Here we are. Final instalment in The Dragon Chronicles!
It always feels bittersweet to end a long fanfiction. I will miss the characters so much! Especially since this will be my final fanfiction in quite some time. I have my plate full with stories I get paid for writing – which is wonderful but I miss the community and being able to talk directly to my readers (even though I've been very, very bad at answering reviews lately). Here we are all equals just borrowing characters we love and throwing them into crazy situations. In the offline world, I have taxes and balancing budgets and what is the sale tax of books again?
I love you guys so much 3 stay awesome!
One day after the switch
No matter how much Hermione and Kara had talked about the switch, nothing could have prepared them for how difficult it would be for Kara to get used to living in a human body.
They had been moved into a temporary cottage, not far from the dragon keeper's headquarters so that Kara and Voldemort could be monitored. Nothing like this had ever happened before. They didn't know if they had succeeded in making the change permanent.
Hermione wasn't worried about that, though. She was more worried about Kara's transition.
He had difficulties walking in his new body. Hermione slowly guided him into their new home, trying to describe to Kara how to walk on two legs instead of four.
"Just one foot at the time," Hermione said, her arm around Kara's waist, keeping him steady. "It's all about balance, you just have to get used to it."
But I can't see my feet! Kara exclaimed telepathically (talking was a lesson for later). Hermione could feel the panic in him. He was trying to keep it away from her, but it bled through their bond.
"Okay, maybe it would be easier without these robes," Hermione thought out loud. "You aren't used to clothes so maybe we should start without them."
Yes, clothes are too confiding, Kara agreed.
Hermione magically removed Kara's clothes and then tried very hard to keep her focus on his upper body. Because even though it was Kara, it was also Voldemort's body and it would appear that all the spells that Voldemort had cast over her was indeed tied to his body rather than his person.
The moment she touched her, she had felt that the lust potion was still going strong. It must be because Voldemort had used his blood to tie her to him, and his blood was still running through his body, even though the rest of him was now inside a dragon.
It made her both very relieved and very uncomfortable. Relief came from finally being rid of all the inappropriate feelings toward a mass murderer. On the other hand, she was now sexually attracted to her best friend in the entire world, and she was in no way ready to start a new intimate relationship with anyone.
Okay, I'm ready to try. Let go of me again, Kara said, his jaw hardening in resolve.
Hermione slowly took a few steps back, ready to jump in at first sign that Kara would fall.
Kara stood there, swaying for a moment. He seemed to place most of his weight on the outside of his feet and his arms were stretched out at his side, palms angled down at the floor. Carefully, he dragged one foot forward, then moved his weight over on that foot before dragging his other foot underneath him again.
Hermione smiled. "Well down Kara!"
Kara turned around and smiled a bright smile that made him look like a completely different person than Voldemort. He moved his feet a bit faster this time and once again managed to keep his balance.
With a cry of happiness, he tried to lift his foot this time, to walk as Hermione had showed him from the start, alas, he still hadn't mastered this trick yet and when his foot came down again, he stumbled.
Hermione tried to catch him, but he was heavier than her, and they both fell into a heap on the floor.
"Oops," Hermione said, trying hard not to laugh at the absurdity of the situation. "You'll get the catch of it, don't worry, Kara."
Kara's eyes softened in tenderness and he leaned forward, his face coming closer to hers. Her heart speeded up and her body froze. Was he about to kiss her?
She couldn't watch, so she closed her eyes and … felt something wet and warm stroke her cheek.
Opening her eyes, she realised that Kara had licked her. Like he had done when he was a dragon and wanted to show his appreciation.
Relief flooded her body and this time, she couldn't stop the laugh bubbling up.
Kara frowned at her, and she felt prompted to quickly explain. "Humans don't really lick each other like that, Kara. They hug each other."
She leaned in and wrapped her arms around him. Yes, this was better. She could try to cook up a potion that lowered her sex drive. It should work and give her time to work out her messed up life.
