It's official: The occasional pick-up game of Quidditch does NOTHING for your upper body strength. I had Ernie's right arm over my shoulders and I was struggling to stay upright, holding him upright with my left hand while trying to keep pressure on the gushing wound on his right arm with my right hand.
I resolved to start working out if I survived the war.
Curses flew on either side of us, somehow missing both of us completely. Then I spotted Susan Bones peeking out from behind an overturned table.
"Susan," I gasped, sagging under Ernie's weight, "Help me!"
In an instant my housemate was with me, draping Ernie's left arm over her shoulder so as to help support his weight. "What happened?" She asked.
Together we hauled Ernie behind the tables where Hannah was waiting, her eyes going wide when she saw the blood gushing from our friend's right arm. Lowering Ernie to the floor as gently as I could I tried to maintain the pressure on his arm while drawing my wand to start casting every healing charm I knew.
Both of them.
Susan joined in my attempt to save Ernie with her own casting. She knew more healing spells than I did. A lot more. It seemed that being a pureblood had its advantages. Not that she was making any more progress than I was.
"He caught a cutting curse that we can't heal," I said abandoning my spell work to rip strips from the sleeves of my shirt. "Susan, put as much pressure on the wound as you can. The wally pushed me out of the way and was hit by the curse he saved me from." I wound three strips together before looping the resulting cord around his arm above the wound. I reached for a length of wood that had formerly been a strut on one of the chairs. I placed the wood inside the loop and began to twist until the pulses of blood slowed to a light trickle.
"What have you done, Justin?" Susan demanded, when she removed her bloody hands away from Ernie's arm and examined my handiwork.
"Muggle technique," I explained without explaining. There were advantages to being Muggle born as well it seems or at least a Muggle born who had been a Boy Scout at one time. Attending Hogwarts had put paid to that, but I had gotten my first aid badge. "It's called a tourniquet. We'll need to keep a close eye on it, because he could lose the arm, but it's better than bleeding out."
I peeked around the side of the overturned table to see what was happening in the fight, and immediately pulled my head back. "I think I'd best get away from you lot," I whispered. "It looks like Potter's lost. Being associated with me isn't going to be good for you."
"You stay right where you are, Justin Finch-Fletchley," Hannah hissed. "My mum is a Muggle born, and Susan's a Bones. None of us are on the Death Eaters' Christmas lists."
"Students of Hogwarts," the Dark Dink's voice echoed throughout the room, and presumably the rest of the castle. "Your hero is on his knees, having proven he is no match for me. Lay down your wands and live another day."
Yeah, that was going to happen. I knew we weren't going to have that much support, but it was clear that I would die badly if I allowed myself to be taken, and it wouldn't be much better for Susan or Hannah. I wasn't really a follower of Potter per se, having only been on the periphery of his antics at Hogwarts, but that wouldn't count for much in Voldemort's eyes.
"Harry, Harry, Harry," Voldemort continued in a condescending tone. "You didn't really think you could stand up to me magically did you?"
Susan did something to the table we were hiding behind, and suddenly it was almost as transparent as glass. This was apparently a one way phenomenon, as no one appeared to be able to see us. We watched as Potter struggled to his feet. "I'll note that you didn't even try to fight me on your own, Tom," Potter said. I blinked in surprise to learn that a Dark Lord could have as mundane a name as 'Tom'. Tom Voldemort? What had his parents been thinking?
"Both Lucius and Peter attacked me from behind before you dared show up," Potter said, clearly mocking the man. That right there demonstrated the stupid bravery of the Gryffindors'. How did they survive thinking like that? "So, yeah, you got me, after having two of your followers soften me up while you bravely hid."
"You dare much, Harry Potter," Voldemort sneered. And I quite agreed. Still, 'Who dares, wins' and all that. After everything that had happened during our years at Hogwarts, Harry was still there. That says something about my classmate, I suppose. "My sources tell me that you believe your new animagus abilities will be the source of your survival. Show me your animal form, Harry. I'll let you die in it."
"Harry's an animagus?" Susan whispered from my side.
"Harry!" Hermione Granger called from the far side of the Great Hall, "Harry don't do it. You still lack control while transformed."
"But you must do it, Harry," Voldemort purred. "Change now, or I'll allow my Death Eaters to amuse themselves with your little friend."
Potter closed his eyes and appeared to concentrate for a moment, before pitching forward onto his hands. His body appeared to ooze into a new shape, it was not his hands that came into contact with the floor, but clawed paws. This new form was covered in jet black fur, except for the gray mantle, separated by a white stripe, extending from the crown of his head to the base of his tail. He was easily 5 foot from nose to tail, small black eyes took in the room, and the animagus grunted.
"That's it?" Hannah asked. "Just a badger?"
That's when I realized what I was seeing. "Oh, bloody hell," I whispered, crab walking away from the table, trying to put as much distance between Potter's new form and myself as possible. Who knew my mother's fascination with nature documentaries would ever turn out to be useful?
"Justin," Susan whispered. "What's wrong, it's just a badger. A big badger, but a badger."
"No, you're wrong," I tried to explain, "it's not just a badger."
