Thank you again for all the reviews! This is the end of both the current arc and the story altogether. I hope you enjoyed Goblin Harry.
Forlorn He Went
Harry takes a slow step back and studies himself in the mirror that stands before him. The Room of Requirement formed it for him when Harry said he wanted a glass to study himself in before the battle begins. The Room seems to understand that this is the final battle with Voldemort and very important, because the mirror is made of silver and covered with glittering jewels all over its golden frame.
Harry thinks he looks fine. He has both daggers, and he's taking along a few potions that might serve to distract Nagini or Death Eaters he could find there, and he has his wand, of course, to cast the Fiendfyre with. Harry smiles at himself and turns around.
Hovering in front of him is a wand and something else that's hidden under what looks like a fold of silky air. Harry blinks. Then the silky air turns and slips, and he realizes he's looking at the Invisibility Cloak with the Elder Wand and the Resurrection Stone resting on it. Part of the floor has disappeared now, where the Cloak's spread out, but Harry can still see the Stone and the Wand really well.
Harry narrows his eyes. "What are you doing here?"
The Elder Wand sings a song of battle. The Resurrection Stone spins in place, and the shadowy specters that always came out of it before appear. All of them have solid bodies, like goblins, and are clutching spears.
The spears turn and point the way to the door of the Room.
"You think you're coming with me?" Harry folds his arms. "Uh-uh."
The Stone spins in place. The Wand rolls back and forth. The Cloak flaps its sides like wings.
"No," Harry explains as patiently as he can. "You're not. You—" he points at the Wand "—would fight with my holly wand at the wrong time. Or you would want me to use you when I call forth Fiendfyre, and then you would try to conquer it and bind it to my will, and that would mean I couldn't use it the way I need to to get past the defenses Voldemort will have on Nagini. You—" he nods at the Resurrection Stone "—have trouble communicating with me already, and I'm not going to sleep so I can speak to you in dreams. And you, Cloak, like to hide me and make me into a spy. There can't be anything dishonorable about what I'm doing this time, or it'll fail."
The Cloak's wings flap again. The Stone masses its shadows more darkly. The Wand sings a little conciliating song about how it totally won't do anything like fight with the holly wand and how even the best soldiers can follow a general.
"The answer is no."
Harry takes a step towards the door from the Room of Requirement, and the Hallows move again. Now the Cloak is plastered up against the door, covering it, where Harry will have to be covered with the Cloak if he walks through it. The Wand and the Stone are hovering off to the side, aiming for Harry's pockets.
"I do not want you along!"
Harry feels a stir in the stones underneath his feet, and sucks in a breath. If the Hallows have got Hogwarts upset—
But the stir shows up again, and Harry feels as if he's standing on the back of a sea serpent, heaving, mostly invisible, under the waves. And the voice of Hogwarts speaks into his mind, more clearly and strongly than it did when it woke him up to stop the werewolf attack. It lays emphasis on the strength of the Hallows and says he should take them with him.
Harry sighs. "Do you really think so?"
Hogwarts says it does think so, and that it isn't being influenced by the Hallows (although Harry gives a suspicious glance at the Elder Wand).
Finally, Harry nods and holds out an arm. The Cloak flies to him and snuggles around him. Memories of his father brush across Harry's mind, how he hid and played pranks and the way that he used the Cloak to get into the middle of Death Eaters before ripping it off and beginning to cast spells.
Harry smiles. "I won't be using you like that today."
The Cloak folds itself up neatly and tucks into a robe pocket. So does the Stone. The Elder Wand swaggers towards the wand holster on Harry's arm, where the holly wand rests, as if sure of its welcome.
"Uh, no," Harry explains.
The Elder Wand pauses, then slowly and sulkily settles into an empty sheath between the daggers. Harry is perfectly content to leave it there. He'll use it if he can't kill Nagini with the Fiendfyre conjured by the holly wand, or if he has to kill Voldemort and that's the only way to do it. But he doesn't plan to otherwise.
The Elder Wand starts to recite tales of its great victories again. Harry pokes it. "Hey. Quiet."
The Stone says something to the Wand that Harry can't catch, passing like a flash of brightness through his mind, but at least it keeps the Wand still, whatever it was. Harry takes a deep breath, squares his shoulders, and walks through the door of the Room of Requirement.
