Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the intellectual property of JK Rowling, and the fiscal property of JK Rowling, Bloomsbury Publishing, and Warner Bros. No profit has been made from this work.
Harry Potter stepped into the ritual chamber, wincing as he felt the battered muscles on his leg protest. He sank gratefully into the chair his wife had thoughtfully provided for just this sort of occasion. Speaking of his wife...
"If you say a single word, I'll surgically remove your testicles and push one up each of your nostrils." Hermione Potter said firmly as she tapped buttons furiously on her computer. "I'm busy."
Knowing that his wife didn't make idle threats, Harry sat in absolute silence as she finished tapping away. It took the better part of an hour, but Harry was grateful for the quiet.
Finally, she finished, and span round in her chair. "Hey, honey." She said sweetly. "How're things?"
"Fine." Harry replied bluntly. "Managed to avoid the latest hunter squads and got us some more provisions. Enough to last a month."
Hermione shook her head dismissively. "Won't need that long. By my calculations, I've pretty much finished. We'll need four days to charge everything, then we can go."
Harry sighed. "You're sure this'll work?"
With a tiny shrug, Hermione nodded vaguely. "Well... As sure as I can be, considering what we're talking about, Harry. I mean... There aren't any records of anyone attempting to do this."
"There wouldn't be, though, would there? I mean, if someone did manage to change the past, time would be rewritten to assimilate the attempt." Harry pointed out reasonably.
Hermione nodded. "I suppose..." She sighed. "I just wish we could have some definite proof. It's all well and good to announce that you're going to 'Open Wide the Gates of Time', but I'd prefer a bit more concrete data."
"Hermione, my sweet, beautiful love, it's you. With the exception of that cheese soufflé, you've never failed at anything."
Predictably, her eyes narrowed at the mention of her culinary disaster. "Just had to bring that up, didn't you?" She muttered sulkily. "Don't you remember the motto?"
Nodding, Harry said, "Of course... It's only a shame the bloody purebloods didn't bother to learn that you never tickle a sleeping dragon. Otherwise, this whole blasted Muggle War wouldn't have started."
Together, the two sighed in unison at the shitty state of the world they lived in... although, it wouldn't be for too much longer. If their calculations were correct, and as Harry pointed out, it was Hermione who had made those calculations, they'd be leaving the shattered remnants of this Earth and this timeline, and heading back into the past. A past where they could, and would, be making a difference.
So many things had gone wrong with the world in the last thirty-odd years. Ever since the pair had started at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the world had begun on a downward spiral. Voldemort had been destroyed by Harry, Hermione and... the other. However, the circumstances that had created Voldemort had never been changed. Wizarding England was a lush breeding ground for Dark wizards and prejudiced bigots. Voldemort had fallen, only to be replaced by Lucius Malfoy, who'd begun the most extreme Eugenics program in the history of magic. When he'd been deposed, by the remarkable Potters, his son had taken up his banner... only to lead to the current circumstances.
Lord Malfoy had declared war on the non-magical world, which had resulted in the entire planet being made aware of the wizards... and promptly deciding to attack them. The results were horrifically predictable. Seven billion non-magical against just over four million magical.
Hunter squads now roamed most of the world, looking for any trace of those who used magic. Once they were found, they were forcibly sterilised before they were 'debriefed'. In most cases, the unlucky witch or wizard died within a couple of months. There were rumours that Neville Longbottom had managed to survive for four entire years, undergoing multiple torture sessions per day. He'd never broken, and had almost replaced Harry as the 'wizard I wanna be when I grow up'... Not that there were many children left.
Hermione, brightest witch of her generation, had initially been shocked when Harry had come to her and told her that he wanted to Open Wide the Gates of Time, but her fine mind immediately grasped the basic premise: "We go back... we put right what once went wrong... we have a normal life.' The prospect was simply too appealing for her to ignore.
Her fine mind began working on the problem, using supplies and resources that Harry could scavenge. It'd taken the better part of nine years of hard work, but everything was complete. They had food, supplies and weapons all ready to take back with them. They had the tools and the talent. All they needed was a time and a place to get to, and a shitload of raw magical power to 'open the gates'.
The initial results of the project had opened temporal portals, but those portals were too unstable to allow matter to transfer through. Energy could pass through the portal with no problems, but since Harry and Hermione were flesh and blood, it couldn't work for them. And the portals they created were so small, it wouldn't allow anything bigger than an amoeba to pass through.
However... since energy could pass through the portal, and the duo needed a massive amount of power to create their own portal, Hermione came up with a more-than-wrong procedure; using the chronometric targeting scanners, they could accurately detect the femtosecond when a witch or wizard died... and transferred their magic to the storage batteries. They'd stolen the powers of thousands of witches and wizards, but they'd managed to get everything prepared for the main jump.
And now, they were prepared. The hall was rented... the orchestra engaged. All that was left was to see if they could dance.
#4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey. #16 Austen Way, Crawley, London. Two perfectly normal houses, on perfectly normal streets, in perfectly normal neighbourhoods. However, these two perfectly normal houses had one thing in common: inside each of them, massive chronometric waves were distorting the fabric of space and time.
In Austen Way, a single figure stepped into the room, spotted the young girl, and merged with the body. Since the two females were identical in every respect, except for the obvious temporal aspect, an ansible effect occurred, mixing the two together. The result appeared to be an eleven year old girl with big teeth and bushy hair. The actual result was the second most powerful magic user on the planet, with a life experience of decades, an intellect that would have scared Einstein and a sexual drive that would make even Casanova drop to his knees in worship... and exhaustion.
At the same time in Privet Drive, the entire house groaned as another figure appeared in a small storage area, phasing into a tiny boy, lying on a cot mattress in a dirty cupboard. The Chosen had arrived into his new time...
Harry blinked as his pain-ravaged body began to reboot. He glanced around the cupboard and grimaced. Christ, how he hated being in here. The first time around, he'd come to enjoy the solitude his cupboard gave him, but now he knew better, he was appalled that the Dursleys could do this to anyone, never mind a blood relative. With a frustrated sigh, he glanced at the lock on the door, dispelling it into its component atoms with the barest hint of a thought. He stepped out and stretched, feeling his magic begin to work on obliterating ten years of neglect.
While stretching, he raised his left arm to just above his face, and breathed lightly on his wrist. A pale yellow light came out of his mouth, circling his wrist and fading away. A green gem with a silver strap formed, looking like some kind of combination charm bracelet/watch. Holding a finger over the gem, he called out with his mind.
Calling all sex goddesses!
A moment later, a vaguely amused voice replied inside his head. There's only me here, Harry love. At the moment, I don't think this body qualifies as a sex goddess.
I don't think you could ever be anything but, sweetie.
I'm wearing 'Forever Friends' panties, Harry. Hermione's mental 'voice' sounded embarrassed. Jesus, I loathe 'Forever Friends'... it's only because Mum thinks they're cute that I have to wear them.
Harry glanced around, deciding to make himself a coffee before he departed from the Dursleys. He put the kettle on to boil before grabbing two mugs from the cupboard. I'm putting the kettle on, hon, if you want a coffee.
Without the faintest hint of a sound, Hermione was stood by his side. Soundless apparition came exceptionally easy to the two of them, and Dumbledore's anti-apparition wards were so full of holes, they were useless.
"Are you sure you don't wanna say 'goodbye' to the bastards upstairs?" Hermione asked, not bothering to keep her voice down.
"I can wait." Harry said innocently as he added milk to both cups. "I'd much rather do it when I'm seventeen, love. Watching them squirm as I take their house, their jobs and every scrap of money from them..." He shivered in anticipation. "Good times..."
Hermione grabbed the sugar bowl and gave them two spoons each. "So, where to first?"
Glancing at the clock, Harry thought for a moment. "Well... it's nearly eleven now. Give it an hour or so, then we can start with those bloody Horcruxes. The Gaunt shack, then Grimmauld. Leave Malfoy Manor for the last one out in the open."
The grin on Hermione's face was nearly feral. "I will admit, I'm looking forward to that one."
"Minx." Harry said fondly. "Then to Gringotts to get the cup. We'll kill those first, and hopefully get the one out of my head. If we've got time, we can go to Hogwarts, grab the diadem, steal the old man's wand and kill that bloody basilisk."
Hermione finished stirring the coffee, passing a cup to Harry and taking a slurp of her own. "Busy night, Harry."
"True." Harry ignored the 'it'll stunt your growth!' thoughts as he drank his coffee. "Still, it took Dumbledore six years to get that far, and even then the silly twat almost died because of it."
Enjoying the prospect of the manipulative old man dying for just a moment, the pre-teens shook their heads in unison as they focussed on the here and now. "So... we're gonna destroy the old man's plan in one night? I like it."
"Yeah, me, too." Harry replied. "Also, on that trip to Gringotts, I think we should do a spot of... housekeeping."
Hermione snorted. "That's gonna throw the cat amongst the pigeons, Harry. Are you sure you don't just wanna take it? I mean, while we've got all the proof that they've been stealing from you, and forwarding your gold and legacy to others, it'll create a shitstorm of global proportions. Doing it through 'proper channels', while the 'right' thing to do, is gonna be very messy. It'd be a whole lot easier just to nick the lot of it."
Harry chuckled. "I never thought I'd hear the day when Hermione Grang-"
"Potter." She interrupted.
"Hermione Potter," Harry continued seamlessly, "would advocate theft. And what is it Dumbledore always says? 'Do what is right, rather than what is easy'."
"Well, Dumbledore's a bloody idiot."
