A/N: This chapter contains a section that is a modified direct quote from Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows.
Ron February 24th 1998
Ron watched with a sense of satisfaction as Harry’s — no, Adam’s — spell sent the Death Eater who had broken away from the others sprawling to the ground.
“Nice one,” Ron said, as he looked out over the school grounds from their position on one of the battlements.
“Thanks,” Harry replied numbly.
“We did it,” Ron continued. “We drove them out of the school.”
“Did we really need to go as far as shooting at them from the battlements?” Hermione questioned.
“Yes,” Harry replied bitterly. “They deserve it. At least now we know they’re gone.”
“But for how long, Mr. Potter,” Professor McGonagall spoke from behind them as she approached with several of the other teachers, “remains to be seen. I am unsure as to the wisdom of this move.”
“What do you mean?” Ron questioned.
“Now that we have driven the Carrows and Snape out, they will surely return to retake the school. They will bring more forces and they will certainly be far less forgiving than they were in the past,” Professor McGonagall replied.
“Then we need to get ready to fight them off!” Harry exclaimed.
“Potter,” Professor McGonagall said coldly, “how do you suggest we do that? Even with the teachers, and the Order of the Phoenix, we do not have the forces to stand against the Death Eaters and Ministry.”
“Professor!” Ron exclaimed. “The DA will help, we want to help!”
“I know, Mr. Weasley,” Professor McGonagall replied. “But I cannot allow students who are not of age to fight, and, even with those who are of age, I do not think it will be enough. Plus, your presence, Potter, has virtually guaranteed that You-Know-Who himself will be here and so I must ask you: why are you here?”
Ron watched as Harry stared at Professor McGonagall with a look that he could only describe as a mix of shock and sadness.
“Well…?” Professor McGonagall prompted, when Harry did not answer.
“Professor,” Harry stammered, “I…”
“I am not your professor, Potter,” Professor McGonagall said simply, her voice softening slightly. “And I do understand that you are involved in things that Albus chose not share with the rest of us, but I must know why you chose to come here and place the lives of all the students within these walls in danger.”
“I don’t want to put anyone in danger!” Harry exclaimed. “There’s something I need to do, Professor!”
Professor McGonagall seemed to hesitate for a second.
“Professor,” Harry continued, “can you start evacuating the younger students and I’ll come with you and explain as much as I can?”
“I have a way to get them out of the school,” Ron added, “through the Hog’s Head Pub.”
“It’s the way we got in,” Hermione added. “I’m sure Aberforth will help.”
Professor McGonagall paused for a second before nodding and turning to Professor Flitwick, who was standing at her side. “Filius, can you begin the arrangements to seal the school and evacuate all those who are underage but,” she paused, “keep an extra close eye on Slytherins, perhaps secure them in their dungeons, until you are ready to leave. I will send a Patronus message telling Alastor to call the Order.” She paused, taking a deep breath. “Potter, you come with me.”
Adam February 24th 1998
Adam uneasily followed Professor McGonagall back through the school towards her office. He wasn’t quite sure what he had expected of Professor McGonagall, but he certainly hadn’t expected the cold response he’d received. However, when he actually thought about it, he realised that, of course, he was currently Harry Potter and not Adam Winters.
Am I really putting the students in danger by being here? Adam wondered, as they continued walking down the corridor. When deciding on coming to Hogwarts, all he’d thought about was defeating Voldemort. He hadn’t even considered that he might be putting children in danger.
“Well, Mr. Potter?” Professor McGonagall asked when, finally, the two of them entered her office.
Adam hesitated. He couldn’t bear this distant Professor McGonagall.
“Professor,” he said softly, “there’s something I need to show you.”
Adam drew his wand and applied the glamour charms that had become second nature to him over the last two years.
As his appearance changed, Professor McGonagall gasped. Adam felt his cheeks burning with shame and he looked away. He should have done this a long time ago.
When Adam opened his eyes, he saw Professor McGonagall pointing her wand at him.
“What is going on?” she asked harshly. “I do not appreciate people playing games with me.”
“P–P–Professor, it really is me… Adam,” he stammered, suddenly feeling completely flustered. “The… the first time we met, you were in your cat form, I’d been injured by two men and you came and sat with me. I…” Adam trailed off.
Suddenly, at this pronouncement, Professor McGonagall’s expression softened and Adam, much to his complete and utter shock, found himself enveloped in a hug.
“Adam!” she exclaimed. “I–I am so glad to see you!” Then she fell silent. “I must admit, I am at a loss as to why you have chosen to disguise yourself as Harry Potter.”
“Erm…” Adam hesitated, “Actually, I am Harry Potter.”
Professor McGonagall just stared back at him. She looked completely baffled.
Adam sighed, flopped down on the chair in her office and slowly began giving Professor McGonagall the briefest possible version of his story. Once he’d finished, Adam sat there in silence, waiting for the professor’s reaction, but Professor McGonagall just stood there, staring at him.
