Dumbledore, eh?" he asked the crowd, ignoring their banter, spinning away from their overzealous aim. "Where's your darling puppet-master now?" When it didn't look as though any would answer, Harry continued silkily, "Can you function without his strings, or will you all fall apart?"
He pointed his wand at the ceiling above them and closed his eyes tight.
And then the sky began to fall.
Harry's shield protected him. The other's - a few of the Order - were not so lucky, crushed and gutted under the falling wreckage, the ruins of the roof. Harry didn't want to think of the poor muggles underneath it all - he told himself not to. Dust and ash obscured any clear vision, clouding sight and lungs and breath.
"You want me to help you?" Harry cried above it all. He could hardly hear his own voice in all the clutter of mayhem. "And what will I get in return, then?"
"What will you get?" Moody's voice repeated from somewhere behind Harry, so angry then he almost sounded like his normal gruff self of Harry's time. "How about the satisfaction of knowing you've done the right thing."
"But will I have?" Harry said. "Is this right, what you're doing to me now? Do you call this justice?"
"Yes," Moody said. His teeth gritted, his tongue clamped between them. "This is survival. This is for the greater good."
"You can't guilt me away from my own choices, my path." Harry clenched his fists until they bled, dirty nails pressed clean through his palms. "Damn your Greater Good. I've been apart of that before. It's useless. It's a bloody disaster!"
The other's exchanged a glance.
"So young and so wise now, Evans?" That was James, Harry realized. That was his father, standing there before him again, swaying on his feet and clutching his broken side. "How is it that you claim to know so much?"
He hadn't spotted his mother. He thought Sirius might have gone down in the first tumble from the ceiling, but he wasn't sure.
Harry laughed, bringing up his old facade again. "I know more than you could imagine, James Potter."
James looked skeptical. His face was ghostly white, blood trickling down the side of his head. "Oh, really?" he asked.
"I know of your past, your childhood," Harry began. "Your marriage and your career. Prongs, they used to call you." Their gaze met, distant and cold. "I know," Harry said, and his eyes sought Wormtail - but the rat was not present then either. "I know of your spies. I know of the leak that everyday drains your precious Order." Harry laughed.
If his magic could not conquer them, his knowledge would. And his last card, his greatest bluff?
"I know," Harry told them, his voice low as a theatric whisper, his eyes level and glaring straight ahead, "everything."
I know everything?
There was silence for a short pause. Harry held his breath, wondering if they were unsure or insane or desperate enough to believe it - and, amazingly enough, they were.
They were? They really did believe Harry's ridiculous claim, they really did think it possible for him to know everything? Harry laughed and laughed, and once he started he just couldn't stop.
Who the hell did they think he was? God?
More spells, deadlier than before, were exchanged aggressively between the parties. It was hard to get about in all the debris, the uplifted pavement greatly limiting any movement.
Was that a Cruciatus?
They'd done it, then, Harry realized. One had done the unforgivable. They had crossed the line, finally - at last - inviting Harry to do the same. And Harry laughed again - it had been Moody. Of course. Perfect.
Harry shook his head, grinning wickedly. "Tut tut," he murmured. "Why - don't you want me alive and kicking?"
"At this point," one answered for the old Auror, staunchly accepting and supporting the breach of law, "I for one really couldn't give a shit if it was solely your head brought back on a silver bloody platter."
Harry raised an eyebrow. "Well," he said. "Two can play at that game, you know."
"This is not a game, Evans!"
"No," Harry agreed solemnly. "Games have rules."
And they started at him again - the blue and yellow quickly shrinking back to a storm of angry red and brilliant green.
Crucio and Crucio and Crucio.
All he saw was black and all he felt was that burning, dimly memorable pain of his past.
Suddenly the Order had got the better of him again.
Suddenly it was all too much.
Suddenly he'd lost Bill's wand.
Harry's knees buckled, giving way beneath him. He struggled to get up again, pushing his disobliging muscles to operate.
