Author's Notes: The musical recommendation for this chapter will be, "Sakebi to Okori no Mukukata he" It is a nice piece of orchestral music that probably fits this chapter as well as any. It has no singers whatsoever. My original choice was probably the Top Gun Anthem which is also good, but I'm trying to stick with things people have probably not heard. Both can of course be found on Youtube.
This is a non-profit work of fanfiction meant only for entertainment.
by Lerris Smith
As the headmaster said this thousands of blades of grass shot out of the ground and surrounded the Potters. Fleur dived for them and was able to grab a hold of both Potters as they vanished from view. The scene changed to a barren field surrounded by a haze of smoke and a half dozen masked death's eaters. All three collapsed as soon as they breathed the smoke. They were quickly searched. Their wands were broken and tossed. Their portkeys were also tossed. Lacus's pouch full of deflection plates was tossed as well as were two additional small pouches from Lacus and one additional each from Fleur and Harry. Before the scene faded, one of the death eaters picked up the pouch full of deflection plates and slipped it inside his robes. The death eaters then dropped galeon coins on each and they were portkeyed again. This time they were surrounded by a forest. At least a dozen death eaters were already there.
Charles was in the situation room. He shouted, "Have the team extract fake Moody now! What is the status of everything else? Is our locator on the Potters working? Can we get a fix on them?"
Dave said, "Augusta's teams are in progress for destroying the Horcruxes. Our own teams are moving in to back them up. The snake with Voldemort still needs to die though. From the video we don't think they found the transmitter. If they had they would have probably found and removed their armor and they didn't do that."
After quick look at a screen Dave said, "The problem is we have no idea where they are. Wherever they are they are either not within range of any of our detectors or both transmitters have failed from the multiple portkeys. Whatever that first trap was it cut right through the wards at Hogwarts. All the image at Hogwarts shows is a forest that could be anywhere. I've mobilized all of the jets and helicopters we have that could track the beacon, but as of now we have no way to narrow the area. We don't even know if they are in the country."
Charles said, "How the hell did we screw this up? Contact the Americans. Tell them we need to bring every resource they have to finding them. Have them launch from that aircraft carrier that just arrived. Give them the frequency of the tracking devices. Maybe they will get lucky. Also find out it we can track that magical signal. Have someone look for the real Moody too. Maybe he can help."
Hermione looked around her. The twins, Neville, and Luna were nearby. She also saw professor Flitwick. She yelled, "Professor, guys. I think we can track them using the charms for the illusion that are on their clothing, but if we don't hurry they are liable to dispel them. They might even fail just from the distance involved."
Filius said, "What do you have in mind?"
Hermione said, "The jet. We will get the others from the tournament. We need to hurry in case the charms are dispelled. At best I can get direction. We will just have to go and turn around when we pass them."
Filius said, "Agreed. Let's go." They ran. The short professor ran very quickly for his size.
Diana was on the television and being viewed around the world. She said, "We gave the show last night because today's events were uncertain. We didn't expect this exactly, but we knew today was to be dangerous. They volunteered for this, knowing the risks, but our enemies are also clever. They have taken the Potters means of escape. Please pray with me as we watch and keep vigil. The magical picture you see is still in front of the stands at Hogwarts, yet we do not know where the Potters or the Beauxbaton's chapion are. We are searching. Please pray that we find them in time."
Albus looked on the scene that showed the others with the Tri-Wizard cup and felt every bit of his age. Harry was gone. Harry's wife was gone. The others had passed around the cup, hoping they could follow, but they had already dispelled the portkey, if it even was ever made one, and the secondary trap went with the Potters and Fleur Delacour. They were now heading out of the maze as quickly as they could with brooms provided by Dobby.
This was not the plan. Even Fawkes could not help. He had just completed a burning day. He looked up at the display. Peter was preparing a cauldron. They had very little time and next to no knowledge of where they are.
Dobby popped in front of him. He said, "Sir. Headmaster Dumbles sir. The flower's mother is fading!" Dobby held out another broom that Albus grabbed. Albus's face grew paler still. He got on the broom and quickly took off. He was at first surprised at the speed, but maintained the pace as he rushed to the far stands.
Sure enough, surrounded by dozens of mostly older Veela, was Apolline Delacour and she was beginning to become see through. Worse, the effect wasn't confined to her. He could begin to see the very bleachers she was on and the ones near her begin to fade as well. He was sure today would be pivotal, even if he had wished otherwise.
Albus cast a sonorous on himself. He said, "Listen to me. I command all the House Elves to remove everyone, including themselves from Hogwarts except for the great hall. Ignore their belongings. They can be replaced. Just get the people and try to save the contents of the library." Dozens of elves popped in then popped away again. Albus canceled the sonorous spell.
Albus then said quietly, "Dobby?" Dobby popped back in place. Albus asked, "Dobby, can you sense where Harry is?"
"Dobby sorry. Dobby can not tell."
Albus cursed. He said, "Okay. Have some elves get the real Alastor out of the chest in the defense professor's rooms. Ask him if he knows where Harry is, and if he does inform one of the heads of house. There are a dozen St. Mugnos emergency portkeys on top of my desk. Drop one on anyone needing healing and say St. Mugnos, but save at least a couple for Harry and his wife okay? Also, try to help find the fake Alastor. If you find him, tell Severus or another of the heads. Tell them we need Harry's location. Tell them I said to do whatever was necessary to get that location."
Dobby nodded and popped away. Albus knew it was a bit to ask of the loyal elf, but he thought he could do the job.
Albus again cast sonorous on himself, 'Any of age volunteers that are willing to risk their lives to save us all may gather in the great hall with their wands. Everyone else is to stay out!"
He canceled the sonorous and pandemonium erupted. He got back on the broom and turned to the Veela near Apolline. He said, "Hand her here. I will save her if I can. She may be our only hope." They hesitantly passed her over and Albus was soon rushing to Hogwarts, even as the broom he was on, the woman he carried, and his very self began to fade away. In the illusion wormtail continued to add ingredients to the simmering cauldron.
