Authors: furiosity & incapricious
Fandom: Harry Potter & Bleach
Genre: Crossover | Drama
Rating: R [overall] (this part: PG-13)
Pairing: Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy
Warnings: Violence, death
Spoilers: Harry Potter -- up to and including Deathly Hallows sans epilogue; Bleach -- no plot spoilers, massive world spoilers, minor character spoilers.
Disclaimer: JKR and Kubo own. We only play. You do not sue.
Length: 1100 words (this part)
Summary: Turns out that Dumbledore meant it when he said death was the next great adventure.
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.
00 x Prologue
Hogwarts looked to have fallen into desuetude; if not for the portraits' lively conversation, it would have appeared a castle of ghosts. Piles of broken glass glittered beneath windows, dust motes swirling above them in rays of the sun. Torn-off bits of tapestry littered the corridors, splashes of colour amid haphazard piles of rubble within these damaged walls. Nothing moved save the portraits and the occasional rat scurrying through the ruin.
Everyone was in the Great Hall, and it was there that Harry, Ron and Hermione headed. They needed to find someone who knew the password to Gryffindor Tower; the Fat Lady, incensed at having missed everything, had flatly refused to let them in, Harry Potter or no Harry Potter.
"That was actually kind of nice," Harry had told his friends as they'd hurried towards the stairs minutes earlier. "She made me feel like a kid again."
The three ran down the marble staircase into the Entrance Hall. They would have made a perfect image of Hogwarts students late for breakfast if not for the destruction all around, destruction none of them seemed to notice. And why would they? The last battle was over, and spell-work would return Hogwarts to its former majesty by nightfall.
Murmurs swept the Great Hall as Harry wended towards his fellow Gryffindors. People waved, called out his name, rose in their seats for a better look -- but Harry paid them no notice. There would be time to join the celebrations later, time to swap war stories and look to the future. Right now, his four-poster was the only future he wanted to know.
He stopped next to Neville, who smiled up at him. "All right, Harry?"
"Yeah, perfect, fine -- what's the password to Gryffindor Tower?"
Neville scratched the back of his head. "Uh, I dunno, I'd been hiding for weeks--"
"It's dragonfire," Lavender said. "McGonagall told me -- she changed it just before the fighting started."
"Brilliant," Harry said, grinning. "Thanks, Lavender." He looked over his shoulder at Ron, who had in the meantime joined his family.
"You go on, Harry," Hermione said. "I'll tell Ron the password."
"All right," Harry said. He glanced at the doorway. A group of captured Death Eaters was filing out, their hands bound. The Aurors had moved a section of the Gryffindor table to create a buffer between the students and the Death Eaters. The Malfoys sat closest to the edge of that buffer zone, and Harry narrowed his eyes as he studied Narcissa.
"I've got something to tell her," he said to Hermione.
She frowned. "Is this really the time and place?"
"She helped me," Harry replied. "I reckon I won't get another chance to thank her any time soon."
"Narcissa Malfoy helped you?" Neville asked. "How?"
"I'll tell you later," Harry said, walking towards the Malfoys.
They didn't appear to notice him, huddled as they were in the middle of a crowd yet apart from everyone else. But as Harry drew closer, Lucius got to his feet, his bearing oddly stiff, his expression curiously blank. With a lizard's speed, he plucked a wand from the hand of the Auror closest to him and pointed it at Harry, who paled and groped for his own wand. Narcissa gasped, causing Draco to sit up and look first at his father, then turn towards Harry. His eyes widened with apprehension.
Harry was running now, gripping his wand tightly. Someone shouted a warning, and there came the sound of running feet, but a smoke-grey streak had already left the stolen wand Lucius held, aimed straight at Harry's chest.
"Protego!" Harry shouted, but the curse sliced through the shield, leaving behind a neat hole, and then, instead of hitting Harry, it plunged to the floor, where it exploded into swirling fog, tendrils of it encircling his legs like vines. The floor opened up beneath Harry, and he reached out blindly, grabbing a fistful of Draco Malfoy's robes. Malfoy tried to prise Harry's hands away, but it was no use.
Narcissa screamed and lunged for her son, but her hands found only the fog; Draco had passed into the sphere of his father's curse and was falling, along with Harry, through the floor. His head hit the edge of the hole as he was sucked deeper, and Draco went limp, his weight dragging Harry even further down.
The grey fog coalesced atop the hole in the floor like a cupola; neither Harry nor Draco could be seen anymore. Narcissa was beating her hands against the fog; behind her, Lucius stood stock-still, his eyes devoid of expression. Someone had taken the wand away from him. A rainbow of spells hit the fog from all angles, but nothing helped. Then, with a drawn-out hiss, the fog corkscrewed into the floor, like water down an invisible drain.
It left behind a blackened circle, perfectly formed, with ideographs inscribed along its edge in the same bleak grey as the fog had been. There was no sign of damage to the floor; the hole might as well have never been. In the middle of the circle lay Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy. Neither boy moved. Harry's glasses had been torn off, and his staring green eyes reflected surprise. Upon Draco's face, a mask of hollow fear had settled.
Horace Slughorn pushed his way into the knot of onlookers. After one glance at the aftermath, he let forth an unintelligible exclamation and knelt heavily next to the circle, his fingers tracing the ideographs. "Unbelievable," he murmured. "Unbelievable." He pressed his wand to Harry's neck, and then to Draco's. He shook his head.
And Headmistress McGonagall strode towards the black circle, and Narcissa stood white and frozen over her son, and Hermione's wand fell to the floor as she broke into a sprint, and Ron shouted "No!" as he tried to make way through the gathered crowd.
"They are gone," Slughorn said. It was barely above a whisper, yet the words echoed even amid the incipient clamour. "I am sorry."
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