Disclaimer: If I owned Harry Potter Hedwig and Fred would never have died.
Beta: Thanks for the wonderful help from my betas Netsirkelocin.
Note: I'm super busy but I read an anon saying they were having a bad day, so hopefully this helps. Thanks for all your reviews! I read and love every single one of them.
Hermione appeared in the forest with a pop from the apparation. She was quite far from Fenrir's pack, in the middle of a dense woodland. It was as close to Fenrir's territory that Hermione dared to apparate. It wasn't worth the risk landing in the middle of a fight. People would get injured and Hermione had to be careful now. It wasn't just her anymore. Her stomach turned at the quick movements, but she had to warn the boys. They had to know about the trap Fenrir had set them. The pack didn't stand a chance against Fenrir if they didn't finish off the destruction of the horcrux. They had to destroy Bill's ring.
Hermione's hand flew to her stomach as she took some deep breaths. Nausea from the apparation wore off after a few minutes. In a few weeks, she wouldn't be able to apparate according to the book Bill had bought. For now, though, it carried a small risk, but she didn't have much of choice. She had to get to the pack and warn them.
Taking a deep breath, Hermione raced through the forest. It was a few miles before she finally arrived at Fenrir's den. Aurors were stood at the entrance, assessing various members from Fenrir's pack, most of which were children and women. The aurors were sending them to the Ministry of magic for his team to carry out background checks before they got their pardon.
Hermione didn't stop for the aurors, and they didn't get in her way. Most of the aurors knew Hermione Granger from the war, part of the golden trio. She ran as fast as she could, spotting a group of people crowded around something and her heart dropped. Bill had promised. Hermione could feel his pain and his suffering.. Bill had challenged Fenrir; there was no doubt, not with the crowd gathered around.
The twins and Charlie were easy to spot. Hermione pushed her way through the crowd. Most of the people stepped aside. Some of Fenrir's wolves snarled but didn't go for her. In fact, no one was fighting.
"Fred! George!" Hermione shouted, shoving her way past. The twins turned, their shocked faces taking her in as she neared them. "I need to tell you something."
"What the bloody hell are you doing here?" Charlie asked, pushing some people aside to help Hermione to the front. He stood by her protectively, and the twins closed in around her to keep the wolves away from her. "You promised, Hermione."
Hermione wasn't looking at Charlie or the twins though. She was looking at Bill, who was on the floor, bleeding. He had a hand on his side, his forehead was bleeding, and Fenrir was standing above him with a snarl on his face. Bill was going to lose.
"I need his ring," Hermione told them, her voice dropping so only they could hear. "It's part of the horcrux, they charmed one diamond, and then they put it in the necklace and ring. Bill is carrying the other part of Fenrir's horcrux."
Remus had limped over, catching the end of the conversations. "Bill's ring?" he asked, his gaze going to Bill.
"How could you let him do this?" Hermione accused them. "He swore to me he wouldn't! He's such an idiot."
"He submitted to George this morning," Remus explained. "George didn't technically win his status, but it doesn't matter in a pack. Bill gave the alpha status for this pack to George, just in case this happened. He didn't want to take the risk. He didn't want Fenrir winning and then getting to take over as alpha of your pack."
"He can do that?"
"In honor matches, they can," Remus confirmed. "I was knocked out for a few moments; I wasn't there when Bill stood up and offered."
"Fenrir baited him," George offered, trying to reason with Hermione. "He didn't get much of choice. There's nothing we can do; we can't step in and help. Can't you feel it?"
Hermione could feel it, the magical barrier keeping her out of the way. It felt like a protection spell had been drawn around the circle where Fenrir and Bill were fighting. Her gaze went back to Bill, the man they all looked to as their leader, He was standing now, but he looked weak and was clearly struggling. Fenrir was strong, too strong with the Horcrux draining Bill.
"Fenrir!" Hermione shouted. Bill and Fenrir froze mid-fight, their wands still raised towards each other as turned to the caller. Bill looked furious in his weakened state, while Fenrir gave a smile with his yellow teeth.
"Hermione!" Fred warned, but she ignored him.
Hermione turned to Remus, "You wanted to kill him? You and Bill were going to do it together, right?"
"He won't let me in there; he won't change the honor match now that Bill's weak. Fenrir is desperate to kill him," Remus whispered.