As he approached the great hall he quickly opened them with his wand and flew through before getting off the broom and letting it drop. He then levitated Apolline to the center of the room. She remained a few feet off the ground as he waved his wand to move all the tables out of the way. The runic diagram he had drawn a couple of days ago, partly with his own blood, was again visible on the floor. Some senior students were beginning to gather around the array, but none dared step onto it. Albus gestured and Appoline was laid out gently in the middle of the diagram with her silver blonde hair fanning out around her.
Albus shouted, "I need an elf to bring me the sorting hat and the Sword of Gryffindor right now as well as the vial with the rest of the phoenix tears." Several house elves popped in with the items. He floated the sheathed sword out and manipulated Apolline's hands so she held it loosely in her right hand with the scabbard resting on her legs. He then floated the Sorting Hat out and placed it on her head where it stuck.
The hat said, "It hasn't been since the founders died that it was done this way. I had thought you were going to make one of the Potters headmaster to try to save their lives."
From one corner of the room there was a quiet whirring noise, yet when Albus looked there didn't appear to be anything there except a small shimmer. He had the oddest feeling he was being watched. He ignored the feeling. On televisions across the world there was now a split screen between the events shown outside and those shown inside. It wasn't high definition, but it was there, complete with sound.
Albus looked around. He said, "Listen carefully. I do not have time to repeat this. Some of it is in that paper. It is true that Lacus traveled back in time. Previously the magical world died as a result of a war a resurrected Voldemort started. That we; That I failed to stop him before things went that far is a deep shame to me. Lacus has tried to change that history, even as Voldemort nears resurrection at this very moment! Fleur Delacour discovered that the Potters, both of them, were the fulfillment of Veela prophecy. The prophecy basically stated that if the Potters died, then everyone else may also die. She, along with her mother and her sister volunteered to create a type of magical bond with the Potters that should give them strength. It helped, but it wasn't enough. The older members of an entire Veela coven repeated the ritual with Fleur's mother serving as the key to the initial bond, making a ridiculously strong bond, that still wasn't strong enough, not to fight Fate's revenge. Time travel that changes things has a price. Time travel that changes everything is bound to have an enormous price. Your seeing it now, yet we need to pay that price, lest it all be undone and our world truly does die the final death. The Veela that were part of the ceremony are here now. I can tell by looking at them that none of them expect to survive the day. You can tell they participated as they too are fading from time to time." On the television the camera panned around showing arms feet fading in and out as they were forced to simply lay on the floor.
He paused, even as a house elf held out a glass of ice tea for him which he quickly took a brief drink of. He said, "This makes Fleur's mother doubly bonded to the Potters. My original plan was, if and when things went to heck, was to make Lacus headmaster and pass my power to her and then tie her directly to Hogwarts itself. A thousand years of magic, spirit, and stone would give them and us the best chance to ride out the storm that will come when Voldemort is killed. I had hoped to give them and the rest of the magical world a chance. Now we must improvise. Apolline is here. If we can save her, she can perhaps save the Potters and her daughters. Fleur may be able to help as she is there and is linked as well, between the initial bond and the one of her birth. I'm asking you to give what magic you can to this ceremony when I tell you to. Help me save them. I tell you this; You will be going against forces that may crush us all. You may die, yet even if you do you may allow others to live. If you have family that is not here, your choice may very well determine whether or not they ultimately live. If that isn't enough, there was another true prophecy that says that Harry Potter is the only one who will have a chance at defeating Voldemort. He is supposed to have the power he knows not. I hope that this power is what we prepare now."
Across the world panic erupted yet was kept contained as people remained hopelessly glued to their television screens. Some might have thought it a fake like War of the Worlds, if it wasn't for Diana.
Diana said, "According to the first prophecy we have a chance. I need your help. Please, just stop what your doing and pray for the world. Pray that evil will be vanquished. Pray that we be allowed this chance. Pray that the good people involved have the strength to survive this." Diana stopped what she was doing and did just that. The imaged then zoomed in on a picture of the Queen Mother kneeling in prayer. The world seemed to tremble as the hearts of man became focused on a common cause.
In the clearing seven Death eaters stood by large stone obelisk etched with glowing runes and suddenly a gigantic magical dome formed around them leaving the loyal Death Eaters inside the dome with the cauldron and Voldemort's deformed form. Anticipation was in the air as they looked on. Harry Potter was stuck to a gravestone near the giant cauldron, while Lacus and Fleur were stuck to gravestones on either side and forced to watch. Dozens of wizards and witches, most in elaborate formal robes suddenly started appearing outside the dome and taking an interest at the actions inside. Some even brought dusty bottles of unopened wine. Glasses were conjured and filled, yet no one drank. They were still waiting. This too was shown worldwide.
The other tri-wizard contestants arrived at the storage building at nearly the same time Hermione, Luna, Neville, and Flitwick did. They wasted no time in opening the building and using magic to roll the jet out. The only problem was they had a dozen people and only twelve seats. Flitwick quickly fixed that problem by magically inserting additional space and three additional seats behind the final row of seats. Hermione winced when he did that, but said nothing.
They piled in with Hermione taking Lacus's position, Victor taking Harry's and Flitwick taking the gunner and braking position. Luna, Neville, and Aimee took the second row with the rest piling in how they could. Victor and Hermione quickly got the jet in the air.
Hermione said, "Belt up! This is going to be fast!" The passengers quickly did so.
Victor said, "Which way?"
Hermione did an elaborate incantation combined with the creation of what appeared to be a sphere of light which faded to reveal a tiny copy of the image around Harry complete with sound. The sphere was centered in front of Victor. On the left front edge you could see an area on the edge tinted green.
Hermione said, "The green spot shows the way."
Victor pushed the rear throttles all the way forward even as he simultaneously cut back on the throttles on the left used for take off and levitation. The roar soon grew past what the silencing runes could manage.