"Okay, let's get you up," she said, and slowly dislodged her body from his.
Boy, this would be harder than she had expected.
One week after the switch
After Kara had learned how to move, eat and drink as a human, Hermione felt it prompt to teach him about modesty. Especially after Harry and Ginny showed up unexpected and Kara was sitting naked on the floor, with a candle in front of him, giggling every time he lit it. Trust a dragon to learn how to light a magical fire before learning how to talk.
"Oh my," Ginny exclaimed, her smile wide while Harry hid his eyes behind his hand.
"Sorry, Hermione we didn't mean to just barge in like this," Harry winced, grabbing Ginny's arm, forcing her to turn away as well.
Hermione tried not to feel embarrassed. It was hard for Kara to wear clothes, it made him feel chained down. After all, animals were always naked and humans were just another animal.
Nevertheless, she gestured for Harry and Ginny to take a seat in the kitchen while she ushered Kara into their bedroom. She had left her speaking-amulet there, since she didn't need it when it was just her and Kara. She didn't like the reminder of what Voldemort had done to her.
"Okay, time to try on some clothes again," Hermione said in a low voice, opening the wardrobe, trying to find something that would be comfortable and not so constricted.
I still don't understand why you were clothes, Kara muttered. It's itchy.
"I know," Hermione sighed. "But you see, a lot of people feel uncomfortable when they see other people naked."
She had got most of Voldemort's old clothes from Hogwarts, but they were all long robes with slackers underneath. The man had never bought a pair of shorts or anything that could be considered clothes for comfort.
However, as she was rummaging around, she found an old black skirt she had bought a couple of years back. She hadn't got much use for it since she was more of a jeans-person, but maybe Kara would find it less constricted?
She dragged her wand over it, making it a few sizes bigger in the waist and went back to Kara, holding it out.
"Step into this," she said. "I think you can forgo a shirt this time."
Kara did as she asked and Hermione zipped it up in the back before taking a step back.
The skirt reached down to his knees and were wide enough that he wouldn't have any problem walking in it. He wouldn't be able to wear it in public (unless he wouldn't mind the staring … and come to think of it, he probably wouldn't notice), but for now it would do.
Kara looked down at the skirt and experimentally took a few steps forward. Then he did what most young girls do when they get a new skirt, he spun around several times, watching the skirt fly around him.
Fun, he said, grinning. But why do I have to wear this and not something over this?
He made a gesture over his chest.
"Well, people are mostly uncomfortable seeing others' genitalia, so the skirt covers it. Though, women also have to cover their breasts," Hermione explained. "If we go out you'll have to wear something else, but to start, this will work."
She put on her amulet and gestured for Kara to follow her out to the kitchen.
Harry was still looking uncomfortable, his hands busy thrumming against the tea cup Ginny had given him. Ginny had put out tea cups for all of them and in the middle of the table stood a big pumpkin pie.
"Mum sends her regards," Ginny said, nodding towards the pie. "She wants me to make sure that you get enough to eat."
Hermione smiled, touched that despite everything, Mrs Weasley was still thinking of her. She had been worried to get the matriarch against her; in her fourth year Skeeter had written about her toying with Harry's heart, and Mrs Weasley had given her the cold shoulder.
Hermione could only imagine the headlines that were written about her now.
"How is everyone?" Hermione asked. Her voice came out sounding slightly metallic. She had been tweaking it since they got here, trying to make the amulet sound more human, like her real voice. She still had some work to do, but at least she no longer sounded like a robot.
"Good enough," Ginny answered, starting to cut up the pie, serving everyone. "Everyone is getting back with their families. That's nice to see. Though, personally, I'm just relieved the morning sickness has finally subsided."
She gave the final piece to Kara. Since he still didn't have any human manners to speak off, he took his slice in one hand and devoured it in two bites. At least he didn't try to light food on fire anymore.
Hermione cut her own slice and glanced at Ginny's belly. She couldn't see anything under the thick knitted sweatshirt Ginny was wearing.
