Author's note at the end! Enjoy the final chapter! Small smut warning!
"Voldemort? Where did you put Dmitri's nappies?" Hermione asked and looked into the room were he was sitting, studying maps. Dmitri was hanging over her shoulder.
He looked up, annoyed. "How should I know, he is your son!"
Hermione's eyes narrowed. "I asked you to pick up new nappies on your way back! Don't tell me you forgot!"
Voldemort slammed his hands in the desk. "Damn it woman, can't you see I'm busy?"
She moved the baby to her other arm. "You don't have to yell at me. I am as annoyed as you are that we can't fine the bloody Cup, don't take it out on our son."
She left, probably to transfigure a towel to a diaper. Voldemort hid his face in his hand. They had been staying at a small hotel next to Paanajarvi National Park for almost a month now, searching for the Cup of Death. He had found the three places where the vampire had said they would be and they were indeed magical places. The problem was that he couldn't really investigate the places! One of them was placed under a mountain. Yes, under a mountain. He knew there had to be some secret entrance to get inside the mountain but he hadn't found it yet and it really annoyed him!
The second place was just as difficult since it had been covered by a lake. It was quite hard to search for magical artifacts under water. They had been diving for the past two weeks and only found rests after an old village. He didn't really think the Cup was there, but since it had a field of magic around it, he thought it was foolish not to investigate it.
The last place had been easy to find. However, they had quickly found out that it was not the place were the Cup had been created. No, it was merely a place were some old powerful sacrifice had been made. Interesting, certainly, but not what he was looking for.
For the past three weeks, he had tried to find the entrance of the mountain and search the bottom of the lake. They were currently staying at a small Muggle hotel where they only spoke Finish, which Voldemort knew very little about, so the locals weren't able to help them with their mission.
Suddenly, there were a knock on the door. "Sauna!"
Voldemort sighed and looked at the clock, it was eight. For some reason, the old Finish couple who ran the hotel thought it was a sin if you didn't used the sauna every night. Good thing it was so enjoyable, otherwise he would never had stood for it.
He stood from the sofa in their small living room and went to the even smaller bedroom. He had demanded to have the biggest room in the hotel and yet it was nothing to brag about. Hermione had muttered something about no TV. At least the food was manageable.
"Hermione," he called into their bathroom. "It's sauna time."
His wife came out with a sleeping Dmitri in her arms. "Good, he just fell asleep."
She placed a spell over his crib that would let her know if he woke up and quickly undressed. Voldemort was already standing with just a towel around his waist.
"You know, I think this regular use of the sauna is good for you," she said as they went outside were the sauna was located.
"Really? How come?" he asked and shivered slightly because of the wind. The sun was still clearly visible on the sky, but it was getting chillier.
"Even if you are angry with our lack of progress, you haven't killed anyone!" she said happily and hung her towel on a hook before she entered the hot wooden sauna.
The sauna was big enough for maybe ten persons with two benches on two different levels along the side. Hermione sat down on the upper bench and Voldemort sat down on the lower lever so he could lean his head against her stomach.
"Well, perhaps it is because there aren't many to kill around here," he mumbled and reached out to place her hands on top of his head. "My head is aching."
Hermione chuckled and slowly rubbed his head. "Perhaps we should hire Muggles to dive into the lake for us. They could never steal anything without our knowledge."
"A Muggle would never be able to find the Cup," he said with a sigh. The heat made him relax. "It would look like rubbish to them."
"True. What about a merman?"
"If we can find one I can trust, certainly. However, mermen are only loyal to their own kind," Voldemort explained.
"I know, but we are too few Voldemort. It will take years before we have managed to search the whole lake! A merman would search much quicker."
"And he could steal whatever he finds down there!" Voldemort argued. "Tomorrow, we will leave the lake for a while and try to find an entrance in the mountain. I'm almost certain it is there. I have a feeling… or perhaps we can try to find some old legend about the mountain. If only I understood the language better…"
"Oh, poor Voldemort who doesn't know everything," she teased.
He bit the inside of her tight gently and she smacked his head. He turned around and pulled her down from the bench and down on his knee. Hermione smiled at him and stroked his lower lip with her finger. He captured her finger into his mouth and sucked on it. The heat was making her body slick and he slowly stroked her back.
"The old couple will be here to take their sauna soon," Hermione mumbled.
"I know, this is not a place to have sex in," he stroked her tattoo with a gleam in his eyes. "We'll have to wait until we get back to our room."
