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Chapter Twenty-Five
The Day of Reckoning

“ Because I have a plan,” Harry said, waiting a beat to let the news sink in before snapping his fingers and holding out his hand.  A large scroll appeared out of thin air, startling some of the onlookers.  Harry placed the parchment onto the table in front of him and slowly unrolled it, everyone's attention focused on the plan in front of them.  The scroll revealed a detailed map of the Hogwarts grounds, with different areas shaded in different colours.  Each colour had a tiny label, showing the areas to be different groups of people.  Once he knew he had everyone's attention, Harry continued.

“ While I was in Azkaban, I wasn't just sitting there doing nothing.  As soon as I found out about the imminent attack, I started to plan.  While I was confined in an anti-magic field, I found I could use some limited elven magic, which I used to create light in my cell.  As some of you may know, the floors of Azkaban prison cells are made of dirt.  I spent the last week and a half coming up with this plan by drawing it on the floor of my cell.  I believe I've perfected it as much as I can, but any input will be appreciated.”

“ So, what's the plan?” Ron asked.

“ There are several phases, and I need each and every one of you to do your part exactly as instructed, or it won't work.  If there is anybody here who doesn't want to fight, I need you to let me know immediately.  Obviously, I'll need the Healers, Mediwizards and Mediwitches here at Corvus Corax to deal with the injured.  Anyone else, though, who doesn't want to fight, please tell me.”

As he looked around the crowd, meeting each and every pair of eyes, Harry saw a great deal of fear, but also a great deal of determination.  After all, this was the battle they had been waiting for, the one which would decide the fate of the wizarding world.  A lot of the Order members had families to worry about, and knew that even if they died in the battle, they were fighting for something worthwhile.  They were fighting for the freedom of their society, and securing a safe future for their loved ones.  When nobody said they didn't want to take part, a smile appeared on Harry's lips.

“ I am very proud of all of you.  As you will know, people in this room are going to die.  It's a chance we will have to take, but it will be worth it to rid the world of a creature that has plagued us for fifty years.  In four days time, we will eliminate the monster threatening our lives, and take back what is rightfully ours.  Our freedom!”

The room burst into cheers as Harry finished his speech.  He knew that he would lose people.  They all knew.  But the battle had to be fought, had to be won.  The Boy-Who-Lived had suffered time and again as a result of Voldemort's actions, and he was relishing the thought of finally ridding the world of his parents' murderer.  He would succeed.  He was positive.  With a grin, he gestured for the Order to quieten down, before magically enlarging his plan so that it filled the entire council table.

“ Everyone, if I could have your attention, please.  We need to go over the plan,” he said.

“ Are you sure this will work?” Ginny asked him, taking his hand and looking over the parchment.

“ I'm sure of it.  Ever since I realised that the final battle would eventually be held at the school, I've been making tentative plans, adjusting them every time we gained a new ally.  Now, though, they are finalised.  This is the big one, Gin, and I don't want to mess it up in any way,” he told her.

“ You won't mess it up, Harry.  We all have confidence in you,” she told him.  Harry gave her a sad smile.

“ You may all have confidence in me, Gin, but I don't have confidence in myself,” he admitted with a sigh, “ I have a habit of messing things up, especially lately, and I just know something's going to go wrong.  My plan for finally getting rid of the Head Snake is dangerous, and I need the help of all of you.  What if I make a miscalculation that means you die?  Or Glen dies?  Or Ron and `Mione?  I don't know if I could live with myself if that happened.”

“ Harry, that won't happen.  We can take care of ourselves.”

“ I know, Gin, I know.  But I need you to promise me something.”

“ What is it?” she asked, slightly worried.  He took both of her hands in his and squeezed them tightly.

“ If anything happens to me…”

“ Harry, that won't happen!” she interrupted.

“ You don't know that,” he said to her, “ If anything happens to me, I want you to make sure Glen gets home.  Can you do that for me?”

“ Of course, Harry, you know I will.  But you aren't going to die.”

“ It's always a possibility,” he whispered, “ You know that as well as I do.  I'm protected from the Killing Curse, and Voldemort himself can't deal the killing blow because of the Mark, but there are plenty of other methods, and hundreds of Death Eaters.  We have to be prepared for the worst.  If I die, Ginny, I don't want you to be alone, Ginny.  Promise you will move on and find someone else.”

By this point, Ginny was openly crying, and the pair had attracted the attention of Ron, Hermione and Glenadade, who were listening intently, all with silent tears rolling down their cheeks.  Harry's planning for the worst made them realise just how imminent the final battle was, and what the consequences could be.  Ginny, sobbing slightly, threw her arms around her boyfriend and whispered in his ear.

Once the group had calmed down and the rest of the Order members had finished discussing the battle amongst themselves, Harry called them all to order.