"I'm sorry, I have forgotten to ask how you two feel about that," Hermione said. With everything, she had almost forgotten that Ginny was pregnant at all. "Are you back together?"
Harry nodded. "I even proposed to her, but she said no."
Hermione gaped. "What? Why?"
Ginny huffed. "I don't want him proposing just because he feel like he has to because of the baby. I know he will help take care of it, I don't need a ring for that. We can get married later, when we actually have time to do it properly."
Harry sighed. "But I'm restoring Grimmauld Place with the help of Dobby and Kreatcher so we will be able to move in there together before the baby comes. Ron will move in there too for a while and help out."
"That's nice of him. Where is he, by the way? It would have been nice to see him," Hermione said, a little worried that Ron hadn't come because he was jealous or something.
"Well," Harry said slowly and a different worry set in Hermione's belly. "We have managed to round up almost all Death Eaters. But there was one major attack after the body switch. Three Death Eaters broke into the Dragon Keepers' Headquarters, trying to find Voldemort, but they were apprehended before causing too much trouble."
"Ron was there at the attack," Ginny added. "He got hit by a nasty curse, but he will be back to normal in a few weeks, they say. He says hi."
"Oh, poor Ron," Hermione said, but relieved that he wasn't avoiding her at least. "Please send him my best. I'd love to visit him, alas…"
She trailed off, making a gesture around the cottage. They could go outside, but only a short distance into the nearby woods. The Haag committee was keeping tabs on them. If they kept out of trouble, they would be allowed to visit other places, but thus far they hadn't even talked about it.
"Kingsley are talking to the committee in Haag about seeing if you can be relocated back to Britain," Harry said and Hermione felt her heartrate speed up. "But the people in Haag wants to keep you here where they can monitor the body switch. I'm sorry."
Hermione silently exhaled and her heart came back down to normal speed. "That's okay. I'm not ready to come back, and neither is Kara."
"Why not?" Ginny asked, frowning. "Everyone knows that you weren't really on Voldemort's side. You are a hero too!"
Hermione glanced at Kara who was sitting quietly, staring at the pie, not really bothering to listen to the conversation around him.
Ginny, who had followed her gaze, let out a timid "oh".
"People won't understand," Hermione said softly.
Kara looked at her then and grasped her hand from under the table, squeezing it in comfort.
"Well I can't deny that it was big news after it happened, but people forget. New things happen all the time. Like McGonagall appointed Herman Wintringham, the lute player in the Weird Sisters as the new teacher in Transfiguration. Everyone is talking about that right now," Ginny said with a grin.
Hermione laughed. She had read about it, but it seemed Ginny had more information of the talented lute player. Apparently, he transfigured different lutes out of different flowers to get the right tone for all Weird Sister's songs.
"Yeah, they will let you go free in no time," Harry said with an encouraging smile. "And you are always welcome to stay with us, both of you. Whether it is forever or until you find a place of your own."
"Thank you, Harry," Hermione said softly and then finally admitted to the worry that had stayed far, far back in her mind for the past two years. "Though I think I'll have to go find my parents first and restore their memories."
Both Ginny and Harry's eyes widened and she knew they had forgotten about what she had done to her parents.
"Do you want any help?" Harry immediately asked. "I could try and find them for you, so that once you are ready, you can just… go to them directly."
Hermione smiled sadly. "Thanks, but you have enough on your plate as it is. It will be fine. It's not like they are missing me."
I'd miss you, Kara told her mentally and leaned in, pressing his nose against her shoulder. I missed you before I even found you.
As if he were still a dragon, Hermione stroked his head. Then she caught Ginny's expression. The younger woman was pressing her lips together hard, her eyes starting to water.
"What?" Hermione asked, frowning.
Ginny exploded in laughter. "I'm just picturing how angry Voldemort would be if he knew how cute Kara was making his body look!"
Hermione looked at Kara and he grinned back at her, rubbing his nose into her shoulder one last time before sitting back up, smile still wide.
