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Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

By Anne B. Walsh

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Author Notes:

I disclaim all HP stuff, and the song (or songs) "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad."

The man who had once been called Tom Marvolo Riddle felt a great surge of triumph in what remained of his soul. Harry Potter, his nemesis, crouched at the other end of the room, disarmed and defeated. His right arm hung uselessly at his side. He held a silver dagger awkwardly in his left hand, but Lord Voldemort knew he could easily defend himself against such a puny Muggle toy.

“Soon,” he breathed, looking at the boy hungrily. “Soon it will all be mine... eternal life, unlimited power, and everlasting fame... as soon as you die. So say good night, Harry.”

Potter lifted his head, then, with an obvious effort, got to his feet, using the wall behind him for balance. His eyes were the right color for the Killing Curse, Voldemort mused whimsically, and the boy obviously wished they could kill, but they lacked the power to do what he was about to...

He raised his wand. “Avada Kedavra!

It happened in a flash. Potter swept the dagger into salute position in front of his heart, the flat of the blade facing Voldemort – the spell impacted the blade rather than Potter, and instead of knocking it from his weak wrong-handed grip and blasting on through him, was reflected back towards its caster –

That’s impossible!

He barely had time to think it before the curse struck him and proved that no, it wasn’t.

He thinks he has killed me – but my Horcruxes protect me –

To his horror, he suddenly realized that no confining grasp held his soul to the earth as it had the last time this had happened to him. In fact, he was beginning to see a bright light –

NO! I will not, I CANNOT die like this! I am the Heir of Salazar Slytherin! I am the greatest wizard in a hundred years! I am –

“You are a loony,” said Potter tiredly. “And boring, too. Shut up, will you?”

Voldemort blinked and looked around. Nothing much had changed. Potter was still leaning against the wall, now with his eyes closed, his dagger gripped professionally in his left hand. He looked taller somehow...

Nonsense. A trick of the light. I must keep him talking, off guard while I recover. “I thought that you favored your right hand, Harry. How is it that I was mistaken?”

“You weren’t. My godfather’s left-handed, so I learned to fight both ways. He thought it might come in handy sometime. Guess he was right.”

Voldemort spotted his wand, lying on the ground near a polished boot. Perfect. I can have it in my hand before the little fool opens his eyes. He bent down to pick it up, feeling again slightly uneasy at the way the floor seemed much closer than usual...

His hand passed through the wand.

He blinked and looked down at himself. He was silver-white and translucent.

No. No! I refuse to believe what I am seeing! It is not true!

“Of course, I’d love to know how you’re still talking, seeing as you’re supposed to be dead.” Potter turned his head and opened his eyes, focusing after a moment on something behind Voldemort. “Oh,” he said with some satisfaction. “You are dead.”

Voldemort turned to look. There, lying on the ground, was his body, face twisted into an expression of disbelief and rage, an expression he could feel his face mimicking now.

This is impossible, unthinkable! Potter was never supposed to win! Let him in, play with him a little, then kill him! How could such a simple plan have gone wrong?

“Looks like we did get all the Horcruxes, then,” said Potter with some relief. “I was worried we’d missed one, but it seems not.”

Voldemort spun to glare at Potter, and was confronted with another puzzle. Why am I looking at his knees?

He looked up. And up, and up, until he finally saw Potter’s face far above him, leaning over and looking down at him with an expression composed of equal parts amusement and disgust. “You make an awfully small ghost,” he said. “But I suppose that’s what happens when you have only one-seventh of a soul left.”

Voldemort backed away a few paces and found himself standing in the middle of his own body, a body which seemed more suited to a troll or a giant from his current standpoint. He must be about the same size as a house-elf, if not smaller.

No, no, no... how could this have gone so wrong?

“What was it you said you wanted again? Eternal life, unlimited power, and everlasting fame?” Potter laughed weakly. “Well, eternal life you have. And everlasting fame. I think you might just be the smallest ghost in the world, so you ought to get pretty famous over the next few centuries. Or millennia. Power... not so much. But it’s like the song says.” He grinned. “Two out of three ain’t bad.”

And Harry Potter, The Man Who Won, turned and walked out of the empty manor house.

An eternity with its roots in popular music.

The World’s Smallest Ghost, formerly known as Lord Voldemort, howled in anguish and despair.

Hell exists after all.

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Author Notes:

No, this isn't how the final battle will actually go in the Dangerverse. But it was fun to write. And even more fun to think about.