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Harry Potter and the Destiny of Prophecies - 16. Chapter 16

June 1st dawned grey and clammy in the seventh year of Harry Potter’s education. It was very different than the day two years ago that had marked the beginning of his O.W.L. exams, and Harry had to admit that his life was very different as well. First, he didn’t wake up in Hogwarts, alone. Instead he woke up in his London home with his husband Draco Malfoy by his side.

Together they got ready for the day, and carried their traveling bags out to the waiting Ministry car. The car took them right to Kings Cross Station, and there they boarded the Hogwarts Express and made what would be their final journey to Hogwarts, at least as students. Unlike the September 1st train, this one only had two carriages.

In the first carriage Harry and Draco were joined by the retired Professors who made up the Wizarding Examination Authority. The second carriage was made up mostly of people who lived in Hogsmeade and had traveled to London for whatever reason. Harry was almost nervous about sitting with Professor Tofty, Marchbanks, and the others, but their immediate good cheer put him at ease immediately.

Truth be told, he was trying to forget what would happen when Voldemort read his message in the Daily Prophet this morning. He knew that the word ‘No’ was not what the man had been expecting, or hoping for, and Harry hoped the rage that resulted would not result in a hasty attack against innocent people. He didn’t want to feel the guilt for that, and he especially didn’t want to be distracted by such things when he was about to take his final N.E.W.T. exams.

When the train finally arrived at Hogwarts in the late afternoon, he helped the tiny Professor Marchbanks towards the waiting thestral-driven carriages. He recognized one of the thestrals that was tied to the carriage and left the elderly professor’s side for a moment to greet the creature. It seemed to remember him as well and let out a loud snort of pleasure as Harry ran his hand alongside its neck.

“How are you doing, Tenebrus?” Harry asked it, and it whuffed Harry’s hair gently. Harry patted its neck again and returned to the carriage to help Professor Marchbanks up. Professor Tofty followed, and Harry was surprised to see Draco was helping the other Professors into another carriage.

“Come on up, boy.” Professor Marchbanks said in a cheerful tone, loud as she ever was.

“Yes, ma’am.” Harry said with a smile, climbing into the carriage. It started moving as soon as he was seated.

“So, you know the Hogwarts thestrals, eh?” Professor Tofty asked with that weird smile of his.

“Ah, yes.” Harry said, surprised at the memory of riding them didn’t sting as much as it had before. “I could see them in my fifth year and Hagrid taught a class on them. Then, later in the year, some friends and I had to get somewhere fast, so we rode a few of them.”

“You’ve ridden a thestral?” Professor Marchbanks exclaimed in rather loud surprise.

“Er…yes.” Harry replied, shaking his ear out with a finger.

“Oh, well then you’ll definitely have no problem with your exams.” She said, then made a little shrug as if to say “oops.” Professor Tofty just grinned at him.

For the rest of their trip, they talked about other things, and it was Professor Tofty who mentioned that there was a new examiner this year, and that he’d already arrived at Hogwarts a day early. That surprised Harry since they only added new examiners when another became too old to continue testing, and they always picked a former Hogwarts Professor. Harry was wondering idly who it was, but got no hints from the two examiners riding with him. He didn’t have long to wait, though, as the carriages pulled up to the Hogwarts entrance and he helped the elderly professor climb out.

“Cor, ‘Arry, you’re lookin’ all grown up!” Hagrid’s familiar voice boomed out from the entrance. Harry turned rapidly and smiled broadly at the sight of the man who had rescued him all those years ago and introduced him to the wizarding world.

“Hagrid!” Harry shouted happily, running across the distance between them and wrapping his arms around the half-giant. Harry realized that Hagrid’s usual coarse clothing had been replaced with finer clothes, but the man’s arms wrapped around him in the same powerful hug Harry remembered and he just let himself feel the joy of being around the man again. He’d missed Hagrid’s presence ever since he moved to France, but he hadn’t realized just how much until now.

“You’re lookin’ good there, ‘Arry.” Hagrid rumbled as he ended the hug by placing his hands on Harry’s shoulder and moving Harry back so Hagrid could look at his robes.

“You’re not doing too bad for yourself either.” Harry said, checking his old friend out and seeing that he was dressed far better than he used to, and that his hair and beard were almost neatly groomed.”

“Olympe insists the ‘usband of Beauxbatons’s Headmistress look presentable.” Hagrid shrugged, blushing slightly.