Hermione couldn't help it, she started laughing too.
One month after the switch
Kara couldn't sleep. Next to him, Hermione was trashing, moaning in her sleep. He had seen it before, when he had still been a dragon and she had been too caught in the haze of lust to close her mind for him. She never wanted to talk about it, even though he knew exactly why she was acting this way.
It was the Cure of Infidelity-potion that simmered through her body. Kara wanted to help her, but he wasn't sure he knew how. Through Hermione's mind, he had experienced what the other man had done, but he wasn't sure if he could replicate it. Human seemed to do these things differently than dragons. They used more limbs as well, like their hands.
Since Kara hadn't had hands for longer than a month, he still wasn't always sure what to do with them. Mostly, he just copied whatever Hermione did.
Right then, Hermione's own hand flew down between her legs, and she seemed to press hard against something there. She let out a whimper, her back arching in a way that looked most uncomfortable.
He had to try and help her unless she hurt herself.
Sliding further down the bed, he moved his own hand on top of hers and pressed against her sex. She let out another whimper, but her legs fell open and her back relaxed again.
Kara had never felt a human female's sex before. There were clothes in the way, of course, but he could still make out the uneven flesh which was hotter than any other part of her body and leaking enough fluid to make the fabric wet.
He was slowly starting to understand the function of clothes. Since human didn't have their own inner flame the way dragons had, the clothes made them comfortably warm outside when it was cold. They also had pockets that made carrying things easier. He could stuff extra cookies in his pockets to eat later when he was outside, hunting goats.
In the bed, however, they seemed to be mostly in the way. Why sleep with clothes on when you had blankets to pull over you? Especially now, when he wanted to help Hermione to feel better.
Nevertheless, since Hermione had often been very clear that clothes was a requirement for humans, Kara didn't know if human also wore cloths when engaging in these types of things. But how could they? Didn't sex require penetration among humans?
Yes, he seemed to remember from what he had seen through their bond. But it didn't feel right to do something like that with Hermione sleeping.
He withdrew his hand from her body and felt deeply ashamed. Maybe Hermione would be upset with him touching her sex like that. She had had very mixed feelings about the other one touching her. He had forced her to like it.
Kara started to tremble and his eyes turned wet. Strangled breaths escaped his mouth and the water leaked down over his face. He had done a very, very bad thing, he was certain off it. He was no better than the one who's body he had taken over.
"Kara? What's wrong?" Hermione's hand was on his arm as she sat up, looking confused.
Kara had no idea how he should put what he had done into words so he opened his mind to her and showed her instead.
When he opened his eyes again, Hermione was not looking as angry as he had thought she would be. Instead, she looked tired.
"No, you shouldn't touch someone who is asleep, even if they are having those dreams", she finally said. "But I know you were trying to help, Kara, you don't have to be sad."
"I'm sorry", he whispered.
She sighed and massaged her temple. "I should have talked to you about this the moment the dreams began."
She pulled down the sleeve of her pyjamas arm and stroke the water from his cheek. "I will never be able to find pleasure in sex with anyone else but this body." She made a sweeping gesture over his body. "And, let's face it, you are going to have a hard time dating with being a dragon in the body of a known mass murderer."
She smiled coyly. "We will have each other and it's possible that with time – a lot of time – we would become comfortable enough to expand our relationship to involve intimate matters. But it's too soon. You haven't got used to your body yet and I …" She faltered and her eyes got something haunted over them. "I have to move on and forget what he did. Heal."
Kara awkwardly patted her.
"I've taken a potion that make those feelings go away, but it doesn't seem to work on the dreams", she continued. "I will make some tweaks to it in the morning. "
"Do you want me to sleep on the floor?" he asked.
"No", she said quickly, taking his hands. "No, I … I don't want to be alone."
Kara placed his head on her shoulder and rubbed his nose against her. "I'm sorry, Hermione."
She stroked his hair. "I forgive you, Kara. Now, let's get back to sleep."
