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Thank God You're Here: DLP Version - ULTRA REBIRTH EDITION! Part Two!

Discussion in 'Challenges' started by Antivash, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. AlbusPHolmes

    AlbusPHolmes The Alchemist

    Aug 18, 2011
    Here we have conclusive proof that I am incapable of writing a "short" short story. Perhaps i should post this in WbA instead. Some 5k words in response to CheddarTrek's prompt:

    **** ~UNTITLED~ ****

    About time, John Dawlish thought as he heard the door open. He looked up to see a black and white clad maid step into the hallway, a tray balanced in her hands. His stomach let out a another deep rumble, and he darted a sheepish glance to his partner.

    “That,” Senior Auror Alice Fenwick remarked dryly, “is starting to get annoying.”

    Dawlish shrugged. “Well it’s not my fault. Blame Fudge, he’s the one who pulled me here right before lunch break.”

    “I thought you were still on Dumbledore duty.”

    “He called it off after the old man hexed me.” Dawlish rubbed his jaw, wincing. “Still hurts where he caught me.”

    “Serves you right.”

    Dawlish narrowed his eyes at his colleague.“Do I sense dissent?”

    Alice huffed. “If Dumbledore thinks You-Know-Who is back, then I’m more inclined to believe him. Which means we should be preparing.”

    “There’s no evidence to suggest so,” Dawlish insisted stubbornly. “Just the word of a kid and the barmy old warmonger who seems to believe him.”

    “Really?” Alice began, and she opened her mouth to say something caustic, but seemed to think better of it and sighed. “You know what, let’s do this another time. The earlier we get this over with and I can get back to my comfortable bed, the better.” She drew her wand. “Care to do the honors this time?”

    Dawlish’s wand was already in his hand.

    “Halt,” he barked at the approaching maid. “Your name and business.”

    The maid stopped and bowed her head, but not low enough that her chef’s hat would slide forward. “Marie Bouvier, ze serving maid, from ze kitchens.”

    Alice pulled out a list and scanned it with her flat brown eyes. “Marie Bouvier, let’s see… Marc… Marcel… there we go. Marie Bouvier.” She lifted her head. “She checks.”

    Dawlish nodded, and lowered his wand. He beckoned to the maid. “Come.”

    The maid walked forward a few paces, and suddenly a bright crimson flash engulfed her figure. She shrieked as an iciness seeped through her, the effect of an activated Paralysis ward. Then her shriek was cut off as the cold paralytic magic too effect, freezing her in mid fall with a humming sound.

    At once Dawlish snapped up his wand, and the bored look fell from his face. Beside him Alice did the same, her freckled face now stern and wary.

    A lattice of flowing red magic surrounded the stricken maid, flowing around her in gentle pulsing waves. If not for the potential element of danger, it would have looked comical - the way her face was wide with fright and incomprehension as tried to move through the turgid soup of energy, with little progress.

    “Miss, do you have a wand?” He asked, his face stern.

    It seemed to take a moment for the maid to realize she could still speak.

    “No, no wand,” she stammered. “Ze do not allow us to bring in any wands.”

    The wards flashed blue for a moment, signaling she spoke the truth.

    Dawlish summoned the tray from the maid’s stiff hands, and floated it to the floor. The domed lid cracked open, and a faint delicious aroma sifted in the air. Something slithered into his nose, a burning desire to eat, eat and eat—

    He shook his head, and abruptly the sensation disappeared. He stared at the innocuous tray on the floor, an annoyed expression coloring his face. I’m too hungry for this bloody crap.

    Alice glanced at him in concern. “Are you alright?”

    He waved her off, and turned to the maid - and the trap that held her in place.

    “Do you have any items on you that could be enchanted?” Dawlish asked. “Clothes, shoes, hair, anything?”

    The maid seemed to think for a moment. “My earring, I think. Eet is goblin-made.”

    Alice waved her wand. “Accio earrings.”

    A single rubied earring clicked open and slipped gently from the maid’s ears, and soared into the Auror’s open hand. She examined it for a second, the glint of the tiny ruby not unlike the magic that flowed around the maid, keeping her trapped.

    “What is it?”

    “Just an earring,” Alice said, distracted with what she was doing. She whispered a word and passed the tip of her gnarled wand over the earrings. A brief flash of white answered her query. “She’s right. They are enchanted, but nothing malicious apparently.”

    “Figures.” Dawlish snorted, frustrated. “Can Davies and his team do anything right? I told him specifically to tune the ward to wands only. Can you imagine this happening to the French Chancellor himself? What a fiasco that would be.”

    Alice didn’t look convinced. She glanced back at the frozen maid, her eyes narrowed. “Wait a minute though. Shouldn’t the ward be deactivated now?”

    “Davies probably forgot that as well, the idiot.” Dawlish stepped past Alice, and pressed his wand against the wall, feeling for something.

    Alice clamped a hand on his shoulder. “Are you sure? We send a message first to confirm.”

    “Only if you’re the one to fill out the paperwork and debrief Madam Bones.”

    Alice scowled, but said nothing.

    “I thought so.” Dawlish shook his arm free. “Let's see... Solvo patefacio Regelo abrogare—”

    A circular series of tiny runes, cleverly disguised into the floral wallpaper, began to glow red. He tapped each of them in an anti-clockwise sequence, and they powered down. “There we go.”

    A dull buzz echoed in the hallway as the Petrification ward fell. The maid stumbled forward, caught off-balance. Dawlish reached out with a hand and steadied her.

    Alice still held her wand fixed on the disoriented maid, her freckled face arranged in a look of suspicion. “Why one earring?”

    Dawlish shot her a glance, but she persisted. “Why one earring?”

    The maid answered in a placid voice.

    “I lost ze ozzer one. Zis one I wear all ze time. Mon pere, ‘e gave zem to me, before ‘e, before ‘e...” She trailed off, and her professional facade seemed to slip a bit, replaced with a look of suppressed grief. She bowed her head and moved to pick up the platter from the floor.

    “Always trying to play damned detective—” Dawlish muttered, disgusted. He pushed past her.

    “How was I supposed to know—?”

    Dawlish huffed, and knelt beside the maid, helping her up. “Are you alright?”

    “Eet is nothing,” The maid nodded, and picked up the tray of food. “I will be alright.”

    “I hope your sandwiches aren’t ruined.”

    The maid offered him a tremulous smile, and lifted the lid of the tray. At once, an overwhelming aroma of tuna, and chicken and onions and tomatoes filled his nose. As if by magic, an overpowering sensation slammed into his stomach like a truck, filling with a consuming desire to eat, eat—

    Salivating in relish, he snapped up one sandwich with a muttered ‘thank you’.

    “Mhm, that does smell tasty.” Alice remarked. She grabbed the other sandwich and sniffed it. The maid smiled politely.

    “Quit complaining and eat already.” Dawlish chuckled and sank his teeth in. Juicy sauce dribbled down his lips even as he adjusted his grip, and took another bite.

    It tasted like heaven.

    * * * * * ​

    The maid watched the Mouthwatering Charm take hold. The change was funny - they dropped their wands and ate like men possessed. So careless.

