Disclaimer :: All things Harry Potter are owned by JK Rowling, and it would be quite an insult to her if I were to claim them as my own wouldn't it? Here we go!
To End in Serenity
Written by MattSilver
Rated because of coarse language, teenage drinking, violence, references to sex, sarcastic humour and slight out of character situations and personalities. You have been warned.
General Notes :: Harry, Ron and Hermione are referred to as the Golden Trio, or just the Trio. Note the capital 'T' when I refer to them. Get used to seeing that.
- Several lines and phrases from the actual books are used occasionally, mostly from the third, fourth and fifth books.
- The backstory of the war is based around some events of HBP and DH, but only basic plot things like Horcruxes and Dumbledore's death are mentioned.
This chapter is a monster, and is the last in this little story. However, I bring good news in the author's notes at the bottom of the page!
Chapter 6 of 6 :: Fulfilling Three Prophecies
A week before the Third Task, Harry, Ron and Hermione were scoping out Malfoy Manor, a heavily warded mansion that was the current hiding place for Bellatrix Lestrange, Rodolphus Lestrange, Alecto Carrow and Augustus Rookwood.
The Malfoys had hidden out in France ever since Fudge's death, but returned in March quietly, living in their home back in England. The real reason they returned was unknown, but the Trio had a suspicion that the Death Eaters returned for the Easter holidays to be with their son, who was unaware that his father and mother would not be getting out of trouble this time. Short of rumours, the Ministry had no evidence to go get the Malfoys.
Rumours that proved to be true a month later. While Amelia Bones was creating warrants for the Malfoy arrests during June, the Trio had found their missing Death Eaters.
It had taken three months of following leads and skipping classes, but the Golden Trio found the Azkaban escapees thanks to Draco Malfoy, who returned from Easter holiday boasting about his new Death Eater friends. And thus, the real reason Lucius and Narcissa returned to the country came forth, all thanks to Draco's big mouth.
A quick bit of passive Legilimency told them that Draco had met the four Death Eaters, and learnt some new spells from Rookwood and Bellatrix. Lucius and Narcissa were housing four Death Eaters, and the Trio wanted to take care of them personally, instead of let the Aurors handle it. It was a subtle revenge thing, and a challenge. And Harry never backs down from a challenge, so why not break into Malfoy Manor and challenge six Death Eaters?
The first step was to plant Listening Charms on the Malfoys. Hermione, under Polyjuice, attended one of the Pureblood Book-Reading Clubs, and managed to plant the charms on Narcissa's self and the book she brought.
The real challenge of that task was for Hermione to sit through the meeting and listen to old crones go on about a romance novel. Apparently Narcissa still attended her social clubs, despite her pending arrests. The other crones at the meeting believed Narcissa was still hiding out in France.
Harry and Ron posed as workers at Borgin and Burkes in Knockturn Alley, and happily sold the disguised Lucius several dark artefacts, laced with all kinds of charms that the former Death Eater would never detect. The charms being used were invented three years in the future, so there was a good chance of them not being detected.
With the charms planted, the Trio listened to a very helpful conversation the day before they decided to attack.
"How is the Dark Lord, Bella?" Narcissa asked, taking a sip from some tea.
Bella the insane henchwitch laughed. "He is growing in power everyday Cissy! It is beautiful, to see my Mark flare up again!"
"And the potion? Is Pettigrew botching things up?" Lucius said silkily.
Bella snarled. "Wormtail, the cowardly rat. Almost gets captured by Aurors four times, and snivels at Master's home, brewing that potion. Never mind that we didn't hide after our Lord's brief downfall, the rat is the Lord's favourite."
"Jealous, Bella?" questioned Rookwood, a hint of amusement present in his deep voice.
Bella snarled again. "Shut it Augustus! Our Lord is still unhappy about the trio of wizards that killed four of loyal servants."
"Including my brother," grunted Rodolphus.
"Mine too," said Alecto in a low tone.
There was silence for a moment, then the sound of somebody Apparating in.
"Master?" came a timid voice. It was a House Elf, quite possibly Dobby's replacement.
"Blinky," Malfoy said in a bored voice.
"Master, you received a letter sir. Here it is sir." The elf said, handing the letter over to his master.
"Go Blinky," Malfoy ordered, opening the envelope.
"Not just yet, elf. It seems you forgot to clean the tea tray here," Bella cackled. "Crucio!"
The elf started to scream in a horrible screeching tone that made Hermione turn the charm off for a second. She exchanged a sickened look with Harry and Ron, who didn't look to pleased either. A minute passed, and Hermione turned the charm on again cautiously.
"-meeting with a filth like Greyback," Malfoy was saying, sounding disgusted.
"Why would our Lord need that beast?" Alecto asked.
"Support," Malfoy said simply. "The letter says that Pettigrew asked Greyback and his people to come here tomorrow. I am supposed to give over 10000 Galleons as a good will gesture, and our Lord will have the beast's support."
"Preposterous!" Bella cried. "Our Lord does not need filthy beasts like Greyback! He doesn't!"
"He doesn't, that's true," Malfoy said soothingly. "Greyback is a very shiny tool that is easily replaced with real wizards and witches, not filthy half-breeds or Mudbloods. Bella, our Lord wants Greyback tricked. We give the money, but we pull what we did with the French HitWizard squad in 1978. Use them, then make the money disappear."
"Good times," Rookwood said. "Those Frenchmen didn't know what him them." He laughed gruffly. "And the money was back in our vaults by supper."
"About the same time those morons were arrested?" Alecto added. Rookwood probably nodded, because nothing else came out of the Death Eater's mouth.
"Narcissa, can you please go to Gringotts and withdraw 100 Galleons?" Malfoy asked. His wife Apparated away with a small pop.
"What will be the ward situation tomorrow?" Rookwood queried. He was the ward master after all. Harry and Hermione shared a look and hoped that they would get a basic idea of the ward situation.
"Your wards will be taken down from 12-2pm," Malfoy replied. "I'll have Blinky wait in the study with the wardstones. She'll activate your wards if things get a little... unpleasant. If those beasts try anything, your wards will be up and the beasts will die."
The Trio ended the Listening Charm after it seemed the conversation was over. Harry smiled at his friends.
And so, a day later, ten minutes before 12 o'clock, Hermione had erected a ward spiral up on a hill overlooking the lavish Malfoy Manor.
She whistled low. "Complicated stuff," she said. The spiral was three times the size of Crouch's home, and several outer lines overlapped with the inner lines, creating an odd sort of spider-web shape.
"Rookwood's wards are there," Harry said, pointing to the outermost wards. Two grey blobs were holding together four lines each, each ward had the Dark Mark detector and alarms on them. "And there." Harry pointed to the innermost circle. There were three wards inside the manor, centred around the dining room. Those wards were booby traps for the werewolves if they tried anything. Anti-Apparation, Anti-Portkey, and a Flesh-Shredding Curse. Nasty stuff.
"So if Blinky turns on the internal wards Rookwood set up," Ron started, "All those without a Dark Mark get hit with Shredders?"
"Seems like it," Hermione said. "And Rookwood will be taking down his outermost and the Shredding wards when the werewolves arrive. For two hours, the Death Eaters will have to rely on the wards tied to the house itself, and these ones." She pointed her wand at several lines making the spider-web shape.
"House Elf wards."
"Exactly. They can't be taken down by using a power transfer and anchor stones, so we need a good idea to take down the elf."
"He's in the study right?" Harry asked. The other two nodded. "Look, there's no Portkey wards inside. Incoming Portkeys can get inside if Rookwood's wards are down."
"And you want us to make a blind Portkey?" A blind Portkey worked by only coordinates, not an image of where to go and the proper coordinates. To make a normal Portkey, both the coordinates and the image of the destination were needed.
Harry nodded, and Hermione shook her head. "It's Bulstrode Abode all over again."
"This time we won't lose consciousness," Harry assured. The last time the Trio made a blind Portkey, they vomited their stomachs out and fainted a minute later from a mixture of hot flushes and magical exhaustion. They woke up surrounded by Death Eaters, and a daring escape followed with Ron losing his wand and Marco Bulstrode's death. It was a fun memory for all.
"I've got it," Ron said, his strategy mind kicking in. "We make the blind Portkey, but just two of us go in. We take out the elf, kicking down the outgoing Portkey wards. One of us returns here, and the third takes the image from the person's head with Legilimency. The third person will make a Portkey with the proper image, and no fainting will occur. A few Pepper-Ups later, and we're inside and ready to kick some."
"How long will the Pepper-Up last us?"
"An hour max. It's not much, but its better than nothing."
"Brilliant," breathed Hermione, sending a proud look in Ron's direction. "But what about the Flesh-Shredding wards? If they're activated at all, we're dead meat."
"The cloaks," Harry said. "The scarlet ones. We'll be wearing them anyway, and we cover all our flesh. No shredding need to occur."
Ron grinned. "Plan done. I'll go and get the cloaks and some Pepper-Up." He Apparated away.
Harry checked his watch: It was 12 o'clock. The ward spiral started to shift and flash, and three sets of wards became inert - the two outermost layers, and the three inner ones in the dining room.
Five minutes later, Ron returned, and the three suited up. No skin was showing, and several charms prevented the curses from travelling up the hoods and shredding the flesh of their faces.
Twenty more minutes passed before Greyback and his entourage showed up, Apparating at the mansion's front gates. There were 12 werewolves, and they were showed inside by another House Elf.
"Show time," Harry muttered. Hermione, having created the blind Portkey out of a silver Sickle, handed it to Harry and Ron.
"Take care of the elf quickly," Hermione ordered. She then handed the return Portkey (That had a proper image and coordinates) to Harry and gestured them to go.
Harry and Ron activated the Portkey, and they were vaulted into the large study at Malfoy Manor. Upon landing, both teens fell to their knees and started to retch. The contents of their stomachs decorated the study floor, and the dizziness and weak feeling associated with magical exhaustion kicked in.
Harry recovered first, and he pointed his wand at the scared Blinky, who was hiding behind a large mahogany desk. Taking aim in a disoriented state was rather difficult, but Harry managed to aim at the elf's general chest area.
"Stupefy!" Harry muttered.
The elf went down, and a dizzying Harry rushed to activate the return Portkey. As the Portkey started to activate, Ron fainted, and another person entered the study. The person took one look at the fainted elf and mysterious figure wearing a scarlet cloak before pulling his wand and trying to revive the figure.
"Harry!" Hermione cried, as Harry landed before her. "Open up!"
Harry's mouth was forced open, and a Pepper-Up Potion burned down his throat. Steam poured out of his ears, and he started to regain his senses. A slight tingling feeling spread from his stomach and all around his body, as the magic started to return to him. As soon as he could see Hermione clearly, he started coughing heavily.
"We gotta go, take the image," he wheezed. Hermione peered into his mind and took the image of the study. What seemed like a minute later, she had created the Portkey.
"Take it!" she said, and Harry grabbed hold. The two were taken to the study again, this time not vomiting upon re-entry. Ron was there too, but he wasn't alone.
"Who are you?" demanded Rookwood, wand pointed at Ron's form. Ron was stirring fitfully, and Harry and Hermione hesitated, wands pointing to the floor. "Are you with Greyback?"
"Yes," Harry said deeply, disguising his voice. "We're part of his pack. We were ordered to come and steal from the study."
Rookwood eyed them. He couldn't see their faces thanks to the cloaks, and he gingerly reached over to pull Harry's cloak off. Upon contact with the material, the Death Eater's hand flew backwards, smelling a lot like burnt flesh.
"What did you do?" he roared, nursing his hand.
Harry smiled underneath his hood, and raised his wand. "Nothing much. The cloak did it, not me."
Rookwood swished his wand. "Expelliarmus!"
Hermione's wand flew out of her hand, but Harry had dropped his wand to the ground, to avoid being disarmed. Rookwood caught Hermione's wand, but was shocked not to get Harry's.
"What-" he started, but Harry had already picked his wand up, and shot off a quick spell:
Rookwood's surprised face caught the curse at full power. Rookwood flew backwards and smashed into a nearby wall, dropping his and Hermione's wands. The Death Eater's face started to split in half as the body slid down the wall and collapsed to the ground, leaving a bloody trail behind. Hermione let out a small "Gross." at the squelch sound that accompanied the Death Eater's bloody death.
"Hermione, I'll get Ron," Harry said, heading over to his friend. "Take control of his wards."
