Without you - Matt
HERE AT THE END
All credit goes to JKR, and for as far as this story goes, nothing is mine except the plot (which was partly stolen too :P).
It is possible that my English sentences are not always correct, so forgive me my mistakes and let it know in a comment.
Chapter One: Here at the end
Here they stood, side by side. Like always, people would say, but the question was whether it was to stay like this forever.
Ron, Hermione and Harry were about to enter the battlefield, which already claimed many victims on both sides. It took them great effort not to look at the still bodies lying al over the place. It was time for them to make their appearance, they had remained behind for the first few hours of the battle, according to the plan made; they could not have risked Harry’s life, for he was the only one who could defeat Voldemort himself. How much Harry would have liked to join in on the first signal of action, he couldn’t let his emotions take control, not yet. Though the Prophecy also told that Voldemort was the only one who could kill Harry, they all knew that he wouldn’t stand a chance if not fully rested and prepared.
Now they were prepared, Harry was ready to face Voldemort and his friends would be there on his side. He did protest to the idea of them being so close to the danger, but Hermione left him no choice. Either he would take them and they would fight together, or he could refuse their help, and they would still fight, just not with him; for the sake of the Wizarding World and for revenge of the fallen on their side. And Harry knew they’d be better off with him, because he could protect them and he would if needed.
The time to think had gone, it was time to act.
‘Be careful, you two,’ Hermione said.
Harry merely nodded, while Ron simply shrugged. They had gotten used to it, after facing all the danger they had. A simple warning, but Harry knew in his heart that he wouldn’t follow it this time. There were things needed to be done and he would do them, at all cost. His life seemed just a small price to save the world from a terrible fate; he didn’t want to die, but he wouldn’t hesitate to give it all up, just to know that all the others would be happy once again.
A jet of red light thrown at Ron was the beginning of their last battle together, but this fact was not known to them, and lucky for them they didn’t. Ron casted a simple shield charm and the stunning spell was reflected to the caster who sunk to the ground after the impact. Harry ran into the battlefield and Death Eaters dropped down by the dozens, surprised by the sudden change of events and struck by the sheer power that Harry erupted. Hate fuelled their spells, but it didn’t matter now; whether it was hate or love, Voldemort had to be defeated somehow and rage was easily provoked.
Soon the Death Eaters were outnumbered and with the overweight of the combined forces of the Order and the Ministry the ones still standing were surrounded.
It was going well for their side, but Harry knew it was all just temporary, soon Voldemort would show himself and that was when the real test begun. Voldemort too seemed to think this really was the final battle, the battle that would decide the fate of the world.
And he wasn’t disappointed; Voldemort arrived together with the Death Eaters inner circle, they freed the remaining Death Eaters from the Ministry officials and now the odds began to turn for the Dark Side once more. Green lights emitted from their wands, causing total chaos. Harry ran across the field, searching for Voldemort, wanting to end this as soon as possible.
Amid all the people frantically running around and fighting, he lost his two best friends out of his sight and it was better for them this way. He couldn’t afford them becoming the target of Voldemort’s mind games; he already got weak in his knees thinking about it. Finally he found him; he wasted no time and shot the first spell coming into his mind.
The curse was easily deflected, but at least he got Voldemort’s attention and it stopped him from killing countless others. Voldemort walked towards him self-consciously, looking very determined to finish off what he had been trying to do for the past seventeen years, ridding the world of Harry Potter.
‘Foolish boy, it takes more than that to take me out,’ he spat.
‘I know,’ Harry shot back, ’INCENDIO!’
A burst of flames shot from the point of his wand, but Voldemort simply disappeared to reappear just behind Harry.
But Harry learned from his training and disappeared the moment Voldemort fired the curse. He had trained the most part of the past year, reaching the level beyond a fully trained Auror, but he most likely still was no match for Voldemort. It wasn’t totally hopeless though, Harry still had a secret weapon up his sleeve and the time was nearing to put it to a use. Not yet, be patient, Harry, he thought to himself. There would be only one chance and failure was not an option.
