The Spoils of War


Story Summary:
Harry kills Lucius Malfoy, Rodolphus LeStrange, and Voldemort and, as Bellatrix LeStrange and Narcissa Malfoy lie in the mud at his feet, proclaims an ancient cry of victory. Little does he realize the impact of claiming the spoils of war.

Chapter 01

Author's Note:
Please note that this is an 'R' rated fic. There will be some sex, language, violence and disturbing imagery, all within this site's acceptable parameters. However, it is character-driven and not a smut fic. So be forewarned. Also note: This story is not related to my Dance series, also on Schnoogle.





He was bruised and bleeding, but the adrenaline, fueled by the berserker fury of battle, pushed him on a through the pouring rain. Crouched over, he ran past the bodies of Death Eaters who had fallen from the onslaught of the assembled throng of Order members, Aurors and Unspeakables. All too many had fallen by his own hand.

And now he was through. Past the outer defenses. Through the dense forest that had provided cover for the dark forces. Past the inner defenses, with its boulders and splintered trees for Death Eaters to cower behind. To the heart of the fight at the top of the hill, where nothing but the rain shielded his opponents

It was now coming down in torrents. 'The better to wash away the blood,' he thought grimly, as he continued forward.

There were very few of the Dark Lord's inner circle left. He noticed Pettigrew's body first. And McNair's. Dolohov. Jugson. Rastaban LeStrange lay still, his head leaning at an unnatural angle from his shoulders.

He heard a sudden screeching in fury and looked to his left. Out of the sheets of rain, he could see Rodolphus LeStrange was leveling his wand as Bellatrix fumbled with hers.

"Reducto!" he shouted. Rodolphus took the curse squarely in the chest, his body exploding. The impact of the curse knocked Bellatrix ten feet to the side, her wand now shattered, its pieces deep in the mud.

He continued forward. Then the shaken and snarling figure of Lucius Malfoy appeared through the pouring rain. "Avada ..." that once imperious but now bedraggled lord of the purebloods growled.

The growl was cut off as the boy threw a shearing curse at the blond pureblood. Lucius Malfoy's eyes seemed to blink several times in confusion as his head slowly toppled from his shoulders. The remainder of his body seemed slowly to sink backward, pinning a screaming Narcissa Malfoy underneath him.

There was only one left.

A bolt of lightning briefly illuminated the top of the hill. Through the sheets of rain, he could see his target. Voldemort. He concentrated on the pinpricks of intense red, the monster's eyes.

"So, it has come down to you..."

The Dark Lord never got to finish his little greeting, as the boy sent another Reductor curse. It was just the opening salvo.

The boy used every curse, dark or light, that he could think of, often doubling and tripling them. And he could see now that the Dark Lord, while able to bat each curse away, was tiring. He began to stalk the evil presence with a new and growing confidence.

He had taken hexes and curses, had dodged and weaved his way through two miles of battle. But this was what he had been training for these past two years. For two years, Moody had been teaching him the curses. For two years Shacklebolt had dogged him in his physical training and stamina. For two years, Tonks had worked with him on concealment and agility to avoid curses. For two years, Lupin had shown him how to reach down in his magical reserves when he thought he had nothing left and showed him he could fight on. And for two years, Dumbledore had put this all together the teach him how to use it in this, the final battle. And it was now paying off.

And on he fought. An exhausted Voldemort now knew he was overmatched. He tried, not for the first time, to apparate out. But the wards cast by the side of the light held. There would be no abandoning the battlefield this day. It would be the final fight. And it would be to the death.

He watched as Voldemort panted and prepared himself for the next onslaught. He watched as the Dark Lord lowered his wand at him. This was the moment he was waiting for.

"Avada Kedavra!" the Snake-like creature hissed.

"Expelliarmus!" he replied, aiming not at Voldemort, but at the creature's wand.

The curses met and, as happened at the base of the grave of Tom Riddle Sr. after the TriWizard Tournament in his fourth year, the curses met, locking the two opponents' brother wands.

Voldemort pressed all his magical will into his curse, and the bead of light at the point where the curses met slowly seemed to edge forward, away from him. Then, the bead stopped.

Voldemort looked up and saw the strain on the face of his opponent. But he also saw something else. His opponent was beginning to lean forward, taking slow but steady steps toward him.

Again, the Dark Lord concentrated on the magic. But three hours of battle had exhausted him, physically, mentally and magically. As Voldemort pressed forward, he slipped in the mud and had to struggle for balance. As he looked up, the gap had closed. The boy was merely a few feet away. He tried to yank his wand away to escpe the boy's power, but that merely reduced the force of his own curse further.