With a slight nod, Harry sighed. "They're hateful little shits, Hermione. Since they've nicked over half of my estate, they've got more than enough money to pay bribes to the right people, and you just know that Dumbledore will be all forgiving." He closed his eyes, before changing his voice to a familiar and very irritating voice. "'Harry, I know that the goblins have stolen from you, but you must learn to forgive others for their transgressions. You have more than enough money to live on... would you really begrudge the goblins, a race who have a history of being bloodthirsty warriors, the chance to earn a little gold?'" Harry coughed and took a quick slurp of coffee. "Yeah, I would actually, old man. No, we do it through the channels. Threaten them and if they don't comply, simply destroy them."
She nodded for a moment. "That was a very good impression." Hermione said absently as she glanced around the kitchen. "DFI: Did you clean in here?"
"It's very..." She glanced up at him. "How can you live in a house like this? It's like a show house. The decorating is simply dreadful, and the photos of pigs on the wall are very unclassy."
Harry snorted. "Those aren't pigs; they're Dudley. Actually, come to think of it..." He trailed off as the two laughed together. "Come on, love... lots to do. Race you to Hogsmeade!" He vanished in a trail of silent white smoke, a second column forming a second later.
Hagrid staggered out of the Hogs Head, deciding to drain the tanks before beginning the walk back to his hut on the grounds of Hogwarts. Making his way to the side of the pub, he undid the button on his trousers, hauling out his... He blinked as he spotted a couple of people apparating into the middle of the street.
Even though he hadn't seen Harry Potter since he was a tiny tyke in a blue blanket, he could almost instantly recognise the boy who'd just appeared. It helped that the boy was the spitting image of his father. The young girl who was with him, Hagrid didn't know, but she was clad in a white nightgown. Or rather, she was. The clothing rippled for a moment, before changing into skin-tight black clothing.
Even though Hagrid was half-giant, and thereby restricted from doing many 'normal' things, he'd been to many places in the world in his long life. He'd seen the Muggle Army at the end of the Second World War and he'd seen Special Ops forces as they prepared to head off to various missions. He recognised the clothing as combats fatigues, before the pair vanished again.
He knew he should report this to Dumbledore, but the pressure in his bladder certainly took a higher priority. While draining the main vein, a thought overcame him; how did Harry know how to apparate? And why was he leaving his family's house at this late hour? And why did he look so damned small?
Shaking once (and making sure to add the follow-up jiggle), Hagrid tucked himself away before fastening his fly, and beginning his walk back. Maybe a brief excursion to Surrey in the not-too-distant future would be in order.
Of course, many things change when the Gates of Time are opened. And in the case of all drunks, the instant his head hit the pillow, Hagrid forgot all about Harry Potter and the girl.
Harry appeared in the middle of a graveyard, his once and future wife appearing by his side. Instantly, she stepped backwards and turned, quickly moving back-to-back with Harry as they scanned the area for any threats.
"Clear." She commented after a moment.
"Clear." Harry confirmed, before he began walking to a tall angel statue. "It's this one, Hermione."
In another time and another place, Hermione Granger would no doubt have been horrified at the prospect of grave robbing. But in this time and this place, she didn't give a shite. "Okay, dig 'em up." She commanded gently. "I'll start the FiendFyre."
As Harry summoned the skeleton from the grave, the bones began to smoke before bursting into flame. FiendFyre had once been described as 'the power of the sun... in the palm of my hand'. When faced with mere calcium and marrow, the bones quickly lost as they were obliterated.
"Step one complete." Hermione reported as she banked out the flames. There wasn't even ash. "You're up, love."
Harry began stalking through the graveyard, looking like a wraith as he stepped in-between markers and headstones. They passed through a gap in the wall, spotting what could charitably be described as 'a hovel'. Harry stopped just by the edge of the property, before closing his eyes and extending his hands. Instantly, a shimmering wall of black light became visible to the human eye.
"Class-2 intent ward. Designed to make anyone sick if they intend harm to the contents of the property." Harry commented as he popped the ward like a bubble. "Some kind of Confundus charm on the house... yeah, that's shite. Anyone with half a brain's gonna be wondering why they're stood outside this shithole if they suddenly get confused, aren't they?" The charm up and vanished like a fart in the wind at Harry's casual thought.
Another ward appeared, glowing a pale yellow. "And this appears to be some kind of flesh-rotting curse... keyed to a Parseltongue pass phrase."
"Do you know what it is?" Hermione asked.
"Nope." Harry replied casually. "Doesn't matter, though, since..." As he spoke, the ward blinked for a moment before dissipating into sparkles. "And that's the outside done. From what the old bastard told me, there's some kind of curse on the door, which..." The door simply vanished as a ludicrously powerful Evanesco charm removed it from reality, "also doesn't matter. Last thing is the protections on the ring. Another flesh-rotting curse on the ring itself. If memory serves, an Egyptian-based spell."
Hermione was already striding forward, passing through the now-empty doorway. "Yeah... I can practically smell it. Did Dumbledore's hand smell like this?"
Harry was beside her in a heartbeat, and he took a deep breath. "Yeah, pretty much. That's why he kept carrying all those lemon drops. He hoped they'd mask the stench." Shrugging slightly, Harry stepped forward, kneeling down in front of an unremarkable patch of floor. With a casual wave of his hand, something began burrowing up from the dirt.
Pulling on a conjured dragon-hide glove, ignoring the simple fact that the vast majority of witches and wizards couldn't conjure something as complex and magical as dragon-hide, Hermione plucked the box from the floor, before opening it. Instantly, she could feel the compulsion to put the ring on wash over her, but her Occlumency was arguably the best in the world, matched only by that of her husband.
Taking the ring from the box, Hermione held out her hand, the ring sitting innocently in her palm, to Harry, who placed his above. Together, the two summoned as much of their power and cast a simple Finite Incantatum at the ring, dispelling the rotting curse and the compulsion charm.
"You know... it's rather scary just how easy this is." Harry noted as he plucked the ring from her palm and casually put it into his pocket.
"Years of training and planning." Hermione replied. "So, one down, couple more to go."
Hermione followed her husband out of the shack before sealing the property and casting another blob of FiendFyre, while Harry created a containment ward around the property, making certain the potent fire wouldn't escape. While the fire burned merrily, Hermione asked the next question: "So... Grimmauld Place?"
Linking hands, the two vanished.
The Most Noble and Ancient House of Black was appropriately named. The property was like a black hole, sucking in happiness and positive energy, while radiating evil and malice. As the two pre-teens appeared outside, the house began to feel threatened, sending notification to the occupants that danger was rapidly approaching.
"Standard snatch, grab and evade?" Hermione asked.
"Not quite." Harry said, stepping onto the stoop of the dark house. "Kreacher'll be inside here, and the demented little shit will no doubt try and kill us."
"Your choice, love; Obliviate or terminate."
It took Hermione a few moments to come to a decision, remembering just how evil the loathsome little cockroach could be. "I suppose... Obliviate. Wipe his mind and let him free."
Harry smirked at her. "Yes... if you insist."
"Stop smirking, Harry." Hermione scolded.
"It's just that it took you so long to decide." Harry said as he blasted the door inwards, raising a shield against the flight of poisoned arrows the house sent in response.
"It's a difficult decision." She replied defensively as she began pushing the shield into the house, ignoring the shrieking of the portrait in the hallway. "Technically, it's wrong to kill him, but he did commit a wide variety of crimes."
A chuckle from Harry destroyed a Boggart that tried to attack the pair from the kitchen, before a high-powered piercing charm nailed an angry doxy. "Yes, I know. Speaking of the little shitball, where is he?"
Hermione glanced around, spotting a pair of malevolent yellow eyes watching from the landing at the top of the stairs. "Up high, 2 o'clock." She commented, a tiny movement of her pinky finger freezing the elf in place, before a slight flick of her wrist destroyed his mind completely. "And he has left the building!" She said loudly, ducking as a grandfather clock on the wall emitted a spray of acid. "That'll leave a mark."
In the meantime, Harry had been forced to conjure a bubble around a cloud of poison that one of the elf heads nailed to the wall had breathed over them. "I'd forgotten how much this house hates people." He said absently. "Ironic thing in a house, really..."
Entering the drawing room, Hermione cast an Immobulus, freezing the doxies and puffskeins in place, before opening the display case with a wave of her hand. Harry plucked the dragon-hide glove from Hermione's waistband before grabbing the locket. Another Finite removed the compulsion charm, before it joined the ring in Harry's pocket.
"Two down, more to go." Harry said. "Let's set standard crash and burn exit."
The house began to burn as another dose of FiendFyre erupted, the shield around the house protecting the rest of Grimmauld Place from destruction. The two apparated away, not caring if Kreacher lived or died.
In the Ministry of Magic, an alarm sounded as a massive magical event was recorded. In the Office of Underage Magic, there were no reports being generated, but the Trace Room was practically erupting. Someone, and there was no record of this magical signature anywhere on file, had set FiendFyre. The observers quickly localised the event, before notifying the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, who sent out a six-man Auror squad to apprehend the idiot playing with forces best left alone.
It was unfortunate for the DMLE that when they arrive in Little Hangleton, there was nothing but the smouldering remains of some kind of outhouse. They performed a series of standard checks with their usual efficiency, meaning they missed the faint traces of apparition energy, before returning to Headquarters... only to be sent to the middle of London where, they were hurriedly told, there was a house in the middle of a Muggle street ablaze.
Arriving in front of an inferno, the Aurors could do little to penetrate the shield Harry had left. One of the Aurors, one of the very few witches in the whole of the UK with an ounce of logic, quickly determined that if the shield was keeping them out, there was a good chance it would keep the fire in. One of the younger wizards, sadly, not one blessed with the ounce of logic, decided that it would be better to break the shield and see if they could combat the blaze.
