A/n: Here it is the last chapter of Fractures.
Disclaimer: I do not own any recognisable characters and no money has been made from this.
Chapter Forty Nine ~ Old Lives ~ New Start
"Be the change that you wish to see in the world."
― Mahatma Gandhi
The door seals shut locking the loud banging outside, he sighs dropping his shopping bag on to the chair and helping himself to the biscuits.
"What took so long?" Scott asks.
"Bloody world gone mad, hundreds of fireworks going off! People celebrating in the street, anyone would think we'd won world war two again." He grumbles sinking into a chair.
"What's to celebrate?"
"How'd I know? I'm stuck in here with you lot, some weirdo down the shop kept muttering about this championships thing to his friend. Right creep he was wearing a long cloak and everything, people running around with these sparkler things."
"What championships? Shit, we didn't miss the footie did we? The FA championships?" Scott gasps diving for the paper.
"Don't be a wanker, that doesn't start for another month, besides we all know Chelsea are gonna win."
"Sod off, Arsenal have got it this year."
"What you two bickering out?" Paul asks mooching into the room.
"Some celebrating going on out there, trying to guess what it is." Keith answers.
"Probably some foreigners celebrating." Paul says shoving Scott's feet of his desk.
"Ah, Championships!" Scott gasps. "I know what it is. Mario Kart! My Niece keeps going on about it won't shut up bet you the nerds are out."
"Do you think before you speak or are you a natural prick?" Keith questions.
"Push off," Scott grumbles.
"Actually Keith do us a favour take this down to the vault for me, stick it near that mirror." Paul orders.
"Why can't he do it?" Keith demands pointing to Scott.
"Because he finished twenty minutes ago, waiting for his fancy girl to pick him up because idiot here wrecked his car."
"Rolled it into the ditch." Scott shrugs. "Betty picking me up."
Rolling his eyes, Keith picks the small suitcase up, hearing something rattle around inside. He shrugs, taking a bite out of his biscuit into his mouth he waits for the lift to arrive. Tapping his foot against the metal floor, a breeze drifts through the building as Scott heads out the door to his ride.
Stepping into the lift, he presses the last button, the lift juddering as it trundles downwards. With a lurch, it stops at the bottom, shifting the gate aside he steps out the lights flickering on overhead. He spots the large mirror dropped of a few months ago, he places the suitcase down onto of an antic dresser.
He shivers from the cold, an unnatural breeze sweeping through the unventilated room. Shrugging off the goosebumps, he tugs his jacket tighter he needs another job. This one is getting to him, a nice little job in an office somewhere not living in this dusty museum of unwanted items.
"Just ask and I will give you a purpose beyond your wildness expectations."
Swallowing he turns to regard the mirror the direction of the voice, with a trembling hand he pulls the cover away. Jumping at his own reflection, he laughs at his stupidity it is just a bloody mirror. Shaking his head, he turns away, pausing at the reflection in a glass vase. Leaning forward he squints, if his not mistaken it looks almost as though there is something over his shoulder. A hand.
He grows stock still at the feather light touch, his heart hammering in his chest as the hand force on his shoulder turns him. A broad grin slips across a beautiful face; he relaxes instantly smiling in return. What is there to fear?
"Keith isn't it?"
"Yes…" He squeaks clearing his throat.
An unusual heat nudges at his neck tingling along his spine; he blinks as he feels his eyes swell up almost as though he is crying. A weightlessness takes over his body, he watches as his own hand reaches for the mirror he tries to pull it back but it keeps reaching. He wants to panic however, his body remains so calm a weird buzzing in his mind until a dull throb takes away all his thoughts.
"I require something, and you dear Keith, will help me achieve this."
His legs wobble as they give way; he lands on in his knees bowing his head respect.
"Don't be afraid."
"I feel nothing." He whispers.
"That's good, that's very good. I will help you win your daughter back Keith, I will give you that gift, but first I need a new body, my old form is of no use. Will you help me?"
"Anything Morgana, anything."
"Good boy, first thing first…"
~~~~~ Fractures ~~~~~
Five years on since the Fifth Championships…
He woke early way before any of his fellow students, a dull murmur from the common room as students prepare the first day back at school. He could barely sleep after all today was the biggest day of his life since that second year. Today the Championships will return he has waited five years for this moment, today he along with Nigel will enter his name into the cup.