Hermione nodded and produced several anchor stones from her pocket. She went over to Rookwood's bloody mess of a body, and took the rune stones that were in the man's pocket. She retrieved her wand and performed a few spells, identifying which stone was which ward origin point. After picking out the two inner wards, she began the power transfer process.
"Ron, wake up!" Harry shouted, after shoving a Pepper-Up down the redhead's throat.
Ron stirred and opened his eyes. "Wha?"
Harry grinned. "Umm... the Cannons won the League! Wake up, you gotta come to the party!"
"WHAT?" Ron yelled, bolting upright. When Harry started laughing, he knew he had been deceived somehow. "We're in Malfoy Manor aren't we?"
"Yep," Harry said happily, as if discussing the weather. "Rookwood's dead, got him with the old drop-wand technique. I swear, that one has ended the lives of so many."
"Only works with you though," Ron grunted. "Because you have lightning fast speed at picking up your wand and flinging the next curse. Remember when I tried it back at Bulstrode Abode? I broke my arm and my wand!"
"Thank you Dudley for the reflexes."
"That's so unfair! I play Quidditch all my life, and you get better reflexes from running from your fat cousin!"
"Don't whine! Im-"
"If you two are done..." Hermione said, standing at the study's doorway. "I've just activated Rookwood's Flesh-Shredding Ward."
"The werewolves are dying right now?" Harry asked.
Hermione nodded. "The wards are activated, so I think a skirmish is about to break out. Ready to go?"
Harry waved a hand at the unconscious house-elf in the room. "What about him?"
Hermione looked at the elf. "He's out cold. Also, I think Malfoy's order bound him to the room unless called. Even if he wakes, he's not going anywhere until Lucius says something."
Harry and Ron nodded, collected themselves, and followed Hermione out the door, and into a long hallway lined with portraits of regal-looking Malfoy men.
"Ponces," Harry muttered, checking out the portrait of Abraxas Malfoy.
Sounds of a duel were head from the furthest end of the hallway, so the Trio headed down that way quickly and quietly. As they approached the corner, a body came flying and skidded in front of them.
"Werewolf," Harry said, checking it over. The man's flesh was criss-crossed, a sure sign of a Flesh-Shredding Curse, and his one eye was open in shock. So, a Flesh-Shredder followed by Avada Kedavra.
The Trio peered around the corner, and narrowly dodged some orange spellfire. Alecto Carrow was engaged in some kind of duelling dance with two burly werewolves, who couldn't seem to aim properly at her figure. Considering the female Death Eater was quite heavyset, the werewolves must've been horrible at aiming.
Harry turned to the portraits lining the walls, and smirked. He gestured to Hermione, and the two magically ripped several Malfoy portraits from the walls. Ron, who was still looking around the corner, jerked his head back to avoid a spell and gave the two a thumbs up.
Harry and Hermione directed their four portraits to arrange into a makeshift shield, with a height of six feet or so. With their shield in place, both felt confident in turning the corner and confronting the three evil duellers.
Alecto dispatched one of the werewolves with a Killing Curse, and had her back to the portraits moving on their own accord behind her. Her werewolf opponent saw them however. He widened his eyes, and scurried off around another corner.
"Coward!" Alecto shouted, firing several spells off. She could of sworn she heard footsteps behind her, but it was probably nothing.
Alecto turned around, and saw two portraits with old Malfoys in their canvases flying towards her. She shot two Killing Curses at the portraits, destroying them instantly. There were two more portraits, and they were blocking the upper bodies of two familiar cloaked figures.
"YOU!" Alecto screeched, recognising the scarlet cloaks. The two figures did nothing but hold the portraits up as shields, and Alecto yelled: "Avada Kedavra!"
The Killing Curse hit one of the portraits, making it combust into green flame. The last portrait was quickly transfigured by the cloaked figures into having a sharp frame, and enchanted to attack Alecto.
Alecto fired several curses off, but the spiked portrait was enchanted to dodge them, unlike the other three. As the portrait neared her, Alecto fell to the ground on her stomach, letting the portrait imbed in the wall behind her.
Harry, Ron and Hermione wandered over to the Death Eater, who was cowering on the ground. She raised her head and wand arm, but found herself disarmed and looking at the feet of three cloaked figures.
"Alecto," they said in unison. Alecto snarled, and was about to retort, but the Trio were faster. Harry and Ron conjured large metal spikes, and dropped them into Alecto's spine, lower back, and gluteus maximus. She bled out a minute later, pinned to the ground by the three spikes. But the Trio were on the move, and simultaneously dispatched Alecto's werewolf opponent from earlier, who was hiding behind a statue just beyond where Alecto's body lay.
The Trio made their way through large oak doors and into a large ballroom. The probably spectacular ballroom didn't look as spectacular with the body of a werewolf lying in a puddle of his own blood in the middle of the polished floor. He seemed to be victim of one of the Flesh-Shredding Curses.
Beyond the ballroom was the dining room, and the Trio opened another pair of doors into a very chaotic room. What was a large room with a huge table lined with golden goblets and plates became a battlefield between the two Malfoys and two Lestranges versus Greyback and 8 of his werewolves.
Lucius, Bella, Narcissa and Rodolphus were trading spells with the werewolves in between ducking behind half of the huge table, where they should be eating lunch on instead of using it as a barricade. The werewolves, only seven of them standing, were hiding behind chunks of table and chairs, dodging the various curses being sent their way. Included was the Flesh-Shredding Curse, materialising from the roof and heading straight for the exposed skin of the non-Death Eaters.
As the Trio entered, attention was drawn to them, and Greyback shouted:
"Who are they?"
"Are they your backup, Greyback?" shouted Bella, flinging a Bone-Breaking Hex at one of Greyback's friends. The said friend fell to the ground, his ribs shattered upon contact. The werewolf coughed a large amount of blood before taking the room's Flesh-Shredders and dying painfully.
"They're not mine!" Greyback growled, who was currently trading spells with Narcissa.
Harry, Ron and Hermione joined in, ducking and dodging in between shielding from some of nastier curses. As one, they pointed their wands around the room and cried:
All the table bits, scattered throughout the room, flew towards them. Upon landing in front of the Trio, the table bits became a barricade in front of the door the Trio came through. A few more spells changed it into a more solid shape, rather than a mess of table bits.
In the confusion of losing their cover, the Death Eaters and werewolves forgot about the Trio and dived for each other. Two more werewolves were hit by Flesh-Shredding Curses, and Greyback dived for Narcissa. The blond woman attempted to move out of the way, but she tripped on a fallen goblet and landed on the ground.
"Narcissa!" Lucius shouted, while duelling a bearded werewolf. He couldn't do a thing as Greyback bit and scratched at Narcissa's face, disfiguring it to beyond recognition. Her screams started to become above all noise in the room, and Rodolphus was hit with a Blood Boiling Curse while he worriedly glanced at her direction.
"Avada Kedavra!" Harry shouted, the curse sailing over Greyback's head. Fenrir looked up, blood dripping from his sharpened teeth, and flew towards the Trio's barricade.
However, Greyback was on the other side of the room, and had to jump through a large amount of spellfire to get to the Trio's barricade. A stray spell amputated his leg, and Lucius got the killing blow in.
"Sectumsempra!" he bellowed. Greyback's torso was split by the spell in mid-air, and the werewolf fell to the ground in two pieces. Technically, he was in three pieces, if you included his recently amputated leg. Lucius then left Bella and Rodolphus to take care of the other werewolves while he ran over to Narcissa's body.
The Trio were using their well oiled techniques to dispatch the remaining werewolves. Upon impaling one of them with a conjured pike, Bella noticed that the Trio were temporarily distracted. She chanted a little, and shot a very destructive Blasting Curse at the Trio's barricade. Harry, Ron and Hermione flew backwards and took some damage from the table explosion.
"You can't hide forever!" Bella cackled. She didn't notice her husband fall to the ground, having taken a Cutting Curse to the forehead and succumbing to the Blood Boiling Curse finally. The blood that poured openly from his forehead bubbled and burned the carpet it was pooling on. Rodolphus died after coughing a large amount of boiling blood and having a blood vessel in his heart explode at the extreme temperature.
Without cover, the werewolves were incapacitated thoroughly, and Bella and Lucius were the only uninjured. While Lucius leaned over his wife and tried to heal her face, Bella duelled the Trio.
"Crucio!" she spat. Harry did a quick roll to avoid it, but Hermione fell to the ground, twitching under the curse but not screaming. Bella got that manic look in her eye as Hermione twitched, and Harry and Ron acted.
Harry and Ron hit Bella with a Banishing Charm, flinging her into a blood-covered wall and stopping her curse on Hermione. The two boys and Bella started trading Killing Curses, none of them making contact. Meanwhile, Lucius had picked up his dead wife and taken her body out of the other doors, leaving the Trio and Bella alone.
"Who are you?" Bella demanded, hitting Ron with a Bone-Breaking Hex. The redhead fell to the ground, nursing his ankle.
Harry laughed, while Ron crawled over to Hermione. "Bellatrix... we are your worst nightmares!" He hit her with a Concussion Hex in the stomach, winding her. As she stumbled, Harry blasted the wall behind her and Banished her through it wandlessly. Bella smashed her forehead into the wall and broke her nose, spraying blood on the ground and fainting. Harry didn't hesitate before heading back over to his friends, believing Bella to be properly taken care of for now.
"Harry?" Hermione asked weakly, sitting on the ground, breathing deeply. Ron sat beside her, doing some quick spells on his ankle.
Harry nodded. "Let's get out here. Bella's still alive and kicking, but let's not tempt things. Are the wards down?"
Hermione brought up the ward spiral. "Yes. Several wards have been destroyed... I think they were tied to Narcissa."
"I'm not sorry for her," Ron said bitterly. "Just as bad as the rest of them. Only more pampered."
Harry gathered up his friends and held onto Hermione's return Portkey. "Activate."
The three landed on the hill beyond the Manor, and removed their cloaks. Harry winced as he saw the familiar criss-cross of a Flesh-Shredding Curse on his shoulder.
"Must've exposed my skin somehow," he told his friends.
The Trio were rather injured, but fine over all. Harry gained a new scar on his shoulder, and one of his thumbs was dislocated, and he was the most uninjured this time. Ron had a broken ankle, three bruised ribs and burnt knees, while Hermione was twitching still after a bout of Cruciatus, and had a broken wrist.
"Worth it?" Ron asked sometime later, as the Trio sat around at Lovegood Getaway.
"Worth it," Harry and Hermione agreed. Rookwood, Alecto, Rodolphus, Greyback and Narcissa were dead, and not many inner circle members remained alive or not in Azkaban at the moment. It seemed that the Trio's plan at the graveyard would be quite easier to accomplish. Not by much, but just a bit.
The next day, Malfoy Manor was raided by Aurors under Rufus Scrimgeour's command. The bodies of Rodolphus Lestrange, Alecto Carrow, Augustus Rookwood, Fenrir Greyback and Narcissa Malfoy, along with a dozen werewolves, caused quite a stir.
The Daily Prophet reported that Bellatrix Lestrange and Lucius Malfoy were at large, their whereabouts unknown. Harry guessed that they were actually with Voldemort now, but he didn't care about where they were hiding until Voldemort revived himself.
Harry met with Sirius in Dumbledore's old office after breakfast, and told him of the success of the Trio's most recent adventure.
"You three are insane," Sirius had said, shaking his head. After taking a sip from his Coke can, Harry nodded in agreement.
"Definitely. I think we lost our sanity when we came back in time."
Sirius laughed lightly. Things were going great on the Dumbledore-impersonation front. Sirius and Penny were doing fantastic work in that regard, and Remus and Tonks were good helpers too. Remus was still teaching Potions, and was falling in love with teaching all over again.
"Are you ready?" Sirius asked suddenly. "The Third Task is in six days. Next Saturday."
Harry smiled wryly. "We'll be ready, Sirius. Don't you worry."
It seemed that for the rest of the week, Harry was asked if he was ready for the Third Task daily.
"Third Task is in five days," Hermione said at breakfast one day. After swallowing her porridge, she asked, "Are you ready?"
"Hermione," Harry said, rolling his eyes. "Our plan is good isn't it?"
"I don't know..." Ron whispered, checking for eavesdroppers. There were none, and he continued. "You don't have the connection this time. You're just on your own, playing with fire without fireproof shields."
"Ron..." Harry growled. "Back off. I've got it handled."