He'll take the tunnels of fire and earth to the Realm of Song, and lie there in Blackeye's healing cavern as he goes to seek out Voldemort and find out where he is, exactly. From there, he'll reach the physical location and battle Nagini.
Harry smiles as a sharp flood of tingling sweeps through him like a warrior skill long untested waking up.
In a Valley Sheer
In the end, it turns out that Voldemort is hiding a valley his own magic carved near Godric's Hollow.
It infuriates Harry to know that Voldemort made a lair so near the site of his parents' murder, but when he thinks about it, it does make sense. Godric's Hollow is the last time that Voldemort had a real victory, given how Harry has managed to thwart him consistently and stop the Horcruxes before they could corrupt people.
(Most people. Harry's heart tightens with grief when he remembers Gorgeslitter).
So Voldemort is using the memory of his victory to prepare himself to fight Harry, an enemy he must know, on some deep rational level, that he has no help of defeating.
The valley is near the edge of the graveyard that contains the Potter headstones. Harry wonders exactly what kind of obsession Voldemort has with graveyards, but all of the possible answers disgust him too much to contemplate. So, after he travels through the Horcrux connection with one of Blackeye's blue stones and lets it pinpoint the location in the real world, Harry Apparates there.
Before he goes clambering down into the valley, Harry goes to his parents' headstones. He brushes his fingers gently over the words carved there, the names and dates and The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
Harry thinks the words are a little odd, what with death being something you greet, not destroy, when you're ready. But maybe it has something to do with his father's Cloak being a Deathly Hallow. Or human religious traditions, which Harry doesn't know a lot about.
"I'm going to kill him today," Harry whispers. "The enemy who killed you. The real enemy, the one who can't learn better, no matter how good I become at understanding humans." He takes a deep breath. "I wish I'd got to know you."
Stargazer buzzes and grows warm in the sheath on his belt. Harry caresses her hilt and smiles down at her. "I know. But a dagger isn't the same as a human woman, no matter how I value you."
Stargazer settles back as if accepting the truth of that. Meanwhile, the Stone is jumping up and down in Harry's pocket. Harry rolls his eyes. "No, I'm not going to summon my parents' spirits with you. Be quiet."
The Stone sulks. Harry wonders why he can feel it so much more clearly than he ever did before, but perhaps the contemplation of the graves has made him a little human.
He stands up and smiles down at the gravestones, the remnants of people who were human but, he hopes, could understand goblins if they were still alive.
"Take care," he says, and brushes his fingers over the carved words one more time, and turns to walk into the valley.
"You look really silly without your fangs," is the first thing Harry tells Nagini when they meet.
Nagini recoils at the sight of him, and hisses so loudly that Harry thinks some of the plants along the sides of the ravine sway towards her. He grins and draws his wand. The Elder Wand starts bouncing in its sheath, but Harry thinks as strongly as he can about snapping it, and it calms down.
Nagini is saying something about vengeance and getting her wizard away from him, which of course she would. Harry thinks of Gorgeslitter and the way that this Horcrux cost him his life, and his resolve hardens.
When he calls out the incantation for Fiendfyre, Nagini simply lowers her head and moves forwards. Harry smiles, knowing his smile is a terrible thing, the smile of a goblin bent on revenge. It seems likely that Nagini doesn't realize she's vulnerable to Fiendfyre. Maybe she really does think that her master's protections took care of all that.
Harry's Fiendfyre leaps out of his wand and crouches in front of him. This time, the shape it's adopted is that of a horned lion with wings folded along its back. It turns its head and fastens its gaze on Harry, and he nods.
"Go get her," he says.
Nagini rears up, as if she thinks the lion is mortal flesh and she can challenge it. The lion lifts, flying for a moment with grace that makes Harry's eyes tear up. Or maybe that's the smoke.
Then the lion crashes down and rolls over and over with Nagini, and she screams in that semi-human way that all the Horcruxes have. Harry hopes that her death will be quick. Not that she deserves it, after what she did to Gorgeslitter, but she was an ordinary snake, once. He doesn't want her to suffer too badly.