However, he didn't even have time to rise before the door to the sauna opened and the old man entered. He smiled when he saw them. "Ah, rakkaus!" he said in a wishful voice.
Voldemort smiled at him and then looked back at Hermione who seemed a little uncomfortable with her nakedness.
"Kyllä," Voldemort said and stroked Hermione's hair. "Rakkaus."
The old man nodded with a friendly smile. Then crossed his arms, closed his eyes and leaned back against the wall. Hermione quickly stood from Voldemort's lap and they left the sauna. Wrapped in their towels again, they made their way back to their room.
"What does that mean?" Hermione asked when they were standing in their shower. "Rakkaus?"
"You can translate it to two things," Voldemort said as he washed his hair. "One thing is sexual attraction. The other one is love."
Hermione's eyes widened. "Which translation did you mean when you agreed with him?"
Voldemort smiled and kissed her forehead. "Sometimes, it's better not to translate a word."
Hermione thought she should be used to her husband's strangeness by know. However, as she sat and fed Dmitri at five o'clock in the morning, she couldn't help but to think about his words. Sometimes it's better not to translate a word.The sentence kept coming back to her. What did Voldemort mean? She knew he couldn't love, although he often showed that he was sexually attracted to her. Was this his way of saying that she was something more than just a bed warmer?
She scowled at her own thought. Of course she meant more to him than a bed warmer! She was the only one who knew what he was searching for! He didn't trust anyone as much as he trusted her! Although, what is enough? She had thought about what to do when Voldemort found the Cup of Death. Lately he had seemed so certain she would help him achieve immortality. Why?
Dmitri finally let go of her breast and she placed him in his crib. As she climbed down in bed again, Voldemort reached out for her and wrapped an arm around her.
Hermione placed her head against her shoulder and a hand over his stomach. She was almost asleep when it hit her. "I love you!"
Voldemort let out a tired chuckle. "I know, dear."
Then they both fell asleep again.
Voldemort sneaked out from the room early. He wanted to find a library and hopefully find something about the mountain in a language he understood. Also, he didn't want to risk hearing Hermione's long monologue about her newfound feeling. It was a success for him that she had finally understood that she loved him even if he didn't want to hear her rant about it. She loved him, he felt… much about her. End of story.
A couple of hours later found Voldemort sitting in a corner of one of the smallest libraries he had ever been to. It wasn't really a library; it was more a private collection of mostly local books. Fortunately, the local books were just what Voldemort needed. Unfortunately, they were all in Finish and Sami. However, he had a dictionary and was slowly working on a translation spell that would let him read all books in English. He didn't like translation spells because they always used the most common translation on a book and sometimes it was wrong. Still, he wanted to be done as soon as possible and at least this gave him a hint of what text to look more closely at.
When the spell was completed, he tapped the first book with his wand and sighed in relief when the text turned into something readable. The grammar was all wrong, but he didn't let it bother him. He skimmed through the pages which seemed to be about archaeological findings from the middle ages and what they could mean. It was all very boring about how the people from Sweden went on a crusade to Christianise the Finns. The only useful information was that some Finns had hid in the mountain to get away from the Swedes. Alas, there had to be some way inside!
He was halfway through the second book when someone came over to the small table he had occupied.
"I should have known I would find you here," came his wife's voice.
He looked up with frown. "Didn't you find my note?"
Hermione arched her eyebrows and put Dmitri down on the table. "You left a note?"
"Hm…" Voldemort searched his memory. "Perhaps I forgot."
Hermione snorted and pulled another chair to the table as she held a protective hand over her son. "Good thing this town is so small."
Voldemort nodded and sank down in his book again.
"What are you reading?" she asked.
"I'm trying to find a way into the mountain," he answered in a tone that clearly said he didn't want to be disturbed.
That didn't seem to bother Hermione. "And what have you found?"
Voldemort looked up again, annoyed. "That there is a way in, nothing else."
"Can I help?" Hermione asked. Now he noticed that she seemed… strange. She wouldn't really meet his eyes and her voice was too cheerful.
He sighed. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing!" He could see that she lied.
He put the book on the table and crossed his arm. "I can clearly see that something is bothering you, spit it out so I can continue with this."
Hermione sighed and slowly stroked Dmitri's tummy. "I guess I feel a little… troubled."
Voldemort let his hands sink down on the table. "Has this something to do with your newfound love for me?"
She scowled at him, but nodded. "You could say that. I just… I don't know if I can trust you not to break my heart."
Voldemort was surprised. "Why would I do that?"