Taking a deep breath he pulls his scrapbook out, the edge worn away, his parents did not understand his obsession that started with collecting stickers. He never stopped following, never stopped buying papers, followed articles, read pages and even dared to ask Professor Black for just a snippet on the Legendary Hermione Granger.
Opening the book, he grins in excitement old newspaper cuttings glued in clumsily by his younger self.
Muggleborn wins the Fifth Riddle cup!
Hermione Granger, Muggleborn first ever to win the championships has vanished.
Riddle announces the Last Champion is alive and volunteering in Romania to help the dragons!
Announcement comes; The Last Champion is to open the new Ministry entrance returning to England for the grand opening.
An uneasy peace has developed in the south west, Riddle escorted to the meeting by the Last Champion.
The Last Champion and first Champion spotted shopping, dress shopping we suspect a wedding!
He pauses at the very few pictures of Hermione he has, arriving at the Wedding of Fleur Delacour to Bill Weasley. Hermione and Professor Black laughing in the corner the constant repetition of them sharing a joke. The next picture always made him smile, the scowl that cuts across Hermione's face at being spied on, the hand lifting and the flash of light that engulfs the picture.
Settlement paid out by the popular Magazine Quibbler to Miss Hermione Granger the Fifth Champion in an undisclosed sum. Rita Skeeter found guilty by the court for inciting malicious and filthy rumours about Miss Granger ended with a very red face witch. Who apologises for any offence caused and forced to register her animagus form to the Ministry.
Rumours of Miss Granger buying a second house in England, trusted source suggests she has brought a home close to Professor Bellatrix Black her old mentor.
Miss Granger manager denies talks about proposal for marriage; the following statement is from Lee Jordan Miss Grangers Manager– "My client Miss Granger has no inclination to tie the knot at such time. Despite her attractiveness and sass at this time her ring finger remains empty, which brings luck to most of us I dare say. However Fred Weasley is still single, looking for fun wealthy businessman with his twin brother like they say double is… What? You asked for a statement this is my official statement. You single. Damn girl with attitude like that, I bet you get all the boys…"
Several pictures has emerged from Romania finally regarding Miss Granger's time spent abroad with a brief statement form the witch herself. "I'm not one for public affair, the work we do abroad is important. These beautiful creatures are forced from their habitats, I work closely with them, I have raised some from infancy, and they are gentle souls. This is not a one-man mission, my work abroad is hard, and we all work extremely hard to keep the Dragons safe, to keep one another safe it is not a romantic picture. These creatures will kill if threatened but if treated with distance and respect a mutual bond can be formed. Myself and others spend all day and night looking after them."
"Can you speak to the little attention you've paid the public over the years?"
"From the moment I stepped into the Championships, I had no intentions of fame or glory. I wanted to make a change, and I believe I am doing that slowly, we are making progress. I want to bring awareness of these creatures, I want the world to know that if we are not careful the creatures we know will no longer be here to admire. As for the public, actions speak louder than words or photographs, I work hard but I am no different to the rest of my team who deserve so much applause for the work they do."
"What of the current problems, the recent attacks, what you say to that?"
"I cannot comment on that, thank you for your time Mr Creevey."
HE turns the page, the pictures collected from the witch's time in Romania, group photos of the team working to keep the dragons safe. The odd snap of the picture when she is not looking, his two favourite are at the bottom. Hermione cradling a new born dragon unaware of the camera, it's his favourite because his brother Colin took the photos himself. Spent two weeks over there, interviewing different people.
He remembers the story he told, how he had to sneak out at four in the morning, to capture a picture of Hermione sitting in a nest with the dragon. Colin petrified the witch would be killed watched in amazement as she handled the baby dragons under the caring eyes of the Horntail.
The last picture caught by accident a return trip from documenting an attack from poachers arriving to the camp on brooms. He happened to glance to the sky, to see a dragon that helped hold back the attack arrive, with a free falling Hermione gliding alongside. He will never forget the letter her received at the end in big capital letters.
