Disclaimer is on Ch 1
I’ve changed the format a little since starting this so long ago. My muse has deserted this story and I’ve been struggling with the ending for a long time. What has come to me are short snippets; small scenes of the time left in this story. I’ve pieced them together as coherently as possible and hope you enjoy the finished product.
A HUGE Thank You to all who have endured this journey with me. This first time effort was a great learning experience and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it, even the uncomfortable, difficult parts.
An immense amount of gratitude to those of you who have taken the time to comment/review. All were received with glee and excitement and encouraged me greatly.
Sirenes ch 22“We need her. No one will be safe if the other side wins.”
Ginny’s place during the battle was settled.
No one should have been surprised that Drusilla knew before anyone else that Ginny was pregnant. Soon after the swift wedding, the Seer had taken to following the new Mrs. Lupin around, seeing to her every need. At first, the redhead was irritated and a bit creeped out, but then the Vampiress’ actual words began to make sense. She spoke of a beautiful boy with hazel eyes and strawberry hair. Drusilla insisted he would be a powerful warrior one day. Her descriptions were so vivd that Ginny had begun to picture him in her mind. Much to Molly’s jealousy, Dru began to insist that Ginny call her Granny and the mad woman would sing to her stomach throughout the breaks everyone demanded the young former Gryffindor take during training. Remus merely watched with a delighted grin. The newlyweds had decided on a name right away, but kept it a secret since she was still so early in the pregnancy. The new life in her womb somehow eased the pain of losing Ron.
Classes had to go on as if they weren’t preparing for war and the involved Professors were finding it increasingly difficult to hide their rising concern for the students. Children of known Death Eaters were watched as surreptitiously as possible and while some were pulled out of school by their parents, many privately asked for asylum; unwilling to join in their parents’ allegiance with a madman.
Many changes were taking place and a large one was the castle’s apparent acceptance of Drusilla’s presence. The first and largest clue was when she had wandered off and after a frantic search, Severus and company found her in an abandoned classroom on the east side, dancing in the afternoon sunlight as it filtered through the windows. The absolute terror on the Potion Master’s face and the resulting tears of relief would never be mentioned outside the room… ever.
Oz sat in a far corner of the Great Hall, quietly playing his guitar when he felt Dru enter the room behind him. He’d begun spending his free time there while Hermione was occupied with other things. When empty, the Hall was peaceful and the Were’ enjoyed the spelled ceiling, watching the weather as he meditated.
“You can control their beasts.” Dru’s sing-song voice whispered in his ear and Oz looked up as she passed him.
“Make them change and call them to you. Mongrels cannot lead effectively through fear. A frightened dog bites the hand of the master. He is a cancer and you must be the scalpel. Snick-snack! Carve him up; make him hurt!”
As the Blue Moon approached, the Weres in the castle began to feel the increasing presence of other wolves in the forest. Oz could sense that most of them felt lost and trapped; practically smothered by terror. Dru confirmed his suspicions that the strange Weres in the forest were terrified of the consequences of abandoning Greyback and his allegiance to Voldemort. Through deep meditation he filtered through the different power signatures and found Greyback’s. It was a malignant sensation; dark and nauseating. Oz began to send out subtle pulses of power whenever he sensed the mad Were’s absence; making the others aware that there was another Alpha nearby. Once a day Tyr and Remus joined his meditation and added their power to his. Soon Oz was confident that a large portion of werewolves supposedly allied with the Dark Lord were just waiting for a sign.
It wasn’t the traditional method of taking over a Pack, but then again, this was war and the wolves gathered in the forest weren’t a Pack… yet.
Dumbledore brought news from Romania to the next meeting. A message relayed in from Charlie Weasley was very disappointing. There was no way he could bring more than one dragon. Each creature needed a rider to control it and he was the only handler willing to join in the fight. The revelation of this news was received poorly by Draco of all people. He had a fairly quiet tantrum. It was a very curious reaction, but since he didn’t expound upon it, most of the Order moved on to more pressing matters. Both Severus and Drusilla were the best candidates to take notice, but much like everyone else, both were just as preoccupied with preparations for the coming battle. Even though Hermione was too busy to devote additional time to the puzzle of Draco’s attitude about the whole thing, it didn’t keep her from pondering it off and on. His frustration seemed a bit excessive since he had never been a big fan of any type of creature.