“Married life agrees with you.” Harry said with a fond smile. Professor McGonagall was welcoming the other examiners, and Draco was moving towards them. He had a hesitant smile on his blond face.

“It agrees with you too.” Hagrid boomed as Draco neared them. “Malfoy.”

“Professor Hagrid.” Draco said with that hesitant smile on his face. “I take it you’re the mysterious new examiner they’ve been hinting at?”

“Ah am.” Hagrid answered sheepishly, ducking his head. “Olympe wouldna let me say no.”

“Good.” Draco said, his smile growing. “Your presence should spark quite a bit of concern in the students and distract them from scoring as high as Harry.”

“Draco, stop teasing.” Harry said lightly. Hagrid started laughing. They entered the premises as a group, though. Hagrid said farewell for now, and followed McGonagall and the other examiners into the staffroom while Harry and Draco headed to their old apartments. To their non-surprise, Pansy and Jeremy were there waiting for them with piles of paperwork ranging from their examination schedules to their social calendar for later in the month.

Luckily, Hermione came in after thirty minutes, arms laden with books and dragged them away to start their studying for their exams. Pansy tried to argue, but a glare from Hermione and short reminder that Pansy’s own exams were coming up sent the Slytherin girl running to the library, followed closely by Jeremy.

“Good.” Hermione said when the portrait had closed behind the two. “Now, the two of you didn’t do too well on your essays for herbology so let’s start there.”

It wasn’t until dinner time that she let them escape to the great hall. Harry found that he enjoyed the dinner, eating with students, and hearing their excited chatter about the last match of the year, Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw. He soon learned that Gryffindor pulled the Quidditch Cup out of their opponent’s hands by a mere ten points, the skinniest margin in ages, and that as long as disaster didn’t strike in the next few weeks, Gryffindor House would claim the House Cup as well for the seventh year in a row.

Switching from discussing world-shaking topics like new education systems and the war against Voldemort, to topics like the House Cup and Quidditch, relaxed Harry tremendously. He found himself looking forward to the next three weeks. The Ministry had only wanted him to leave for the bare minimum time to take his remaining exams. Harry however, wanted to enjoy the last few weeks of school. He knew it was his last chance to be a student, and he also knew that Voldemort was likely to attack the school, and he had to be here for that.

Of course he couldn’t just blurt that out to the Minister, so instead he’d gotten Arthur Weasley to throw a fit that Harry’s last moments of childhood were being stolen.

It was after dinner when a ‘study group’ formed in their private apartments. Hermione was there of course, as were Jeremy, Pansy, Vincent, and Greg. They were the group that had been working on exactly how Voldemort could be killed, and they had said they had something ready. Dobby, excited to see them back at Hogwarts, had provided a virtual feast of biscuits and other treats along with tea before disappearing. The single painting in the room was spelled so that anything they said would not be heard, and the relaxation of being around his fellow students faded from Harry as they began to discuss business.

“The biggest thing we had to get around was the misperception that you, Harry, were the only wizard to survive the killing curse.” Hermione began once things were secure. “You see, when the curse backfired after Voldemort cast it on you, he disappeared. Most people assumed he’d died, but as we found out years later, he did survive.”

“Although not as well as you did, obviously.” Jeremy broke in, his eyes shining much like Hermione’s were. “He was seriously weakened and deformed, but the spells and potions he’d used to make him as immortal as possible protected him. We talked with Professor Snape since he knew a great deal about those things, and he was quite helpful.”

“What we learned is that even if you use the killing curse on him, he’ll likely survive.” Hermione continued. “Most of the other spells that can kill someone will likely also have a similar result.”

“That’s when we thought of transfiguration.” Vincent Crabbe said smoothly. “But the truth is that he’s so powerful any transfiguration you can work he would likely reverse instantly.”

“What it boiled down to is that the spells he used ties his soul to the physical world, but differently than how ghosts remain behind after death.” Greg Goyle added. “His physical form, on death, shrinks into that thing you saw during fourth year, but he’s able to survive and even grow stronger again with certain potions. Then he performs the resurrection potion and is as strong as ever again. You can defeat him this time, but now that his followers know how to get him back, he won’t be gone for a decade, but will be right back in action within weeks.”

“So, what have you figured out?” Draco demanded. He hated summaries of stuff he already knew and dealing with Americans who seemed to do nothing but summarize had made him very short tempered in that area.

