Title: Rise of the Dark Angel
Author: Mykkila09
Chapter: 25: The End of the End
Settings: AU after OOTP: It's canon up to the beginning of the battle at the DOM when they are in the veil room, after that, it's AU and mine.
Pairings: HP/DM; LV/SS; LM/RL; NL (CL)/LL; RL/BL
Warnings: This story will contain mentions of Violence, Child Abuse, Adult Language, Alcohol Use, Slash/Het Sexual situations and Death. Please discontinue reading if such scenes or themes are offensive to you.

Apology: before you go any further, I just wanted to apologize and explain why this story took so long for this chapter to come out: it was my last year of school and I had to deal with an internship from the months of August to December and then, over the Christmas break, I was working on this and I had had every intention of finishing the story for Christmas or New Year's at the latest but then plans derailed. Days before Christmas, my family had a big blow-up, one that almost descended into a fight; it was really bad. There's been a long suspicion that my sister may possibly have a personality disorder and we've been dealing with that. The thing of it is though, because she's now legally an adult, any eval has to be voluntary unless she becomes a complete danger (like suicide attempts or something) and is then forced by a doctor or she is forced by the courts.

So over the next few months, we dealt with blow ups and it was just…I simply had no interest in writing. And then when I finally did, there was another blow up and that derailed me again. Things calmed down, but then I had to deal with the final semester of school and getting through finals and then graduation.

But, things seem to be settling down with my family, and I'm done with school (yay me! I'm a college graduate with a BA degree…I'm so happy ) and I was able to work on the chapters and finally…after nearly a year…here it is!

A/N: Also, I want to say thanks to all of my fans who waited patiently for the story to be updated. I really am so sorry for the wait. Hope you guys like it.

A/N 2: this chapter was possible by a few different people who read it over, offered corrections, and added ideas: lordcromwell, Trousseaux, SaruwatariAsuka, and babyvfan. I appreciated it all guys, thank you so much! Also, thanks to LandlessLord for the French corrections

Chapter Note: story starts at the end of the Hogsmeade trip

Disclaimer: I own nothing…if I did, Ginny would have died in the CoS, Dumbledore would have choked on his lemon drops and Harry would have stood up for himself against Molly and Dumbledore.
Disclaimer 2: this story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

"Talking"
'Thinking'
|Fawkes/Hedwig's mental speak|
|Harry's mental speak|
Letter or commentary/introduction and flashback
~…~
indicates scene change

O.P.D.: Tuesday 31st May, '16.


Last time on RDA;

The morning started out regularly. The students got up and went to breakfast, conversations fluttering all around as they admired the Halloween decorations that were all over the school, especially the Great Hall.

Harry was sitting at the Slytherin table along with Cory and Luna, and their pets, when owls poured into the Hall, each of them carrying a newspaper.

As always, whispers started up as the students took in the sight of the owls.

The papers were dropped on the table and the owls flew away as the students, and professors, grabbed them.

The headline had everyone gasping and surprisingly, it was a Ravenclaw who voiced what everyone was thinking.

"Merlin's balls!"

ALBUS DUMBLEDORE FOUND DEAD!


A week and a half earlier—the Hogsmeade Weekend

The group was still talking about what had just happened; how Harry's plan had been executed perfectly.

Gabriella was still in awe over it.

"I still can't believe it," the girl said, her eyes darting over to Harry and Draco. "That really was freaking amazing."

Harry laughed, "It really was, wasn't it?"

"This is the start, isn't it?" Pansy questioned. "The end is near."

"Yes it is," Harry agreed. "What just happened should remove all doubts Molly's interview had brought up, and within the next few days, whatever little remained shall be obliterated while at the same time, adding one more nail in Dumbledore's coffin."

"How are you going to do that?" Blaise asked, intrigued and so very curious and eager to know Harry's plan.

"It's my turn, right?" Cory asked as he threw a smirk at his friend.

"Your turn?" Gabriella was puzzled.

"Cory's going to tell his story to the papers," Draco clarified, "He's going to reveal to the public what really happened in the Longbottom home all those years ago and Dumbledore's role in everything."

Gabriella's, as well as Pansy and Blaise, eyes went wide. "Oh my god." She stopped to think about it. "He's dead. Dumbledore's dead and he doesn't even know it. There's no way he'll be able to recover from that revelation."

"Exactly," Harry grinned, eyes lighting up at the thought of Dumbledore crumbling.

The group shared a laugh as they continued on to the school.

~…~

Rita Skeeter was practically quivering with excitement as she quickly left Hogsmeade to make her way back to the Daily Prophet offices.

When she had decided to go to Hogsmeade earlier, in order to know what the townspeople had thought of her latest article, that's all she had been expecting. In fact, she hadn't even wanted to be in Hogsmeade initially.

But now she was glad she had made the decision to go. She had managed to get something better than those interviews and she couldn't wait to get the article written and published.

It was so good that she knew she'd be able to convince her boss to put a rush on the prints and get the paper out by dinner.

A short time later, Rita arrived at the office, much to the consternation of her boss.

"Rita! What in Merlin's name are you doing back here already?" the man yelled. "Shouldn't you be getting the interviews?"

Rita couldn't stop the grin. "I got something even better."

The man raised an eyebrow. "And what is that?"

Grin still in place, Rita revealed what had happened earlier at Hogsmeade.

When she was done, her boss looked at her with the same dawning excitement. "Tell me this is not a joke."

"It's not!" Rita crowed. "I was there. I saw and heard everything."

Rita couldn't wait to get started on the article. She knew that the article would just prove what she had thought all along about Molly Weasley's interview; that it was just a way to get back at Mr Potter for turning against her son. She also had no doubt that Dumbledore had been in on it.

She had never liked Albus Dumbledore for a simple reason; his image was too perfect. The man came off as too clean and it was as if he worked hard to project this grandfatherly, all-knowing man that just wanted the best for everyone. He had everyone fooled.

And it was that reason why she had been convinced that he was hiding something. She had always thought that Dumbledore was not as saintly as he came off and this was just another stepping stone to prove her right.

She knew that there was more to this Dumbledore saga and she was sure she would find it in his past. She just had to keep looking.

For now, though, she had a very juicy article to write.

~…~

Everyone in the Hall was staring at the Gryffindor table where Harry was sitting with his group, Hedwig still on his shoulder.

The whispers had been running rampant ever since they had gotten back from Hogsmeade and they hadn't stopped.

Some students had even had the courage to come up to Harry, asking questions and wanting to pet the phoenix.

Not even the professors had been exempt from throwing their own whispers and looks.

Up at the Head table, McGonagall stared at her House with disbelief.

"Did you have any idea, Minerva?" Filius asked.

"None," McGonagall shook her head. "I simply can't believe it." She paused. "And yet, on the other hand, in a way I can. Mr Potter has changed and has proven to be an exemplary student and person. His personality and his actions prove to be those of a leader; of something his peers can look up to and are willing to follow."

"That is certainly correct," Severus said, "Who else would be the one to be chosen to be bonded to one of the rarest and most powerful creatures but Mr Potter?"

"High praise Severus," Pomona teased.

Albus stood up, drawing everyone's attention and silencing the students.

"Congratulations to Harry Potter for his extraordinary bond to a white phoenix," he said, "Phoenixes are known to not only as paragons of good, but extremely cautious about who they choose to bond with. It takes an extraordinary person to bond with a phoenix and I could think of none better to be chosen by a white phoenix than our very own Mr Potter. Congratulations Harry."

Cheers of applause echoed throughout the Hall from almost every single one of the students.

Albus sat back down, his blue eyes focused on where Harry and his friends are sitting. While he was curious and intrigued by the fact that Harry had a white phoenix, he was also deeply satisfied.

'I already have Fawkes, but with the boy, I now have access to one of the most powerful creatures. Of course, I am a bit insulted that I was not the one chosen. However, I cannot be too upset as Harry does what I want.'

Albus smiled, but in reality, he was smirking. 'Choosing that boy was the best thing I ever did. With him comes the power and connections of the Malfoy family, along with the friendships he has made with the rest of the Slytherins; something I have now come to see as being beneficial to myself and my cause. And now, the power of a white phoenix. Neither Tom, nor the ministry, will stand a chance against me.'

~…~

Later that night, the next part of Harry's plan went into motion.

It was well after curfew and as such, no student was in the common room, or Halls when Harry and Cory quickly made their way from Gryffindor Tower down to the dungeons to Snape's office.

Most of the portraits were either asleep or elsewhere and the few that were still there and awake, would later attest to the dishevelled, urgent and slightly frightened look about the two boys.

~…~

Pius Thicknesse was a very practical man who, despite what others may think, actually did love his job. Sure there were times when he cursed Merlin and all his ancestors, but other times more than made up for it.

As it was, when he arrived at work, he was surprised, curious and a bit flabbergasted to learn that not only Harry Potter, but Severus Snape and the former Neville Longbottom (and wasn't that just a kick when it came out? Neville Longbottom was actually the son of one of their most infamous Death Eaters: Bellatrix LeStrange. Come to think of it, the true story behind all of that had yet to be revealed) wanted to see him.

After settling into his office, he gave permission for the three men to enter.

"Mr Potter, Mr Snape and Mr LeStrange," Pius started, after they had taken a seat, "I was told that you three needed to speak with me immediately. First off Mr Potter, let me say congratulations. Phoenixes are rare and treasured creatures and I honestly have to say I'm not surprised that one chose you to be bonded to."

"Yes," Harry nodded, "And thank you. That's pretty much the same thing everyone said and I'm humbled and amazed." He smiled, "Of course I wish everyone would stop, but I get that this is me and people won't stop talking for a while. But that's not why we're here."

Pius nodded. "And why is it exactly that you're here?"

The three men exchanged looks.

"What we're about to tell you might think is completely unbelievable and made up," Cory started, "but it's the truth."

Pius' curiosity increased.

"As you know," Harry started, "I was bonded to a phoenix yesterday. Well that wasn't the only strange thing to happen. Apparently last night when we fell asleep, she sensed something was off with Cory; she thought he was having a nightmare, so she used her magic to try and calm him down."

"Instead though," Cory picked up, "it didn't just calm me down. It turns out, the nightmare was a memory that I'd forgotten and when Harry's phoenix used her magic, it unblocked whatever was keeping the memory locked up and fully returned it to my conscious state."

Cory paused and looked down, seemingly unsure. "When I woke, I remembered it exactly, but I-I couldn't believe what it was. It freaked me out, so I woke Harry and told him and then we both went to Professor Snape."

"Why Snape?" Pius asked. "Why not your own Head of House?"