Then, they were face to face.

The boy, his ragged hair soaked over his muddy face, suddenly grinned. "Bye, Tom," he muttered in a strained voice.

Voldemort saw his opponent suddenly reach forward with his left hand and grab his wand, yanking it out of his sweat and rain-soaked grasp. Then, with an elegant move, the boy clapped the two wands together and, wheeling around, thrust them physically deep into the Dark Lord's chest. "Inflammare!" he screamed.

Voldemort felt the fire start deep in his chest. By the time he lost consciousness, his skin began to grow a deep, fiery red. His entire body suddenly erupted in white-hot flames, defying even the rain. In seconds, it was over.

Harry Potter had won. Voldemort was no more.

* * *

The rain suddenly lessened to a soft sprinkle. Harry turned and saw in the distance below dozens, if not hundreds of victorious friends and allies looking his way. He raised the two wands in salute. He felt he should cry something out, a bellow of triumph, but the words didn't come. Then it started. The cheers from below, down the hill. Cheers and cries of victory, of exultation, of relief. He began the slow walk down the hill, when his eye caught movement. A bloody and filthy Bellatrix LeStrange was crawling painfully through the mud toward her sister, Narcissa.

Narcissa, always in the past so elegant and beautiful, looked horrible, her sleek blond hair matted in mud, her silver silk robes splattered with rain, dirt and the blood of her dead husband.

Harry leveled his wand at the two bedraggled women, who now were together and holding each other for support.

Then the kneeling Narcissa looked up to see Harry approach. A shiver of terror went through her body. "He's dead, isn't he," she croaked out in a harsh voice. She said this more as a statement than as a question.

Bellatrix looked up with haunted, pleading eyes, as if begging that this wasn't true.

Harry, his wand still trained on the unarmed women, nodded. "Voldemort is dead. There will be no resurrection this time," he said in a voice hoarse from the cries of battle.

Narcissa lowered her head in defeat. Bellatrix collapsed in tears against her sister.

Bellatrix knew she was dead, now. This she certain of. She would be kissed by a dementor then, as a living husk of a person, would consigned to Azkaban for the brief remainder of her miserable, soulless life.

Then Bellatrix stopped crying. Her head jerked up and she stared at Harry, who was looming above the two sisters. "Claim us," she gasped out.

Harry narrowed his eyes. He wanted nothing more than to kill the two, or at least Bellatrix.

"Claim us," Bellatrix repeated.

Narcissa looked at her sister in shock. "NO!!!" she screamed.

"Claim us!" Bellatrix exclaimed. "Grab us both and shout 'Praedia Bellica!' Claim us!"

Narcissa was now grabbing her sister roughly. "Are you insane!" She glanced in horror at Harry. "Stay away! Don't you dare, Potter!"

Harry hawked and spit a bloody gob to the side then looked at the two women. He wasn't sure about the charm. He had heard of the victors of great battles of the past making such spells. 'Praedia Bellica.' The phrase that was used by Mikan the Magnificent at that last battle for Atlantis. Lain the Lucky, after defeating the Dark Lord Gaspar at the Emerald Castle. And Godric Gryffindor at the Battle of Breen, which cemented his reputation as one of the great warriors in the Wizarding World.

Then he saw the terror in Narcissa's eyes.

And he smiled. He walked the last few steps so he was looming over the two women. Bellatrix suddenly grabbed him around the legs desperately. "Claim us," she begged in forlorn, pleading voice.

Narcissa, on the other hand, was trying to scramble away. But her robes were caught under her sister and she collapsed again in the mud.

Harry looked down at the two beautiful, filthy sisters. Then he gave them an evil grin. 'Praedia Bellica.' The words of triumph, of victory that had eluded him were now there. He still wasn't sure what the spell was about but, judging from Narcissa's reaction, it was something he desperately wanted to cast if only to provoke her further.

Harry glanced up at the throng representing the side of light slogging their way to him. Then he glanced down at Bellatrix and Narcissa again. He reached down and grabbed a handful of Narcissa's matted hair and pulled her head next to Bellatrix's, and then grasped a few locks of that madwoman's hair in the same hand. Then he looked up at the group of his allies approaching and raised his wand, and that of Voldemort's, over his head.

"PRAEDIA BELLICA!" He screamed.

There was a sudden, golden flash that seemed to engulf the three people. The glow slowly faded until it was limited to the wrists of the two Black sisters before it slowly faded away.

Harry watched as several members of the victorious group approaching him stopped. Among them was Albus Dumbledore, who simply stared, open-mouthed. "Oh, Harry. What have you done?"