    A good sandwich needs two hands.

    Her lips curved up into a not-so nice smile.

    Dawlish went down first. His eyes rolled into the back into his head, and he dropped to the floor in a tangle of limbs. His half-eaten sandwiches thudded to the floor beside her, splattering mushed bread, meat and lettuce and thin slices of tomato and onions onto the plush carpeting.

    Beside him Alice stiffened and glanced at the maid, her eyes wide. Her eyes widened as Alice stared at her fallen partner in incomprehension. Then her gaze darted to the suddenly smirking maid and back to the sandwich in her hands.

    Realization bloomed in her brown eyes.


    She spat out the piece she was chewing, and darted forward, hands outstretched and face contorted in anger. Before she could close in however, her muscles suddenly collapsed as the poison in the sandwich took effect, and she slumped onto the floor, out cold.

    * * * * * ​

    Marie Bouvier, supposed maid, stared at the unconscious bodies dispassionately. Then in a deliberate gesture, she lifted one foot and brought it down hard on the fingers of the prostrate female Auror. Bones crunched underneath and she smiled, satisfied, her need for violence sated - if only for a bit.

    With a sigh she let up the pressure, regretting once again that she couldn’t kill them. The magic sensor tied to their heartbeats would trigger an instant alarm, and bring a squad of Aurors swarming into the corridor.

    Her contract didn’t cover that.

    Instead she knelt besides the bodies and rummaged through pockets, looking for something. She found it in the male Auror’s robes - an ornate silver key.

    She stepped over his body and walked to the door. The key fit the lock like a glove, and the door made no noise as it clicked open.

    Like a shadow, Marie slipped inside the silent room.

    If anyone had checked, they would have discovered her appointment to Haut Gourmet d’Etienne occurred just two days after the French Chancellor announced the premier catering company would be traveling with him for his negotiations with the British Ministry of Magic. They may have discovered the bribes paid to ensure she was assigned to the elite team of chefs and cooks traveling with the French delegation.

    But had they checked closer still, they may have discovered Marie Bouvier’s startling resemblance to the assassin otherwise known in the deep underbelly of the French underworld as Maîtresse de la Mort.

    Then they’d have to die, because the Mistress of Death took no chances.

    * * * * * ​

    A plane of dim moonlight that poured into the room, illuminating an ostentatiously decorated bedroom. Pale silk curtains draped over a pair of glass windows, obscuring the much of the view outside. A tall oak wardrobe slept against the right wall and on a varnished nightstand, single guttering candle rested, long extinguished. Her flat-heeled shoes crunching softly on the carpeted floor, she stalked over to the massive Elizabethan-style four-poster bed, where a series of soft snores droned out, muffled by a set of heavy drapes.

    She wrenched them aside.

    A little boy lay snuggled underneath the folds of the soft yellow comforter, snoring peacefully, a chubby thumb stuck between his lips.

    She moved beside slumbering child, her back to the window, and her shadow fell across his gently breathing body. She reached out a hand to stroke his boy’s cheek with a finger even as a knife slipped into other hand, plain in every way except for the lethal poison coating the sharp edge.

    “Au revoir, chère enfant,” She whispered.

    The blade plunged down into the mass of curls that was the boy’s head, and she gritted her teeth for the violent gush of blood that was sure to follow.

    What she didn’t steel herself for was the explosion of light as the boy shattered into shower of multi-hued motes.

    “About time. You have no idea how annoying it is to keep up a self-autonomous illusion.”

    With reflexes born from a life where death was lurking behind the next corner, she leapt away from the direction where the voice had come. Her palms pressed against the mattress as she cartwheeled over the bed and landed, catlike on the other side. In the same move, she whirled around, and brought the knife in front of her, her heart thudding loudly as her ribcage.

    “I must say, quite impressive.” A figure murmured from a chair, hidden in the dense shadows in the far corner of the room. “To go through so far undetected - your reputation precedes you.”

    “Who are you?” She asked, and took a step back as he rose. He was dressed in simple black robes, hood pulled up to obscure his face, but he looked too small, too short, to be intimidating.

    “You don’t recognize me?” His tone was mocking, cold, alluring and yet oh-so familiar, and she shivered despite herself as an unseen aura spilled from his form - dark, cold and insidious. He reached up with two thin hands to pull away his hood, and a face wreathed in shadow was revealed to her.

    He stepped into the moonlight. “Look ha—”

    She lunged, smiling thinly, the tip of her dagger gleaming in the moonlight.

    And impossibly something slammed against her wrist, stopping her blow cold just inches from his face.

    “Now, that was just rude.”

    Piercing green eyes met her shocked gaze. Then with a smirk, he bent her wrist back, and her world exploded in pain as the knife clattered from her slack grip. She tried to smash her knee against his groin but suddenly she couldn’t move, as tendrils of intrusive magic and sickening intent slithered in behind the barriers of his mind.

    “What was it, you said?” he whispered, and her muscles spasmed. She slumped against his surprisingly strong form.

    “Ah yes - Au revoir, chère enfant”

    Her world collapsed in a crushing sea of black.

    * * * * * ​

    Half an hour later, in a bedroom in the lavish Wisteria Manor used for the Ministry’s international hostings, a terrified boy cracked open the door to the wardrobe he was hiding in.

    Little Anton Robespierre, son of the French Chancellor of Magic, slipped out, wide awake and sweaty. He glanced around his room.

    The strange boy with the weird green eyes, and the maid who had come to kill him were gone.

    Shivering slightly, Anton ran out to find his father.

    * * * * * ​

    The world was spinning.

    Her vision was bit too blurry. She wanted to rub his eyes, but her arms were constricted to her sides. A dull pain pulsed from her wrist. Her head throbbed painfully, as if all the blood had rushed there. Something bad had happened but she couldn’t remember—

    She tried moving, and felt her entire body sway from side to side, as if she was suspended.

    The feeling of panic slowly returned as she realized her arms and legs were not coming loose, and that her entire body seemed to be swaying gently. A cool breeze brushed by her exposed face, and darkness pressed against her eyeballs. She squeezed her eyelids, blinking hard, and the film over her eyes fell away.

    She screamed at what she saw. Her vision was upside down, but she appeared to be in a low mossy clearing - mostly dark - the only illumination coming from the soft patches of moonlight which managed to filter through the dense growth of trees and brambles around the enclosure.

    “Glad to see you’re awake.”

    Dry leaves crackled underfoot as a pair of dirty, muddy-encrusted sneakers moved into view.

    “You were sleeping, and it seemed such a pity to wake you.”

    Her feelings of panic intensified as she tried to find some wriggle room, but couldn’t.

    “Don’t bother. Acromantula silk - I assure you that you will not be breaking free unless I let you.”

    A raspy grunt fell from her throat as she clamped down the feelings of terror gnawing on her insides. “Who are you?”

    Whoever held her captive took his time to answer, as if pondering the question. “I’m waiting for some friends so I guess it won’t hurt to tell you. It’s not like it’ll be of much help to you anyway.”

    He cleared his throat. “I’ve been called many things before, but perhaps the one that’ll hold most significance for you is Harry Potter.”