“We haven’t figured out a way to break the tie between his soul and the physical anchor into this world.” Hermione admitted.

“But your message said you’d figured out how to beat him once and for all!” Draco nearly shouted, his face going slightly red with anger. Everyone but Harry flinched, and Harry put his hand on Draco’s arm to calm him down. Draco took a deep breath and relaxed slightly, motioning for Hermione to continue. She took a deep breath before doing so.

“We haven’t figured out how to break the link holding his spirit to a physical anchor, yet.” She said slowly. “That doesn’t mean we won’t, and that doesn’t mean we haven’t found a way to change his physical anchor from his body to something else.”

“What do you mean, something else?” Harry asked.

“This.” Hermione said softly, holding up a small necklace in her hand. It was a silver chain, with a small crystal sphere. She handed it to Harry, who took it in his hands. He could feel magic in it, and it felt very strong.

“How does this work?” Harry asked softly.

“Simple, really.” Vincent said slowly. “When you kill Voldemort, you wait about thirty seconds, and then cast the switching spell Hermione’s devised. It’s a derivation of two other spells, and as closely as we can tell it should work. We’ve tested it out at Malfoy Manor since you guys have been so busy. Mr. Malfoy was quite glad to help.”

“Why did you have to go somewhere to test the spell?” Harry asked.

“Because it’s dark magic.” Hermione said in a very low voice. “I had to test it myself because I was the only one who could get away without raising suspicion. Mr. Malfoy helped me with a portkey from Hogsmeade, so I’d go see Neville and then take off to the Manor. He also helped me because I’d never done dark magic before.”

“I bet father was…intrigued.” Draco said with a slight smile.

“Well, he’s gotten over the whole ‘mudblood in my home’ thing since the wedding.” Hermione said with a wicked grin. “Still, I think ‘helping a mudblood perform dark magic’ had him quite discombobulated.”

“Okay, teach me the spell.” Harry said. “I’ll practice it this weekend at home since we’re supposed to go back to London for a dinner on Sunday.”

“Where you going for dinner?” Jeremy asked with a puzzled look. “It’s not on your social calendar. You just told me to block off the weekend.”

“Prime Minister’s.” Harry replied. “Ministry business.”

“Oh, yes, Ministry business.” Vincent said with his nose upturned. “We must leave you lowly little students for our evening meal with the Prime Minister.”

“Shut up, Vin.” Draco growled as everyone chuckled. As Harry put the charmed necklace around his neck and fixed the clasp, he felt as if he was putting the fate of the world squarely onto his shoulders.

“So, once the spirit of Voldemort is contained inside, we just have to find the way to sever the link permanently.” Hermione said, continuing on with business. “Until then, as long as he’s held in the crystal he will be powerless, unable to communicate or interact with anyone in any way. I’m sure you won’t want to leave the thing lying around anywhere, but once the spell is performed you can have Draco or anyone else you trust wear it. The only danger of course will be if someone gets a hold of it and destroys it.”

“Then his soul would be released.” Draco said, and smiled at her confirming nod.

“Okay, so let’s talk about the N.E.W.T.s” Harry said with a smile. “None of you appear ‘nearly exhausted’ so obviously we haven’t been studying hard enough.”

“Shut up.” Pansy groaned aloud as Jeremy and Hermione began pulling books out.


“So, wonder boy, how do you think you did?” Draco purred as Harry sat next to him on the couch in their Hogwarts sitting room. Harry leaned into the open arms of his husband and let out a big sigh.

“I think I got an ‘A’ on everything except Care of Magical Creatures.” Harry sighed. Sure, two years ago he’d have been happy with so many “A” grades, but not now, when everyone would be examining his scores so in-depth. “I’m pretty sure I got an ‘O’ in Care though. I mean, the practical was all about thestrals. No wonder they were laughing when we got into the carriages the other week.”

“Well, that’s not too bad considering everything we have going on.” Draco reminded him.

“Oh yeah?” Harry retorted with a chuckle. “Tell me how you think you did.”

“I got ‘O’ in everything of course.” Draco said with a wry grin, tightening his grip on Harry. “But then I spent more time on my schoolwork than you did. Plus, I Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, and the other courses, are all things I’ve taken since third year and rely mostly on theory you learn between third and fifth year.”

“Shove it, pig.” Harry growled, grinding an elbow into Draco’s ribs for a moment. They both chuckled.

