Story Summary: This is an AU story. It takes place in the fall of Harry Potter's 6th year. The events of the story will take place in a 24 hour period. Each chapter will represent one hour of story time - beginning at 7:00 PM on a Friday evening - continuing until Saturday evening at 7:00 PM. Some characters may come across as OOC, there will not necessarily be canon relationships. Warning: This story will follow the premise of the Kiefer Sutherland TV series (but no, Jack Bauer himself does NOT show up) (however, there will be thousands of innocent lives at stake!). Therefor there will be character deaths (not necessarily the ones in canon). There will be betrayals and their will be allies who may first appear to be enemies. Please review, feedback is always helpful. So, I hope all of you who read this story will enjoy it. This is fiction, it is meant to be fun. And as I have posted on my profile page - I don't own any of this, I am just having fun.
AU elements: This story is compliant with the books up until it begins in October of Harry's sixth year. This story WILL contain: Non Canon relationships; character deaths that are non canon; characters that may be OOC although there will be reasons made clear in the story for why they are acting OOC compared to canon; changes in how the final battle comes about...
Previously in Harry Potter 24:
Voldemort sends Nagini to kill Neville Longbottom…
Then he sends several Death Eaters to kidnap Hagrid…
Hermione heads to the place where Harry first saved her when they were first years, hoping to get him to come find her if he is using the map…
Voldemort takes over the Great Hall, makes it his new base of operations, sets up a throne where the faculty table used to be…
Hermione attacks Harry and Ron in the hallway…
Hagrid is brought before Voldemort in the Great Hall, Voldemort broadcasts to the entire school that he has Hagrid and that Harry needs to surrender himself..
Narcissa finds the Black Summer home where Bellatrix had been earlier, and finds the repaired photo, she wonders what this all means…
Neville is attacked by Nagini in the greenhouses…
Harry and his friends head to the Great Hall, Bellatrix leaves them, claiming she has a plan…
Neville gets help from Dobby and the Sorting Hat in his battle with Nagini:
Neville dropped his wand and the Sword of Gryffindor. His wand then rolled under the table next to him so he quickly grasped the sword with both hands.
Once again Nagini had coiled and prepared to strike. Acting on instinct from the battle training he had the previous year, Neville stepped backwards and quickly swung the sword with both hands over his head and tried to hit the snake. There was a loud and sickening thud as the sword hit home on its target. The snake fell to the ground in front of him. There was a black mist rising up from the snake as Neville noted the snake's head rolling away from him along the dirt in between the garden tables.
The Twenty-fourth Hour, 6 PM - 7 PM, Saturday, October 19, 1996
Hogwarts, Great Hall
Bella walked into the Great Hall after dramatically forcing the doors open. "Did you all miss me, boys?" she called out and then cackled with her crazy laugh. She turned and faced Hagrid who was bound to the wall. She then began to speak in her faux baby voice, "Is ickle Harrykin's big dumb friend afraid yet?"
She then strutted slowly as she made her way towards the half giant. "Why, with all of these big mean Death Eater types around, do you think your wittle friend will come and save you?"
Now she was twirling her wand in her hand as she sauntered back and forth in front of the large man. "Did the kneazle get your tongue, big guy?" she asked, sounding a little more seductive now as she dropped the baby voice.
She spun around in a pirouette, as she waved her wand all around. "Do you really think your little golden boy will show up and save you and be able to defeat all these big mean bad people? How can anyone ever defeat the Dark Lord?"
Hagrid had tried to stay silent and ignore her taunting but now he had more than he could take. "I'm not afraid of you types. And 'arry, 'e's man enough to take you all on, 'e is. 'E's a right powerful wizard, and 'e aint afraid of you, not any of you!" The gamekeeper had tears streaming from his eyes as he struggled against the magical ropes and chains that kept him bound to the wall.
Hogwarts, Near Main Entrance
Harry was heading up towards the Great Hall after giving Bella a head start to get there as she had a plan to help rescue Hagrid. Harry had ignored Ron's protests about daring to trust the former Death Eater, but Harry knew he had a limited number of allies to help him and so far she had proven to be invaluable to him. They had all witnessed Hermione attacking them, and they feared that Ginny was dead. Harry couldn't let anyone else get hurt. He knew he had do something to save Hagrid and all the others, and that would require facing Riddle and hoping that there was some way that he could eliminate his familiar, Nagini, the giant snake.