"Well to be honest," Harry said, "We really weren't sure about the memory, and we figured that since Professor Snape is the Potions Master, and probably the best at Veritaserum, he'd be able to tell if the memory was real or just something made up."

"And what exactly is this memory of yours that you needed not only confirmation from a Potions Master," Pius asked, "but also needed to see me?"

"Honestly?" Cory said, "I think it would be better if you see the memory for yourself."

At that point, Severus stepped forward and held out his hand; in it, was a vial that held a mercury-like substance.

Pius' eyes locked on to the vial. He got up from his desk and went over to his bookshelf. He tapped his one in a short pattern and the shelf shifted away revealing a space, where a pensieve was resting.

He grabbed and walked back to his desk and set it down.

Severus stepped forward and handed over the vial and Pius poured it in. within minutes, he was emerged into the memory.

Knowing that it wouldn't take long for Pius to view the memory, the three stayed quiet.

About ten minutes later, Pius exited the memory, and when he did, he dropped into his chair in complete shock. He could not believe what he had seen, and he was also wishing for a strong drink.

"Merciful Merlin," Pius breathed out. "What in all of magic did I just witness?"

He shifted to look at the two boys. "You're sure this memory is real? This is not just some fantasy?"

"I checked the memory myself for any inconsistencies and found none," Severus answered for the boys.

"And why come to me with this?" Pius asked, "why not go to Dumbledore and question him?"

At that, Cory fidgeted, bit his lip and looked away briefly. "I thought about it. I really did because honestly, I was just as confused and shocked and horrified by the memory. And I was going to, but then I remembered all the weird stuff that happened to Harry and how it seemed as if the Headmaster had a hand in it and suddenly it was like I wasn't too sure that if I had gone to him, he wouldn't have lied or done something to me."

"So we went to Professor Snape," Harry picked up with the explanation. "We figured, if there was anyone who would know what to do, it would be him. Professor Malfoy was there and he told us that we had to take it to the Aurors. When we couldn't decide which Auror to contact, Professor Malfoy suggested you; he said that as the Head of the DMLE, you would be not only the most logical choice, but an impartial one as well."

"And why isn't Lord Malfoy here as well?" Pius wanted to know.

"He said something about not being overwhelming or having accusations come out of manipulation," Cory explained, "As everyone knew how he felt about the Headmaster."

Pius sat back in his seat and took in the three men.

A part of him wanted to dismiss these claims, memory included, after all, it was Bellatrix LeStrange and her husband and brother-in-law and they were wanted by his department. However, he was a man of the law and no matter who it was, if a crime was committed, they had to be dealt with.

"I will look into this," Pius told the trio in front of him.

"I," Cory started and then stopped. "Thank you."

He then stood up, as did Harry and the two moved to join Severus at the door.

The older man opened it, but Harry stopped before he could go through.

"Mr Potter?" Pius asked.

"What's going to happen to Dumbledore?" Harry asked. "And please don't take offense to this, but, are you really going to look into this?"

Pius raised an eyebrow. "Do you believe that because of who he is and who the victims were that this will be swept under the rug?"

"Yes?" Harry's answer came out more like a question. He sighed then continued, "I don't want to cast doubt on anyone here and accuse anyone of not doing anything because of who it is, but the truth is, I grew up a lot over the summer and it made me start to rethink a lot of things. And I know you know about the articles, pretty much everyone does, and giving those interviews just made me really start to question everything, especially where Dumbledore was concerned."

He paused. "So yes, I do think that because it's Albus Dumbledore, that it'll be swept under the rug. No matter who they are, no parent deserves to have their child taken from them, and especially in such a way. I know what it's like to not have your parents and I wouldn't ever wish that on anyone."

He paused again. "And the fact of the matter is, if Dumbledore really did do all those things deliberately, and he attacked the LeStrange family, it makes me wonder just what else is he capable of. And if he did something to the LeStrange family before."

The statement raised Pius' curiosity even higher than it was. "What do you mean by that?"

It was Cory who answered. "My real parents are known as some of the most dangerous, powerful Death Eaters. So how exactly was I stolen from them in the first place? Neither Frank nor Alice Longbottom struck me as the type to overpower the LeStranges, especially Bellatrix. So that only left one conclusion, and that conclusion also makes you wonder; Bellatrix wasn't always maniacally insane, so how did she get to that point?"

With that haunting question, the three left the office.

After they did, Pius sat back in his chair, his eyes focused on the pensieve in front of him, though not really seeing it.

In all honesty, he never really liked Albus Dumbledore. Yes, the man had made strides for their world, but there was always something off about him.

But this still shocked him.

When those articles had started coming out with Mr Potter's account of his time at Hogwarts and before, it had shed a light on Dumbledore and had made him start to question the old man but he had never expected something like this; to think, the idea of one of the most influential man in their world could and would be responsible for something so heinous.

What those articles had implicated, what this memory added on, it painted a story of a man who was far more manipulative and darker than anyone realized.

Standing up, he left his office and made his way to the Minister's office. Something like this, nothing could be done without Scrimgeour being aware of it.

~…~

The next morning, the entire Hall went dead silent when the Minister, Pius Thicknesse, Head Auror Kingsley Shacklebolt and five Aurors appeared.

Albus stood up and stared at the entourage. "Minister Scrimgeour, is there a specific reason for your visit? And may I ask as to why the Head of the DMLE and six Aurors are in attendance?"

"Albus Dumbledore," Pius spoke, his voice loud in the silent Hall. "You need to come with us. You are to be detained and held for questioning."

"May I ask in regards to what?" Albus asked, the familiar twinkle slowly leaving his eyes.

"Kidnapping of a minor, use of an Unforgiveable on said minor," Pius explained, his gaze hard. "Use of an Unforgiveable on others, circumventing an ironclad will, stealing of funds from a minor, illegal placement of a minor, child endangerment."

As the list of charges were read, students and professors alike stared at the Headmaster in growing disbelief and horror. The man they had trusted, someone they placed so much faith in, turned out to be as bad-or even worse-than the Dark Side.

This was Albus Dumbledore, leader of the light. How could he be accused of kidnapping someone, or even willingly and intentionally putting a child in danger?

But then, their eyes shifted to Harry, and some of them couldn't help but to remember the interviews he had given, with details of his life before Hogwarts and during.

Albus took a step back, away from the Head table, his blue eyes sweeping over the room. The gaze came to a stop where Harry was sitting at the Slytherin table along with Cory and Luna. He saw the mocking light in the green eyes and it was then he experienced a startling clarity, one that made him lose his composure to glare outright at the teen.

Of course, with everyone's attention on Albus, they all saw the glare and to whom it was directed at.

With effort, Albus tore his eyes from the Slytherin table and looked back towards the Minister.

"Everything I did was for the greater good," Albus said, "I must continue my work and as such, I'm afraid I cannot comply."

At that moment, Fawkes flashed into the Great Hall.

Albus raised a hand for the phoenix to land on and within seconds was covered in a flash of phoenix fire.

"Damnit!" Scrimgeour shouted, incensed that Albus had gotten away. "We need to find him—

He stopped speaking abruptly when he realized that Albus had not flashed out with the phoenix as he had thought.

He wasn't the only one surprised.

Albus was as well when he realized that he was still in the Great Hall.

Fawkes let out a trill and flew to land on the table in front of Harry.

"Fawkes, what is the meaning of this?" Albus glared down at the phoenix.

Fawkes let out another trill.

"Holy Merlin," Harry breathed out, his eyes on the phoenix.

Immediately, all eyes turned to him.

"Harry," Draco touched the dark haired teen's arm. "What is it? What did Fawkes say?"

"Are you saying he can understand the phoenix?" Scrimgeour asked, staring at Harry in disbelief.

"Yes," Cory nodded, without taking his eyes off of his best friend.

"Well of course he can understand the phoenix," Seamus rolled his eyes and replied in a 'duh' tone of voice, "if you haven't noticed, he has one."

"What did he say, Harry?" Pansy asked. It was taking all of her Slytherin prowess not to lose control and start smiling like a fool. It was immensely satisfying to see Dumbledore be thrown off of his pedestal and by no other than the one he had kept as his pet project.

"Fawkes said that he's not taking Dumbledore anywhere," Harry answered, his gaze still locked on to the bird. "What you just saw was him dissolving the fake bond that was between him and the headmaster."

"Fake bond?" Minerva whispered, though again, it was heard by everyone due to how quiet the Hall was.

Fawkes trilled again, this one longer than before.

"He said that Dumbledore isn't his true master," Harry translated, drawing confused and disbelief from the crowd. "He said that during one of his burning days, when he was weak, Dumbledore forcibly bonded the two of them together," this drew horrified gasps, "thus preventing him from being with the one he had already chosen to be bonded to."

All eyes shifted to look at the Headmaster.

Albus felt rage fill him, unable to believe what was happening, or even how it was happening; somehow, all his plans seemed to be falling apart. And he knew, somehow, it was all because of Harry.

Pius was disgusted. Phoenixes were revered creatures, and they were also somewhat rare. To see a phoenix was an amazing sight, but to be bonded to one was even more amazing.

Dumbledore had been held in such high regards, not only due to his actions during the first war with Voldemort and the war with Grindelwald, but mainly due to his bonding to a phoenix. And now to learn that it wasn't a true bond, but rather one that was due through sneaky manipulations; that the old man had waited until the Phoenix had had its burning day and to then capitalize on its weakened state to bond it to him…

This was just adding on the list of crimes Dumbledore had committed and gotten away with.

Rufus Scrimgeour glared at the Head table, directly at Dumbledore. When Pius had arrived at his office yesterday with his accusations, he had considered them ludicrous. He may not have really liked Dumbledore (and honestly that had more to do with the man's garnering respect and popularity and refusal to see things his way) but he did acknowledge that the man had made more strides for their world than anyone, and that included the former Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge.

So while he may not have personally liked him, he did respect him. And so, hearing the information that Pius had brought forth had pulled immediate dismissal from him, until his DMLE Head had forced him to listen and to think.

Pius was right. Those articles filled with all those interviews that gave an insight into the last five years, plus Mr Potter's life; painted a man that stayed in the background pulling strings and manipulating people to where he wanted, no matter the cost.

Unbidden, Scrimgeour gaze drifted over to Corvus LeStrange. The latest point to add to Dumbledore's machinations.

"This is nothing more than a simple misunderstanding," Albus cajoled, though he was furious. "Everything can be explained."

"There's no way out Albus," Rufus spoke up, taking a step forward, his wand at the ready. "It would do you good to simply come with us to sort all this out. If it all is, as you say, simple misunderstandings, then that shouldn't be a problem."

"I cannot do that," Albus replied. He took a step back and smirked at the room. Using his connection to the wards as Headmaster, he poured his magic into it, and opened up enough space that would allow him to Disapparate…and he did.