In the last war, Voldemort used the connection between himself and Harry to his advantage many times. After many incidents, Harry learnt how to counter Voldemort, laying down what he liked to call 'Love Bombs'. The Love Bombs were memories based around feelings of love, and would explode in Voldemort's face if he tried to tap into Harry's mind. Since Voldemort was allergic to love, it hurt the bad man like all kinds of hell.
But this time around, there was no connection, and Harry couldn't destroy Voldemort's mind with his Love Bombs.
"The Third Task in five days..." Harry muttered to himself. The other members of the Golden Trio shared a look, before patting Harry on the back condescendingly. Harry snorted and returned to his breakfast, while his friends laughed a little.
"Third Task is in four days Potter!" jeered Draco Malfoy. He was accompanied by his ever-present guards, Crabbe and Goyle and thought he was being a big man, cornering Harry after Potions class.
"Fuck off, Malfoy," Harry snapped, turning away from the ferret.
"Oi Potter! Are you ready to die this weekend?" Malfoy taunted, pulling out his wand.
Harry smirked. "Like your mother?"
Malfoy went pale, and snarled, "Don't fucking talk about my mother Potter."
"Why not?" Harry said, unconcerned. "I heard she got mauled by one your father's friends..."
Malfoy responded with a Dark spell Harry recognised as a Lung Puncture Hex. Harry's wand was out and a shield was up before the hex could make contact, and his reply Body-Bind hit Goyle, knocking the larger boy to the ground.
"Is that it, Malfoy?" Harry taunted, dodging another curse.
Crabbe had his wand out by now, but only Harry noticed it was pointed the wrong way. Poor Crabbe hexed himself with a Slug-Vomiting Hex, and was on his hands and knees, retching slugs. Harry shot off a quick Stunner, and the large Slytherin boy collapsed into a pool of vomited slugs.
Malfoy continued to shoot a string of curses, and Harry continued to shield and reply. Unfortunately, Malfoy seemed to be quite proficient at dodging curses, so Harry didn't land anything on the blond boy. Suddenly, Harry caught a glint of something out of the corner of his eye, and he dropped his wand.
His shield down, Harry had to take the brunt of Malfoy's next curse. Harry was swept off of his feet and landed awkwardly on the ground, his skin turning an unhealthy shade of purple.
"Crucio," Malfoy spat, hitting Harry with the Cruciatus Curse. It was surprisingly strong, but Harry didn't give the blond teen the satisfaction of screaming or anything. Instead, he just adopted a strained look and tried to smirk.
Only now did Draco Malfoy notice the three Professors standing further along the corridor, wands out. Remus had a slight smile on his face, but McGonagall and Sprout did not look amused at all.
"That was an Unforgivable!" Sprout cried. McGonagall nodded stiffly.
"Remus, can you please take Mr Malfoy's wand?" she asked, and Remus agreed.
Malfoy, still in shock, did nothing to stop Remus from taking his wand and binding him with magical ropes. He was led away by Remus, and Sprout and McGonagall approached Harry.
"You'll be just fine, Mr Potter," McGonagall assured, levitating him to the Hospital Wing. Harry couldn't help but smile triumphantly at how the scene played out...
"The Third Task is in three days, and I can think about is Malfoy being arrested," Harry said gleefully. Aimee, sitting on the foot of his bed reading the Daily Prophet, laughed softly.
"The ferret deserved it," she said, scanning the paper's front page. Malfoy was arrested and taken to Azkaban for using an Unforgivable on Harry Potter. Since he was a minor, he was in low security, and would stay in Azkaban for ten years before an appeal could be given. Harry thought the ferret got off easy, but he didn't complain. Draco Malfoy would never bother him again.
"I need to get out of here," Harry complained, itching his arm. Malfoy's curse had caused a purplish burn on his arm, and the salve Madam Pomfrey put on it itched a lot. Harry wished he had taken the brunt of a more harmless curse before being Crucio'd. Yeah, he was a little insane like that.
Aimee dropped the paper on Harry's bedside table, and crawled up the bed a little. Harry smiled at her.
"Or I could hang around in bed for a little longer." Aimee nodded, and leaned in for a soft kiss.
Fifteen minutes later, Aimee was kicked out of the Hospital Wing by Madam Pomfrey, who didn't appreciate that kind of behaviour in her ward. Aimee put her robes back on before leaving, laughing all the way. After she had left, Harry pouted at Madam Pomfrey.
"You're no fun."
"Wormtail, the Third Task is in two days," Voldemort hissed. He was getting antsy just waiting to get a new body. Something about staying in a Dark-magic created monster baby form wasn't appealing to a great and powerful Dark Lord. "Has Crouch contacted you yet?"
Wormtail shook his head. "No, my Lord. But I believe he will be in contact this time tomorrow."
Voldemort smiled. "Good. How is Bella?"
"Lucius said her... bones are... regrown," Wormtail stuttered. "My Lord, are you sure the two of them are fit for duty?"
Voldemort gave his servant a look, but didn't curse him this time. "They have an obligation to their Lord above all, Wormtail. I am sorry for their losses, I truly am, but I do not need emotional wrecks on the battlefield. Rodolphus and Narcissa are terrible losses for our cause, and I will mourn their usefulness."
"Yes, my Lord."
"What I wonder..." Voldemort said silkily. "Is who attacked them... What three figures in scarlet cloaks killed my inner circle members, and survived themselves? They must be stopped, and I will be the one to do it."
"Perhaps we should lay a trap, my Lord," suggested Wormtail. Voldemort nodded.
"Indeed. When I return to power and kill the Potter brat, I will set a great trap for the Scarlet Trio, and finish them. Their reign over my Death Eaters will last months, but their deaths will last years in comparison."
"Yes, my Lord."
"Then comes Dumbledore's Order," Voldemort declared. "I will get a mole into that organisation, and keep an eye on the old man. He will die soon..."
"Who will be your mole, sir? Severus?"
"Not Severus Snape. The coward felt the Mark get clearer, and apparently left the country. Karkaroff will do the same, if Crouch's intelligence is correct."
"Yes, my Lord."
Voldemort dismissed Wormtail, and then watched the fireplace for a while. Soon, he would be in a body, more powerful than before. Soon, he would crush all his enemies, one by one, until only Voldemort's pure order remained. The dream of Salazar Slytherin was so close... Voldemort could almost taste it.
"Third Task is tomorrow. All things need to be ready. And I mean all things. This is the big one, the one we've been waiting for."
"You sound like Oliver Wood, mate."
"Always the funny man aren't you, Ron?"
"You're either jealous, drunk or a mean person."
"I'm a bit of all three."
The Trio were holed up in the Room of Requirement, spending the day training and going over 'The Great Graveyard Plan'. The Room was looking a lot like the Little Hangleton's graveyard, and the three were running simulations against wooden dummies. Unfortunately, the Room was unable to make the dummies attack back, but the Trio worked around that.
Harry kicked Voldemort's wooden head into an open grave.
"What's on your mind, Harry?" Hermione asked, sitting on a gravestone.
Harry mentally asked the room to shift into the Gryffindor Common Room, and Hermione's gravestone turned into a comfy armchair.
"Very little, surprisingly," Harry replied, settling into his own armchair.
"Nothing about Voldemort?"
"The two remaining Horcruxes?"
"Sirius is getting the cup and Nagini will die tomorrow."
"The future Horcrux in Serenity Valley?"
"Key word there is 'future'."
Hermione huffed, and sat back in her armchair.
"Aimee?" Ron suggested. Harry nodded briefly.
"After tomorrow... I'm going to tell her everything."
Ron and Hermione shared a look. "Are you sure mate?" Ron asked. "We like Aimee all well and good, and she makes you happy... but are you sure sure?"
"Yes Ron, I'm sure sure."
"Great!" Ron exclaimed. "We'll set up the Pensieve and the alcohol and have a blast!"
Harry grinned. "Calm down, let's not make a party out of it."
"We should," Ron said. "We didn't when Sirius, Remus, Tonks and Penny found out. No, we'll have a banner reading: 'Welcome to the club, Aimee Moon!'. And whoever we tell next is getting their name on the banner."
Hermione giggled, and Harry smiled at his friend.
"Pray tell Ron, who's paying for this oh-so-fantastic banner?" Harry asked.
"Our mutual Irish friend of course."
Harry almost fell out of his chair. "He's still alive? He didn't try to mooch you after the Harpies won the League?"
"Oh he did," Ron said reassuringly. "But he's learnt his lesson the first three times. Besides, I've placed a huge sum on you winning the Triwizard Tournament. Easy money."
"No class," Hermione grumbled.
"Ron, don't you think that's cheating?" Harry said. "I mean, you two will be with me in that maze, making sure I win!"
"So? Oh right, the money... tell your friend that I put in the same amount you did."
"And if he tries to screw the two of you over again?" Hermione inquired.
Harry and Ron shot her an annoyed look.
"Then he loses another toe," Harry said clearly.
"He's only got three left," Ron added.
Hermione just shook her head at it all.
"Hey guys," interrupted Aimee, entering the room. "What's going on?"
"Nothing much," Harry said, sliding up to her. "Hi."
Aimee raised her eyebrows. "Aren't we in a good mood tonight? Where's the Firewhisky?"
Hermione snorted, and stood up. "Ron, we were just leaving to do homework right?"
"Oh right. Have fun you two." Ron and Hermione left the Room, and Harry subtly asked it to shift into somewhere a little more romantic. Tonight's romantic location was a small room with a large fireplace and a very luxurious double bed with dark curtains. The Room's magic produced a light music and faint aroma, and the couple settled onto the bed.
"Third Task is tomorrow," Aimee prompted, removing her robes. Harry grinned and took off his T-shirt. Aimee slid her hands up and down his chest, while Harry took a gentle hold of his girlfriend's fists.
"So I've heard," he said. "Will you be cheering me in the stands, milady?"
"I don't know..." Aimee said teasingly. "Give me a reason too and I might..."
Four hours later, the duo reluctantly parted and headed back to their dorm rooms. Before Aimee could turn the corner and head down to the dungeons, Harry called out:
"Was that a good enough reason?"
Breakfast was a very noisy affair at the Gryffindor table on the morning of the Third Task. The post owls brought no notes for the Trio, and the Daily Prophet was a very uninteresting read. The mood of the Great Hall was upbeat and excited. The Triwizard Tournament was to end after today, and a lot of students were running under-the-table betting rings. Since the Headmaster was a Maruader-in-disguise, these bets weren't stopped.
"We've got our History of Magic exam in twenty minutes," Ron moaned.
"So what?" Harry said. "We've got bigger fish to fry mate. Namely some Dark Lordy fish."
Ron stuck his tongue out at Harry.
"Potter," came the brisk voice of McGonagall. "The champions are congregating in the chamber off the Hall after breakfast."
"Sure thing, Professor," said Harry.
"The champions' families are invited to watch the Third Task, you know. This will be a chance for you to greet them."
"I'm aware that your relatives," McGonagall added a certain disgust to the last word, "aren't coming, merely your surrogate family."
"Your word is law, Professor."
Once McGonagall had walked off, Ron asked the burning question:
"Mum and Bill again?"
Harry nodded. "Who else?"
Harry finished his breakfast, waved goodbye to his friends and Aimee over at the Slytherin table (She was revising for her DADA exam, and in a bit of a tetchy mood). The Hall began to empty as Harry crossed over to the side chamber, followed by Fleur, Krum and Cedric.
Upon entering, Harry walked over to the fireplace, where Mrs Weasley and Bill were waiting.
"Surprise!" Mrs Weasley said excitedly, and Harry smiled politely. "Thought we come and watch you, Harry!"
"Good to see you again," Harry said, shaking Bill's hand and patting Molly on the shoulder. "Thanks for showing up."
"Oh it's no problem at all!"
Harry caught Fleur in his peripheral vision, eying Bill up and down like a piece of meat. Harry internally sighed - looks like a wedding would be happening in three years. Clear your datebooks.
"It's great being back here," said Bill, looking around the chamber. "Haven't seen this old place for five years. Is that picture of the mad knight still around? Sir Cadogan?
Harry had an enjoyable morning walking over the sunny grounds with Bill and Mrs Weasley, showing them the sights and sounds of the castle. While the trio were studying the Whomping Willow, Harry asked:
"How's Percy doing?"
"Not good," replied Bill.
"He's doing good in his job, no doubt," Mrs Weasley said sadly. "But he saw Penelope Clearwater, his old girlfriend you know, out with another man a few months ago. He's been in a state ever since."