“ Ok, I need you all to split yourselves into groups.  I want each group to sit at a different table, and I will come around to each of you and tell you what is going to happen in your area, and what I want you to do.  Clear?”

The people in the crowd nodded and all stood up.  Harry herded them to one side of the room, while he rearranged the tables and turned them each a different colour.  Once he was done, he stood in front of the crowd.

“ Right, listen up.  I want Hogwarts students, with the exception of Glen, Gin, Ron and `Mione, to go to the red table.  You will be in charge of dealing with the students inside Hogwarts during the battle.  Keeping order, organising the older students to defend from the windows, that sort of thing.  Vrykolakas, Mei, Lei and Gaerwyn, please go to the yellow table.  You will be leading your own people, the vampires fighting the werewolves and dark vampires, and the elves dealing with the Dementors.  Healers, to the blue table, you will be bringing the injured here and dealing with them.  Aurors to the green table.  I need you as the main attack force, the front line, if you will.  Anyone with duelling experience, and I'm talking real experience, not just a fight in your common room at school, join the green table as well.  Sirius, Remus, Severus, go to the council table, I have a special job for you.  Everyone else, I need anyone skilled with magical creatures to go to the purple table, as you will be dealing with anything Voldemort throws at us, giants, lethifolds, anything like that.  The rest of you will be at the orange table, you will be the second wave, defending the perimeter of the school.  Any questions?”

No-one complained, and they all made their way to their designated table.  The time travellers all joined Sirius, Remus and Severus at the Order council table.

“ What are we supposed to do?” Remus asked.

“ I need your help with something,” Harry asked, “ We have to get Dumbledore out of St. Mungo's before the battle starts, but after Voldemort gets to Hogwarts.”

“ Why such a short window?” Sirius asked, “ Why can't we get him earlier?”

“ Because as much as me may dislike the fact, Fudge is still the Minister for Magic.  He can overrule us all, and have us arrested immediately.  Knowing him, he will come to Hogwarts with the Aurors loyal to him and start arresting the Order members.  If Voldemort turns up after a load of us have been sent to Azkaban, we won't stand a chance.  However, the odds will be more in our favour if we have Dumbledore here to fight with us.  We need him.”

“ So what do you want us to do?” the Potions Master asked.

“ I need you to break into St. Mungo's just as Voldemort and the Death Eaters are about to leave from their hideout.”

“ I suppose you want me to take care of that?”

“ That's right, Sev.  When they are about to leave, I need you to portkey to the hospital, where you will meet Sirius and Remus.  Then, you need to get into the mental ward, grab the headmaster, and get back to Hogwarts.  I'll give you a portkey for that.”

“ So Fudge will find out...” Sirius said in dawning comprehension.

“…he'll follow you to Hogwarts with the rest of the Aurors…” Remus continued.

“…and find the battle taking place, with no choice but to join in,” Sev concluded, a smile tugging at his lips.

“ Precisely,” Harry beamed, “ We'll get backup for the battle that Voldemort won't be expecting.

“ That's bloody brilliant,” Ron said with a grin.  Hermione nodded her head, and Glen had a proud look on his face.

“ As I said, it's the best plan I've come up with in the last week and a half.  Now, you four,” Harry said, turning to the other time travellers, “ I need you to help me defeat Voldemort.  Obviously, I need you to fight in the rest of the battle at the same time, but our job is to defeat Voldie once and for all.  Remember the Prophecy of the Four?  `The Healer, the Seer, the Lion and the Wise One' will defeat Voldemort.  Glen, I want you to help, even though I don't think you're in the prophecy.  Between us, we'll incapacitate him.  I need you all to promise me, and this means you as well, Sev, Siri and Remus, I need you to fight full out.  No holding back.  If you have a special skill, use it.  Animagus forms, wandless magic, anything.  Dark magic, Light magic, it doesn't matter.  Our main objective is to win; we'll deal with the consequences later.  Deal?”

The group all readily agreed, and Harry spent the rest of the evening talking to the different groups and planning how to beat the darkness once and for all.  Harry was tired of saving to world, tired of battling Dark Lords, and tired of having everyone relying on him.  After this, he promised himself, he would have a nice, long holiday.


The next few days until the battle passed far too quickly.  Everyone was getting in as much practice as possible, but without letting the other students find out.  Harry was doing a good job of pretending to be weak after his time in Azkaban, and a lot of the Hogwarts residents kept sending him contemptuous or sympathetic looks.  His acting was having the right effect, though.  There was no way Voldemort would believe Harry was in full fighting order on the fifth.

By the time the eve of the battle came, the Order members were starting to get nervous.  Harry called a final Order meeting that night to go over the last few details before the attack.  At the end of the evening, he handed everyone a vial of Dreamless Sleep potion and asked them to take it at eight o'clock.  It would ensure everyone had received enough sleep to be fresh.  It would also make them wake up at five in the morning, at which time they were to get themselves ready, speak to their families, and prepare to apparate to Hogwarts as soon as they were given the signal.  Just as everyone was leaving, Harry reassured them that everything would be well, but knew in his heart of hearts that a lot of things could go wrong.