Fortunately for the other residents of Grimmauld Place, the young fool was overridden as the fire burned itself out.
While the Aurors were bungling their way around the country, Harry and Hermione had made their way to a pretentious manor in the south of Cambridgeshire. Hermione in particular had memories of this place. It was here, after all, that she'd been tortured by the Malfoy family for hours before Harry and him had managed to rescue her.
"Are you sure you wanna do this?" Harry asked, glancing at his young lover.
"You know it's dangerous."
"You know it could really piss them off. Hell, it probably will really piss them off."
"And you still wanna do it?"
With a sigh, Harry raised his hand, beginning a long incantation in his mind. Human to other species transfiguration was understandably rare, since it could go wrong in so many different ways, the most notable of which was the witch or wizard in question would not be able to change back. Fortunately, both Harry and Hermione was among the most accomplished magic users in the world, and the transfiguration, while complex and lengthy, was not dangerous... mostly.
Hermione's body began to decay, her skin turning almost black as her hair vanished. Her bone structure changed, increasing her height by nearly three feet as her combat fatigues changed into a hooded cloak. As her feet disappeared, she raised slightly into the air, floating a foot above the ground. Hermione Potter nee Granger was now a Dementor.
Harry quickly completed the change on himself, noting that transfiguring himself into a Dementor had one distinct advantage; he no longer felt the cold. In fact, he found it entirely comfortable feeling Hermione's chilling aura, and he instinctively knew that to move too far away from her would result in becoming overheated very quickly. It explained why the Dementors particularly enjoyed the frigid and damp climate at Azkaban Island.
Together, the two transfigured Dementors approached the outer edge of the Malfoy family wards, using their enhanced senses to pinpoint the weaknesses.
The outer wards are fairly weak. Hermione's voice said in his mind. Most of them are set up for warnings.
Since it's the Malfoys, they probably don't know the Patronus. Harry replied, his instinctive knowledge telling him that the two were vulnerable to those charms while in this form. Maybe we should leave the outer wards alone.
No. Hermione turned to near-glare at Harry. I want them down. I want them to know we're coming. And I want them to know true fear.
Harry sighed, exhaling a cloud of frozen air. As you wish. Raising a hand, a beam of pure mana splashed onto the outer ward, forming a bright green sparkle in the air as the two magicks battled for dominance.
I've got control of the outer warning ward. Activating all alarms. Harry reported.
While Harry was activating the alarms, Hermione poked her hand through one of the small hole, inverting the detection ward so that it scanned inwards. This had a double impact; it prevented the household from knowing what was attacking, and allowed the attackers to see inside.
Three humans are moving. She reported. Their magical signatures have just doubled. They've each grabbed a wand. Hmm... Draco's casting a Lumos spell. Hermione's demonic visage smiled evilly. I've just activated a tracking charm to the DMLE. They'll get an announcement that underage magic's just been used in about thirty seconds.
Harry the Dementor raised a hairless eyebrow. Ironic... and appropriate. I'm tapping into the travel wards. A bare second later, he sent, anti-apparition has been re-routed inwards. Floo grates are shut down. Portkeys have been routed to the lawn just in front of us. You ready for the next bit?
"Yes..." Hermione's voice sounded wrong coming from the Dementor's throat. I've just stunned the house elves. It's all yours, lover...
Harry passed through the wards like a hot knife through butter, and he sailed through the air with frightening grace. He waved his hand at the main doors, sending them crashing inside.
Incoming! Hermione warned. Based on the size, it's Lucky. Make sure he isn't, darling.
Focussing on the blonde, Harry magnified the unholy power of the Dementor, sending Lucius skidding to his knees as his mind became awash with his terrors. Wouldn't it be ironic if he was kissed?
Well, I'm not kissing him! Hermione sent back indignantly. Even as a Dementor, I have standards, Harry.
Chuckling silently, Harry passed by Lucius, heading into the drawing room and vanishing the carpet, spotting the poorly-concealed doorway to the Dark Arts cache. The Horcrux was pulsing angrily as it felt the presence of two more of the vile creations. The Horcrux rose from the floor, the compulsion charm vanishing at Harry's will. I've got it.
Hermione sent back a mental caress in acknowledgement, as she tore a large hole in the wards, enough to allow a team of Aurors through. I'm gonna set the roof ablaze, Harry. Should be enough to summon someone from the DMLE through. Combined with the underage magic warning, and... oh... Hermione trailed off as she spotted something unexpected approaching her. Harry, are you still inside?
Yes. Just making my way through the front doors now. Why?
Glancing at an exact replica of herself, Hermione sent, Because there's a Dementor staring at me.
Harry accelerated to his maximum speed as he raced towards the hole in the wards. Indeed, there were two Dementors hovering just at the edges. Are you okay?
So far, yeah...
You have taken our form. A third, impossibly ancient voice sounded in both of their minds, making the two flinch.
Harry redoubled his efforts, feeling like he was running flat out. Hoping to buy some more time to get to Hermione, since he couldn't use his own Patronus in this form, he quickly sent a reply. It was a disguise. He shouted mentally. We meant no offence to you or your race.
Why are you here? The Dementor asked.
It was Hermione's turn to answer. We are stopping a terrorist from unleashing a vile plot against innocents.
The Dementor stared at Hermione for a moment, before shifting round slightly to look at the desperately moving Harry. You serve justice?
We do. Harry said, followed a second later by Hermione. We meant no offence to you-
Stop. The Dementor commanded, holding up his hand. The race you call 'Dementors' are the guardians of the hellpits. We keep those who have sinned in their penance. We will allow this farce as you are committing justice, but you cannot use our forms again.
Agreed! The two teens sent as one.
Why do you carry three souls? The Dementor asked.
Three... Harry blinked. Oh! The Horcruxes... they contain the soul of the one who called himself Voldemort. The soul has been split. We aim to destroy it.
I will take it as penance. The Dementor said firmly, holding out one blackened and scaled hand. The price of you using our form and power. The four fragments you carry will be ours.
Hermione blinked as her form returned to that of an eleven year old girl. "You can remove the fragment from Harry's head?"
Harry finally got to Hermione and changed his own form back. "And you'll leave my soul alone?"
The reply sounded almost... sulky. Yes. I will only take the abomination.
Hermione glanced at Harry with an indecipherable look on her face. "You could always take Lucius Malfoy as well..."
The Dementor started at her for a moment. He has not been sentenced to a crime.
"Of course not." Hermione scoffed. "He bought his way out of it. Had he faced a trial, you would have been feasting on his soul over ten years ago."
Slowly, the Dementor scanned her words for truth, before nodding slightly. It will be as you say. I cannot take the woman or child. While both are evil, they have not committed crimes enough to be taken by us.
"We can live with that." Harry said. "There is, however, something more that we need to talk about."
The Dementor's head cocked for a moment, and Hermione had a silly image of a hellhound puppy being told to stop peeing on the carpet. She quickly banished the image from her mind. Speak.
"Is the last war, Voldemort approached you." Harry said firmly. "You didn't join with him, but we both know it was a very close thing."
The Dementor nodded slowly.
"Voldemort is going to die, properly die, within the next two months. When that happens, if you wish to continue as the guards of Azkaban, you need to keep your noses clean. No raiding parties, no unauthorised breeding and no leaving the prison."
You ask much.
"I offer much; your race's survival." Harry said. "The ancient magicks that can destroy your race have not been lost. Rather, they've been kept in a secret location. If you turn on the Ministry, they will be forced to obliterate you."
The Dementor stared for a moment. It will be as you say. The other soul fragments and the adult in return for our neutrality.
"Deal." Harry, Hermione and the Dementor all flashed as the bargain was struck. The world was knocked off course for the rest of time as the Dementors pledged loyalty to the Ministry and to justice.
Passing over the Diary, the Ring and the Locket, the Dementor pressed it's rotting lips to the artefacts, casually sucking the soul fragments out before passing them back, and lurching forward, pressing it's vile lips to Harry's scar. Unlike the last time Harry'd had a Horcrux removed, this was merely excruciating, instead of being deadly.
The Dementor pulled back, smacking it's lips slightly, before their new ally sailed forward, passing through the wards as though they didn't exist, aiming straight for the still-dazed Lucius.
Harry took Hermione's hand in preparation to apparate away, but she shook her head. "I want to see this." She said firmly. "This is justice, as horrible as it is, and we should bear witness."
The two watched as the Dementor gently took hold of Lucius' face, moving it's hooded face closer. They could see Narcissa screaming and hurling spells with all her might at the Dementor, but there was a reason such creatures were feared.
Hermione felt a wave of grim satisfaction as Lucius' body suddenly went limp as the Dementor raised itself up, and soared into the air. "Time to go." She said, waving a hand and setting the roof ablaze with FiendFyre. That would be enough to summon the Aurors, and with the damage they'd done, it was enough to forever destroy the Malfoy family.
The pair arrived back in Hogsmeade, their dark clothes allowing them to blend seamlessly into the night. "Where to next?" Hermione asked. "I'm thinking Hogwarts to get the diadem, then off to Gringotts in the morning."
"Sound plan. Probably easier than getting into Gringotts at this time of night." Harry said softly. "Jesus, I feel better. I'd forgotten just how stifling that cancerous shit was."
Taking his hand, Hermione began walking up the road towards the school. While walking, she let out a dainty yawn.
"I know." Harry said, mimicking her instantly. "It's gotta be 2am... I'm so not used to this in this body."