‘EXPECTO PATRONUM!’ yelled Harry and his white stag appeared and tried to obscure Voldemort’s sight. Voldemort quickly summoned his own Patronus, not surprisingly a snake, and Harry let his Patronus dissolve in thin air, just before the snake reached it. The ghostly snake now went after Harry, but upon contact with his skin, it just dissolved, not being designed to harm humans. These were just small pricks from both sides, while waiting for the other one to make a mistake. They circled around each other and the fights around them began to stop, not one wanting to miss the duel between the two most powerful wizards alive.
Harry was nervous, so much depended on this duel, he saw Voldemort walking around like he was just enjoying a walk out in the evening. It was time to go for some serious action, Harry sent a barrage of spells towards Voldemort; something he had learned from Kingsley. To his surprise Voldemort actually had trouble deflecting all the curses, had he really become stronger than Voldemort? He kept firing one spell after another and after what seemed hours of fighting Voldemort got hit, with a blinding spell, a spell which proofed to be very useful every time. Voldemort stumbled backwards covering his eyes with his white hands. Harry walked up to him, prepared to do what had to be done.
But suddenly Bellatrix appeared out of nowhere, defending her master, while he was trying to recover himself from the shock and the loss of sight.
‘Potter, you’re mine,’ she whispered menacingly. And she started to fire several curses, but not one managed to reach Harry, but he had no time to take care of her now. He tried to stun her several times, but she was very agile and ducked away. He was getting really desperate, knowing Voldemort wouldn’t be this vulnerable for long and knowing he did not have the energy to make another full attack on him.
‘Leave her to me,’ he heard Hermione’s voice running towards the scene, ‘you just do what you have to, don’t worry about me.’
Harry shook away his thoughts and concentrated on his task, Hermione sent Bellatrix flying from her place between Harry and Voldemort, and he saw him again. Though he still could not see, Harry knew he was still very dangerous and he approached the fallen form with careful steps, not really knowing what to expect. Voldemort slowly regained his position, but he was definitely weakened. Now it was the time Harry knew.
‘AVADA KEDAVRA!’ the doomed words left Harry’s mouth, the words he hoped never to utter, but dangerous times required drastic actions.
Voldemort quickly stood straight up and upon seeing the green light approaching he shouted something Harry couldn’t hear, but he knew what those words must have been, a green light started from Voldemort’s wand. Just before Harry’s curse touched the skin of his pale opponent, their wands connected, like they had three years ago. Once more a golden thread connected their wands and a golden orb began to form around the two.
The noises from outside were barely audible, but Harry felt a pain in his chest when he distinctly heard a scream eerily resembling Hermione’s. He just managed to hold the connection, but the bead was closing in on him; he had to execute his plan and fast, he couldn’t risk the bead reaching his wand, causing a Priori Incantatem. He didn’t know what would happen, since he hadn’t killed anyone like Voldemort had, but he knew that it wouldn’t be good.
Voldemort had an ecstatic smile on his face; he must be feeling my power beginning to wear off, Harry thought. He waited for the right moment to do it, just a little bit closer; he slowed the bead down, but did not try to push it back to Voldemort. He saw Voldemort putting even more effort to move the bead, but with all the power Harry had left he steadied the bead about one meter away from him.
Finally the time had come, in one motion he broke the connection, apparated behind Voldemort and spoke the curse that would rid the world of Voldemort once and forever.
‘TRITA VELITA!’ and he saw the beam hitting Voldemort square in the chest and smiled. Having done what he had to do, he passed out, the curse having taken all the remaining power he still had.
Harry woke up in what felt like a bed. I must be in St. Holisto's, he thought, but he wasn't sure. It seemed too quiet for a hospital, but for all he knew he could be in the ER - or whatever wizards called it, something like W.H.A.T., he should ask Mr. Weasley the next time he'd see him. But more important matters where at his mind now.
How long had it been since he passed out? He truly lost his sense of time, he made to sit up, to watch his clock, but he couldn't move for some reason. He could feel his hand though, he just couldn't move it, neither so with his legs or even with his head. Even a simple task as opening his eyes cost him, what felt, all his strength and as he did it didn't make any difference at all, still all black.