    Instead of clarity, her confusion only deepened further at his proclamation. Harry Potter? She knew the name - The Boy Who Lived, he was famous even in France, for killing the British Dark Lord, and for the events in last year’s ill-fated Triwizard Tournament, when one of the contestants had died in his arms. But what the fuck was going on?

    “Why do you have me?” A note of the desperation she was trying to conceal slipped into her voice. “Do you have any fucking idea who I am?”

    Laughter echoed in the dark clearing. “Glad to see you’ve dropped the French accent - you don’t make it sound quite as sexy as… never mind.”

    “I have more than an idea who you are. Your aliases are as numerous as they are well-known, but you simply prefer to be known as Madame Renaud, Mistress of Death, international assassin, wanted for implication in several political assassinations across Europe in the last decade. The French, Estonian, and Turkish Ministries all have bounties for your head.”

    So it was about the money then.

    “So that’s what you want - the money. Name your price and I shall pay you twice the amount. You have my word.”

    Then she’d find him and rip his throat out.

    “Any interesting offer, but I assure you money is not my motive. Tell me, who hired you to assassinate the boy?”

    “I do not ask questions,” she replied. “I am simply given a task, and I execute it.”

    “An amoral killer-for-hire. Interesting.” Harry Potter chuckled, then his voice turned high and cold. For the first time that night, something other than levity colored his words - a calm, placid fury simmering underneath his joking exterior. “How many people have you killed? How many children have you left orphans, how many parents have you left childless?”

    She felt a cold chill at his words, and tried a different tack. “You are going to hand me to the authorities then?”

    “The authorities? No, my dear. For you,” and there was a touch of cruel amusement in his words. “For you I have something special planned.”

    She was about to ask what, when a loud clicking noise interrupted her.

    “Right on time,” Harry Potter muttered. He sounded pleased. “Tell me, Irene Renaud. You have used acromantula venom before, yes? However have you met the creatures themselves?”

    The scuttling noise grew as something closer, joined by more clicking noises. Cold sweat dribbled down her forehead into the roots of her hair.

    “Be still now, they bite harder when you move. It makes for a most noisy, agonizing death, from what I’ve heard.”

    A flash of blue light hit her, and she felt her body size up. Sheer terror gripped her heart, as understanding dawned in her mind. She couldn’t even scream as a hairy black spider scampered into her field of vision, then another, then another, then another.

    A myriad of beady eyes blinked at her, and shiny pincers clicked frantically at her face.

    “Feast, sons of Aragog, feast.”

    * * * * * ​

    Albus Dumbledore strode down the moonlit corridor at a leisurely pace, a cup of unsweetened coffee in his hand. Steam wafted from the ceramic mug as he lifted it to his lips and took a long sip.

    His lips curled up into a sardonic smile.

    The black liquid tasted much like life these days - dark, bitter, and intended to keep him awake.

    Lord Voldemort was back.

    And all his attempts at alerting the world to this truth had fallen flat. Cornelius Fudge was sticking his head in the ground like an ostrich, content to turn a blind eye to the dark storms brewing on the horizon.

    The Dementors were stirring, discontent growing in their cold, tattered ranks.

    The Giants were already receiving envoys from the Dark Lord.

    In the dark forests of Worcestershire, a colony of werewolves had disappeared without a trace.

    The Order was stretched thin, trying to deal with threats and rumors that popped up by the second - Severus, in the lair of Dark Lord himself; Lupin, with the werewolves; Hagrid and Madame Maxime, with the giants; Kingsley, Nymphadora, Arthur...

    And in spite of all these signs that screamed the advent of an impending doom, Cornelius Fudge was refusing to listen to reason. Instead, the portly Minister saw fit to besmirch his name and brand him and Harry liars, and had contrived to strip him of his most of his positions.

    Not that Albus minded that much - the reduced workload was actually quite welcome, but at the same time his fall in political spheres was most unwelcome - at least with the authority that came with some of his positions, he could have worked to counter the Dark Lord’s subtle machinations.

    And Lord Voldemort was taking full advantage of the deaf ear the Ministry was turning towards his return - content to scheme from the shadows.

    To a degree he pitied the Minister - his actions were a clear mark of insecurity born from the knowledge that should Voldemort be alive, he wouldn’t be needed. If Lord Voldemort was proven to indeed be back, And it’s only a question of time, the panicking public would call for someone stronger, someone tougher and more decisive to take the reins and lead the fight. Cornelius knew this, feared this eventuality, and was making all the wrong decisions.

    Such as alienating the one man he needed by his side.

    To add insult to injury, Dolores Umbridge now stalked the halls of Hogwarts, terrifying students and being a general annoyance to the teachers. He rubbed his head to ward of the oncoming headache thoughts of the pink-clad, hem-hemming woman brought on - he hadn’t been so thoroughly annoyed by someone since Eric Smeek stole his knitting pins in his sixth year—

    Sometimes, he wondered if he had been wrong to refuse the post of Minister of Magic. Certainly under his command, the Wizarding world would have flourished and—

    He sighed, and abandoned that train of thought. It would do no good. The wrongs of the world were not one man’s to put right.

    He reached the set of gargoyles standing guard to the entrance to his office, and they sprang to life and leapt aside at his approach. He stepped onto the winding staircase, and tugged the hem of his robes where it caught the corner of one of the stone steps. He chuckled as he got it off just in time, and the stairs began to take him up.

    The spiral escalator ground to a halt when it reached the highly polished oak door, which swung open at his touch. He stepped into his dimly-lit office.

    “Good evening Fawkes.”

    From his perch near the door, Fawkes trilled a long, welcoming note and Albus smiled gently as he felt the tune lift his spirits.

    “I know, my friend, I know,” he murmured, understanding her unusual communication. Stroking his beard, he stepped beside a window and gazed outside at the black expanse that was the Forbidden Forest. The evening sky was black, starless, and the moon was only a pale silver. “I suppose there are things I should be grateful for…”

    Like Harry Potter.

    Far beyond what he had hoped and dreaded after the Lord Voldemort’s resurrection, and the dementor attack during the summer, the boy had not sunk into a mire of depression and angst to brood and hold himself responsible for poor Cedric’s death. To the contrary, he had sought Albus out, and made several rather convincing arguments as to why he needed to be trained and readied the imminent conflicts that were sure to come.

    Albus acquiesced after a long debate, and was pleasantly been surprised by the ease with which Harry had taken to his tutelage, showing an astonishing aptitude and grasp for magicks far above even what he Albus was capable of at fifteen. Even more surprising, Harry had heeded his cautions to keep his head down, and was shouldering through Fudge’s accusations and Dolores’ meddling with a kind of stoic indifference that was quite at odds with his former, fiery temperament. Even Severus was baffled by the change.

    More had happened in the graveyard than Harry cared to disclose, that was for sure…

    Finally there was issue of the mysterious figure killing of prominent Death Eaters and sympathisers….

