A/N: the final chapter! I think everything is explained, at least as far as I planned to, so I hope you are all fulfilled! Thank you for reading and please let me know what you think!
UPDATE: I added a little bit to the end of this chapter because it felt weird to me so you might want to check it out. It's like 2 sentences but I like it better :)
Ginny's mouth falls open, as she scrambles back on her hands until she's backed into Harry's chest. "I didn't – "
Harry's arms wrap around her tightly, legs boxing her in as he presses kisses to her hair. "I know Gin, I saw."
After sufficiently subduing their opponents, Hermione and Ron join them, the former frowning thoughtfully for a moment before she speaks, "That woman – I started my research like you asked."
Ron reaches to squeeze Hermione's hand gently as she blinks and clears her head. "She misted – which means – that's quite unusual."
"You're telling me," Ginny snorts without humor, voice hoarse.
The small fire blooms from embers and Hermione pulls Ron to sit near Harry and Ginny as she continues, "She must have been drinking the water herself and have a lot more nymph in her ancestry than she's admitted."
Despite Harry's protestations, Ginny insists she's fine to continue so after they take turns patching each other up with various bare minimum healing charms before they move down the only pathway they know leads further into the mountain.
Hermione's bringing up the rear, eyes darting grimly over the walls, searching for any relevant evidence when she pauses, "Why didn't you use the Invisibility Cloak?"
Ginny shrugs, "Tierney still would've been a rat."
"'Sides, Dumbledore – well his portrait – agreed that maybe it'd be best if Harry kept the number of people who know the cloak limited, since it's special," Ron explains, bulging his eyes to emphasize the point and Ginny's grin is almost at it's usual wattage when they round the next corner and come face to face with Tierney.
Ron scowls, "You mean your murderous wife? She's been sneaking water from the Well behind everyone's backs," Tierney can't hide his shock as Ron's growling explanation proceeds, "Went on a power trip, tried to kill us all, and ended up getting misted in the process."
Tierney's renewed stern expression falters as he finally catches up, "She's – you – "
In a split second, Tierney's on the attack, but his spells are slipshod and messy as he fights with more anger than precision. The ensuing duel is brief but heated, with Ron taking the brunt as he works Tierney into a corner and ties him up with silvery ropes from his wand. "Care to give us directions to your other captives?"
Beaten down, Tierney complies with relatively little difficulty, giving the foursome directions to the cavern where Sam's wife Katie is being held, along with quite a few young nymphs shivering and held in circles that appear to be variations on fairie rings.
Ginny quickly works the binding from the woman while Hermione and Ron study the runes holding the others. "You must be Katie," and before the woman can get beyond a questioning glance, Ginny smiles comfortingly, "Sam sent us."
"Sam – he's alright?" Katie gasps, "What he must be thinking – the day before I was taken we fought. It was stupid."
"He's just worried about you." Ginny pats her arm and only then notices Katie flinch at the contact. Carefully, she rolls her sleeve back and her forearm is littered with cuts and bruises, her nails bloody and torn.
"Cruciatus?" Harry guesses, expression grim. And Katie nods weakly, melting back into Ginny's arms until she remembers her fellow prisoners. She catches Hermione's attention and the two women converse in a strange sort of short hand that the other three only just follow, and soon enough the nymphs are released from their prisons. Weak and pale, but alive.
Katie's bloodied hands turn luminescent and she rises with some assistance, and walks toward the trio of nymphs, her palms pressing against their cheeks, framing their faces one at a time as she temporarily rejuvenates them with murmured words that send ancient magic swirling. When she slumps back against the cave wall, worn from the effort, Katie brushes her lank hair back from her round face, "They'll need to partake in the official ceremony still, but this will be enough for the time being. It's a private and fairly guarded secret."
Hermione's eyes widen almost imperceptibly and Harry can practically feel her suppressing the urge to ask, when Katie smiles, "Of course the Hermione Granger can attend."
As they slowly make their way from the caves, setting wards behind them as they go, Ron asks, "What of the water then? Is it over? The Well?"
"It'll need to be moved back by myself and the other protectors," Katie answers, grim, "It will be quite the undertaking. I'm afraid I can't tell you more."
Ginny flicks her wand toward the main entrance as they emerge, using the spell Harry and Ron had taught them in the main cavern. "Will this be much like the Tart Mor?"
"As far as my understanding goes, it will be somewhat less of a drought. At least shorter. But we will have to go through a cleansing period which will hurt those of us with nymph ancestry," Katie explains while Ron sends his silvery terrier off into the night, presumably to give Kingsley an update and request back up.
"Still, maybe it's best that our little village remember what mortal life is like, at least for a season. Perhaps we'll finally learn from our history of mistakes."
The Aurors arrive with near silent pops and set up various stations across the grassy plain to begin processing the people they arrest and set up protective wards while Ginny makes Katie see the Triage Healer, who after a brief examination decides a follow up at Mungo's will suffice.
Once the area is secure, and the nymphs are reunited with their much depleted sisters, they apparate to Aengus' shop, where Katie doesn't even pause as she pushes through the door and shouts for Sam. He's barreling down the creaky stairs two at a time, Sam sweeps Katie into his arms in a flash and they crumple to the floor, trembling with silent tears as he kisses everywhere he can reach.
As the two couples make to give the reunited family their privacy, Aengus pads down the stairs, wrinkled face light with happiness they haven't seen. Still, there's mischief in his eyes as he follows the group outside and tugs Harry close, "Those two'll be wanting to get reacquainted. Can't say I blame 'em."
Harry nods and offers his hand to shake, but Aengus just grips it tightly, "Also can't say I want to see or hear it." Harry nearly chokes on his tongue while Ron nods sagely behind him, muttering about kindred spirits and sisters and best mates with no self control, and Aengus just presses on, "Point is, my randy grandson deserves some peace with his wife and I'm starved. How 'bout you show an old man London?"
"As long as you don't try to steal Ginny away. I can't compete," Harry grins and Ginny wraps her arm around his waist, pressing a kiss to his chest and pinching his side. "Don't fight over me boys, my heart belongs to Quidditch."