Harry Potter Year 4: Voldermort Returns

Chapter 15

Recap:

They landed in a graveyard. It was starting to get dark, but it wasn't quite there yet. As the three landed and toppled to the ground, Harry realized with a start that he could move again. The second thing he realized was that his headache was gone; Cedric and Viktor were no longer under the Imperius curse and were looking at him with worried, guilty expressions. The third thing he noticed was that something in the back of his mind was ticking away, telling him something was very wrong and he was being idiotic to just sit here when he was Merlin-knows-where.

"The cup vas a portkey," said Viktor as he gazed at the cup with wide eyes.

"Harry-" Cedric started, but Harry held up a hand to shush him.

"Don't bother apologising," Harry said sharply as he stood up, drawing his wand. "You were under the Imperius, I know that… and I know why. They wanted me here… they knew I wouldn't touch the cup if I could help it…"

"Vhat are you on about?" Viktor asked nervously as he, too, drew his wand.

"Death Eaters," Harry murmured, turning on the spot… they were here, he knew it. "Voldemort wanted me here. I don't know why…"

"Harry, Viktor… over there," Cedric said, pointing over to an approaching figure. Harry kept his wand trained on the figure, but didn't stun him. He regretted it instantly. The figure had fired two silent curses at them… or perhaps the words were simply too quiet to hear… and now two completely identical beams of green light were now heading towards Cedric and Viktor.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Harry couldn't react fast enough, he seemed to freeze, and he could do nothing but watch… watch as a green spell hit Viktor… all he could do was watch as one of his best friends fell to the ground at an unnatural angle and lay there, his lifeless glassy eyes staring into nothing, exactly how Crouches eyes had only a month ago. Cedric had dodged the spell, though, and was lying on the ground where he'd fallen, staring at Viktor with wide eyes. Harry's eyes were stinging, his mind blank… Harry shook his head slightly, trying to snap himself out of it. Get a hold of yourself, boy, said a voice that sounded remarkably like his uncle's. Do something before you have a second death on your murdering shoulders.

"Petrificus Totalus," Harry whispered, pointing his wand at Cedric. He glanced behind him to see the figure in black was still slowly approaching him. He kneeled down, as though mourning his friends, and spoke in a fast and quiet whisper. "Play dead," he warned quickly, tightening his hold on his wand. "They'll leave you alone if you do. Don't try and fight the spell-" but Harry couldn't continue as he sensed a spell flying towards him. Instincts kicking in, he leapt over Cedrics body and started running, forcing all of his energy into it, dodging between numerous old, cracked grey gravestones. He could hear the figure following him, which was good; he didn't want any attention drawn to Cedric incase someone noticed he was alive… it was bad enough they'd got Viktor… stop it, Harry! He scolded himself angrily. You're in an unknown place that's probably crawling with Death Eaters and if you don't get your act together Cedric may well end up dead too! Concentrate!

Harry automatically dodged another stunning spell he felt coming from behind him then rolled off to the side as he saw a flash of read coming towards him from the front. Thank god for Sirius' lessons on dodging! Harry quickly cast a Disillusionment Charm on himself, thankful that he'd learned it, and stood up. He could see three Death Eaters wandering through the gravestones. Taking careful aim, he stunned all three in a whisper – he hadn't learned non-verbal stunning yet - within the space of five seconds before setting off… being the idiot that he was, though, he failed to notice the tell-tale signs of a trip jinx and a moment later he found himself sprawled on the ground with a Death Eater standing in front of him.

"Thought you could escape with a Disillusionment Charm did you?" the Death Eater asked in an amused voice that sounded like a growl. "Lucius warned us you'd become fond of that spell," he continued with a sneer as he immobilised Harry and cancelled the invisibility Charm. That done, he used his wand to float Harry along in the air beside him. "Our Lord will be most pleased to see you."

Harry was tied roughly to a magically-enlarged gravestone; he could feel the magical energy pouring off of it, seeping into his skin… it wasn't quite giving him a headache, but he knew it was a somewhat dark spell that had done it. Why they couldn't use a nice, simple Enlargement Charm is beyond me. Shaking his head to clear his mind and trying to ignore the tingling on his skin, Harry focused on the scene in front of him. There were easily fifty Death Eaters, each clad in black with a white mask covering their faces. Each was standing at a certain spot, forming a large semi-circle around one of the largest cauldrons Harry had ever seen- a grown man could fit quite comfortably into it.

