PROLOGUE: The Second War
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or worlds used in this story, including that of Harry Potter, which was created by JK Rowling. No harm is intended toward any of the copyright owners. This story is intended for entertainment purposes only.+++++REDISCOVERING HERMIONE
by Listener+++++Warnings: this story contains adult situations and sexual content. It's just on the borderline of FR-18 -- if you believe I should bump the rating up, please send a review or e-mail and I'll do so. There is also one scene of graphic violence.
Continuity Note: This story begins during "The Forest Again", which is Chapter 34 of
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It becomes substantially AU from the moment Voldemort casts
Avada Kedavara on Harry.
This story was written as part of the Hermione Big Bang Challenge in 2009, to celebrate Hermione Granger's 30th birthday. It is approximately 31,400 words, and is complete. Special thanks to my betas, Inspire and Bearwmn, who assisted with both story and Brit-picking. If you'd like to read it in its original form, you can do so on the HBB site. Inspire and Myst created artwork, also available at that URL, although it contains spoilers so, if it were me, I'd wait until after reading the entire story.++++++++++"Soon we will see it closed / the final chapter exposed / it's the end of an era / and I'm seeing clearer / that nothing will ever be the same." -Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls+++++PROLOGUE: The Second War
This chapter contains dialogue from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It also contains the most graphic scene of violence in the story.
"I do not require assistance," said Voldemort coldly. Bellatrix LeStrange withdrew her hand, which she'd offered in an attempt to ingratiate herself further. "The boy... is he dead?"
There was complete silence in the clearing. Nobody approached Potter, but the weight of the Death Eaters' eyes on his body seemed to press it further into the ground.
"You," said Voldemort, pointing at Narcissa Malfoy as he got to his feet. "Examine him. Tell me whether he is dead."
Narcissa crept forward, knelt in the grass beside the body, and lifted an eyelid. She reached under his shirt to feel his heart. This could have been Draco, she thought. This could have been my son.
"He is dead!" she called to the watchers.
They shouted, yelling in triumph and stamping their feet, shooting red and silver bursts into the sky in jubilation.
"You see!" screeched Voldemort over the tumult. "Harry Potter is dead by my hand, and no man alive can threaten me now! Watch! Crucio!" The body was flung into the air, glasses flying away, and Voldemort made it dance like a marionette before ending the spell and watching it crash brokenly to the forest floor.
"Now," said Voldemort, "we go to the castle, and show them what has become of their hero."
Voldemort aimed his wand at the floor; a chunk of it exploded upward, throwing the young man to the side. In the same motion, he sent the wand, which had been pointed in his direction, flying off into the crowd. He laughed.
"And who is this?" he said in his soft snake's hiss. "Who has volunteered to demonstrate what happens to those who continue to fight when the battle is lost?"
Bellatrix gave a delighted laugh.
"It is Neville Longbottom, my Lord! The boy who has been giving the Carrows so much trouble! The son of the Aurors, remember?"
"Ah, yes, I remember," said Voldemort, looking down at Neville, who was struggling back to his feet, unarmed and unprotected, standing in the no-man's-land between the survivors and the Death Eaters. "But you are a pureblood, aren't you, my brave boy?" Voldemort asked Neville, who stood facing him, his empty hands curled into fists.
"So what if I am?" said Neville loudly.
"You show spirit and bravery, and you come of noble stock. You will make a very valuable Death Eater. We need your kind, Neville Longbottom."
"I'll join you when hell freezes over," said Neville. "Dumbledore's Army!" he shouted, and there was an answering cheer from the crowd, whom Voldemort's silencing charms seemed unable to hold.
"Very well," said Voldemort, more danger in the silkiness of his voice than even the most powerful curse. "If that is your choice, Longbottom, we revert to the original plan. On your head," he said quietly, "be it."
Voldemort pointed his wand at Neville, who grew rigid and still, then forced the Sorting Hat onto Neville's head, so that it slipped down below his eyes. There were movements from the watching crowd in front of the castle and, as one, the Death Eaters raised their wands, holding the defenders of Hogwarts at bay.
"Neville here is now going to demonstrate what happens to anyone foolish enough to continue to oppose me," said Voldemort, and with a flick of his wand, he caused the Sorting Hat to burst into flames.
Screams split the dawn and Neville was aflame, rooted to the spot, unable to move.
Then many things happened at the same moment. Not the least of which was that, amid the hubbub, the cleverest witch of her generation pointed her wand at the howling, fiery form of Neville Longbottom and spoke a soft spell.
In one swift, fluid motion, Neville pulled the flaming hat from his head. Something silver, with a glittering, rubied handle fell into his hand.
The sword of Godric Gryffindor.
Neville knew what he had to do. What he'd promised Harry he'd do.
In the confusion, no one seemed to notice one more young wizard charging toward the Death Eaters. Neville ducked two nasty-looking spells, turned, and swung the sword, cleaving the head from the giant snake that had come into the Great Hall with the Death Eaters. It spun high into the air, the body dropping lifeless to the ground.
Voldemort screamed, white light pouring from his mouth, and he pointed his wand at Neville. Neville, who had never in his life used wandless magic. Neville, with only a sword between himself and certain death.
Voldemort's wand came up. He shouted a curse.
And the curse blew past Neville, around him like a river around a rock. He glanced back and saw Hermione Granger, holding both her own wand and Neville's own. She smiled, a brief flash of teeth, and spun to cast stunning spells at Death Eaters bearing down on her.
Neville turned back to Voldemort, who threw another curse, but Hermione's shield held.
Neville raised the sword. He wanted to smile, to say something heroic, but he wasn't that kind of person.
He lunged forward, the sword aimed at Voldemort's chest.
Voldemort lunged forward, screaming the killing curse.
Neville's body flew backward.
Bellatrix LeStrange watched as Neville Longbottom pierced the Dark Lord's heart with a bright silver sword. Her Lord killed the boy, an Avada Kedavara
of such force and fury that, when Longbottom's body was flung away, the sword ripped out of Voldemort's chest. Blood fountained from the Dark Lord's body, and it flopped backward onto the stone floor.
She screamed and ran to him, but he was already dead.
Bellatrix's head snapped up, her mouth opening to say something cutting, but Molly Weasley cast a reductor curse that ended her world without another thought.+++++Your feedback is, as always, greatly appreciated.
This isn't a Buffy crossover, but I do have plans to include the Ginny Weasley of this universe in a future BtVS/HP story. I'm just plotting it out now.