Hermione stood her ground, turning back to the two wolves that were watching her. "If you allow Remus to step inside the honor match, Bill will claim his alpha status back," Hermione offered. She knew what she was offering. It was a considerable risk. Bill taking the alpha status back meant that Fenrir could become the alpha for the Weasley pack. Fenrir thought no one knew about the ring; he thought he had the upper hand. It was the Weasley Packs chance to end this, finally. Hermione was going to help stop the wretched wolf once and for all.
"Until the death?" Fenrir grinned.
"No!" Bill said, his face angry and shocked. "Hermione, get out of here. You swore."
"Bill," Remus interrupted her. He had faith in her "Listen to her."
"Deal," Fenrir said. He lowered his wand, and he moved away to talk with one of his pack members.
Bill looked furious as he marched over, ignoring the pain to his wounds. The moment he reached Hermione, his hand went to her shoulder pushing her back. He wasn't hurting her, but his hands were shaking as he touched her.
"Do you have any idea what you've just done? What you have just offered?" Bill growled.
The twins placed a hand on each shoulder of Bill, holding him in place in case his anger got the better of him. "Listen to her," George encouraged, squeezing Bill's shoulder.
Hermione kept her gaze on Bill as she reached for his hand, the one with the ring on. She slid it off his finger, turning away as Bill tried to stop her. "It's part of the horcrux," Hermione informed him. "It was a trick. They split the stone after Fenrir used it as a horcrux. Part of it went into the necklace, and the other part replaced the diamond on this ring. That's why he's so confident, and that's why he's getting the better of you. The horcrux on your finger is part of his soul and it's weakening you. It's been making you emotional and angry over the last few months."
Bill stared in shock and horror. His eyes went to the ring, and he felt himself relax, his anger instantly disappearing. He already felt better with the ring gone. Whatever power the ring had brought the pack, had been weakened by the dark curse on the stone.
"Destroy it," Bill nodded. His shoulders relaxed, and he moved forward to press a kiss against Hermione's forehead. "Forgive me?"
"Remember your promise," Hermione reminded him. Their foreheads touched, their eyes focused on each other. "You'll survive this and come back to me, to us. We need you, Bill."
"I'm sorry for the last few weeks," Bill said, his voice raw. "I didn't even notice; I should have known. I'm a curse breaker, and I couldn't see that the ring was marked with a horcrux."
"You've had a lot going on, and that ring did make your start turning every month," Hermione said. "It has a lot of dark magic on it. Horcruxes are hard to find. No one knew Harry was a horcrux, even after years of being around him."
Bill drew back after a final kiss to Hermione's forehead. "Go destroy the ring. Remus and I need to get in there and accept the challenge before he realises what you're doing." Bill turned to George and growled deep and powerful; the twin dropped to his knees in submission. Bill was getting his alpha status back, and then he was going to kill Fenrir.
Charlie stepped forward and led Hermione away to Harry and Ron. The boys were surprised to see her, but they pulled her to their sides as she explained what she had found out. Harry didn't seem surprised, and he grabbed hold of the ring, weighing it in his hand.
"Who wants to do it?" Harry asked, glancing at Charlie and Hermione.
"Ron did the necklace, think it's fair I get a turn," Charlie stated. Ron offered up the snake tooth, and Charlie clutched it tightly in his hand.
"Step back," Hermione called. She placed the ring on a stone on the floor and held her hands out to make some people behind her move back and away from what they were doing. Several people had turned to watch, but there weren't any of Fenrir pack members insight.
Charlie clutched the snake tooth, his throat moving as he swallowed a lump in his throat. His hands were shaking. They could remember the effect destroying a horcrux had on them in the past. It could make you see your worst fears, feel things that weren't real. Charlie's hands shook, but he didn't move to destroy the ring.
"Whatever it's saying or making you feel isn't real," Hermione encouraged. "It's a trick. It's trying to survive. Those thoughts you're having aren't yours. Destroy it, or Bill and Remus won't be able to kill Fenrir, and they'll both die."
"It's trying to mess with your head," Ron said. "Don't let it, Charlie."
Charlie's face went blank, and he closed his eyes as he stepped closer to the ring and his arms came down. The tooth hit the ring, and an ear-splitting scream came out of it, throwing Charlie onto the ground. A howl filled the air, but this wasn't from the ring. It was from Fenrir, who had just found out exactly what Hermione had been up to.