"Look who we have here," a cool voice said; one of the black-clad Death Eaters had approached Harry. Even without the trace of white-blonde hair that was visible beneath the hood, Harry could tell immediately who it was. He would recognise that voice anywhere.

"Malfoy," Harry spat, glaring at the figure. Lucius Malfoy laughed and half-turned to glance at his fellow Voldemort-followers.

"Do you see that man, Harry?" Lucius asked softly, pointing to a figure. "That's Wormtail. I believe you have a personal grudge against him," the figure in question gave a small whimper and glanced away, unable to hold Harry's glaring gaze for more than a few seconds. "That woman," Lucius pointed again, "is Bellatrix. I do believe she is the one who put your friend's- Longbottom's- parents permanently in the mental ward of St. Mungos. And lastly, I have a secret for you, Harry," Lucius leaned in and whispered, in a cold and amused tone, "the man standing beside Bellatrix is none other than Severus Snape. Your uncle isn't as good a person as you thought he was, is he?"

"He's a better man than you'll ever be," Harry replied tonelessly as Malfoy drew back.

"You're rather loyal to him," Malfoy retorted coolly. "Oh dear, I think that's my cue to leave. I do believe our… ah, surprise is almost ready."

Harry said nothing as Malfoy left, but inside he was fuming. And- good Merlin, poor Severus! He'd hated spying for the Order; more often than not, in the first war, he'd come back barely conscious from his punishments… and if the Death Eaters were all gathering, then Harry knew it was not a pleasant thing that was waiting in store for him… he glanced up and caught Severus' gaze; he couldn't see the older mans face, but he'd gotten rather good at reading his eyes… and Severus was afraid. Not for himself; oh no. Severus was afraid for Harry… and that, more than anything, was what sent Harry's mind into a panic- though he still managed to appear calm on the outside, at least one useful thing had come from being the Dursleys' victim… there was no way he was going to let Voldemorts lap-dogs know he was scared.

He couldn't help the gasp of pain that escaped his mouth, though, as a new Death Eater approached with a small bundle held in their arms… Voldemort held in their arms. Harry's eyes were watering as pain seared through his scar, but he bit his lip, refusing to cry out as he watched the figure lower Voldemort into the cauldron, splashing some of the red liquid up over the edge. A second Death Eater lit a fire under it, and the potion started to spark… steam started billowing out of it very fast… someone was talking, murmuring the words to a ritual… someone was screaming in agony as something heavy plopped into the cauldrons contents – was that a hand?… people were laughing… someone was approaching Harry with a vial… they cut his forearm, and Harry didn't make a sound as blood flowed freely down his arm and into the vial… someone was doing the ritual again… and the steam was changing colour. Instead of thick and black, it was turning grey… white… the sparks were stopping… the Death Eaters were silent… the steam was thinning; Harry could see into the cauldron… a tall, skinny and bald figure was rising out of it… Harry's scar was burning so much he felt sure his head would burst open, but still he kept his mouth clamped shut. A robe was passed to the figure, who slipped it on before seeming to float out of the cauldron, landing in front of it. And there he stood; a human body; dressed in a long, black cloak, and a face that was a cross between a humans and a snakes. The face was pale, the nose flat- all he really had was slits for nostrils. His mouth was thin, the lips the same colour as his skin. And as his cold, red eyes locked onto Harry's, and Harry's scar seemed to burn even more painfully, Harry knew one fact with dead certainty. Lord Voldemort had risen again.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Voldemort wasted no time in stepping towards Harry, completely ignoring his followers.

"Harry Potter," Voldemort said softly as he stood in front of Harry. "We meet at last."

"We've met before, Tom," Harry spat as coldly as he could through his pain.

"Don't call me Tom," he hissed. "My name is Lord Voldemort."

"Your nickname is," Harry corrected, closing his eyes for a moment against the pain in his scar. Voldemort was silent for a moment, then he continued on as if Harry had never called him by his real name.