Everyone was too stunned to react immediately.

"Bloody hell!"

The outburst ended the stunned silence and soon, the Hall was filled noise as everyone tried to process what exactly had just happened.

At the Head table, although Minerva wanted to simply collapse from the overload of what she had just witnessed, she knew she couldn't. With Albus' departure, she was now the acting Headmistress and her duty was to her students.

Knowing she wouldn't be heard over the cacophony of noise, she pointed her wanted at herself, casting a quick Sonorous.

"Quiet!"

The effect was instantaneous. Everyone, including the Ministry group, went silent.

"Minister," Minerva started, "I assume that with Albus' abrupt departure that your business here is now concluded?"

Scrimgeour threw a look around the Hall and took in the faces of the frightened, yet horrified, students.

These students had just been dealt a devastating realization and they needed to deal with it, without the ministry breathing down their necks.

A quick glance at the Head of the DMLE showed that Pius agreed.

"It has," Pius nodded.

"What's going to happen now?" Pomona asked.

"Now," Pius replied, "We send out posters announcing that Albus Dumbledore is wanted for questioning and that he's considered dangerous."

"We're sorry that the students had to bear witness to this spectacle," Scrimgeour apologized. "We will take our leave now and allow you to continue with your day."

With one final nod, the Minister and his group left the Hall.

"You know," Lucius spoke up when the men were gone, "there is one intriguing question I would like to know the answer to."

"And what would that be?" Minerva asked.

"If Dumbledore is not the true bond mate of that phoenix," Lucius spoke up, his grey eyes locked on to Fawkes, "then who is?"

At that, Fawkes let out a trill and Harry gasped.

"No freaking way!"

"What is it?" Cory asked, looking at his friend.

"Who is it?" Gabriella asked at almost the exact same time.

Luna started giggling and that triggered Harry as well, whose mind was boggling at who Fawkes' bond mate was; the image alone was enough to keep him going.

Fawkes answered the question when he flew up towards the Head table to land on the shoulder of none other than Potions Master Severus Snape.

"Bloody hell!" Ron exclaimed, staring in disbelief and for once, the entire student body, and professors, were in agreement.

~…~

Later that afternoon, owls arrived at the school; to no one's surprise, they were all carrying the Prophet and the main article was about what had happened in the morning.

SCANDAL AT HOGWARTS!

If you thought that there could not be any more scandal, then you were wrong. Earlier today, the Minister for Magic, along with the Head of the DMLE Pius Thicknesse and a few Aurors made their way to the Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft. Their intention? To arrest Albus Dumbledore.

Shocked? So were we here at the Prophet. So why was Albus Dumbledore arrested?

As you are all aware, for the last few weeks, our very own Harry Potter gave some interviews to our counterparts at The Quibbler and within those interviews, Mr Potter revealed a story of a horrific childhood where he was basically made to live as a slave to his relatives.

And the stories hadn't stopped at his childhood. They had continued on through all his years at Hogwarts where they brought forth the allusion that someone had orchestrated everything horrible that had ever happened in Mr Potter's life, including the initial placement with the abusive relatives and every "adventure" that has happened during his stay at the school. And just who was that someone? None other than Albus Dumbledore.

It seems now as if our esteemed Minister has finally brought formal charges against Dumbledore, and the charges are as follows: kidnapping, use of an unforgiveable on others, circumventing an ironclad will, stealing of funds from a minor, illegal placement of a minor, child endangerment.

So what prompted the Minister, and DMLE, to finally make a move against the favoured Albus Dumbledore? The story of another student, Corvus LeStrange.

But it's the next bit of news, ladies and gentlemen, that will leave you truly horrified. When confronted at the school with the charges, Mr Dumbledore dismissed them before attempting to flee via his phoenix Fawkes; a mode of transportation that he has employed in the past, most recently being last year when he left the school, forcing the then Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge to place the late Dolores Umbridge as Headmistress.

However, to the shock of not only Dumbledore himself, but to everyone watching (students, professors and Ministry workers alike), while the phoenix did "flash" out, it returned mere seconds later and it was then, a horrifying truth was revealed.

The Phoenix, the symbol of purity and Light and change and the beacon that stood at Dumbledore's side for over two decades, did not belong to him. How? As you all know, phoenixes have burning days; a period when they die and are reborn from the ashes. And apparently, during one of Fawkes' burning days, Albus Dumbledore came across the newly reborn phoenix and during its vulnerable and weakened state, Dumbledore forcibly bonded himself to the bird.

You read right, readers. Albus Dumbledore forcibly bonded himself to a phoenix. This writer can only gather that such an act was done to establish a façade towards the people; to fool everyone into believing that he was a man of virtue, a paragon of good. It was done to hide his true nature, to hide who he really was.

It makes you wonder, doesn't it? If Albus Dumbledore, the man who we placed as the leader of the Light, the one to stand between us and the Dark side, is capable of such a horrific act, then what else is he capable of?

The British Wizarding World was in an uproar.

And they weren't the only ones.

Over in France, Marcellin Delacour was in his home office when Louvel Beauchene came through his Floo.

"Louvel!" Marcellin looked up in surprise. He was not expecting the other man. "Comment vas-tu? Assieds-toi s'il vous plait." (Louvel! How are you? Please…sit.)

"Je vais bien, merci," Louvel replied as he took the offered seat. (I'm well, thank you.)

"Alors, pourquoi êtes-vous venu ?" Marcellin asked. "Tout va-t-il bien ?" (So why did you come by? Is everything well?)

"As-tu vu la Gazette d'aujourd'hui ?" Louvel asked as a reply. (Have you seen today's Prophet?)

"Non," Marcellin shook his head. "Qu'est-ce vers cette époque ?" (No. What is it about this time?)

Without saying anything, Louvel placed the paper down in front of Marcellin.

The man picked it up, and as he read, his eyes went wide.

"Mon dieu !" Marcellin exclaimed. "A quel point est-ce exact ?" (My God. To which point is this exact?)

"Je conjecturerais que c'est très exact," Louvel said, "Souvenez-vous que nous nous sommes rencontrés avec Monsieur Potter, seigneur Voldemort et le Malfoys il y a quel quelques semaines ? À l'époque, ils avaient fait des allusions à ce qui est mentionné ici." (I would surmise that it is very accurate. Remember we met with Mr Potter, Lord Voldemort and the Malfoys a few weeks ago? At the time, they had made allusions to what is mentioned here.)

"Devrions-nous communiquer seigneur Voldemort pour savoir ce qu'il a à dire à ce sujet ?" Louvel asked. "Ou bien nous attendons ?" (Should we contact Lord Voldemort to know what he has to say about this? Or do we wait?)

"Nous allons attendre," Marcellin replied. "Je vais parler avec Fleur et Bill d'abord. Ils seront peut-être de jeter un peu lumière sur ceci." ("We'll wait.) (I will speak to Fleur and Bill first. Maybe they will be able to shed some light on this.)

Louvel nodded in agreement as his gaze returned to the paper.

~…~

Harry knew that he would have to speak to Voldemort about everything, so while the rest of the school was still discussing the events of the day, he quickly made his way to Snape's private rooms, using the Floo to go Voldemort's rooms at Malfoy Manor.

When he got there, he saw that the man was reading the paper, so he sat in the chair in front of the desk and said nothing, allowing him to finish his reading.

His presence drew the attention of Nagini and her snakelets, and immediately the little ones quickly made their way from their mother's side to him.

{They're gorgeousss Nagini} Harry told the proud mother who was curled up in front of the fireplace. {And getting ssso big}

{They are bratsss} Nagini replied, {All of them}

Her voice sounded like she was laughing though, which became more evident when the little snakes around Harry started hissing in response, voicing their displeasure at their mother's words.

Harry laughed even as he ran a finger down the top of the head of the snake around his shoulder.

Voldemort placed the paper flat on his desk and raised his gaze to the young man in front of him.

"So?" Harry asked when he realized he had the elder's attention.

"This is beyond perfection," Voldemort said.

"I know," Harry nodded. "It played out exactly how we planned; perhaps even better."

"And the next phase?" Voldemort asked.

"Ready to go," Harry told him. "Cory's going to "receive" an invitation for an interview and he's going to tell his side of the story; about what really happened the night that Bellatrix and the others attacked the Longbottoms."

"Excellent," Voldemort grinned.

"And there's more," Harry could barely hold back his glee. "Fawkes revealed who his bond mate really is."

"And who is it?" Voldemort raised an eyebrow. He had to admit that he was very curious about that bit of information; ever since the young man opposite him had revealed the truth about Dumbledore and his precious phoenix, it was a question that had always been at the back of his mind.

"Professor Snape," Harry chuckled.

Voldemort was not someone who was stunned quite easily but he was this time. "Severus is the true bond mate for that phoenix?"

"Yep," Harry nodded. "You should've seen the look on his face, and everybody else's come to think of it, when Fawkes made that revelation. It was priceless."

Voldemort needed to see it. "When you return, send a message to Severus for me."

Harry nodded, knowing exactly what and why the elder man wanted to say. "I will."

After saying goodbye to Nagini and her young ones, Harry went back to Hogwarts, reappearing in Snape's private office.

Catching sight of his professor, and Fawkes, he grinned. "He wants to see you when you have free time."

Severus scowled. "Why do I have distinct feeling that he now knows of my new addition?"

Harry laughed. "I don't know; maybe because you're kind of suspicious and paranoid? And because I told him."

Severus let out a deep sigh, as if irritated though feeling affection for the teen in front of him. "Very well. Message received."

Giving a nod at the dismissal, Harry waved to Fawkes and left the room.

After Harry left, Severus made sure that everything was in order, and that his room locked and warded. Satisfied that everything was in order, he headed to the fireplace and prepared to Floo to Voldemort's private quarters.

Before he could even grab the Floo powder, Fawkes flashed onto his shoulder.

Severus sneered at the bird. He was still surprised that the animal had chosen him as its bond mate.

|Come now Severus| Fawkes spoke, a grin very clear in his voice. |Exactly who else would I have chosen?|

|Anyone else but me| Severus replied, |Do I look like the type of person that would require a phoenix, of all magical animals, as my bond mate?|

|Technically| Fawkes rubbed his head against the man's cheek. |I'm more your familiar than your bond mate|

"I hate you," Severus snapped, "I hope you know that."

Fawkes let out a trill, one which Severus knew meant the bird was laughing at him.

Severus ignored the bird and reached for the powder.

|You do know that I can just flash you over to your mate, do you not?|

To be honest, and though he would never admit out loud, he hadn't really thought about that. Having a phoenix, one that could provide instant transportation, was still something new and he honestly wasn't sure when he would get used to it.