And just like that, suddenly they all stopped -
"Give it up, Evans," a cold voice chided, simpering, taunting and mean.
Harry looked up to see Moody glowering above him, his atrocious face a contorted scowl-turned-grin.
Moody held his wand - Harry's wand he had lost before - between his two knobby, bloody fingers. He held his wand, laughed, and bent it clean in two.
As it snapped, broken apart, Harry's anger collapsed about his ears. In that moment he felt all the strength leave him, fleeing through his veins - he was drained, an empty hollow, useless as he most hated to be. And then, in a tense, thrashing jolt - it all came back tenfold.
Oh, Harry was mad - very, very mad.
There were five left then. Five wizards, circling him like a pack would its prey. Five wands, trained on his heart.
Harry closed his eyes, gathering patience, energy and resolve.
He was a wizard - a bloody wizard, for fucks sake. And there was magic in him, in his own mortal soul. Magic he simply had to reach for, bring out from inside. Harry didn't think of its impossibility; he ignored his own incredulity, he ignored all he'd ever been taught, pressed down hard upon his own logic and reason. It would work. Of course it would.
More spells broke through the air, hissing in fiery hate - five spells, a star shape, colliding at the same point, just where Harry pushed himself up again to stand, then -
He didn't raise a hand.
He didn't batter an eyelash.
Harry just smiled.
The air around him became thick and heavy. Harry's vision blurred. The fabric of magic stretched to his will, bending around his body, threads unwoven from time and space. He didn't understand what he was doing or how it was working - he didn't care.
Five spells, five spheres of tightly compressed magic, stopped around him in mid air, hovering still.
One Order member, a buxom blonde, dropped her wand and ran.
The remaining four froze like rabbits -
Harry's concentration wavered for a second and the spells died, falling from the air onto the ground, wasted.
The last of the Order seemed unsure of what to do, or what they could do. Taking lead of the blonde, all but old Mad-Eye turned tail and scampered - Harry summoned a wand from a fallen wizard beside him, wishing he had thought to do that a lot sooner. He grinned again with resolute satisfaction, though there was blood in his mouth, between his teeth and on his lips, as he brought Moody down hard and fast. The Auror didn't even twitch. And, as each made their own attempt to escape him, Harry hit the last three in their retreating backs.
He needed time. He couldn't have them fetching the Ministry so soon.
Finally the last was down.
Harry swayed, his limbs shaking. Sirens wailed over his head as muggle police officers clambered onto the scene. Harry couldn't believe it, couldn't comprehend that any of it had happened - he was in shock, numb to all around him.
Where was he to go? What was he to do?
Clutching his chest painfully, Harry backed away - right into the path of another bloody wand, pushing neatly into the base of his throat.
Heaving a shuddered breath, Harry closed his eyes. He couldn't be bothered - he'd just had enough.
"Who's that?" Harry asked softly.
"I'm sorry, Hadi."
He knew the voice - Cho. He'd almost forgotten about her the minute she's so suddenly disappeared.
"Don't do it," he began quickly, but it was already too late - a simple stunner lapsed past his weltering shield, slamming cold into his chest.
"You don't get it, do you?" Cho asked, grabbing hold of his sinking shoulders, turning him to face her. She leant forward, pressing against him, whispering in his ear, "How do you think you came to even be here?" Her voice was deathly quiet. "We brought you, Hadi. We bought you to help us, to fight for us, to win for us."
And the words of the prophecy came back to him -
… called down by those whom know him not …
Could it be? Could that really be true? Harry groaned as a sheet of darkness broke over his body - and then there was nothing … nothing. Nothing but an overwhelming darkness and his own treacherous thoughts left for comfort.
Harry was livid; humiliated, betrayed, exposed. And when he woke up, he'd let them all know it.
When he woke up, he'd see them pay. He'd make them pay.
A/N: Well, then. My greatest apologies for the ridiculous wait! I will try my best to get the next out much, much faster. Thanks for reading, as always :) Reviews are appreciated. xxoo.