“I… I…” Professor McGonagall stammered. “If he wasn’t already dead, I would dearly love to throttle Albus Dumbledore right now!”
Despite everything, Adam couldn’t help but laugh at Professor McGonagall’s statement. “I’ve felt that way, too, at times,” Adam confessed. “But he did leave me with the information on how to defeat Voldemort and, I hope, by the time he gets here, I’ll be ready for him.”
“Adam, you are seventeen!” Professor McGonagall exclaimed. “I can’t let you face You-Know-Who!”
“I have to, Professor!” Adam retorted. “It’s too complicated, but it has to be me. I’ve been working on defeating him since Dumbledore died and I’m close! I’m so close now. Voldemort is going to die!”
“Adam…” Professor McGonagall began to protest, but her words were drowned out as, suddenly, pain seared through Adam’s head as his scar erupted in what he could only describe as white hot fury.
His vision swam, and for a brief moment, he could see Voldemort. He was standing at the gates to the school, surrounded by his followers and, as Adam watched, Voldemort pulled out his wand and raised it to his throat.
“I know that you are preparing to fight.” Adam could hear the high cold voice as he came back to himself. “Your efforts are futile. You cannot fight me. I do not want to kill you. I have great respect for the teachers of Hogwarts. I do not want to spill magical blood. Give me Harry Potter,” said Voldemort, “and none shall be harmed. Give me Harry Potter, and I shall leave the school untouched. Give me Harry Potter, and you will be rewarded.
“You have until midnight.”
Adam stared at Professor McGonagall.
“Adam…” she said, her voice very faint, “I believe in you, and I know Albus did, too. If you say you are following Albus’ orders, then who am I to argue?” She paused, sighing deeply. “Go. Do what you have to do. I will organise the defence of the school. But please… be quick, because we don’t have much time.”
Ginny February 25th 1998
A large shudder that ran through the ground like an earthquake shocked Ginny back to wakefulness. At first she didn’t know where she was but then, from the freezing cold and the grass that she was laying on, Ginny realised that she was outside.
After taking stock of her body and determining that she was unhurt, Ginny sat up and looked around. She was lying in the middle of the Hogwarts grounds, not that far from the school.
Standing up, Ginny looked down at the Death Eater robes she wore and felt a strange feeling of indignation.
The Death Eaters thought I was one of them, and they still left me!
Ginny snorted at that strange thought. In reality, Ginny was very glad to be waking up here rather than in the middle of the Death Eaters’ camp.
A second rumble and the sound of an explosion from the direction of the gates caused Ginny to freeze. I need to get back into the school! she realised in alarm.
Springing into action, Ginny pulled down the hood of the Death Eater robes and removed the mask so that she wouldn’t be mistaken for a Death Eater. Then, checking that the stolen wand was still in her pocket, she started sprinting in the direction of the school.
Deciding not to approach the doors directly, Ginny ran to the nearest wall and approached the doors stealthily, desperately hoping that she could avoid being shot at by her friends, yet again.
By some miracle, Ginny managed to reach the large doors to the school without anyone seeing her but, unsurprisingly, the doors were closed, so Ginny pounded on them as hard as she possibly could.
No one answered.
“Let me in!” Ginny shouted. “I’m a friend!”
For a second nothing happened, then a voice drifted through the door.
“State your name!”
“It’s Ginny Weasley!” Ginny shouted back.
Once again silence fell, and then the doors began to move, causing Ginny to breathe a sigh of relief. They were going to let her in!
However, the doors only opened a small distance, just barely enough for one person to fit through. Ginny walked quickly towards the gap but, as soon as she reached it, she found a wand pointed right at her face.
“Tonks!” she exclaimed happily.
“Tell me something!” Tonks snapped angrily. “Tell me something to prove you’re really Ginny Weasley!”
Ginny balked for a second. They didn’t believe it was really her! What could she say… what could she tell Tonks?
When it occurred to her, Ginny almost laughed out loud. It was so simple! She leaned forward to whisper in Tonks’ ear.
As soon as she moved, someone shouted from behind Tonks, “Stay right where you are!”
Ginny sighed in exasperation. “Relax, will you!” Ginny snapped, holding out her hands. “I don’t even have a wand in my hand!”
When no one raised any further objections, Ginny leaned over and whispered in Tonks’ ear. “Harry Potter is really Adam Winters.”
Almost immediately, Ginny felt herself being grabbed and pulled inside the Entrance Hall.
“It’s her!” Tonks exclaimed. “Close the door!”
Once she was inside the door, Tonks dragged her off to one side.
“Ginny, I’m so glad to see you!” Tonks said happily. “I’d heard a rumour that something horrible had happened to you!”
“I’m fine, Tonks!” Ginny replied hastily. “Have you seen Adam? How are you… oh, how’s the baby? What are you doing here?”
“Calm down, Ginny,” Tonks replied with a laugh. “I haven’t seen him, but he is around. McGonagall is running the show and she basically told us to leave him alone and let him get on with whatever he’s doing!”