The craft started to shake as they accelerated rapidly past Mach1. Hermione shouted, "We are going to need additional magic. Those in the back get to it!" It took some fumbling, but soon they had additional magic from nine people added to the stability and structural charms.
Victor said, "Faster Hermione."
Hermione who was still held in her seat by the acceleration said, "I'm going to increase the maximum fuel flow to its maximum. This will not be safe. Are there objections?"
Filius looked like he was about to. Instead he said, "Do what you have to Miss Granger. Get us there in time."
Hermione turned a valve to her right slowly until it was in the full open position. It took all of her strength to keep her hand out and finish turning the valve as the force due to acceleration kept trying to crush her into her seat. The jet engines howled in pain.
Back at the situation room in the palace, a technician said, "Crap, that aircraft of theirs just passed mach three over land and it is still accelerating."
Dave shouted, "Keep track of that aircraft. I want our own jets to follow it. Try to coordinate with any local resources we have and have our jets intercept as best as possible. Launch the blackbird as well. Move whatever naval assets we control to make sure we can keep a radar lock on that craft. If I'm correct, everything will happen somewhere in front of them!"
Sam, the member of the joint chiefs of staff the president had sent said, "I'm ordering the launch of an aerial refueling tanker and a squadron of F-18's in case this drags out. The only thing along that flight path outside of the UK is Iceland, or I suppose Greenland if you go further."
Dave said, "Contact Iceland and Greenland. See if they can help. Send a third of our ready magical forces to each destination. We will keep in touch with mirrors, and update their destination as soon as we know something."
The technician that spoke up before said, "Sir, your not going to believe this, but they have now passed mach four point five. I have no idea what is holding that craft together. We sure as heck can't build one like that and certainly not out of vanilla aircraft alloy."
Dave said simply, "Magic I should think. From the reports I have this must be a horrible strain on those inside. Make sure the men know that there is a chance their craft will tear itself apart, but I still need them to search along their course as fast as they are able."
"Understood sir. Relaying your orders."
Bill Weasley and his team stood before the Gaunt shack. They had already confirmed a massive amount of dark magic here, but had been unable to confirm the horcrux. They would have to work their way through the traps first and that might take days to do safely. He was surprised when a uniformed soldier walked up to his group and said, "I need you to pull back now! The target is already painted. That house is going to be annihilated by more ordinance than has been launched on this country since the last war."
Bill could see the large shinning red dot on the front of the house from one of the house. "Your going to do what?" Bill asked.
"Blow it to hell and back. If that doesn't destroy what you want destroyed, then you can dig through the remains, but I very much doubt anything will be left. You need to get at least a mile away and stay there for the next fifteen minutes."
Bill paled as he explained it to his team. They quickly apparated to a nearby hill that was just over a mile away and got out their omnioculars. Bill quickly created a large clear shield between them and the shack. Less than a minute later the shack and all the surrounding areas was blasted away down to the bedrock and the pounding kept coming.
One of the cursebreaker's asked, "So how will we confirm the horcrux's destruction? I can't believe it would survive that, but we still have to know."
Bill said, "I have no idea. I guess we will spread out and search for dark magic traces. I for one have no intention of going back until we confirm its destruction."
The others nodded their agreement.
Barty Crouch Junior yelled rapturously, "Blood of the enemy forcibly taken!" even as he dragged a golden knife down Harry's right arm and let the blood spill into the cauldron. Voldemort's deformed green form screamed in pain from the simmering liquid but seem to take strength as Harry's blood bubbled into his skin as he began to grow and change.
Harry began to become translucent, except this time he was not becoming visible again. Attached to other headstones Fleur and Lacus were not in any better shape.
Hermione shouted over the jet noise, "We are exceeding Mach 6. Are those in the back okay?" She couldn't turn to look. The acceleration would not let her. Several of them shouted, "We are fine!". Some of those voices sounded weak to her.
Hermione shouted, "Victor, remember we cannot turn or use the braking charms at these speeds. We'd die for sure. We have to get well below Mach 1 to do so. When the time comes just back off the jets and let us slow first."
Victor's concentration never slipped even as he said, "Da."
The mirror stuck to the dash turned on and Dave from MI-5 was on the other end. He too ended up having to shout to be heard. "What is your status?"
Hermione shouted, "We have their bearing and are accelerating as fast as possible, but we do not know exactly where they are."
Dave shouted, "Understood. Can you keep this connection open? I'll have someone monitor it. Let us know as soon as you pass it. Iceland has already scrambled jets and more of ours are on the way. Do you have any idea how to take that barrier down?"
Hermione shouted, "Yes I do. Is there anyone apt to be below us to be hurt by our wake?"
Dave looked away and asked a question. He then responded with, "No, your basically clear on that route now."
Hermione shouted, "Victor, stay as low as you dare once we get over land. When we pass them, the impact of the air we are pushing ahead of us should cause a lot of damage to that barrier.l"
Victor gently brought the jet down some until they were about two hundred feet above the ocean. Even that seemed insane at that speed, yet it didn't seem to phase Victor at all.
Dave asked, "Is that safe?"
Hermione shouted, "No, but at the speed we are going our wake ought to have a huge impact on the barrier and scatter those outside it. If you have a better idea, then say it. If this fails, you may have to use a missile to shatter the barrier. If you avoid a direct hit, it may work. We are now at Mach 7. Structural integrity wards are holding, but we are well above our design limits and I think the people in the back are tiring."
Dave shouted, "Stay as safe as you can. Our people are not far away, and more are coming."
Hermione shouted, "We will."
In the situation room Dave winced at the lie he had just told. They hadn't had time to clear the route, although they were doing their best. At the very least their wake was apt to blow cars off highways they crossed particularly if they stayed very close to the ground. He hoped no one would die from it, but he had sent people to their deaths before when the situation called for it.
Albus looked around seeing how well people were taking it. He thought that perhaps half of them believed him when suddenly a deep keening sound was heard. It was as if an ancient giant church bell had suddenly been rung. The hat on top of Appoline's head said quietly, "And so it begins."