Hermione nodded, finishing her dainty-cum-mammoth yawn. "Yeah..." She shook her head slightly, trying to clear the cobwebs. "These little bodies are used to handling this much magic, either. I feel knackered. Your place or mine?"
"Well... you have a bed." Harry pointed out. "I have a cupboard."
"Yeah, but I also have god-fearing parents who think magic's unnatural." Hermione rebutted. "Then again, you have freaks who think you're unnatural. Hmm... rock... hard place..."
"Could always just kip in the Shrieking Shack." He said. "A couple of warming charms and a bit of transfiguration and it's good as new."
"True..." As they approached the gates, Hermione put her hand on the left gatepost, while Harry place his hand on the other.
"Heir's access." They said together, waiting a moment before the gates swung open soundlessly. They joined hands again and carried on walking.
The mighty doors of Hogwarts, which had stood for a thousand years against all invaders, were no match to the two pre-teens. It helped that the doors opened just enough to let them squeeze through, before closing silently.
Harry, long used to being sneaky, led Hermione through the various secret passages up to the seventh floor, pacing back and forth three times in front of the statue of Barnabus the Barmy. I need a place to hide my Horcrux... I need a place to hide my Horcrux... I need a place to hide my Horcrux... On the third repetition, the solid stone wall changed into a thick wooden door, which swung open before they could touch it.
"Think Hogwarts is helping us?" Harry asked with a grin.
"Just a bit." Hermione replied, her grin equally as wide. "Not a surprise, though."
"Nah... she probably wants it out of her as much as we do." Harry said as he strode into the room, heading straight for the bust of some lost-to-time wizard. On top was a dusty diadem.
"FiendFyre?" Hermione asked.
As if in response to the question, a kiln appeared four feet to their left, a thick iron door in the front.
"Oh, yeah... she's helping." He said. "Thank you, Hogwarts."
A wave of gratitude washed over them, the semi-sentient castle sending her burgeoning feelings to the two in the only way she knew how. While most thought of Hogwarts as such a stone shell, the castle had been feeding off the ambient magic the children emitted, and was well on her way to full sentience. It would probably take another few centuries, but the children of that time would be far different to Harry and Hermione...
Tossing the priceless relic into the kiln, Hermione cast the spell while Harry slammed the door shut. Unlike the destruction of the other four Horcruxes, done by being eaten, this Horcrux was being destroyed... and was less than happy about it.
From inside the kiln, the kids could hear the Horcrux screaming for help.
"No! Release me! Please..."
"Sorry, Tom." Harry said emotionlessly. "You've done your crime... this is your time. You must be destroyed."
"And good bloody riddance..." Hermione muttered under her breath. "Murdering bastard..."
The two watched and waited until the screaming died down, before Harry opened the door, Hermione killing the flame with a thought. Inside the kiln was a small puddle of silver liquid, slowly cooling and settling into a tatty lump.
"Shame the diadem couldn't be saved." Harry said softly.
"Meh." Hermione replied. "It was cheating, anyway. It's the sort of thing Malfoy would have used to pass his exams."
"True." Harry glanced up. "We're done here, Hogwarts. When we come back in September, we'll purge you of those who would destroy you."
The castle hummed for a moment, before retreating back to her own consciousness.
"And sleepy-bobies time." Hermione said, opening a nearly invisible door, which led to the edge of Hogsmeade.
The following morning, Harry and Hermione got up, transfigured some of the rubble in the shack into a bathroom and prepared for their next mission; Gringotts. After a reasonably filling conjured breakfast, they adopted the same policy they had the previous evening; transfiguration. It took bare seconds to turn each other into a goblin.
They apparated, landing just outside the cart tracks in the tunnels of Gringotts. Waving a long-fingered hand, Hermione summoned a cart to take them to the Lestrange vault. As the cart belted along the track, Hermione spoke for the first time in her goblin body.
"Did I mention," she said casually, "just how much I hate these carts?"
Harry, as an adrenaline junkie, just shook his head. He was having to use most of his considerable willpower to avoid whooping like a child on a roller coaster.
"Man child." Hermione scolded as she clung onto his arm for dear life. "Why can't they just use a lift like normal people?"
"They're not people." Harry pointed out as the cart began slowing. "They'll tell you that themselves."
As the cart finally pulled to a halt, Harry sprang out of his seat, waving his hand at the blind dragon that was guardian of this vault. The dragon immediately fell asleep, the snoring near-deafening in the relatively small cavern. Without bothering to waste time, Hermione clambered out of the cart and made a pulling gesture at the door. With a groan, it was ripped from its hinges and flung onto the cart tracks.
Harry, being a good little boy, pushed it until it fell off the tracks and fell into the bottomless cavern below. No point in causing an accident...
While Harry was being socially responsible, Hermione plucked the dragon-hide glove from her waist band and grabbed the golden cup of Helga Hufflepuff. A joint Finite ended the heating curse and the replication curse, before the goblet was tucked neatly into Harry's pocket.
"We done?" Harry asked.
"We are. Let's make like the shepherd and get the flock out of here." Hermione replied, taking his hand and beginning to apparate. Unfortunately, the goblins were experts in warding, and it took almost ten seconds to push their way through the 'ancient and impenetrable' wards. As they raced through the rubber tube back to Hogsmeade, Harry cancelled the transfiguration on them, so that when they reappeared, they were just Harry and Hermione, dressed in black jeans and black t-shirts.
As soon as they materialised, Hermione took one look at them and triggered another apparition, heading back to Diagon Alley's landing zone. They still had business at Gringotts...
"What?" The goblin snapped angrily as he stared at the two younglings in front of him.
"I want to see the manager of this branch now." Harry repeated. "If I don't, I will take every coin the Potter family has and I will destroy this bank."
The teller growled at the presumption of a mere human, a youngling, threatening the noble bank of Gringotts. "Wait here!" He commanded as he scampered off to the office.
Harry leaned against the counter, looking every inch a bored patron, instead of a much older man in a child's body, threatening an entire race.
It took almost ten minutes for the teller to return with another goblin, dressed in a smart suit. Harry rolled his eyes as he glanced at Hermione. "I knew they'd try this..."
"You asked for me?" The smart goblin asked.
"No." Harry corrected sharply. "I asked for the manager of this branch, not some damned patsy. You take me to Ragnok now... Or I will destroy this bank. If he's not brought to me within the next two minutes, you can kiss this institution goodbye."
The smartly dressed goblin took one good look at Harry and Hermione... then began running. Even though the body was that of a child, the goblin could sense the universe of power the two wielded. It was sufficient to destroy Gringotts and exterminate every last goblin.
119 seconds after the ultimatum, Ragnok skidded to a halt in front of Harry and Hermione. "What do you want, human?" The elder goblin, naturally, managed to make the word 'human' sound like an insult.
"We shall speak in private." Harry said firmly. "Your office."
Fuming, a still-panting Ragnok led the two children to his office, making discrete hand gestures at the guards. Even though he had to wear glasses, Harry had excellent peripheral vision and spotted a platoon of guards assembling behind them.
"20 at 6." Harry muttered under his breath to Hermione, who nodded almost-imperceptibly.
"Got 'em." Hermione said without moving her lips.
Once in the office, the platoon of guards 'discretely' took up a position outside the office doors, barely a second's travel time to combat. Ragnok sat behind his desk, staring at the two children with disdain. "What do you want?"
Harry took one pace forward. "I am Harry James Potter. I give you one opportunity to make right with me, or I will withdraw all my family money from this institution before I destroy it."
Ragnok's eyes narrowed. "You are a fool to come to us and threaten, human."
"Really?" Harry raised an eyebrow. "When my parents died in 1981, they left 9,871,239 Galleons, 12 Sickles and 7 Knuts in their vault. There was no-one who was authorised to enter that vault... so why is the balance just under two million galleons?"
"You accuse us of theft?" Ragnok roared, jumping to his feet.
"Sit down, little man." Hermione said coolly, her voice lowering the temperature in the office by at least ten degrees.
"Your institution has allowed Albus Dumbledore to subvert millions of galleons from my vaults. Eight million galleons."
"Rubbish!" Ragnok snapped. "No goblin would steal!"
"Check the vault." Harry said. "You'll find there's a massive amount missing."
Summoning one of the guards from outside the door, Ragnok sent him to find the Potter account manager. The goblin, realising that there was trouble, but not necessarily from where they thought, ran as though his life depended on it.
Ragnok stared at the humans. "Tell me how you know of this deception." He commanded.
"No." Harry replied. "But I will tell you what I expect of you; you will restore the vault's balance to 9,871,239 galleons with immediate effect. By 'immediate effect', I mean within one hour. If you don't, I will stand outside your bank and tell every single person that I see that you have allowed theft from my vaults. I will also release an article in every magical newspaper on the planet, telling them of your duplicity. I will also go to the Wizengamot and declare you oath-breakers."
Ragnok paled slightly. "You would destroy us..."
"I would." Harry said firmly. "You have allowed a massive crime against me, and I don't suffer such things. You either fix your mistakes to my satisfaction or your entire race will be hunted down and destroyed like animals."
Even though the human was clearly a youngling, Ragnok could sense his power and the resolve in his words. "Until such time as your allegations are proven correct, I will do nothing."
"The clock's ticking." Hermione said, waving her hand and creating a smoky display, a countdown of 59 minutes.
"We have guarded your family's money for centuries!" Ragnok protested.
"And what a fine job you've done of it." Hermione sneered. "Theft, working with wizards to steal even more... you disgust me!"
Harry just stared at the clock. "You'd better tell my account manager to hurry. Time's a wastin'."