"You are tied, Harry Potter, to the gravestone which marks the remains of my fathers body. He was a muggle, and a very foolish one at that. He decided he did not like magic, and he left my mother. She died giving birth to me, and I was left to grow up in an orphanage." Voldemort had started pacing, but he stopped again and turned to look at the cauldron from which he had risen. "Still, a use has come of him. Without his help, I would never have managed to create this body for myself." Voldemort, seemingly bored with being sentimental about his past, turned his back on Harry to face his Death Eaters. Harry didn't listen to the speech Voldemort gave them; he had managed to wandlessly summon his wand to him. All he had to do was get the angle right and… there; he'd done it. He quickly, and silently, cast a severing charm on the ropes, but didn't move- not yet. He would be dead the moment he so much as shuffled a foot. No, he had to wait until everyone was completely distracted… or if he was desperate…

Harry forced his attention to latch onto Voldemort again just as the Dark Lord in question turned back to face Harry.

"And now, standing before me, is the legendary Boy-Who-Lived," Voldemort said in his high, cold voice. It was even higher in his new body. "I know you have freed yourself, Harry. Step forward. It is time that we duel and prove, once and for all, that Lord Voldemort is impossible to defeat!"

Harry paled at being caught out so easily, but he nevertheless forced himself to step forward on only slightly shaky legs. He'd faced worse than this, right? Quirrel, the Basilisk, hundreds of Dementors… the Dementors had been bad

"I believe you were taught how to duel in your second year," Voldemort said coolly as he and Harry stood still, facing each other. Harry didn't move; didn't answer. "Before we start, we must bow to each other."

Harry inclined his head slightly; copying Voldemort's motion. Not much point in refusing to 'bow', is there?

"And now, Harry Potter, we duel. Crucio!"

Once again mentally thanking Sirius for his lessons on dodging, Harry easily avoided the red light sent at him and ducked behind a gravestone. He paused for a moment before sending a stunner towards Voldemort, who easily blocked it. A second later the gravestone had exploded on Harry, the broken pieces of rock cutting and bruising his skin. Ignoring the new injuries, Harry pushed up a shield to block an orange spell that had been sent his way before dodging a second beam of red light. Several more spells – yellow, green, blue, green, yellow, red – all flew towards him. He blocked two and dodged the rest. It took him a moment to realize that most of the spells being flung at him were nonverbal… he had absolutely no idea what he was up against. He let out a small cry as a deep blue spell hit his leg, causing a large, deep gash to appear. Blood started trickling down his leg at a frighteningly fast pace, but Harry ignored it and kept dodging Voldemorts spells, occasionally sending his own- mainly stunners and hexes- back.

The pain in his scar, the pain in his leg and the pain running through his head from the dark spells being cast at him were slowly cutting away at Harry's energy, though, and he felt himself tiring fast. It was harder to run, to jump… it was harder to bring up a fast shield, to send a spell whilst Voldemort paused for whatever reason…

Just as Harry began to think he didn't stand a chance, one of his spells collided with Voldemorts. Rather than reflect off each other, though, as spells normally did, the two beams of light- two red ones- connected. His wand was vibrating; burning up. It was as though his wand had been stuck in a plug and electricity was coursing through it… he couldn't let go of it… Voldemort looked as confused as Harry felt as he held his vibrating wand in one hand.

It was barely a second later that Harry felt himself being lifted off the ground. Voldemort was rising with him, too; each connected to each other by a thin golden strand that reached into both their wands. They were nearly fifty feet above the frightened, confused Death Eaters when the gold strand finally splintered, breaking off in a criss-crossing movement that left them trapped inside what was basically a large, floating, golden cage. Their wands were still vibrating; a new thread connecting them, a silver one… it had large beads on it, too, that were working their way towards Harry. The sound of a Phoenix singing had filled the air, bringing back memories of Harry's second year when he had thought he was dying, down in the Chamber of Secrets. Fawkes had saved him then…

Don't break the connection.