“I’m exhausted.” Draco sighed after a few minutes of comfortable silence.

“So am I.’ Harry agreed. “Still, I promised I’d go by the Gryffindor party tonight, and you promised to go to the Slytherin party.

“Don’t remind me.” Draco groaned.

They sat there for another fifteen minutes or so before getting up and heading to their respective common rooms. Harry enjoyed the party in the Gryffindor common room. It was bittersweet as he realized that this really would be the last time he ever entered that room as a student, and member of Gryffindor House. He noticed the same looks in Hermione’s face, and several of the other seventh year Gryffindors as well. As the party wound down, they sat around each other, just staring into each others faces for longer and longer periods of time.

Finally, Harry got up and gave each of them a sincere hug before leaving. Lavender and Parvati were both crying openly as Harry left with Hermione at his side. Of them all, those two were the ones with the least contact with the others. Both of them had plans for after school that took them in different directions. Seamus, surprisingly, had been accepted for Auror training. Harry almost felt wistful that Seamus was going where Harry had once wanted to go, but he knew that path was no longer open to him.

As he walked Hermione back to her Head Girl’s room, they discussed the weekend. There was a meeting she had arranged for him in the morning, followed by a trip to the flat to visit Neville and Katie’s little boy. Harry was actually looking forward to an afternoon with both boys, full of nothing but playtime and fun. Then they’d be going back to Hogwarts for another planning session. Graduation was next week, and Harry and Draco would be staying until the last day.

Word was that Voldemort was gathering forces together and everybody was on edge. The Ministry had scheduled meetings in Paris the day after graduation to discuss likely moves that Voldemort was going to make. There had been several near-frantic floo calls from London, worried that the opening move of the battle was about to happen.

Harry had told Minister Millieu that he was quite certain the first moves would be weeks away.

It wasn’t an outright lie. He didn’t know exactly when Voldemort was going to move, he just suspected. Still, he was almost absolutely certain that the move would take place on the final day of the term. The ‘big finale’ hadn’t happened for Harry’s interrupted school year yet, and it was a tradition that hadn’t failed during his attendance at Hogwarts. Something always happened that ended his school year with a bang.

He slept nervously that night, tossing and turning several times. It was a good thing Draco was such a sound sleeper or he wouldn’t have slept much either. Harry worried over the pendant he was wearing. Would it work? Would Voldemort wait until the last day of the term to attack as Harry expected or would he do it sooner? Would he change his mind and attack at a different time, maybe after Harry had left?

When Draco finally woke that morning, Harry sighed with relief at no longer being alone with his worries. Draco just chuckled at him and drew him into the bathroom for a nice, long hot soak, and a little playing that left him much more relaxed. During breakfast, they received a floo call that settled the little doubts that had kept him up all night.

“Ah, good, both of you are here.” Lucius Malfoy’s head said from the fireplace. Harry jumped slightly, earning himself an amused glance from the older man.

“Good morning, father.” Draco said cheerily as he buttered his toast.

“Good morning, son.” Mr. Malfoy seemed almost cheerful. “How did your exams go?”

“Excellent.” Draco responded.

“How did yours go, Harry?”

“Good.” Harry mumbled, quickly taking a gulp of pumpkin juice.

“It’s good to hear that you’re finally done with the last bits of your schooling at Hogwarts.” Lucius Malfoy drawled. “Now it’s time to get on with the rest of your lives.”

“Does that mean you’ve had word?” Draco asked nonchalantly, taking a bite of his toast.

“Yes, it does.” Lucius Malfoy’s grin was almost feral. “Voldemort’s gathering his forces for an attack on the school. He’s arranged portkeys that will take them to right outside the grounds and they’ll break through the wards from there. He even has a diversionary force to prevent reinforcements from Hogsmeade and reserves to prevent attacks from the rear by Auror and MLE forces.”

“How many people, and what allies?” Harry asked, surprised at how steady his hand was.

“He’s got six hundred wizards and witches gathered for the attack.” Lucius Malfoy said, and Harry’s heart thumped at his words. There’d never been an army that large of wizards and witches before.

“That’s impossible!” Draco muttered, his eyes wide. “That almost outnumbers all the Aurors and MLE types from all the countries added together!”

“The good news is that most of them aren’t well-trained in magical combat.” Mr. Malfoy said quickly before Harry’s now-shaking hand could drop the goblet of pumpkin juice.

