Author's Note: This story is the final part of the "Never Alone" series. You may choose to read this first, then venture to its predecessors as prequels. However, depending on your reading style, if you have not read books one, two, and three, this story could be rather confusing for you. If you're interested in reading the first three parts of the series, you can access "Never Alone" (Part I), "Give Yourself Away" (Part II), and "Beyond" (Part III) from my profile by clicking my name. I should warn you, though, that this is definitely the best, most polished part of the series and that the others cannot scratch the surface of the quality and care put into this story. If you are already familiar with the Never Alone series, I want to thank you for your continued support for book four. Enjoy!


Apotheosis
Never Alone, Book IV


Chapter One – From the Cave


Harry found himself standing side-by-side with his wife and headmaster in front of what seemed like just a cliff wall.

After the old man stared at it for a minute, he spoke in a most Luna-like fashion,

"That's quite crude." he said slowly.

"Er.. what's crude, sir?" Pansy inquired, cocking an eyebrow at the old man.

"This door requires a blood offering..." before Dumbledore had even finished his sentence, Pansy had slit her palm and walked till she was nearly flush against the wall.

Smearing her precious blood all along the stone face in what Harry suspected was a rude sign, she backed away and healed her palm, the deep cut vanished away as though it had never been there, as did the stone in front of them.

Pansy took a step inside. Dumbledore turned to grin at Harry before following, walking a little further in himself than Pansy had dared.

Before them was an immense body of water, the eerie green of the lake shimmering dully in the little light that was let in by the setting sun. Off in the far distance, Harry could see an island, a tall stand at its centre.

"Professor, do you think the Horcrux is here?" asked Harry, staring at the golden stand.

"Yes, Harry, I'm sure it is." Dumbledore cleared his throat, snapping Harry back into the now, "The question is how to get it."

Without a second thought Harry waved his wand through the air, muttering the words, Accio Locket.

Like a volcanic eruption, something shot out of and nearly instantly back into the water. The wet spray clouding out over the water about fifty feet before them.

"Well.." Harry said coughing slightly, thoroughly disappointed by his lack of success, "It was worth a try."

Dumbledore, however, seemed to not be quite paying attention, he was about ten feet off to their right, seemingly searching for something when Harry saw a small boat come up to him.

Taking Pansy's hand and several steps in his Headmaster's direction, Harry breathed in a slightly awed daze,

"How did you know it was there?"

"Magic leaves traces." Dumbledore said simply, to which he found himself nodding involuntarily. How strange.

They climbed inside, Dumbledore occasionally reminding them to not touch the water, as if it were to reach up and grab them if it did.

But after only a short ride on the boat, Harry could see the reason for the man's concerns. There were bodies in the lake, lots and lots of human bodies.

Inferi.

Climbing out of the boat and onto dry land, which Harry greeted quite enthusastically, but not so much that he got on his knees and kissed it, Dumbledore immediately walked up to the pedestal and slowly cast his hand over it, examining it thoroughly.

Harry walked over to him, taking Pansy with him. As Harry caught sight of the sickening violet potion inside the basin, Dumbledore spoke,

"I can only conclude that this potion needs to be drunk."

"What!?" shrieked Harry, staring dumbfounded at the man before him. "NO!"

Before Dumbledore could speak, Pansy volunteered,

"I'll do it." she said casually, conjuring a large, golden goblet.

"Absolutely not." he said firmly, taking the cup from her hands.

"But... what if it kills you?" Harry said skeptically, making sure the man had thought the consequences out before complying with implied necessary actions.

"Oh, I doubt it would work like that," Dumbledore said dismissively, casually waving his withered hand, "he'dn't want the person retrieving the Horcrux to die."

"But, sir, this is Voldemort we're talking about..." Pansy said seriously, looking Dumbledore directly in his twinkling blue eyes.

"I'm sorry, what I meant to say was that he wouldn't want the person retrieving the Horcrux to immediately die. He'd want them alive long enough to discover how they made it past his defenses. Don't forget that Voldemort thinks he alone knows of these Horcruxes."

Dumbledore paused for a moment as he turned around, filled the goblet full with the potion and raised it nearer his lips.

"This potion will, however, almost certainly disable me in some fashion to keep me from retrieving the Horcrux. This being the case, it is your jobs to ensure that I keep drinking the potion, even if you have to physically force it down my throat, do you understand?"

Both of the students nodded.

"And Harry, Pansy... do I have your word that you will do everything in your power to force me to keep drinking? And that if I give the command to flee you will do so?"

"Couldn't I...?" Harry started.

"Do I have it?" Dumbledore interrupted

"Yes." replied Pansy, curtly nodding as she stepped closer to her headmaster, tugging on Harry's hand as she did so. It felt rather strange to be forced into obeying Dumbledore by the very woman he'd spent the last four years with convincing her to do just that when she, every time, reluctantly did so.