Albus paled. He said, "If anyone sees anyone too young to help, throw them out! House elves are to keep this circle and me from being interrupted at any cost. Also I need an elf to take Fawkes to safety. He should be in my office! He just had a burning day! Everyone else, lend what magic you can. The world depends on it!"
With that Albus sat Indian style in front of the Runic Cicle before using his wand to slice open his left wrist. The blood gushed out, yet you could see torrents of magic leaving too. It made the display he put on after the second task look like first year work. This was not just powerful magic. This was his very life. The blood fell to the ground and then suddenly changed course as the blood and magic was absorbed into the ward scheme, flowing along the lines and curves of the scheme. The bell tolled again. This time it was even deeper and sadder than before. The house elves looked around fearfully even as they lined up to protect the runic circle. The Veela were the first to give their strength, even as they continued to fade from existence. Then a few brave students added theirs. Then some professors joined in around the outside of the circle to lend their power. From the outside, the entire circle and everyone touching it seemed to be caught between existence and non existence as the bell tolled again.
The bell was not just heard at Hogwarts. It seemed to be heard everywhere around the world as if there was a bell at the heart of creation warning of imminent disaster. People remained glued to their televisions, which now rotated between the jet, the inside of Hogwarts, and the resurrection ceremony. In the room of requirement, another team stood before the Diadem Horcrux, while in number twelve Grimmauld place a surprised Sirius led a team to his study. In Gringotts a team of goblins and cursebreakers levitated a cup into a large empty room. In all these places the words, "Killing curses in three, two, now!" were shouted. A half dozen beams of green death shot forth at all three locations at the Horcruxes. In the forest Voldemort screamed in pain as his form grew to resemble, but not match a human. He had pale nearly white skin, one breast, slots for nostrils, thin lips, and snake like eyes. He seemed to grow stronger as clouds of dark magic started pilling in from around the country.
Voldemort slowly recovered. He shouted, "Robe me." Bellatrix lovingly enfolded him in a robe.
He then shouted, "My wand!" Wormtail hurried to bring him his wand, and then scurried away. Voldemort ignored Barty Crouch who was even now bleeding to death from the loss of a hand.
Voldemort stalked over to Harry and inspected his fading form. He snarled, "I know what you have done." He turned to Lacus and said, "Or perhaps I should say what you have done. I got an early copy of the paper as well."
Lacus winced even as she reflexively covered her stomach with her hands.
Voldemort said, "I congratulate you on eliminating my anchors. It will not matter. I am stronger than ever now, and I will lead the magical world to victory over the muggles. There will be no repeat of history! I will make sure they all die!"
Voldemort visibly calmed himself. He said, "It is a pity you are already fading away, but that is the punishment for those who mess with time. Still, how can my victory be complete if you die without me even lifting a finger?" He seemed truly disappointed.
Around the world people reeled in fear as they heard of Voldemort's plans. His deformed form did not help matters.
In the situation room Dave asked, "What the hell happened to him? How did he manage to get a breast of all things?"
Charles said quietly, "It is likely due to Lacus's bond with Harry. He somehow pulled some of his traits from her as well." Dave gave Charles an understanding look and said nothing further.
Suddenly another alarm went off. A technician said, "Another nuclear reactor is starting to run away."
Dave said, "Silence those alarms for now but continue to monitor the situation. Only inform us if the teams involved need something or we need to know about a situation. Our priority has to remain on eliminating Voldemort. I'm not about to let that monster make more of those anchors and start this mess all over again."
Albus Dumbledore slumped over ashen. His aged skin seemed even more fragile now. There was no blood left in him or even nearby on the floor. He was clearly dead. The bell tolled again even as Albus's body fell to dust.
Above them the magic that had shown the sky for countless years faded away. Deafening crashes could be heard from all around. One of the house elves said fearfully, "She is dying. Hogwarts is dying!" The others all nodded in fear even as they kept a close guard on the door to keep out those too young to make this choice.
Fleur suddenly seemed to brighten and glow. She was just able to reach out and touch Lacus's left arm. The contact seemed to transfer energy to the dying young woman, and then Harry too began to solidify. From the ground mists of white energy seemed to slip into Harry and his friends.
Voldemort saw this, then looked around. He turned back to Harry and said, "Interesting. I don't know how your doing it, but it seems you shall not miss your appointment at death at my hand! Excellent!" Voldemort gestured and Harry fell on the ground. Voldemort said, "Give him his wand!"
One brave Death Eater said, "But we snapped them!"
Voldemort aimed at him and shouted, "Avada Kedavra!" He then said, "Well Harry, are you going to pickup your new wand?."
Back at Hogwarts the hat said, "It's not over yet! The time has come to defend your home. For Merlin's sake help! I don't want to die here!" More joined in pouring magic into the circle. By then almost two thirds of the older students and nearly as many of the audience had packed into the great hall and began to lend their magic to the runic scheme. It glowed brighter than the sun, yet the woman at the heart of it continued to be balanced between existence and non existence.
In France, a different reactor at the same plant where it all began started to melt down. They had already started a reactor scram and were in the process of forcing neutron poison into the system when the fuel started melting through the reactor core and pooling into its containment vessel. Near the United Kingdom another ten were in similar states. Further away, there were another half dozen, with two in the United States. None had as of yet released any significant quantity of radioactive fuel, but if something did not change it seemed unlikely that would remain true. Fortunately, so far it seemed no one had been stupid enough to actually arm any nuclear weapons, but it was unknown if that condition would last.
Diana said, "No matter what happens we will stop him. Have no doubt of that. Now I ask that you continue to pray for the Potters. I believe that we ourselves can make a differences and I ask everyone to try. Millions of prayers all crying out at once must make a difference!"