Finding Horcruxes, hopefully!
“I need to find him!” Ginny exclaimed.
“I know,” Tonks replied simply. “Go, we’ll be fine here.”
“T–Tonks…” Ginny hesitated.
“Go on, Ginny, I’m fine, the baby’s with my mother, but I…” Tonks paused. “After what they did to Remus. I had to come.”
“But, Tonks!” Ginny protested. What would happen to the baby if something happened to Tonks?
“Ginny!” Tonks snapped. “I know what I’m doing!” She paused, her expression softening as she rummaged the pocket of her robes. “Now, take this picture and show it to Adam when you see him.”
She passed Ginny a picture of the cutest baby. The small boy was being bounced up and down on Tonks’ lap.
“Oh!” Ginny gushed. Then she shook herself. “I’ll get this to Adam!”
“Thanks, Ginny,” Tonks said. “His name is Teddy, after my dad. Now go find him and be safe, yeah?”
Ginny nodded, gave Tonks a quick hug and dashed up the grand staircase. She went as far as the first floor landing before she realised she had no idea where Adam actually was.
Pausing to think, Ginny tried to put herself into Adam’s shoes. Okay, he’d find the Horcruxes, then he’d try to destroy them. To destroy them he’d need to get a Basilisk fang. The Chamber of Secrets! she realised with a jolt.
Now knowing exactly where she was heading, Ginny set off towards the second floor girls’ bathroom. However, as she left the landing, the sound of an explosion from below caused Ginny to pause but, she reasoned, there were enough people down there. She had to help Adam find and destroy the Horcruxes!
When Ginny burst into the girls’ bathroom, she immediately saw she was too late. The Chamber was already open.
Staring at the hole that led down to the Chamber, Ginny hesitated and then, plucking up all of her courage, she stepped gingerly forward.
“Drop your wand and turn around slowly. Now.”
Adam February 25th 1998
“Open,” Adam hissed in Parseltongue and he watched as the entrance to the Chamber slowly revealed itself.
Stepping forward slowly, Adam approached the hole in the floor but, just as he was about to leap down into the pipe, a sound caused him to pause.
It was the sound of an explosion. Adam glanced down at his watch. It had passed midnight. Voldemort was coming. Then, as he was listening, he became aware of a second sound, someone was running down the corridor.
Could Death Eaters be in the school already?
Taking no chances, Adam backed away from entrance to the Chamber and stood against the wall of the bathroom. He would be ready to ambush anyone that stormed in.
The door flew open and someone dashed in. Someone wearing large black robes, but with long red hair. Red hair! Adam cried silently. Oh… Ginny.
“Drop your wand and turn around slowly. Now,” he ordered.
The person froze, turned slowly to face him and Adam found himself staring at… Ginny.
Oh, Merlin! Adam thought. She’s beautiful. Oh… Ginny.
Then, the implications of what was happening suddenly became clear to Adam. Someone was trying to fool him by masquerading as his dead girlfriend.
“What do you want?” Adam snapped at the impostor and pointed his wand at her.
“A–Adam…” Fake-Ginny replied. “It’s me… Ginny.”
“HOW DARE YOU!” Adam roared, storming forward and pointing his wand right at her forehead. “Ginny is dead! You—” he said with derision, gesturing to the robes that the Fake-Ginny wore, “—Death Eaters killed her.”
Suddenly, the eyes of the impostor took on a very Ginny-like blaze and, for the first time, Adam doubted his first reaction. He felt a small flame of hope kindle within him. Could he have been wrong? Could Ginny have somehow come back from the dead? But that was impossible, good things simply didn’t happen to him.
“Adam,” the girl said, taking a step closer to him, “it is me…”
At her proximity, Adam felt his heart lurch.
“I…” Ginny continued, appearing to be nearly in tears herself, “I came back as soon as I could…”
“P–P–Prove—” Adam stammered, “—Prove you’re Ginny.”
Ginny smiled and Adam felt the flame of hope within him burn slightly brighter. She stepped forward and paused. “You’re not ticklish, except for one spot on your back. I think I’m the only one that knows that. We found it one time when we were cuddling.”
The flame inside Adam suddenly burst into a roaring fire, and he dropped his wand to the floor. At the same moment, Ginny flung herself forward and the two of them crashed against each other. Before he quite knew what was happening, Adam was kissing her and his heart soared. He could feel that it was Ginny.
Ginny was alive and Adam felt like he was at the top of the world.
“Ginny, I love you,” Adam cried. “I missed you so much. I thought you were dead and I… I didn’t want to go on, but I had to…” he rambled on. “Oh… I love you so much.”
“I love you, too,” Ginny gushed. “When…” she stammered, “when the Dementor nearly got me… I… I thought of you.”
They pressed their lips back together, and time seemed to blur as Adam simply savoured the physical contact between the two of them.
“Adam…” Ginny eventually prompted.