Harry then glanced down at the two sisters, who were now moaning in pain and grasping their wrists. Then Bellatrix slipped her hand from her wrist to peek underneath. That's when Harry saw it. A Magical tattoo. The tattoo was of a Golden Griffin rampant, a snake dangling from its beak and a lightning bolt in one of its talons. It was on a shield, quartered, with the red and blue quarters separated by a cross of gold. And underneath, a waving banner. The banner read: 'Potter.'

Harry yanked Narcissa's hand away. She had the same tattoo.

Harry took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Just as his friends were about to engulf him, he had time for one thought: 'Oh, Harry. What have you done?'

* * *

"What are we doing here?" Harry asked as he glanced around the Headmaster's office. "Not that I mind. I mean, I could do without all those Ministry officials and reporters. But shouldn't there be some sort of formal debriefing or something like that. Just so everyone knows what finally happened."

Albus Dumbledore nodded as he leaned back into his surprisingly cushy, throne-like chair. "Madame Bones and a team of Aurors are reviewing the memories we put in your pensieve. But they will want a series of statements, as well."

Harry, now cleaned up, quickly healed and rested from his battle, sighed. "You didn't answer my question," he said quietly.

Dumbledore opened his eyes and gave Harry a weak, tired smile. "I thought you might be safer and more comfortable here. It seems you've put the Ministry in something of an uproar. Most of the senior ministers as well as our beloved Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, had no inkling of the upcoming battle. And that little spell you cast at the end has left everyone in shock. Tell me, why did you do it?"

Harry snorted. "Bellatrix asked me to do it. I had heard of the spell in the past...and yes, I have, on occasion, paid attention in my History of Magic classes. It made sense. 'To the victor go the spoils.' Then, when Narcissa started screaming and trying to get away, I thought it would be a great idea, if only to infuriate a Malfoy."

Dumbledore shook his head in bemusement. "Do you have any idea what that spell entails? What it does?"

Harry pursed his lips in anxiety. "I figured it meant that I would finally get some credit for what happened. And anyway, it felt good. Like a final release from all I've been going through."

Dumbledore shook his head and chuckled, albeit somewhat ruefully. "Harry, when a witch or wizard serving the light defeats someone serving the dark in a battle in defense of the wizarding world, the victor has a right to claim 'the spoils.' The successful casting of that spell makes that right binding on the Wizarding World. Those spoils include everything the defeated owns or has."

Harry frowned. "I don't get it."

Dumbledore smiled. "Harry, you cast the spell and it worked. That means you now own as a matter of indisputable right the entire Malfoy fortune and the entire LeStrange fortune. While the LeStranges were not the richest family, their holdings were significant. But the Malfoy fortune is vast, possibly the largest in the wizarding world. The Ministry was just itching to get their hands on it. And now they can't. It is yours to do with as you please."

Harry shrugged. "I don't need the money. My family had plenty of gold," he muttered.

Dumbledore sighed. "Nonetheless, it is yours."

Harry shrugged. He stared silently off into space. "So what's going to happen to Bellatrix and Narcissa? I hope they both rot in Azkaban."

Dumbledore cleared his throat. "Ah, that is the conundrum," he said with a sigh. "Bellatrix would have doubtless been administered the Dementor's kiss...that is, if they can find a Dementor after what you managed to do to them during the past few battles. Narcissa, on the other hand, may have had the money and influence to bribe her way out of being prosecuted just as Lucius did many years ago after the first defeat of Voldemort."

Harry began chuckling. "And now she doesn't have any money for bribes. So now we'll see justice, not gold, rule."

Dumbledore cleared his throat. "I am afraid that is not what will happen."

Harry's head jerked up in anger. "You mean she's going to get off? What about Bellatrix? Oh, don't tell me they're going to get away with everything again," he said in an bitter tone.

Dumbledore shook his head. "The spell you cast, Harry. It insulated them from outside punishment."

Harry's eyes bored into Dumbledore's. "So we'll reverse the spell. I didn't want their money anyway. What I want is justice!"

The headmaster frowned and paused for a few moments, deep in thought. Finally, he looked up at Harry with a strange intensity. "The charm cannot be reversed. It will be your burden. Think of it as a test of your character."

A furious Harry stood up and began pacing. "I'm damned sick and tired of being the one whose character always gets tested, while everyone else gets to walk away without a care in the world as if nothing happened. First the Dursleys were a test of my character. Then the defense of the philosopher's stone. A real character-builder that was, almost getting myself, Ron, and Hermione killed. The chamber of secrets, where everyone thought me to be some evil lunatic. And what did I get for my trouble? A basilisk fang in my arm!"

"You saved Ginny Weasley's life," Dumbledore said softly.