Unbeknownst to Draco, Luna shared his nightly dreams filled with dragons and fire. Her preoccupation with Harry kept her from mentioning them but she was secretly curious how it would affect her part in the approaching battle. The house elves didn’t know what to make of fact that the fireplace stones in Draco’s rooms were beginning to show wear that they shouldn’t have shown for many centuries.
Reports had begun pouring in; there was significant movement in the forest and most of Hogsmeade had closed down. The younger children were evacuated to safe-houses via portkey as planned and Order members summoned. The Blue Moon was due to rise tomorrow night and it was obvious the other side was making themselves ready for their attack. Ava and Tyr shared a worried goodbye as he left her in the infirmary with Poppy and everyone prepared themselves. The Elements gathered in the Room of Requirement and all joined Hermione and Professor McGonagall in a Scottish battle song as they gathered power from the foundations of the castle.
Filch interrupted with devastating news.
Hagrid was killed as he tried to coax Fang into the castle proper. The elderly caretaker imparted the news with uncharacteristic emotion; quite distressed that he was unable to move the large man’s body. The Death Eaters had somehow breached the perimeter Wards in silence. Remus and Oz ran to the highest point of the castle to determine where the breach in security had occurred. Everyone expected that the enemy would cross the wards, it was the fact that they managed to break the alarm wards without their knowledge. From the towers, dark figures could be seen flitting in the shadows and the Weres alerted the group to their presence.
Tension filled anticipation built and Dru rushed to Oz, telling him that the battle should happen out in the open. It would give them an added advantage. Wolves in the castle would be a Very Bad Thing. Dumbledore agreed and so it was that Oz, Remus and Tyr were the first to step through the front doors of the Entrance Hall and out into the night. Wearing one of the bronze amulets created by Professor Flitwick for the three Weres; Oz descended the front steps. His shields went up as Greyback’s poisonous essence tried to take control of his beast. Already in Wolf-man form Oz tensed and then sent out a vicious wave of power in response, physically knocking the feral Were’ back and instantly transforming any lesser Weres in the immediate area. Remus and Tyr flanked him; Tyr hadn’t been able to withstand the surge and was in his familiar black wolf form, identifiable by the collar-like amulet around his neck. Remus managed to retain some control and was in his Wolf-man form as he stood at Oz’s right. A flash of red shot across the grounds and the three dodged, avoiding the curse as it hit the stone wall behind them. With Minerva guarding the door from her vantage point inside, the Elements poured out and assembled themselves in a fan like formation, protecting the front doors of the castle. Each person was armed with their wand as well as a sliver blade as a defense against unfriendly wolves. Other Order members had already taken their places at various exits, waiting for the battle to begin before leaving the tenuous security of the castle.
There was a moment of silence that seemed to stretch on interminably; but then a wolf howled and the two sides clashed. Curses flew through the air, some making contact while others bounced off of temporary shields. Chaos ensued as visibility lowered and they found themselves engaging their enemy.
Everyone spread out quickly as the battle heated. Order members had sealed the doors as they exited the castle. Now the only way in was either through the front doors or the special portkeys fashioned by Flitwick to transport wounded to the infirmary.
Draco mentally smacked himself when he realized he was cut off from everyone. He had somehow been separated from Luna and now faced not only his Aunt Bella, but two former classmates that flanked her. Crabbe was no surprise, but Dean Thomas was. That Thomas would join the Death Eaters after what his father went through was unexpected. The fact they hadn’t yet attacked him was more than worrisome. Looked like the crazy bitch was in a mood to play. He looked around again, hoping to find an ally close by. Draco knew he could take Crabbe and Thomas; but with his Aunt in the mix, he was in deep without back up it seemed. She was the true danger and Draco really didn’t look forward to being at Crabbe’s mercy while under Bella’s Crutacius. The man was a bloody perv and didn’t really care if the object of his interest was willing or not.