The next morning, Harry was up at five in the morning as planned.  After getting quickly showered and dressed, he met with the other time travellers, Severus, Remus and Sirius in his room at five thirty.  They made themselves as comfortable as possible, calling on Dobby to bring them breakfast, even though none of them were really hungry.

They discussed inconsequential things for a while until six o'clock rolled around.  Sev trailed off half way through a sentence, gripping his arm where the Dark Mark was positioned.

“ This is it,” he said, gritting his teeth through the pain.  Harry reached out along his link to the Dark Mark and took the pain away.  Once that was done, he pulled a small coin out of his pocket and gave it to the Potions Master.

“ Sev, when you need to leave, hold it and say `St. Mungo's'.  It'll take you to your rendez vous place.  Sirius and Remus will be there.  When you get Dumbledore, all hold on to it and say `Hogwarts'.  Alright?”

“ Yes, I'm as ready as I'll ever be,” Sev muttered.

“ Are you fully equipped for the battle?  Have you got your knives and sword?” Harry asked.

“ Yes, I have everything,” the Slytherin reassured him.  Harry smiled back at him weakly.

“ Take care,” the younger man said, giving his friend and teacher a firm hug.  Sev nodded to each of the others in the room and flooed to Corvus Corax to apparate to the meeting.  As soon as he was gone, Harry gave Sirius and Remus their own portkey to St. Mungo's and wished them luck.  Eventually, he took a deep breath and activated the Order Marks, calling the Order to Hogwarts.


In the Teutoburg forest, Vrykolakas, Meilani and Leilani felt the tingle in their Order Marks and immediately stopped what they were doing.  Leaping to their feet, they raced to the centre of their palace and climbed to the top of the tallest tower, where three large horns were located.  Positioning themselves in front of the horns, they blew as much as they could.  Normally, such a thing would be done with magic, but as a precaution to prevent pranks, each horn was attuned to one of the leaders, meaning they had to blow in them themselves.  A loud, melodic sound came from each of the three instruments, echoing across the city.  Vampires and elves of all ages came running out of their homes and gathered in the market place outside of the castle.  After a few minutes, the elves and the vampire moved onto a large balcony to address their people.  Vrykolakas started by casting a sonorus charm on his throat.

“ People of Teutoburg City.  The time has finally come for us to come out of the shadows and return to our rightful place in the world.  As you know, the current Dark Lord of the Wizarding World, Voldemort, is planning to take over Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry today.  We will not let this happen.  We will fight with our allies for the side of Light, and regain the trust of the wizarding world.  It is time for us to come out of exile and show the magical community what it means to be a vampire.  We will show them our courage and willingness to stand up for what is right.  Today, we gain our freedom!”

The vampires in the crowd cheered.  After all, this is what they had been waiting all of their lives for.  Meilani magically enhanced her voice to speak to the elves.

“ People of the old world,” she called, “ Like our friends the vampires, we have been forced to hide in the shadows for too long.  The humans of this world have forgotten us, and forgotten the power we have.  But we have not forgotten the reason we are here.  We came here to befriend the humans, to forge a future together, and show them that we can live in peace and harmony in the same society.  Today, we finally have the chance to reemerge from the shadows and take back our place in the wizarding world.  Today, we fight!”

More cheers sounded, as those willing to fight started to move to the front of the market place, the mothers and children heading back to their homes to await the return of their loved ones.  Meanwhile, Leilani stood to say her piece.

“ Citizens of Teutoburg City.  We will all be leaving in a few minutes.  The elves will go first, our job being to set up a sun blocking field over the Hogwarts grounds.  The vampires will follow in ten minutes.  Elves, our job is to fight the Dementors, and we will get into position by the school lake.  Vampires, you will battle the werewolves and your evil cousins, gathering by the forbidden forest.  Alright, elves, move out!”

With a roar from the crowd, the elves began transporting themselves to Hogwarts.


While the Order of the Phoenix members were gathering at Hogwarts and getting into position, Severus apparated to the Death Eater meeting and took his place in Voldemort's ranks.  The Dark Lord was standing in front of his throne, pacing.  Once everyone had arrived, he turned to his followers and gave them a wicked grin.

“ Congratulations to you all.  You will be the witches and wizards who today will see the fall of the old regime and the dawn of a new era in wizarding history.  Today, we will take over the wizarding world once and for all, destroying the meddlesome Potter boy and conquering Hogwarts in one fell swoop.  Today, we make history.  Today, we become Gods!  Prepare to move out.”