Hermione's eyes fell down on the books. "Our Contract is like all other marriage vows. It will keep us together until 'death do us apart' and when you drink from the Cup of Death-"
"I won't die!" he quickly hissed.
She looked up. "I know that, but I don't think the Contract will know that. When you drink from that Cup, our marriage will end. A couple of months ago, that wouldn't have bothered me, but now… I don't know if I want to do it."
"You don't want to do it?" He had become worried. He had counted on the fact that her silly Gryffindor love would want her to keep him alive with her and their son.
She put her head in her hands. "It's not only about me. What if you become bored with being immortal and try to take over the world again?"
"And risk having people find out a way to remove my immortality? With great power come many enemies, Hermione. I thought we had been through this. Immortality is what I want. The rest is… a bonus," he explained.
"Yes, well I still don't understand what would be wrong with the two of us withdrawing and just grow old together and-"
Voldemort stared at her, feeling his anger rise. "Don't you know me at all by now?"
She looked up and gave him a very troubled look. "I know. I also know that this is very convenient for you. How do I know you haven't just tricked me into falling for you and run away with some hot blond model the moment you-"
"Once again I have to ask you; don't you know me at all?" he huffed.
She glared at him. "Well, okay, maybe not a hot model, but… you will be immortal and I'll just be plain old Hermione."
"You are not plain," he objected, his anger replaced by annoyance. "And Salazar knows you are not old. Besides, you will be immortal with me."
Her eyebrows rose. "I will?"
"Of course!" he said and leaned forward. "You are mine and I will not let anything take you away from me."
"Oh," was all she said. "Do you love me?"
He sighed. "I feel that love is highly overrated. What I feel for you is not something I care to explain in words. You will just have to accept that."
"Okay," she said with a smile. "Which book would you like me to read?"
He gave her a book, told her the spell and they spent the rest of the day researching for an entrance to the mountain.
The next morning Hermione woke up first. She had a feeling something would happen today, something big. Dmitri was quiet and her husband lie next to her with his hand on her shoulder. She realised she was happy, really, really happy. She turned to her side and pressed her body against Voldemort's, waking him with a kiss just like Sleeping Beauty. She couldn't help but to smile at the metaphor.
"Someone is happy," Voldemort noticed and put his arms around her. "Why?"
She nuzzled his chin. "I just am."
He kissed her. "We should get up."
"Yes, we should," she said and placed her leg upon his hip.
"Big day today," he whispered and grinded his cock against her pussy.
"Hopefully, yes." Hermione gasped when he pushed inside her.
It didn't take them long to climax and it left Hermione feeling even happier than before. Voldemort left her in favour for the bathroom with a last kiss. In that moment, Dmitri woke up, screaming of hunger.
Yesterday, they had found a possible entrance to the mountain and today they would see if it was true. Hermione hoped it would be. If they managed to get into the mountain, they would find out what made it magical. If it wasn't the Cup, they would have to find a better way to search in the lake. Although, Hermione had a feeling it was inside the mountain. It made more sense in a way.
Two hours later the Riddle family made their way to the north side. Eye-witnesses had many times claimed to see people disappear on the north side between the big dead tree and the "praying stone". Voldemort and Hermione had discussed the name of the stone, but when they came to the place, they understood why it was called that. The stone was shaped so it looked like a person who was standing on her knees with her hands pressed together. A big dead tree was standing around ten feet away. In front of them was just solid rock.
"Maybe you have to press the right places on the rock to open it?" Hermione suggested, thinking about secret passages in Hogwarts. "Or perhaps a safe word?"
Voldemort was thinking. "This was supposed to be a hiding place where refugees could go to. Perhaps you need to be scared or in need off help?"
Hermione had started to touch the rock. "Or perhaps it opens with some ancient magic?"
Dmitri let out a gurgling sound and Hermione absentmindedly patted his head. She didn't want to leave him alone in the hotel room, not even if he was just an Apparation away. If they could enter the mountain, it wasn't certain they could Disapparate from inside it.
Her hand travelled over the stones. She frowned when she felt unevenness. Standing on her toes, he saw something on the rock. "Take a look at this!"
Voldemort came over to her and looked at the place she had her fingers. "What?"
"It doesn't feel like this unevenness was made by nature. It feels like symbols," she explained and let him touch the surface.
Voldemort nodded slowly. "The symbols remind me of those on the Cup only… Oh, I'm so stupid!"