The trio returned to the Great Hall for lunch, and Harry left Mrs Weasley and Bill to catch up with the other Weasleys while he wandered over to the Slytherin table and sat next to Aimee.
"Weird," he said, taking a seat and peering around. "No Malfoy to tell me off for sitting at this table."
Aimee laughed, and kissed Harry lightly. "All thanks to you I guess."
"Malfoy did it to himself," Harry said firmly. That was his story and he was sticking to it. "How was your exam?"
Aimee started to talk about forgetting the difference between Concussion Charms and Concussion Hexes (The charm didn't hurt as much, and the hex was slightly more powerful), and Harry listened politely, interjecting his own advice about battling the Imperius curse.
"Massive amounts of Occlumency," he advised.
"Why didn't I think of that?"
As lunch ended and Aimee ran off to her Charms practical, Harry rejoined Bill and Mrs Weasley for an afternoon walk.
"Who was the girl Harry?" Bill asked slyly, as the trio left the Great Hall.
"That's my girlfriend actually," Harry said. Mrs Weasley let out a little gasp. "We've been dating since the Yule Ball. Her name's Aimee Moon."
"A French girl?" Bill said dreamily. "I love the French."
Harry leaned in and whispered, "And Fleur Delacour is single you know."
"You're dating her?" Mrs Weasley said, sounding a little shocked. "I didn't know that."
"Ron didn't send you a letter or anything?"
"No!" Mrs Weasley cried. "He, Fred and George haven't told me, and all Ginny's letters were about you actually befriending her."
Harry fought hard, but couldn't help but let out a snort. "I kind of stopped that after she dumped her boyfriend and gave me hints to do the same to Aimee."
Bill laughed uproariously, while Mrs Weasley looked scandalised. "My Ginny had a boyfriend?" she screeched.
The rest of the afternoon was a casual affair of walking around the castle and talking politely. The highlights of the day:
"Yes, Bill, Fleur really is single! Stop bugging me!"
"This is the staircase where I caught Ron and Hermione going at it. Oh, god. You don't know that they're a couple yet?"
"Fred and George haven't mentioned anything about leaving school and starting their joke shop business. And I certainly haven't lent them 2000 Galleons I won in a bet with an Irish friend."
"What? Mrs Weasley, I don't use the Astronomy Tower for that!"
"No, I don't need the sex talk. Trust me, Remus covered it once, and it was horrible."
"Shame about Snape, isn't it? I wanted to place his head or at least his wand on my mantel. Would've been a great trophy."
"Yes Bill! Fuck off, Fleur is single! And if you don't ask her out, I will curse you."
A fun time for all.
The evening feast was another fun time for all. Aimee joined Harry at the Gryffindor table, and advised Bill that picking up French girls is no different than picking up English girls. She chatted politely with Mrs Weasley, who kept her face in a non-commital yet slightly disproving look. The look was matched by Ginny, who really didn't like Aimee one bit.
Percy wasn't present up on the Head Table, perhaps at home waiting for the phone to ring or something. Amelia Bones, in all her Minsiter-y glory, sat and chatted with Mary Christian (Remember her? Penelope in disguise).
Harry, leaving Aimee to chat with Hermione about Contraceptive Potion recipes, walked up and said hi to the Minister.
"Harry Potter, how is your godfather?"
Sirius, in his disguise as Dumbledore, smiled widely. "Yes, Harry. How is your greatest godfather Sirius doing?"
Harry cast a grin at the imposter Headmaster. "My godfather has been too busy with his new girlfriend to send me any new letters. It's a shame, but I'm sure he's not up to anything illegal."
"Yes," Amelia said sadly. "He stole my best scribe and took her to the British Virgin Islands for the last four months."
"Darn him," Harry said. When Amelia's head was turned, Harry shot Sirius a wink.
"And Penelope being on holiday is the reason I'm here tonight," Amelia continued. "Crouch's replacement, Weatherby, using to date Clearwater, and he's upset... and here I am."
Harry noticed 'Mary Christian' and 'Headmaster Dumbledore' looking rather pleased with themselves. He decided to leave the conversation. "Have a pleasant evening anyway, Minister Bones. Stay out of trouble, Headmaster."
"Harry," Sirius said suddenly. "I wasn't able to procure the object you wanted me too. It seems the Goblins are still stonewalling me." Harry remembered that Sirius was in talks to claim the Lestrange Vault with the Goblins, in order to retrieve Hufflepuff's cup. Harry took this news blank faced in front of Sirius and the Minister.
"Life is full of surprises. Thanks a lot, sir."
Harry walked back to his table, cursing softly. Sirius was unable to get the cup Horcrux, and Voldemort couldn't be killed quite yet. That was a pickle on the large crap sandwich that was this Third Task.
The enchanted ceiling of the Great Hall became progressively darker, and it was time for the Third Task. It was time to face Voldemort again.
"Guys," Harry whispered to Ron and Hermione. "Sirius didn't get the cup. The plan has changed."
"Fuck," Ron murmured. "Plan?"
"Changed!" Harry snapped. "I just fucking told you. Take care of your problems, and I'll be taking care of Flightymort. I know several good binding spells, maybe I'll transfigure him or something."
"Ladies and gentleman, in five minutes' time, I will be asking you to make your way down to the Quidditch Pitch," said Sirius, using his best Dumbledore voice. "The third and last task of this Tournament will be played out in five minutes' time. Mr Bagman, will you please lead the four champions to the pitch?"
Then came the applause. From Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. From the visiting parents, and from the teachers. Harry tried to tune it out, but it was rather overwhelming. He kissed Aimee softly, lingering for a second.
"Time to finish this headache," he told her.
She smiled. "Good luck Harry. Don't let me lose the one guy I'm emotionally invested in."
"I think we'll be changing that to love soon."
Harry left the Gryffindor table and a pleasantly surprised Aimee behind, giving a brief hand signal to Ron and Hermione. Bagman ushered the champions out of the castle, and onto the grounds. As Harry walked out to the Quidditch Pitch, Ron and Hermione were about to enact their own plan.
"Oh crap!" Ron suddenly cursed, as he entered the Entrance Hall with his family and Hermione. "I totally forgot my Omnioculars! I'm going to have to go and get them!"
"I'll come with you," said Hermione. The Weasleys waved them off, and the two ran up a few floors to Moody's office. Hermione was removing several shrunken objects from her backpack, and started to enlarge them.
"Check and check yours."
Ron unlocked Moody's office with an Alohomora and a running start, bruising his shoulder slightly. Upon entering the office, Hermione busted open the large trunk in the corner of the room, including the compartment holding an unconscious Mad-Eye Moody.
"There he is," Ron said fondly, levitating him out of the trunk and onto the floor.
"Hand me the potions," Hermione ordered, and Ron withdrew several potions from Hermione's bag. She poured them down Moody's throat, and he started to stir. However, the real Alastor Moody would still be unconscious for quite some time.
"He's good, let's roll."
Ron handed Hermione one of the scarlet cloaks, and put his own on. Upon donning the cloaks, the spell causing burning upon contact with the scarlet material was activated, and the two-thirds of the Golden Trio stepped away from each other a little.
"How's Harry going to stop Voldemort without killing him?" Ron asked, checking his backup wand strapped to his ankle.
Hermione shrugged. "Not a clue."
While Ron and Hermione prepared themselves, Harry was awaiting for Bagman's signal to enter the maze.
"On my whistle, Harry!" said Bagman. The crowd was cheering loudly, sending some birds fluttering into the sky. Harry nodded, and Bagman counted down. "Three - two - one -"
Bagman blew on his whistle, and Harry hurried forwards into the maze.
The towering hedges making up the maze looked eerie from Harry's height, and the fact that no sound could really penetrate them made it all that much more creepy. But, Harry had not spent four days going over his memories for nothing.
"Lumos," he murmured, igniting his wand tip. He continued forward for fifty yards or so, before reaching a fork. "Go with what you know," he said, heading for the left fork.
As he turned, Harry heard Bagman's whistle; Cedric had entered the maze and was on Harry's tail, so to speak. His chosen path was rather deserted, but he turned at the first right and soon reached a second fork. He took the left fork as the whistle sounded again, and Krum entered the maze. He sped up and turned at the first right, remembering the eerie lack of obstacles in the first part of the maze.
"Fucking Crouch," he muttered.
He didn't run into anything until he turned another right, and saw a Dementor gliding his way.
"Expecto Patronum!" he shouted, blasting the Boggart with a very shiny Prongs Patroni. "Riddikulus!"
The Boggart exploded in a wisp of smoke, and Harry continued on. He took a left, then a right, found a dead end, took left again, and turned backwards and found a right turn. He spotted the golden mist like last time.
The Reserve Enchanters' Mist was an old Celtic spell, but it was easily dispelled with a modern Finite and a bit of power. While Harry took down the Mist, he heard a shrill scream.
"There goes Fleur," he said to himself. Inwardly, he was hoping for Ron and Hermione to hurry up already.
"There goes Fleur," Ron muttered. Hermione nodded underneath her cloak.
"Point me," she whispered, holding her wand flat on her palm. As directed, the wand pointed her to the east a little. "This way."
The duo were invisible and circling the maze, looking for Crouch. Thanks to Fleur's scream, they could pinpoint the man's location easier.
Ten minutes passed before the duo found anyone. Crouch Jr was dragging Cedric's unconscious form out of the maze, blasting aside hedges along the way.
"Freeze!" Ron shouted, and Crouch raised his wand.
"Who are you?" he growled, peering at Ron and Hermione. "Scarlet cloaks..."
"Heard of us, Barty?"
Crouch reeled backwards like he had been slapped. "How did you know?" he demanded. "Tell me!"
"You're rather sloppy," Hermione said. "I mean, you ditched your disguise to talk to Wormtail back in October. The night you put Harry's name in the Goblet."
Crouch gaped at her.
"Oh yeah," Ron said unconcernedly. "Wormtail was right, that little rat. You should've been more careful."
"Avada Kedavra!" Crouch snarled. Ron and Hermione were already on the move, ducking the curse and raising their own wands.
Both spells hit the imposter, one after the other. Ron shot Hermione an annoyed look and gestured to Crouch's body.
"You and your moral compass! You killed Macnair, don't you remember?"
Hermione breathed in and snorted. "I was going to ask him what he did with Krum, but noooo... you had to be all Avada Kedavra happy."
"Oh right. Forgot about Krum."
Harry found Krum trying to wrestle a Blast-Ended Skrewt with his bare hands. Harry didn't need Hermione's ever-thinking brain to tell him that Krum was under Imperius.
The Dark Slashing Curse removed the Skrewt's head (Or what Harry assumed to be the head) and splattered Krum with blackish blood.
"Hey Krum!" Harry said cheerily, leaning over the Seeker. Krum was covered in cuts and burns, and one of his arms was oozing yellow pus. "Stupefy!" Harry decided to help his fellow champion by removing him from the game. He didn't bother to shoot off red sparks, knowing there was nothing left to maul Krum while he lay in the grass, unconscious.
Harry found himself nearing the heart of the maze after a few minutes of needless running around. He definitely knew he was close when he found a sphinx blocking his way.
"You are very near your goal. The quickest way is past me."
"Get on with it," Harry said, and prepared to listen to the sphinx's riddle.
Meanwhile, at Little Hangleton, Bella, Lucius and Wormtail were awaiting Harry's arrival. Lucius had set up all kinds of wards to prevent anyone from Harry's Light Side from finding him. However, those wards did not include anything that could prevent Death Eaters from coming into the graveyard.
"This is it!" Bella said excitedly, bouncing up and down like a schoolgirl. "The one we've all be waiting for! I can't wait to pleasure my Lord tonight!"
Lucius grimaced, and Wormtail looked rather indifferent.
"How many of the Lord's servants will be returning tonight?" Lucius asked Wormtail, who seemed to know more about Voldemort's affairs than he did.
"Less than a dozen," Wormtail said sadly. "With Nott, Parkison, Goyle, Crabbe, DeSilva, Bulstrode, Marius, Thorne, Narcissa, Antonin, Travers, Selwyn, Flint, Rodolphus, Rabastan, Avery, Alecto, Amycus, Slakov, Augustus, Yaxley, Mulciber, Mueller and even Fenrir dead or in prison... we don't have that many."
Bella gaped. That was a lot of Death Eaters.
"But..." she stuttered. "Our Lord has us! And Gibbon! And Rowle!"
"Who else though?"
"There's the traitors! Karkaroff! Manos! Snape!"