When the lion raises its head and turns to regard Harry, there's no trace of Nagini except a smear of ash and black blood on the stones. As Harry watches, a wind begins to blow and picks up a few ashes, sweeping them away.
The lion paces back over to Harry and nuzzles his hand with that same slapping, stinging sensation that he got from the leopard.
"Thank you," Harry tells it, and raises the holly wand.
The lion bats the wand out of his hand in seconds and bounds away with it. Then it drops the wand down to the stones beneath it and sits there with a paw poised above it. Harry narrows his eyes. The threat is clear. The Fiendfyre hasn't burned his wand so far, but it could do so any second.
Harry narrows his eyes. "What do you want?"
The lion yawns and extends the orange fangs that it briefly shows him into bright blue-white tendrils of flame. It turns and looks back and forth along the ravine. Harry looks with it, but sees no obvious target for its wrath. The ravine Voldemort carved is steep-sided and sheer, if small and concealed by magic from the sight of any Muggles who might approach it. The sides are almost perfect stone, with a few patches of moss and grass growing between them.
"I don't understand. What do you want?"
The lion looks up then, and Harry understands. The lion was saying that the valley is too small for it. In exchange for its help, the Fiendfyre wants to be set free to ravage the village of Godric's Hollow above.
The lion lowers its paw slowly, delicately, towards the holly wand.
"No! Bad lion!"
The lion recoils as if shocked, but still sits there and looks stubborn. Harry sighs and draws the Elder Wand from the sheath at his belt, trying to ignore the triumphant song it's singing in his head.
Yes, I needed you. Shut up, Harry tells it, and waves the Elder Wand at the Fiendfyre. "You're a very bad lion," he repeats firmly. "Go away."
The Fiendfyre disappears, clear cold air rushing in to replace the heated air that was powering it. Harry sighs, tucks the Elder Wand back into the sheath, and summons the holly wand to him by asking if it wants to come. It streams through the air, and Harry keeps it bare in his hand as he picks his way further down into the valley.
Fiendfyre. So dramatic.
At the bottom of the valley is a space so tight and narrow between the rocks that it's like walking through a corridor in the Inner Halls. Harry walks, ignoring the shadows that whirl into being on the rocks about him. This time, it seems to be the Resurrection Stone's turn to be dramatic.
The stone walls grow inwards to touch each other, and Harry finally has to cast a Lumos since not even his goblin-trained eyes can see any further. He squeezes through a narrow tunnel that's probably meant for a crawling snake and no one else, and steps out into what looks like a boxy stone room.
In the center of the room is a flat stone that looks like a pedestal, covered with a drape of moss to presumably cushion the person lying on it. Voldemort's body is motionless, his single hand tucked over his breast in a folded position.
Sudden, crushing despair makes Harry fall to his knees.
How does he think he can defeat Voldemort? He was so proud of himself for getting into Voldemort's mind and cutting away some of his memories, enough to send him into a coma, but there's no sign of that on the silent pale face in front of him. He didn't even hurt Voldemort's body.
How does he even know that he's defeated the last Horcrux? The denizens of the Inner Halls could have been wrong. Voldemort's cunning runs deeper than their knowledge, runs deep enough to use unicorn body parts for his own body. Harry is fooling himself if he thinks that he can do anything.
If he cared, he would turn his daggers on himself and slit his own throat to end the disgrace that is an untrained wizard trying to fight Voldemort.
But I'm not an untrained wizard. I'm a fully-trained goblin warrior and a journeyman Smith.
The air around him seems to tremble, and the spell breaks. Harry scrambles back to his feet, shaking his head with a shudder. He doesn't know what the hell that spell was, but he does know that he never wants to encounter it again.
He's a goblin. A human might never have had a chance to break free of it. But Harry trusts the denizens of the Inner Halls a hell of a lot more than he trusts magic in Voldemort's final resting place, and he doesn't think Voldemort is clever at all for coming up with a way to make a body out of unicorns. Just disgusting.
Harry shakes his head as he walks up to Voldemort's body. "It makes sense that the last defense you had would be such a dramatic spell," he tells the motionless body of his enemy.