"Very well," Severus replied.

Letting out another trill, the two flashed out.

~…~

Voldemort was going through some papers when a flash of fire drew his attention and he looked up to see Severus standing there with Fawkes on his shoulder.

He was on his feet immediately and moving towards his lover.

"So it is true," Voldemort mused as he came to a stop in front of the other man. "Fawkes really chose you as his bond mate."

"I am still questioning why," Severus replied dryly, but beneath that, Voldemort could hear the surprise and awe in the younger man's voice.

Severus may project indifference but deep down, Voldemort knew his lover was awed. And judging by the way the phoenix was completely relaxed and looking at his lover, he knew that the bird knew that as well.

"May I?" Voldemort directed his question to the bird, his hand raised in the air.

Fawkes shuffled and let out a trill and then a nod.

Smiling slightly, Voldemort gently patted the bird on its head. "Interesting turn of events this is."

"I'll say," Severus agreed. "I assure you, no one was more shocked than I was."

"From what Harry told me," Voldemort chuckled, dropping his hand back to his side, "The students perhaps have surpassed you in that regard."

Severus paused as he thought on the reactions of the students, and conceded with a nod, "Perhaps."

Voldemort turned to go back to his desk, with Severus following. "Things are advancing splendidly. It won't be long now."

"Agreed," Severus nodded, "With Dumbledore now considered a fugitive and majority of his crimes out for the world to know, I'd dare say this "war" is now yours."

Voldemort chuckled as he leaned back in his chair. "Come now, is it really fair to call it a war when we have been manipulating everything from the start? Dumbledore played his part perfectly, as did we, and we are simply reaping the rewards."

"The war is over before it began," Severus murmured.

At his words, Fawkes let out a trill. |Exactly.| the phoenix murmured mentally. |Albus Dumbledore played with one too many lives. It was time that he be removed from the power of pedestal that he placed himself on.|

"What did he say?" Voldemort asked, his expression of intrigue.

Severus repeated the phoenix's words.

"And to think," Voldemort added on with a grin, "It was at the hands of the pawn he himself created."

Severus let out a low chuckle, one which prompted Voldemort to join in as well. The two men spent a short while talking before Severus took his leave.

After Severus left, Voldemort sat his desk, a small smile playing on his face. Things were progressing smoothly. The end was near; he could feel it. Dumbledore will meet his end, and the Wizarding World would be theirs.

Miles away: The Burrow

While Voldemort was contemplating, and enjoying, his imminent victory, Molly Weasley was angry. Possibly the angriest she's ever been. She was staring at the paper that lay on the table in front of her, but she wasn't really reading the words. She'd read it already and what she had read enraged her.

She could not believe how they were ruining Albus' name the way the way they were. Albus Dumbledore was a great man and he had done great things for their world. Without him, they wouldn't be where they were today; without him, Grindelwald would've won and they wouldn't know how to defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

She could still remember when Dumbledore had told her about the plan to make sure the Saviour was inducted to the Light. How he had wanted her to be at the Platform to meet him and get him close to her family. She had been more than happy to do it as she had seen nothing wrong; after all, there was no way their Chosen one would be in Slytherin and surrounded by those awful people.

So she had taken him in, made him a part of their family. Of course they got paid for it; looking after seven kids and then the Chosen one was no easy nor cheap feat. It was a lot of effort to remain looking like they were poor so that the boy would still be enamoured with their family, that he would be willing to do anything for them.

After everything that had been done for Harry Potter, this was how he had repaid them? Telling all these lies and trying to turn the public against Dumbledore?

Well, not on her watch!

~…~

The red howler entering the Great Hall was not a surprise. Nor was it a surprise when it headed directly to where Harry was sitting. In all honesty, with all the revelations Harry had done, most were surprised that he hadn't received one before now.

Instead, those in the Hall were filled with curiosity as to who would be the one sending the howler, and what it would contain.

"Are you going to destroy it?" Blaise asked, looking from the howler to Harry.

"I should," Harry told him with a sigh, "but I honestly have this morbid curiosity to hear what it says."

"No choice now mate," Seamus grinned as the howler finally exploded and Molly Weasley's voice echoed throughout the Hall.

"HARRY POTTER! HOW DARE YOU SPREAD THOSE FILTHY LIES ABOUT ALBUS DUMBLEDORE?! THAT MAN HAS DONE NOTHING BUT GOOD THINGS FOR OUR WORLD AND SHAME ON YOU FOR LYING! HOW COULD YOU TURN YOUR BACK ON HIM? WHAT WOULD YOUR PARENTS THINK ABOUT YOUR ACTIONS? YOU UNGRATEFUL CHILD! AFTER EVERYTHING WE HAVE DONE FOR YOU!

That was as far as the howler got as Sesshoumaru appeared and grabbed at it with his teeth, using his acid to dissolve it.

"Good boy," Harry praised as he lifted the pup into his arms, gently rubbing his head.

"That was one angry woman," Blaise shook his head.

"That was Molly Weasley in all her glory," Harry retorted

"You don't seem to be angry over it," Gabriella commented, looking at him with a slight frown. It wasn't even her and she was upset over it.

"It's nothing new," Harry dismissed with a shrug, "It's how she's always been, only her target is now me. To be honest, I was kind of expecting it. The only thing I'm surprised about is that she took so long."

"I don't understand how she can still support him when all of his actions have been revealed," Gabriella shook her head.

"The Weasleys are basically in Dumbledore's pocket," Draco sneered, "the rest of the family, especially the mother, would do anything that man asked without question. She will remain loyal to him no matter what and will look a fool for doing so."

"What did you say about my mother?" Ron demanded as he stood behind the group.

The redhead held back a flinch and stood his ground when all eyes turned to him.

"You heard me," Harry told him. "Dumbledore was as bad as Voldemort, and Mrs Weasley refuses to see that. She continues to defend him ever after all those truths came out and that makes her a fool."

"You've changed," Ron sneered, "And not for the better. I can't believe after everything—

"Stop right there," Harry cut him off. "Do not even dare to finish that sentence. Our entire friendship was a lie from the start; you were paid to be my friend; the entire meeting between me and your family at Kings Cross was staged so that you could find me later on the train and that I'd be close to your family."

Ron ducked his head at the truth, not being able to refute the words.

Harry paused and looked at the teen in front of him before sighing and turning his attention back to Sesshoumaru. "The truth is Weasley, I'm done; done with you and the rest of your family. I honestly don't care what you think or what you do as long as it doesn't involve me or anyone I care about. Whatever friendship was there was all based on a lie and I've cut my ties. You should do the same and stop holding and harping on everything I do. That cannot be healthy. We're not friends to be honest. We're not even enemies. We're just…not anything to each other."

Ron stared at the dark haired teen for a few minutes before he turned and walked away without saying anything.

"Huh," Draco mused, "I'm a bit surprised that Weasley actually walked away without some type of remark."

"Do you think he'll listen?" Gabriella asked, "Do you think he'll let go and move on?"

"He better," Cory shook his head, "Harry's right. It's tiring having to fight against him constantly. He's no longer a friend and he's not an enemy either. He's…"

"Nothing," a voice answered and the group looked up to see Luna joining them with Kilala and Kirara in her hands.

The girl ignored their looks and reached out to scratch Sesshoumaru's head. "Hello lovely one."

She handed Cory's cat over to him and grabbed a few things to eat and took a seat next to her boyfriend.

The others exchanged amused looks.

"Well," Blaise grinned, but not saying anything else. Although to be honest, he wasn't sure there was anything else to say to that.

Gabriella shook her head with a grin, "You are one strange bird."

Pansy's lips curved into a smirk. "And that's the way we love her."

Luna smiled at both girls and started humming as she ate, absently petting her familiar.

~…~

THE TRUTH IS OUT!
THE REAL STORY ABOUT CORY LeSTRANGE/NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM
by Alexander Stockhausen

As you know, just a few days ago, our Minister for Magic, along with the Head of the DMLE and a few Aurors made their way to the Hogwarts School to arrest Albus Dumbledore. The man was wanted for questioning about the role he played in regards to Mr Harry Potter's life, the horrific home life as well as the dangerous situations Mr Potter had been plagued by since his entry to Hogwarts. And now, another child's horrific childhood can be laid at his feet. The child? Corvus LeStrange, formally known as Neville Longbottom.

In our previous article, we made mention of Dumbledore's connection to Corvus LeStrange and what really happened that night at the Longbottom home. So, you may be wondering just what the connection is, and here it is; according to sources, Albus Dumbledore was there that fateful night at the home of Alice and Frank Longbottom. Albus knew that little Corvus was indeed stolen from his true parents, Bellatrix LeStrange and Rodolphus LeStrange.

Readers, these past few months have brought forth some of the most shocking revelations, and they haven't stopped. Today, we add on one more to the list. The following reveals the true story about Corvus LeStrange/Neville Longbottom and the secrets surrounding how that came about, including the night the Longbottoms were attacked.

We received an exclusive interview with none other than Corvus himself and the details revealed will leave you breathless and in disbelief. So sit back readers and be prepared to be shocked, sympathetic and have your world turned.

Daily Prophet: Mr LeStrange, we are honoured that you chose us to give this exclusive interview to. To be honest, when we made contact initially, we had been prepared for you to tell us that you would prefer to use our counterpart The Quibbler.

Corvus LeStrange: Well, since you're being honest, I'll be as well. I was going to use The Quibbler, but I decided not to. I know that Harry prefers to use that paper, and a few students already think that I'm just some puppy following after him, so I figured I'd go different.

DP: Was Mr Potter in any way upset over your decision to use us, since it is no secret that we and Mr Potter have not had the best of relationships.

CL: Harry understood. He's actually a very understanding guy once you explain your reasons. He may not agree with them, but he will support you. He's my best friend and I'm beyond thankful for that. Without him, I'm not sure I would've made it through the last few months as I have.

That was as perfect an opening as possible into getting directly to the real reason behind this article.

DP: I'm glad that you brought that up Mr LeStrange. As you know, myself, as well as everyone else, is very curious about your story. What really happened that night? How exactly is Albus Dumbledore tied into this? How did you go from Neville Longbottom to Corvus LeStrange?

CL: Where to start with this story?

DP: as clichéd as it sounds, the beginning. What really triggered everything?

CL: Well then I suppose it all started this summer, when I woke up one morning and realized that I didn't look anything like I did the night before; my entire look had changed.

DP: How exactly did that happen? That's one point that many people, myself included, have speculated upon.

CL: That part is actually kind of funny. It turns out, it was all thanks to Harry's phoenix.

At this, I had to interrupt. I was eager to know just how exactly Mr Potter's phoenix tied into when Mr Potter did not gain his phoenix until recently.