The technician said in disbelief, "The Hogwarts craft is now at Mach 10.1 and holding. That must be as fast as they can go. They are almost over Iceland. I'd expect some significant structural damage to any buildings there. People may also be killed by the shock waves of their wake, with how low they are flying.
Dave said, "It can't be helped. We have to find them. I want you to mark their exact position when they slow down or when you hear from them. Direct resources to fly over that spot."
The technician said, " I just hope we can keep them on radar once they are over land. If they had any stealth ability at all we'd lose them at that height and speed. Still, since they are at their top speed we can estimate their position fairly accurately."
Harry held the poorly matched wand in his hand. He felt invigorated and alive. It felt like his body was on fire yet he loved every second of it. He felt like he was playing a quidditch game in front of the entire world and the game rested on his ability to execute an absolutely insane dive for the snitch before the opposing seeker saw how close it was to him.
In the back of his mind he could sense that his wife was working on something. He would have to stall and cast minor spells. If he cast anything big with this wand, he doubted he'd get more than a single shot off. Losing his hand to an exploding wand would also not help. He needed another wand.
Voldemort shouted, "Bow to death Harry. The niceties must be observed."
Harry continue to watch him, remaining wary. He said dryly, "I don't suppose you'd let me choose from some of the other wands here. You know to give me a sporting chance."
Voldemort shouted, "Crucio!"
Harry stepped nimbly aside. Harry said, "Did you really expect me to stand there? Please, give me some credit." White mists from the ground continued to enter Harry, Lacus, and Fleur, seemingly unnoticed by the others there.
Voldemort shouted, "Crucio!" again, This time he was almost twice as fast.
Harry barely managed to dodge. He thought, "Operation piss off Voldemort and hope he makes a mistake seems to be working a bit too well."
Harry started sending out piercing curses left and right. None were of any significant level of power, yet he knew the simple curse could be very deadly and it was also far less apt to burn out his wand. Even so he felt the resistance from the poorly matched hunk of wood. He also felt it begin to heat up in his hand.
Voldemort easily shielded some of the curses. The rest he parried with his wand tip with contemptuous ease. He said, "Is that all the savior of the world has? These pathetic piercing curses?"
Harry said, "Well if you'd care to trade wands, I'm sure I could come closer to your expectations. I'd bet I'm a far better match for the brother of my own wand than this piece of crap."
Voldemort said, "No deal! Crucio!"
Harry again dodged. He then cast Expelliarmus, but not on the dark lord. Instead he cast on Barty Crouch's apparent corpse and quickly plucked a wand out of the air. The other Death Eater's started to cast against him, but Voldemort shouted, "He is mine!"
Harry tried the wand. It was actually usable. It still wasn't a match, but might even survive a few high level spells. He pocketed the other, but wasn't quick enough to dodge Voldemort's, "Avada Kedavra!"
He fell to the ground feigning death. As he fell he caught sight of what he though was their jet mere feet from the dome top as a deafening sonic boom to end all sonic booms slammed into the shield that separated those outside the resurrection ceremony from those inside.
The shield was obliterated by the force. Most of the ones outside were picked up and hurled hundreds of feet away. Only about half of them got back up and most of them were holding their ears in pain. Those inside were blown tens of feet away by the force that the shield had failed to absorb before it was destroyed.
The bell of the world rung in deep pain as it again echoed over the Earth. Harry kept hold of his latest wand as he shifted to land on his feet. His previous wand when flying, but he didn't even notice. Harry drew aim on Voldemort as he waited to land. As his feet touched the ground he shouted, "Avada Kedavra!" A thick leg sized bar of green light lanced out and connected the two of them dropping and burning a hole through Voldemort even as Harry was tossed backwards and cracked his head on the ground.
Harry was so surprised by the beam that he let go of his wand almost before he felt it go red hot. His wand seemed to jump away from him before it exploded. He strumbled upward and said, "What the heck?" Out of the corner of his eye he could see that Lacus and Fleur were now free and Fleur was searching a corpse for a wand.
Suddenly there was a familiar square shield in front of him and Voldemort was on the ground, seemingly dead. Another square shield lanced through Voldemort and separated his body from his head before beginning to tear him to pieces, while still another had started slicing his familiar up.
The other Death Eaters began to scream in pain as they held onto their arms. Lacus killed dozens of them by slitting their throats with her floating shields. Fleur was nearly as persistent as she launched severing curse after severing curse at their necks. All were more powerful than he would have ever expected from any of them. He stopped looking and grabbed another wand and aided the two women with piercing curses of his own before launching a huge flame spell at Voldemort's cooling corpse. It was a bloodbath, yet it seemed that the death eaters were already near to death even without their help.
Several other jets passed overhead, each sending sonic booms into the area.
Seconds ago in the Hogwarts Jet Victor pulled back on all the throttles. Hermione shouted, "We have to slow down normally before we use the braking charms or we will be torn apart!"
A technician in the situation room said, "We've got them. One of our Harriers got lucky and just flew past An American F-18 is also almost there. The harrier is turning for an attack run. Orders sir."
Dave said, "Protect the Potters and Fleur. Several of the figures outside have been identified as Dark Wizards. Kill those you can without endangering the Potters. Once we can get coordinates I'll relay them to our teams and they can move in and mop up."
Sam said, "I'll relay the same orders. Make sure you tell me before you send any wizards in so I can make sure none of them get killed by friendly fire. Right now there are only the three friendlies there correct?"
Dave said, "That is correct."
The strafing continued even as a now free Lacus continued to mercilessly hack dark wizards to death. Both Harry and Fleur's wands grew too hot to hold and they tossed them. Fleur grabbed another from a nearby corpse, while Voldemort's wand floated up from the fire that was his corpse. Harry shouted thanks to his wife and gingerly took the wand. It was cool to the touch. He began to help Fleur with precision piercing curses that punched right through shields and took out some of the recovering wizards who were originally outside the shield, while Lacus was now focusing almost totally on defense.