"No, they're not coming back Bella."
"It's a new generation! Lucius' son, for instance."
Lucius' eyes went cold. "My son is in Azkaban for using an Unforgivable on Harry Potter."
If any of the three Death Eaters wanted to curse someone as much as they did at that moment, it would have to be a very, very, very bad day for them.
"Bella?" Voldemort wheezed. He was wrapped in a robe, and was resting on top of a grave, Nagini coiling around him like a shield.
"Bella, did you go to Gringotts for me? Did you get the cup?"
Bella produced the golden cup she retrieved from her vault just yesterday. So while the Goblins were stopping Sirius from getting her vault, she had already gone and got the only thing Sirius was trying to take.
Bella presented the cup before her master. "Here it is, my Lord."
"Good..." Voldemort hissed. "I am glad you are not as disappointing as Lucius, who foolishly gave up the diary for revenge on the Weasley family."
"Thank you, my Lord."
Lucius spoke up sheepishly. "I am sorry for that my Lord."
Voldemort glared at him. "And I have already tortured you extensively for your blunder. Wormtail, give Mr Malfoy a taste of Cruciatus."
As Malfoy's scream's echoed in the graveyard, and beyond in the township of Little Hangleton, Voldemort turned to Bella.
"Bella, keep that cup on you at all times."
"Yes, my Lord."
After answering the Sphinx's riddle, Harry found himself on the final path towards the Triwizard Cup. Now, he would play the waiting game.
Ten minutes passed, and Harry had brought out a deck of cards he found in the bottom of his trunk. These were the same cards he 'borrowed' from Dudley some time ago, and never gave back. He was halfway through a game of Solitaire when Ron and Hermione showed, blasting their way through a hedge.
"I hate hedges," Ron complained, climbing through the hole he created. "Hey Harry."
"You guys took your time," Harry said lightly, packing up the cards. "How are things?"
"Fine," they said in unison. Hermione decided to elaborate.
"Cedric was taken out of the maze, and Ron killed Crouch. We lit a fire and made it look like Crouch fought a Blast-Ended Skrewt and died. Of course, with Sirius leading the investigation, that's what everyone will think."
"Good. Ready to do this?"
Both nodded, and Hermione produced Harry's cloak from her bag.
Harry suited up, putting the cloak on underneath his robes. It was rather uncomfortable, but Voldemort wasn't to know he was a scarlet cloaksman before being revived. For safety reasons, he didn't activate the spell that caused burning upon contact with the cloak.
The Trio made their way to the Cup, being temporarily blocked by an Acromantula.
Harry's first curse killed the spider, Ron's curse obliterated the body, and Hermione conjured a flock of small birds to eat the spider remains.
"Harry," Hermione started, as the Trio watched the birds peck at the Acromantula remains. "Remember how I begged and begged us to have a plan?"
"Yeah. It was foolproof until we found out we haven't got Hufflepuff's cup."
Hermione looked conflicted. "Sorry Harry, but we need a plan now! I'm serious, we don't have the cup, and Voldemort needs to be killed instantly!"
"No he doesn't," Harry said soothingly. "Remember what I said at dinner? I can just bind him until its time to kill him. I did it to Dumbledore, and I'll do it Voldemort."
"But you don't have the Room of Requirement this time!"
Harry shook his head and patted Hermione on the shoulder. "Don't worry, I've got it figured."
Ron nodded in agreement. "Plan?"
Harry smiled. "Plan... Ron, you get Wormtail. And I mean get him quickly. Stun him only, then stuff him in the cage."
Ron brought the cage out from his pocket. "I like that plan."
"Hermione," Harry said, turning to her. "Bella and Lucius. All yours."
Harry grinned. "I've got Nagini, then trapping Voldemort. We'll keep him there until the cup Horcrux can be claimed."
The Trio, with a plan that might actually work, made their way over to the exact centre of the maze. The golden Triwizard Cup was standing by, looking shiny and harmless. Ron and Hermione used Disillusionment Charms on themselves, to avoid being detected right away from Voldemort and his crew.
"We should say something..." Harry said, gesturing to the Triwizard Cup.
"What a long, strange trip it's been?"
"Here's hoping it'll end in serenity?"
"Fine, let's not say anything."
The Trio all grasped the cup, and felt the instant jerk of Portkey travel.
Things went much the same this second time around. Harry arrived at the Little Hangleton graveyard, seemingly alone. With no spares to kill, Wormtail, Bella and Lucius wasted no time in disarming Harry's main wand (His spare was strapped to his ankle), tying him to a headstone, and starting the resurrection process.
"Potter!" Lucius hissed, waving his wand in Harry's face. "Amazing how far your insolence got you, boy? Do you regret freeing my servant now?"
Harry glared at him, while Bella cackled a little. Wormtail was lighting the cauldron where Voldemort would rise from, while the Dark Lord himself sat on a nearby grave, Nagini circling the area.
While Wormtail lowered baby monster Voldemort into the cauldron, Harry caught a brief rustle in the nearby trees.
Meanwhile, Ron and Hermione had found the ward stones, hidden at the base of a tree just beyond the actual graveyard. Hermione's quick analysis showed some very basic wards.
"Anti-Apparation, no incoming Portkeys, Muggle-Repelling wards," she announced. "No outgoing Portkey wards though, and wards that allow people with Dark Marks to come and go freely. It's why Harry was able to escape so easily last time - Voldemort wasn't expecting Harry to use the Cup as a return Portkey."
"Can you take control?" Ron asked, casting a glance behind him. Harry was tied to a headstone and Voldemort was in the cauldron. Bella and Lucius were watching eagerly, while Wormtail was reciting the ritual.
Hermione nodded, and removed several anchor stones from her shrunken bag. "Give me a minute, I'll add my own Anti-Apparation spells, trapping the Death Eaters in a bigger radius. Anti-Animagus too, for Wormtail. I've also got a few surprises planned, but I'll need your help..."
Back at the main graveyard, Wormtail was about to enact the second part of Voldemort's resurrection, by cutting off his own hand. Just like last time, he looked particularly squeamish at the idea. But who wouldn't look squeamish at the idea of cutting off one's own hand? Bellatrix Lestrange, perhaps, but she was just your routine insane henchwitch.
"Flesh- of the servant - w-willingly given - you will - revive - your master."
This time, Harry actually watched with sick fascination as Wormtail cut off his own hand. The squelching noise immediately joined the visual effect of blood, muscle, flesh and bone misting a little to the ground and on Wormtail's robes. Following the squelching noise came Wormtail's screams of agony, echoing throughout the graveyard.
Bella acted first by levitating Wormtail's hand and dropping it in the cauldron. Lucius cauterised Wormtail's wound and added a numbing charm to stop the man's pitiful moaning and panting. Since Wormtail started the ritual, he would have to finish it, and the other two Death Eaters didn't want a dead Wormtail... yet.
Wormtail was on his feet after a minute, and approached Harry with a silver knife in hand. He cut Harry's arm slightly, and took the blood for his master's cauldron. Harry for his part did nothing to resist as Wormtail cut him - what could he do anyway?
"B-blood of the enemy... forcibly taken... you will... resurrect your foe."
Wormtail dropped to the ground after putting the blood in Voldemort's cauldron, and Bella and Lucius watched in rapt attention as the cauldron shimmering and bubbled, and Harry was temporarily blinded by a white stream of light.
Voldemort rose slowly out of the cauldron, and wordlessly took the robes Bella offered him. Harry's eyes narrowed at the sight of the Dark Lord. Such a pain to fight and kill, he mused. Voldemort's ritual to revive himself left him with some rather interesting side effects. Nagini's venom gave him the flat, snake-like nose, while Acromantula venom gave him long fingers. Manticore hair gave the Dark Lord extra dexterity, while sacrificing the ability to reproduce in the process.
However, there was one side effect of the ritual Voldemort had not foreseen as of yet.
Harry noticed it first, as Voldemort wordlessly gave Wormtail a new silver arm and then pressed on Bella's Mark with his wand. A strange pattern of sickly green had appeared on the back of Voldemort's head, a pattern Harry could only somewhat recognise as Voldemort's veins and capillaries. It seemed the blood flowing through Voldemort's body wasn't quite red after all. And since it was Harry's freely given blood...
For years, Harry wondered what would of happened if Voldemort's ritual was botched by a faulty ingredient or goat bones instead of Tom Riddle Sr's. For minutes, Harry had the plan to let Wormtail take his blood, and thus change the ritual. The ritual was all about having blood taken forcibly, not freely given.
Bella, Lucius and Wormtail noticed nothing while they awaited the return of the other Death Eaters. Voldemort, Harry noticed, was looking paler than usual, and the top of his bald head was turning the same green colour as the back. The bad man's scarlet eyes slipped out of focus for a moment, and Harry almost roared triumphantly.
Instead of roaring, Harry subtly moved his hand to the back of his knee, where he could have easier access to his spare wand and pocket knife. As he did in his battle with Dumbledore, some wandless magic would make all the difference. With Voldemort weakened by the botched ritual, perhaps the Dark Lord would be caught by surprise so much and be easily dispatched.
Then the Death Eaters arrived. Out from the trees, appearing near gravestones, and from every shadow came less than ten cloaked figures. Voldemort looked slightly disturbed at the numbers, but didn't comment. The Death Eaters circled towards the gravestone the ritual took place near, and everybody heard a single call:
To their credit, most of the Death Eaters had their wands out after Hermione's new ward was activated. She stole the idea from Rookwood, who created Flesh-Shredding Wards to target people who weren't Marked. Instead, she did the opposite, focusing on the Marked.
The headstones closest to the Death Eaters rose from the ground and attacked the cloaked men. Three of the Death Eaters died messy deaths when the stone headstones smashed their faces, spine and chest inwards. A rogue bit of stone impaled a wizard to the ground, blood spurting outwards like a faucet.
"What is this?" Voldemort demanded. He destroyed several headstones that were attacking his soldiers, and never noticed the next part of Hermione and Ron's spell.
Branches from the nearest trees elongated and moved with tremedous speed towards the masked men. A branch swung in a wide arc and tripped up a few of the Death Eaters, while another smashed directly into Lucius Malfoy's nose. Voldemort took initiative and burnt the branches, saving the lives of one or two of his Death Eaters again.
Harry wandlessly banished his mouth gag, and Summoned his wand and pocket knife in one motion. He directed his wand to the knife and Banished it towards one of the tripped Death Eaters. The knife made contact when the Death Eater got to his feet, impaling on the man's chest. He fell to the ground on one of his comrades, the man impaled by some stone shrapnel and bleeding profusely. Both men died of blood loss moments later.
Ron and Hermione became visible as Voldemort turned to Harry, flinging spells at the other Death Eaters. Ron broke off to go after Wormtail, while Hermione conjured some useful allies against the remaining Death Eaters. Several murders of black crows dive bombed the Marked men, resulting in only one death before Bella destroyed them all. The dead man had been directly pecked in the throat, creating a nice bleeding hole to die painfully by.
Harry summoned his first wand with his left hand, and deflected Voldemort's first curse with his spare wand. The Dark Lord's face and hands were the sickly green colour, and his spell didn't seem to have much force in it. Harry smirked and sent two simultaneous Blasting Curses at Voldemort's feet. The Dark Lord was forced to jump backwards, and stumbled upon landing. He still managed to stop Harry's next spells by using the body of one of his servants, and the duel was on.
Ron was a few feet away from the mess of the battle, chasing a one-armed Wormtail. The Animagus had no wand, and couldn't transform, forcing him to run the old fashioned way. Ron transfigured a nearby headstone into a razor-sharp silver disc, Banishing it towards Wormtail. The rat caught the disc in the upper thigh, the force of Ron's spell pinning him to the ground and destroying the man's ability to walk again.
Hermione was dealing with the three remaining Death Eaters while Harry and Ron dealt with their targets. She lost her moral compass by using a particularly Dark curse to eviscerate a masked Death Eater, who fell to the ground and groaned, holding his bleeding stomach. Bella and Lucius were the only two standing, both relatively uninjured, if you didn't count Lucius' broken nose and missing tooth. The Malfoy scion was still able to duel, but couldn't use any spells with a 's' in them without whistling a little.
Harry conjured a set of barb wire ropes and wrapped them around Voldemort's leg, causing the Dark Lord to trip and fall flat on his back. While on the ground, Voldemort rolled to avoid Harry's next volley, and dispelled the ropes with his own wand. He stuck his wand to the ground and used a Tremor Jinx, creating a wave of dirt and rock in Harry's direction. Harry stumbled and dropped his first and preferred wand, leaving him with just his spare in his left hand. He quickly placed the wand in his right hand and rejoined the battle.