Almost on cue, another goblin entered the office, bearing a heavy time in it's arms. He looked up and saw Harry and gulped slightly, a move all three of the occupants of the office saw.
"Griphook!" Ragnok snapped. "This human is declaring you a thief and an accomplice! What do you say to these allegations?"
"Lies!" Griphook protested immediately, then slammed the book onto the table, opening it and displaying the balance to the manager.
"You have a lot of nerve, human!" Ragnok snapped. "The balance of the vault is over nine million galleons!"
"The book shows that, yes." Harry agreed. "But, the guard who you sent to count the money will be getting the truth."
"When he comes back and he confirms that the balance is lower than it should be, what will you do then?" Harry said, looking politely bored.
Ragnok said nothing, just leaning back in his chair, his hands folded neatly in his lap, waiting.
The humans stared at the goblins for almost ten minutes before the out-of-breath guard came rushing back in. He leaned to Ragnok's ear and whispered something.
It was Ragnok's turn to pale again, as his normally-green skin faded to a chalky white. "Eight million galleons..." He whispered, before his face hardened and he turned to Griphook. "Speak!"
Griphook said nothing, just stared at the book, hoping that this was all a dream and he hadn't been caught.
"Where did the money go?" Ragnok demanded, reaching up to grab Griphook by the throat. "Answer, if you value your life!"
Slowly, Griphook began to choke, before he nodded. "Dum... Dumbledore..."
"Guards, seize the Dumbledore vault!" Ragnok ordered. "Get me a balance, now!" One of the guards ran. "Where else? Where else?" The elder goblin roared.
"Guard, seize the Snape vault!" Another goblin ran.
"M-My vault..." Griphook admitted.
Without waiting to be told, another goblin ran.
Harry casually created a small loveseat for him and Hermione to sit down on while they waited. The smoke clock continued to tick down, now showing 46 minutes.
As the three guards came rushing back in, they each reported the balances of the vaults in question. When included with the contents of the Potter vault, it came to a shade under 8 million galleons.
"Where is the rest of the money?" Ragnok demanded.
"S-Spent..." Griphook said miserably.
Huffing, Ragnok looked at Harry. "We are able to recover most of your funds."
"No." Harry shook his head. "It was a goblin's duplicity that allowed this travesty to happen. You will have to make up the rest yourselves. And you have 44 minutes left to do so."
Ragnok growled. "That is not enough time... and why should Gringotts have to suffer?"
"Because of your incompetence." Hermione said firmly. "9,871,239 galleons. We shall forgo the twelve Sickles and seven Knuts. And you now have 43 minutes left to do this."
With another growl, Ragnok began scribbling on a piece of parchment on his desk. "It is not possible to move this sum of money in that-"
"Then find a way to make it possible." Harry interrupted. "Use that tube system to get the money back into my vault. Unlike most wizards, I do not say what I don't mean. If the money isn't there, I will destroy you."
Still growling, Ragnok signalled to the guards. "Take two million galleons from the loan fund and move it into vault #687. Move it now."
While the guards began the rather hefty task of moving millions of galleons of gold into the correct vault, Ragnok looked at his 'guests'. "Refreshments?" He snapped.
"I wouldn't trust you not to lace it with poison." Harry replied bluntly. "And we have other business to discuss."
Ragnok just gestured impatiently.
"What is the penalty for those who steal from Gringotts?"
"Death." Ragnok said simply.
"Severus Snape, Albus Dumbledore and Griphook the Goblin. I want them prosecuted to the full extent of the law."
Ragnok sighed. "We can only put the request for Dumbledore and Snape... the Wizengamot must agree to it."
"You have, under the 1183 charter, the authorisation to capture criminals, try them and execute them. You will do so on September 1st, at Hogwarts." Hermione said. "This is not a request, goblin. This is a direct order which you will follow."
Knowing the two pre-teens had him over a barrel, Ragnok nodded. "What time?"
"About 8pm, during the start of team feast." Harry said, deciding this would be the best time to expose the manipulative old man. "Bring Amelia Bones with you."
"It will be as you say."
"There is more." Harry said, turning to Hermione and taking her hand. "I claim my emancipation as the last of my line." He glowed for a moment. "I am now Lord Potter."
"Yes... My Lord." Ragnok said, the words sounding painful as he spoke.
"My marriage to Hermione, the Lady Potter, will be recognised." As the words were verbalised, a pair of rings appeared, one of each of the children's hands. "For all time is Hermione the Lady Potter."
Ragnok blinked in confusion. Neither teen was old enough to marry, hell, they weren't old enough to know about their magic, and yet magic itself had declared the two as married. How? When he asked the question, he was told, "None of your business," by the children in unison.
As the clock ticked down, Ragnok became more and more antsy. As the minutes vanished, to be replaced by seconds, a breathless goblin rushed in. "It... it is... done, My Lord..."
"Excellent." Harry and Hermione stood up together. "Now, we'll go to our vault. Fetch us a cart."
The guard glanced at Ragnok, who nodded, before leading them back to the tracks at the rear of the bank.
Another hellish cart-ride later, Harry stepped into the vault with Hermione, sending the goblin to wait in the cart. Hermione conjured a trunk, opened the lid and tapped each of the interior corners. Harry waved his hand, sending a stream of thick coins into the trunk. On the lid, a balance appeared, Hermione's spell counting the gold as it was added to the trunk.
It took ten minutes to load the entire cash contents of the vault, the lid displaying 9,871,240. "They gave us one too many." Hermione said, sounding amused. "Leave that in the vault, or use it as a tip?"
"Leave it." Harry said. "I won't be accused of being a thief."
Slamming the lid, Hermione waved her hand over the trunk, before opening the lid again. Another compartment became visible, this one empty. Harry gestured to one of the blank walls, dispelling the illusion charm over the wall and revealing a single bookcase. Harry gestured, sending the top row of books into the trunk. As the books left the shelf, more appeared.
"I love your Mum's filing system." Hermione said, her eyes wide and her voice sounding husky.
"Bibliophile..." Harry muttered as he directed more and more books into the trunk.
"You know it..."
As the bookshelf revealed its last set of books, Harry turned to another seemingly blank wall, removing the illusion charm from the Potter family weapons. Swords, daggers, a crossbow and the ceremonial armour all flew into another compartment of the trunk.
"And that's... everything." Harry said as the trunk lid slammed shut and the trunk shrank down to the size of a deck of cigarettes. He glanced around the vault, resisting the urge to laugh as he saw a single golden galleon sitting in the middle of the floor. "Let's go."
Back in the cart, the two pre-teens remained silent, ignoring the glances of the guard. As it pulled up to the lobby, Harry sprang to his feet, extending a hand daintily. Hermione took the hand and stood, not even bothering to glare at the goblin, who was looking hopeful for a tip.
Arm in arm, the two walked out of Gringotts, never to return... but they would see the goblins again. Either on September the first when they came to arrest Dumbledore... or in the Wizengamot as they destroyed Gringotts forever.
The month of August passed quickly. Harry received his Hogwarts letter and sent back a politely-worded reply, acknowledging his acceptance. Hermione had sent hers back months previously, as she'd received it on her eleventh birthday, last September.
A quick and quiet shopping trip had gotten them their supplies, and while in Diagon Alley, Hermione had sent a letter to the uncaring monsters that she was forced to call 'parents', telling them that she'd found a nice, freakish wizard to stay with, and she'd never be returning. Their response wasn't surprising, and it certainly wasn't polite, but did agree to let her stay with Harry... not that they had a choice.
Finally, the last day of summer was upon them, the two spending the day packing their trunks, making certain that the Potter Family wealth was protected, and in Hermione's case, the Potter Family library. After taking a long soak in the tub, the two snuggled into bed.
"It's gonna be weird." Harry said after a few moments introspection.
"As if!" Hermione scoffed. "Married students' quarters, husband of mine. No chance am I sleeping apart from you. These bodies aren't old enough for the good stuff yet, but I'm still not sleeping on a cold bed alone. And when we are old enough, Harry, my love..." She smiled as she saw his eyes darken. "Well... you remember the first time, don't you?"
Oh, did he remember the first time! "Hermione..." He moaned softly. "The spirit's willing, but the flesh is pre-pubescent... don't tease me..."
"No, I'm not." She replied, smiling coyly. "Remember, dear, I'm ten months your senior... how do you think I feel?"
Resisting the urge to be dirty, Harry just pouted. "Minx..."
"You love me."
"I really do..."
After a moment of comforting snuggling, Hermione asked the question that had been on her mind ever since they'd Opened Wide the Gates of Time: "So, how do you wanna handle tomorrow? Discrete or flashy?"
Harry smirked evilly. "Hermione, I'm shocked that you'd need to ask that!"
"Yes, I suppose so." Hermione sighed. "You are the son of a Marauder, after all."
"Yep. And I've outgrown that pesky 'embarrassed of my fame' shite, too."
"So, we're gonna make damned certain everyone knows?"
"And it'll be massively public?"
"Well, do you remember..."
At 10:50 the following morning, Harry grabbed his trunk, shrinking Hedwig's cage and sending her on her way, while Hermione put her cat carrier into her small handbag. She'd managed to find a kitten Crookshanks in Magical Menagerie and had bought him instantly. Joining hands, the two apparated...
...into the last compartment of the Hogwarts Express. Fortunately, the compartment was empty, allowing the two children plenty of room to stretch out. Tucking the two featherlight trunks onto the luggage rack, Harry sat down, pulling Hermione into his side.
"D'you reckon Ron'll turn up?" Hermione asked.