As he reached the top of the stairs that led from the dungeons towards the Great Hall, he saw Neville Longbottom come running in. The once timid roommate was carrying a large sack.
"Harry," shouted Neville, "am I glad to see you! You'll never believe what just happened to me!"
"Not now, Neville," interjected Ron, "can't you see we're in a rush. We've got to face down the Dark Lord and rescue Hagrid! Or at least try," he added clearly not sure that they could do it.
"But I think you need to see what I have in the bag!" said Neville excitedly. He stepped between Harry and the Great Hall, blocking them from going any further. He then opened the bag and showed them the rather large head of what once was a rather large snake.
Harry's jaw dropped, and he looked up at his friend. "Nagini?"
Neville just nodded with the biggest grin Harry had ever seen before.
"Bloody hell, mate, how did you do that?" exclaimed Ron.
"With a little help from Dobby and from the Sword of Gryffindor," said Neville. "The snake attacked me in the greenhouse. I thought for sure I was a dead man, but then Dobby showed up with the Sorting Hat. Then the hat said that I was found worthy by Godric Gryffindor and gave me the sword to use. The same sword you used to slay the basilisk."
Tracey Davis was more than impressed by the young man. "Ooh, modest, and brave," she whispered to Daphne.
"I thought you had a thing for Weasley," whispered Daphne back to her friend.
"Do I have to choose?" she replied with a snicker, "why can't I have both?"
Ron turned and looked at the two girls who were giggling behind him. He couldn't make out many words beyond 'brave', 'choose' and 'both.'
Tracey started to blush as she wondered just what Ron might have overheard.
Harry was still amazed by what his friend had done. He then grabbed Neville in a tight hug.
"It's okay mate, really," said Neville as he tried to break free.
"Neville," said Harry who was clearly excited. "Do you know what this means? You, Neville Longbottom destroyed Riddle's last remaining horcrux. Voldemort is now mortal!" Harry was about to run to the Great hall, and then he stopped and turned to face Neville again.
"Oh, Neville, if you're going to join us in this battle, there are a couple of things you need to know," said Harry as his tone became sombre. "Hermione, she's been changed, she's fighting for the other side. And Bellatrix, she's changed too. She's been helping me today, she even gave me a horcrux that Riddle had given her to hide and keep safe."
Neville's face turned red with rage. "I know you're angry, I know you want revenge, but that has to wait. It can't happen now. We need to focus on Riddle."
Neville was about to rage at Harry.
Harry implored Neville. "For me, can we deal with Riddle. When this is over, then we'll figure out what we're going to do about her. I'm not asking you to forgive or forget, I need you to focus on the battle on the other side of that door."
Neville swallowed hard. "All right, I'll try to keep my anger in, for your sake Harry. You're the first one to ever have faith in my ability and confidence in my magical skills. But after the battle, I don't know what else I can do then."
Hogwarts, Great Hall
Harry walked up to the doors of the Great Hall and slowly pushed them open. He stepped in cautiously, with his wand drawn. Looking around he noted that Hagrid was bound to the wall behind where the Slytherin table used to be, and Bellatrix was standing there, apparently taunting him. There were about twenty other Death Eaters around the room, and Riddle himself was sitting atop a makeshift throne where the faculty table use to be located.
"Harry Potter," intoned Voldemort in his silky voice, "I have your friends, there is no way you can win this battle, so you might as well just drop your wand.
Several of the Death Eaters laughed at Harry as he stood there alone just inside the doors.
Harry did not drop his wand, but kept it in his hand, pointing towards the floor a little ways in front of him while he took slow steps towards the center of the room. "This is so unlike you, Tom," said Harry with an obvious smirk, you used to be much more civil, much more likely to follow the old ways. Don't you remember our duel at Little Hangleton? You should. You told me that it was important that we followed the old traditions. Why don't we settle this once and for all. Settle this like real wizards, magic versus magic, wand versus wand, power versus power, man versus snake!"
Voldemort had stood up from his throne as Harry had taunted him with his little monologue. 'This foolish boy doesn't know enough about when to quit,' he thought to himself. "You think you can challenge me, boy?" asked the Dark Lord with a laugh.
Harry was not intimidated by the megalomaniac in front of him. Harry then asked his foe, "By the way, Tom, where is your snake?"