Ron approached Wormtail cautiously, holding the rat cage Hermione supplied him with. The Death Eater/traitor/Animagus was pinned by Ron's conjured weapon, bleeding quite profusely. Ron was just about to transfigure the man into his rat form and stuff him in the cage when he took a look at Wormtail's silver hand. A quick Incendio spell took care of the silver hand, burning it to a crisp and reducing Wormtail to a snivelling mess. Ron helpfully sent his most powerful Stunner to take care of the rat, and only vaguely heard a hissing noise behind him.
Hermione grimaced as one of Lucius' spells grazed her cloak. She used a bit of power to hit Bella with a Heat Haze Hex, breaking the woman's shield. Bella's face started to heat up a little, and she growled. She unleashed a volley of curses and Dark spells, and Hermione blocked them all with shields and conjured rocks. She replied with her own barrage, which was blocked by Lucius' shield. The effects of the Heat Haze Hex took hold of Bella, who started to stumble and lose concentration of the immediate battle. Hermione pointed her wand to a nearby grave, letting loose a strong Exploding Curse. While she did that, Lucius took aim and shot a strong Concussion Hex.
Harry and Voldemort were still locked in a fruitless little battle. Although weakened by the botched ritual, Voldemort still had some tough stuff. Harry caught a glimpse of Hermione taking a Concussion Hex to the chest in the corner of his eye, and grimaced as she fell to the ground. Harry conjured a plate to block Voldemort's spell, and decided to take care of one of Hermione's problems and then some. Voldemort unknowingly helped out by shooting off a Blasting Curse, and Harry used a strong shield and angled it slightly. The curse impacted the shield and bounced off at an angle, towards Hermione's direction.
Hermione groaned and tried to stand, but the force of Lucius' hex was making that difficult. Her opponents were still standing, although Bella had stopped shooting off spells, favouring to stumble and almost faint thanks to Hermione's hex. Lucius was still going strong, and Hermione was having trouble blocking his spells from her position on the ground. Thankfully, a nearby curse from Harry and Voldemort's battle flew in Lucius' direction, hitting the man unawares in the cheek. The curse splattered through one cheek and out the other, killing the man instantly and reducing chiselled features to collapsed, bloody messes.
Ron barely avoided the first strike of Nagini, Voldemort's familiar and another Horcrux. The snake had struck while Ron was dealing with Wormtail, aiming right for Ron's neck area. The redhead had ducked and rolled to avoid Nagini's strike, and sent a Dark Slasher, nicking the snake's tail. Thankfully, Wormtail was unconscious, so Ron only had one thing to worry about. He weaved around the snake's next attack, and blasted a sizeable hole in the ground while trying to blast Nagini's head off.
Harry noticed that his and Voldemort's battle would soon be ending when his opponent actually mispronounced an incantation. Voldemort's entire face was a sickly green colour, and Harry guessed that the man was dying very painfully. In the old timeline, Harry had destroyed Voldemort piece by piece, and decided to do the same thing here, only keeping the Dark Lord alive long enough so that the cup Horcrux could be retrieved. A well aimed Bone-Crushing Curse destroyed Voldemort's left shoulder, and Harry was very surprised when the entire arm actually fell off like a diseased appendage.
Hermione was fairing a little better now that Lucius was dead, and her other opponent was dazed and confused. She used another Blasting Curse on the same grave as before, and took aim at Bella's feet. She was about to use a Tripping Hex when the Death Eater's robes billowed in a cold wind. Hermione spotted a glint of gold, and took aim:
A golden cup zoomed out of Bella's robes, and the Death Eater finally fell to the ground and dropped her wand. Hermione intercepted the cup in mid-summon and levitated it carefully, before Banishing Bella to the nearby hole that she dug with Exploding and Blasting Curses. Bella collapsed into the open grave with a 'thud', and Hermione conjured another murder of crows. The crows attacked Bella while she was stuck in the hole and wandless. The insane Lestrange woman died minutes later of blood loss and various other injuries.
Ron cried out in pain as Nagini finally sunk her fangs into his ankle, digging in further with each second. Thinking fast and ignoring the numb feeling in his foot and the blood flowing, Ron fell to the ground and took aim at his leg with his wand. Nagini's eyes widened and she dug in her fangs further.
His foot severed off upon contact with the spell, surprising the snake Horcrux. Nagini was still holding Ron's foot in her mouth, and tried to retract as quick as she could. She was too late, as Ron had venomously and powerfully blasted the snake with a Blasting Curse. The snake's mouth exploded in a mess, and the shockwave travelled, splitting the snake's body in two. Ron sighed and collapsed into the dirt a little bit more, before rummaging his pockets for some anti-venom to Nagini's bite.
Harry's well aimed Reductor Curse destroyed Voldemort's left foot, as the dismemberment and literal piece by piece destruction of Voldemort took place. The bad man had lost an ear, had been scalped, lost an arm and one of his fingers. Now with the foot gone, he was at a serious disadvantage when Harry's next spell sailed towards his wand hand.
The Disarmer plucked Voldemort's wand from his hand, and Harry smirked at the Dark Lord's look of shock. He Summoned the nearby cauldron, and Banished Tom Riddle into the depths of the man-sized cauldron.
"Harry Potter!" he hissed.
Harry smirked. "Tom."
Voldemort wheezed out a cold laugh. "I admire your skills Potter. You have power, you have cunning, you and I can get so far! Harry, I can help you in ways you can never imagine, give you power you can only dream of! Think about it!"
"No," Harry said flatly. "No way José. No chance Lance. Nyet. Nada. No fucking way will I become your servant, or become you."
Voldemort glared at him, and Harry snarled out:
"You've fucked me over a lot Tom. Yes, I hate you more than Dumbledore, who manipulated my life twice over and tried to take away someone I love. Yes, I hate you more than Snape, Bella, Lucius, or Wormtail. Your inner circle Death Eaters are now dead, or imprisoned. Do you want to see for yourself?"
Harry looked into the monster's eyes, and hit him with a bout of Legilimency that implanted images in the other person's head. Harry showed the Dark Lord the deaths of all his top Death Eaters, twice. The ones from the old timeline and the deaths in the new timeline. Harry hadn't seen Lucius' or Bella's deaths, but a quick look in his periphery showed him that Hermione was still alive and the other two weren't around. Hence, Bella and Lucius were probably deadsies.
Upon retreating from Voldemort's mind, Harry continued talking. "You killed James and Lily Potter, and that was enough for my revenge. And no, I won't list of the friends you killed back in my old timeline. I won't make you suffer any further, I already did that in Serenity Valley. Piece by piece, soul, mind, magic and body, I destroyed you. I defeated you. I won. You lost!"
With that, Harry transfigured the shocked Voldemort into stone, and conjured a lid to go over the cauldron. A few more spells bound the Dark Lord to the man-sized cauldron, and Harry breathed out a sigh of relief.
"So much for the plan," he muttered. He made his way over to Hermione, who was sitting up against Lucius Malfoy's body, looking rather tired.
Hermione nodded in reply and pointed to her left, eyes closed. "The cup. Bellatrix had the cup."
Harry looked to her left and sure enough, found the Hufflepuff cup/Horcrux of the Dark Lord. Ron was approaching the two now, hopping on one foot and levitating his other, Nagini's body and Wormtail in a cage with his wand. He smiled and dropped the snake on the ground next to Hufflepuff's cup.
"All done," he said proudly, sitting on Lucius' body. He picked up his foot and gestured to his leg. "Hermione, can you please?"
While Hermione reattached Ron's foot tiredly, Harry rummaged through Hermione's bag and found the diadem Horcrux in its depths. The diadem Horcrux had been locked in Hermione's trunk for the whole year, just in case the Trio would need it to hunt down more Horcruxes and use it to locate the others. They didn't need it anymore, and Harry levitated the crown with the snake body and the cup.
"There we are," Ron said, flexing his foot gingerly. "All Horcruxes accounted for. All Horcruxes in this current time anyway."
Harry produced two vials of Horcrux Killing Solution in Hermione's bag, and uncorked them both in a swift gesture. Without even waiting or saying something sentimental, Harry emptied the vials' contents on the Horcruxes. Within minutes, the vessels of Voldemort's soul became black puddles of some unknown viscous liquid.
"Where's Flightymort?" Ron asked, rubbing his foot.
"I never got that Flightymort joke," Harry said, not answering the question.
Ron laughed. "Don't you remember what Voldemort's name means? It's like 'flight from death' or something like that. I thought Flightymort was appropriate."
"Oh. Well, Flightymort's locked in a cauldron back there," Harry said, pointing vaguely to the cauldron in question.
"Sorry to interrupt," Hermione wheezed, clutching her chest. "I think I need to get to the Hospital Wing."
"Oh right," Ron said. He lifted himself up and shrunk Hermione's bag. He stuffed it in his pocket, and lifted Hermione up gently, levitating Wormtail's cage at the same time. He supported her in the walk back to the Triwizard Cup, while Harry took aim at the cauldron near Tom Riddle Sr's grave.
Harry muttered a quick incantation, and his spell hit true, striking the cauldron's base. Harry added a few more for good measure, and was mildly pleased to see the cauldron heat up and turn a shade of Killing Curse green. He turned to his friends with a small smile on his face.
"The graveyard is about to explode," he said matter-of-factly.
Ron and Hermione knew better than to argue or say anything, and grasped the Triwizard Cup along with Harry. Ron would've pointed out that Harry left Voldemort's wand lying on the ground, while Hermione would've asked what Harry did to make the graveyard explode. However, neither said anything.
The Portkey jerked the Golden Trio back to Hogwarts, and a whole bunch of questions would follow about Harry's disappearance. Ron and Hermione Disillusioned themselves and fled into the crowd, to let Harry handle it all.
Harry was mildly annoyed that his friends would leave him, clutching Wormtail's cage and surrounded by teachers and worried students. He caught a glimpse of Sirius, Penny, Remus and Tonks in the crowd, and nodded to them triumphantly.
The citizens of Little Hangleton were shocked at the massive explosion that rocked their town late at night on June 24th.
"It was so terrifying," one concerned citizen told the news team that visited his town. "My whole house shook, and I ran outside immediately, thinking there was an earthquake. But then I saw a massive crater where our graveyard used to be!"
"Was it a meteor? Terrorist attack?" questioned the town's mayor. "I believe it was a sign from above, but don't quote me on that."
"I swear! The explosion was green! This sickly acid green colour that made me shudder to think about!" declared the frightful man who tended bar at the Hanging Toenails.
And the Muggle news networks flocked to the little town of Little Hangleton, wanting to get the first scoops on a supposed meteor strike/terrorist explosion/sign from above, but don't quote me on that.
Deep within the Department of Mysteries, Unspeakable Bode added a red tag to the prophecies labelled:
S.P.T. to H.J.P.
Dark Lord and Dark Lord's Servant (?)
S.P.T. to A.P.W.B.D.
Dark Lord and (?) Harry Potter
He informed Croaker that Voldemort had been resurrected, as told by Sybil Trelawney's prophecy to Harry Potter a year ago. He then informed his boss that Voldemort had been subsequently killed by Harry Potter, again fulfilling a Sybil Trelawney special. Croaker nodded and dismissed his subordinate, thankful to have the Voldemort problem taken care of for now.
Harry's story was pretty foolproof in the end. As a minor, he refused to take Veritaserum or show Pensieve memories, but he explained to Amelia Bones and 'Dumbledore' that the Cup was a Portkey to some graveyard. Being that the Headmaster was Harry's godfather in disguise, the story was easily verified because the great Albus Dumbledore said it was true.
He explained that Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange were there, as was Peter Pettigrew. He told a harrowing tale of the Death Eaters planning to kill him, and him fighting back and capturing Pettigrew, He told them all how he escaped without a serious scratch, playing up several of the details shamelessly.
Amelia happily gave Wormtail over to the Aurors, and a trial was scheduled later in the week. She awarded Harry one thousand Galleons as Triwizard winnings, and hinted that he would receive an Order of Merlin, Second Class, for taking care of Pettigrew and surviving such an ordeal.
Mad-Eye Moody returned home, having told the world all about his being locked in a trunk for the school year, and how he was impersonated by a Death Eater. Crouch Jr's body was found in the maze, so Moody's story was somewhat confirmed. However, seeing as how the imposter was dead, it was hard to prove it all, and the sceptics out there saw Moody as an even more crazy man.