"If he does..." Harry sighed. "I don't know how to treat him, Hermione. After what he did... He betrayed us, and I honestly can't blame him for it."
Hermione sighed. "I know, Harry... I don't blame him, either. He was ordered to become your friend by Dumbledore, but he threw the old man's orders away... point in his favour. During the Horcrux Hunt, he gave up our location in return for his family's safety... The entire Weasley family over us... maybe we should just start fresh. With what we're planning to do, there's no danger of him betraying us."
"But any relationship between us will always be coloured by what we remember." Harry pointed out reasonably. "I think we should treat him like Seamus and Dean... buds, but no close relationship. No 'Golden Trio'..."
Hermione nodded. "I suppose you're right... Probably for the best."
Sitting uncomfortably for the moment, the two dismissed thoughts of Ron. "What about Malfoy?" Hermione asked.
Harry's smirk was back. "Well... odd thing; I might have just overheard what happened to them while I was at the Ministry, getting rid of the Resurrection Stone." He could feel Hermione's full body shudder. Any talk of the Veil of Death made her shake. "It's the safest way to get rid of it." He said softly.
"Still hate that thing..."
"I know, but it's done with. Nothing can go and get it from the Veil. It's forever out of the reach of mankind... as it should be."
Harry pulled her close and held her until the shudders faded away. "While I was passing through the DMLE on my way out, I heard Amelia speaking to Narcissa. They've come to a 'settlement', considering that the Aurors found their cache while dealing with that 'unfortunate' incident involving Lucius. They're pretty much bankrupt. They've still got their Manor, but all their holiday property's gone, their vault was confiscated and they have to submit to weekly inspections by the Aurors. The Malfoy money won't be a threat anymore..."
The two fell into a comfortable silence for a few minutes, before a loud whistle sounded on the platform. "And we're off to see the wizard... the wonderful wizard of Oz..." Harry sang softly, making Hermione snort in amusement.
Less than fifteen minutes into the train ride, a head appeared in the doorway, which lit up when he spotted the occupants. It was Ron.
"Do you mind if I join you?" He asked, hauling his trunk into the compartment, without waiting for an answer. "All the other compartments are full."
"No, they're not." Harry and Hermione replied in unison.
Ron's eartips were instantly red. "Yeah, they are."
Harry stood, moved out of the door and peered in the next compartment... which was empty. "That one's empty." He said as he came back into the compartment. "Here, I'll help you move your trunk." Not even giving Ron time to think, he started lugging the trunk into the next compartment. Ron, however, woke up.
"Wait!" He began tugging on his trunk, stopping Harry from simply walking away with it. "Can't I join you?"
"You came in here and said all the other compartments are full." Hermione pointed out reasonably. "That means that you were looking for an empty compartment. There's one right there, so we'll help you into that one."
"Well... I'd rather sit with people." Ron said. "And besides, he's Harry Potter..."
"I know." Hermione said. "So what?"
Ron turned to Harry, and asked the inevitable question. "Have you got... you know... the scar?"
"Yes." Harry said coldly.
"Can I see it?"
Ron pouted. "Why not?"
"Because I don't like showing my facial disfigurement off to people." Harry replied. "That's why I have a long fringe. And you're being very rude... whoever you are."
Dropping his trunk, Ron held out his hand. "I'm Ron. Ron Weasley."
"Charmed." Hermione drawled.
"Well... nice to meet you, Ron." Harry said, taking the now-free trunk and pulling it into the corridor. "Your compartment awaits, sir. Please, feel free to leave us alone."
Ron was looking nervous as Hermione pushed him into the corridor, holding him at bay until Harry could return to the compartment and shut the door, locking Ron out. He tugged on the door for a moment, before his shoulders slumped and he headed into the empty compartment.
"Yeah... he was sent here on Dumbledore's orders." Harry complained quietly. "Yeah, he grew out of it eventually, but at the moment, he's just a fan-boy, here on Dumbledore's command. No Trio."
"No Trio." Hermione confirmed. "Still... there's one more visit I'm expecting."
"Not Malfoy?" Harry asked, sounding in disbelief. "You're not serious?"
"Never underestimate the stupidity of fools, Harry." She replied. "Surely if you've learned anything about the Wizarding world, Harry, it's that."
Hermione's prediction came true two hours, fourteen minutes into the train ride. The door jiggled for a moment, before Hermione released the lock. The door opened revealing Malfoy, his ever-present bookends just behind him. Clearly, he hadn't told them about how the Malfoy estate had been decimated.
"I've heard that Harry Potter's on the train." Malfoy said with a sneer.
"I've heard that, too." Harry said.
"It's you, is it?"
"Well... if it isn't, you've just made a fool of yourself."
Malfoy scowled. "Are you Potter?"
It could almost have been scripted as Malfoy held out his hand. "I'm Malfoy. Draco Malfoy. And I can help you get to know the right sort of people in the Wizarding world." He sneered at Hermione, instantly knowing that she was just a Mudblood.
"And what's the 'right sort' of person, Malfoy?" Harry asked. "You mean you?"
"Yes." Malfoy said simply.
"Didn't I hear that your family are a bunch of paupers?" Hermione asked, looking particularly vindictive and smug. "Didn't I hear that the entire Malfoy fortune was confiscated by the Ministry because of Dark Arts supplies in your house? And didn't I hear that your daddy was kissed by a Dementor?"
Malfoy's face dropped as the list was read out, before he turned a pale puce colour. "Shut your mouth, Mudblood! You know-"
He stopped speaking as Harry's fist impacted his nose, sending a spurt of blood onto the floor. "You ever call her that again, Malfoy, and I'll call you out for an honour duel to the death!" Harry snapped. "You two, take that piece of shit out of my sight!"
Crabbe and Goyle just nodded as they each grabbed an arm, nodded respectively to Hermione, before dragging Malfoy away.
"You know... I bet those two have potential." Harry said as he closed the door.
When the trolley witch came round, the two kids bought a couple of bottles of ice cold apple juice to have with the sandwiches they'd made before leaving the house. Neither of them had drunk Pumpkin Juice for years, ever since it became obvious to the hunter squads that magicals never drank anything but.
While eating their lunch, they were interrupted by a timid knock on the door. They looked up as one, both breaking into wide grins as they spotted the slightly chubby, sandy-haired boy stood outside.
"Neville..." Hermione whispered, thrilled to see one of her most loyal friends again. "Open the door, Harry."
Already doing so, Harry smiled pleasantly at the boy outside the door. "Hello, there. What can we do for you?"
Timidly, Neville recognised Harry instantly. "H-Hi, there..."
Harry waited while Neville gathered his courage. "I'm Harry." He said, holding out a hand. "This is Hermione."
"N-Neville Longb-bottom." The shaking boy replied timidly. "Have you seen my toad?"
Resisting the urge to make a pun about small, slimy creatures that like dark, warm spaces, Harry simply shook his head. "Haven't seen a toad, friend, but we'll help you look if you'd like."
"T-Thank you." Neville was rather shocked; everyone else he'd asked had basically told him to piss off. And now, the most famous person in the Wizarding world was offering to help? How... strange.
"Locatus..." Hermione looked up. "Sorry, Neville, what was your toad's name?"
"Locatus Trevor." Hermione intoned, holding up her wand. Out of the tip came a series of numbers in smoke. "He's 26 metres that way." She said, pointing towards the front of the train. "Come on, let's go find him." Leading the way, and hearing Harry lock the compartment door on the way out, they headed down the train, stopping as the numbers counted down to zero. "Well... he should be somewhere around here..." She said, glancing around. "Must be in the toilet."
Opening the door, Hermione found Trevor resting underneath the u-bend, looking mightily pleased for an amphibian. As she picked him up, she caught a whiff of urine. "Ew... ew... ew..." Washing Trevor under the cold tap for a moment, she passed him to Neville while she dried her hands. "Wow... that's not disgusting at all, is it?" She mumbled to herself.
"Come on." Harry said, intent on returning to his compartment, with Neville in tow. However, as he passed one compartment, he froze, a slightly devious idea on his mind. He subtly pressed the green gem he still wore on his wrist. Hermione?
Not making any recognition, Hermione placed her right hand on her left wrist, covering the communication gem. Yes?
Hannah Abbot and Susan Bones are sitting alone in the compartment to my right.
Okay... and? Even though she couldn't see it, Hermione knew that Harry was wearing a devilish grin.
What do you think would happen if Neville woke up with a sleeping witch on either shoulder?
Hermione resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Probably wet himself in terror. That's not nice, Harry.
Harry didn't resist the 'rolling eye' urge. Hermione, they're Hufflepuffs! You know they wouldn't make it weird on him. Hell, they'd probably enjoy it as much as he would. And you know that Susan and Hannah are great for him.
Hermione huffed slightly. Setting up triangle relationships is a bad idea, Harry.
Neville glanced at the two who'd just stopped. "Is something wrong?" He silenced himself as Harry held up his hand for a moment.
Hermione, we both know they ended up together... and how devastated were Susan and Hannah when Neville was captured?
"Fine." Hermione said out loud, resting her hand on the junction between Neville's neck and shoulder. He instantly collapsed into sleep.
"Vulcan neck grip." Harry said, grinning. "Let me knock out the ladies..."
Returning to their cabin after setting a monitoring charm, Hermione sat back on the bench, curling up her legs as she leaned against Harry. "If he hates us, I'll blame you." She said simply.
"Yeah, throw your husband to the wolves." Harry said.
"It was your idea."
"So, you accept the blame."
"Fine." Harry sighed in suffering. "I'm always picked on..."