Harry blinked at the voice in his head, but somehow he knew the voice was right, and he vowed to follow it's instruction. Despite how tired he was, how sore he was, he put all his energy into forcing the magical beads of light back to Voldemort… and his wand was shaking less now, Voldemorts shaking more… and Voldemort had either not heard the voice, or the voice had not spoken to him, for Voldemort didn't fight the beads as strongly as Harry had, and they were entering his wand… one, two, three, four, five; all beads were now inside Voldemorts wand, which was vibrating so violently the Dark Lord had a pained look of concentration on his face and was having to use both hands to grip it properly. Screams of agony erupted from the wand so suddenly that Harry couldn't help but flinch back.

It took a moment, but suddenly it was as though a ghost was climbing out of Voldemorts wand… Harry recognised the man; it was the one from his dream last Summer… but there were more people; he could see another head. Bertha Jorkins, the missing Ministry worker, was the next out, and she gave Harry a sympathetic smile. Voldemorts face was the perfect picture of surprise, shock and anger, but Harry didn't care. Another head was coming; a head he couldn't have prepared himself for, no matter how much he tried… his mother had just climbed out of Voldemorts wand.

"Your father's coming," she told him, her voice echoing as though far, far away. Harry's throat swelled up as he looked at her; his beautiful mother. She was a translucent, white colour, so he was unable to see her amber hair or bright green eyes, but she was beautiful… and she was right; a moment later a mirror image of Harry climbed out of Voldemorts wand… he was much taller than Harry, and less skinny, but he had the same glasses, same nose, same messy hair… and still more people were coming. People Harry didn't recognise at all, though one looked oddly like the teenage Riddle…

At last, it seemed there were no more people to come. They were all crowded around Voldemort, and though Harry could hear voices, it was impossible to make out the words… Voldemort looked scared, though, and extremely angry…

Now they were turning to Harry, kind smiles on their faces.

"My little baby, all grown up," his mother smiled, her eyes looking teary. His father wrapped an arm around her shoulders as he flashed Harry a proud smile.

"You've made us proud, Harry; so proud. Never forget that, all right?" Harry had lost his voice, he couldn't reply… so he merely nodded. His parents seemed to understand, though.

"When the connection is broken, we will be unable to stay for long," said one of the figures Harry didn't recognise.

"We can stay for a few moments, though," his mother told them, glancing at the unfamiliar figure. "We can hold him back for you, Harry."

"You have to get to the cup," his father told him quietly. "Fast. We can't hold him back for long. As soon as you break the connection, you have to run. The cup's still a portkey."

"I understand," Harry hated how croaky his voice sounded.

"Then you must go… break the connection, Harry. We love you, don't ever forget that, alright?" his mother sounded like she wanted to cry, and Harry nodded silently. He gazed at them for one last moment before pulling his wand violently upwards, breaking the connection.

He dropped to the ground instantly, and though a drop like that should have broken his legs, it didn't hurt at all; the magic was protecting him. He could hear Voldemort's shrieks of anger as the ghost-like bodies surrounded him, shielding Harry from him. Harry himself ran faster than he'd ever ran in his life… and as he found himself approaching Cedric, he cancelled the body-binding charm… he leapt to the side to avoid a stunner from a Death Eater…

"Grab Viktor," Harry yelled, and though Cedric, didn't understand, he immediately obeyed, and all Harry had to do was jump, dodge… he was lying on his stomach next to Cedric. Taking one last deep breath, Harry grabbed Cedric's arm with his right hand before grabbing the cup with his left, and the two were thrown once again, for the second time that night, into a world of spinning colours.

They landed face down in the grass, back in the center of the maze- only, the hedges were gone. Harry shakily pushed himself up into a sitting position, copied only a moment later by Cedric. Beside Cedric lay Viktor's body, also face down. The two stared at each other for a long moment; Cedric looking horrified, worried, scared, concerned, upset… Harry face was blank, though, as if under a mask. When he heard noises behind him, he turned his head slightly to see several people rushing towards them- Sirius, Remus, Mr and Mrs Diggory, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Luna, the Weasley twins, Fleur, Cho, Tonks… Dumbledore, McGonagall, Hagrid, Moody…

"Harry!" Sirius pulled the teen into his arms as soon as he was close enough to. "You're bleeding all over- what the hell happened?"