Hermione and Ron were currently in the Hospital Wing, having concocted a story about accidentally hexing each other to get some serious medical attention instead of their own services. Ron's foot was fixed, as was Hermione's busted chest, after spending two days in bed. Even though Madam Pomfrey ordered them to have bed rest separately, they broke her rule on the first night.
The Wizengamot tried and convicted Wormtail, the stuffy old members of the court demanding that Wormtail get the Dementor's Kiss. He did, and the rat's carcass was given to the Unspeakables for some kind of science procedure.
Sirius Black was officially freed, and 'officially' came back from the British Virgin Islands, appearing in public once or twice and enjoying the positive attention. Of course, Penelope Clearwater 'officially' came back to Britain, and got quite the chewing out from Minister Bones for leaving as long as she did. However, Bones was quick to offer Penny her job back. Penny agreed, on the condition she didn't have to work with Percy Weasley.
The world was saddened when Albus Dumbledore seemingly died on a heart attack in early July. Truthfully, Harry had performed an Accelerated Heart Curse, speeding up the real Dumbledore's heart until it stopped beating. The old man was found dead in his quarters, and his 'certified' nurse told the world of his ill health.
"It was just his time to go," she told the Ministry and the Prophet.
So, after Dumbledore's circus of a funeral, McGonagall was appointed Headmistress, and she asked Remus to stay on as Potions Professor. Against the Headmistress' better judgement, she asked Sirius to fill the Defence Against the Dark Arts job. Sirius, with nothing better to do now that Penny was working with Amelia Bones again, agreed.
Harry, Ron, Hermione, Aimee, Sirius, Remus, Tonks and Penny gathered in Lovegood Getaway after Dumbledore's funeral to celebrate Sirius' appointment to the DADA job. Left unmentioned was the celebration that Dumbledore was not a problem anymore, and Harry happily snapped the old man's wand he had stolen after killing him and placed the pieces on the mantel next to Snape's.
"Congratulations, Sirius. I'm sure you'll be as good as Remus was," Aimee said, giving her boyfriend's godfather a brief hug. "Why is it just the eight of us here?"
Harry and Ron shared a look, and Harry nodded. Ron waved his wand, and a large white banner appeared on the wall above the fireplace. As promised, it read: 'Welcome to the club, Aimee Moon!' in large black letters.
"You actually bought the banner?" Hermione said, shocked.
"Yep," Ron said, enchanting the banner to flash random colours. "We haven't got the money from our Irish friend though. He's in hiding, I think."
"Harry?" Aimee asked, looking at the banner. "What's this about?"
Harry guided her down to a seat, and pointed to the Pensieve, sitting on the floor next to several bottles of Firewhisky.
"I have something big to tell you," he said, opening a Firewhisky bottle and activating the Pensieve with a wave of his wand. "Show you, actually."
Five hours later, Harry and Aimee were the only ones left in the living room, talking quietly about what Harry revealed to her. The memory reel was a lot like the previous ones shown to Sirius, Remus and Tonks, but Harry added a few extras at Aimee's request. The couple had watched some of the more personal problems of Harry's former and present life, and some emotional bonding occurred.
"Wow," Aimee said, holding Harry close, as if worried he would go off and fight Voldemort again. "You killed Him... twice."
"I did," Harry said simply, taking a sip from the Firewhisky. "And I'm so freaking ecstatic to have it all off my chest."
Aimee snuggled closer to Harry, her head resting on his chest. "But what about Voldemort's eighth Horcrux? The one that'll appear at Serenity Valley?"
"That's a problem for the future Aimee," Harry said determinedly. "Hermione will brew the Horcrux Killing Solution every six months, and be ready for it. No more Voldemort. For good. Forever. Hopefully..."
"Nothing left to do with yourself," Aimee joked.
"Oh, I have something in mind. And it involves you."
Aimee smiled coyly. "And you're technically 25 years old? Dirty old man, aren't you?"
Harry returned the smile and laughed a little. "Hey, let's ignore that part. We're rather great together, and I'm not much with relationships am I? Hence, you could say I'm basically 18 or so in relationship mentality, so its not that big of a difference."
"That and I'm going to start thinking of the previous timeline as a very bad dream," Harry added. "Denial and all that. Ron and Hermione are more than happy to forget the hell we went through, but no memory charms. While the war sucked, it brought the Golden Trio together, and it will probably impact on the rest of our friendship."
The couple were silent for a few moments, collecting themselves. Aimee was a little worried that she wouldn't be able to help Harry out by being supportive, while Harry was wondering if he burdened her too much. Aimee was just 15 in all ways, while Harry was slightly older in most ways. Harry acted first, grasping Aimee's hand and smiling.
"You know that I won't hold it against you for bailing out."
Aimee laughed, long and hard. All previous worries forgotten, she leaned in and gave Harry a light kiss. When she pulled back, she started to shake her head.
"Don't be stupid," she said softly.
Harry nodded and said nothing. Aimee quickly glanced at her watch and then smiled.
"So, Harry, shall I Floo my father and tell him I will be spending the night?"
Harry's grin could've been seen from quite a distance, if one were to look really closely from that distance. He led Aimee up the stairs, and clothes became optional by the time they were outside Harry's bedroom door. Harry quickly detoured to the Potions Lab to fetch a Contraceptive Potion, before heading into the bedroom he and Aimee would share for most of the summer.
As the summer ended, Harry and Ron finally tracked down their Irish friend, who was hiding out in the Caribbean. The Irishman was living in a small hotel room, and had just come out the shower when he spotted two of his angry customers. They both had fake smiles plastered to their faces, and the Irishman recoiled and subconsciously looked at his foot. The damage done by Harry and later Ron had left the Irishman with only three of his original toes, the others being magical replacements.
"Mikey!" Harry and Ron greeted, wands pointed at the Irishman's chest.
"Harry... Ron..." stuttered the Irishman. "Please... you gotta believe me. I have your money, I'm just trying to... I'm on holiday!"
Ron moved to the bed and found a duffel bag underneath it. "On holiday with all of our money? Mikey, you wound me."
The Irishman paled. "Please... I have a wife and two children... you can't kill me."
"You don't have children, and your wife left you for another woman," Harry pointed out.
"Okay! I don't have any kids and my wife's a bitch, but please... no more toes. Please."
"Hmmm...." Harry said, drawing out the 'mmm'. "No more toes."
"Harry, all our money's in here," Ron said, gesturing to the duffel bag.
"No toes... I beg you," the Irishman pleaded.
Harry smiled viciously. "I want your oath that you'll never steal from us again, and I won't kill you or take your toes. Deal?"
The Irishman slowly drew his wand from his pocket and made the oath: "I, Michael Samuel Jonathan Friend, will never steal from Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, or any of their associates. I solemnly swear on my magic."
"And I, Harry James Potter, do vow to not kill Micheal S.J. Friend, or to remove his toes. I solemnly swear on my magic."
Mr Friend let out a sigh of relief. "Pleasure doing business!"
"Hey Harry," Ron said, grinning. "Did that oath say anything about removing fingers?"
Ten minutes later, Harry and Ron were in the hotel's lobby, standing in line at a gift shop. The other patrons of the shop were looking at the two men rather wearily. Harry did nothing to hide the blood on his pants, while Ron shifted his arms so no one saw the splatter on his shirt.
"I'm sorry I cut off Mr Friend's fingers," Harry said, not sounding sorry at all. He picked an item of a nearby shelf and smiled. "Do you think Aimee will like this coconut bikini as much as I will?"
Harry and Ron arrived at the Lovegood Getaway an hour after meeting their Irish friend, having detoured to enjoy the beach for a few moments. The duo dropped their souvenir bags in the kitchen and didn't find anyone in the immediate area. Harry headed upstairs to his room to see Aimee, while Ron detoured to Hermione's Lab.
"Hermione?" the redhead asked. The girl in question was working on a mysterious purple potion, and Ron guessed it was some kind of experimental healing draught. Hermione waved him over and added some newt tail to her potion.
"Did you find Michael?" Hermione said, still not looking up.
Ron grinned. "Yeah we got the money too. What are you working on here?"
Hermione never got the chance to reply, as Harry had barged into the room, holding a fist-sized rock. The normally purple rock was flashing red and vibrating softly. To the Trio, the rock flashing and vibrating meant one thing.
Voldemort's eighth and last Horcrux had arrived.
"Problem!" Harry exclaimed, flinging the rock to Hermione. She caught it clumsily, and Vanished her potion quickly.
"Problem..." she murmured. She passed the rock to Ron, and went over to her potion shelves. While she browsed, Ron studied the rock.
"Voldemort's back?" he asked. Harry nodded, and started to walk out of the room.
"I'm going to get Aimee!" he exclaimed. By now, Hermione had found a vial of Horcrux Killing Solution, and she pocketed it.
Five minutes later, Ron and Hermione appeared at the outskirts of Serenity Valley, where Hermione had hidden her detection stones a year ago. Harry and Aimee hadn't arrived yet, but Ron and Hermione paid that no mind. The couple found Voldemort's last Horcrux lying in a small black crater.
Ron sniffed the air. "Smells off around here."
"Wouldn't that have something to do with the piece of evil soul two feet away from you?" Hermione asked scathingly. "Where's Harry?"
The teen in question appeared a few metres from the crater, Aimee at his arm. Ron and Hermione both noticed their slightly ruffled appearances, and Aimee wearing a thick robe to cover what she was wearing underneath.
Ron chortled, "She liked the bikini then?"
Harry nodded, and Hermione rolled her eyes. For her part, Aimee just shrugged and indicated to Voldemort's Horcrux.
"Is that it?" she said. Harry, Ron and Hermione approached the vessel of Voldemort's soul, and Aimee walked a little more cautiously. However, she didn't know what the Horcrux meant to the Trio.
"The ring," Harry muttered, examining the vessel without touching it. Voldemort's Horcrux was a small golden hoop on a thick chain. Harry, Ron and Hermione all knew it as Bill Weasley's wedding ring.
In the old timeline, young Bill Weasley happily married Fleur Delacour and the two were basically leadership of the Order of the Phoenix following Moody's death. Voldemort himself attacked and killed the couple at their cottage sometime after the Battle of Hogwarts. Their deaths spurred the end of the Order, and the Trio all saw the significance of taking Bill's ring and making it a Horcrux. Voldemort's triumph over the Order and the Ministry were hand in hand, and the Dark Lord was one for sentimentality apparently.
"What an asshole," Harry said candidly. "Hermione, destroy the Horcrux, if you'd please."
Hermione nodded, and produced the vial of Killing Solution from her robes. She was about to uncork it when Aimee held a hand out.
"Can I do it? I never got a chance to destroy a Horcrux... and Voldemort did destroy my hometown to make this thing."
Harry smiled and took the vial from Hermione. Aimee took the vial and removed the cork. She knelt down and was about to pour the Solution on the ring when five distorted voices called out:
Harry, Ron and Hermione pivoted quickly and had wands in hand, pointed at five figures in dark cloaks standing behind them. As usual, the Unspeakables were standing in a line, and four of them were slightly taller than a fifth one. There was no way to tell, but the Trio assumed that these five were the same Unspeakables they last encountered in May.
Aimee blushed and muttered, "Forgot to bring my wand..."
"How did they find out so quickly?" Ron asked.
Hermione shook her head. "They leeched onto my stones, probably. You know, so they would find out as soon as I did. Vultures."
"Unspeakables," Harry greeted. "How are things?"
"We can't talk about that, Mr Potter," said the middle Unspeakable. "But we can tell you that destroying Voldemort's Horcrux without studying it further would not be a good idea."
Harry sighed. "Why the fuck would we hand it over to you?"
The far right Unspeakable spoke up, "Mr Potter, it was an amazing feat that Voldemort was able to create the Horcrux initially. Many years of testing told us that making more than seven Horcruxes was impossible."
"Improbable," Hermione interjected.
The Unspeakable glared at her underneath his cloak. "Improbable then. Voldemort sacrificed this town to power himself up, correct? To create the Horcrux, he killed a lot of people, channelling all kinds of magic we don't fully understand. The next thing he did was send the Horcrux back in time."
"We know," Ron said. "Remember, we went back in time to stop it?"
"Anyway," said the second from right Unspeakable, ignoring Ron, "We came to the conclusion that Voldemort must of created a new ritual to create the Horcrux and send it back in time! We need to study it and find out how he did it! We have to have the Horcrux and find out its secrets."