Riddle was about to answer Harry when the doors to the Great Hall opened up and Neville Longbottom walked in. He was carrying a large bag which he quickly opened and dumped the contents onto the floor. A large decapitated reptilian head rolled across the floor towards the raised platform where the Dark Lord was standing.
Gasps of shock rang out from around the room. "I think this was yours," shouted Neville as he walked up to stand next to Harry.
Riddle remained calm, as he stared at the disembodied head of his familiar. His anger was growing, but he hid it for now, planning to unleash his wrath on these two youths who dared to oppose him. His fingers held his wand a little more tightly as he contemplated his next move. Riddle noted to his right side that Severus Snape had slipped into the room. His personal spy had arrived to watch the final defeat of Potter and he thought to himself that the final pieces to his plan were falling into place.
Suddenly there was a sound of spells being cast back and forth just outside of the Great Hall. Once again the doors were thrown open and in ran Hermione Granger. Her body seemed to glisten from the slight sweat on her brow to the shine of the leather corset that accentuated her form. She ran past Harry and Neville and stopped half way between her former friends and her new master.
Ron, Daphne and Tracey ran into the hall as well, taking places behind and to the side of Harry and Neville.
"My lord!" screamed Hermione, "Bella is actually a traitor to you! She was helping Harry earlier when I tried to ambush him and Weasley down stairs!"
The Dark Lord turned to face Bellatrix as his anger started to rise. Bella realized that Hermione's presence would cause her cover to be blown immediately so she had already begun to cast spells to remove the magical ropes and chains that were binding the half giant to the wall.
Voldemort was furious as he realized his former right hand maiden had truly betrayed him. He knew he had to properly reward his lioness later for the information but that would have to wait. Then he quickly spun around and he fired a killing curse at Harry. However, during the brief confusion of Hermione running into the hall and announcing that Bella had betrayed the Dark Lord, Snape had made his way closer to where Harry was standing. As the green jet of magical energy sped towards Harry, the former potions professor leapt through the air in front of Harry and the bolt of green light impacted on his chest and shoulder while Harry and Neville dove to the floor away from the curse.
Multiple pops sounded just outside of the main gate to Hogwarts as a dozen Aurors and Hit Wizards arrived.
"If the source that warned us about the attack at Diagon Alley is still as reliable with their information we may well be walking into quite the hornets nest," shouted Mad-eye Moody. "Constant Vigilance! If the Dark Lord is here, you better be good with your wand or you're not making it home tonight! Now get a move on and lets find out what's happening here at the school.
Moody was surprised that he did not feel the presence of any of the usual wards as they ran through the gate and up towards the castle. "This can't be good," he said to himself. The absence of any wards protecting the school was truly an ominous sign to him, and he wondered if any of the wizards and witches who were with him could tell that something was wrong. Silently he cursed Scrimgeour who insisted that they finish their reports from the attack at Diagon Alley before they went to check on the school.
As they approached the castle, several other people apparated directly onto the grounds next to them. Remus Lupin, Hestia Jones, Emmeline Vance and Bill Weasley had arrived representing the Order of the Phoenix. Moody looked them over quickly and barked out, "Good to have a little help, and apparently someone let you know the wards are already down. Now stop dilly-dallying an lets get going!"
Hogwarts, Great Hall
There was an initial shock on the part of everyone who was in the Great Hall. No on head expected that Severus Snape, of all people, would sacrifice himself to save Harry Potter. Voldemort himself stared for a moment at the still form of the man he thought was a trustworthy spy. The evening clearly had not been going the way he had planned. Not at all.
Then he looked back at Harry as he shouted out to his followers, "Feel free to kill them all, but Potter is mine!"
The three Gryffindor boys and the two Slytherin girls quickly conjured a wall in front of them to shield them from the sudden onslaught of curses and hexes that were aimed at them. Bellatrix started to cast hexes at her former allies while Hagrid merely began to run over several of the Death Eaters, taking them out of the battle just by his sheer weight and magical resistance.
There was then a wave of spells that came from behind the five students who were pinned down as the Aurors and the few members of the Order of the Phoenix arrived.
Hermione had jumped up on to the platform next to Voldemort as she stood by his side as she cats hexes and curses at her former friends.
Ron could barely believe his eyes as he watched the witch he thought he loved fire cutting curses and blasting hexes around the room. She looked more beautiful than he ever remembered, and the rage in her eyes was bewitching. He could hardly move as he watched her fight.