Even with Lacus's best effort, several of them managed to hit the Potters and Fleur with Killing curses but they were dissipated by their armor. A dark witch managed to connect a killing curse with Lacus's womb. The curse itself was not just dissipated but entirely reflected and amplified as it took out not only the Dark Witch, but two of her companions behind her. Harry looked near to loosing control, but he just continued to mow down wizard after wizard, even as bullets from strafing runs took out dozens more.
Snape stumbled into the Great Hall. He looked like he could barely stand to walk. He had his arm unbuttoned and held it up in the air, using his other arm to support it. He rasped out loudly, "The dark mark fades! Help! Finish It! Do not let Lilly Potter's sacrifice be in vain!" He struggled over to the circle and began sending vast amounts of power into it. No sooner had the circle pulled it in than it seemed to be gone and then Severus Tobias Snape collapsed to the floor dead. White mists began to crawl in from outside and center on Appoline Delacour. Where they touched she seemed to become more solid, however the solidity seemed ephemeral.
People for a moment were stunned at what their hated professor had done, yet even more joined in. The bell continued to toll even as the destruction continued. Hogwarts was tearing itself apart around them. You could hear clearly the deafening sounds as room after room and floor after floor collapsed onto itself, yet this one room remained solid, save for the area around Fleur's mother that continued to be torn between nothingness and existence. The elves quit guarding and bent down and gave their own magic to the mix. It was weak compared to the others, yet it seemed to briefly make a difference.
Most people were so focused at this point that they failed to notice the Veela that were helping begin to fade away one after another until they were all gone. The bell tolled again.
Outside Hogwarts the castle was in ruins with only three floors remaining, and of that most was already crumbling. For every toll Hogwarts seemed to fade just a little more from existence, only to snap back afterwards, yet each time there was a little less than before. Now five floors were completely gone. The pace seemed to be accelerating. Now six floors were gone.
As Hogwarts itself faded from existence, the bell of the world seemed to toll a deep keening sound one final time that everyone felt right down to their bones. It was if the world itself mourned what had just been lost. Hogwarts was gone, all save for the bedrock of the great hall. Even the tables were gone. Silence filled the air as those who were still conscious stared at the stark foundation of what had once been the greatest castle in the world, yet that silence did not last.
A young woman with blond hair and a bottlecap necklace said, "Come. It is cold. Let us go where it is warm." She then led them to the aircraft assembly building including helping to levitate Appoline Delacour who was surprisingly solid yet unconscious. Appoline still wore the hat and now held onto the sword with both hands even as she remained unconscious. Others helped and everyone that still existed, unconscious or not, was carried into the assembly building.
By the time Victor and the others returned to the site most of the dark wizards and witches were dead. Dozens of wizards from MI-5 were sweeping the ground to verify their conditions. A few were found still alive but gravely injured. They were stunned and portkeyed away.
Harry Potter, Lacus Potter, and Fleur Delacour had been placed on cots side by side inside a conjured tent. Andromeda Tonks was already there attending them. She said, "They will not wake."
Hermione asked, "Is there nothing we can do?"
Andromeda said, "We should bring them back to Hogwarts. If they are linked to Fleur's mother and her to Hogwarts, then that may help. I'd rather avoid more portkeys though, particularly international ones. Beyond that, I have no idea. As near as I can tell both are physically okay if weak and even the baby seems okay. Some of the protective spell is even still there, but not enough to block my readings. I do not know why they won't wake."
Hermione said, "We'll the jet's useless. I felt our warding scheme shatter when we landed. It may still technically be in one piece, but I wouldn't dare fly it. I doubt the structure is much better."
Victor said, "She did a great job. I will never forget this flight." Hermione nodded.
Andromeda said, "Perhaps the muggles have a craft then."
Hermione said, "I'll see what I can find out. Professor Flitwick and the rest are near collapse from keeping the jet from flying apart. They cannot do more. You should probably look at them soon."
Andromeda said, "I will." To Victor she said, "Can you watch over them while I go look at the others?"
Victor said, "I will protect them with my life."
Andromeda said, "That wasn't what I had in mind, but it is probably not a bad idea either. There may still be dark wizards around."
Victor nodded even as he pulled out his wand and kept it at the ready. Andromeda went to look at the others.
Victor's watch was uneventful. The Potters and Fleur were flown back in a large military helicopter with Andromeda going along to watch them.
Diana's voice suddenly took on an ethereal tone. She said, "The battle is won, yet time itself has been scarred. When time's circle closes, Fate's grace will end. If the scar of time remains, silence will envelop the world. Hope rests with the children."
Above where Voldemort finally died a single totally black spot floated motionless. It was surrounded by a white sphere that seemed to spin and wrap around it. Seconds passed and the spot got just a little bigger.
Diana shook herself. She said, "I'm sorry, I blanked out for a second." She them sobered and said, "We have news. The Potters and Fleur Delacour are alive but in a coma. Fleur's mother also appears to be in a coma. We are trying to check on Fleur's sister, but we do not have her exact location. From Hogwarts we know that all the Veela who were there were been part of the ceremony that bought us this chance. They are all dead; vanished into nothingness to give us this chance. Of the older Hogwarts population fully half of them are dead from what we can tell. A similar proportion of the audience in the stands appear to be dead. Again this is all preliminary."
The view on the television showed the inside of the military helicopter with Harry, Lacus, and Fleur strapped onto gourneys. Hermione stared at them sorrowfully and then pulled out her wand. She said, "I think that is about enough of their lives shown." She then cast a spell on all three and the television now only showed the empty sky around Hogwarts.
Hours later when they arrived at Hogwarts all four patients were put up in the room that Hermione and the other girls had carved out for themselves. Andromeda sent a note passing her current case load to others and choosing to stay to personally watch over them.
That evening military rations were passed out to the students of Hogwarts who sat around or slept on cots that were provided by the government. Minerva stood in front of the crowd on a makeshift stand she had conjured.
Minerva said, "Attention, students of Hogwarts. As Hogwarts is in no shape to continue this year, we will have the express here in the morning. I am sorry to say, that I cannot see Hogwarts opening again. The school is gone. You all will have to make other plans to continue your education."