However, Harry wasn't listening. "Sure! And defending Sirius when no one but Hermione and I, and later Ron, believed in him. Another real character builder. Then, all the slander after the TriWizard Tournament. I had to watch one of the best people I ever met die and suddenly everyone thinks I'm an inconvenient lunatic. Then the prophesy! And losing the one person who could have taken me away from the Dursley's. The one adult who cared for me! Just me! Not some weapon or psycho. That really tested my character," he snapped sarcastically. "Then the whole half-blood prince thing. Then the torture of training. Oh, they built character, all right. I've had character building up to here," he yelled, motioning with his palm to his chin. "Just let me get a hold of Bellatrix and Narcissa, and I'll show you some character building," he exclaimed as he flopped back down in his chair, running his hands through his freshly scrubbed but still unruly hair.

Dumbledore paused for a couple moments to let Harry calm down a bit. Then he leaned back and closed his eyes. "That is where your character must show through, Harry. You have been the beacon for the side of the light, reluctantly at times, but nonetheless the one shining light for our side. You must continue to be that beacon, that sole voice of sanity in a world forever teetering on the brink of darkness."

Harry looked up, feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders. "Why does it have to be me?"

Dumbledore looked at the seventeen-year-old man before him with sympathy. Then he frowned. "Perhaps you don't understand. You mentioned that you saw the tattoos on Bellatrix and Narcissa's wrists."

Harry shrugged. "Yeah."

Dumbledore nodded. "That means they are beyond punishment or judgment by the outside world. When you cast the 'Preadia Bellica' spell, you made indisputable a claim not just on the Malfoy and LeStrange estates, properties and gold, but on the spouses and underaged children who worked in furtherance of the cause of the dark. The theory of it is that a hero's justice is superior to that dispensed by any civil authority." Dumbledore looked up at Harry from under beetled brows. "Or perhaps you already knew that from your extensive study of Wizarding history," he said with an indulgent smile. Then he paused. "By the way, the History of Magic N.E.W.T. exam was postponed because of the call to arms. As it was the last of the N.E.W.T.s, you may request a rescheduling, or simply accept your class gardes."

Harry's head jerked up in surprise. "What?"

Dumbledore chuckled, then his smile faded. "As I was saying, the spell gives you ownership of spouses and unemancipated children of the vanquished. As Draco Malfoy came of age last year and LeStranges were childless, you have no children to claim. But as to Narcissa and Bellatrix, they are your property, to do with them what you please without threat of censure or consequence."

Harry closed his eyes and cursed.

At this reaction, the Headmaster's face became troubled. "Harry, the history of the spell you cast is not a sanguine one. True, it has served as the basis for many of the great fortunes in the Wizarding world. The Weasleys were among the earliest beneficiaries of the spell, although they have had a history of generosity, as well as fertility, so that fortune now has dissipated. It also is the basis for the Abbott and Zabini fortunes."

Harry blinked in startled silence at this history lesson.

Dumbeldore cleared his throat. "However, there is a darker side in the history of that spell. Many victors used their new powers to impose terrible revenge on the families they claimed. Rape, torture and murder were not uncommon. A few successful champions of the light went so far in their abuses of the defeated families as to succumb to the lure of the dark. The Weasleys, the Abbotts and the Zabinis are proud clans who can point to their ancestors' generosity of spirit in their treatment of the families of their foes. The Malfoys, the McNairs, and, yes, the Blacks, have all had ancestors who were champions of the light who descended into darkness and revenge." Dumbeldore took a deep breath. "That is why I was so taken aback by your use of the spell. The rewards are great, but the risks to your soul are terrible."

Harry now hung his head. "Where are they?" he asked quietly.

"They now are being held in one of the unused offices in the dungeons, awaiting your pleasure. You may do with them as you please, to punish or reward them however you would like. And if you kill them, no one will do anything about it as they are no longer considered people. Just property. Your property. But remember this. They have done dark things. Terrible things. But they are still human beings. Human beings not only under your power, but also in your care. Please remember this."

Harry sat stock still, staring in sorrow at the Headmaster.

Dumbledore leaned back and sighed. "It will be a test of your character on how you deal with them. People will always remember what you've done to save this world from its worst nightmares. It will be up to you to preserve that memory, and not tarnish it with subsequent dark or abusive acts."

Harry stared at the headmaster for a long time, digesting this statement.

Author notes: I came up with this fic on a challenge from a couple people at a Yahoo Newsgroup while I was having problems with another Schnoogle fic of mine, The Next Dance. Working on this actually helped me through my writer's block on The Next Dance. So please, no brickbats.