The groups were casting spells back and forth with few injuries being inflicted at first. A few of the Hogwarts teachers showed up and joined in the fight as there was debris and smoke all around from the effects of the spells.
Neville was clipped in the leg by a cutting curse and fell to the ground, letting his wand drop as he instinctively grabbed at the wound.
Ron was still mesmerized by the evil beauty of his former friend when he noticed that Neville had been hurt. The sight of Neville getting injured snapped him out of his enchantment and he ran to Neville's side. Hermione noted that Ron had let his guard down and immediately directed an overpowered blasting hex at the red headed young man. There wasn't even a scream as he was hit and suddenly dropped his wand as he collapsed on the floor.
Tom Riddle had realised that his wand did not seem to be responding like he thought it should. He could have sworn he saw Snape twitch, and many of his spells were not having the impact or the expected effects. Something was wrong. The Elder Wand should be overpowering his spells, not forcing him to work harder. In fact, if it was true that Snape had managed to survive the killing curse intended for Potter, then it was quite clear that there was no way that the wand in his hand was the fabled Death Stick. He quickly switched wands as he drew forth his original yew and phoenix feather wand. While this wand felt much better in his hand, he still thought that something was wrong, as the power he would normally feel flow from him through his wand felt different. However, there was a battle raging around him and the Dark Lord knew that he did not have the time presently to worry about the problem.
The first spell he cast was a blasting hex at the conjured wall that had been erected by the students with Potter. The wall immediately was reduced to a cloud of rubble and dust, although Voldemort felt that his spell should have caused an even more devastation but it was already clear to him that it was working better than the wand he had taken from the headmaster.
He then turned and faced the bane of his attempts to take over the magical world, The-Boy-Who-Lived. Te Dark Lord cast a body bind curse at the this boy who would not die. Harry had seen the snake-like man turn and face him and he immediately cast a shield spell with the Elder Wand which he had been using since Dumbledore had forfeited the wand to Harry earlier this day. The spell that was cast from the yew wand was dissipated by Harry's shield easily. The lack of interaction between the wands initially surprised the Dark Lord, and then he realised that Potter must have exchanged his wand for another. The realisation that creeped into Voldemort's mind was the only logical conclusion, that somehow Potter must be using the Elder Wand.
Left Side of the Great Hall
Bellatrix was taking on several Death Eaters in a duel. She had surprised so many of her former allies when she freed the half giant that she still had them unprepared for taking her on. While she no longer was under the influence of the amulet that caused her to be crazed and evil, she still had most of the skills she had gained after years of duelling, including learning duelling techniques from her father when she was young. Her husband and her brother-in-law were barely holding their own against her. Their own spells were being easily blocked and she was keeping them off balance with her attacks. After a few minutes of duelling she landed a bone breaking hex on Rabastan and then a blood-boiling hex on Rodolphus. Rabastan collapsed in pain, but managed to put up a shield, but as soon as he saw his brother fall after being hit by the particularly vicious curse he lost his concentration and his shield failed. Bellatrix did not miss with a reducto curse to his chest.
Bella was feeling fairly smug after dispatching both her husband and his brother. Then she heard a noise from behind her and as she spun around she saw a flash of bright pink. Then she felt a burning pain in her side. Looking down she saw that Scabior had stabbed her with a knife, and from the pain she could tell that it was poisoned.
Immediately she cast a blasting hex that caught Scabior in his chest. His sinister smirk quickly left his face as he felt his chest be blown away and then he collapsed and his eyes went dark.
Meanwhile, Tracey Davis had dodged a spell sent at her from one of the Death Eaters. As she dove for cover she tripped over the lifeless body of Ron Weasley. The shock of seeing him dead distracted her from the battle as she slid next to him and then cradled his head in her lap, weeping over the loss of life of one of her friends, even if she hadn't really known him very long.
In Front of Voldemort's Makeshift Throne
Harry and the Dark Lord were exchanging curses while shielding and dodging the spells cast by their opponent. As the Aurors and the Order of the Phoenix joined the fight, the remaining Death Eaters were quickly being subdued or eliminated. Anton Dolohov could tell that their forces were losing, and he couldn't be sure that the Dark Lord was actually going to defeat Potter, so he decided that he would help and he turned to face the young Gryffindor. As he was about to finish casting his spell, Daphne Greengrass came crashing into him from his side. She had seen the man prepare to attack Harry and she was so angry she didn't even think of casting a spell herself but just launched herself at the man to interrupt his spell casting. Dolohov's spell went wide as he was knocked to the floor. He quickly spun around and was about to attack Daphne when he was dropped by a stunner cast by Mad-Eye Moody.