Harry pulled away from his godfather to see Cedric receiving a similar frantic hug from Cho and his mother.

"Ees he…?" Fleur seemed unable to form the words as she looked at Viktor's body with wide, bright eyes.

"Dead?" Harry suggested tonelessly. "Yes."

"Harry," Remus said in a quiet, yet urgent voice. "Where did the Portkey take you?"

"Little Hangleton," Harry replied in the same toneless voice. "The graveyard."

"The place you-" Sirius started.

"Dreamt about? Yes."

"Harry-" Sirius started again. Harry pulled away, though, and stood up on extremely shaky legs. His headache- both scar-related and curse-related- was gone, but the slash in his leg still ached rather painfully.

"We arrived. Death Eaters came. The shot killing curses- one hit V-Viktor, the other missed Cedric. I immobilised him, and he looked dead. The Death Eaters got me, tied me to Voldemort's fathers grave, took my blood, resurrected Voldemort with some ritual-or-another, made me dual him, something happened that made me see… I dunno, the ghosts, I guess, of people he's killed- that's including mum and dad, by the way- and they helped me escape. We grabbed the portkey and ended up back here. Does that answer all your questions?"

Everyone was looking at him with faces full of horror… concern… disbelief… and suddenly Harry's mask cracked. He couldn't pretend he was fine anymore; he couldn't hide his pain anymore. He dropped to his knees and held his face in his hands. A moment later he felt strong arms wrap themselves around him- Sirius' arms, he guessed- and he sobbed into his godfather's chest.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Half an hour later Harry was half-asleep and was jolted awake as he felt himself moving… Sirius was carrying him.

"Whay you takin' me?" Harry asked sleepily. Sirius' arms squeezed him gently.

"Hospital Wing," Sirius told him after a moment. "We need to get your wounds looked at. I'm surprised you managed to walk at all, that's a pretty deep cut you've got on your leg." Harry shrugged slightly.

"Where's Cedric?" he asked finally.

"With Albus," came Remus' voice from beside Sirius. "He's putting his memories into a pensieve at the moment, though it won't be much use… he didn't see anything that happened."

"I'll need to put mine in," said Harry. It wasn't a question.

"Not until you're ready," Sirius promised, but Harry shook his head.

"No… after Madam Pomfrey fixes me up, I'll need to put them in… Voldemort's back, Sirius," Harry whispered brokenly. "People need to know… and that idiot – I mean, Fudge will need proof before he'll believe me…"

His guardians said nothing in reply and soon Harry found himself being gently lowered onto a soft, comfortable bed. His tired mind barely registered Madam Pomfrey waving her wand over him, or potions being forced into his mouth. He didn't even notice when his glasses were removed, when he was tucked into bed or when his vision started to darken. He couldn't seem to tell the difference between being awake and being asleep.

He slept for seventeen hours straight, according to Madam Pomfrey when he woke up. He just shrugged disinterestedly as he dressed himself, ignored his breakfast and crept away when she went into her office. Harry was acting on autopilot; he couldn't seem to feel any real emotion at the moment… he was simply 'going through the motions' as his uncle used to say. It was slightly odd that his guardians hadn't been waiting by his bedside, but then again, with Voldemort back they probably had a lot to talk about with Dumbledore… speaking of which, he had to see the Headmaster; he had to put his memories into the pensieve. People needed to know Voldemort was back, and he knew his guardians needed to know what happened in the graveyard. Slipping his memories into a pensieve was a lot easier than being forced to talk about it all. The halls were deserted, but it was probably dinnertime. The odd ghost or two would float by, but thankfully they never seemed to notice Harry. Before long, he was standing in front of the gargoyle guarding Dumbledore's office, trying to figure out what the password would be… then it opened. Harry stepped back warily, but no-one came out and the gargoyle rolled its eyes before saying, "I was told to let you in if you came. Quit wasting my time."

"Er, alright," Harry said nervously before walking quickly past it and climbing the spiralling stairs. He felt dizzy by the time he'd reached the top. Dumbledore really needs to change those stairs. Or are they supposed to disorientate enemies? Shaking his head at himself, Harry raised a hand and knocked three times, waiting for Dumbledore's voice to call out 'Enter'.