“Just how well-trained are they?” Harry asked weakly, managing to take another gulp of the juice.

“Based on what I saw when I visited the school last month, your third year students could take them out even with two to one odds.” Lucius’ voice held a tinge of humor to it as he spoke. “He’s dragged everyone he can scrape up into following him. They haven’t worked together as a team, they have no discipline, and they aren’t very practiced at using their magic on someone who is ready to fight back. The real danger lies in his allies.”

“What does he have for allies?” Harry asked, dreading the answer.

“Three tribes of mountain trolls, one Giant clan, four werewolf packs, two herds of bicorns, three banshees, several dozen ashwinders, as well as several other poisonous snakes of all types, a basilisk, and several other creatures, the types of which I’m not familiar with.”

“Seamus is just going to love this.” Harry muttered. “He’s scared of banshees.”

“Sweet Merlin!” Draco exclaimed. “How did he amass so much strength?”

“He’s had a free hand pretty much for the last six months.” Lucius Malfoy said with a stern glare at Harry. “We knew he wouldn’t sit around, but to be fair I didn’t expect him to reach out to the nonhumans so effectively. From what I’ve heard about things, his successes in the last few months with the eastern countries brought a lot of these beasts to believe he could succeed. He’s quite certain that taking, or at least causing tremendous damage to Hogwarts, as well as killing you Harry, will bring everyone else in the wizarding world to their knees.”

“He’s quite right about that.” Harry said. “Even if he doesn’t get me, Hogwarts remains the best protected place in the wizarding world. Causing enough damage to it and escaping would make everyone scared of his abilities. It’s time we put most of our cards on the table with certain people.”

“I agree.” Mr. Malfoy said cautiously. “I will be making a call on the Headmistress and asking that she allow me, and the parents of several other students graduating this year to attend the Leaving Feast.”

“That would be…helpful.” Harry said. “We’ll talk with the Headmistress as well.”

“I’ll leave the two of you to your breakfast.” Lucius said with a grim smile right before his head disappeared. Harry looked at his food with no appetite as visions of Hogwarts burning to the ground filled his head. He was starting to shudder when the clatter of a knife and fork broke into him. He looked up to see Draco eating calmly.

“How…how can you be eating after hearing that?” Harry muttered.

“We need to keep our strength up if we’re going to win.” Draco said primly. He looked at Harry’s plate with a stern gaze. “You need to eat as well. I remember the way you always barely touched anything before a Quidditch match and I won’t stand for that now. Eat your food.”

“But…” Harry protested, his stomach rolling.

“Harry, people are going to look at you in the coming days.” Draco said in a firm voice. “We are both leaders now, and people gain their confidence from us. Do you ever remember Dumbledore looking like he was hopeless? Do you remember the confidence you always got from the way he acted normally even when things were falling apart around him? You told me how he was in his office that time Fudge and Umbridge found out about the D.A.”

“Yeah, and I also remember a very nicely executed tripping jinx.” Harry snorted, taking a deep breath and pushing the anxiety he was feeling away. Draco was right. Dumbledore had always kept that twinkle in his eyes until the danger had passed, the crisis over. He had always been a bastion of strength, and a stalwart pillar for everyone to look at in times of trouble. No matter how much she tried, and how much strength she had, Minerva McGonagall was not the same in those regards. Harry knew that as the only wizard to survive Voldemort’s repeated efforts to kill him the wizarding world now looked to their Golden Boy in the same way that they had once looked at Albus Dumbledore.

He no longer had even the thin, veiled protection of Hogwarts to shield him from the expectations of the wizarding world. He vaguely remembered the time when he wanted to be normal, but that time was so long past that Harry knew it would never come again. Maybe one day, he’d be able to do what Dumbledore had done, and take a position at Hogwarts to stay out of the spotlight, but he knew that day was far off. For now there was too much work to be done.

“There, that’s better.” Draco said softly as Harry leaned forward and resumed eating, a determined look on his face. “Now just remember your Harry Potter Trademark Look.”

“Huh?” Harry snorted, having just taken a bite of egg.

“You know, that shy little look you get when you’re nervous.” Draco continued on, doing an imitation. “You look down at the floor, then up at whoever you’re talking to through your bangs, and you begin your sentence with the word ‘Er’ and you blush ever so slightly. There! Just like that!”