A thought came to his mind, an awful one he didn't want to believe anyway. Was he dead? No it couldn't be, he finished Voldemort, he was quite sure about that and he didn't feel dead, before he past out. But how was he supposed to know how it felt to be dead, it were things he'd rather not think about, but there was nothing else to focus his attention on, so his thoughts just kept drifting off in the wrong direction.
As he was - not for the first time - thinking about death, but for the first time actuallly his own death, he realised how awful it was if this actually was how it would be if he was dead. Being able to think, but not being able to talk to anyone or even just see things happen in front of your eyes and lasting forever. It was like a never ending torture. How long had he been awake? It was killing him not to know what was going on, thinking that, he realised how ironic that thought was. If he was dead, how could he be killing himself?
But he was snapped out of this endless loop of thoughts by a faint sound he heard, the first signs of life he heard since his awakening. Was it his imagination? Was he going bananas?
This time he was sure it wasn't just a mind game, it was a voice; definitly not his own, but ever so familiar. But it was to soft to distinguish the exact person, at least he was reassured that he wasn't alone in here, wherever 'here' might be. He tried to recall the voice in his mind, but it simply didn't come. His constant stream of thoughts prevented him from thinking clearly.
He just needed to clear his mind, like when he was, trying to learn Occlumacy. Sadly he never truly mastered the technique so now it didn't work either, he tried working off a list of voices he was sure he knew by heart.
Ron? No, definitly not, he remembered thinking it was a woman when he heard it - though Ron did sound like one when he was scared, but it was different.
Ginny maybe? Being parted from her in the last year didn't really help taking his thoughts off her, she came back though just before the Final Battle, but he didn't allow her to jump into the action; and in a very uncharacteristic gesture she didn't object, she just sat there as the trio was preparing for the battle. It pained him back then to know she had to be feeling horrible, seeing all her friends participating, saving the world they lived in and the possibility of them not coming back, ever.
He still didn't know why she made peace with Harry's decision to not let her fight and though now he would be having more than enough time to think about it, the voice was more important at the precise moment.
No it wasn't Ginny either, he knew her to well for that, he'd recognize her voice even if it was less than a whisper. He even suspected they shared this kind of telepathic bond, for he could always hear her voice even if she wasn't there. That had been happening since they left the Burrow to go after the Horcruxes, at first he thought he was going crazy, but recently he learned she was able to hear his thoughts too, at times. Maybe they were just both going crazy.
But if it wasn't Ginny who was it? Hermione? No, not likely. Mrs. Weasley? No. Parvati? No. Lavender? No, definitely not. Tonks? No. Cho Chang?? Okay, this was going nowhere. The answer had to be simple, the voice was too familiar to be someone he barely knew.
'HELP ME, HARRY! PLEASE HELP ME!'
There it was again and this time a bit louder, it wás Ginny, it just had to be. The way the thought of the voice came in was very much alike the way he used to hear her thoughts, he could feel it, the voice just didn't match and why would she be shouting for his help? She was in need for his help! But what could he do, his condition was probably not a lot better than hers. He just hád to reach her, he was desperately thinking of ways he could help her or at least communicate with her. He didn't know how to send thoughts back, it always happened unconsciously.
He didn't have the energy to even do so little as open his eyes, he tried to speak, but he just felt the words never left his mouth, he tried to move his thumb, but once again there was nothing. He had to hurry, hearing the voice made him realize the danger that Ginny could be in. She wasn't easily scared nor was she very eager to ask for his help with anything.
Every minute lying here would mean one less minute to safe her from a possible horrid death, or were they both death. Maybe like him she didn't know what to do, but hearing her voice would mean he would actually have someone to talk - or think - to and that cheered him up a little. But he was pulled back into the harsh reality that for that to be true, she had to be dead too and that was the last thing he wanted. Even if he himself was dead, he would want Ginny to have a happy life and not be stuck in a place where he was. She deserved it, after Voldemort doing those horrible things to her in her first year and for all the joy and help she gave others.
Suddenly he felt a power going through his body, like being struck by a bolt of lightning. He felt his body growing stronger with every second, he opened his eyes and instead of the utter darkness he had seen not very long ago, he saw the room he was in. It was still a bit dark, but he knew where he was and he knew what to do.