Luna jumped up and shouted, "No!"
Minerva asked, "No? What would you have us do then?"
Neville jumped up to stand beside his girlfriend. He put an arm around her shoulder and said, "Luna's right. In the short term we can learn here. It will be crowded, but we can do it. We can also setup some temporary housing for dorms. Lacus showed us how."
Luna brightened and said, "Don't you see. Have you been here all this time and still not understood?" Many looked perplexed and more than a few looked angry.
Luna ignored them all and said, "Our new headmaster is still linked to Hogwarts and she is linked to the Potters. The grounds are still here. The wards that protect this valley are still here. You can feel them sing if you listen close enough. They protect this place. Even many of the hearthstones at the foundation of Hogwarts are still here. We simply need to rebuild the rest. I bet when we do, the Potter's and our headmaster will wake. Can we, the children of Hogwarts forsake her so easily? For all we know the Veela prophecy is still in effect. Should we give up on the Potters and Fleur so easily? Lacus risked everything to come back for us. I say we make sure that their child will have a place every bit as great to learn magic as we had." Hermione winched when Luna mentioned Fleur.
Cheers were heard around the room as most everyone agreed with Luna's plan. Minerva said, "Or we could do that."
Of the nuclear reactors around the world thirty seven suffered at least partial melt downs with fifteen suffering complete melt downs. Seven reactor workers died helping stabilize the situation at one reactor. Another thirty four were not expected to make it another ten years due to radiation poisoning. In most cases neutron jammers were delivered in less than a day. The only exceptions were those sites that had not bothered to ask for one early on, and had foolishly waited trying to contain the situation themselves.
The jammers didn't make the reactors safe. There were still molten pools in the containment structures containing mixes of control rods, fission products, nuclear fuel and reactor housing. The mix was called corium. Preliminary estimates were that the time to clean up the sites had been reduced from several decades to less than a decade, but that was only a guess. The main thing was the additional dampening kept things stable which was a small miracle in itself.
Of all the sites that went down, only four had significant leaks into the environment and none were nearly as bad as Chernobyl had been. They had stopped the worst of it in time and the safety systems had, for the most part worked.
The next day first year and second year students were sent to their homes with most of the rest staying. When time came for the true end to the school year, most still continued to stay even as shipments of stone began to come in and be placed by teams. Hogwarts was being rebuilt, if slowly.
The British Museum was the largest in London. It also had a new attraction kept behind bulletproof glass. The Akatsuki had been carried by cables and straps under a Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion to an aircraft carrier off the coast of Iceland. Then the helicopter had carried it to a private hanger for further study. Weeks later Diana intervened and had it moved to the British Museum. It was the first major work that combined science with magic. It was right that it be preserved. It seemed fitting the Akatsuki meant dawn in Japanese, for this one craft had marked a new dawn. On the wall behind the Akatsuki was a floor to ceiling slab of polished marble fifty foot wide.
Diana stood and stared at the wall. It was exactly as she had requested. On it was written, "In memory of the brave men and women from the future that shall now never be. In memory also of those who gave their lives to gave their lives to pay for our second chance. We are eternally grateful." To the right of that text was a magical painting showing the scene of their final victory in the field in Ireland over and over again, except sometimes it would switch to show the ceremony inside Hogwarts and occasionally it would show the ceremony where all those Veela helped the Potters.
Further down was written in smaller letters, "This craft was the first combination of magic and technology. The young people who built this have showed us the way to a brighter future. On its last flight it reached a speed of over ten times the speed of sound. The shock wave of its passage was so great that it shattered an extremely powerful magical barrier, helping Harry Potter, Lacus Potter, and Fleur Delacour end permanently a great evil. They were not alone in their victory, for three hundred and forty seven magical humans including Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore gave their life for this victory, for this chance for our world to choose another path. We thank them for their sacrifice and honor them by putting their names here."
After that list of names was another sentence, "We honor also those from the previous future that now will no longer be and thank them for the chance we now have."
Below that was a list of over a thousand names. Diana had wracked her memory to recall each one. The memories that Lacus had given her were still fresh. She had created a book with information on each one that was available in the lobby. It also had what information they were able to gather for the magical humans who had died including a very fair portrayal of Veela and the sacrifice they had made. Their act of sacrifice went farther than any action in recent memory in making it clear that Veela were as human as anyone and entitled to all the same rights as anyone else.
She had left off the worst of the lot from the old future, including Murata Azrael, the man who had really started the war that ended it all in Lacus's time. The list of the truly evil went into a separate book kept classified by British intelligence. It was possible that they would never be born now and it was possible they would be born and taught better, but her government would take no chances. They would be watched. Constant vigilance was the price of freedom and while it was not wildly reported there was over five thousand deaths around the world that appeared to be linked to her own request to pray for help. The working theory was that they were latent magicals that had given more than they could afford to give. Diana and Charles had refused to fund a study to find out one way or another.
In the background of the exhibit Diana could hear Lacus sing Token of Water again. Of course her music, and the music she had recreated from her time were not just here in this museum. They were also bestsellers, with the proceeds being donated to charities at her own direction.
Diana had been to Iceland and saw the site of Voldemort's final death. She also saw the Scar of Time. She still didn't remember giving the prophecy, but she saw the tape and knew what it meant. On the day that Lacus first came back in time the protection the people of Earth had inadvertently helped build would end and the Earth would end. It was possible that Iceland would be destroyed before that and the United Kingdom wasn't that far away. They did not know.
They still hoped they would find a way to stop it, but if not, they were determined to save what could be saved. There was already talk of colonizing Mars. They had no idea if the Scar of Time would spare any planet in this system, yet even if it just bought them a few years, it could easily be worth it and provide them time to do so much more.