"No you don't," Harry argued. He raised his wand a little higher and pointed it at the middle Unspeakable. "And we're not on Unspeakable territory anymore, kids. We're in Serenity Valley, a nice little town in the countryside here. Also, the local pub makes a good fish and chips."
"Stuff it! We're not letting you get the Horcrux!"
The far left Unspeakable started to mutter to himself, "Serenity Valley..."
"Mr Potter, can you see reason? The Horcrux is a valuable object to study!"
"Harry, don't anger them further..."
"Listen to the harlot, Potter. Hand it over!"
"Who is he calling her a harlot?"
"That's it!" said the far left Unspeakable suddenly. All arguments ceased between the Trio and the Unspeakables. "End in Serenity... that's what the prophecy talked about!"
"Prophecy?" eight voices asked.
The Unspeakable shook his head. "After our last encounter, I spoke to the prophecy archivist Bode. He told me of one that was made the night you three came back in time. A Sybil Trelawney special."
"Wait - Hermione was right?" Harry turned to his bushy-haired friend. "Our sacrifice was a prophecy being made about us? What did it say?"
"You don't need to know that," said the Unspeakable.
Harry gave them an annoyed look. "Whatever! Aimee, can you please tip the potion on Voldemort's soul piece before these vultures get to it?"
"Don't do it!" shouted the second from left Unspeakable.
"We must stop her!" exclaimed the middle Unspeakable.
"No!" declared the second from right Unspeakable.
The far right Unspeakable never got to finish his/her sentence, as the far left Unspeakable had deftly disarmed the cloaked figure and bound his/her hands together with a quick spell. Harry saw red at the Unspeakable's near use of a Killing Curse, and he sent a quick Bone-Breaking Curse at the cloaked figure's waist. The Unspeakable collapsed to the ground and cried out in pain, and three of the Unspeakables all pointed their wands at Harry.
The far left Unspeakable rolled his eyes under his cloak, and approached his fallen co-worker. He/she activated some kind of hidden Portkey, and the injured cloaked figure disappeared in a blue flash.
"Croaker?" one of the Unspeakables asked.
Croaker shook his head. "Mr Pink will be fine."
"Good," said the middle Unspeakable. He/she gestured to the Trio and Aimee. "Can we dispose of them?"
"No," Croaker said, shaking his head. "I'm pulling rank. Mr Orange, Mr Blonde and Miss White, go back to the office and I'll take care of things here."
The other three Unspeakables, presumably the Mr Orange, Mr Blonde and Miss White, all nodded and Apparated off with a single 'pop'. Harry involuntarily shivered at the three disappearing at once. Croaker picked up the discarded wand from the far right Unspeakable and sighed.
"Do it," he said. "Destroy the Horcrux. The prophecy is better off to be fulfilled than not. And we'll figure out how Voldemort did it. Trust us on that."
Hermione said, "Are you sure?" the exact moment Harry cried to Aimee, "Do it!"
The Golden Trio and Unspeakable Croaker watched as Aimee knelt down and emptied the entire vial of the Horcrux Killing Solution on Bill Weasley's wedding ring and chain. The ring and chain oozed and became a gooey black puddle, not unlike every other Horcrux upon contact with the Killing Solution. No spirits came flying out of the Horcrux; no echoing laughter from a disembodied Voldemort; no nothing.
Only Croaker was disappointed about things turned out. "I wish I could of studied it," he said.
Hermione sighed. "If you had found it first, would you have taken it?"
Croaker nodded. "In a hearbeat. If we found it before you three did, we would of taken it for study."
Aimee discarded the vial in the crater left by Voldemort's Horcrux, and walked over to Harry. He put an arm around her and drew her in for a long hug. Voldemort was dead for good this time, and he couldn't be happier that things worked out so well when he travelled back in time. The girl at his side was a good example of things working out well. Remembering what he and Aimee were up to before arriving at Serenity Valley, he smiled. Definitely worked out well.
"What now?" Harry asked the Unspeakable.
Croaker spent a minute or so thinking it over. Internally, he was wondering why he let them destroy the Horcrux in the first place. "I'm going to go back and add a red tag to the third prophecy involving the Voldemort. And you'll go back to your lives."
"Sounds like fun," Ron said. Harry, Aimee and Hermione all nodded in agreement.
Unspeakable Croaker turned around and walked off into the darkness, but not before getting in one last parting shot:
"No more time travel!"
End of Chapter 6. Please proceed to the Epilogue...
Epilogue :: The Future Years
The next several years were rather eventful for the key players in this little story.
Instead of fighting a war, the Golden Trio stayed in school, even though most of the classes were hilariously effortless.
In their fifth year, Harry, Aimee and Hermione gained positions as Prefects, and Ron joined the Gryffindor Quidditch Team as Keeper. Fred and George decided not to return to school for their final year, thanks to Harry and Ron's funding the previous year. Even with them gone, the Gryffindor Team won the year's cup, mostly because the other teams didn't have Harry as Seeker.
Sirius proved to be an excellent teacher, and sometimes recruited the Trio as teaching aides in his other classes. The Trio would duel each other and seriously freak out the other students with the amount of power involved. As such, they were probably the best DADA students in the whole school, though not many knew how they got so good.
At the end of the school year, Harry, Ron, Hermione and Aimee sat their OWLs, and a little bit of cheating (Thank you, Pensieve memories) ensured they all got top marks. Not as top to attract attention, but the four were in the top ten of their year by far.
Wedding bells were ringing during the summer, as Remus and Tonks tied the knot after four months of wearing Remus down until he relented. Ted and Andromeda Tonks were happy to give away their daughter to the werewolf, and Sirius got Tonks a deluxe wedding gift, by officially reinstating her family on the Black Family Tree and giving Remus and Tonks the Black Family mansion.
Remus and Tonks moved into Grimmauld Place a month after their honeymoon. The first thing the new married couple did was destroy the wall with Walburga Black's portrait on it, and hire Winky the house-elf to clean the place up and add a few new coats of paint. Remus' grey and boring style clashed brilliantly with Tonks' bright colours, and the house never looked less like a Dark family home.
Before leaving for Hogwarts and his sixth year, Harry reluctantly met his girlfriend's parents. Claude Moon and his wife Laura were hospitable to their daughter's boyfriend, until the story of how Harry and Aimee met came forth. While Harry enjoyed Claude going off, he didn't enjoy it being directed at him. A week later, the Moon parents were laughing it off, and Harry would chuckle along with them, if a bit cautiously.
Sixth year at Hogwarts brought nothing new to the table. Routine, routine and more routine. The Ministry however, managed to capture the in-hiding Death Eaters Gibbon and Rowle, who were locked in Azkaban by Christmas.
In the summer, Bill and Fleur got married, and Tonks announced she was pregnant. Headmistress McGonagall handed Harry the Head Boy badge at Bill and Fleur's wedding reception, leaving Harry quite shocked. Hermione got the Head Girl badge, after reassuring the Headmistress that she wouldn't let her down.
It was early November when McGonagall caught her Head Girl in a broom cupboard with Ron, but she wasn't punished too much. During the gang's seventh and final year, they all decided on future careers, or lack of. Hermione was a shoe-in for any teaching position, Harry and Ron could pass the Auror exams, and Aimee fancied being a Curse Breaker.
However, the great plan went downhill when Harry decided to follow Aimee into Curse Breaking, also working as a freelance bounty hunter with Ron in his spare time. Ron joined the Chudley Cannons, and brought them from the bottom of the barrel to about midway up in the barrel. Hermione dove into spell research, working in the Ministry and 'invented' several useful spells by using her future knowledge of war-related spells.
The other Weasleys lived their lives to the fullest, as you would expect. Fred and George's joke shop was a cash cow that never stopped bleeding, Charlie was head of one of his dragon reserves, Percy still held Crouch's position and was dating a woman named Audrey, and Ginny had joined the Hitwizard Squad.
Remus and Tonks had their first child in 1998, and Sirius and Harry flipped a coin to decide who was godfather. Unfortunately, the coin landed on its side, and a three hour argument over who was godfather ensued. Remus, still in shock about being a father, chose Ron as godfather to baby James Theodore, or JT.
Sirius and Penelope got married in the winter of 1999, after Penny decided it was about time she tamed the untameable Sirius. She was Amelia Bones' Junior Assistant, and quite liked her job, especially with someone level-headed as Bones in charge. Bones never went out of her way to shake the wizarding world up, but she did a good job at stopping any insurgence or Death Eater activity.
Ron and Hermione married in 2000, with Harry and Aimee as their best man and maid of honour. It was probably the biggest Weasley wedding, mostly because of the couple's immense wealth. While Harry and Aimee raided tombs, Ron had killed a Dark Lord over in Australia, filling his vault in Gringotts to the brim. Combined with Hermione's spell inventions, the couple were rich enough to buy a nice cottage in Serenity Valley, nicknamed the Burrowless Burrow.
Harry and Aimee, after deep sea diving for treasure, decided to forego all the pomp of a wedding and eloped at a small church in Godric's Hollow in 2001. Ron and Hermione were brought in to witness the tiny ceremony, presided by an irate priest who didn't approve of young love. It was a fun time for all. However, the Moon family was a little less inclined to go along with it, and Harry and Aimee had a real ceremony in 2002. That was a fun time too, and the happy couple wondered why they decided to skip the wedding in the first place.
June 3rd, 2004
Fourteen rows of plain brown bricks made up the wall in front of Harry Potter. The bottom three rows, a smattering of the next six, and a little of the top row were covered in the blood of former Moonfang Fighter Theodore Nott.
Former, meaning that Harry and Ron Weasley's old classmate was now glassy-eyed and cold, slowly smelling up the small townhouse he was found living/hiding in. Theo's arm was lying ten inches away from his body, the result of a stray curse that Ron 'accidentally' hit the man with as he was dying. A few more well placed spells, and Theo was slumped against the plain brown brick wall with fourteen rows of bricks, intestines spilling out onto the floor.
The killers were a few feet away from the body, Theo's blood pooling at their feet.
"How much is he worth?" Ron asked, looking not the slightest bit queasy. His partner-in-crime Harry was looking mildly uninterested at the slowly drying blood on his robes.
"Fifteen thousand Galleons," he said simply. "He was the last one we knew of..."
Ron snorted. "Don't get all sentimental on me Harry. We don't have any alcohol here to celebrate."
Harry laughed, before gesturing at Nott's body. "The Americans won't be happy he isn't breathing..."
"That's their problem," Ron replied candidly. "He fought back."
"He did, didn't he?" Harry said, sheathing his wand. "The Moonfangs are an American problem, and we're sent in to kill a British man."
The two men left the townhouse, and breathed in the night air outside.
"I can't believe Sirius is going to be a father," Ron said, as the two walked over to their brooms. "I mean, he's still a bit of child himself."
Harry snorted. "He's how old now? Let him settle down, that's what I say. And I got dibs on godfather. No coin flipping this time."
Ron smiled at the thought of his own godson. "Best coin toss ever."
"Too bad Nott was found so easily," Harry said, mounting his broom. "Weren't you hoping to avoid your own child? The little menace you named Harrison?"
Ron shrugged. "The few days away are fine enough. Hermione would kill me otherwise."
Harry laughed. "That's why we're not having kids for a few more years. Aimee and I just love tomb raiding too much."
Ron mounted his own broom, and the two men flew off into the night sky.
"Did you get any déjà vu back in that townhouse? Or was that just me?"
"It was probably just you."
There's the end of this story folks! Thanks to all that reviewed, put my story in favourites or on alert, or just read it and haven't done anything further. Thanks to JK Rowling for creating a very diverse universe that so many people can play with.
However, I'm not done with this series. Indeed, I could finish the story here, but I liked the concept of the Trio travelling back in time too much to settle with just To End in Serenity. So, there's a very good chance that I'll be writing what I call an 'AU of an AU' story, in which the Trio go back in time to 1994, but Voldemort's Horcrux has already arrived. A whole bunch of crazy things happen, and it's a rather different story than this one. No Triwizard Tournaments, Voldemort's already been resurrected, and there might be a different character interaction between Harry and Dumbledore. But, I'll still include Aimee as Harry's other half in this fic. I like writing her!
So, without further adieu, I'm announcing To End in Tranquility. Coming soon to this site, but I don't know when. Just keep an eye out for Tranquility or any other stories I write, and I hope you take the time to read them too!