His guardians, Cedric, McGonagall, Severus, Moody, Dumbledore and Minister Fudge were all in the office, each seated around Dumbledore's large, intricately-designed desk.

"Harry," Sirius was by his side in a second, quickly followed by Remus. "You should be resting-"

"I don't care," Harry said, shaking Sirius' hand off his shoulder. He glanced over to Fudge. "I-I need to put my m-memories in there," he said, pointing at the large pensieve sitting on Dumbledore's desk. "Cedric didn't… he didn't see any of it… and not everyone will believe me without p-proof…"

"Are you sure you're ready, Harry?" Remus asked him softly, sensing that Harry wasn't going to back down.

"No," Harry answered honestly with a shrug. "I wasn't ready for Voldemort either, though, so I doubt it really matters." He stepped around his guardians, locking gazes with Cedric for a moment before standing in front of Dumbledore's desk.

"What do I need to do, sir?"

"I need you to concentrate on everything that happened last night, Harry," Dumbledore told him softly, placing the tip of his wand on Harry's temples. Harry did so, fighting the burning sensation in his eyes. He didn't know how long it took; he showed Cedric and Viktor dragging him to the cup… arriving in the graveyard… Viktor's death… making Cedric pretend he was dead… being chased by Death Eaters, tied to Voldemort's fathers gravestone… the ritual… Voldemort rising… duelling… seeing his parents…

…and finally, arriving back. Harry stepped back, breaking the connection to the wand and Dumbledore gently lowered the memories into the pensieve.

"Will you be alright on your own for a moment, Harry?" Dumbledore asked, his bright blue eyes gazing into Harry's bright green ones.

"I'll stay out with him," Cedric said, moving over and placing a hand on Harry's shoulder. Dumbledore nodded his approval before beckoning all the adults forward. Sirius, Remus and Severus all gave his shoulder a quick squeeze before entering the pensieve, and soon Harry and Cedric stood alone with Fawkes in a large, empty office. No-one made a sound for a moment, and Harry eventually turned away and sat down on one of the now vacated chairs. Cedric copied him a moment later, sitting down on the chair to Harry's left.

"You look tired," Cedric stated, watching Harry.

"I feel tired."

"Why'd you come then?" Harry turned to look at Cedric with a raised eyebrow.

"I would've thought it'd be obvious- and I've only said it a dozen times. People are going to need proof, Cedric. They're not going to believe a skinny, fourteen year old who's saying Voldemort's returned unless said skinny fourteen year old can give them proof… besides," Harry said, tearing his gaze away from Cedric's to stare at his clasped hands instead, "Sirius and Remus need to know what happened… or they won't understand why I…why I'll…"

"Self-harm?" Cedric offered, and Harry looked up sharply. "I'm sorry we hid it from you, Harry, but we've known for awhile now. Er… your guardians asked us all to keep an eye on you after Crouch… you know," Cedric looked slightly uncomfortable now and Harry shrugged, dropping his gaze back down.

"Who knows?"

"All of us… Cho, Fleur, Vi-Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna… the Weasley twins, I think… me…"

"Maybe it's better you all know," Harry said after a pause. "I never did like keeping secrets."

Cedric didn't seem to know how to reply to that and the two lapsed into silence again.

"I never thanked you," Cedric said after nearly six full minutes of silence. Harry, who had just stood up, glanced at him. "You saved my life back there… if you hadn't immobilised me…"

"It was nothing," Harry shrugged, continuing his walk to Fawkes' perch. "I'd just watched Viktor… and I wasn't about to lose another friend… besides, what use is all my training on keeping a clear head and thinking logically in the middle of danger if I don't use it?" Not that I actually kept a clear head… it was all luck, really. Silence returned as Harry started stroking Fawkes softly, relishing in the gentle feathers beneath his fingertips that seemed to spread a comforting warmth through his body.