"He's mad," Hermione said, tense. "Bill…"
"Come on," Ron called, moving back towards the circle of people to see the fight. Hermione grabbed the ring, shoving it in her pocket and she followed after Ron. There was shouting from the pack members, encouraging their alpha Fenrir on. He had years of experience, and he had been so cocky and confident. Fenrir never imagined the Weasley pack would work out his trick; the fight had been easy in his eyes.
"Look what my mate did," Bill growled at the wolf, crouched beside Remus. Bill held up his empty hand, showing his missing ring to Fenrir. Remus had a smirk on his face, the feeling of victory was under all their skins. They had finally outsmarted Fenrir. With the dark magic gone, there was nothing in their way.
Hermione did her best to send power from the pack to Bill. It helped, his strength was back, and his wounds were recovering quicker than before. He seemed faster, agiler and like his old self with the horcrux off his finger. Hermione could remember how drained she'd felt when she had the necklace around her neck during the horcrux hunt with Harry and Ron. It had to have been affecting Bill for months.
A furious Fenrir turned to the two wolves and growled, angry at the trick, and then he lunged at them both. He knocked Remus to his feet, but Bill was stronger with his pack behind him and threw his weight into his shoulder, keeping upright. They weren't using their wands. Fenrir liked to fight with his hands and used his sharp nails to scratch through Bill's shirt and into the side of his chest, leaving deep wounds. Bill groaned in pain but used his strength to push the wolf off and away from him.
Fenrir stumbled back, tripping on a stone on the floor. Both wolves took advantage of his mistake and lunged. Remus had a hand against the wolf's throat, his grip tight as he held him down on the floor. Bill moved closer, his eyes amber as he took in the wolf.
"You forgot a few important things, Greyback," Bill said, his voice harsh and filled with hatred. "I'm mated to the smartest witch within a generation. A mate that will go to any lengths to save the ones she loves. And, one of the most important things you've missed." Bill crouched down. "I'm a curse breaker, who knows how weak a person is after their Horcruxes are gone."
"Even weakened I'm stronger than both of you," Fenrir growled. He threw off Remus' hand and scrambled to his feet. "You think that was my only hold over you two? You think that's it? I have years of experience and a pack far stronger than you can imagine. I have numbers, and I have the strength of my pack behind me. Your little pack is nothing compared to the power of mine. I have over seventy in my pack, all under my control. Voldemort couldn't wipe us out and neither can you. After I kill you both, I'm going to take down your order and then your aurors."
Harry glanced around, assessing his aurors and the order members. Everyone was here, watching and waiting to see what would happen. If Remus and Bill won, the pack would have a new alpha, and they would be under their command. That was the other wolves weren't fighting, their commands and orders lay in the hands of whoever won.
"Neville and Gin got a lot of the pack members out," Harry said in a low voice to Hermione. "We've already taken in a lot of the others that we got the upper hand on."
"Several causalities on thier side," Ron went on. "Only had two deaths and a few injuries for our side. We couldn't find Bellatrix anywhere."
"It won't come to a fight," Charlie told them.
"Bill will win this," Hermione agreed. Drawing on the strength of the pack, she sent him all the power and support she could muster.
"I think you've overlooked one thing," Remus spoke up. He had his wand raised as he moved around Fenrir.
"And what's that?" Fenrir asked, turning to Remus.
"Me," Remus growled. All the pain he had suffered, all the things he'd gone through in his childhood because of the curse came to the surface. With his wand raised, he shot a spell at Fenrir and sent him flying across the floor.
Bill took the opportunity to race over to Fenrir, grabbing him by the back the neck and slamming him down on the floor. "You have more people, but none them are giving up their strength for you," Bill growled. Fenrir pushed, trying to shift Bill, but this time he didn't have the strength, Bill was stronger. "I only have a few people in my pack, but every one of them is loyal to me. Everyone in my pack would risk their lives for me. My mate gives us our strength; They're weakening themselves to give me strength."
Remus moved closer, but he didn't interfere.
"Numbers don't make a pack," Bill growled. "It's the people in it and their respect for you. Strong leaders come from strong people. Your people haven't got the strength left in them after your abuse. That's why half of them have given themselves up."
"You're lying," Fenrir hissed. He had both hands on the hand Bill had wrapped around his throat. Bill tightened his grip.
"Why do you think the Minister of Magic is missing?" Bill said softly. "Kingsley wouldn't miss a fight unless it was to save more lives. You're done, Fenrir. Your people don't want you to win. They fear you. Fear doesn't make a leader."
"You're a coward," Remus spoke up. "You go after the weak because you can't risk a real challenge. You always lay out traps, so you have the advantage. You took my life away, a normal life."