He feels a little bad about stabbing Voldemort as he lies there in a coma, but he remembers Gorgeslitter, and once again, any hesitation he might have felt hardens into action like carbon becoming diamond. This man had no hesitation about killing unicorns, or creating Horcruxes, or kidnapping people to make into Potions ingredients. Xenophilius is one of the very few kidnapping victims rescued, and Harry doesn't think most of the people the Death Eaters took will ever be seen again.
"Good-bye," Harry says, and lays Stargazer, the embodiment of his mother's love and defiance, against Voldemort's skin.
Voldemort's body begins to bubble and smoke, the way it did when Harry touched him with an open palm in the house where Xenophilius was held. Voldemort's eyes fly open, and he screams, once.
Then his body falls to ashes, and Harry leaps back to a safe distance, clutching his basilisk-fang dagger, in case it turns out that Voldemort can transform back into a wraith the way he did to escape Quirrell's body.
But nothing happens. Harry killed his body for the last time. Without any Horcruxes, he's mortal, and Harry thinks he can see one glimpse of a twisted face made of smoke, screaming, before it fades forever.
Harry closes his eyes and stands there, thinking quietly that Gorgeslitter has been avenged.
The Green and Fair
"Why is your desk outside, sir?" Harry asks Dumbledore, eyeing the desk that stands on the grass in front of Hogwarts. Dumbledore is sitting in a chair next to it that looks conjured, and reading a huge book.
Dumbledore looks up with anxious eyes, although he smiles. "I thought this might do something to solve its complaints. It doesn't want to stop being a desk or go elsewhere, but if it could go elsewhere for a short time…"
"Yes." Harry smiles. "Good thinking, sir." The desk is already singing in a different voice of the sunshine and the fresh air around it.
"Thank you, Harry." Dumbledore shuts the book and leans forwards in the chair. "And you meant what you said in the owl you sent? You have truly defeated Voldemort once and for all?"
Harry looks at him in a measured way. "I thought you knew better by now than to accuse a goblin of lying, sir."
"Of course, my dear boy. But I can hardly believe that he is gone forever."
Harry nods. "He is. I destroyed Nagini with Fiendfyre that protested when I wanted to banish it, and then I went on into this little valley he had carved for himself as a hiding place. He had a very dramatic spell as his last defense. It tried to convince me I was worthless, but it relied too much on convincing the victim they were a worthless wizard. I know better than to think that all my worth depends on my human side."
Dumbledore laughs softly. "You acknowledge that part of you is human?"
"I always did." Harry shrugs. "I'm human in form and birth. I can speak English and do wizard magic. But I think I was also ignoring some other parts of me that are human." He smiles at Dumbledore. "I'm always going to be more goblin, though."
"Yes, I understand that now." Dumbledore's eyes are gentle and soft. "Thank you for allowing me back into your life enough to understand it, Harry."
Harry grins at him and goes inside. He has a little errand to take care of.
"Thank you very much for giving it to me, but I didn't need it," Harry says, offering the phoenix feather back to Fawkes. "If you want it back, I'll give it to you."
Fawkes jerks his tail in a couple quick motions and flies over to alight on Harry's shoulder. Dumbledore's office seems much bigger with the desk temporarily gone. Fawkes pecks Harry on the cheek and chatters about how not even goblins can see all futures, not as much as a phoenix can.
Harry tilts his head. "So you gave this to me to maybe use in the future? For something other than the defeat of Voldemort?"
Fawkes stares at him and asks him whether he thinks his future should consist solely of the defeat of Voldemort.
"Well, no," Harry admits. It's embarrassing when Fawkes puts it like that. Harry should have been able to see the truth for himself. "Hey, can I use the feather as a good-luck charm on the NEWTS? Since I have to take those, now."
Fawkes gives him a gentler peck, then reaches down and into Harry's pocket. For a second, Harry thinks that he's taking the feather back after all, but it's the Resurrection Stone that Fawkes pulls out.
"I mean, you can ask it if it wants to stay here," Harry says. "It would stop it from bothering me."
Fawkes tilts his head and bobs it. Harry has the sense that Fawkes knows all about the Deathly Hallows and the problems they've caused Harry. After all, he was there when Harry united them by accident the first time.
Then Fawkes swallows the Resurrection Stone.