Harry whirled around, his wand already in his hand, when he heard a thump behind him. It was just Fudge, though. He looked rather shaky as he took his seat and it was painfully obvious that he was avoiding Harry's eyes. Moody was the next out, followed by McGonagall, then Remus, then Sirius, Severus, and finally; Dumbledore. Harry stayed standing by Fawkes' perch as the adults talked to each other. He kept stroking the golden, fiery plumage, trying desperately to ignore the voices. He didn't want to know what they were saying… at least, he didn't until he heard a crash. He jumped and once again had his wand already in hand as he turned around.

"It's only Fudge, Potter," Moody told him in a softer growl than usual. Harry nodded warily, slipping his wand back into his holster. Why am I so jumpy today?

"Might I suggest you go get some rest, Harry?" Dumbledore asked with twinkling, kind blue eyes. Harry let out a small sigh and nodded. They probably wanted to discuss things without him present and besides, he was rather tired.

"Cedric, would you be so kind as to escort Harry to his guardians rooms? After that, I believe Miss Chang wants to see you."

"Okay," Cedric nodded, standing up and heading to the door.

"Bye, Fawkes," Harry told the bird quietly. Fawkes trilled at him as he left with Cedric, putting a small smile onto his face.

The long walk to the Marauders Quarters seemed to take no time at all, as Harry found his mind constantly drifting to other things… his friends, for one. He knew they would be desperate to see him by now.

"D'you want me to wait with you?" Cedric asked, jolting Harry out of his thoughts. They'd reached their destination.

"Nah," Harry shook his head. "I'll be fine- go see Cho. She's probably desperate to see you."

"You sure?" Cedric asked uncertainly.

"Yes," said Harry in a firm tone. "Go."

Cedric eventually did, leaving Harry standing on his own. He glanced around the room before heading into his bedroom, not even bothering to undress before he slid under the covers. He was asleep within seconds.

The next few days were a maze of emotions for Harry; it was as though he was on a rollercoaster ride that kept going up high, down fast, twirling in dizzying circles… he didn't bother going to classes, as it was the last week of school and it was basically all tests that were being done- tests that he, Fleur and Cedric were all excused from. The three spent a large amount of time out by the lake or racing each on their brooms (or, rather, Harry and Cedric raced whilst Fleur watched from the ground) before meeting up with everyone else after their last class.

Apart from going to the toilet, Harry was never alone. Everyone seemed to think he was going to cut himself the minute they turned his back and so refused to leave his side. He was grateful, in a way; they were probably right. He hadn't had any nightmares yet, but he hadn't slept without Dreamless Sleep potions yet either.

On the last day of school, Harry was faced with a rather tearful Fleur Delacour.

"I will meess you, 'Arry," Fleur told him, leaning in to kiss him on each cheek. "Do be careful, won't you? I feel like eet will be eempossible not to worry about you now."

"I'll be careful," Harry assured her, hugging her. "I don't really fancy being captured by Voldemort." Fleur smiled at him before moving on to Cedric. It took the French girl nearly ten minutes to say her goodbyes; Harry, Cedric, Cho, Hermione, Ginny, Luna and Ron.

"You'll write to me, won't you, 'Arry?" she asked finally as she stepped towards her fellow classmates. "And you, Cedric?"

"Of course," the two replied simultaneously, smiling at each other. Fleur's smile widened and she waved before stepping into the large, winged-horse-drawn carriage. Durmstrang had left earlier that morning, taking Viktor's magically-preserved body with them.

When the carriage disappeared, Harry turned to face his friends.

"C'mon," he told them, walking past them to the path that led up to the castle. "We'd better go pack. The train leaves in an hour and a half." Sirius and Remus had offered to side-apparate Harry home directly from Hogsmeade, but Harry had declined. This would be Cedric's final train-ride home and Harry wanted to be there with him- he wanted some final time with all his friends, actually.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Two hours later Harry found himself staring out of the window at the ever-changing scenery. He was a little squashed; they'd managed to cram Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna, Fred, George, Cedric and Cho all into the compartment, which had only really been designed to hold five, possibly six people.

"How long d'you reckon?" Ron asked, and Harry glanced up at him with a thoughtful expression.

"Give him half an hour," Harry replied, grinning at the confused expressions on everyone else present.

"Have we missed something?" Cedric asked, glancing curiously at them.

"Malfoy comes every year," Ron shrugged. "He'll start a fight with us and he always comes off worse. You'd think he'd learned his lesson by now."