"This form is your great hope?" Voldemort laughed. "I had so hoped for a challenge, but clearly Harry, you are not up to the task. Nagini!"
At its master's call, the huge snake appeared next to Voldemort.
"Ah, there you are, Nagini," the Dark Lord knelt to pet his familiar. "Young Harry thought to challenge us with this animagus form, Nagini. Since he's shown us his, why don't we show him mine, so that we might dine together?"
Voldemort's body melted into its own new shape. As we watched, he became a twin for his familiar.
"What do you mean Harry's not a badger?" Hannah demanded.
"Voldemort just made the worst mistake of his life," I whispered. "Potter isn't just a badger, he's a honey badger. They kill and eat… well, everything. But they love snake."
Before I could blink, Harry was between the two snakes, with a horrific slash of his foreclaws, the Dark Lord's familiar was dead, its decapitated head arcing through the air to smack into the wall over my head, only to fall into my lap, staring at me with dead eyes.
I'll admit it, I screamed like a little girl.
"Harry's attacking like it doesn't matter if he gets bitten," Susan noted, pretending she hadn't heard my scream.
"He probably knows that he has to win to protect the rest of us," Hannah suggested, having kicked the dead snake's head off my lap and away from us.
"No," I disagreed. "He's fighting like that because Honey Badgers don't give a shit."
Voldemort in his snake form didn't last long against Harry the Honey Badger. The snake actually screamed as it died. Potter then launched himself at the nearest of the Death Eaters, attacking at the man's crotch, ripping the Death Eater's… junk away with a slash of his claws, before leaving the screaming man to fall to the ground as Harry attacked the next closest Dark Wizard. And the next. And the next. The Death Eaters tried to defend themselves, but they had as little luck as their master.
During this rampage of castration, I suspect every male student in the Great Hall found the urge to cross his legs. I know I did.
Once the Death Eaters were dealt with, Harry returned to the mangled bodies of the snakes and settled down to eat.
Madam Pomfrey rushed to where we hid behind the table, having been freed of the paralysis inflicted on her by the Late Tom Voldemort to start working on Ernie.
"Your work, I presume, Mr. Finch-Fletchley?" she said gesturing to the tourniquet.
"Yes," I admitted.
"Good work," she murmured, starting to case her healing charms on my unconscious friend. "You probably saved his life. I'll save his arm."
"Harry," Hermione Granger said in scolding tones, near where Potter was feasting on raw snake. "You can't just eat Voldemort."
"Hrmph," the annoyed Honey Badger responded as he crunched his way through yet another mouthful of snake bones, clearly demonstrating that he, in fact, could eat Voldemort.
"Come on Mate," Ron Weasley interjected. "That's disgusting, and remember, this is coming from me. I'm an expert in disgusting eating."
"Hrmph," Potter grunted as he shuffled around to be facing away from his friends while continuing to eat.
"Our being able to see it isn't the problem, Harry," Hermione scolded. "It's the fact you're eating a human being."
"Hrmph," Potter replied in clear disagreement since he continued to consume the snake.
"Harry James Potter!"
Potter froze in place, and then slowly turned to face the new speaker.
Daphne Greengrass stood with her hands on her hips, and a look of disgust on her face. "That is disgusting. Stop it right now. You don't know where he's been."
"Hrmph?" Potter whined.
"You change back right now," Daphne demanded.
"Hrmph!" Potter responded defensively.
"You change back right now, you idiot Gryffindor," Daphne repeated, "or there will be no sex for you tonight."
The Honey Badger heaved itself to his feet, melting and twisting to become Harry Potter once more. "Sorry," he said sheepishly. "You just don't understand how great everything tastes in that form."
"Did I ask for excuses?" Daphne asked imperiously.
"No," Potter said hanging his head.
Daphne reached out and grabbed onto Harry's tie, leading him from the Great Hall. "Let's get you cleaned up, you're a sickening mess."
The assembled student body and surviving staff watched in amazement as the young woman lead the slayer of Voldemort away like a small child.
"Well, he's certainly whipped," Ron noted.
"Excuse me?" Granger demanded whirling to face him.
"Nothing…" Ron back-pedalled. "Nothing."
"Hmm," Susan hummed. "Potter and Greengrass? Never saw that coming."
"I did," Madam Pomphrey smiled, transfiguring a chair into a stretcher and levitating Ernie on to it. "Just won 50 Galleons in the Staff pool. I'd like you three to get Mr. Macmillan to the hospital wing while I look to see who else needs help."
The stretcher was lightened, so we easily lifted Ernie, me in the front, Susan and Hannah in the back, and we made our way out of the Great Hall. I may have accidently kicked Lucius Malfoy as he lay on the floor clutching at where his genitals should have been and screaming.
Like I said, accidently.
On the way to the Hospital Wing, I started rehearsing in my head the scolding I was going to give Potter about watching where he threw his snake heads. Some of us didn't have hot Slytherin Girl friends who threatened to withhold sex, and didn't need the embarrassment of publicly screaming like little girls.
I've since reconsidered. I doubt I'd ever try to start anything with Potter. Unless you're his hot Slytherin girlfriend, much like his animagus form, Harry Potter doesn't give a shit.