He placed his backpack on the ground and opened it. Inside it were the Cup of Live safely wrapped inside an old sweatshirt. Hermione saw how his eyes began to glow.
"It's written mirror-wise," Voldemort said in awe. He placed it on the ground and took a paper and a pen from the bag. He wrote down the symbols and taped his wand on the paper. The symbols changed side but Hermione still didn't understand what it meant.
"Clever," she said. "What language is it?"
Voldemort stared at the paper. "It's… Chinese, from the Shang dynasty."
Hermione frowned and sat down as well. "How on earth did that happen?"
Voldemort just shook his head. "If I would have to guess, I would say a tribe from China must have travelled here. Although, I don't understand… the handcraft is not Chinese, it's definitely Scandinavian. Unless two different cultures met… two different mind and knowledge. Ancient China was known for their word magic and the Scandinavians knew about magical handcraft. Of course it would have taken something extraordinary to create these Cups. A mix between two different people… two different types of magic…"
Hermione could see the wonder in Voldemort's eyes. She had to admit it was unbelievable. Although, what else could have created this extraordinary object?
"What does it say?" she asked.
"It can be translated in many ways," Voldemort quickly said as he followed the symbols with his pen. "I would say it meant for the power of life, the power of unity, the power of…"
"What?" Hermione asked eagerly.
"Love," Voldemort said with a grimace. "The power of love."
Hermione couldn't help but to smile. "It would appear love is the key to your greatest desire."
He scowled at her. "Don't be silly, it can mean other things as well. And it doesn't matter; now we can open this mountain."
"How?" she asked and stood as he stood.
"Power of protection," he said in Chinese and an opening appeared in the mountain.
"Impressive," Hermione admitted.
Voldemort took her hand and together with their son they entered the mountain. Hermione lit her wand as the rock behind them moved into place again. They were standing in a cave which had probably been occupied before. There were some empty wooden buckets and three furs on the floor. Voldemort only took a look around before he pulled her toward an opening on the opposite side of the wall.
The passage was small and Voldemort was careful not to disturb any boggy traps, however, they didn't seem to find any.
"If the Cup was really here, shouldn't there be more traps?" Hermione wondered out loud.
When she saw Voldemort's frown she realised he had thought so as well. "I don't think they had many enemies up here. Maybe they thought them unnecessary. Besides, no one but someone who knows Chinese can enter the cave."
"Yeah, that narrows it down," Hermione said carefully. They had come to another cave and Dmitri had begun to whine. "He probably needs a new nappy."
There was a small platform on the side of the rock so Hermione placed Dmitri there as she changed his nappy with her wand.
"There are three different passages from this cave," Voldemort called to her from the other side of the cave.
Hermione put Dmitri back in his carrying bag. "Which one do you think we should take?"
"I'm not sure, this one smells most magical, but it doesn't have to be the Cup. If shamans knew about this place, they have probably hid some of their magical artifacts here," Voldemort said and stroked his chin.
"Well, do we have a better idea?" Hermione asked. She was not claustrophobic, but she wanted to get this over with. Or did she? Even if Voldemort had said he wouldn't leave her, she couldn't be certain. Hell, she couldn't even be certain the Cups would work! What would she do if he died? She took a deep breath to calm herself down; no need to worry now.
"I guess not. Come on." He placed a red mark at the entrance of the passage before he set off.
They had walked for almost an hour and had had to choose passages five times. Hermione started to understand why no one had bothered with booby traps. The place was a labyrinth!
"Stop," Voldemort finally said when they had entered a new cave. "Do you hear that?"
"Hear what?" Hermione asked. Dmitri was heavy and had whined for the last fifteen minutes.
Voldemort sank down on his knees and pressed his ear against the ground. "It sounds like… singing."
Hermione frowned and concentrated. Yes, now when he mentioned it, she thought she could hear something. It wasn't exactly singing, it sounded more like a tune. It was like a calling. She wanted to go there.
"Do you think it's… bad?" she wondered.
Voldemort had opened his backpack again and pulled out the Cup. Hermione could see it glow bluish in the light of their wands. When he placed it on the ground, it began to glow brighter. Then it started to sink down to the ground. Voldemort gasped and took a hold on the handle, but it only made his hand sink down into the stone as well.
"Come here," he said to her. Half his arm had already disappeared.
Not knowing what else to do, Hermione ran over to him and hugged him hard, their son safe between them. In the next moment they had both sunken down into the stone. For a moment Hermione panicked because of the lack of oxygen, but then they fell into another cave. Hermione took a deep breath and she could feel Voldemort do the same. When she opened her eyes she saw that the whole room was illuminated by the strange bluish light.