The Death Eaters cheered, and Sev began to feel slightly nauseous.  As quietly as possible, he made his way to the back of the crowd, trying not to draw attention to himself.  As soon as he was sure no-one would see him, he activated his portkey and vanished from the dark room, the sound of cheering ringing in his ears.

When he reappeared, he found himself in the middle of a hospital corridor.  Looking around, he spotted Sirius and Remus leaning against a wall.  Making his way over to them, he cleared his throat.

“ Lupin, Black, have you found out where they're keeping him?”

“ Yes, he's in the room at the end of the corridor,” Remus told him, and the three started heading towards the sealed door.  As they got close, three security wizards stepped in front of them.

“ Where do you three think you're going?” one of them asked.

“ We need to speak to Albus Dumbledore,” Sirius stated.

“ You can't go in there,” the leader told them, “ We have orders form the Minister himself that nobody is allowed into that room unless they have an appointment made at least two weeks in advance.”

“ Look, you infernal man, either you move and allow us entrance, or we will be forced to fell you.  The choice is yours,” Sev said with a sneer.  The man gave him a contemptuous look.

“ Sir, I don't believe you could do that.  We are highly trained…”

He was cut of when Severus raised his hand and made a shoving motion.  All three security wizards went flying into the wall.  Sirius and Remus just gaped at the Potions Master.  Sev raised and eyebrow at them.

“ What?  Don't tell me you imbeciles have never seen wandless magic before,” he said, before flicking his wrist at the heavily warded door, making it swing open with a slight click.  The two astonished Marauders followed the other man into the room quietly, not knowing what to say.

Albus Dumbledore had been startled out of his sleep by the commotion outside, and when the three wizards came striding into his padded cell, his eyes began twinkling madly.

“ Well, well, well, now this is a surprise,” he said.

“ We have no time to argue, Albus,” Severus said, “ We have to get out of here.  Accio wand.”

Dumbledore's wand came flying out of one of the security wizards' pockets, where it had obviously been placed for safekeeping.  Handing the wand to its owner, Severus pulled out the portkey and rested it on his palm, holding his hand out for everyone to touch it.  As soon as they were ready, he whispered the activation word, and the four were whisked off to join the battle.


At Hogwarts, Harry had been running around madly, trying to get everyone organised.  As soon as the elves had arrived from Teutoburg City, they had begun setting up the shield to protect their vampire allies from the sun.  The rest of the arriving Order members had been arranged into their appropriate areas, and Ginny had checked to make sure the students were all in their Houses.  Once she was sure, she went around with the red group and secured the common room entrances, keeping the students locked in and the Death Eaters locked out.  Meanwhile, Ron was co-ordinating the placement of the troops with Harry and Hermione was dealing with the elves and the arriving vampires.  Glen was in charge of bringing the headmaster up to speed when he arrived with a *pop*.  Just as everyone was getting into place, there were a series of loud *pop*s as the Death Eaters started arriving on the other side of the grounds, just out side of the wards.  Despite the witches and wizards waiting by the school from them, the Dark Lord boldly led them forward until they came to a stop several hundred feet from the opposing side.  The battle was about to begin.

Harry, although nervous, connected his mind with the leaders of each group, making sure they were all in place.  The students in higher years were all positioned in the windows of Hogwarts, ready to defend the castle and protect the younger years as best they could.  The Dementors, werewolves and vampires in Voldemort's ranks all had opponents in his own army.  Dumbledore was at his side, taking command of the second wave.  His friends and family were lined up behind him, ready to give their lives in the battle they had been building up to for eight years.  This was it; the day of reckoning had finally come.  

With a loud battle cry, Harry leapt into action and began racing across the field, the Aurors, elves and vampires right behind him.  With a roar from the Slytherin heir, the Death Eaters surged forward as well, meeting the Light side in the middle of the Hogwarts grounds.  Curses, hexes and jinxes flew left, right and centre, and the battleground descended into chaos.

Harry, fighting side by side with Glen and Hermione, was using Light and Dark wandless magic to knock out as may Death Eaters as possible.  He still didn't want to fall to his nemesis' level by killing anyone, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to fell the enemy.  In his peripheral vision, the Boy-Who-Lived spotted the Ministry Aurors arriving, Fudge in the fore.  The look on the Minister's face when he saw what he had stumbled into was priceless, and Harry made the mistake of pausing for several precious seconds to watch the pompous man's reaction.  This proved tragic, for just as Harry was about to curse the Death Eater in front of him, he felt a searing pain in his chest.  Horrified, he looked down in disbelief to where the tip of a dagger was pointing out of his ribcage, right where his heart was.  As the saviour fell to his knees in agony, blood dripping from his mouth and his vision blurring, he looked behind him and into the cool black eyes of the man who had stabbed him.  Harry's eyes widened in shock when he saw who it was, and the last thing he did before the darkness finally took him was mumble a single question.

“ Sev?”

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