Adam suddenly realised he had been simply holding Ginny and grinning stupidly, completely oblivious to the world around him.
“The Horcruxes…” Ginny questioned. “When I came into the school, they were getting ready for an attack. What do we need to do?”
“I… I have all of them,” Adam replied, pulling the locket, cup and diadem out of his robes. “I just need to get down into the Chamber to get a fang.”
At this, Ginny grinned and drew a Basilisk fang out of her robes.
Adam stared at her in awe. “You’re amazing.”
Ginny grinned. “I know. Now let’s get these Horcruxes destroyed.”
They arrayed the three Horcruxes on the floor and Adam could see Ginny staring with hatred at the locket. He could understand why; it had caused so much pain between them.
“Can—?” Ginny questioned. “Can I—?”
Adam nodded, and Ginny raised her arm, paused briefly and drove the fang down into the locket.
Once the fang impacted with the locket, a loud, ear-splitting scream filled the air, causing Adam to shield his ears. When the noise finally stopped, Adam turned back and saw Ginny sitting over the ruined locket with a look of triumph on her face.
“Brilliant,” Adam praised. “You want to do the next one or shall I?”
“I…” Ginny began, suddenly sounding rattled. “Let’s do them together.”
The next two Horcruxes went down easier than the first and, as the two of them packed away the remains of the objects, Ginny withdrew something else from her pocket and passed it to him.
“Is…” Adam began, “That’s the ring that Dumbledore and I went to get that night…. how?”
“Snape had it on his desk,” Ginny replied simply.
Adam turned the ring of in his hand, before putting it safely in his pocket.
“Erm, Ginny,” Adam commented, once they were finally ready to go, “why are you wearing that stuff?”
Ginny laughed. “Had to hide out as a Death Eater, didn’t I? I was with the other Death Eaters in the fight by the Room of Requirement. I was trying desperately not to hit you.”
Adam stared at Ginny, suddenly feeling horrified. He had just been so angry with the Death Eaters and the thought that he might have inadvertently hurt the person he loved most in the whole world was just horrifying.
“Hey,” Ginny said gently, obviously figuring him out yet again. “Don’t worry about it, we can talk about it later, but now, we have a job to do.”
“Right,” Adam said, shaking himself. When he’d thought that Ginny was dead, he’d focused on nothing but bringing down Voldemort, but now that he knew that Ginny was alive… part of him wanted nothing more than to pull her into his arms and run away with her, run far away. But Adam knew that Voldemort would still find them, not to mention that Adam would never abandon those who were fighting here at the school. “So… we need to find the snake, then Voldemort can die.”
Ginny nodded. “I heard Snape tell the rest of the Death Eaters to get back to the Shrieking Shack.”
“That could be where Voldemort is then…” Adam mused. “We can go through under the willow.”
“Great minds think alike,” Ginny replied with a grin.
All Adam could do was sigh happily. Ginny was back and it was brilliant.
The two of them charged out of the room and back down through the school but, before they’d even reached the landing, a series of spells forced Adam and Ginny against a wall.
“Those spells are coming form the ground floor!” Ginny exclaimed.
“They’re inside already?” Adam asked in alarm.
Ginny shrugged in response, and lay down on her stomach and began to edge forward.
“Stay there!” she called urgently. “I’m going to try and see what’s happening.”
Once Ginny had reached the edge of the landing, she peered over the edge.
“There’re loads of Order members down there,” she said from her position on the floor, and then she gasped. “My brothers are there, too! They’ve blocked the door with tables from the Great Hall, but the Death Eaters have already smashed the door itself.”
Adam paused for a second, while Ginny wriggled back from the landing, trying to decide what to do.
“We need to decide if we’re going to join the fight or try and avoid everyone to get to Voldemort.”
Adam didn’t hesitate before replying, “We have to get to Voldemort.”
Ginny hesitated for a second, and Adam realised that she wanted to go and help her brothers.
“If…” he began, “If you want…”
“No!” Ginny snapped before he’d even finished. “We do this together. My brothers can look after themselves… let’s head down another staircase, and we may be able to get out of the courtyard entrance relatively unnoticed.”
Adam nodded and, with the decision made, the two of them ran through the school, which, much to their relief, still seemed to be free from Death Eaters.
Finally, they reached the staircase that led down to the ground floor and the courtyard entrance but, just as they began descending the stairs, they heard the sound of spell-fire from below them.
Readying their wands, Adam and Ginny advanced but then, without warning, an ear-splitting boom echoed through the corridor.
At the sound of the explosion, Adam grabbed Ginny and the two of them dropped to the floor, with Adam instinctively shielding Ginny’s body with his own. Adam felt a hot wave of air blast over them and he pointed his wand just in time to feel a cascade of stones and dust pelt them repeatedly.
When the dust had finally settled, Adam found himself lying sprawled on the floor. Half of his body was twisted over Ginny’s and he had his wand pointed in front of him. Adam looked at Ginny and noticed she had several small cuts on her face, along with a rather nasty looking one just above her left eye.