"Ah, get off the cross, build a bridge and get over it, Harry." Hermione said unsympathetically. "We're about halfway there now... three and a bit more hours and we're there. And then we destroy everything... it's gonna be fun!"
"Firs' years!" A giant voice shouted out. "Firs' years this way!"
Harry and Hermione, followed by the rest of the first years, headed across the platform to the half-giant, who was wielding a large lantern. "Right'... we'll be takin' the boats across the lake." He led them to a small, rickety wooden pier, where a small flotilla of wooden boats waited. None of them looked seaworthy to Hermione's eyes, but magic was enough to fix the flaws in the boats themselves.
The flotilla headed across the lake, the students all making the same 'ooh!' sound as they saw the shining beacon of light, all alone in the dark.
The next few minutes, heading up the stairs into the Entrance Hall and meeting McGonagall, passed quickly. Both Harry and Hermione were finishing up the final touches to their plan. After all, time was becoming limited before things came to a head.
McGonagall was giving her speech about the four houses, but Hermione knew more about Hogwarts at eleven, the first time round, than McGonagall did, and she'd been working there for thirty-five years. As she went inside to make certain everything was prepared, Harry glanced at Hermione. "We set?"
"We're set." She said lovingly. "Let's the games begin."
The door opened again, revealing the stern face of Minerva McGonagall. "We're ready for you now. Follow me."
The first years trailed after the long-legged Scotswoman, some of them having to jog to keep up with her. The other students, those second through seventh years, stared at the 'ickle firsties' as they passed, but most of them kept silent, with the first years only hearing the odd 'Mudblood' comment coming from the Slytherin table.
McGonagall, thanks to her long legs, had made it to the stage and was wielding a piece of parchment by the time the new students had caught up. "When I call your name, you will come onto the stage, sit on the stool and I will place the Sorting Hat onto your head. It will then call out where you will be placed." She glanced down at the list. "Abbot, Hannah!"
Harry watched the Sorting casually, knowing where most people would be going to, but he was sort-of surprised when Neville joined Susan and Hannah in Hufflepuff. With a tiny smile, he pressed his hand to his communicator. Told you it would have a good effect.
Hermione scowled lightly as she pressed her gem. No-one likes a smart-arse, Harry.
A tiny smile was his reward. Okay... so some people do. Just behave.
Nodding, Harry asked, Have you noticed how you haven't been called yet?
I did. Why should I have been called before you, husband of mine? Alphabetically, my name comes after yours now.
And indeed, "Potter, Harry!"
Taking a step onto the stage, Harry noticed how all the faculty at the staff table suddenly began paying attention. God, it's pathetic! 'Roll up! Roll up! See the Amazing 'Boy-Who-Lived'! One night only!'
Ego's never attractive, darling. Hermione shot back, successfully hiding her amusement at Dumbledore's eagerness.
I wish it was just ego... Harry grumbled as he sat down, letting the Sorting Hat be placed over his head.
I don't know if it's 'good'.
Cheer up, sport.
Harry looked politely confused. Did you just call me 'sport'? Jesus, where'd you pick up the lingo?
I get sat on every child's head, every year, Mr. Potter. The Hat replied smugly. I learn many new and interesting things... although, not many people have it this interesting... good lord... why are you even in this school?
Because I want to. I want to know what Hogwarts is like when my life doesn't get threatened three or four times a year.
You want it to be boring?
You never can be.
I can try.
The Hat snorted into Harry's mind. Well... let's have a look. A fine mind, plenty of cunning and ambition, loyalty to your wife... gracious, such loyalty... and you're reckless, as Opening Wide the Gates of Time has proven... I honestly don't know where to put you.
Well... I vote for Gryffindor.
Because they have the best chairs in the common room.
The Hat was silent for almost thirty seconds, surely a record. You wish me to Sort you into Gryffindor simply because of the furniture?
The Hat just shrugged. "Gryffindor!"
McGonagall lifted the Hat from Harry's head, smiling slightly as she heard her house chanting, "We got Potter! We got Potter!" She waited until Harry had scampered to his table, making certain to keep a spot free on his right, when she glanced down at the class list. She did a double take, looking at the remaining faces, spotting the little Muggleborn girl she'd been to see last year. Yes... that was the only girl named 'Hermione', but Minerva was certain that the familial name had been different back then.
Daintily climbing onto the stage, Hermione sat on the chair, waiting for the hat to be placed on her head. She glanced up at McGonagall after a few moments, spotting the Deputy Headmistress frozen in shock. Sighing to herself, Hermione reached up and pulled the hat onto her head.
Hello... oh hell, another one...
It was before you and your husband turned up, my lady.
And it isn't now? Shame...
They say sarcasm is the recourse of a weak mind.
Only because 'they' can't do it properly.
The Hat snorted. Indeed. So, Lady Potter... will you be joining your husband in Gryffindor?
Wow... whoever said 'there's no such thing as a stupid question' never met you, did they?
No-one likes a smart arse, missy. The Hat retorted, it's brim stretching into a wide grin. He liked her... she had spunk.
My husband does.
Indeed he does. And how well suited you are. Well, you'd better be, "Gryffindor!"
Hermione lifted the hat and held it out to McGonagall, who was still stood staring. Clearing her throat, Hermione pushed the hat into her hands before jumping off the stage and dashing down towards Harry.
As she sat down, Hermione became aware of the low buzz in the hall, most of them asking a simple question; "How can she be a Potter?" Others were asking more intelligent questions, like "Is she related to the 'Boy-Who-Lived'?" while Ron's "When's dinner?" made her wand to chuckle.
"Stirred up a hornets' nest." Harry said smugly. "This is gonna be fun."
"Man-child." Hermione whispered quietly. "Come on, Minnie... time's-a-wastin'."
Her brain rebooting, McGonagall glanced down at the list. "Er... Smith, Zacharias!"
While the Sorting continued, Harry glanced up at the staff table, spotting Dumbledore starring intently at him. Harry could almost feel the Legilimency probe flailing about in front of him, but as a true Occlumens, Harry was undetectable to the old meddler. Hermione smirked at the Head Table, resisting the urge to start their show early.
After 'Zabini, Blaise' was Sorted into Slytherin, Dumbledore stood up, finally managing to tear his gaze away from Harry. "There is a time for speeches, and this is not it. All I will say is... Tuck in!" Clapping his hands once, all five tables in the Great Hall filled with food.
Hermione had long since gotten over her fixation on House Elves, especially after she learned just why they'd been enslaved all those centuries ago, and had, in her opinion, deserved it. After all, the St. Brice's day massacre, back in 1002, had the been work of the Low Elves, as they were then called. The leader of the race had, at the time, been given a choice; the extermination of his race, or the permanent enslavement. They'd chosen the enslavement. While slaves were against Hermione's personal beliefs, she accepted them in this situation. And they could cook a mean rack of lamb.
The meal lasted for almost an hour, the time rapidly approaching 8 o'clock. As the last traces of pudding faded away, Dumbledore stood up. "I have a few-"
"Wait." Harry called out, standing up from his bench and looking at Dumbledore. "Before you say anything, I have something to say."
"Sit down, Potter, you arrogant brat!" Snape roared from his spot on the staff table. "Fifty points from Gryffindor!"
Harry shook his head. "I claim my birthright." Smirking at Hermione, he raised his left arm into the air. "By the Power of Gryffindor!" A crimson glow surrounded his hand, extending out three feet, before it coalesced into a shining silver sword.
Dumbledore's face dropped as he saw the sword appear in Harry's hand. He knew the legends surrounding the sword; only a true Gryffindor could summon the blade. He'd long suspected the Potters were the last of the Gryffindor line, but he'd never been able to get solid proof. This was most definitely it. However, while this was definitely bad news, there was a silver lining to the cloud. When Harry died facing Voldemort, Dumbledore would be able to gain the Gryffindor legacy, as well as the Potter legacy. Yes... this could indeed prove beneficial.
Hermione stood up, taking Harry's right hand in her left. "I also claim my birthright." Extending her right arm, Hermione called out, "For the Honour of Ravenclaw!" Just as Harry, a glow surrounded Hermione's fist, except this was a beautiful royal blue, before the sword appeared in her hand.
Everyone in the hall was astonished at two Founders Heirs being in their midst. It was only a shame no-one was taking notes...
"As the Hufflepuff line has died out, we, the Heirs of Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, do claim that prize!" The two pre-teens said together, raising their joined hands. "With the Loyalty of Hufflepuff!" Their joined hands glowed yellow as a bastard sword, bigger and heavier than either Gryffindor's or Ravenclaw's blade, formed from the light. Glancing at his watch, Harry noticed it was now exactly 8pm... and he could feel the goblins, along with a witch, enter the Entrance Hall.
"By the power of Gryffindor..." Harry began.
"Ravenclaw..." Hermione added
"And Hufflepuff, we claim Hogwarts!" The two chanted. "Seal it up!"
The sound of the main doors slamming shut quickly focussed everyone's minds to the present.
"What are you doing?" Dumbledore roared. "How dare you-"
"Sit and be silent." Harry commanded imperiously. "We do not give you leave to speak." Turning to face the doors, Harry smiled at a very confused Amelia Bones, who stood watching the rather intimidating spectacle with awe. "Good evening, Director."
"G-Good evening." Amelia stammered. "What's going on?"
"As the Heirs of Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, the Lady Potter and I have claimed Hogwarts. We intend to remove those who would cause harm, and we need your help to do so."
Dumbledore stalked round the staff table, his face like thunder. "What is happening here?" He demanded. "I insist that you stop this foolishness, at once!"
"You may insist all you like, Dumbledore." Harry said. "However, you no longer have any authority in this building. As Founders' Heirs, we have decreed that you be stripped of your position as Headmaster with immediate effect."