"SHE CAN FLY!" He laughed at first; her animagus is a raven of course she can fly.
It was not until he saw the picture did he understand, she was flying with magic alone; people saw the picture and saw a daredevil diving through the air. Hermione was angry at the picture, not wanting the world to think it to be fun until Colin spun the story differently. Explaining the witch was demonstrating a trust exercise with the Dragon. The world brought it, the money piled in to help the dragons, to help projects all over the world, the buying of illegal creatures and skin, dropped.
Colin though told him the biggest story, when he returned home for Christmas, he whispered in confidence to Dennis.
"She has a lover." Colin whispered passing the carrots.
"Yes, she regularly sent letters, she even visited sometimes. I saw a glimpse of them one night at the campsite when I woke to get a drink. But they were gone by morning, there was something familiar about them but can't put my finger on them."
"Hey, Dennis you done fangirling?" Nigel asks with a chuckle.
"Todays the big day!" Dennis grins placing the book under the bed.
"You're going to enter?"
"I've been waiting for this for ages. Not going to let it pass."
"People die man," Nigel warns.
"I know," Dennis nods. "But people die in Quidditch."
"Rarely." Nigel shrugs. "Whatever, just don't say I didn't warn you."
Smiling, Dennis shrugs into his robe, he will enter with three others, they are not particularly great friends but he does not want to risk a big friendship for the Championships. He wants to follow in Hermione's footsteps prove that she is not the only Muggleborn capable of great things.
The world fell into turmoil when the witch won, a struggle between classes. Bullying got worse, but they stood their grounds, all muggleborns did they threw punches just as hard as they received it. They travelled in groups, learnt defensive spells and refused to move when purebloods tried to shove them out the way.
He wants to win to make his family proud, he wants to win to make Hermione proud, to make her see just what she has done for them all. He remembers the bullying Colin received, his brother could not believe it when he told him about the freedom they had in the halls. Except for Black, Professor Black still remains harsh, unmoving but even he does not want to argue with the witch.
Hands tingling with excitement he almost jumps to his last class, he just put his name in the cup. They have Defence against the Dark Arts, Colin is not particularly happy about him entering, but he remains supportive. Three years he spent training, eventually after the first year, Colin gave up protesting and started helping.
His parents, they do not understand fully, they think the whole thing barbaric, compared them to gladiators, Dennis is not going to lie. The whole idea excited him even more, how awesome would it be to a gladiator. His mother was not impressed with his answer.
Slipping into his seat, he grins, laying his books out on the desk in front of him, Nigel rolling his eyes next to him. Black removes evidence of the previous class, turning to glare at Dennis who is obviously too happy to be in her class.
"I'm going to guess from that stupid grin, you entered the Championships." Black says folding her arms.
"That's right." Dennis nods.
"Satisfied are you? How long you have been waiting for this, remind me again I misheard you for the last three years." Black drawls watching the rest of the students file in. "You know there's a high chance you won't get picked."
"There's still a chance."
"You remind me of someone, someone just as stupid as you Creevey."
"Who was that?" Dennis asks.
"The Last Champion." Black says.
His heart fills with pride, as Black claps her hand gaining the attention of the class.
"As you all know, the Championships have arrived once more," Black begins as hands fly into the air. "I will be leaving you in the capable hands of Professor Snape, who has decided to remain this year at Hogwarts."
"Are you going to offer to be mentor again?" A student asks eagerly.
"Will you fight in the arena again?"
"Who do you think will be drawn?"
"Enough," Black replies in annoyance. "Turn to page 394,"
With a collective groan, the books flip open, the class continuing until the topic of the Championships comes about once more. In annoyance, Black rolls her eyes, tapping her foot a clear sign the witch is close to handing out detentions.
"Right, I will answer anyone's question if they give me the correct answer. If a sharp object is dipped in nightraite root, frozen for two days and thrown at a victim what is the likely effect?"
A hush develops as students rack their brain for answers, dread slipping through the class as Black smirks in victory. No one has the answer. With a large grin, she turns back to her board raising the chalk to continue the lesson.
"One would expect…"
Everyone flinches as a something smashes against the board, Black drawing her wand as a dark liquid escapes into the air. Her wand drawn towards the door, to the poor soul who threw the object now broken on the ground. Black freezes, staring in shock at the intruder in the doorway.
