AN: You know, I hated this ending when I wrote it, but on going back, I like it a lot more than I thought I did. It's fast. I ran out of things to say in this chapter because any additional conflict simply seemed forced to me. There are lots of things I could have done… but none seemed to fit that well. Anyway, here's the last chapter. I might finish this off with an epilogue some day, but I have no idea what I'd put in it.
Dancing With Myself
Chapter 6: Alone with the Mirror Reflection
Following the filing of the appropriate paperwork, Harry walked the path to Hogwarts with Harriet in tow. The two of them had beat the Express into the station by a little better than half an hour and Harry knew that he would probably spend the bulk of that time introducing himself to the Headmaster. Professor McGonagall had been waiting at the gates to greet them and took charge of Harriet as she showed Harry the way to Dumbledore's office. Harry did his best to pretend he didn't know were everything was and followed along, making idle chitchat with the Transfiguration professor.
Harry took in a deep breath and stilled his mind before walking up the staircase to the Headmaster's office. He spent a few seconds bringing his James Oslow memories to the surface in case the Headmaster was rude enough to try that route before giving a light rap on the door and entering at the call.
"Mr. Oslow," Dumbledore said with a grandfatherly smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. "It is a pleasure to meet you. I understand that Mr. Black has retained you as a tutor for young Ms. Potter. I am, of course, happy to accommodate you, but I must ask to get to know you a little better before I give you access to my school."
"Professor, it is an honor," he said, and carefully forced thoughts about all of the great things he'd heard about Dumbledore to the forefront as he felt the distinctive nudge of Legilimency. Dumbledore was acting very accommodating, but in truth he was in a very tricky legal position and would no doubt seize on any chance to reject Harry as being unsuitable. "What do you want to know, sir?"
"Please, have a seat. We can start with a little bit about yourself and what you plan to teach Ms. Potter," he said, his gesture indicating one of the deceptively uncomfortable chairs in front of his massive old desk.
"Well, Professor, there's not a whole lot about me that's interesting. My parents left England back in '79, when the first war started to get really bad and my Uncle was killed. We ended up in Austrailia where I went to primary and then to the James Cook School of Magic for my O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s. I met Ms. Potter and her escort there a few weeks back and he offered me a job after a bit…" Harry said, weaving a story he'd rehearsed many times. He was careful to supply appropriate memories along the way whenever he felt a gentle probe, but offered up little real information aside from the fact that Ms. Potter's benefactor knew about some prophecy and wanted her to be ready for it.
Dumbledore asked several subtle and several not-so-subtle questions, though Harry thought on his feet for the few he hadn't prepared for and managed to lie convincingly enough to fool a Legilimense.
"You understand, Mr. Oslow, that we have a competent Defense professor here at Hogwarts. I fail to see how your tutoring will be of much use," Dumbledore finally stated, getting at what Harry had known his opinion was for the entire interview.
"Competent or not, Harriet is mostly at the second year level by international standard in Defense theory and both practical and theoretical Potions. From what I've seen of her, that is not a fault of her own, either, as Defense comes naturally to her. I can't speak to her Potions abilities, but the poor girl didn't even know that there was a Standardized Table of Reactions, much less how to read it. Next year is O.W.L.s, and unless she gets some serious tutoring, I doubt that she will do very well," Harry noted. Of course, he knew that the statement about O.W.L.s was wrong because Britain had, for years, used a watered-down version of the international O.W.L.s to ensure that their students outshone those from other countries testing under the more rigorous exams. It was a frequent point of contention during ICW meetings.
Eventually, Dumbledore agreed to allow Harry the use of an unused classroom on the second floor for three hours each evening and for most of the day on Saturday and Sunday to do with as he wished. He was warned in very clear language that only Harriet was to attend his lessons and that he was to minimize his contact with other students.
By the time he finally collapsed on his bed back at the new house in Hogsmeade, Harry was exhausted. He'd managed to fool Dumbledore, but it hadn't been easy. The man was an exceptionally skilled Legilimense, and Harry's 'mental muscles' were worn out from keeping him pointed to false thoughts. He only had to hope that Harriet could refrain from killing anyone before he saw her again.
As he drifted off to sleep, he was still turning over and over in his mind what he was going to do with the feisty redhead. What did he feel toward her? Were they going to be together? He simply didn't know.
Harriet Potter looked like she'd been through the wringer by the time Harry saw her again. "What happened?" he asked, having a general idea but quite interested in the specifics.
"What didn't happen," she growled as she collapsed into the chair Harry had conjured for her at her entrance. "All of Gryffindor thinks I've gone Dark and the only one I'm on speaking terms with is Hermione. Even the twins are still annoyed with me because they think I managed something they couldn't by getting into the tournament."
