Prevarications and Pragmatism Pt. III

LITTLE HANGLETON
RIDDLE MANOR FRONT GATE

Harry Potter lay spread-eagled on the ground, bloodied but not beaten, near his comrades as they hunkered down behind a low wall near the gate. Their diversion had failed and they had to take the consequences.

"Potter's down," Came the petulant voice of the elder Nott, "Surrender now, and you won't be harmed. Well, actually you will, but you'll be dead soon after, so it doesn't matter."

"SOD OFF!" Ron shouted, and tossed a couple of unaimed spells back over the wall.

"Slow then. This is your last chance."

"What do we do now, Hermoine?" Ron asked, while frantically trying to stem the bleeding from Harry's abdomen.

The young woman loaded another magazine and braced her rifle against the wall.

"Same thing we always do Ron," she growled, "fight 'em 'till we can't."

Lying with his eyes to the sky, Harry was the first to see the Hogwarts descend in all its glory, but in his state, he found it hard to convince his friends.

"Hogwarts…It's…beautiful….Are…are those bagpipes?"

"Quiet Harry," Hermione said, "You're in a lot of pain, and…"

She paused from firing and cocked her head up, seeing the castle and grounds of Hogwarts descending rapidly towards the much less imposing Riddle Manor, disgorging broom riders as it fell

"Well bugger my giddy aunt, they are bagpipes. Looks like the Old Man came through."

The brown-haired young woman looked back down the sight, and squeezed off another few bursts.

As the Quidditch teams softened up the opposition, Ron finished healing Harry, and helped him behind the wall. The bespectacled boy had a bandage cinched tight 'round his stomach, a death grip on the pistol in his left hand and on the wand in his right.

He briefly tucked the pistol in his belt, pulled Hermione into a searing kiss and removed a grenade from a vastly expanded pocket. She and Ron followed suit, yanking the pins, and tossing the bombs as far as they could, while rushing down the length of the wall.

A few explosions and judiciously placed plastique later, they had made it through the breach.

"HAVE AT 'EM!" Screamed Harry, as he ran forward, emptying his pistol to cover the others as they ran from cover to cover.

They were getting their friends.

LITTLE HANGLETON

RIDDLE MANOR DUNGEONS

The confusion of the attack had given Luna and Neville the opportunity to escape their captors, and pained and bone-weary from constant torture though they were, they took it.

Neville had managed to trip Rosier and stomp on his trachea, but with his fingers broken he couldn't use a wand. That he left to Luna, who healed him with aplomb. Neville grabbed a very large ax from the wall. It would do until he got wand of his own.

As the gunfire and explosions grew nearer, Looney and Greenthumbs moved through the mansion looking for their friends.

They saw the Lestranges in the parlor, fighting a last-ditch battle against Harry Ron and Hermione.

Without speaking, or otherwise alerting the three to their presence, the two former captives hit them from behind.

With a stroke of the axe, Neville removed Bellatrix's head, avenging his parents, while Luna banished Rudolphous into the fray for the Trio to deal with.

The commotion wound down, and Neville snatched up Bellatrix's wand, aiming it at Rastaban, but he was slow, too slow, and he saw the wand fix on him, tip glowing, until Luna waved hers and took both of the surviving Lestrange's arms off. She walked up close, dirty-blond hair flowing unbound behind her,

"Are you an animal, Death Eater?" the girl spat, "Will you sit? Roll Over? Beg?

"Bugger you." Lestrange said with a leer.

Luna's eyes hardened.

"Not today."

Her wand flashed, and his body hit the floor.