DP: How exactly was that possible? Mr Potter gained his phoenix only days ago.

CL: Well, apparently from what we were told, Harry's phoenix is actually his owl Hedwig.

Shocked my readers? So was I when that little bit of information was revealed. He had to clarify.

DP: Explain that for me please Mr LeStrange.

CL: Don't worry. You weren't the only completely shocked by that. You should've seen Harry's face when she revealed it to him. The story goes that Harry's phoenix was very sought after due to her rarity and because of it, many people had tried to bond themselves to her. So to protect herself, she had a wizard cast a spell on her that would disguise her in an owl form until she found the person she knew was hers. And that person didn't come along until the end of summer 1991 when Hagrid bought an eleven-year-old boy a birthday present. Based on what she told us, or rather, told Harry and Luna, the moment she met Harry, she knew he was hers.

DP: How did Mr Potter not know that his owl was a phoenix?

CL: Because she never told him. Hedwig said she knew that Harry wasn't ready magically to bond with her, so she decided to keep her owl form until that day came. She said that that day wasn't going to come until probably next year, but then she saw how Harry was being railroaded and treated in the papers. After that, she knew she had to bond to him. Not only because he deserved it, but because she wanted people to see that he wasn't how he was being portrayed.

I have to admit Mr LeStrange had a point there. Over the years, Mr Potter has been subjected to the harsh quill of my colleague Ms Skeeter and it was not always in a positive light.

CL: So anyways, I wrote to Harry over the summer because I knew he had lost his godfather and I didn't want him to become too depressed or something. I wanted to let him know I was there to talk to, even if it was just to talk about stupid things like the weather or school or whatever. Just anything to make sure he didn't get too into his grief.

And there was one night that Hedwig had delivered a letter from Harry and I had told her to stay over and fly back in the morning. Apparently, when I was sleeping, I must've had a bad dream or something and she said that she sensed something off. She said she sensed that there was some kind of block on me and she used her powers to remove it.

The next morning, I woke up and I looked like this. I freaked completely out and immediately sent a letter to Harry. I was scared and terrified and horrified because I thought he'd reject me, but he didn't. He wrote back, invited me over and calmed me down. Then he told me that I was still his friend no matter what. I think I cried when he said that because I really wasn't expecting it.

If you could see the emotions playing across his face when he spoke those words. I was humbled to see just how much the friendship between these two boys were valued. We've read about and I am sure that it is seen often throughout the school grounds by the other students and so, I am a bit awed to see a glimpse of it.

DP: Tell me about the events a few days ago. What led to Albus Dumbledore's arrest?

CL: Ok, so it was after we came back from Hogsmeade. Everyone was in awe over Hedwig's form, and I suppose they are even more so now that I told everyone Harry's phoenix was actually his owl in disguise.

He laughs a bit at this, but the joy and pride for his friend is very obvious.

CL: So we go through the rest of the day and then we go to sleep. And that's when things changed. Again, I had a nightmare and Hedwig was in the room and sensed it so she tried to ease the nightmare. Only when she tried, she realized that it wasn't simply a nightmare but actually a memory. She used her magic to clear it up and that's when I woke up, once again freaking out. I immediately woke Harry, told him what happened, and then the two of us practically ran to the dungeons to Professor Snape's office.

DP: And what was the memory?

CL: It was of the night the LeStranges attacked the Longbottoms. In the memory, I'm being held by Alice Longbottom and Bellatrix LeStrange, along with her husband and another man are pointing their wands at us. Baby me is crying and Bellatrix is yelling at Alice to return her baby to her. Alice refused and replied that Bellatrix didn't deserve to have a child when she herself couldn't.

That started a fight and somehow, Bellatrix managed to get baby me from Alice. She then told her she would pay for taking her child and that's when she cast the Cruciatus Curse. While she did that, Rodolphus and his friend did the same to Frank. Before they could leave, Albus Dumbledore appeared and told them that he couldn't allow them to take me.

He threw a spell, one which Professor Snape identified as a Dark Cutting Spell, at Bellatrix, not seeming to care that she still held me in her arms. She managed to dodge it and she put me out of the way and turned to fight him alongside the other two.

Then Dumbledore overpowered them and cast a powerful memory charm. That's where the memory ends, but since Bellatrix and Rodolphus ended up in Azkaban, I assumed the Aurors showed up not long after.

I was stunned, unable to believe what I had just heard. And I am sure readers that you are as well. To think, respected members of society, the late Frank Longbottom and his wife Alice (currently a resident at St Mungo's spell damage ward) had kidnapped a child from Bellatrix LeStrange and her husband and that Albus Dumbledore was behind it all?

However, there is a question that is persistent. How exactly did Alice and Frank come to kidnap a child from the LeStrange family? Frank was an Auror, and a good one, but he was also no match for the neither Bellatrix LeStrange nor her husband, so it makes you wonder; was there someone else involved in it? And considering everything we have learned so far about the lengths Albus Dumbledore would go to, is it a far stretch to think that maybe, just maybe, he had a hand in that? To what end?

And what of Lady Augusta Longbottom? Is she as shocked by these revelations as we no doubt are, or did she know about it as well? It was very curious that not once did Mr LeStrange ever mention going to his grandmother with the changes he experienced. Why is that?

It makes you wonder folks, from everything that has been revealed, is Albus Dumbledore the good guy he has everyone believed he is, or he is in some way, worse than You-Know-Who?

The article went on a bit more to continue questioning Dumbledore's ethics, as well as who else could've possibly been involved.

Combined with all the previous articles, it was all very damaging to one Albus Dumbledore.

~…~

Albus Dumbledore was not having a good time. Ever since that blasted day when the Aurors had shown up at the school, things have been going downhill.

'No. things have been going downhill since that idiot Black got himself killed.'

For all the plans he had made, he had never counted on it being foiled by Sirius. The reading of his will had thrown everything off balance; the emancipation of Mr Potter, which led to his relationships with Mr Malfoy and the Slytherins and the dissolution between Mr Potter and his two friends, friends that had been carefully selected and turned.

He had thought that he had lost his greatest pawn, but had been thoroughly surprised and calmed to know that not only had he not lost his pawn, but that he had gained more as well.

But now, he knew; now he knew that it had all just been a ploy. The brat had played him. He had played them all.

When he looked back on every interaction he had had with Potter, he could now clearly see when he was being manipulated, and like a fool, he had allowed it to happen.

He hadn't seen what was going on. And it had cost him.

But how? How could he have missed it?

A thought came to him. The Malfoys. From the very beginning he had been sceptical of the association between the Malfoy brat and Potter, but he had been assured that what he had thought was not the case.

He had been so sure that instead of the Malfoys influencing Potter, it was the other way around. Now it turns out he was so very wrong.

And Fawkes! How dare that phoenix turn on him?! He needed the ruddy animal to convince people to trust him and more importantly, to get through pesky wards.

Everything, all his hard work, ruined!

A flash of fire interrupted his thoughts and he turned, not seeing anything immediately. One more glance around and he caught sight of a bit of white parchment laying on a table.

Albus walked over, a bit of hesitancy in his steps, and picked up the letter.

Dumbledore,

The time has come old man. We will meet on the eve of Samhain, where it all began and we will end this once and for all.

LV

Albus crushed the note in his hand, his blue eyes hard and his lips pressed into a flat line.

"So, he wants to end it all," he muttered, "what should I do? Should I follow this letter and meet him? Or should I arrange a little surprise instead? Perhaps go to the Ministry and inform them of Voldemort's whereabouts."

He paused. "No…I can't do that. After the events of the last few days, those fools at the Ministry will waste too much time trying to question me instead of doing what I asked. No…I can do this on my own. I will defeat Voldemort and then, I will show them why I am the best thing for this world and the greater good."

When he was done, the Wizarding World would once again stand behind him. And he would bring Harry Potter to heel and punish him, along with all those who had opposed him and had dared to besmirch his name and good standing.

Eve of Samhain: October 30th

Down in the Chamber of Secrets, in the private chambers of Salazar Slytherin, sat Harry and company.

Harry and Draco sat together in one of arm chairs near the fireplace a bit away from the others (which were the three Slytherins, Cory and Luna).

"Are you scared or worried about tonight?" Draco asked, looking to the fire and not to his boyfriend.

"A little," Harry admits, turning to look at the blond. "But more than that though, I'm just ready to be done with it all. I just want it to be over and to move on with my life."

"Agreed," Draco finally turned to look at the other teen. "Just promise me something?"

"What?" Harry asked.

"I know Dumbledore is a powerful and it won't be completely easy to take him down," Draco spoke, "So I know you can't promise not be injured or get killed. So promise me this; promise me you'll try to come back to me. I don't care if you're injured, I just want you to not end up dead."

Harry stared at the blond, green eyes boring into grey; he could see determination lurking in the depths, but beyond that, he saw the fear and that made him nod.

"I promise."

"Good," Draco replied.

He leaned up and pressed his lips to Harry's, shifting his body to be more comfortable as the kiss deepened.

Harry wrapped his arms around Draco, pulling the blond even more into him as the kiss continued.

The kiss didn't last long as Gabriella came over to the two of them, interrupting, with a grin on her face. "Stop making out and come join us. You'll have plenty of time for that later."

The two separated and while Draco glared at his fellow snake, Harry simply chuckled and stood up, pulling the blond with him.

The three joined the others and sat on the large couch, with Cory, Luna, Blaise and Pansy moving to take up spots on the floor and in the closest other arm chair.

"So how exactly is everything going to go down?" Cory asked, wrapping an arm around Luna's shoulders, "I mean, what's the plan? Or can't you tell us?"

Harry shook his head before explaining what the plan for the night was.

Gabriella interrupted, "Godric's Hollow. Isn't that where—

"Yeah it is," Harry nodded, knowing what she was going to ask. "A bit of irony and poetic justice mixed in together, I suppose."

"It's a bit perfect actually," Blaise said thoughtfully, "but then again, I think that's why that specific location was chosen."

"We should focus on other things," Luna said, "We do not want our entire focus to be what shall transpire tonight. Let's give Harry a relaxing evening."

The others agreed and they ended the talk of the upcoming meeting and shifted to more mundane things and a few games to help them pass the time.

Voldemort's Private Quarters: Malfoy Manor

"Do you believe he'll show up?" Bellatrix asked as she looked around at her Lord, husband and brother-in-law.

The four were having a meeting about what would happen later that night.

"He will," Voldemort said with confidence.

"But will he be alone?" Rabastan asked.