As he watched her, Adam noticed that she was staring forwards, in the direction her wand was pointing, with a look of shock on her face. Turning his head, Adam felt his mouth drop. Floating mere feet in front of them was a giant slab of stone, apparently suspended in midair by the combined power of his and Ginny’s magic.
Staring at the giant slab that would surely have crushed both of them, Adam turned back to Ginny and their eyes met.
“Ah…” Ginny began, “That… that was close.”
Adam could only nod numbly in response.
“S–S–Shall…” Ginny questioned. “Shall we just let it drop?”
Adam nodded, and he hesitantly moved his wand so it wasn’t pointing at the slab of stone. Not quite knowing exactly how he’d stopped it, he wasn’t quite sure how to let it drop. Once he’d moved his wand, it seemed to wobble. Then, Ginny moved her wand and it dropped to the floor with a crash.
Helping each other to their feet, Adam and Ginny squeezed their way past the rubble and continued down the stairs, but they only managed to get a few steps before more rubble forced them to stop.
“I can just about see the bottom of the stairs!” Ginny called as she clambered on the stones and peered through a gap.
“What can you see?”
“I think I can see the corridor, there’s only a few steps to go, but there seems to be more rubble down there,” Ginny began. “Hang on! I think I can squeeze through.”
“No! Ginny, wait!” Adam cried, but it was too late. Ginny had already begun wiggling her way through the gap and soon her midsection and, finally, her legs disappeared. “Ginny?” Adam called again. “Ginny?!”
“I’m here!” Ginny called back her voice sounding distant. “Adam! There are people trapped in the rubble down here! I have to try and help them!”
Adam dashed forward to the hole the Ginny had disappeared through. As he looked through, he could see Ginny levitating rocks from a large mountain of rubble at the bottom of the stairs and, for a second, he contemplated trying to squeeze his way through the hole after her.
Nope, Adam realised as he sized himself against the hole. I may only be a couple of inches taller than her, but I’m wider at the shoulders.
Realising that he would have to clear the rubble, Adam began levitating the rocks away from the hole until it was wide enough for him to crawl through.
Pulling himself out of the other end, Adam bounded down the last couple of steps to join Ginny.
“You took your time,” Ginny commented, as she dragged a rock out of the way to reveal… yet more rocks.
“Well,” Adam quipped, “one of the reasons I love you is you’re so good at crawling through small holes.”
Ginny giggled in response as Adam joined in lifting rocks away from the mountain with her.
They worked for nearly ten minutes, making no noticeable impact on the mass of stone. However, just as Adam was beginning to think they would never reach the people that Ginny had heard underneath the rubble, the pile of debris to Adam’s left, nearest the stairs they had come down, exploded, revealing a hole.
“Who’s there?” a voice called, and Adam immediately realised it was Professor McGonagall.
“Professor McGonagall!” Adam called in response. “It’s me!”
“A–A—Mr. Potter!” she called. “What are you doing?”
“We were… we saw the explosion and,” he paused, “I think there’s someone trapped under here.”
There was silence for a second. “Fred, George and Percy Weasley were defending this corridor,” she replied.
“My…” Ginny said in a faint voice. She had suddenly gone very pale. “My… brothers? FRED, GEORGE, PERCY! ARE YOU THERE? IT’S GINNY!” she shouted in a desperate-sounding voice.
“Ginny?” Professor McGonagall’s voice came back through the hole. “It is good to hear your voice. I can hear faint voices from this side, can you?”
When the professor stopped talking, Adam listened carefully and, to his surprise, he found he could hear faint voices.
“I can,” Adam added, quickly crossing the room to Ginny and putting his arm around her. “They’ll be all right, Ginny.”
“A–Harry is correct, Ginny,” Professor McGonagall continued. “If I’m correct, there is an entrance to a classroom beneath the rubble and the classroom is more or less intact. I will take care of it.” She paused. “There are things, Harry… things that you need to do. Let me get the Weasleys out.”
“But…” Ginny stammered. “Professor…”
“Miss Weasley,” Professor McGonagall replied, “they are wizards, and an explosion and a wall collapse is survivable. So, please, go with Adam. I’m sure he’ll need you.”
Adam watched as Ginny stared at the ruined stairs for a second.
“What do you want to do?” Adam asked softly.
Ginny hesitated for a second, before replying, “She’s right. I need to stick with you. Let’s go.”
“Thanks, Professor!” Adam called in response and, giving Ginny a tug, they dashed down the corridor in the other direction, noticing for the first time the sprawled bodies of two Death Eaters which lay on the floor.
As they passed, Ginny quickly checked the two Death Eaters.
“One’s dead,” she commented. “This one is alive! Incarcerous.”
Once the Death Eater was restrained, Adam and Ginny pelted down the corridor and out into the school grounds. As they barged out of the door, they ran head-first into another group of Death Eaters.