A wave of something powerful washed through him and Draco couldn’t control his shudder. Auntie Bella laughed, obviously thinking he was shivering with fear. ‘Bitch.’
An alien presence made itself known in his mind and it spoke. ::Close to help. Need to feed. Bad magic near. Dragon rider is injured, Fire Master help Norbert?::
Strange images flashed through his mind too quickly to comprehend fully but Draco felt an impossible hope as he grasped at this small spark of hope. He quickly put the disjointed pieces together. Charlie Weasley was the only ‘dragon rider’ he knew of and was due to arrive anytime. If the man had been injured… Draco shuddered again at the thought of an uncontrolled dragon causing chaos. Somehow the dragon Weasley was riding could speak to Draco mentally. Its mental contact seemed to have a hopeful feel so Draco decided to hold off on panicking just yet. His time training with Oz and Tyr had taught him to ‘roll with the punches’, so to speak and so, with a mental shrug, Draco sent ‘Norbert’ a visual of where he was and turned his attention back to the immediate threat. Auntie Bella looked ready to cast one of her favorite curses and Draco was preparing to dodge when a bellowing roar sounded above them.
Hurtling toward them with astonishing speed was the distinct shape of a dragon. It was a Norwegian Ridgeback. Norbert - Draco assumed since there appeared to be an unconscious redhead strapped into the saddle on its back. The fact that he knew what breed of dragon it was puzzling since Care of Magical Creatures had been his least favorite subject. But, this would be a topic to revisit at a later time. There was a slight shift in his perception and then Draco had a dizzying view of himself and three others from the air. He concentrated and the image steadied and merged. He could see through his own eyes and also through Norbert’s. He heard a hum of amusement in his head as Auntie Bella and her two lackeys ran screaming from the immediate area as he stood awestruck. Norbert landed as delicately as a bird and breathed fire toward the fleeing Death Eaters with the precision of a Medi-Wizard’s surgical tool. Bella, Crabbe and Thomas were the only things on fire even though they were fairly close to other flammable objects. The weather had been unusually dry for this time of year and Draco panicked for a second; fearful that a fire would sweep across the field toward the others.
The fire burned white hot for a moment and Draco felt something… odd. He was becoming increasingly warm and checked himself for fire. Draco forced himself to calm and remembered the breathing exercise Oz had taught them; taking a moment to center himself. There was an aura of energy emanating from his body that seemed to be controlling the focus of the fire surrounding the three bodies and he consciously pulled back on the heat. The dragon moved in and made a quick meal of the three flaming forms. Everything took on a surreal quality as Draco realized he could wield Norbert as a tool, slicing through the Death Eaters like a hot knife through butter.
As that thought appeared Draco felt resistance and realized the dragon objected to being thought of as nothing more than a weapon. He insisted that the Fire Master help his Rider. Those dreams he suffered through for the last three weeks had to have had a purpose. Draco realized he needed to get a grip on himself and strode to the limp form draped across the dragon’s back. The man’s short stature was deceptive. Draco staggered under the older man’s weight and he figured Charlie was probably all muscle. There was a nasty gouge creasing Charlie Weasley’s temple and Draco immediately pulled out one of Flitwick’s emergency portkeys to transport the man to the infirmary inside the castle. With eager mental whispers and audible growls, Norbert encouraged Draco to mount his back and soon the dragon was flying over the battlefield. Draco let out an involuntary whoop of excitement. It was almost better than flying on his broom.