Harry blinks. "Was that wise?" he can't help asking.
Fawkes turns and preens himself before he answers. Normal birds sometimes swallow stones to use as grit to help them grind up food, but Fawkes has always found that anything he swallows vanishes when he has another burning day. But he can keep a stone as immortal as he is with him always. It'll be convenient.
Harry has to grin. "Okay." He takes the Elder Wand, which feels shocked, out of the sheath on his belt. "Would you like to stay here now?" he asks. "Since your friend is going be in the gizzard of a phoenix for the foreseeable future?"
The Wand sends back a confused pulse. For once, it isn't bragging about the battles it was involved in, and Harry thinks that's a great sign. At the very least, maybe the Wand has something else to think about.
Maybe it's worried that it'll end up as a phoenix perch next.
Harry places the Elder Wand gently on the mantel above Dumbledore's fireplace and then starts trying to get the Cloak out of his pocket. Dumbledore's desk is outside right now, so Harry can't put the Cloak back in the drawer that he got it out of, but he thinks it'll be well enough on the mantel with the Wand.
The Cloak appears to have Transfigured itself into marmalade when Harry wasn't looking. It clings to his hands and arms and the insides of his robes and refuses to come out.
"You're going to be bored if you stay with me," Harry finally tells it, when he's been trying for about five minutes to get it out of his robe and Fawkes has filled the silence with chirring, vibrant laughter. "I won't use you to sneak around, and your friends are both going to stay here."
The Cloak slips out of his hands again and down to the bottom of the robe pocket.
Harry gives up. He's pretty sure that Dumbledore will let him bring the Cloak back if it decides that it wants to rejoin its friends, and it's not Harry's fault if the Cloak gets bored. He tried to warn it.
"See you, Fawkes," he says, nodding, and Fawkes pauses in his preening to warble at Harry and fly back to his perch. He doesn't seem concerned about the Cloak leaving with Harry or the Wand's shock, so Harry grins and walks out of the office with the Cloak in his pocket.
He should go find Luna, and see if she wants to make some more crowns.
His Home, Through Shadows Journeying
Harry stares at down at the parchment in front of him, and sighs loudly.
"Quiet," says the stern witch at the front of the room.
It occurs to Harry that just because he doesn't care how well he does on his NEWTS doesn't mean he has the right to ruin it for other people. So he keeps quiet, and starts working on his Charms written portion. He's sure that he won't do as well as Professor Flitwick thinks he will, but Professor Flitwick wants him to do well.
So he tries.
(Even though the questions are really boring).
"This is my test?" Hermione asks, and blinks at the door that Harry has asked the Room of Requirement to conjure for her.
"Yes," Harry says. "You'll pass the Goblin Dueling practical when you manage to get the door to open for you and defeat the enemy hiding behind it."
Hermione shoots him a baffled glance. Harry beams back at her. He wonders if she's forgotten that quickly that she had trouble getting the door in her dormitory to listen to her. Because Harry hasn't, and he wants to see how well she's managed to learn her lessons in object-speaking.
Hermione nods and blinks and faces the door. Then she says tentatively, "Open."
The door ignores her.
Hermione starts tapping her foot on the floor. "I said, open!" she snaps.
The door ignores her.
Hermione stomps up to it and grabs the knob, trying to wrench the door open. It stays shut. Hermione braces her foot on the door and pulls on it for a second before she seems to realize that having her foot in the place she does just about guarantees that the door will stay shut. She drops her foot to the floor again and looks at Harry with an embarrassed flush.
Harry smiles at her and waits. He doesn't see the point of imitating the other proctors for the NEWT exams, who are always grave and unsmiling. He wants his students to be cheerful and relaxed, or they probably won't pass. And isn't it a proctor's job to help as many students as possible pass the exam? Without giving them the answers outright.
Hermione finally stands in front of the door and extends her hands. "Will you open, please?" she asks.
The door thinks about it for a while, but finally does swing open. Hermione takes a step forwards with her wand drawn, then pauses at what's on the other side of the door. "Is this a joke?" she asks.
"No," Harry says, and falls back a step so that he can see everything over her shoulder. It's a large mirror, kind of like the one the Room of Requirement conjured for Harry before he went to kill Voldemort, although a little less ornate. And Hermione is staring at her reflection in it, before glancing back at him.