“Stupefy!” Adam and Ginny screamed in unison, sending two of the Death Eaters to the ground before they could utter a spell.
“Avada Kedavra!” the third cried, forcing Ginny to dive out of the way.
“Stupefy!” Adam shouted, sending a Stunner back towards their attacker.
In response, the man spun slightly and quickly conjured a shield, blocking Adam’s spell but, almost simultaneously, another spell hit him from behind and he crumpled to the ground.
“Phew,” Ginny commented, from her position on the floor.
“That was you?” Adam questioned, as he stared at the Death Eater.
“Yep,” Ginny replied, clambering back to her feet. “I think he forgot about me, but we need to start being more careful.”
“Come one, let’s get going,” Adam said, once Ginny was up and ready to go.
“Adam,” Ginny began, “now that Hogwarts is under attack, how do we know that Voldemort isn’t in the school looking for you?”
“I…” Adam hesitated, suddenly realising that Ginny was correct. Now that the attack was underway, they could be wandering around blindly for all he knew!
If only there was someway to know where Voldemort was! He needed to know what Voldemort was doing right now!
As he stood there, his vision blurred and Ginny swam out of focus. Suddenly he was looking not only at Ginny and the outside of Hogwarts, but also the inside of a room. A room he recognised. As he looked at the dilapidated state of the room, he could vaguely see Ginny’s lips moving. She was speaking to him!
“Adam!” Ginny cried, shaking him slightly. “Adam!”
Suddenly snapping out of it, Adam stumbled.
“Whoa!” Ginny exclaimed, catching him and holding him upright. “What was that? You just totally spaced out.”
“I…” Adam stammered, his vision now having returned to normal. “I think I just wished myself into Voldemort’s head.”
“What?” Ginny exclaimed.
Adam shook himself. “He’s in the Shack, but it was like I was here and there at the same time.”
“Well,” Ginny added weakly, “at least we know where he is now.”
“Exactly,” Adam commented. “But I don’t know for how long and we don’t have time to keep getting caught up in battles.”
They bound the Death Eaters and, pulling Adam’s Invisibility Cloak over the two of them, they continued across the grounds towards the Whomping Willow.
“Look,” Ginny exclaimed as they dashed across the grass, moving as quickly as possible under the Cloak.
Adam glanced over at where Ginny was pointing. The main door of the school seemed to have been destroyed and Adam could clearly see bright flashes from within.
“They’re in the school,” Adam commented numbly, suddenly shivering. “And… is that a giant!?”
“I’ve no idea,” Ginny said softly, her voice quavering and she, too, seemed to be shivering. “All… all my family is in there, I feel like I should be, too. But you’ve got the most important job.”
“We’ve got the most important job,” Adam corrected. “I can’t do it without you. Let’s keep moving.”
Adam and Ginny set off again across the grounds, but, before they’d even managed to get another ten paces, Adam realised that the cold he was feeling wasn’t just the cool night temperature.
“There are Dementors nearby,” he said in a shaky voice.
“Oh,” Ginny shuddered, sounding equally horrified. “Keep going! See if we can slip past them.”
They continued on, now running as fast as possible, and, just as the Whomping Willow came into view, black figures began to melt out of the darkness in front of them.
Adam froze as he saw the Dementors, his heart constricting painfully as the image of Ginny being Kissed ran through his head again and again and again.
“Expecto Patronum!” Ginny roared, but it seemed distant, far off, unable to push through his mental image of Ginny being kissed.
Every fibre of his being was screaming at him. Protect Ginny! Take her away! Get her out of here! You can’t let it happen again! But he knew he couldn’t. He had to defeat Voldemort.
“Ex… Expecto Patronum!” Adam cried, trying to break the cycle of terror that the Dementors seemed to have inflicted upon him.
“Adam!” Ginny shrieked. “I could do with some help.”
Ginny’s plea finally shook Adam out of his stupor. He stared in amazement at the single Patronus that was currently facing off against the Dementors. It… it was like his… except without the giant antlers.
At the sight of the Patronus, Adam felt a renewed strength fill him and he cried out, “EXPECTO PATRONUM!”
His stag shot out of the end of his wand and charged to the aid of the other deer.
“My… my Patronus changed,” Ginny said, and Adam was surprised to find that her face, which was illuminated in the light of the Patronuses, was tinged with a blush.
With their Patronuses clearing a way for them, Adam and Ginny charged towards the Whomping Willow and, while Adam continued to direct his Patronus, Ginny disarmed the tree with a well-placed levitated stone.
As the Patronuses, Adam and Ginny reached the tree, the Dementors scattered and the bone-chilling cold finally began to disappear.
“Finally,” Adam panted, as they approached the hole that led down into the tunnel. “I hate Dementors.”
“Me, too,” Ginny said. “And I think I have a unique perspective.”
“When this is all over you’re going to tell me the full story… wait!” he exclaimed. “What are the Patronuses doing?”
Ginny spun around, stared for a second, and then burst out in laughter.
