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Wands in hand, Harry and I turn and, in one continuous motion, fire on Voldemort. Voldemort blocks the spells, eyeing my brother and I with mild disbelief, then anger.

Nagini hisses as if attuned to Voldemort's emotions, and ribbons toward us. As she strikes, I sidestep her, by inches, then stumble back and counter.

"Confringo!" Flames run the length of Nagini, with no effect, then climb the back of a nearby Death Eater and consume him.

Enraged that I have attacked Nagini, Voldemort fires a volley of curses. Harry and I parry the first, then fall back into a cloister. The stonework explodes all around us, creating three ragged holes. We then pelt away.

As Harry and I arrive at the doors to the Great Hall, we finds Ron and Hermione there.

"The snake! We've got to kill the snake!" Harry tells them.

Neville, only a few yards off, sword in hand, overhears. As his eyes shift to Voldemort and Nagini. "Mia! Harry! Look out!"

My brother and I wheel, seeing Voldemort drawing a bead on us. As we begin to raise our wands, Neville steps between, brandishing the sword just as Voldemort's wand blazes and Neville's world explodes.

Taking the full brunt of it all, Neville grimaces, watching as Voldemort's spell, like a current of electricity, races up the sword's blade to the hilt and pitches off his feet and fifty feet back into the Great Hall.

"Neville!" I watch in horror. Then exchange a glance with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Their faces say it all: no one could have survived that.

The Entrance Hall explodes with counter-fire as members of the Order, students and staff return fire.

Voldemort flicks his wand, the air prickling with disturbance as he summons a shield of air insulating himself from attack. As he sweeps forward, he responds with a devastating series of spells and the Entrance Hall quakes. Harry and I turn and dash up the stairs, picking our way through the rubble and limp bodies strewn upon the steps, attempting to draw Voldemort, and Nagini, away from the others.

It works.

"Nagini! With me!" Voldemort, his cloak swirling like water, the great snake at his heel, strides toward the stairs and fires.

I flinch as shards of glass rain down upon me. Wheeling, I fire back.

Voldemort parries my spells with frightening ease, mounting the steps and firing again and again.

Eyes darting frantically, Harry and I block the spells mixture of skill, instinct and pure luck. We stumble back, firing wildly. One of Harry's spells skitters down the steps and strikes Nagini. The snake hisses, unharmed but angry.

"Leave her!" Voldemort's eyes glitter with rage, as if he himself had been struck by the spell. I fire again, purposely aiming for the snake this time. Voldemort counters with palpable fury, spells caroming madly up and down the staircase. I shield my eyes briefly, then look down and see a cloud of smoke hanging over the stairs from Voldemort's spells, but Voldemort himself is gone. I glance about frantically, then feel a rush of air.

The hairs on the back of my neck rise. Harry and I turn. Voldemort materializes at the top of the stairs, fires a ribbon of light at us. Harry and I counter it, but it is so powerful we can't deflect it. The two of us stand, connected to Voldemort by the rippling ribbon of fire.

I stumble back, the muscles in my forearm twitching in pain. I hear a heavy rolling sound, like meat slapping a marble table and look over my shoulder, downwards.

Nagini is undulating upward, over the steps, towards me. As the snake hisses, an oddly similar sound escapes Voldemort's lips as he pushes his advantage.

Harry and Amelia PotterWhere stories live. Discover now