Harry just looked at Draco like he was crazy, and then realized he was in exactly the same pose that Draco had been describing. He started laughing softly, and then began to wonder just how crazy Draco was for even bringing that up.

“Look.” Draco said firmly, obviously seeing the indecision on Harry’s face. “Dumbledore had the twinkle in his eye, I have the patented Malfoy smirk. You have that little shy look. Trust me, it melts everyone who sees it into little puddles, ready for your molding. Just use that when you’re about to give an important speech and everyone will be your plaything.”

“But I can’t control it!” Harry snapped, and realized he’d just walked into Draco’s trap when his husband smiled mischievously.

“You just haven’t practiced enough!” Draco retorted, and then set about making Harry practice. That took up their entire morning, and Harry realized that it was time for their meeting. They left their apartment together and climbed up to the Room of Requirement. Harry contemplated his need for this meeting and the door appeared. Hermione, who had been the first to arrive as per the plan, had thought about what was needed, and the Room had responded with a hall big enough to hold nearly eighty students. A dais on the far side of the room had a single wood podium, and Harry noticed that Hermione stood there along with Seamus, Luna, Pansy, and a few other seventh years. The room had been filled with the muted buzz of eighty people conversing with their neighbors, but that dropped into stone silence as people noticed the two new arrivals. Smiling and murmuring softly to people they knew, Harry led his husband up onto the dais. There were a few chairs and everyone but Hermione and Harry.

“I want to thank everyone for coming.” Hermione began, her voice ringing clearly around the room. “For many of us this will be our last weekend as Hogwarts students, and taking time out of your last weekend here is an honor for me, and for Harry. I promise you that it will be worth your time. While Harry Potter has spent most of this last school year away from Hogwarts, I do believe that he has still touched all of us greatly. Everyone here has been regular participants in the D.A. meetings, and have been identified as among the best in those sessions as well as in your classes. You’ve helped your classmates out, and have proven yourselves to be leaders here at Hogwarts, and likely to be leaders when you graduate. The news you have been invited here to receive is not good news, but it is news that will affect us all. We ask that you do not reveal what you are about to learn until the time is right. Now, I’m going to turn this over to my good friend, Harry Potter.”

At Hermione’s introduction, a swelling of applause filled the room. Someone from a corner of a room started chanting Harry’s first name. As Harry stood at the podium, he looked down at the wood of the podium, and blushed. He realized he was doing that Harry Potter Trademark Look without even thinking about it, and his shy grin grew wider.

“Er…thanks.” Harry said softly, and realized there was some type of sonorous spell on the podium that made his voice fill the room without being overly loud. The chanting calmed down as he spoke. He looked up from the podium to see all of the students looking at him expectantly, and Draco’s words about Dumbledore and hope reminded him that he had to be strong now. When he spoke again, his voice was filled with a confidence he didn’t really feel, but knew they needed.

“Seven years ago I came to Hogwarts, wide-eyed with wonder at the sight of this grand, old castle. For me, and for several of you as well, Hogwarts represented a mysterious world I didn’t know existed until just a few days before I came here. Since then, I and all of us really, have learned many things about how to fulfill the potential that lies within us. However, the journey to where we are now has not been an easy one.

“Every year, as students we have faced tests by our Professors, and tests set by each other. Some of us have faced more tests, tests where we risked more than a bad grade or public embarrassment, but rather we risked our lives. I know that many people have said that since I came to Hogwarts, the school has seen more dangers and peril than ever before.

“To a large extent, that statement is true. Contrary to the belief held by several students, including the blond Slytherin I trapped into marrying me,” Harry had to pause here as several people laughed. “Okay, maybe he was the one who trapped me. Anyway, what I was saying is that despite what some people might believe, I never did really seek the dangers that came to Hogwarts at the same time I did. However, like the idiot I can be at times, I just had to stick my curious nose into things and try to solve the mysteries I saw.

“During my First Year, it was the Philosopher’s Stone, and the fact that Professor Quirrell was carrying Voldemort in that ugly, stinky turban. During my Second Year, it was that the magical diary of Tom Riddle, the Hogwarts student who later became Lord Voldemort, had possessed a student and opened the Chamber of Secrets. In my Third Year, it was that my Godfather, Sirius Black, who was wrongfully accused of betraying my parents and killing thirteen people, was in fact innocent. My Fourth Year was the Tri-Wizard Tournament, and I fell into a trap set by Voldemort himself.