Harry raised one eyebrow. In his own world, things had calmed down after the first task, but this was apparently different. "You know, Harriet… they're just kids. They don't understand how the real world works. You're more Dark than you were, but that doesn't make you evil. Most of the adults in Britain never learn to tell the difference."
"I know," she said with an eye roll. "Still, all day has been one thing or another. Hermione's really trying, but I can tell she's a little scared of me now… of course, I didn't help matters too much when I threatened to hex Ron's asshole to his forehead, but he was being a prat."
They were silent for a minute and then Harry asked the question, "Why is Ron such a prat to you, anyway?"
Harriet bit her lip but eventually answered. "Percy. Ron figured it out last year and thought that if I'd go for one Weasley, I'd go for another. He wanted me to make out with him, but I didn't want to. He called me some mean names, but I forgave him eventually… I guess he never got over it."
Harry nodded and took his twin into his arms. "I'm sorry about all of that. You were young and used and it wasn't your fault. We can still castrate him if you want."
Harriet grinned and wiggled around in Harry's grasp to bring her lips to his. The kiss was intense, but not deep and ended after a few seconds. "Thanks, Harry. I don't think I do… the other day was… intense. I don't like Percy much, but I really did care for him at the time. He never treated me badly, really, except for making me keep it all a secret, and he did make sure to use a contraception charm before… you know."
Snuggling tighter with her, Harry nodded. That sounded a little more like the Percy he knew and disliked. "I guess he wanted to do the right thing, but you were just too beautiful to resist."
The purring noise that she made as she kissed him again let him know that the comment was appreciated. Silently thanking his foresight in checking the room for scrying spells and putting up heavy wards, Harry kissed her back. Lessons could wait a little while.
Things fell into an oddly calming rhythm for the pair over the next two months. Harry continued to teach Harriet during his designated hours while rounding up materials and Horcruxes during off hours. By the time the second task rolled around, a number of things had changed. For one thing, Hermione and Harriet were best friends again. At Harry's urging, she'd also made friends with Susan Bones and a few other 'Puffs, including Cedric. In contrast to much of the rest of the school, Cedric seemed sympathetic to the young redhead's plight and expressed the opinion that she'd been unfairly scored during the first task.
Sometime in early February, Draco Malfoy managed to have a mild 'accident' involving a moving staircase and a three story fall. The fact that he'd said some rather nasty things to Harriet the day before was completely unrelated. Except in the sense that the comments he made had spurred Harriet to throw him off a moving staircase.
Harry continued to teach her Occlumency, and except for a few ferret related incidents, it did a lot for helping her keep her emotions under control. He also spent a great deal of time researching the Tri-Wizard tournament and examining the rules for loopholes that the pair could exploit. He found a perfect one, and Harriet literally fell out of her chair laughing when he explained it to her.
Harry still had to face frequent encounters with the Headmaster, where he spent considerable time moaning about how poor Harriet's education had been before he arrived. Much to his delight, the meetings grew farther apart the more he whined.
Eventually, it was time to compete in the second task and Harriet found herself by the lake as the event began. As the other competitors jumped into the lake, Harriet stayed in place, patiently waiting for a moment. Many of those nearby peered at her curiously, wondering if she'd given up.
After a bit, she snapped her fingers and said "Dobby?", causing the house elf to appear. Those who noticed what was happening started to mutter among themselves as Harriet very politely requested that Dobby fetch her hostage, Ms. Lovegood, from the bottom of the lake. Two quick pops later, and the blond girl was waking up on the platform before her. The crowd broke out in shouts and angry yells, but Harriet just stood there smirking through it all.
Within moments, angry judges were crowding the platform, yelling at Harriet for "cheating". Harriet raised her wand and let off a massive concussive charm into the air half deafening everyone around her but achieving her goal of silence. She then cast a Sonorous charm and stated her case quite plainly.
"The rules of the Tri-Wizard tournament clearly state that all students must begin the tasks with only their wands. Any items that the student conjures or summons after that, however, is fair game. The Tournment in 1866 is the most clear precedent on the matter where Augustus Forthwit summoned a magical sword to combat a sphinx. He died in the effort, but it was clearly decided that a magical object could legally be summoned during an event," she said, letting her charm drop.
"Ms. Potter, be that as it may, a house elf is not the same as a magical sword," Karkaroff ground out angrily in his thick accent.
Harriet amplified her voice again and started speaking over everyone else who tried to chime in just after the Drumstrang headmaster. "No, a house elf is not the exact same as a magical sword, but there have been incidents of familiars being summoned in tournament history as well, making the 'isn't alive' aspect of the definition moot. You will find that under ICW treaties that house elves residing within Britain and Europe are considered property. House elves are dealt with under property laws in all cases. Even when one of them commits a crime, it is considered either an act of their owner or negligence on the owner's part. As Dobby is my property, it is well within the rules of the tournament for me to summon him for this task."