The other battles that were ongoing throughout the Great Hall were winding down, but even so Harry was so focused on his duel with Riddle that he was able to block out all of those distractions. He could feel the power of the Elder Wand as he cast spell after spell. The Dark Lord's shields were easily being overwhelmed by the power of Harry's spells due to the power boost they received from Harry's wand. Harry could now sense that his opponent was weakened, probably due to the loss of all of his horcruxes. Harry cast a boating hex at Voldemort, but he easily jumped aside. However, the throne that he had made was now shattered. Harry could sense that the Dark Lord was off balance from his last move to avoid his attack so he cast a series of blasting hexes again at Voldemort and at the areas to either side. One of the curses caught him in the side as he was jumping to avoid another spell from Harry, but the force of the impact sent him flying backwards onto the rubble that was the throne only moments before.
Harry took a step closer and then stopped, as he could see that Voldemort was not moving from where he had landed. Harry quickly wiped glasses and he thought he could see a dark and thick liquid leaking from Riddle's mouth, and Harry could only assume that it was effectively the blood of the Dark Lord. Harry cautiously walked closer and it was clear that Voldemort was truly dead. Harry could see a large splintered piece of wood protruding from the Dark Lord's abdomen. The force of the blast had sent Voldemort backwards and he had been impaled on the remnants of his own throne.
Harry stared at the sight before him. He could hardly believe that it may actually be truly over. As the idea that the war finally at an end, Harry could feel the exhaustion in his body kick in. He staggered backwards slightly and then he started to fall. But Daphne was there to catch him. She took his body in her arms and gently guided him down to the floor.
Everyone in the hall stopped. The few remaining Death Eaters were so shocked by the defeat of their master that they dropped their wands. Even Hermione who had been standing the closest to Riddle when he fell lost her concentration and dropped her wand.
Tracey Davis looked up from where she was kneeling on the floor, holding Ron's body. She stood up quickly after she laid Ron back down on the floor. She drew her wand and approached the now defenceless woman who had become a traitor to her best friend.
"You bitch, he loved you!" screamed Tracey as she strode towards Hermione.
Tracey quickly cast several bludgeoning hexes, but Hermione had to move quickly to dodge them all. Tracey cast a cutting curse that the Gryffindor was barely able to avoid, but then she tripped and fell backwards. Hermione tried to crawl away from the quickly approaching Slytherin student whose eyes were red with anger and tears. Slowly Tracey raised her wand and pointed it at Hermione.
"I should kill you now for what you have done!" she spat at the brown haired girl who actually looked afraid.
A hand reached up and gently took a hold of her wand and pointed it away from Hermione.
"No," said Neville calmly, "that's their way. Don't follow them. Don't act like them. We can show mercy and kindness."
Tracey turned and looked at Neville's face and saw the pain he felt but the kindness he also had for everyone.
"But," protested Tracey, "she killed Ron…"
Neville reached out with both of his arms and Tracey collapsed into his embrace, and she began to cry.
Bellatrix had seen the defeat of the man she had served for years. The very same man who had corrupted her with the accursed amulet that had now been corrupting Hermione Granger. Bella knew she was dying, that the poison would take her life soon. Slowly she pulled herself up off of the floor and then made her way towards Harry. Several Aurors drew their wands on her, but Harry raised his hand and signalled them to stand down. Once she got close to him she collapsed onto her knees. She whispered in a hoarse voice and she explained to Harry how to remove the amulet from Hermione. As she finished telling him how to save his friend, she felt her body growing weak. Quickly she lunged for the young man in front of her, and pulled him to her as she kissed him hard on the lips. Harry was startled by the action and completely unprepared for what she had done. However, as soon as she had made contact with him, Harry felt her body go limp, and she slid down to floor. Bellatrix had died with a kiss stolen from Harry Potter being the very last thing she would ever do.