"Dumbledore's pride and ego to believe that he is all powerful and there is no one stronger," Voldemort explained, "No one that can best him, will be his downfall. To that end, he will show up alone tonight simply because he will believe that no one else will be needed. However, if he does show up with reinforcement, I am very sure that we can handle it."

The three nodded in agreement. They were three of his elite Death Eaters for a reason.

"It will not be easy to kill him," Rodolphus stated with a bit of reluctance.

"Agreed," Voldemort nodded, "If it was, he would have been dead already. No. it is going to take all of us to dispatch of him. However, we will have one advantage that he will not know about."

Godric's Hollow; just over two hours before midnight

Albus wasn't a fool. He suspected that Voldemort would have one or two followers with him, but he was confident that he would be able to defeat them without too much fuss.

So as he made his way through the grounds, barely sparing a glance at the preserved destroyed house that last housed the Potters, he had his wand at the ready.

When he got to the back, he saw Voldemort standing there along with Bellatrix, Rodolphus and Rabastan LeStrange.

"I will admit," Voldemort remarks with a smirk, "There was a tiny part—a very tiny part, mind you—of me that did not think you would show."

"And why would I do that Tom?" Albus asked. He used the other's birth name, knowing how much the man hated the reminder. To his surprise, the man didn't even flinch nor did he show any other reaction to the name.

"And may I ask, why they are here?" Albus gestured to the LeStrange family.

"It's very simple," Voldemort told him, "you see, they have a grievance with you for what you have done to their family and they would like payback for it."

"What I did was for the best," Albus said.

At his words, Bellatrix let out a snarl and sent a spell in Albus' direction, only for the man to block it.

"So be it," Albus nodded.

The battle started. Albus and the three LeStrange exchanged a volley of spells.

If Albus had thought that it would have been easy to dispatch of the LeStrange, he was sorely mistaken. Something he was coming to realize as the fight continued on; yes, he was holding his own against them, of course he was—he was Albus Dumbledore, defeater of Grindelwald, after all—and he knew they were powerful, but not compared to him.

This fight should've been over already.

Even through the volley of spells, Bellatrix was able to read the other man's face and saw that frustration and irritation that she wasn't even sure he was trying to hide and she couldn't help but to taunt him.

"What's the matter Old Man?" she sneered, "Thought we'd be dead now, didn't you? Thought you would've had easy to kill us?" she cackled as she sent a bone crushing spell his way.

Albus managed to block that spell but got hit by the cutting spell that Rabastan sent his way. Enraged, he whirled around and used a wandless, and nonverbal, blasting spell and sent the man flying off his feet to land on the ground a short distance away.

"One down," Albus mused with a chuckle.

Rodolphus' eyes darkened even more at the sight of his brother's body and he fired a quick succession of spells at Dumbledore.

He desperately wanted to check on his brother, but he knew that he couldn't. Dumbledore had to be taken care of.

The fight continued on and Albus, wanting to end it, shifted to dark spells.

Of course Bellatrix had to say something.

"Looks like you're not as Light as you make yourself to be," the woman sneered, "but we already knew that. Showing your true colours now, aren't you, Old Man?"

"It had to be done," Albus told her. "You were not fit to raise a child. It was all for the greater good, you understand that?"

Bellatrix let out a screech of rage and increased her attack on the other man.

With a shield in place, Albus was able to block her spells and while wordlessly sending a few of his own; one of them, a Bone remover, caught Bellatrix in her left arm and the woman collapsed from the pain.

Rodolphus made the mistake of taking his eyes off of his opponent to look at his wife, and it allowed Dumbledore to hit him with a spell, sending the man off his feet.

Bellatrix staggered to her feet and glared at Dumbledore with eyes full of hatred.

"Rodolphus, are you conscious?" Voldemort looked over at his loyal follower.

Letting out a groan, Rodolphus cradled his abdomen, he just knew that a rib or two was broken, and slowly sat up, "Yes My Lord."

"Take your brother and make sure you both receive medical attention," Voldemort told the other man, to the surprise of Dumbledore.

Albus never once thought that Voldemort genuinely cared for his followers and yet, based on what he was seeing, and hearing, it looks as if he was wrong.

Though he was a tiny bit reluctant to leave, he knew he had to. So, Rodolphus made his way to his brother's side and activated his hidden Portkey.

"I am tired Tom," Albus said, "of playing with your pets." Bellatrix bristled at the words, but said nothing.

"Very well," Voldemort nodded, "Far be it from me to deny you the chance to battle."

The fight that ensued was more intense that the ones previous. Unlike their previous encounters, more specifically, the one they had had at the Ministry, this one was a fight to the death.

The fight went on for a while, with neither man able to land a hit on the other.

Voldemort threw a quick look at Bellatrix, and in that look, invited her to join in on the fight.

"I thought it was just between me and you Tom," Albus said after blocking one of Bellatrix's spells.

"You are getting your battle with me Old Man," Voldemort explained, "but who am I to deny my follower her right to fight against you?"

And as the fight continued on, Voldemort couldn't help but to feel a small sense of relaxation. He was of course, fully concentrated on the battle, but for some reason, he wasn't really worried; he knew that it would end tonight and while it was a struggle, somehow he knew that the night wouldn't end with his death.

Feeling almost joyful, he decided to tease the Old Man.

"I'm bored," Voldemort declared as he stopped fighting and just shook his head with a sigh. "You're boring me."

He saw the rage in the blue eyes and on the old, wizened face and laughed.

Deciding it was fun, he continued with his plan. Turning his back to Dumbledore, he spoke as he took a step forwards. "Maybe I'll go and look at some of these graves."

Albus felt rage over the seemingly casual dismissal from his former student. This was a battle and he was Albus Dumbledore. How dare the man laugh and then turn his back on him?

Raising his wand, he fired off a spell.

~…~

Hidden from Dumbledore's sight, Harry watched the battle. As much as he wanted to fight the man for what he had done to him, he knew that Voldemort and the LeStranges deserved that honour more.

His turn would be to deliver the final blow; literally and figuratively. Dumbledore would learn without a doubt that Harry was never on his side and that he had been played so very well before Harry killed him.

He winced when he saw first Rabastan, and then Rodolphus get hit by the spells that put them out of the fight and couldn't help but once again admire Bellatrix when the woman didn't even make a move to leave.

However, when he saw Dumbledore about to fire at Voldemort's back, he decided it was time to step in.

"Protego. Expelliarmus," Harry said as he made himself visible. "Accio Dumbledore's wand."

The wand flew into his hand and Harry stared in bemusement watching as the shock in the blue eyes turned to disbelief, betrayal and then anger.

"Surprised?" Harry grinned as he took in the expression on the other man's face.

Bellatrix took advantage of Dumbledore's distraction of Harry's presence and sent a cutting charm, neatly severing the man's right leg from his body, followed closely by a Crucio.

Albus fell to the ground from the pain of the Crucio and his missing leg. But despite the absolute pain he was in, it wasn't the top priority on his mind. Instead he was completely focused on the teen's presence. He was completely shocked to see the teen standing there. It was one thing to have his suspicions that the brat wasn't on his side, but he quite honestly was not expecting to see him standing at the side of Voldemort.

"It's fitting, isn't it?" Harry remarked casually as he looked around the place. "How we're back here; back where it all started basically."

Albus glared at the teen. To think he had spent so much time cultivating the boy to be his weapon and the brat had dared to turn on him!

"Tomorrow," Harry continued, "Your death will be plastered all over the papers. Halloween has always been special and yes, technically, this is off by a day—or night—but I still think it fits."

"What would your parents say?" Albus cajoled, "Do you think they'd be happy knowing that this is where you end up? On the side of their murderer?"

Harry let out a dark chuckle, "But they aren't here, are they? So, it's kind of a moot point. And don't think you're going to try and play the loving grandfather and try to talk your way out of this. It won't work. Your death warrant was signed the night Sirius died; though neither of us knew it as of yet."

"Everything I did," Albus shook his head in supposed disappointment. "I did for the good of the Wizarding World."

"Spare me the bullshit," Harry rolled his eyes, "Everything you did, it was for the good of Albus Dumbledore. You didn't care about anything or anyone unless or until it could benefit you in some way."

Albus opened his mouth to refute the statement, but Harry cut him off.

"No. I honestly don't want to hear anything else you're going to say to try to convince me to not do this." He sneered at the man, "You're going to die tonight and nothing is going to change that."

"You won't do it," Albus tried once last time, "You won't."

Voldemort chuckled, while Bellatrix laughed outright.

Harry raised an eyebrow and raised his wand. Still staring the old man in the face, he used a cutting charm.

Before Dumbledore drew his next breath, the spell hit its mark and the man's body collapsed while his head rolled away, coming to a stop near Bellatrix's feet. The woman stared down at the head and resisted the urge to stomp on it.

"Why didn't you use the Avada Kedavra?" Bellatrix asked, looking over at the young man.

Harry shrugged, "Possibly because he expected it. I was actually going to use a sword, but well, I've only handled those once and that was without training. I thought this was much more fitting anyways."

"What will we do with him?" Bellatrix looked over at Voldemort.

"Leave him where he is," Voldemort commanded, "I want his body to be found just the way it is."

He then turned to Harry. "You may return to the school. Severus and the others may know what has transpired."

"Very well," Harry nodded. Using his bond, he summoned Hedwig.

|Already finished?| the phoenix asked as she settled on Harry's shoulder.

|Yes. I'm ready to go back|

Turning to look at Voldemort and Bellatrix, the phoenix let out a soft trill, sending feelings of calm and warmth through them before she flashed out.

With the teen gone, Voldemort turned back to his subordinate.

~…~

Harry and Hedwig reappeared in Snape's office where he saw that along with Draco and Severus, Lucius and Remus were there waiting as well.

"Well?" Remus demanded as he quickly moved from Lucius' side to his cub.

"It's over," Harry told him, but speaking to the room as well.

The relief in the room was very visible and Remus pulled Harry into a tight hug.

"And what of our Lord?" Lucius asked.

The two broke apart and Harry moved to sit next to Draco before he answered Lucius' question. "He sent me back, and he stayed behind with Bella."

"How are you feeling?" Draco asked, turning to look at his love.

"Free," Harry revealed with a smile, "the bastard paid for what he did and he's now no longer in a position to hurt anyone again. I think he was surprised to not only see me there but when I actually delivered the final blow. He was not expecting it at all."

"And there were no traces that you were ever there?" Severus asked.

"None," Harry shook his head, "At no point did I use my main wand." He then pulled out Dumbledore's. "I was going to snap this in half, but something stopped me." He stared at the wand. "I have no idea what I'm going to do with it though."

"That's Dumbledore's wand?" Remus asked.

"Yeah," Harry nodded, "I disarmed him when he was about to fire at Voldemort's turned back."