    Gregory Goyle Sr, drowned in a pool of his own blood in his manor. Borgin Burke, found dead in his Knockturn Alley store, a rusted, cursed blade plunged through his chest. Walden Macnair, his head lopped off by his own blood-encrusted axe. Vincent Crabbe, comatose in St. Mungo’s, chances of recovery slim. Lucius Malfoy, recovering in Italy after his house-elf had mistakenly slipped a potent poison into his tea… the list went on and on…

    The Daily Prophet had sensationally christened the killer The Death Dealer.

    Some thought it was the work of mass-murderer Sirius Black, seeking vengeance on the brethren who had abandoned him. Some still whispered it was the Headmaster himself, out to rid the Dark Lord of his most powerful followers - and Albus found this quite amusing, given that he was locked in conversation with Fudge when the very first murder had happened.

    Lord Voldemort was livid, that much was sure. And even though Albus himself was not sure sure where the loyalties of this new variable lay (all his attempts at reaching out or finding out more from his seedier contacts had met dead ends), he was content to stand back and wait for further developments before acting...

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    With a absent flick, Albus sent his empty, now clean coffee mug zooming into the cupboard, and the mess of papers on his desk arranged itself into a neat pile. Fawkes soared onto his shoulder in a rush of red and gold, and warbled cheerily.

    “Yes, my friend,” he murmured, and stroked Fawkes’s bright plumage. “Time to go to sleep.”

    One of the silver instruments on his bookcase let out a shrill, piercing shriek. Albus paled, and strode across the room. He prodded the instrument, and it shuddered and spun and emitted a gray puff of smoke which shaped itself into a vague representation of a forest.

    An undesirable element had entered Hogwarts.

    A faint sense of unease settled in Albus’s stomach as he tightened his grip on his wand and adjusted his half-moon glasses. Fawkes crooned on his shoulder.

    “Let us go give our visitor a welcome, shall we?”

    Fawkes flew up from his shoulder and hovered above his head. He reached out and gripped his tail feathers, and together they disappeared from the office in a golden flash of fire and light.

    * * * * * ​

    The clearing was eerily empty - the leaf-strewn ground scattered by the feeding flurry of the acromantula.

    Tattered wisps of silk webbing hung from the gnarled bough of a tree, drenched crimson with blood and bits of bone and tissue - and the ground underneath was a wet black patch under the moonlight.

    With a twirl of his wand, he vanished the mess, wiping all traces of his presence. Then he stiffened halfway, in the middle of an incantation.

    “If the blood is a fashion statement, it is a pretty poor one.” Dumbledore murmured, gesturing at Harry’s blood-splattered robes as stepped out from the cover of the trees, his flamboyant robes darker and blended perfectly with the darkness. His wand hung loosely in his hand.

    Harry turned slowly, and his lips curled up into a dark smile at Dumbledore’s sharp intake of breath. “You saw what happened then.”

    “I missed the full show, but daresay I saw enough to make an educated guess,” Dumbledore whispered. “What happened here?” He peered at Harry, and inside his head, his clever mind was spinning wildly. The boy who stood before him now was someone else - someone far more insidious than the young man he had taken on as his confidante and apprentice. There was a darkness silhouetted on his face, and something terrible lingered behind his usually kind green eyes. “What happened to you, my boy?”

    “I suppose there is no way I can talk myself out of this,” Harry said in a conversational tone, twirling his wand absently.

    Suppressing a frown at the familiar movement, Dumbledore took a step forward, his aged face grim. He gripped the Elder Wand tighter in his hand and an invisible breeze ruffled his long flowing robes. “I am afraid you will have to be very convincing.”

    Harry spun into action, his wrist flicking fast. A dark flash of crimson light exploded from his wand in a rush of deafening noise and an oily, dark power.

    But Dumbledore was faster, far faster. The Headmaster’s wand blurred, glowing with a purple light, and the crimson curse shattered in a violent shower of destructive light before it even got anywhere near him. Harry snarled an incantation, and twisted his wrist as a ruinous white light began to pool at the tip of his wand, blowing apart the leaves around him in a circle as he started to cast the dark magic.

    But Dumbledore was gone in a twirl of purple robes, and Harry’s eyes widened at the disapparition. He lifted his wand to cast a defensive spell, but the dome of protective magic was barely formed before the Headmaster was on him in a flash, his weathered face hard, and his piercing blue eyes cold and trembling with power.

    A blast of terrific red power caught Harry in the chest, collapsing the half-formed magical shield, and he barely had time to shriek in agony before he was lifted clear of his feet, the air knocked out of his lungs. The mossy ground thundered as he slammed down, pain flaring from his lower back, then without respite his hand snapped back violently, and his wand was wrenched from his grasp into the waiting hands of Dumbledore.

    “I regret the necessity of that,” Dumbledore murmured, breathing hard. He pocketed the wand and peered at Harry, regret and silent resolve gleaming in his blue gaze. There was a desperate plea in his voice when he spoke. “Please, let me help you, my dear boy.”

    Harry pulled himself up with a pained grunt, and began to laugh - a chilly, high sound that sent shivers racing down Dumbledore’s back. ‘You would kill me if you knew the truth.”

    “I do not know what has happened to you, but whatever it is, I can help you.” Dumbledore kept the wand pointed at the ground, but a simple flick would bring it to bear. "I guarantee that I can protect you Harry, even if it's from yourself." He started forward.

    And froze.

    Harry Potter gazed at his mentor, and the emerald behind his eyes seemed to shift, replaced by something else. A shocked gasp fell from Dumbledore’s lips as Harry shuddered, then stilled. His head dropped onto his chest as if the muscles in his neck had suddenly been severed, and his jet-black hair fell over his forehead, obscuring his face in a disturbing manner. Then slowly he lifted his head, and Dumbledore’s face went slack with horror as crimson pupils stared up at him.

    “Hello, Albus Dumbledore.”

    * * * * * ​

    Let me know what you guys think eh?
  2. Photon

    Photon Order Member

    Jul 15, 2012
    Interesting, but entire situation makes little sense. Why Tom would assassinate his followers? I can imagine him killing them all on the graveyard or making himself into hero by eliminating them in way that is noticed by public. But assassinating? Why?

    I thought that it may be some sort of Harry-Tom merge, not normal possession but ending contradicted this.

    For now it seems to be start (maybe first half, maybe prologue), not an independent oneshot.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013
  3. AlbusPHolmes

    AlbusPHolmes The Alchemist

    Aug 18, 2011
    It's a Harry-Tom merge (note: not Voldemort, just the scarcrux), and it has an explanation. Perhaps this'll be better posted in WbA.
  4. Photon

    Photon Order Member

    Jul 15, 2012
    Is it explained/implied/hinted somewhere? Maybe I should read it once more.
  5. AlbusPHolmes

    AlbusPHolmes The Alchemist

    Aug 18, 2011
    The explanation isn't in the post, but would follow in the conversation between Dumbledore and Tom!Harry.
  6. Mugglewizard

    Mugglewizard Seventh Year

    Feb 26, 2012
    I liked it. It is scary to think of Harry Tom merge with Badass Dumbledore training.
  7. Rache

    Rache Headmaster

    Mar 7, 2012
  8. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

    Jan 6, 2009
    Someone toss me one,preferably something short-ish again.
    Got one via IRC, thanks dudes.