"I made you!" Fenrir growled.
"My friends made me!" Remus shouted. Then, Remus turned to Bill and his expression softened. "He's mine."
Bill hesitated for a second, his grip tightening on the wolf's neck. He wasn't a killer and with a nod, he released Fenrir and stood back.
Fenrir jumped to his feet, his eyes bloodshot and focused on Remus.
Both of the wolves drew out of their wards, and the battle started. Fenrir was weakened, but he still tried to put up a good fight. Hand to hand combats he had the power, but when it came to spells, he had nothing on Remus. The last marauder had practiced with his friends as a teen, he'd been through two wars and lived to tell the tale. Even without a pack, Remus was the best at fighting with a wand.
Remus shot spell after spell at Fenrir, his power and anger showing. He was quick, like lightning, fuelled on by all his anger and his loss. This was the moment he waited for. He'd longed to get his revenge on the wolf that destroyed his childhood.
Fenrir put up a decent fight, but after only a few moments a hex sent him to his knees. Remus sent the man's wand flying, and then he lunged at him, his hand going to his neck to pin him to the floor. "I wanted the last face you ever saw to be mine," Remus hissed in his ear.
"You want to know why Bellatrix helped me with the horcruxes?" Fenrir growled, his voice wasn't as loud as before though. He was weak. "I helped her in the battle; I helped her kill your mate. I promised to help her kill you, but you got away before we had the chance. My horcrux was a reward for distracting your mate, while Bella killed her."
"Remus," Bill called, his eye's wide. He stepped forward, about to offer to kill the wolf instead, but he never got the chance. Remus' hand tightened on Fenrir's neck, and the light left his eyes.
"Remus," Bill tried again. The older wolf stood, his hands trembling as he released the body from his grip and moved closer to Bill.
"As the new alpha," Remus said, his amber eyes moving to look at his new pack. They were all frozen in shock. Slowly, the remaining members of Fenrir's pack dropped to their knees, for their new alpha. "I release you all from your servitude. Every one of you will go to see Kingsley. He will decide your fate. You will have no alpha, after that."
Then, Remus moved silently through the crowd and into the distance. He needed time alone, to recover and heal his physical and emotional wounds. After, he would return to his son. He didn't need strangers for a pack. He needed his family, the only family he had left.
With Remus gone, Harry, Ron and the rest of the aurors started directing the pack members in the direction of the floo to go to the ministry. The alpha command from Remus meant they had no choice but to go to the ministry. Most of them would be released, but those that had commented crimes in the past or fought willingly would be arrested. The innocent would finally be set free after being forced to fight.
They were free, thanks to Remus.
Hermione pushed through the moving crowd and threw herself at Bill the moment she got near him. His arms wrapped around her, holding her close as she cried in relief. The rest of their family and pack moved closer. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were by Bill's side, and after Hermione released him, they both pulled him in for a hug.
They had done it. Fenrir was dead. It was over.
"What about Bellatrix?" Charlie asked, glancing at the twins and Hermione.
"The aurors will catch her," Hermione said, firm. "She has nowhere else to hide."
"Kingsley's going to wet himself," Fred joked. "Half their open cases in the auror department will be getting closed today. There have to be over a dozen people in that pack that were death eaters."
"And my department will support the ones that weren't," Hermione said firmly. "The ones that were trapped and forced to obey Fenrir will be given support and help."
The twins pulled Hermione to their side, both of them pressed a kiss to her cheek. "I think we all deserve an early night after all of this going on," Fred smiled.
"Brilliant idea, Freddie," George agreed.
"This celebration feels just as important as your birthday," Charlie pointed out. "Want to re-enact that night?"
"Do you mind?" Ginny said, pushing Charlie out the way so she could get to Bill. Charlie cringed, having not noticed his sister approach.
"Well done, Bill," Ginny told him. "I knew you'd kick his butt eventually."
"Yeah, after some help," Bill smiled, glancing at Hermione. He was back to his old self; the angry, frustrated alpha was gone. Their Bill was finally back.
We're nearly there! We have a surprise next chapter and then an epilogue :D
I have started a sequel, which won't be as long and its kind of wrapping everything up; Bellatrix and giving Remus a happy ever after etc (his ending has been planned from the very start and most people will be very very happy). You can finish this story after the next two chapters because this story will finish with a proper ending. Or you can continue reading with the sequel! Let me know if that's something you would be interested in.