"But..." Harry tried again.

"Your word, Harry." he said seriously, tilting his head downward for a grim stare.

"I... alright." Harry conceded, internally admitting defeat as he took his wife's side.

"To your good health, Harry." he said with a small chuckle, downing the contents immediately.

The second the goblet parted from his lips, his features changed slightly. His slightly amused face became one that looked unmistakably light slight worry.

"Professor Dumbledore?" Harry said cautiously, "Can you hear me?"

"Sir?" Pansy titled her head downward to look at the man.

"Don't want... Don't make me..." he mumbled. Pansy tore the cup from his hands and refilled it with the contents from the basin. Instantly she poured it down is throat, he reluctantly swallowed, then gasped,

"No..."

"It's alright, Professor." she said reassuringly, filling the cup once again and holding it to his lips.

"Make it stop..." he begged, his eyes snapped shut as he whined.

"Here, drink this." said Pansy softly, "It will make it stop."

He complied, increasingly reluctantly as he cast his hands down at his side and began to scream,

"No, no! It's all my fault!" he cried, falling to his knees, "Please, make it stop! I know I did wrong, please make it stop, I won't ever do it again, please!"

"This will make it stop, sir." Pansy said once again, and he drank, choking slightly on the last bit in the goblet.

"Don't hurt them!" he fussed, tears streaming down his cheeks. This was most unusual, seeing Dumbledore show saddened emotion, "Hurt me instead! Please, it's my fault... all my fault..."

Once again, she filled the goblet and held it to his lips, jumping slightly when he shrieked his next words,

"KILL ME!"

"This... this one will!" Pansy breathed, cocking an eyebrow at Harry as he, too, took a face of complete and utter sympathy.

Dumbledore took the last of the potion in slumping sideways as he opened his dry mouth and panted,

"Water!"

Harry took the cup from Pansy's hand and cast the spell,

"Aquamenti!"

Harry held it the the parched man's mouth, but the cup had emptied.

"Wait.. what?" Harry mumbled, looking at the goblet in confusion as Pansy tore it from his grasp.

"Let me try."

"Aquamenti!" she said softly, holding the filled cup to the headmaster's lips only to have that water, too, vanish.

She grunted in annoyance,

"Oh, screw this." She held her wand firmly, putting it slightly into Dumbledore's mouth, "AQUAMENTI!"

What seemed like a fountain of water came shooting out of her wand, refreshing the headmaster, but causing him to choke slightly as she tore her wand away, reached into the basin, pulled out a small locket and threw it into her pocket.

"Can we Blink out of here?" she asked, returning to Harry's side to help Dumbledore to his feet.

"I think so, .. why didn't we Blink to this isle?" Harry chuckled slightly, "It'd've been cooler."

"I don't think the author really cares about how stylish we are." Pansy said dryly, looking with a smirk toward her husband.

"Hmm, true." Harry agreed with a nod.

"But now he's going to get a whole host of flames for it." Pansy shrugged, "Not our problem."

"True." Harry admitted, "Er... flames?" he asked, "Are you saying that the writer is going to become flaming gay?"

"Absolutely not, Flames are just negative reviews. Besides, that's Dumblies thing, here." she added the last bit with a nod toward her headmaster, "And how could someone with an obvious crush on Evanna Lynch be gay? He's straighter than an arrow..."

"How do you know all that?" squawked the author, staring at Pansy in disbelief, "How do you know who she is?" he continued on at a mumble, "And how do you know I have a crush on her?"

"Does that matter?" she queried, throwing up a knowing smile.

"Yes." the author said simply, staring her down for an answer.

"ARE YOU THREE DONE!?" growled Dumbledore, with a huge and dramatic huff, glaring at the author as he guiltily put the fourth wall back in place.

Taking hold of his headmaster, Harry and Pansy Blinked the long distance back to Hogsmeade. They couldn't Apparate out of here, so they'd risk the long-distance Blink.

Which turned out to luckily just be an adrenaline rush as they appeared roughly four-hundred metres in the air, Pansy both wisely and quickly throwing up a slowing charm to allow them enough time to Blink properly back to the surface, wobbling slightly as their legs met the ground.

"Well, at least we got it." said Harry breathlessly.

"Yeah, we got it." his wife agreed.

"You did well." Dumbledore said happily, despite how he'd been in the cave only a few minutes before. "You two make an excellent team."

"Hence, the reason we're married, sir."

"Glad I could give that to you."

"Glad you did."

"Now, get us the heck back to the school."

"Right, on it." Harry said quickly, pulling Pansy and Dumbledore closer as they Blinked back to the great oak doors in front of the school.


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