    Edit (because someone asked):

    Okay, so the initial prompt I got from someone was based on this story by HP Lovecraft. I had to google it and look it up to sort out what exactly my "friend" wanted me to write.

    Apparently he wanted me to write a story where a nongender!bothgender Harry goes to the Hogs Head and sits down to tell Aberforth a story about something, but then ends up going back in time and accidentally impregnating a female version of himself. This causes him to become both of his own parents. Then he realizes that he is also Aberforth's past self. Or something.

    So yeah. I'm not writing that. It did give me another idea though, and since this dude isn't on DLP it won't matter.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2013
  9. Averis

    Averis Don of Delivery Prestige

    Feb 8, 2007
    High Score:
    I asked one for a prompt a few pages back, but if someone could hit me with one this morning I'll try to have it out by the end of the day. Funny, romance, adventure, drama, it doesn't matter to me as long as you make it tremendously difficult. Preesh.
  10. Ceebee

    Ceebee High Inquisitor

    May 5, 2009
    Accomplished and respected Aurors, middle aged Harry Potter and Ron Weasley get involved in a contest of magical one up-manship, vying to see who is the better wizard. It has (strange/deadly/weird/wonderful/completely unexcepted, pick whatever) consequences.

    Pick a story tone and get creative!
  11. Rache

    Rache Headmaster

    Mar 7, 2012
    <P>Post DH, Gregory Goyle vows revenge on Harry Potter for what happened to his lover Crabbe and manages to disarm an Elder Wand wielding Harry by luck and chance and preparation.</P><P>&nbsp;</P><P>Goyle is the new master of the ElderWand.</P><P>&nbsp;</P><P>Anything from crack to serious.</P>
  12. Peace

    Peace High Inquisitor

    Aug 17, 2011
    My computer desk
    It took me a month to find 45 minutes of free time to write it but here's my response. Its not great or even good but it's done. Cheers to AntHil for the prompt. I made a mess of it buddy.

    Does someone want to give me another prompt, something action-oriented?

    Is it possible to maintain formatting (italics, paragraph spacing etc) when copying a post in from a word document?


    Scum, Terrence Higgs as the door opened and admitted a collared muggle. It shuffled across the brightly lit antechamber, shoulders hunched, a polished silver tray bearing a china tea service and covered plate in its hands. It had a blank face that reflected a mind crushed by a slave collar. Not that animals think much to begin with.

    “Stop!” Initiate Travers barked. It stopped. “State your business!”

    Higgs rolled his eyes. Initiates, he thought derisively. Little fuckers are a pain in the ass.

    “I’m delivering Master’s tea,” it said.

    Travers stepped away from the door, drawing his wand.

    “What are you doing?” Higgs asked.

    “Checking for magic,” Travers replied as though it was obvious.

    Higgs stared at him like he was an idiot. “You’re an idiot,” he said. “The tea service will be charmed to keep it from being broken and the tea warm and it’s wearing a fucking slave collar. Of course you’re going to find magic!”

    Travers gave him a sulky, wounded look. “It’s procedure,” he half-whined, staring suspiciously at the muggle.

    “It’s a muggle with a tea service and we’re in Malfoy Manor. For fuck’s sake we’re only here to look impressive.” I’m only here instead of another Initiate because Yaxley caught me with his daughter. “If someone gets through the security team outside we’ve got no chance of stopping them. Now, stand aside and let it through.” Six aurors and the Premier’s own four man security detail were roaming around the manor, making sure no one had gotten through the protective enchantments.

    Travers didn’t move. He was so eager to succeed and prove that he’d memorised the regs that Higgs was surprised that he didn’t vibrate with enthusiasm. “We should at least check the plate.”

    Higgs rolled his eyes. “You think it’s hiding a wand?” he asked. When Travers showed no sign of relenting Higgs sighed and said, “Fine Initiate, make sure the crusts have been cut off Malfoy’s sandwiches.”

    Flushing, Travers did just that.


    He watched Travers lift the cover, revealing a plate empty except for a wand. Despite his suspicion Travers stared at the wand with incomprehension. Higgs, leaning against the wall, was no quicker to respond.

    The tray crashed to the ground but the fine china didn’t break. The wand was in his hand and he swept it through the air. Travers collapsed, his slashed throat spraying crimson blood everywhere. Higgs fumbled his wand, nearly dropping it as he tried to bring it to bear. With a sickening snap his head turned a full 180 degrees.

    With a touch of his wand the fake slave collar opened and the glamour failed. Harry Potter stared at the bodies dispassionately, ignoring the rivulets of Travers’ blood that were working their way down his face. Pocketing the collar he stepped over the spreading pool of blood on the flagstone floor and gently opened the door of Lucius Malfoy’s private office.

    The light was softer inside the office, all part of creating a relaxing environment. Neither Lucius nor Oskar Bereza, Premier of Poland, looked up from their discussion as the door opened. It was a serious thing, discussing the finer points of blooding Polish ‘volunteers’ in Britain to give them some much needed experience ahead of the brewing Russo-Polish border war. Polish ‘volunteers’ would also go some way to rectifying the manpower shortages that the Death Eaters had been suffering from since the Ministry Uprising in ’01.

    Plus they were expecting refreshments. Such men didn’t take notice when the help arrived.

    Harry marvelled at his position even as he brought his wand to bear on Lucius, a man who had survived four attempted assassinations since ’97. The bludgeoner took him in the side of the head, crushing his skull.

    Bereza yelped as Lucius’ body folded in on itself and pushed backwards, tipping his armchair over.

    “Gua …” he started to shout before Harry’s stunner hit him in the chest.

    Working quickly Harry drew an unmarked slate rectangle from beneath his shirt and set it facing the door. He touched his wand to the rectangle and whispered a spell, producing a dark glow, barely visible in the low lighting. He drew his wand away from the slate, causing a thin filament of light to unspool from the tip. Touching his wand to the door caused the light to break from his wand but left the slate and door connected.

    Satisfied that the trap was set Harry grabbed the Premier’s hand and held it against his wristband before activating the portkey spelled into the band. The portkey, stolen from one of the Premier’s security detail the night before when he visited a brothel, slid through the manor’s enchantments as though they weren’t even there, depositing the pair in a nondescript cottage in the Cotswolds.

    Harry manhandled Bereza into a chain wrapped chair and watched until the chains had come to life and secured the Premier in place. Then he woke him.


    Bereza stared at his captor and felt his blood run cold when he recognised him. He wasn’t hard to identify, his wanted poster was plastered everywhere in wizarding Britain. They called him Undesirable Number 1. By God he earned that title.

    “People will be coming for me,” Bereza said, hating how his voice quavered.

    Potter smiled mirthlessly and Bereza wondered if that was the last thing the Lestrange brothers had seen before he had killed them. “Not the ones you want,” he said confidently.

    “What do you mean by that?”

    “The Russians don’t want to fight a war. Really, who would? It’s bloody horrible. They figure that if they’ve got you then they can negotiate terms with your cabinet.”

    Bereza swallowed heavily. His cabinet would negotiate, if only to stop the Russians releasing him. His family had ruled Poland ever since his grandfather had overthrown the elected Ministry and there were elements within his ruling cabal who would be only too happy to take power for themselves, particularly his Director of Counterintelligence whose removal was meant to be part of his agreement with the British.