"Unbelievable," Voldemort gasped.
He let go of her and stood up and Hermione sat up as well. There, at the middle of the cave, was a Cup made of the whitest of stones. It was really a piece of art and Hermione could almost sense how soft it would be against her hand. She stood up as well and followed Voldemort to it. He was still holding the Cup of Life in his hand. He placed it on the side of the other and they seemed to welcome each other.
"Do you love me?" Voldemort asked and stroked the white Cup of Death.
Hermione's eyes widened. "Are you going to do it now? I thought…"
"Why wait? I have everything I need right here," he said and turned to look at her. "Do you love me?"
"Yes, yes, of course I love you!" she exclaimed. "That's why I want you to be more careful! Shouldn't we do an experiment to be sure it really works?"
"Hermione, don't you feel it?" He took her hand and placed it on the Cup. "I'm certain it will work. I had thought about doing an experiment as well, but now… I know it will work. All I need to do is trust that you love me enough to bring me back."
She knew she couldn't prove it to him in words. She placed Dmitri on the floor and took a step closer to him and kissed him as passionate and lovely as she could. He kissed her back. She could feel that he was scared, and yet determined. She even recognised something new, trust. When they finally let go of each others mouth, they just stood there, holding each other.
"I have never trusted anyone before," he mumbled. "If you let me down, I'll come back and haunt you."
Hermione smiled sadly. "I won't."
He nodded, took a deep breath and brought the white Cup to his mouth. When he had swallowed, Hermione felt a deep angst. What had they done? What if it didn't work? How would she able to live without him? How would she be able to find her way out from this mountain without him?
Voldemort let out a small gasp, his face turned white and he started to fall. Hermione let out a small shriek and captured him. His skin was cold. She placed him against the wall and quickly brought the Cup of Life to his lips. She made him swallow some of the liquor and held her breath.
"No, no, no," Hermione whispered. She slapped him hard, but he reminded lifeless. His face was so pale, paler than before.
She didn't realise she had began to cry. Some of her tears landed in the Cup of Life as she lifted it again and made some more liquor run down his throat. This time something happened. Voldemort's body began to shake. She backed away and watched in amazed horror as Voldemort twisted and turned on the floor. She didn't know how long it took until he finally stilled. She slowly crawled back to him and placed a hand on his cheek. It was warm now.
"Voldemort?" she asked in a shaky voice.
He opened his eyes. The first thing she noticed was the colour. They weren't red anymore. Instead they were in a dark shade of brown. A warm dark shade of brown so full of life.
"Voldemort?" she asked again. "Do you remember me?"
He nodded slowly and licked his lips. He lifted his hands and watched them as if he had never seen them before. Suddenly, he reached out to her and pulled her close to him. He began to cry. Hermione held him as he cried against her. She shushed him and could feel some tears escape her eyes as well. All tension just disappeared. He was with her again. He would never leave her. She felt more relieved than she had known was possible.
"How do you feel?" she asked when he finally stopped crying.
"I…" His voice was hesitantly. "I feel… like I have just woken up from a bad dream, a very bad dream. I… feel alive… connected… I can feel. I was never able to feel before. I can feel now. I can feel!" His sounded very amazed and then he began to cry again.
Hermione closer her eyes and just felt him there next to her. A million thoughts ran through her head at the same time. However, she couldn't hear his thoughts anymore. It was a bit of a relief.
"M-my ring," Voldemort mumbled and sat up with an arm still around her. "What happened to my ring?"
Now Hermione noticed that their wedding-rings had disappeared. "The Contract must have been broken when you… disappeared."
He looked down at his empty ring finger. Then he looked up at her, his eyes burning with a fire she had never seen before. She immediately loved it. He stroked her hair.
"We can't have that," he whispered. "Although, this gives me a chance to do this properly." With that he took both of her hands in his. "Hermione, will you marry me?"
Hermione felt pure happiness run through her. "Nothing would make me happier."
Yes, that was the end of it. However, fear not! Soon there will be a one-short sequel called Dmitri's wedding! I just felt like he needed something of his own. If you are lucky, there will also be one-short spin-off about Reya.
I'd like to thank everyone for reading and reviewing. Sometimes those reviews were the only thing I smiled at the whole day. So thank you! Hope you have enjoyed this story as much as I have and if you like my style (errors and all…) keep an eye open; I have new fics on my mind already!
Have a wonderful day!