Harry felt the woman's lips press against his and then he felt her body slide down to the floor. He then stood up without taking his eyes off of Bellatrix's still body. Then after a minute he turned and approached where his former friend was seated on the floor, now bound by magical ropes cast by the Aurors. Neville initially stepped in between Harry and Hermione, but Harry silently shook his head and indicated for Neville to step aside. Harry then knelt down next to Hermione without saying a word to her, and he ignored her glares at him. Harry then reached out towards her chest as he quietly recited the words that Bella had just told him. Harry slowly extended his hand into Hermione's chest as she suddenly screamed at him to stop. Harry ignored her protest and then he withdrew his hand and pulled the amulet off of his friend's neck.
Harry stood up and tossed the amulet onto the floor, and then he pulled out the remaining basilisk fang he had wrapped in the satchel at his side. Harry looked at the simple metal amulet with various runes carved into it for just a moment before he slammed the poisonous tooth into the necklace. There was a sudden flash as sparks emitted from the amulet followed by a dark mist that quickly dissipated.
Harry looked back to his friend. Hermione had tried to reach her hands to her neck but the bindings were preventing her arms from moving. Tears welled up in her eyes as she seemed to have a fog lifted from her mind. Hermione looked around the room and then her eyes fixed onto the lifeless body of Ron Weasley. She shut her eyes tight as she screamed out loud and long, "NO!"
Minerva McGonagall and Mad-Eye Moody were trying to maintain order in the room as the battle was now over. Those who had been injured were being attended to by Madam Pomfrey as well as healers sent over by the ministry. The surviving Death Eaters had all been placed in magic inhibiting manacles by the Aurors as they prepared to bring them back to the DMLE headquarters for processing and official arraignment on the charges of insurrection, treason, inciting riots and any other possible crimes that would be appropriate.
The students who were in the room were silent from the shock of taking in everything that they had witnessed. Hermione Granger had killed Ron Weasley. Harry Potter had defeated Voldemort in front of many witnesses. Bellatrix Black Lestrange died after fighting for the side of the light. Then Harry had removed a cursed amulet from around Hermione's neck and she had responded by screaming out. Hermione wept for a minute and then she looked around the room. She closed her eyes again as she struggled against the magical bindings. Harry had quietly asked Mad-Eye to remove the restraints, which he reluctantly agreed to do.
Hermione felt the sudden release of her bonds and she opened her eyes. She looked up and into the green eyes of her best friend. Her first true friend, and he had saved her once again. But as she considered everything that happened throughout the day, she closed her eyes and collapsed on the floor. Harry moved quickly to her side and called out for someone to help. Madam Pomfrey had arrived next to Harry in a moment and then she quickly examined the fallen girl. Harry noticed the colour drain from the healer's face as she looked up at Harry. He could see tears welling up in her eyes. It was Harry's turn to cry out as he jumped forward and embraced the still body of his friend.
Harry lay there silently holding Hermione until Luna came and sat next to him. She reached out and gave Harry a slight hug. He turned to face the blonde Ravenclaw student. Harry looked at Luna and she could sense the unspoken questions: "Why? And, What happened?"
Luna's expression was one of sincere sympathy. She could feel Harry's pain at the loss of his friend. "Hermione thought she killed Ginny earlier today, she just killed Ron. She even tried to kill you and others here tonight." Her voice was calm and strangely unemotional as she explained this to Harry. She could sense that Harry had still more questions. "Her heart was broken. When you removed the amulet she fully understood just what she had done. It literally broke her heart. It is clear that she couldn't forgive herself for what she had done."
Harry was in shock. He felt like he was in a fog with all of the emotions he was experiencing. Then a thought dawned on him. Luna had stated that Hermione had thought she had killed Ginny. Bellatrix had told Harry that Ginny had been killed by Hermione. "Luna," said Harry softly, "you said Hermione only thought she had killed Ginny."
Luna smiled slightly as she answered her friend, "Yes, Harry Potter, that is what I said." She stared at him for a moment and then she realised that he was awaiting a further explanation. "Oh, well Ginny is alive, I can sense that. I think someone brought her to the Burrow."
Harry narrowed his eyes as he continued to stare at his mysterious and quirky friend. "How could you possibly know that?" he asked.
"Feathers," she said sadly.
"Excuse me?" gaped Harry, wondering if his friend had truly gone round the twist.
"Feathers," she sad again with an audible sigh. "I think they were Pigwidgeon's feathers. Surely you must remember Ron's owl. They were banished from somewhere and apparently they were inadvertently banished to my dorm room. I really have no idea why. At first I considered that it might have been a prank by one of my classmates, but then I recognised some of the feathers as belonging to Pigwidgeon. As I knew that Ron had sent a message home to his mother last week with his little owl, I surprised to find the feathers. The only thing that really makes sense is that Ginny sent her brother's owl back to warn him about Hermione and to let you all know that she is okay."