They made several passes before Draco spotted Luna’s blonde head. She was running across a clear area, dodging hexes and obviously attempting to find cover. She wasn’t the only one. Several Order members nearby were having a similar problem. Draco sent an image of Luna to Norbert and explained she was a friend. He shot off cover fire as the dragon swooped in close enough that Draco managed to lean down and grab Luna around the waist. She was very quiet as Norbert sailed above firing range. He maneuvered her into what he hoped was a comfortable position in front of him and peered into her pale face. Luna’s eyes were wide and slightly panicked, but out of focus. He tried to talk to her, but it seemed that not only was she unable to see him, she couldn’t hear him either.
Her arm suddenly flailed wildly and made contact with the dragon’s scales and all of a sudden her panicked thoughts screamed through his mind. ::Merlin help me! Oh! This is strange. I can see again, but I’m looking at myself! Oh, I really liked this jumper and now it’s ruined!::
Draco tried to talk to her again and when she still didn’t hear him, he projected his thoughts at her. ::Luna, it’s Draco, can you hear me now?::
Her mouth moved, but nothing came out and Draco urged her to project her thoughts to him.::Oh yes! Thank you! Are we on a dragon?::::Yes. He came to me with an unconscious Charlie Weasley strapped to his back. I don’t know how, but we’re connected mentally and it seems that you are part of that as well. Do you know what’s causing your blindness?::
Luna quickly filled him in on what had happened when they were separated. She got hit with the Perstrictum hex assisting his cousin Tonks. When she lost her hearing and sight, Luna felt an undeniable draw away from the heat of the battle toward what she had hoped was help. They took a moment to concentrate and figured out that she could see through both his and Norbert’s eyes with little effort. When he told her he could now manipulate physical fire, she suggested that Draco set down and she would ride the dragon and help guide the beast. Since she couldn’t use her senses without help, they agreed this would be the only way she could be of use.
They dropped him off and after securing Luna in the saddle; the dragon took to the air once again with an ear splitting bellow. Draco noticed several fires had broken out across the field and pulled the heat into himself; easily converting the energy into a fairly impressive shield. He couldn’t get too cocky though; while his shield was protection against spells and hexes, physical projectiles were still a hazard. That little tidbit was discovered the hard way. The way it was bleeding, Draco knew he’d be sporting a scar somewhere on the right side of his forehead. He also learned that when he tried to include anyone else in the shield, it dissipated quickly. After a brilliant suggestion from Luna, he also discovered that he could mark people with a heat signature. It wasn’t long before he was moving throughout the battle field, marking Death Eaters for Norbert’s attention.
Hermione had managed to stay close to Harry, guarding his back with Ginny nearby. She had witnessed Oz and Remus flowing through the battling figures to handle the other werewolves; killing those that refused to submit and leaving the defeated ones for Tyr to care for. Unable to actively use magic while in Were’ form, they suffered minor damage, mostly from slicing hexes. The minor injuries healed quickly and didn’t seem to be interfering with their fighting. Flitwick’s charmed amulets seemed to be able to disburse the energy of most of the more nasty curses as well as identifying the Weres for those fighting for their side. Oz and Tyr were hyperaware of any green tinted lights headed their way and used their considerable speed to avoid being hit. Remus had coached them well.
Hermione kept a tune humming through the back of her mind and caught Harry smirking at her when she would sing a hex instead of shout it. The storage charms worn by all of the Elements helped to siphon off excess power and when she concentrated, Hermione would focus additional energy into Harry. This energy gave them a connection to his emotions and she used it to their advantage, keeping his temper in check so he could focus on the task at hand. She spared a glance to their side and noticed the newest Lupin cutting an impressive swath through the enemy ranks. How Voldemort managed to amass such a large force was anyone’s guess. Hermione heard several languages shouted across the field and assumed he had somehow recruited abroad.