"He does, does he?" Cho asked, raising her eyebrows.

"We can handle it," Harry said quickly, trying to prevent a fight. Cho and Cedric really did not like Malfoy.

True enough, it was nearly half an hour later the compartment door slid open and Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle stood there. Cedric, Cho, Fred, George and Luna had insisted on Disillusioning themselves so they could see what Malfoy usually acted like.

"What do we have here?" Malfoy drawled lazily. "Potty, Mudblood and the Weasels."

"What d'you want now, Malfoy?" Harry asked tiredly.

"Trying to pretend it hasn't happened, are you?" Malfoy asked with a sneer. "Father told me all about it. Tell me, Potty; what was it like seeing your dear Mudblood mother again?" Harry could feel his friends staring at him; he hadn't told anyone about seeing his parents. His hands were shaking violently as he fought to control his temper.

"You've picked the losing side, Potty," Malfoy said smugly. "I told you, back in our first year, didn't I? I told you not to hang around with trash like them," he pointed at Ron, Ginny and Hermione. "Mudbloods and blood-traitors first. Well, second, actually; Viktor was first-"

"Stupefy," Harry hissed and a moment later Malfoy was lying unconscious on the floor. "Take your boyfriend and get lost," Harry told Crabbe and Goyle in a dangerously low voice as he stood up. Hermione, Ron and Ginny had all drawn their wands now, too, and realizing they were outnumbered Crabbe and Goyle quickly picked up Malfoy and ran for it.

"Those insensitive little warts!" Cho cried indignantly, cancelling the Disillusioning charm.

"They've done worse," Harry shrugged, still breathing rather heavily. "We'll need to keep an eye out for them next year. No doubt they'll feel special now that their daddies' are back under Voldemort's protection."

Nothing else big, aside from Ron puking as he ate one too many chocolate frogs, happened on the journey home, and soon the train was pulling in at Kings Cross Station.

"We'll keep in touch," Cedric and Cho promised as they left.

"And we'll visit," Ron promised. The twins, Ginny, Luna and Hermione all nodded in agreement.

"Thanks, guys," Harry smiled. He let the girls hug him, let Ron and the twins clap his shoulder, and then they were gone. Luna was off to find her father, Hermione had ran to her parents and the Weasleys had spotted their mum and Bill over by the barrier. Harry didn't move for a moment as he watched them all with their family and he jumped when he felt two hands simultaneously grasp a shoulder each. Turning his head slightly, he could see it was Sirius and Remus.

"Ready to go home, kiddo?" Sirius asked him, squeezing his shoulder gently.

"Yeah," Harry said, turning to face them with a small smile. "Yeah, I am."


Well, here it is. The final chapter... hard to believe I'll never again post up new chapters for this particular fic. It's been a wonderful few months XD. At least I still have something to do; as promised, chapter 1 of year 5 will be up on Monday. I finally finished chapter two properly last night... heh. Y'know, it's amazing... I've only just finished this fic, and I already want to re-write it all! I was looking through chapters one and two earlier, and I was like, 'Ewww... I can totally do better than that!' Haha XD

Well, please review and let me know what you think! And check my profile on Monday for the sequel :-P

Anyhoo, as it's the final chapter, I feel I ought to offer my thanks to certain special people.
Cheryl - my best friend. You've actually been kinda lame with this, but you were supportive anyway, so thanks. Hehe XD
Lizzie - you were my first beta. Thanks so much for helping!
Abi - my second beta. You only betad the one chapter, but you helped me a lot, too, and you were so fun to talk to. Thanks for everything!
Roxy - my third beta. You were brilliant, and I loved chatting to you! Sadly, you haven't been online lately. Thanks!
Amber-Chick - you've reviewed pretty much every chapter, and everything you said has been either really helpful or really motivating. Thanks so much!
Clare - you were the only person, ever, who could put up with my constant rambling of Harry Potter. You seriously rock, gurli.
I may update this list in future; I'm sure there are others I need to thank but my mind has gone blank.

PS. I've fixed the previous chapter (I just noticed I had 'pbpbpbpb' all the way through it) and the title (thanks Amber-Chick!)