    The door opened, admitting a tall black man whose face was scarred by fire and loss. Shacklebolt, Bereza thought. Undesirable Number 2.

    “They’re here Harry. We’re checking the supplies now but it looks like everything’s there.”

    A short, powerfully built man entered the cottage while Shacklebolt spoke. His face shimmered slightly, the sign of a badly cast concealment charm.

    “Premier, my name is Sergei and you are now in my custody.” He spoke English as a courtesy to their hosts. Through the door that Sergei had left open behind him Bereza could see crates and chests being moved and stacked outside of the cottage. The price of his capture he assumed.

    “The supplies are here and the funds have been transferred into your accounts Mr Potter,” Sergei continued.

    “Then he’s all yours, provided that everything checks out. I hope you have more luck at avoiding war than we did,” Harry said sincerely.

    “We will,” Sergei said, giving Bereza a cold look. “Thanks to you.”
  13. Jibril

    Jibril Headmaster

    Jun 7, 2006
    50.26°N, 19.02°E
    @Peace - I just love the name of the Polish premier. Him having that name, and comming from a family that overthron the rightfull minister is just amusing :D
  14. Richard

    Richard Supreme Mugwump

    Jul 5, 2006
    Nice little piece.
  15. AntHil

    AntHil First Year

    Oct 21, 2011
    Not bad Peace.
  16. Averis

    Averis Don of Delivery Prestige

    Feb 8, 2007
    High Score:
    Something strange then... and they aren't exactly middle-aged either. Sue me.


    A strong gust of wind broke the silence of the otherwise quiet night; Ron, dangling from his broomstick, nearly over-balanced and pitched into the sea. Far below, waves crashed against each other like great titans; above us, there was only cloudless sky. The moon cast a shadow over fields of green that stretched to the edge of the neighboring island in every direction, tapering off into sharp, rocky cliffs and beaches covered in small stones and sea shells. Homes lined the small, meandering roads paved through the magnificent scenery, and from my vantage point gliding through the clouds, roofs looked like orange dots against the manicured farmland. Few cars moved, though I could spot townsfolk doing their early morning duties, working the fields and lining the piers with their fishing poles in hand.

    "I bet you couldn't do that, Harry," Ron said, laughing as he pulled himself upright. He rotated his shoulders, craning his neck in order to get his vertebrae to pop.

    Neville spoke for me, smiling awkwardly. "I'm sure he could."

    "He's too stiff these days," he joked, though I'm sure his back ached as horribly as mine. "Guess it comes with the territory once you make Head Auror..."

    Despite the humor on Ron's face, I he was making an attempt at goading me into something that would make our silent trip interesting. He probably assumed that since I crashed my broom and fractured my shoulder late last May, I was still afraid to try something. The fact that I had done it trying and failing to save Fleur Delacour was lost on him as he tried to cajol me into action, perhaps to bring me out of my own somewhat permanent melancholy. He obviously didn't understand the significance of the events taking place -- either that, or he was trying to put the darkening realization to the back of his own mind. Perhaps he wanted me to get angry, if only to let the monster out...

    "Shut up," I whispered, having difficulty not screaming at my friend. My cautionary words were lost on the redhead, who had been hanging precariously over the sea. Apparently, he was dead set on horseplaying.

    "C'mon, Harry," he continued, ignoring the fact that my face had gone rigid, "first one in the water has to--"

    "Just cut it out, Ron!" Neville snapped, just loud enough for me to overhear. I refused to look at them. "Can't you tell he's serious?"

    I ignored them as they argued back and forth, Neville defending my right to silence and Ron certain that he could pull me out of it. He didn't know that I had put the past aside, at least for now, focusing on the vast importance of the task at hand.

    I had been on the bromstick so long that the oak base had left a deep ravine in the palm of my hands, tender to the touch, but I knew I'd recover easily enough. I stretched my fingers, allowing myself a few moments to adjust my aching shoulders. Hours of flying across the Atlantic Ocean due west had been brutally nauseating, as miles and miles of waves crashed into the air, soaking the three of us to the bone and leaving us rather put out with the experience. Fortunately, it was late summer, and the sunlight had lasted long enough for us to make most of the journey basking in its warmth. That said, it was well past midnight, and the heat had long since faded into stifling cold.

    It was no small feat to come this far on a broom, but this was not my first trip to this island in the midst of the Atlantic. Ponta Delgada was the mecca of the Azores, but it was nothing I hadn't seen before. Ron, to the right, had not joined me the last time, when his father led us here. The trip had been considerably slower than our present voyage, but it had at least been entertaining to watch Arthur Weasley fly so far.

    We had taken a break that first time, Alastor Moody being kind enough to stop us half way and Transfigure a cardboard box into a massive raft. I don't think I had ever been that tired, as I was just out of school and it was the first time I had been on a broom for more than four hours straight. Of course, I had so much practice flying now that the process itself was merely a horrid inconvenience rather than a perilous task that could possibly end my with my own death.

    Death Eaters didn't often take to the air or the water, as they were more concerned with their relentless conquest of the United Kingdom. Many of our nation's greatest wizards had gone underground or given up entirely, catering to the new regime. As the power struggle between Dumbledore and a young Tom Riddle exploded into a full-on civil war, armies became more desperate on both side of the conflict, and thousands suffered for the success of only a small minority of the population. Dumbledore was killed defending the school, which was nearly torn in apart in what would have been my seventh year, if those of a Muggle background were allowed to attend. McGonagall, Flitwick and Snape were never found again, and I prayed they had suffered the same fate as Albus. Indentured servitude to that snake would be far worse than death.

    Fortunately, Dumbledore had prepared for his eventual murder. In an outpost adjacent to England, he had become the wizard that defeated Grindelwald decades before the first war with Voldemort. The laborious nine hour broomstick journey to get there was enough to dissuade any black-robed, white-masked spies from following us for long. Travelling at nearly a hundred and fifty kilometers an hour, it was no wonder we had never been caught in transit.

    Merlin save us if we ever were...

    I sensed it a moment before it happened; seemingly out of the blue, the force of an incoming gail almost threw us from our brooms. I ducked into the chilly blast, using my momentum to push me back upright; Neville gasped in fear, but he pulled up in time to evade the worst of the hard wind. However, Ron, who had been caught off-guard, was drenched by a chunk of the towering wave and almost flipped backwards off of his Nimbus.

    "Holy hell, that's cold!" Ron said, grimacing, his teeth clenched tightly. Despite myself, I laughed uproariously. As Ron glared at me, it occured to me that it had been far too long since I found the humor in anything; unfortunately, that was a sobering thought, and my smile evaporated. "You would find that funny!"

    "To be fair, I thought it was hilarious," Neville piped up, a smile on his round face. Changing the subject before Ron could retaliate, he asked me, "We should be getting close, right?"

    "We better be!"

    For a pair of aurors, the two wizards were doing a damned good job not doing their job. I understood that the trip had been long and arduous, but, even though he was one of my best friends, Ron's voice was beginning to get on my nerves.