One year after the switch
Hermione was holding Kara's hand in a tight grip as they passed the gate to the park where Voldemort and his herd of dragons lived. It was huge and magically warded off so that no one could get in or out without the help of a dragon keeper. The park surrounded a small mountain and a great part of the mountain side was covered in a forest of pine trees. The dragon keepers had created a wide path of stone up to where the dragons lived.
Voldemort's herd was kept separate to all the other dragons the dragon keepers herded. They were considered extra dangerous and every dragon carried a collar that Hermione had helped the dragon keepers create. If they became a threat to a human it would activate and put them to sleep. Just like the wedding ring Voldemort had given Hermione.
Just like the ring, the collar was impossible to remove.
"We haven't had a break in-attempt in five months", Charlie Weasley explained as they walked up to the path. "I think word got out about the one who was burned by the Horntail. Not a good idea to sneak in from another dragon park."
One of the other dragon keepers giggled. There were five of them present as well as three officials from the Court in Haag and four aurors, including auror-in-training Harry Potter. He had just got back from spending the first few months with his and Ginny's baby boy, James Sirius Potter.
"Have Riddle displayed any hint of magical ability?" one of the aurors asked.
"Well, he is a dragon so he does still have some type of magic, but not in a way a wizard would. But it's hard to keep eyes on him when he spends a lot of time in the caves", Charlie admitted.
"Does the other dragons behave unnatural?" the auror asked.
"Only Tolv, the one bonded with Riddle. He is much cleverer than a regular dragon. I swear he evens knows how to read by now. Truskowski found carvings of letters in the stone on the north side. We can't come up with any other explanation than Riddle teaching Tolv to read."
"Has he written something somewhere else?" Hermione asked, feeling a shiver of fear run down his spine.
"No, but there were symbols carved at the entrance of a cave. Symbols for a ward. But they haven't been magically activated", Charlie said. "We think he has tested to see how much magic he has."
Hermione stopped in the tracks. "Maybe Kara shouldn't be here, then. What if he has found a way to reverse the switch."
"He doesn't have that kind of magic", Kara said softly. "Your magic is different from dragons. We are magical, we don't do magic."
During the past year Kara had learned to behave almost completely human. There were still things that had him baffled and confused but he was at ease in his new body. Hermione had even started to teach him a little bit of wizard magic. He had been overjoyed when he learned how to fly on a broomstick.
"We need to see them both together to make sure the switch is intact", the older woman from Haag said. "If something is to happen, we are prepared."
They started walking again but Hermione was still worried that they were all underestimating Voldemort.
Harry came up next to her and patted her on the back. "Don't worry Hermione, I will not let him hurt you again."
Hermione took a deep breath and went over all the safety precaution they had prepared. Kara also wore a collar that could be activated upon command. It wasn't permanent like the dragons, but it would be hard to remove without the magical key they had left back home.
The trees thinned out and soon they could see all the way up to the dragons' lairs.
And the dragons could see them.
With a shriek a familiar big black dragon dove at them, opening its jaw, ready to fire.
Hermione rose her hand and squeezed the air. "Antiferno."
No fire came, just a strangled scream. The two dragon keepers walking first in the group withdrew their wands and created a protective shield around them.
The black dragon flew on top of them and tried to slash at them with its claw, but bounced off the shield and had to a backflip in the air before trying again.
Hermione watched the great dragon in silence while the other dragon keepers strengthened the shield. When the dragon realised he wouldn't break through, he landed in front of them and finally locked eyes with her.
Hello Hermione. Voldemort's voice was like a cold knife in her mind, but she tried to keep her face blank.
"I hear him too", Kara told her in a low voice. He made sure not to touch her. Hermione had almost got used to seeing Voldemort's body as Kara's and she didn't want to reconnect that voice with the body again.
I see you are keeping my body warm. Is he as good little sex toy? Voldemort mocked her.
Hermione ignored him and focused on the rest of the group around her. "Riddle is still in the dragon. Nothing is happening to Kara."