“That was my first confrontation with a strong, capable Voldemort since I was one year old.” Harry said, taking a deep breath as he reached this point in his speech. “I barely escaped with my life, and Cedric Diggory died within a few moments of meeting Voldemort. During fifth year, I fell into another trap set by Voldemort, and my godfather Sirius Black died in a battle at the Ministry itself. Yes, I know most of you didn’t know that, but I was lured to the Ministry by Voldemort. He tricked me into thinking that he had my godfather held there, and I fell for his trick.

“My godfather and his friends came to my rescue then.” Harry said, sadness filling his voice, and his eyes were wet, but he held onto his control. “He died at the wand of Bellatrix Lestrange. It was only the arrival of Dumbledore, and his duel with Voldemort himself, that kept me from dying as well that night. It was only luck that kept his goal in luring me to the Ministry out of his hands.

“What was his goal?” Harry asked rhetorically. He could see everyone leaning forward slightly. Most didn’t know this story at all, and he experienced a moment of pure pleasure at having them so interested. “His goal was a prophecy.”

“I know that anyone who has taken a class by Professor Trelawney has wondered why Albus Dumbledore hired her.” Harry continued, and smiled as several people shouted their agreement with that statement. “The reason, I found out after the Ministry attack, was that when he interviewed her for the position, Sybill Trelawney gave a true prophecy. At the time, Voldemort’s forces were ravaging the wizarding world. Nothing seemed able to stop him. The prophecy Professor Trelawney uttered said that one would be born who would either kill, or be killed by Voldemort.”

The room erupted into excited chatter at Harry’s news and he let it continue for a few moments. When he thought it had gone on long enough, he held up his hand and motioned for silence. It took a few minutes, but he got the silence and he noted with a pleased smile that he now had their undivided attention.

“An agent of Voldemort heard part of this prophecy and told it to his lord.” Harry continued. “From what his agent heard, Voldemort knew that it had to be one of two boys born at the end of July. It was either Neville Longbottom or me. Since he had an agent close to my parents, he attacked my family’s home killing my parents and nearly killing me. The prophecy was brought into play, because it said he would mark the one who could kill him as his equal, and this scar so many of you have looked at over the years is that mark.”

This time the room erupted into a wild clamor as everyone began speaking to each other at once. Again, Harry let it continue until it started to die down. As people once again began looking at him instead of their neighbors, he noticed that they’d moved several steps closer to the dais where he stood on. It was all he could do not to chuckle.

“During my sixth year,” Harry continued when the room was again silent, “Voldemort attacked twice. The first time he nearly achieved killing me, but for the timely rescue by my husband, Draco, and several of you, my fellow students. Neville gave his life in that fight, another one of our fellow students fallen to the malice of Voldemort. Later, he attacked us at the Kings Cross Station, and he learned there that it wasn’t just me he had to fear.”

“Damn RIGHT!” Several students shouted out and Harry smiled at them.

“That’s right.” Harry said with a wide grin. “He learned then that it wasn’t just me he had to fear, but the entire student body of Hogwarts. Together we taught him that we aren’t sheep to be slaughtered at his whim, and he retreated. He fled England and went to Europe where Hogwarts could not bother him.

“Since then, I’ve been working closely with the Ministry and others to limit his power, but he has succeeded in luring many people to his cause. However, Hogwarts remains a thorn in his side, because we have handed him defeat time and time again when he has moved against us. That is why, I believe, he is preparing now to make us the first casualty of the war he is about to begin.”

Murmurs now filled the room, and he noticed people were scared. He didn’t let that continue, like he had the past moments of outburst. Instead he cleared his throat and immediately regained their attention.

“Even as I speak to you, he is amassing an army.” Harry said in a grim voice, and he noticed several people going pale. “He has gathered an army of hundreds of wizards and witches, he has gathered dark creatures to him, and on the last day of the term, he intends to attack and destroy Hogwarts, and kill many of us.”

“WE WILL NOT LET THAT HAPPEN.” Harry’s voice overran the sudden outburst, and everyone focused on him. “This army he has collected, is not a true army. They are hundreds of individuals, most of who have not spent more than a few hours practicing against someone who can cast spells back at them. They have not spent a tenth of the time you have learning how to fight, and they are not prepared for the strength you have within you.