    I said nothing, scanning the landscape for our target. We had come nearly fifteen hundred miles to get here, and I wasn't going to waste one more by flying past our destination. Rocks pushed up from the deep water in places, and it was one such rock that would house Dumbledore's tower -- Sao Albus, as he jokingly referred to it. Only those who had been given the secret straight out of Dumbledore's mouth could see the entrance, and though I would never be able to pass that knowledge down to any others now that Dumbledore himself had passed, the magic that hid the tower still held up after my mentor's death, and I could still lead the others into the tower directly.

    That meant that Ron and Neville, would be subject to a bewildering, frightening fall into the mouth of the ocean -- one that I doubted they'd thank me for afterward. The allure of getting out of the air would be far more tempting than the urge to shout at me, I was sure of that.

    "Gents," I started, slowing my progression long enough to face the others. I paused, watching them assimilate around me, and feeling a kindship with the guys that I had not enjoyed on my first trip. As the youngest out of a group of Alastor, Arthur and Remus, it was kind of disconcerting to be trusted with a secret as massive as the location of the darkest living being on Earth. "You're not going to like this, but we're about to get wet."

    As Ron opened his mouth to complain, I swished my wand downward; Ron's lips formed an even harder grimace, and then he screamed as he realized he was falling, his tortured voice matching Neville's in pitch and volume. Despite the water rushing up to meet us from below, a smile formed on my own face as my teeth began chattering from the fall. The others must have imagined a horrible death at sea, but I knew better; just when it looked like we'd crash into the water, a massive wave rose to meet us, plucking us from the sky. "If we live through this, I'm gonna kill you, Harry!"

    It was Neville's voice, muffled by the splash of water against all of our faces, though mine was covered in the kind of smile born from tricking your best mates. I let the broom fall free from my hands and plugged my nose, already intimately familiar with the sensation of salt water filling my nostrils, and I stretched my legs out in front of me, preparing to hit solid ground. With a mighty whomp, each of us collided with a bed of leaves two feet high, tindrils of Devil's Snare immediately wrapping around us. Neville and Ron both yelped, before they realized what the plant was, but I was faster than my friends and wandlessly cast a charm that shot a beam of sunlight onto the offensive foliage. It immediately receded into the Earth, and I dusted myself off merrily, refusing to look at my two angry friends.

    "What the fuck, Harry?" Neville chimed, causing me to drop the facade and laugh whole-heartedly. We had flown the majority of the night without talking, and I had been concocting this practical joke for most of it. For it to come off perfectly would have done my father and Sirius proud, and that was enough to send a genuine smile stretching across my features.

    "Calm down," I said, once I had done so myself. "You can't take a little joke?"

    "You're hilarious," Ron noted miserably, before clubbing me in the shoulder. The padding provided by my Auror gear blocked the blow, but neither did his hands suffer, owing to the bulky gloves covering his knuckles. "We're about to beg the darkest creature alive to help us, at the risk of our own lives, and you start cracking jokes."

    "Hopefully, it'll alleviate the stress," I said offhandedly, scanning the room I had only seen once before. I had only been afforded an hour to look at Albus' tower, and confined to this one room, but it had been an interesting experience nonetheless. Remus, Alastor and Arthur had proceeded downward, into the depths of the tower which led further into the water than I could imagine. Now that the first two had passed, and the third had become leader of the Order in proxy, I assumed the responsibility of conferring with the only living being I was truly afraid of.

    The room itself housed innumerable objects that had peaked Albus' interest at one time or another. It went without saying that a light wizard of Dumbledore's position could not house dragon blood and goblin-made scimitars in his office. Some of the greatest experiments ever undertaken had happened in this very room, the laboratory that Nicholas Flamel and Albus Dumbledore had built in secrecy and remained unknown to most of the world for the last century. Yet, here we stood, three simple, English aurors in our twenties, ignoring everything but the spiral staircase in the center, leading down into the depths of the sea.

    True to his character, Neville's words brought us face to face with reality. "This isn't a laughing matter, I'm afraid."

    I nodded shortly, knowing that we had very little time to chit-chat. The world as we knew it would soon be ending. Voldemort had consolidated his power base by stealing Gringotts back from the goblins and controlling all of the finances in Britain, and thousands of wizards had their life's savings in the hands of a psycopathic criminal with an eye on world domination. He had all but quashed any resistance, and while some had been tipped off in time to remove their funds, the vast majority were left penniless and starving. Now, Diagon Alley was filled with distraught individuals looking for handouts, of which the Pureblooded inevitably received the larger slice of the pie and Muggleborns were turned away with venomous smiles. The Weasleys, who had never had much money to start with, were one of the only light-sided families not to turn their backs on the resistance. Death Eaters, on the other hand, were wealthy beyond their wildest dreams.

    The inexorable conquest of the United Kingdom had not stopped there. Muggle deaths increased tenfold as Voldemort rewrote laws that were thousands of years old, allowing wizards to run riot in the Muggle world with no fear of being apprehended or reprimanded by the government. The Statute of Secrecy was decaying slowly, and Obliviators were becoming less and less effective with time. Wizarding society had been plunged into a dark age, and though Europe and the west had yet to be effected, it was only a matter of time before the entire Earth was drenched in turbulent waters.

    The final straw came when we received word that The Dark Lord was planning to destroy the veil in the Department of Mysteries. While its creator was unknown, and its purpose unsure, the resulting magical backlash would either wash England into the sea, or give Voldemort the power to reign unopposed for a thousand years. It was the premier source of magic in the United Kingdom, at least a hundred times more powerful than Stonehenge in Wiltshire. There was no chance of survival for the British Isles or Ireland, and it was doubtful that any culture near the Atlantic would make it through the resulting tidal wave.

    Of course, with no small amount of irony, the responsibility to act against Voldemort fell to three men who would rather be left alone.

    "No time to waste," I murmured, placing one palm on the handrail. It came to life immediately, emitting a strange neon glow that bathed the darkness in ethereal light. "Trust me when I say that you have to be as silent as possible. We cannot stop walking until we reach the dome at the bottom, and we will not speak again until we confront Leviathan. Even then, I will speak, as the beast does not mince words or make idle conversation. For all of our sakes, please do not forget."

    Silencing charms were placed on our boots, and masks pulled over our mouths to help reduce the sound of our breathing. As quiet descended upon us, so did we descend down the spiral stairwell, going as quickly as we could without announcing our presence prematurely. It was a long walk down, but it would be a very quick ascent, especially if the beast at the bottom wasn't in the mood for visitors.

    Minutes passed in a haze of dim light and turned into half an hour, according to my digital watch. In the absence of magic, and of light and fresh air, everything seemed surreally disjointed; we were the only objects to move in the silent darkness, though I continued to feel like a beast watched us through the shadow. In the back of my mind I knew we were alone, but it did not dissuade my heart from thumping frightfully in my chest or my fingers from trembling noticeably. I did not err, however, unwilling to break stride for even a moment, as I knew that a pause in this place could have unforeseen consequences.