She glanced at Kara who nodded in agreement.
I have seen glimpses of you, Voldemort said.
Once again, she just ignored him and took a step back so the witch from Haag could scan Kara for any signs of change. Nothing differed from the numerous scans they had taken during the last year. Kara's soul was firmly anchored in Voldemort's body.
You are getting dreadfully bored in the place they have banished you too. No challenges, just teaching a teenage dragon to pass for human. Soon you'll start to fuck him just to have something exciting happening, Voldemort mocked her.
When the witch from Haag was finished with her scans, the head dragon keeper started hers. Sparks of green and red flashed over the dragon's head.
I know you can hear me, Hermione. Your nose twitched every time, Voldemort continued to mock her. Just as it does when you orgasm. My, someone has missed me.
The dragon made a hissing sound which in her head echoed as laughter.
Ah, the things I have planned for you, my dear. I have an eternity to repay you for what you have done to me. I don't even need my body back, just get out of here. And trust me, these fools won't be able to hold me for much longer.
The dragon keeper finished the last scan and said some mumbling words to one of her colleagues. He nodded back and they both turned to Hermione.
"It's all in order", she said. "Are you ready?"
Hermione nodded and finally looked at Voldemort. The dragon's black eyes held none of the warmth Kara had carried. Only a burning hatred.
She held her head high as she walked up towards him. "Why do you keep underestimating me? I know you, husband." She made a grimace at the word. They were still legally married because no one knew how a divorce worked when someone else inhabited the husband's body. Still, it was a lesser problem.
"I know that you are trying to use the dragon's magical nature as a wizard would. But you are no longer a wizard. Just a dragon cleverer than the rest. Even if you managed to break out here, what would you do? You can't communicate with other wizards. And if some of your followers tries to save you, what can they do? The Dragon Chronicles are destroyed and even if I could reverse what I did to you, they wouldn't be able to get that information out from me. A mind of dragon scale, remember?" She smiled a humourless smile at him. "But thank you, for everything you have taught me. I would never have been able to trap you had you not insisted on keeping me as close as you did."
She withdrew a small jar from her pocket. Inside it was a bright blue liquid that seemed to sparkle in the sunlight. She waved her wand to force the dragon's mouth open and threw the whole jar down his throat. The container would melt in the dragon's hot gastric acid and then it wouldn't take long for the liquid to move through its body and up to its brain. Voldemort's mind would become more like that of a dragon.
It was like a lobotomy, but not permanent. She would need to administrate the liquid every year, but it was worth it to make Voldemort harmless.
He would also have a greater chance of being happy, this way. Care more about the things that dragons did, like racing in the air, hunting for food and mating. It was a happiness he did in no way deserve but it was a safeguard that she had worked on since the switch.
They waited a few minutes for it to take effect. Hermione could see when it did. Instead of watching her with hate, the dragon shook his head and smelled the air around him. Once he realised he was free, he shot up into the air without a second thought.
She didn't try to connect to him. The dragon keepers would keep an eye on him and see if he was acting more dragon-like. Then she would be back next year and give him the potion again.
The group walked down the mountainside again. Hermine, Kara and Harry fell back a little.
"How are you feeling?" Harry asked in a low voice.
Hermione sighed. "I just hope it works."
"Of course it works, you made it", Harry scoffed.
Hermione smiled at him. "Yes, well… am I horrible for wishing he would just have suffered instead?"
"This is safer. You said it yourself, the risk of him escaping is greatly reduced if he doesn't know he wants to escape", Harry said. "I for one will sleep easier tonight."
Hermione sighed. "I know, me too." She looked at Kara and finally took his hand, squeezing it gently. "How are you feeling? Do you miss being a dragon?"
Kara looked into the distance for a few seconds. "No. Not as long as I'm with you."
Hermione could feel his sincerity and it made her warm inside.
Yes, she would sleep easier tonight. For the first night in a long, long time.