Harry was stunned by her comments. He had no idea how she had made so many leaps in logic, but then he was not about to question her any further on this topic. Harry was contemplating Luna's words when Daphne tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention. He looked up at her as he silently questioned just what she needed him for.
Daphne tilted her head to one side as she whispered, "Snape wants to speak with you."
Harry was stunned by those words for a couple of reasons. The first being that he had assumed that Snape had been killed by Voldemort, the second being that he couldn't imagine Snape wanting to speak with him, unless it was to make a nasty comment and give him detention.
Harry stood up and followed the blonde Slytherin student whom he had been growing quite fond of over the past day and came to find that the former potions professor was being tended to by his own head of house, Professor McGonagall.
Snape looked up at the green eyes that reminded him so much of the woman he had loved and betrayed. Harry could see the pain he was suffering and was about to ask what had happened.
McGonagall spoke through pursed lips, "Mr. Potter, it appears that the curse that Professor Snape was subjected to as he dove in front of you to shield you was not quite as powerful as any of us had thought. For some reason He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's killing curse did not kill him immediately, but it will ultimately still have the same result. He asked me to call you over as he wanted to speak to you one last time."
Harry was shocked, to say the least. The professor who seemed to enjoy making his life as miserable as possible since his first day of classes at Hogwarts had not only sacrificed himself to save Harry, but now he wanted his final words to be spoken to the dark haired and green eyed boy.
"I thought that I should tell you, what I did tonight, I did for your mother's memory," said the Slytherin head of house. "I always loved Lily. But, I could never forgive myself for betraying her to the…" His words cut out as he was wracked with spasms of pain.
"It was me," he finally managed to croak out, "I was the one who heard the prophesy as Trelawney delivered it to Dumbledore. I was the one who delivered the message to…" and again his words died as he had another fit of pain.
When the pain seemed to ebb, the dark eyes of the potions master looked at Harry as if they were pleading for something. Harry tried to guess what Snape was asking of him, and he wondered if he was actually going to ask for forgiveness. Then Snape's eyes seems to glass over and lost all colour. Harry could sense that Severus Snape had finally died.
Harry Potter, The-Boy-Who-Lived, stood up slowly as he felt varied emotions that started to overwhelm him. He looked around what was once the Great Hall. There was signs of the great battle that had just been waged everywhere. Shattered debris, scorched walls and floors from various spells. Several Death Eaters under the custody of the Aurors who had arrived. Several groups of other people, students, faculty and members of the Order of the Phoenix. Then there were the bodies. Professor Snape. Hermione Granger. Ron Weasley. Bellatrix Black Lestrange. Rabastan and Rodulphus Lestrange. But most importantly, was the remains of the one person who had claimed he could not die. Tom Marvolo Riddle. His body lay motionless, twisted and bent on the remains of his throne, the very throne which his body had become impaled on.
Harry considered the events of the past twenty-four hours. The other lives that had been lost, including the headmaster, his mentor. The ordeal was over. The war was over. The madman who had been hunting him since he was an infant was truly and finally gone. But at what price, he wondered. His very first friends he had ever made had been taken away from him. Suddenly, Harry Potter felt very much alone. The enormity of everything that had happened caught up with him. His eyelids were heavy from both physical and magical exhaustion. His mind could not process anything further has his heart was weighed down by the sadness of the loss of all of his friends. His muscles became weak and he could no longer support himself. Slowly he fell to the floor, barely able to register the hands of Daphne Greengrass and Neville Longbottom as they eased him down to the floor as he lost consciousness.
Tracey Davis had been looking on and then cast a tempus charm, noting that it was now 7:00 PM.
Luna Lovegood noted the time and then said to no one in particular, "I guess that means we missed dinner. I wonder if the house elves could bring us any pudding. I think everyone must be hungry."
AN: There will be an epilogue...
Thanks to all who have ventured this far and read this story. However, based on the lack of reviews and the lack of views, this story has not nearly been as popular as I had expect that it would be. And it has generated some of the worst reviews for any of my stories. However, it began as a simple concept in my mind and it became more of a personal challenge to figure out how to take the basic elements of the 6th and 7th book and have the story end in a 24 hour period...