    Terror devoured my soul with every step, yet I gritted my teeth and forced myself forward, knowing that we were close. My face smacking against an iron door almost caused me to cry out, but I clenched my mouth closed and motioned for the two men behind me to stop. A single wave of my wand was all that was required as the door opened slowly, producing no sound and no air. A light shown in the darkness, however, and I spared a glance downward to see that we were surrounded by four walls of water, suspended solely by magic. The feat was something that only a wizard of Dumbledore's experience could create, and I doubted even Voldemort could craft a spell that would cradle the torrent of water after his death. Still, I was unwilling to spend much time in this place, and we each slid around the side of the door as quickly as possible.

    I took a deep breath. "This is it," I said, my voice still deathly quiet. "Remember what I said: let me do the talking. Leviathan should be at the end of this hallway."

    The walls were starkly white, and quite different from the tower full of priceless artifacts above; as no one in their right mind would ever come here for the scenery, I suppose it made sense to leave everything as boring and untouched as possible. Considering the fact that Leviathan's release would crush the tower and everything beneath it, I figured Dumbledore had been concerned with other exploits when he crafted this place.

    Before I could reflect on the decor, we had already reached the end of the thin, short hallway. Another iron door opened, and the one we had just entered slammed, drawing Ron's attention. "Damn," he muttered, shaking his head. "This place is going to give me a heart attack..."

    I just glared at him, and his words trailed off, an apologetic look gracing his pale features. "Knock it off," I mouthed, unwilling to speak so close to the final door. After a deep, steadying breath, I wrapped a shaking hand around the handle and slowly pulled it all of the way open, a gesture behind me spurring my friends into motion. They followed me with their wands out, and though a part of me knew it would be best for them not to confront the great beast with hostility, I doubted it would matter.

    If Leviathan wanted to kill us, we would already be dead.

    "Ah," came its gargantuan voice, marred by years of dissuse. "I have been expecting you. The last intimated that you would follow in time. You have come to pull me from this hole which I am bound, have you not?" A tremulous gurgle from Ron's voice did not pass without notice by the water serpent. One eyeball, larger than all of us combined, focused for one moment on the redhead, who recoiled as if struck, as men greater than him had done countless times before. I did my best to stop the trembling of my limbs, and the racing of my heart, but Leviathan noticed nonetheless. "You fear me, but there is another enemy you fear. You know I do not harm those that wish me freedom, yet you cower likes fools in front of me. From my slumber, I awaken, to find trembling children and nothing more." His serpentine body shifted, and Neville took a step back reflexively, drawing the ire of Leviathan again. "Flee, you fools, and come not to this place again."

    Neville and Ron glanced at me quizzically, unsure whether we should obey Leviathan's wishes and move on, or if we should ignore the great beast and further risk its wrath. I stood still, my face grimly set. "Great watcher of the sea," I greeted him, as Alastor had told me to a year before his death, "it is true that we fear you. Any man would have right to fear, before your majesty, and yet we have come this way to speak to you, fully aware that you would turn us down." The other two men had no idea Leviathan would turn us down, but I knew without a shadow of a doubt that the water serpent would deny us our query, as he had no choice but to follow if we said the right words. "But we ask -- no, we command -- you listen to our words."

    Wings the size of lorries appeared on both flanks of the beast, and it stood on its serpentine haunches, sizing us up with a mouth full of teeth, each larger than our bodies. "You dare disrupt my sleep with your trivial desires, and then expect that I should heed your command. What power do you have over me youngling, that I cannot break with a single bite." To further elaborate, his jaw opened and then closed, his razor-sharp teeth coming just inches from my jugular. When I refused to move, certain that he would listen if I showed no outward signs of fear, Leviathan considered me more closely.

    "I do not believe myself to be your match, in strength nor intelligence, but I will be heard! I am the voice of our billions, and it is certain that my death, not yours, will be the end of this life. There will be no others to follow, and you will rest at the bottom of this pit until you die -- a day that is far sooner than you ever expected, great Leviathan. Kill me now, and I will be the last."

    I had echoed his words in the hope that he would remember Moody, and Dumbledore, and the others before, who had all come to the great serpent to beg its favor, and therefore fight their battles with renewed strength and vigor. Leviathan could lend a most powerful hand to those it deemed worthy, but its opinion could not be swayed by mere suggestion alone. It was his way, or a crushing, ignominious defeat at his hands.

    Apparently, my words had given him pause, and the silence lasted another fifteen seconds or so as he watched me with both of his red eyes. He was absolutely magnificent, with scales that gleamed green and gold and blue. Legions had fought this great beast throughout history, before he had come to this place to rest, and none had fared well. However, Leviathan was not without his own scars; his underbelly was torn in countless places, with thin, jagged lines sliced indiscriminately across his midsection. Uncomfortable silence plagued us, and I glanced at Neville and Ron to see that they were no less fearful than they were upon their entrance. Where nothing but water made up the walls of the spiral staircase, this room contained only the door from which we had arrived, a rocky ledge on which we stood, and a black lagoon that stretched as far as the eye could see. The serpent's maw tightened noticeably when he finally decided to speak.

    "I see... the cowardice of your comrades is not a characterstic you share, young wizard. It is you that I have waited these years for, is it not? The mark of the man who imprisoned me is on you... I can see it now, in that scar." His great neck bent and he stooped over the top of me, nearly scaring the wits out of Ron and Neville, who looked ready to cast offensive spells. "Tell me, young one, is it your desire to merge our souls, casting off the stigma of that man you call Dark Lord? For it is not prophecy that has led you here, Harry Potter. It was I who brought you this far..."

    A pulsating electrical current flowed outward from the serpentine body of the beast, who loomed ever closer to me as sparks began to fly. Ron, wasting no time, sent a fiercesome bolt of lightning at the snake's neck, but it evaporated before it breached the field produced by the current. Neville, for his part, looked ready to cast, but he seemed unsure whether I wanted him to or not. I shifted my eyes to Leviathan's, and for one brief instant I thought the serpent was smiling.

    And then I was falling -- forever falling into an abyss, darker and deeper than the Chamber of Secrets and far more exhilarating than a Wronski Feint. The world exploded around me, and Ron and Neville had disappeared under the roar of the ocean crushing us into nothingness. White filled my vision, and I flailed my arms wildly, screaming...
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
  17. Mugglewizard

    Mugglewizard Seventh Year

    Feb 26, 2012
    I kind of liked the story, especially the ending. But when I had read the challenge to indicate respected aurors, I had assumed it to be after Voldemort's defeat. Considering in the story Voldemort but controls the entire magical Britain.
  18. Alive and Free

    Alive and Free Groundskeeper

    Aug 14, 2011
    You might want to post the formatting question in the Questions thread.

    A prompt ...

    "I am an Auror and you are under arrest."

    Make of that what you will mate.
  19. Averis

    Averis Don of Delivery Prestige

    Feb 8, 2007
    High Score:
    I need another prompt. I got nothing to do (except sporadic work, and lunch) until MU/LFC comes on at 2.45. Somebody hit me!
  20. BitMyFinger

    BitMyFinger Seventh Year

    May 31, 2013
    Deep in the Heart
    "The scar on his forehead shed light upon the room as men slaughtered themselves behind him."