“Voldemort intends to destroy Hogwarts as the first battle of his new war.” Harry’s voice was now ringing throughout the room, and filled with a confidence he did not know he possessed. “I intend, with your help, to make it the last battle the wizarding world ever faces with him. When he comes, with your help, I will fulfill the Prophecy and kill Voldemort once and for all!”

This time his voice was drowned by the cheers of his fellow students. He mentally blessed Hermione for outlining this speech for him. The words were his own, but the way he said them, and the order, came from her. She’d said: ‘Give them the bad news, make them wonder how they were going to survive, and then give them the hope that it will be the end.’

She’d been right, as had Draco.

“Make no mistake.” Harry’s voice quieted the room once again. “The Professors will be at our side in this fight, as will Aurors and the Ministry. However, it will be us, the students of Hogwarts, who will be remembered as the people who defeated the greatest Dark Lord of the age. He has hung as a shadow over all of us for our entire lives. His memory, his ghost, has tainted what should have been the happiest years of our life, and when he comes to take our lives, we will instead take his and reclaim our freedom!”

This time the cheers continued on for several minutes, and Harry was surprised that the entire school wasn’t wondering where the noise was coming from. Harry again motioned for silence. It took longer this time, and he smiled at the students.

“Er…okay.” Harry said when at last he got the silence he’d been requesting. “Here’s how we’re going to do this. First of all, I have to face Voldemort, and it has to be here on the Hogwarts campus where he can’t disapparate or portkey to safety. Hermione, Seamus, and Vincent Crabbe have been working on designing squads. Each squad will be composed of, or led by the students you see here. Everyone else, especially the lower years, will be taken to the safe room just like in the last attack. However, the groups organized here will be given specific tasks to handle during the actual battle. Since Draco and I work with the Ministry on their planning for such attacks around the world, we know how they will react and are able to take that into account. What we, the students of Hogwarts will be doing is cutting a straight line to Voldemort where I will duel him, and kill him. Yes, I do believe I can face him now, and win. I am ready. Now, Hermione is going to take the podium again and begin to call out names for squad leaders and squad assignments. Thank you.”

With that, Harry stepped back and let Hermione take charge. Harry then led a quick discussion with the others on the dais about the types of creatures they’d be facing. He felt drained after his speech and Draco whispered in his ear that maybe he should just head to Hogsmeade now. Harry agreed and left the room, heading out of Hogwarts without being stopped by anyone before he got out of the entrance. He ran over his speech again and realized he’d done very well indeed.

“Heya Harry.” Katie said happily as he entered the flat. She had both boys in her arms and he smiled at them and at her. She took one look at him, chuckled slightly and leaned forward, urging him to take Neville. Sure enough, once he had the growing boy in his arms, he felt better and laughed as Neville gurgled happily, grabbing Harry’s hair and pulling hard.

“Stop that, Neville.” Harry said, not really meaning it. Neville just stared at him before yanking again. Harry chuckled. Katie had gone into the boys’ room, and from the slight smell, she was changing her son’s diaper.

“Hey, Harry.” Katie’s voice called from the room. “There’s a letter for you on the counter. I think it’s from Fred and George since everyone normally writes to you through your secretaries.”

“It better not be a gag gift.” Harry moaned, but inwardly hoped it was. He made sure to keep a tight grip on Neville in case it was a gag and picked up the envelope. Sure enough it had something inside of it, and he noticed the ‘WWW’ in the upper right corner. He was pretty sure it was from Fred and George, so he opened the letter. His eyes were half closed in case it would make a loud noise, but nothing happened. Inside was a letter and a small Chudley Cannons pin. Harry frowned at the reminder that gave him of Ron. He pulled out the letter, holding Neville in one hand and dumping the pin into his open palm with the other. He’d just read the one word on the letter, ‘Surprise!’ when he felt the tug behind his navel that announced he was holding a portkey. His scream of rage was cut off before it had even begun as the swirls of color and noise surrounded him and the baby in his arms.

© 1997-2022 J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury Publishing, Scholastic Press; All Rights Reserved; Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling and her fine people. This story belongs to dkstories.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction that combine worlds created by the original content owner with names, places, characters, events, and incidents that are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, companies, events or locales are entirely coincidental. Authors are responsible for properly crediting Original Content creator for their creative works. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Guess the battle will include a baby...Neville Longbottoms baby..no took that into account did they.

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What the hell has Ron gone and done now? Hermione will kill him if anything happens to her son. Good cliff hanger, thanks.

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