Already the MIR space station had its own magical portal at the end of an otherwise unoccupied node and plans were on the way to have the space shuttle launch with a humongous module that a team of wizards had shrunk down and lightened so it would fit inside the shuttles cargo bay. When it was in space and fully expanded it was to contain a much larger portal that took dozens of wizards to power. It would be their first gateway to the stars. The module was by necessity empty inside, but time would change that. So much was possible now that it was comparably cheap to get things into space. There were even plans to build mass drivers. They were basically a long magnetic levitation track that arched way up into the sky. That was the technology used by Lacus's people to ferry most materials to outer space. With the aid of lightened vehicles it could be used now.
More plans were made to build gicantic cities in space. Diana had even been shown an old animation called Macross with some ideas, although the more practical designs centered around O'Neil cylinders where two counter-rotating cylinders each 5 miles in diameter and 20 miles long would be connected via a rod and bearing system. The cylinders would rotate to prove artificial gravity. The magicals recent demonstration of how transfiguration could be used to make perfect joins in metal was likely to be a great help in building whatever they decided on. The expectation was that any voyage to a new planet would take many generations. Currently the plan focused on using nuclear power including reprocessing to sustain those moving cities. They also expected to have to stop at planets and asteroids to harness materials they might need on the way while they looked for a new home. Diana hoped it would not be necessary, but it would be foolish not to do it anyway.
They still hoped to duplicate some of the existing engine designs from Lacus's time, but to do that anytime soon the young woman would have to wake up, and no one knew when, or if that would happen. Diana had heard the theory that they would wake up once Hogwart's was complete. She did not know what to make of it. She hoped it was true. Her government had offered to help with the rebuilding, but they had refused, saying that a place of magic had to be rebuilt with magic. Perhaps they were right. She did not know.
She did know that Bill Weasley, Hermione Granger, Aimee Beaucourt, Professors Flitwick, and Professor Vector were hard at work in the designs and protections of the new castle. Already they had restored what had been the Slytherin dormitories, to ease the burden on the crowded area they had created to build their aircraft. Dave had been particularly regretful that he couldn't at least tempt one of them to work for him, yet when he realized he could get his people up to speed by simply sending them to help, he was satisfied with the outcome.
It was two months after the third task and Lacus was very clearly showing the baby growing inside her. They had been moved into the new medical area that had been rebuilt on the ground floor of the castle. An identical area was planned for the fourth floor with a magical portal linking them, so that aid could always be gotten quickly.
Thanks to Andromeda's tireless efforts all five of the comatose patients looked to be only resting. The fifth was sadly Gabrielle Delacour, who, even though she was far away had not been spared. The health and vitality she gained from the nearly priceless vial of phoenix tears her father had given her had seem to flow away that day, probably to those who had greater need of it.
Alain sat between his wife and his daughters taking time to hold each of their hands even while Hermione remained focused on Fleur's other hand. He smiled. He did not know what was up with Hermione and his eldest, yet it was good to see. He himself had quit his job as the head of France's Magical Law Enforcement to be here for his family. He knew that his second in command would do a good job having spent ten years training him. Alain contented himself with doing all he could to help rebuild this castle as well as to coordinate the logistics involved in getting materials here. He had sold his home in France and spent his entire fortune towards this project. Ragnok had also allowed half of the Potter wealth to be spent towards the project, since it was thought to help the Potters. That was as far as he could legally go though. Other rich families had also contributed much, including the Longbottoms, the Greengrasses, and surprisingly the Malfoy's. Even so Hogwarts had been a massive castle and rebuilding did not come cheap.
Alain watched as Hermione sang softly to his eldest daughter. He even recognized the words from the song as one Appoline had often sang to their daughters to get them to sleep at night. He watched as Hermione quietly crawled under the covers with his eldest. She then gave her a short but tender kiss and fell asleep with her head pillowed over his daughters heart. With a heavy heart he gave his other daughter a brief kiss on the forehead before donning a nightgown and snuggling up to his own wife. He had no idea if it would help, but he knew that she hated to sleep alone, so perhaps it would. He hoped so. Much was happening in the world, yet this little corner of it was all he cared about for now.
After they had fallen asleep a now healthy and full grown Fawkes perched on the bed's shoulder and cried a single tear into Appoline's eye before repeating the process with the three others. He then snuggled into little Gabriel's side and fell asleep.
Author's Notes: This ends the story. For a final song recommendation I recommend giving, "Summer Lightning" by a Canadian musician named Garnet Rogers. I seldom recommend what is basically country and western, but it is a nice little ballad. I recall originally hearing the song after having it mentioned in a story called, "Ranma and Akane: A Love Story." A copy appears to be at 179718 on this site although I didn't check it much. I haven't reread it in years, yet I recall it being a good story. If your unfamiliar with the anime you may want to read the wikipedia entry first though if your curious.
I have decided to continue this in Destiny: The Scar of Time although it may be a while until I get time to start that. When I'm ready to start posting, I'll add a note to this story, but other than a possible revision/rewrite someday, this is complete.
Starting with a new story gives me a chance to start somewhat fresh and perhaps attract a few more readers. I have no idea on length yet, but I'd expect at least fifty thousand words or more, but shorter than this current story. This story is a crossover of course and will be moved there in time.
On some other minor notes. In this story a death eater picked up the bag with Lacus's plates in it. He basically wanted them so he could figure out how they worked. The nuclear plant issues were meant to show that at the heart of things reality itself had grown unstable, which made processes like splitting atoms occur easier. Also, while I haven't plotted the next story out enough to even know all the details my current plan is for Lacus's character to give birth to a healthy baby girl. I have not thought of a name yet, nor anything else although I have some ideas.
I'm not sure what I'm going to write yet. I should go back and finish an older story, but there would be a lot of effort in doing so. That doesn't mean I won't try to finish one of them, or perhaps do a revision if necessary. Writing more in Sylvester and Tweety is also tempting, although that would likely be based on shorter arcs which might be easier. I have a couple other ideas as well, so I suppose time will tell.
Thank you for reading and reviewing. It's been fun.