Adam quickly turned to look and shook his head at the ludicrous sight of what could only be described as two Patronuses nuzzling each other. Then, giving them a last look, he climbed down into the hole that led towards the Shrieking Shack with Ginny quickly following him.
“Whoa,” Ginny exclaimed. “I’ve grown.”
Now having to virtually crawl, the two of them rapidly made their way down the tunnel towards the Shrieking Shack. Finally, the tunnel began to slope upward and Adam saw a sliver of light ahead. Pausing for a second to make sure the Cloak obscured him, Adam continued up the tunnel.
“Stay as close to me as you can,” he whispered to Ginny, who was crawling along behind him. “Hopefully, the Cloak will cover both of us.”
Finally, when he felt like he’d been crawling for hours, he heard voices coming from the room directly ahead of them, only slightly muffled by the fact that the opening at the end of the tunnel had been blocked by what looked like an old crate. Hardly daring to breathe, Adam edged right up to the opening and peered through a tiny gap left between crate and wall.
The room beyond was dimly lit, but he could see Nagini, swirling and coiling like a serpent underwater, safe in a strange starry sphere, which floated unsupported in midair. He could see the edge of a table, and a long-fingered white hand toying with a wand.
Then Snape spoke, and Adam’s heart lurched: Snape was inches away from where he was hidden.
“…my Lord, their resistance is crumbling—”
“—and it is doing so without your help,” said Voldemort in his high, clear voice. “Skilled wizard though you are, Severus, I do not think you will make much difference now. We are almost there… almost.”
“Let me find the boy. Let me bring you Potter. I know I can find him, my Lord. Please.”
Snape strode past the gap, and Adam drew back a little, keeping his eyes fixed upon Nagini. He didn’t know what that sphere did, but he guessed it was some sort of protection. Should he chance everything and just cast a spell at it? No, it probably wouldn’t work and he’d give away his position in the process.
Voldemort stood up. Adam could see him now, he could see the red eyes, the flattened, serpentine face, the pallor of him gleaming slightly in the semidarkness.
“I have a problem, Severus,” said Voldemort softly.
“My Lord?” said Snape.
Voldemort raised his wand, holding it as delicately and precisely as a conductor’s baton. “I am in need of a new wand, Severus.”
“My–my Lord?” said Snape blankly. “I do not understand. Malfoy’s wand failed you, what use will yet another be?”
“That is indeed a very good question, Severus.”
Snape did not speak and Adam could not see his face. He wondered whether Snape sensed danger and was trying to find the right words to reassure his master.
Voldemort started to move around the room and Adam lost sight of him for a second as he prowled, speaking in that same measured voice, while pain and fury mounted in Adam.
“I have thought long and hard, Severus, I even reviewed the memory of our last meeting. Do you know why I have called you back from the battle?”
“No, my Lord, but I beg you will let me return. Let me find Potter.”
“You sound like Lucius. Neither of you understands Potter as I do. He does not need finding. Potter will come to me. I know his weakness, you see, his one great flaw. He will hate watching the others struck down around him, knowing that it is for him that it happens. He will want to stop it at any cost. He will come.”
“But, my Lord, he might be killed accidentally by one other than yourself—”
“My instructions to my Death Eaters have been perfectly clear. Capture Potter. Kill his friends — the more, the better — but do not kill him.
“But it is of you that I wished to speak, Severus, not Harry Potter. You have been very valuable to me. Very valuable.”
“My Lord knows I seek only to serve him. But — let me go and find the boy, my Lord. Let me bring him to you. I know I can—”
“I have told you, no!” said Voldemort, and Adam caught the glint of red in his eyes as he turned again, and the swishing of his cloak was like the slithering of a snake, and he felt Voldemort’s impatience in his burning scar. “My concern at the moment, Severus, is what will happen when I finally meet the boy!”
“My Lord, there can be no question, surely?”
“—but there is a question, Severus. There is.”
Voldemort halted, and Adam could see him plainly again as he slid his wand through his white fingers, staring at Snape.
“Why did both the wands I have used fail when directed at Harry Potter?”
“I–I cannot answer that, my Lord.”
The stab of rage felt like a spike driven through Adam’s head and he forced his own fist into his mouth to stop himself from crying out in pain.
“My wand of yew did everything of which I asked it, Severus, except to kill Harry Potter. It failed. Ollivander told me under torture of the twin cores, told me to take another’s wand. I did so, but Lucius’s wand shattered upon meeting Potter’s.”
“I–I have no explanation, my Lord.”
Snape was not looking at Voldemort now. His dark eyes were still fixed upon the coiling serpent in its protective sphere.
“I have been seeking a new wand, Severus. The Elder Wand, the Wand of Destiny, the Deathstick. It seemed to have disappeared, but I have found it at last.”
And now Snape looked at Voldemort, and Snape’s face was like a death mask. It was marble white and so still that when he spoke, it was a shock to see that anyone lived behind the blank eyes.