"Do I have to break the mirror?"
"You have to defeat the enemy."
"Right." Hermione faces the mirror again, and raises her wand. The reflection in the glass, of course, imitates her movements perfectly. Hermione falls back a step, and so does the reflection. She casts a Stunner, and it bounces from the glass.
The Stunner of her other self in the mirror, on the other hand, comes right through.
Hermione lets out a yelp and dodges. Harry smiles and nods as he watches her leap back and forth, madly avoiding spells and figuring things out. She has to face her own insecurities in battle, more than anything else. Hermione is great with books and skilled with written answers, but this is the kind of training that no one can acquire unless they actually go through the practical experience.
Hermione casts Harry a scowl and then faces the mirror, her wand drawn, before she barks, "Confringo!"
The Hermione in the mirror casts, too, which means the real Hermione has to dodge, but her spell lands dead center and breaks the mirror. Hermione stands in the middle of the room, staring at the frame with the shards of glass hanging in it, and then glances over her shoulder at Harry, shaking her head a little.
"Why was my reflection the test?" she whispers.
Harry looks her dead in the eye. "Why do you think it was?" he asks.
"Because—because my greatest enemy in battle is myself," Hermione says at last.
"Excellent," Harry says, and grins at her. "The Ministry insists that I keep my evaluation of your practical performance to myself, Miss Granger, but they didn't say I couldn't tell you what it rhymed with. Suffice it to say that yours rhymes with commanding."
Hermione practically struts as she leaves the Room of Requirement. Harry shakes his head in amusement as he calls the next candidate in. She's going to be a formidable enemy someday.
Probably to some stupid humans who look down on her for her blood status.
Harry feels a little sad as he steps off the Hogwarts Express for the last time. He can remember how it felt when he went to the school for his first year, and how much he yearned to be back in the Realm of the Song. He'll never long to go back to Hogwarts in the same way, but it'll be strange to know that new memories there won't be forthcoming unless he goes back to proctor a Goblin Dueling NEWT or teach a Creature Culture class.
He doesn't know how soon that will be. He'll be very busy.
Ginny gives both him and Luna hugs and waves, and trots over to her mother. She isn't seventeen for another month, which means that she can't swear anything to his clan yet. But Luna turned seventeen in February, and she's bouncing slightly on her heels as she and Harry Apparate to the steps of the bank.
"I want to meet a Deep One," she says.
"Don't worry, we will," Harry says, and grins at her. "Just be prepared to run."
"Even if I think of myself as a Deep One when I approach them?"
"I don't know that anyone's tried it," Harry says, taking her hand as they walk up the steps to the front of the bank. "But be prepared to run, anyway."
The doors swing open. Toothsplitter is waiting for them, smiling at Harry and bowing her head a little to Luna. "The clan welcomes you, Luna, daughter of Pandora," she says. "You should think about a name that you want to be addressed by. We would call you amaraczh, but that one is already taken." She winks at Harry.
"I would like to be called amarathiz, please."
Harry grins at her. "Listener? That's perfect."
"It is," Toothsplitter says, and nods. "Now, come."
Together, they walk through the halls of the bank that are usually all that's open to humans, and Harry remembers the route that his people took him down the first time he became one of them. Luna's eyes widen as she stares into the vastness of the Realm of Song.
Toothsplitter waits quietly. Luna glances at Harry and says, "This is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I want to be a goblin."
Toothsplitter chuckles softly. Harry smiles back at Luna. "We'll see how it goes with you swearing to the clan," he says. "You're a little old for an adoption, but I think something could be worked out. Especially because your dad would probably be okay with it."
"Daddy would be thrilled."
Harry entwines his fingers with Luna's. He's never wanted to marry a human, only another goblin, but if Luna becomes a goblin someday…
The world is full of possibilities.
"Welcome to the Realm of Song," Toothsplitter says, and gestures them forwards.
And Harry and Luna walk into the singing caverns that will always and forever be Harry's home, down to the lakes of living gold and the rivers of molten silver, the Deep Ones and the Argent Ocean, the work of smithing and the work of war, the place where everything, if you listen, is singing.