Ginny was fearsome sight. The foreign Death Eaters had not yet had time to become familiar with the youngest Weasley’s temper. She had created a new variation of her infamous Bat Bogey hex and there were several victims strewn about the battlefield; their faces encased in their own mucous. Most of them had tried to claw it off but none were successful. It was the first time she had used it on a wide scale and Hermione could tell Ginny was satisfied with the end result. The new hex wasn’t the only curse that flew from her wand; among several other nasty curses, Ginny also employed her connection to the Earth and periodically liquefied the soil under their feet, causing the alarmed Death Eaters to sink to at least their knees before re-solidifying the earth to hold most of them immobile. The Order members were able to either incapacitate them or kill them, depending on their opponent’s skill. This ability manifested as the battle began and Ginny had refused someone’s reuest to use it on a wide scale. There was no way to know if she could control it enough to avoid it affecting Order members.
It had been decided at the beginning, this was life and death. No room for hesitation or the Death Eaters would take advantage and they surely wouldn’t hesitate to kill their opponents. Some of the Order members had initially balked at the ‘Shoot First, Sort Them Out Later’ attitude, but Voldemort was playing for keeps and so they had to respond in kind. The opposing side were unprepared for this attitude and several Death Eaters fell before the shock wore off.
Harry was deadly focused; shooting curses left and right without hesitation. Hermione scanned the immediate area when she sensed a disturbance and felt Harry panic when he couldn’t locate Luna in the chaos. The pretty blonde had been with Draco several yards to the right but neither was visible through the smoke. The three of them heard a deafening roar and Hermione grinned at the thought that Charlie had finally arrived. A shadow passed overhead and she looked for that familiar mass of red hair, only to see Draco of all people on the back of a Norwegian Ridgeback diving toward the ground at an impressive rate of speed. Hermione followed his line of sight and finally caught sight of Luna’s fleeing form. She cheered loudly as Draco swooped down and scooped Luna up into the saddle in front of him. Hermione shouted for Harry and he smiled in relief when he spotted the two of them climbing out of spell reach.
Harry was able to regain his concentration after that and although bleeding, the wounds were minor and the pain actually helped him to focus more. He kept one eye out for the blonde partners and watched with one eye as Draco strapped Luna in the saddle and then jumped to the ground, leaving Luna alone on the dragon. The air was shimmering around the blond Wizard and most of the hexes and curses sent his way seemed to dissipate when they made contact with whatever was shielding him. The airborne dragon seemed to be following behind Malfoy and dispatched Death Eaters while leaving their people alone.
Harry let go of the remaining the tension that had been building when he lost sight of Luna and refocused on the matter at hand. The battle had been raging for hours and Voldemort had yet to make a physical appearance. Harry tried to use his link with the madman to pinpoint his location. It was time to end it. Harry took his wand into his left hand and pulled Godric Gryffindor’s sword from its sheath at his side. It immediately froze; the ice crystals gleaming in the moonlight as they spread across the metal. The first time Hermione saw this happen, she was afraid that the metal would shatter upon impact; a natural assumption. Somehow, as is usually the case with magic, the ice made it impossibly stronger than its original makeup and had a cauterizing effect when employed on flesh.
A trio of werewolves that had been attempting to herd Harry and Hermione in a particular direction apparently changed their minds at the sight of the wicked looking blade. Unfortunately for them, their retreat put them in Remus’ path and only one survived.
Movement to their left revealed Severus following in Drusilla’s wake of destruction. Trading curses with his opponents didn’t interfere with his ability to gather energy from the ether and feed part of it into Dru, visibly augmenting her speed and strength. The Killing curse had no effect on the Undead woman as she incapacitated wolves, leaving them for Oz to judge and giving no mercy to the masked enemy unfortunate enough to cross her path. She had several injuries, but the pain they caused seemed to only incite the Vampiress further. Hermione was mesmerized for a moment, watching Dru perform her deadly and oddly beautiful dance of carnage. The Vampiress rarely paused to view her handiwork; swiftly moving on after each blow rendered her opposition mortally wounded or incapacitated.
Harry turned to Hermione and she barely heard him as he bellowed his intention.
“Buggering hell!” She shouted as he headed in the direction the werewolves had tried to force them in. Hermione concentrated and with a quick flip of her wand, she sent a message to the charms each of the Elements and partners wore. She hoped they would get the message before it was too late.