“My Lord — let me go to the boy—”
“All this long night, when I am on the brink of victory, I have sat here,” said Voldemort, his voice barely louder than a whisper, “wondering, wondering, what became of the Elder Wand once Dumbledore fell.”
“My Lord,” Snape continued, his voice very faint, “Dumbledore’s wand is the Elder Wand?”
“Perhaps you did not know? Ahh, Severus. You have been a good and faithful servant, and I regret what must happen.”
“The Elder Wand belongs to the wizard who killed its last owner. You killed Albus Dumbledore. Admittedly, on my order, but you killed him never the less. While you live, Severus, the Elder Wand will be yours.”
“My Lord!” Snape protested, raising his wand. “You could have the wand gladly!”
“It does not work that way,” said Voldemort. “I must master the wand, Severus. Master the wand, and I master Potter at last.”
And Voldemort swiped the air with his wand. It did nothing to Snape, who, for a split second, seemed to think he had been reprieved, but then Voldemort’s intention became clear. The snake’s cage was rolling through the air, and before Snape could do anything more than yell, it had encased him, head and shoulders, and Voldemort spoke in Parseltongue.
At the sound of the Parseltongue, Adam heard Ginny inhale sharply behind him and, for a second, he wondered if she might have given them away, but it wasn’t so, as a terrible scream quickly drowned out all other noise.
Adam saw Snape’s face losing the little colour it had left; it whitened as his black eyes widened, as the snake’s fangs pierced his neck, as he failed to push the enchanted cage off himself, as his knees gave way and he fell to the floor.
“I regret it,” said Voldemort coldly, bending down and removing Dumbledore’s wand from Snape’s now limp hand.
Voldemort turned away. There was no sadness in him, no remorse. He pointed his new wand at the starry cage holding the snake, which drifted upward, off Snape, who fell sideways onto the floor, blood gushing from the wounds in his neck. Then, without a backwards look, Voldemort swept from the room, and the great serpent floated after him in its huge protective sphere.
“He’s killed Snape!” Adam gasped and, once he was satisfied that Voldemort was gone and Snape was no threat, he pulled himself up into the room.
Adam approached Snape. He did not know why he was doing it, why he was approaching the dying man. He did not know what he felt as he saw Snape’s white face, and the fingers trying to staunch the bloody wound at his neck.
Adam took off the Invisibility Cloak and, silently passing it to Ginny, he looked down upon the man he hated, the man who had framed him for Dumbledore’s death. A small cynical part of Adam wondered why he didn’t feel gleeful at this man’s cruel death, but he didn’t. He felt nothing.
Snape’s eyes seemed to focus on him as he approached and he tried to speak. Adam bent over him, and Snape seized the front of his robes and pulled him close.
A terrible rasping, gurgling noise issued from Snape’s throat.
“Take… it.… Take… it…”
Something more than blood was leaking from Snape. Silvery blue, neither gas nor liquid, it gushed from his mouth and his ears and his eyes, and Adam knew what it was.
“It’s a memory!” Adam cried. “We need to put it in a jar or something!”
Suddenly feeling Ginny at his side, he saw her rummaging in the pockets of her Death Eater robes. She pulled out a vial filled with a horrible-looking liquid. She emptied it onto the floor and rinsed it out with her wand before passing it to Adam.
Adam carefully lifted the silvery substance into it with his wand. When the flask was full to the brim and Snape looked as though there was no blood left in him, his grip on Adam’s robes slackened.
“Look… at… me…” he whispered.
Adam looked into Snape’s eyes, but after a second, something in the depths of the dark pair seemed to vanish, leaving them fixed, blank, and empty. The hand holding him thudded to the floor, and Snape moved no more.
Adam remained kneeling at Snape’s side, simply staring down at him, until quite suddenly a high, cold voice spoke so close to them that Adam jumped to his feet, the flask gripped tightly in his hand, thinking that Voldemort had re-entered the room.
Voldemort’s voice reverberated from the walls and floor, and Adam realized that he was talking to Hogwarts and to all the surrounding area so that the residents of Hogsmeade and all those still fighting in the castle would hear him as clearly as if he stood beside them, his breath on the back of their necks, a deathblow away.
“You have fought valiantly,” said the high, cold voice, “Lord Voldemort knows how to value bravery.
“Yet you have sustained heavy losses. If you continue to resist me, you will all die, one by one. I do not wish this to happen. Every drop of magical blood spilled is a loss and a waste.
“Lord Voldemort is merciful. I command my forces to retreat immediately.
“You have one hour. Dispose of your dead with dignity. Treat your injured.
“I speak now, Harry Potter, directly to you. You have permitted your friends to die for you rather than face me yourself. I shall wait for one hour in the Forbidden Forest. If, at the end of that hour, you have not come to me, have not given yourself up, then battle recommences. This time, I shall enter the fray myself, Harry Potter, and I shall find you, and I shall punish every last man, woman, and child who has tried to conceal you from me. One hour.”