"One would expect the item in question would shatter on impact, however it is a trick question, and it all depends on the object it is thrown at. The object in question as many items freeze differently. But as demonstrated by my piece of glass, it would shatter on contact the most damage would be caused by nightraite root evaporating onto skin."
All heads turn to the intruder; Dennis feels his lungs exhale, excitement rushing through his system at discovering the witch standing in the doorway.
The last Champion.
Lazily leaning in the doorway, Hermione Granger still wearing the uniform for handling dragons. He spots the burn marks along the side of her cloak, the boots caked in dust. She pushes from the door, stepping into the room, eyeing the objects lying around.
"Trick question Professor." Hermione says eventually.
"Students meet my old Student, bloody know it all." Black grumbles, brushing away the mess. "You didn't bring any dragons?"
"Afraid not, they wouldn't fit in my trunk despite my best efforts."
Hermione settles on to a desk, placing her foot on an empty chair, she checks her watch just as the bell rings to end class.
"My watch is slow." Hermione mutters.
"You've got dirt on my floor." Black replies. "Right clear off the lot of you."
Rising from their chairs, students dance around Hermione, gaping at the witch who ignores their obvious attention. Dennis pauses halfway to the door, turning at last second he approaches Hermione who glances towards him.
"You might not remember me," Dennis says quickly.
"Dennis isn't it? Colin's brother?" Hermione says rising to her feet. "Merlin you've grown."
He blushes despite himself. "I just wanted to let you know I entered the Championships.
Her smile drops as she regards him with sadness. "I hope I didn't inspire that."
"I know what your opinions of the Championships are Miss Granger, but I want you to know I'm not doing this for glory or fame. I want to follow in your footsteps I want to make a difference."
"You don't need to win a game to make a difference," Hermione replies with sigh. "But I appreciate the sentiment and wish you the best of luck."
He nods, he knows she will not approve but he wants to do this, feels he needs to do this. He turns exiting the room he shuts the door behind him, more determined to make an impact at least on someone.
Hermione waits for the door to close, releasing a slow breath staring around the Dark Arts Room, ignoring the tsking from Bella as she cleans up the mess. It feels weird to be back here, to step back in the school after so long.
"Was it always this stuffy in here?" Hermione asks looking an open window.
"You lived for stuffy," Bella answers. "You used to spend hours in the library if you recall."
"I still do," Hermione smiles. "I missed you."
"You saw me two months ago."
"Seventy two days to be exact." Hermione smiles sheepishly. "But who's counting."
Snorting, Bella pushes the chalkboard away with a flick of her wand, turning back to regard Hermione sitting on the desk.
"So your back or is this a visit?" Bella questions arms folded.
"I'm back," Hermione smiles. "I received my letter calling me for duty. I can't believe Severus isn't going though."
"He's not officially a Champion he has a choice in it, although the world is biting its nails wondering if you are going to show or not. A regular theme appearing."
She rolls her eyes she could care less about the world; her only intention on returning is to make something official with Bella. Hermione is ready now, ready to return to the world, she found answers, she learnt to control her magic, and the dragons shared some secrets. However, the time away gave her time to do some digging, and now she feels as though; she confidently say she is Hermione Granger nee Le Fey.
Her heart sits in her throat; it has been so long since they had a serious talk, seeing each other whenever Hermione returns to England. Alternatively, when Bella comes to visit, she wants nothing more than to kiss the witch on the lips but the last they spoke it ended with an argument. Bella more furious than Hermione, what about Hermione is not sure, after all Bella does not do heart to hearts. Now they sit in a limbo, so Hermione decided she would make the first step.
"Have you spoken to her lately?" Bella asks flicking dust from her shoulders. "Morgana?"
"No," Hermione replies. "She's still quiet."
"What's that two years now?"
"Something like that." She does not know where Morgana has gone too, but their connection severed a few years back. "So, was wondering, since we're going to Durmstrang this year if you wanted to do something, like go for a meal."
"You asking me on a date?" A lip curves in amusement.
"I see, problem is I've already got reservations."