Harriet smirked as the argument kicked back into full swing. Eventually, the other champions appeared with their hostages and the scores were set up. Again, Harriet was scored dead last, though she'd fully expected that and just shrugged it off. They'd decided to cheat her out of her rightful score in the first task so she was determined to make a mockery of their contest.
Harry started to get nervous about the final task weeks before it was time. However, there was nothing for it but to continue on the course they'd set and hope for the best. When the day of the event finally did arrive, Harry gave Harriet one last kiss for good luck and escorted her down to the start of the maze. She started considerably later than the others, but her first two actions were to destroy the invisible barrier above the hedges and summon her broom to fly her over the maze for the center. There was no way for the competitors on foot to match that as she blasted the barrier above the cup, broke the portkey enchantment, and claimed her prize.
Harry breathed a sigh of relief as he saw the girl skimming over the maze on her way back. Turning back to things nearby, he smirked as Crouch took another swing from his flask and then started foaming at the mouth. It really had taken Harry a month of free time to make basilisk venom taste like polyjuice potion, but it was so worth it. Making the venom not kill its victim for long enough for the polyjuice to lapse had been the hardest part.
The convulsing Moody slowly transformed back to himself in the middle of a stunned crowd that had gathered around to help him. Harry flicked his wand and reswitched the venom for the potion before mingling into the group. He wanted to see the Aurors try to figure out that one. As soon as Harriet got free from the protesting judges, the two of them needed to take a fieldtrip.
"Kill the spare," he growled and a beam of red light felled the taller one. The small wrapped bundle that he had been carrying fell to the ground and a hissing noise issued from it. "Wait, make that stun the rat," Harry corrected as he stepped over the unconscious form of Peter Pettigrew to give baby-Voldemort a kick.
The half-snake half-fetus thing bounced against a headstone and made more protesting noises. "Now, now, snakeface, not nice setting someone up to kill dear little Harriet," he said, smirking the whole way.
"Fool," the package hissed at him as slitted red eyes fixed on him and the tiny form struggled to get free of its wrappings. There was a sudden, very deep hissing noise from just behind him, but Harry didn't bother looking.
"You were saying?" Harry asked as Harriet stepped from the shadows to join him. She gave the prone form of Pettigrew a good swift kick on her way past. She didn't even spare the frozen snake a second glance.
"Now, dear, why don't you go ahead and take care of the snake while old Tom and I have a bit of a reunion," he said with a smirk. Harriet's wolfish grin as she moved over to place her lips lightly atop the enchanted serpent showed that she was clearly enjoying herself as Voldemort's eyes widened in horror.
This close, Harry was sure that he could feel the tremors as his soul fragment was consumed. "How many was it, Tom? Seven total? Well, we've seen the ring, the diary, the cup, the diadem, the locket, and of course dear Harriet herself. That'd be, what, six?"
Harry stepped on the small hand as it flailed about for its fallen wand. "Now, now, Tom. Don't go and get all scared on me now. I mean, you've tortured and killed so many people that you'd think some appreciation of the art form would have been instilled in you… but no, you're just a coward. A pathetic coward."
Harriet slid an arm around Harry's waist and he knew that she was ready for the next part. They'd discussed this several times, but it was something that possibly no one had ever tried before. "You see, Tom, we're actually going to do something nice for you," Harriet said with a smirk. "You're not going to have to worry about Hell or anything… we're going to devour your soul and your magic. Won't that be great, Tom? You're not going to really die… you're going to experience something much worse."
The greatest Dark Lord in almost a decade mewled pathetically as strong hands grasped him and two sets of lips slowly descended on his head. He screamed and thrashed but there was no stopping his attackers as they slowly pulled his very essence out of the shell that was housing it and consumed it.
None of the two survivors of the process could have said how long it lasted, but the rapture that overtook them as they jointly siphoned a rather small and damaged soul was tremendous. As they ate Voldemort, they were joined on a spiritual level far more potent than any physical merger, though they were vaguely aware of their bodies making the attempt to couple as the spiritual effects bled over. Some time later, they came to themselves, naked and still joined on the muddy ground. Harry gave Harriet a sheepish smile as the two of them cleaned themselves up with a few charms, not bothering to separate.
"This is something you will never tell our children about," Harriet muttered as she kissed him.
"Children?" he asked, more than a little surprised.
"Yes. Children. Voldemort is dead and the world needs more Potters."
All of the reasons why this wasn't a good idea slowly fell away from him as her lips descended on his. She was him, and he was she. However, now they were together and heaven help those who stood in their way.