"So he's really and truly gone?" Draco repeated. Dumbledore was a powerful man and was very manipulative and always seemed to be able to get himself out of the trickiest of situations.

"Yes," Harry nodded, "he's gone."

"Now we can move forward," Remus said with a smile.

"Not just us," Lucius mused, "but rather the Wizarding World as a whole. Dumbledore's presence kept many actions from being taken and with him now completely out of the way, we can go forth in implementing the plans that will benefit our world and make it less of the laughingstock of the European Wizarding Worlds and to the glory I know it can be; to the glory it should and would have been."

Murmurs of agreement came from the others before Severus looked at his students.

"The both of you should return to your dormitories," he advised.

Nodding at their professors, and Remus, the teens said goodnight and left the room.

When Harry turned to make his way up to Gryffindor, Draco reached out and grabbed his hand, arching one blond brow.

"And just where do you think you're going Potter?" the blond teased.

"Well, I was going to the Tower," Harry replied with a smile, "but I guess that's not the case."

"You'd guess right," Draco said, "Come on."

Still holding hands, the two made their way down to Slytherin. When they entered the common room, it was to see a few students still awake and after bidding them a hello and goodbye, they made their way to the dorms.

Closing, and locking his door behind them, Draco directed Harry to the shower, while he changed out of his school robes and into a pair of pyjamas. He then laid out a set for Harry.

When Harry came out the bathroom twenty minutes later, it was to see the blond sitting on the bed, reading a Potions book.

Harry quickly got dressed and then joined the blond on the bed.

Draco put his book away and pulled his boyfriend into his arms, allowing Harry to rest his head on his chest as he pulled the covers up over them.

Normally, they'd be sleeping in the other position, with Draco the one in Harry's arms, but not tonight. Tonight Harry needed comfort, even if he hadn't outright said it, and they both knew it.

Things were silent between the two for a while before Harry started shaking and Draco felt wetness on his chest.

"It's ok," Draco whispered as he gently ran a hand over his boyfriend's back, soothing him. After some time, when Harry's shaking and tears had stopped, Draco spoke again.

"How are you doing?"

Needing to look into those grey eyes he loved so much, Harry sat up to face Draco. "I honestly am not sure why I even cried. I mean, I didn't even like him much and with everything he's done to me."

"Because it's over," Draco told him, "Harry, the man manipulated your life to suit his purposes without thought of what it would do to you. You've spent the last five years going against him, even if it was in secret and then you openly defied him once you lost your last connection, a connection that was lost because of him. You're crying not because you miss him, but because of relief. It's finally over. Dumbledore is dead. He paid for what he did and now, we can finally breathe and live our life without worrying about what that manipulative old coot would pull next."

Harry stared into the eyes, and face of the boy he loved. "I love you, you know that?"

Draco grinned, "Of course you do. And yes, I do know that."

The two shared a kiss.

"Now come on," Draco said as he pulled Harry to lay flat with him, foregoing the normal position and instead allowing Harry to curl into his chest. "It's been a long night and you need your rest. We both do."

Letting out a sigh, Harry wrapped his arm around the blond's waist and rested his head on his chest, allowing Draco's heartbeat to ease him into sleep.

Draco pressed a quick kiss to his boyfriend's forehead and fell asleep not long after.

~…~

Back at Godric's Hollow, Voldemort stood with Bellatrix, both of them standing near the body of Albus.

Voldemort had sent out a call to one of his followers and the two were simply waiting on him.

"After everything," Bellatrix spoke, "the old bastard is finally dead."

"Yes," Voldemort nodded, "And at the hands of the child he tried to mould into his weapon. The irony amuses me."

Before anything else could be said, a Death Eater Apparated into the area.

"My Lord," the man bowed and waited until Voldemort gave permission before he straightened out.

"I have a task for you," Voldemort told the man. He then proceeded to explain exactly what he wanted him to do and took an oath that he would not reveal anything else other than what he was told.

"It will be done My Lord," the man nodded and Disapparated.

When he was gone, Voldemort turned to look at Bellatrix. "You need to get checked over and heal those ribs before the damage goes any further."

"Yes my Lord," Bellatrix nodded.

Voldemort held on to her and activated his Portkey and the two disappeared.

Halloween Morning

Students and professors were in the Hall eating; maybe on some subconscious level, they all knew that something major was going to happen because the Hall was completely filled. As it was, every student was in the Hall when the owls arrived.

The moment the wings and calls were heard, all eyes shifted to where Harry was sitting at the end of the Slytherin table with his friends.

They all knew that whatever was in the paper would no doubt have something to do with him.

And perversely, they couldn't wait.

The morning started out regularly. The students got up and went to breakfast, conversations fluttering all around as they admired the Halloween decorations that were all over the school, especially the Great Hall.

Harry was sitting at the Slytherin table along with Cory and Luna, and their pets, when owls poured into the Hall, each of them carrying a newspaper.

As always, whispers started up as the students took in the sight of the owls.

The papers were dropped on the table and the owls flew away as the students, and professors, grabbed them.

The headline had everyone gasping and surprisingly, it was a Ravenclaw who voiced what everyone was thinking.

"Merlin's balls!"

ALBUS DUMBLEDORE FOUND DEAD!

Immediately the room was filled with whispers and not-whispers of "is it true?" and "who did it?"

Then, there was the sound of loud shuffling as everyone rushed to open the paper to read it for themselves.

"It says that they found Dumbledore's body in Godric's Hollow," Daphne started reading, and though everyone else was reading for themselves, it seems as if, almost as one, the students had allowed her to read for all of them. "And that it looked as if he had been in a battle before he died based on the remnants of dark magic, the ruined site of where his body was found, and the state of the body itself."

Murmurs started up, causing Daphne to look up at her fellow classmates with intrigued eyes.

"What else?" Lavender asked, completely captivated by the story. She wasn't the only one.

"They're wondering if he was possibly involved in a battle with You-Know-Who, but they won't be able to tell for sure as of yet," Daphne finished.

While whispers started at the other House tables, the Slytherin students exchanged looks; they would know the truth from their parents, at least, those who did follow the Dark Lord.

"What a way to start Halloween," Harry muttered as he shook his head.

"ATTENTION!" Minerva stood up, her wand falling from her neck where she had cast Sonorus to make herself be heard.

The students all went quiet and turned their attention to their acting Headmistress.

"Due to," Minerva threw a glance at the paper, "recent headlines, all classes will be cancelled for the day."

The students erupted, the headline momentarily forgotten as it hit them that they would now have a three-day weekend.

With her students distracted, Minerva, and the rest of the professors, left the Great Hall and headed to the Headmistress' office.

"Is this accurate Minerva?" Filius asked.

"That is what I am going to find out," Minerva replied as she quickly wrote a note and sent it off to Kingsley.

Almost thirty minutes later, the man was standing in the office in front of the all the professors, revealing that the article was in fact correct.

"But how?" Pomona asked.

"From what I understand," Kingsley said, "it started last night. Someone rushed into the Ministry claiming that there were spells and magic being used around Godric's Hollow. According to the witness, he went to check it out after everything was quiet and that's when he discovered Albus' body. He assumed that the sounds he heard and the magic he knew was being used was now probably a battle of some sort."

"Do we know who the former Headmaster was fighting and why?" Lucius asked, his grey eyes taking in the reactions of everyone present to report back to his Lord.

Kingsley shook his head, "Speculation has it that it could've been You-Know-Who." He paused, "Although, another name was thrown out as well."

"Who?" Minerva asked.

Kingsley appeared very hesitant to reveal the name, but it didn't matter as Severus figured it out.

"You cannot possibly be serious?" Severus hissed, "Are you telling me that those imbeciles that work at the Ministry actually believed that a teenager could have done this? That they actually suspect Mr Potter?"

At his words, immediate protests erupted from the rest of the professors.

Kingsley held up his hand in surrender. "It's not what I believe and of course neither the Minister nor my boss is giving any credence to that."

"Well I should hope so," Lucius drawled out.

"So what happens now?" Minerva asked.

"We will continue with an investigation to determine what really happened last night," Kingsley told them, "but at this point, it is looking as if Albus was in a fight with someone and unfortunately for him, he lost. And as powerful as he is-was, there's only one person who could've held his own against him and that is You-Know-Who."

"If it was You-Know-Who, and he won," a professor asked, "then what does that mean for the Wizarding World as a whole?"

Kingsley shook his head. "I don't know. I guess we'll find out."

(One Week Later—November 7th)

If the Wizarding World thought that reading about Dumbledore's death was the last shock, they were in for one last huge surprise.

ALBUS DUMBLEDORE UNVEILED!
THE TRUTH BEHIND THE MASK!

As you know, when it comes to writing articles, I have had no problem in misrepresenting the truth to produce better results. However, the last few months have taught me that sometimes, the actual truth is even juicier and more damaging than a well written lie.

We have seen and heard from our beloved Saviour, the truth of the horrors he endured throughout his life all at the hands of a man who claimed to want the best for everyone, a man who projected an aura of openness, kindness and a somewhat grandfatherly affect; a man who is there to listen and is kind to everyone.

It was a stunning truth that opened my eyes, and yours I'm sure, to the true face of Albus Dumbledore. This has been a year filled with revelations and unexpected upheavals (Harry Potter's story, the LeStrange/Longbottom scandal, Dumbledore's arrest, Dumbledore's death [for more information on these events, pg. 3) and there is more to come.

For some time now, I had taken it upon myself to find out more about Albus Dumbledore. I wanted to know some reasoning behind the man's actions other than his vaunted, "It's all for the greater good" spiel. So I decided to go back to the past, to delve into Dumbledore's childhood and teen years, hoping to find an answer. And I do believe I have.

Readers, what you are about to read is the story of the Dumbledore family; a story that is known yet not. It is one that will no doubt leave you shocked, as it did me, while also revealing just who Albus Dumbledore really was.

It turns out my faithful readers, that Albus may not have been the Muggle loving man that he portrayed to the world. The story starts with younger sister Ariana Dumbledore, who was attacked by three Muggle boys when she was only six years old, and Albus 10, who saw her doing magic. The attack left Ariana severely damaged to the point where she required constant care and supervision, but she could no longer control her magic and was seen as a threat to our world. To protect her from being locked up in St. Mungo's, the family hid her away and moved to Godric's Hollow, where they kept her inside at all times.

According to my source, the father Percival Dumbledore was outraged and took matters into his own hands; the elder Dumbledore attacked the three boys, doling out the punishment he believed they deserved. Percival ended up going to Azkaban for the attack, where he later died.