Her heart drops, the ground opening up beneath her feet, she feels as though everything has fallen away all in one simple sentence. This cannot be happening.
"I've booked with hot таласъм table for two, thing is though the witch I'm going with has a habit of disappearing. I really hope she doesn't though, after all it took me a whole year of waiting to get a table." Bella smirks.
She swallows relief setting in; she could strangle the witch for worrying her like that. Rising from her the desk, Hermione takes the few steps towards Bella. Warm hands encasing Bella's waist tugging the witch close, she presses a soft kiss to the base of dark witch's neck. Feeling the shiver travel through her, she inhales smell of citrus a hint of dark chocolate Bella has been snacking again.
"Sounds great." Hermione grins against the swan neck.
Excitement courses through her body, followed just as quickly by dread. The Championships is just about to start again and the wizarding world has never been in such turmoil. She closes her eyes enjoying the closeness of Bella, Hermione just hopes her returning will spell a future for them both and not their ending.
A/n: A note from the Author:
It is always a weird feeling when finishing a story, it brings about a sense of relief, accomplishment and a sadness. I always fear the end of a story, have I tied up all lose ends, did everything add up was I satisfied with my end result. Obviously, Fractures is a story of it's own design for it really hasn't finished, unlike my Bellamione stories most if not all pretty much tied up with no lose ends. They led on to one another but they were still done, however Fractures doesn't feel finished to me. Perhaps it's due to the knowledge of what is to come in the next story, knowing the epic scale that will be Fractures ~ The Last Chapter and the journey to come. A part of me considered a reviewers suggestion, that I don't finish Fractures I just keep it running, but I cannot. It has reached it's peak and to keep this story going feels wrong, it is hard to explain, there is something so satisfying about clicking the button 'complete'.
So I will give you a run down on Fractures, one of the hardest and yet easiest stories to write. Every chapter a breath of fresh air, I some how managed to write at least 6k every week for a whole year something I never thought possible. From the beginning I knew Hermione would leave to work with Dragons, I knew of her to be the descendant of Morgana, her love for Bellatrix all their fights planned in advance. Bella in this story was such a refreshing write, she was so different, but exactly the same. I took some liberties, inserting characteristics of my own original character into her, a test to see how she would be accepted. I am so happy how well she was received.
Many of you will find this story bears one annoying trait, there is not an obvious bad guy. There is no good and evil, no bad guy trying to take over the world, this was done by design. No this one is a lot more political, where the failing was in the systems set in place. I have placed a lot of hints through the story for certain things, which will be, oh so clear when I reveal in the next story, so much so, you will probably hate me. There is a lot about broken families in Fractures, from Hermione to Bella to Raven and even the Potters. A reviewer mentioned that almost all the characters have a tragic back story of some sort, I think this is true in reality. A lot of people have a story to tell and some of those you least expect have the darkest stories. I also tried to keep similar things to Canon, while also playing with other aspects of the universe JK created. I sometimes wonder if she indulges herself by reading fanfictions, and then I think she would probably does so while drinking a glass of wine and laughing.
Finally I cannot express my gratitude for your support in words, you have prompted me when I ran out of ideas. You have reviewed so much that I am number two in the Bellamione stories by reviews, which is just incredible. The amount of interest in this story blew my mind a very daunting task i can assure you. So I may have given you this crazy ride, but I want you all to know, without your support, your questions, following, your persistence this story may have stopped halfway through. I hope to everything that the next story is just as grand and receives the same kind of attention, I am excited to get it underway and more than excited to really kick of with the world outside of England.
As usual I feel like there is more to say but I cannot think on it at this moment of time, it feels almost fitting I am finishing this chapter late in the evening once more needing sleep. A good end to a turbulent year, with the promise of a better one. To those interested if I manage to ever publish my own works, then there's a chance I will indulge faithful readers via PM with the name and book title. Now the newest story should hopefully be up over the weekend sometime. I look forward to seeing you all there, lets see how dedicated you really are after all, it's going to get a lot more crazier. The emotions are going to be high and the stakes even higher. I wish you all the best - you're going to need it.
Till a the new story keep an eye out Fractures - The Last Chapter will be coming very, very shortly. I'll give you a small breather to prepare.