The clearing seemed to be empty. Growling in frustration, he scanned the area. He could have sworn the enemy was here. The energy drawing him to this place wouldn’t be denied. A scuff of sound from behind had him whirling around and then there he was. The bane of his existence.
“Never would have marked you for a coward.” Harry’s smile was razor sharp as Voldemort’s reptilian like skin went from a sickly looking pale green to a darkly flushed red. Harry’s words had more effect than he had hoped they would. Voldemort was visibly enraged and the sight encouraged Harry to continue his verbal assault. He had felt the communication charm heat up and knew if he could distract the mad man just a little longer; the remaining Elements would arrive soon.
“Have you been hiding all this time, or were you watching us decimate your Death Eaters from some safe distance?”
Oz was holding her back, making her wait for Drusilla before they approached the clearing where Harry was confronting Voldemort. Harry was screaming and Hermione knew Oz would have a reasonable explanation for holding her back, but she just couldn’t work her thoughts around it right now. Until she became aware of the dark energy reaching for her. Oz’s hold on her tightened as she convulsed in response to its taint. Gagging, Hermione slipped to her knees as she tried to shake off the effects of Voldemort’s energy. Flashes of a nightmare she had strived to forget distracted her and she failed to hear Drusilla approach until her chilled fingers brushed the hair out of Hermione’s face.
“Peace my love. Give it to mummy. All of the dark.” Hermione had been watching Harry as he held a hand to his scar; screaming in pain, but Drusilla’s voice drew her attention.
Hermione whimpered. “It hurts. Can’t make it stop.”
Power filled the clearing as the Others arrived and the forest floor caught fire, burning the debris away in a circle surrounding the two figures in the center. The ground shook with Ginny’s arrival and the shifting earth put out any stray flames. The moonlight dimmed for a moment and the heavy vibration of the ground as it absorbed the impact indicated Draco’s arrival. The dragon folded its wings and the moonlight brightened the clearing again.
All of this happened in between screams. The power whirling through the clearing was almost tangible.
Hermione looked deep into Dru’s eyes and before she could blink, the Vampiress was in her mind, chasing the dark energy as it tried to invade the young Witch’s soul. Hermione felt immediate relief as Dru devoured the dark energy. There was a sudden pulse and then the energy seemed to increase and then Hermione realized that Dru had tapped into the link created between her and Harry. The reduction in sound was the next indication of Dru’s handiwork. When Hermione looked over at the pair in the clearing, Harry was standing tall, the sword held steady its frozen tip pointed like an arrow at Voldemort’s throat.
Everyone saw it coming as the Dark Wizard tensed and tried to cast at Harry, but the energy dissipated before it could reach its mark. A strangled roar of outrage sounded from Voldemort as he sent several volleys of green energy throughout the clearing, all of which dissipated immediately. Harry looked around and then whirled, quickly separating Voldemort’s head from his body. He whirled again, almost too quickly for the eye and plunged the sword through the still standing body’s chest and into Voldemort’s heart. The size of the sword left no doubt that the muscle was now obliterated.
Harry pulled the broad blade with a sickening squelch and Draco approached as if on cue. The expression on his face was deceptively cool, but those who knew him could see the anger in his silver gaze. His pale hand raised, steady as Harry’s had been and he called out, “Concremare!” There was no light show, just a heat wave emanating from his now trembling hand.
The body of the enemy burst into flames, consuming all that was left of Tom Riddle.
Harry looked around the clearing, meeting everyone’s eyes one by one. The smile started as his gaze met Luna’s and he broke into a grin when he finished with Hermione.
“It’s over. He’s really gone!”THE END!!
A/N: I hope you all enjoyed this story. It was a learning experience for me to say the least. I appreciate everyone’s encouragement and reviews.
Hey, at least it didn’t end: Rocks fall, Everyone dies. I seriously considered it as an option. I have at least two sequels/off shoots for this started and will begin posting when I have a sufficient number of chapters ready to post.
Perstrictum – dull the senses
Concremare – burn entirely