His sister's affliction and his father's death made Albus feel nothing but disdain and hatred for Muggles and it was that that made him connect with Gellert Grindelwald, the same Gellert Grindelwald who would later become known as the Dark Lord Grindelwald (for more on Gellert Grindelwald, including his rise to power and defeat, pg. 5) when he was seventeen. We all know that the two became close and were remembered to be the best of friends. But that wasn't all. Based on what my source revealed, the relationship between Albus and Gellert went beyond friendship. That's right readers, Albus Dumbledore and the then Dark Lord Gellert Grindelwald were a couple.

Now while the story goes that the friendship ended when during an argument, where magic was used, Ariana died as a result, the real story is much more horrifying. It turns out that both young men had plans to change not only our world, but the Muggle world as well. They wanted to rule over both with Gellert having power over our world and Albus over the Muggle world.

However, as time passed, both men wanted to rule the two worlds by themselves and their arguments devolved into a magical fight where young Ariana lost her life. It was at that moment, for whatever reason, that Albus subsequently turned on his lover.

The article went on to rehash the previous articles that talked about Harry's life before and during Hogwarts and Albus' role, as well as the LeStrange/Longbottom scandal.

It was all that the students, and the rest of the Wizarding World, talked about. And considering everything that had happened so far, they weren't all that shocked to learn that Dumbledore had wanted to rule both worlds, however the fact that Dumbledore and Grindelwald were lovers was what shocked them.

The reactions ranged from disbelief (which was the for majority) to anger (this was from those staunch supporters of Dumbledore who still refused to believe anything bad about, this group was the smallest) to indifference (another small portion) to intrigue and delight (these were the ones who didn't have any trouble believing it, those who disliked Dumbledore, or mainly those on Voldemort's side).

Regardless of the reactions, one thing was common; it was a hot topic amongst everyone for weeks to come.

~…~

The rest of November passed by without incident as the Wizarding World as a whole, slowly got over the death of Albus Dumbledore. A few days after the article about Dumbledore, and Grindelwald, another article came out, and it was about the investigation into Dumbledore's death and what may have actually happened at Godric's Hollow the night before Halloween. It talked about the efforts of the DMLE and how they were still investigating and how they hoped to find answers soon; it also asked any witnesses or anyone who might know about the events to come forward.

Things settled back into a routine and the students at Hogwarts found themselves looking forward to Christmas break.

As it was, Harry and his friends were sitting together in the Slytherin common room.

"I think one of the best things this school ever did was have a Yule ball," Pansy grinned.

Gabriella looked at her sallow Slytherin in slight confusion. "Yule ball? What's that?"

"A dance," Pansy clarified after seeing the girl's confusion. "We had a Yule dance back in fourth year for the Tri-Wizard tournament. It was a lot of fun."

Harry snorted. "Speak for yourself. I was completely miserable."

"Because you secretly wanted to dance with Draco?" Cory grinned, "Or because you had to spend the entire night with a whining Weasley who was moaning about Granger?"

"Both," Harry smiled.

"Say what you want about her now," Blaise said, "but you have to admit that Granger had looked really good at the ball."

Pansy raised an eyebrow at the Italian Slytherin, causing the others to snicker.

"Oh come off it Pansy," Blaise rolled his eyes at her. "It's true. Everyone was shocked by her appearance. No one had expected her to look that good…and to be with Krum of all people."

"Sounds like it was amazing," Gabriella said almost wistfully.

"It was actually," Daphne said. "I kind of wish that we could have another."

There was a moment of silence.

"Then why don't we?" Pansy asked, looking around at her classmates.

"What do you mean?" Cory asked, "Have another ball?"

"Yes," Pansy nodded. "Not only would it be the perfect way to end the semester, but it would be a perfect send off into break. And, if it is successful—meaning we thoroughly enjoy ourselves—then maybe we can convince the professors to make it a yearly thing."

"We could even do one for Valentine's Day," Daphne suggested.

"I love that idea!" Gabriella grinned wide, her eyes practically glowing with delight. "Both of them!"

Harry let out a groan, dropping his head back to rest on top of Draco's knees while the blond snickered above him; one of his hands came up to run through the brunet's hair.

"What?" Draco grinned down at the teen

"I really don't like dances," Harry replied, "especially since I can't dance."

"I can teach you," Draco replied, "So that's not an excuse. You know it's going to happen. Best get used to the idea now."

"I am," Harry nodded, "but at least this time I'll be able to go with you."

Draco rolled his eyes, "Well of course you will. Did you really believe I'd let you take someone else to this dance? Or that I'd go with someone else? No!"

"How idiotic of me," Harry replied dryly.

"Glad you see the error of your ways Potter," Draco grinned.

The group explained more on the Yule Ball to Gabriella and the excitement for another one grew; though they tried to temper it as they hadn't told the professors as of yet and had no idea if the professors would agree to it.

The talk also included whether or not to once again invite the students of Beauxbatons and Durmstrung, despite there not being any particular reason (such as a tournament or something similar) for them to be there.

Soon after, the idea was pitched to the professors, and to the delight of the group, and the rest of the student body, the idea was accepted and the Yule Ball was set for Friday December 20th, the day before they would leave for break.

~…~

Over the course of the next few weeks, the Wizarding World settled down; as much as they could anyways as there was still this slight unease to the air as they realized that in the time since Dumbledore's death, neither Voldemort nor his forces had made a move.

At Hogwarts, the students—in their minds—had way more important things to focus on; such as, end of term assignments and the Yule Ball; although to be fair, there was more interest for the Yule Ball than there were for the assignments as they spent more time focusing on that than actually doing work.

Soon enough, the night of the Yule Ball dawned. It had been decided that as a result of the short notice, the Durmstrung and Beauxbatons students would not be invited to this ball, but an invitation was set for any and all future ones. Still, the students thoroughly enjoyed themselves and the next morning, it was a group of tired, but very pleased students that appeared at breakfast.

"Last night was completely amazing," Gabriella gushed.

"I know," Daphne nodded, "it was just as much fun as the last Yule Ball."

"I was a bit disappointed that the Durmstrung and Beauxbatons students couldn't make it," Blaise said, "but it was still amazing."

As the group walked towards the carriages that would take them to the train, the conversations revolved around the ball and everything that had happened; the music, the outfits, the dancing and how the other students looked.

The conversation then shifted to what they would be doing for break.

They were all heading to Harry's manor as the teen had extended the invitation weeks ago and, after conferring with their parents/guardians, they had all taken him up on the offer; more like Gabriella did as Draco, Cory and Luna practically lived there, and Blaise and Pansy spent so much time visiting it almost was as if they did live here.

It was tight fit, but they all managed to fit into one carriage. When they got to the train, they found a compartment as close to an entrance as they could, and took it.

As they settled in, Draco leaned his head on Harry's shoulder and let out a sigh.

"Excited to go home?" Harry whispered to the blond.

"You have no idea," Draco replied.

The two let the conversation of their friends wash over them as they settled in for the ride.

~…~

When the train pulled into the station, they quickly and efficiently got off the train and headed to the main pickup area. There, they saw Remus waiting for them.

"Hey cub," Remus greeted as he pulled Harry into a quick hug, followed by Draco, surprising the blond, before smiling at the others. "How's everyone doing? Excited to go home?"

"Yes sir," the others nodded, but it was Gabriella who spoke.

"Alright then," Remus nodded, "We'd best be off."

He led them to a secluded area, and the teens all gathered round.

"Portkeys?" Remus asked and everyone pulled out the chain that was hidden around their necks and under their clothes.

When Harry had issued the invitation, he had had the necklaces that allow direct entrance inside the Manor made for the others.

"Outstanding," Remus nodded. "Ready?"

"Definitely," Gabriella nodded. She was very excited to see Harry's Manor, and wasn't that something? Someone her age had a manor…a manor.

Later, he wouldn't be able to explain why, but Harry looked up and his eyes caught sight of Hermione just as she got to the barrier to get back to Platform 9 ¾.

Hermione paused, feeling eyes on her, and when she looked back, she saw Harry staring at her. An intense ache of longing once again flared within her when she saw that he was surrounded by his friends.

"Necklaces ready," Remus spoke, drawing Harry's gaze from Hermione.

Just before they activated the necklaces, Harry looked back at the girl and a small smile graced his lips.

Hermione stood staring at the spot the group just disappeared from for a few seconds before she made her way through the barrier. As she came out on the other side, she saw her parents waiting for her and quickly went to them.

The family exchanged pleasantries as they gathered her luggage and they settled into the car.

And as they pulled away from the station and started the drive home, Hermione thought back to the smile that Harry had given her before he had left and she couldn't help the smile that graced her own lips. She knew it wasn't enough to fix what had happened between them, but it was something she would cherish and a tiny part of her couldn't help but to see it as a kernel of hope that maybe someday, things between her and Harry would once again be right.

~…~

The group arrived at the entrance to the Manor and immediately Gabriella's eyes opened wide in astonishment.

"This is amazing," the girl breathed out. "This is your home?"

"Yeah," Harry nodded with a smile. "Come on."

While the other teens settled in, Harry gave Gabriella a tour. He showed her the kitchens, the potions lab, the greenroom, a quick look outside, especially at the Quidditch pitch, and then finally, the room she would be staying in. the girl was amazed by it all, and said as much to Harry.

When they were done, they made their way to the rest of their friends were and found them in one of the dens.

"How was your tour?" Luna asked, looking over at the girl with a smile.

"Amazing," Gabriella replied, "I'm kinda jealous that all of you get to live here."

"Well if we're being technical," Pansy spoke up, "Harry, Cory and Draco are the ones that live here; along with Mr Lupin and Professor Snape. Luna, well, I suppose Luna lives here as well considering she's here every day. But Blaise and I actually live with our parents and we just visit as often as possible. And since Harry is dating Draco, who has his father's permission to be here, our parents don't really mind either."

"As if anyone would chance getting on the bad side of Lucius Malfoy," Blaise snorted. "Certainly not our families."

"I'd take offense," Draco drawled, "but it's true I suppose."

"So what are we doing today?" Cory asked. "Considering it's chilly and looks like it'll snow any minute now, being outside is not an option."

Everyone quickly threw out ideas, playfully shooting down each other's when they didn't agree with it. The discussion became more and more spirited, and as it did so, Harry took a moment to look over his friends. Some days he was still surprised by everything that had happened and how everything had worked out; he had only ever admitted to Draco under the cover of darkness, but there had been a part of him—small though it may have been—that had doubted that everything would work out the way that they had planned.

But it all had. Dumbledore had paid for his crimes and was finally gone from their lives, and now, they simply had the future to look forward to; a better future.


A/N 2: So, how was this chapter? Were the fight scenes ok? (after all these years, i still can't write a proper fight scene lol). Review and let me know your thoughts. Just the epilogue left now.