The old man gasped as he felt his connection to the school's wards be destroyed, and destroyed maliciously. "What have you done?" He whispered.
To answer, Ragnok, head of the Goblin nation, stepped forward, his face displaying his reluctance to be here. "Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, you have been found guilty by the goblin tribunal of theft and conspiracy to commit theft. The penalty for these transgressions is death. Under the 1183 treaty with the Ministry of Magic of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, you are to come with us, to be sentenced to death immediately."
Dumbledore's wand was in hand in an instant. "I think not!" He snapped. "I am the Leader of the Light, and-"
Anything else he was about to say was cut off as Fawkes appeared in the Great Hall, singing angrily as he circled overhead. Instead of coming to land on Albus' shoulder, as he would normally, he dived towards his human, plucking the wand from his hand and flaming away.
"Fawkes!" Dumbledore roared, staring at the loss of his unbeatable wand.
"He's gone." Harry said softly. "Back to the Realm of the Phoenix... taking the Elder Wand with him. It will never be seen by humans again." He wasn't sure how he knew this, but suspected it was a parting gift from the phoenix himself.
"'Elder wand'?" Amelia asked. "That's just a story."
"No, it's not." Hermione said. "But the Hallows are gone forever. That, however, is a story for another time." She turned to the goblins. "It's not just Dumbledore. Carry on."
Sighing, Ragnok pulled another roll of parchment from his pocket. "Severus Tobias Snape, you have been found guilty by the goblin tribunal of theft and conspiracy to commit theft. The penalty for these transgressions is death. Under the 1183 treaty with the Ministry of Magic of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, you are to come with us, to be sentenced to death immediately."
Snape's face contorted into absolute rage. "Potter!"
"Yes?" Harry and Hermione replied pleasantly.
Dumbledore, although down, was most certainly not out. "I have had enough of this foolishness. Goblins, leave these premises. I shall come and see you tomorrow, when I have sorted out this mess. Amelia, it's not appropriate for you to be here. If you would care to wait in my office, I shall come and see you shortly. And Mr. Potter, I need to have a word with you, too."
"No, you don't." Harry replied. "Albus Dumbledore, you have stolen four million galleons from my family estate. I have reclaimed that money. You provided money to Snape, the traitorous bastard who sent Voldemort after my parents. I have reclaimed that, too. The goblins have sentenced you to death, and I have no inclination to stop them."
Snape's wand was in hand, a curse already on his lips, until the wand flew out of his hand and into Professor Flitwick's. "Do not even think it!" Flitwick's tiny voice commanded sharply. "You will not curse a student!"
"Perhaps we should take this conversation somewhere a little more private." Amelia suggested.
"We would, but there's still one more traitor in this room." Harry pointed at Quirrell. "Be very careful... he's being possessed by Voldemort."
Quirrell gasped as he stood.
"I-Impossible!" Amelia whispered, reaching into her robes to draw her wand. "H-He's dead!"
"No, he's not. He was only disembodied that night." Harry said. "Hogwarts, anti-possession ward around Professor Quirrell, please."
A glowing ball of energy surrounded the teacher, who dropped to his knees and began choking instantly. A voice, clearly not coming from Professor Quirrell's mouth, began to speak. "What... are you doing... to.. me?"
"Good evening, Tom." Harry said politely. "I'm killing you."
Quirrell's body collapsed into dust, a thick grey cloud rising up. It formed a face as it prodded against the edge of the anti-possession ward.
"Everybody, this is Tom Marvolo Riddle... the coward who called himself Lord Voldemort."
"I am no coward!" The spectre roared. "I am the greatest wizard who ever lived!"
"And got defeated by a baby." Hermione pointed out reasonably. "Doesn't exactly make you great, Tom, does it?"
Dumbledore stared in horror as one aspect of his plan was unravelled so neatly. He shook his head, needing to regain control of the situation before too much got revealed. "Harry, you must release it."
"What?" Amelia asked, glaring at Dumbledore in shock.
"As a spectre, it cannot be harmed," Dumbledore explained, "but it could still possess someone. We must get it out of the castle."
"Could." Harry said. "But I'm not going to. Instead, I'm going to kill it."
"I am immortal, boy!" Voldemort shouted. "I cannot be killed!"
"Yeah... your Horcruxes were a problem." Hermione said, reaching into her robes pocket and pulling out several items. "The diary, the ring, the diadem, the goblet and Harry... you never quire managed to get to seven, did you? Still, they're all destroyed now. And since you don't have Quirrell's power to sustain you, you're getting weaker. I estimate that you'll be destroyed in a little under seven minutes."
Amelia stared at Hermione, wondering how the hell an eleven year old even knew of the word 'Horcruxes', never mind could destroy them. "I think it's time for everyone to get out of here..." She said.
Professor McGonagall clearly agreed. "Prefects, lead your houses back to their dormitories. Assemble at 8 o'clock tomorrow morning for the announcements." She waited a moment. "Now!"
As the Great Hall was emptying, Riddle's spirit began to slam itself against the anti-possession ward, but the power of a single wizard, even one of the greatest wizards who'd ever lived, was a match for the raw power of Hogwarts.
"This is all very confusing." Amelia said. "Would someone, preferably Mr. Potter, please tell me what's going on?"
"Of course." Harry, in true gentlemanly style, gestured to the bench behind Amelia, who sat down heavily. "A prophecy was made about twelve years ago, by Professor Trelawney. It stated that I would be the only one who could defeat Voldemort. This prophecy was given to Professor Dumbledore, but was overheard by Snivellus Snape up there. He went running to his true master and told him, which led Voldemort to attack my parents.
"Unfortunately, he didn't hear the whole thing, which is why his powers broke that night and he fled. Snape approached Dumbledore just before the attack, telling him that he wanted to switch sides. Dumbledore, ever a sucker for a sob story and a chance to meddle in someone's life, took him in, giving him a position here at the school as Potions Master. He also hired Trelawney, needing to keep her safe from harm."
"How do you know this?" Dumbledore demanded furiously, only to scream silently as McGonagall placed him under a silencing charm.
"Rude... but a good question." Amelia commented.
"After Voldemort attacked, Dumbledore sent Hagrid to Godric's Hollow to take me to my Muggle relatives' house." Harry said, ignoring the question. "I should have gone to Sirius, my godfather, but Dumbledore blocked that. He's innocent, by the way."
Harry could see Hermione hand a couple of golden coins to two of the goblin guards, sending them out of the Great Hall.
"So, for the next ten years, I was sequestered in the Muggle world, having no idea about my magical heritage. My relatives hated me, starved me and beat me. All the time this was happening, Dumbledore was stealing vast sums of money from my vault, using it to pay Snivellus and the goblins."
"You said you wouldn't tell!" Ragnok protested.
"I said that I wouldn't release a press article." Harry shot back. "And shut up, animal. The important people are speaking here." He turned back to Bones. "When I went to Gringotts, I reclaimed the stolen money and then removed every Knut from goblin control."
"What about the Horcruxes?" Amelia asked, and she could see Dumbledore leaning a little closer... not to mention the spectre in the bubble.
"As a Horcrux myself, I was in a unique position to find them and destroy them." Harry said simply. "It took some work, but with the help of the smartest witch in the history of magic, my lovely wife Hermione, the Lady Potter, we were able to remove it and destroy it."
Hermione came over and stood beside Harry, tucking her blade into her belt and taking his hand.
"During the last month, we've done a lot of research, discovering our true ancestry and position in the world. We made a deal with the goblins; if they prosecuted Dumbledore and Snape, not to mention returned the stolen money, we'd leave them alone. As the Heirs of Hogwarts, we are authorised and required to take control of the school if ever the one entrusted with stewardship, in this case, Albus Dumbledore, ever falls from the ideals of the school. And he has. He treats this place as his own social experiment. As of right now, that stops. He has been removed from his position using our authority."
Amelia was stunned. "But... what'll happen to him?"
"Dumbledore and Snape have been found guilty of theft from the goblin nation. They'll be executed." Hermione said simply.
"But... he's Dumbledore." Amelia said.
"Yes... Headmanipulator of Hogwarts. It stops, now." Harry said. "It's already done, Madam Bones. He'll be executed tonight. If he isn't, Gringotts will be destroyed."
"You're blackmailing them?" Amelia asked incredulously.
"If they don't execute Dumbledore and Snape, according to the treaty between Gringotts and the Ministry, I will tell every single witch and wizard on Earth about their duplicity. Not only with everyone stop using them for their banking needs, but people will begin to question if they've been stolen from. It will cause another goblin rebellion, and the goblins will be crushed."
Ragnok huffed angrily. "We have done our part, Lord Potter."
"You have. And once these two thieves are dead, I will have nothing to do with goblins again."
A scream from the bubble drew attention back to Voldemort.
"Yeah... he's dying in there. Without his Horcruxes to sustain him, there's nothing left. He's going to die tonight. The so-called 'Greatest Dark Lord in the last Millennium'."
"I cannot... die..."
"You can, Tom. You will. And you are. I estimate a little over four minutes now." Hermione said pleasantly.
"You will... not win..."
Dumbledore focussed all his considerable power into ending the silencing charm. "It's true..." He whispered. "Harry, you're a Horcrux. As long as you live, Voldemort will never die."
"And I removed the Horcrux from my husband a month ago." Hermione pointed out. "You will not kill him, Dumbledore."
Harry clapped his hands together, making everyone but Hermione jump. "Now... onto important matters. That of a new Head for this school."
"I think the matter of Voldemort dying and Dumbledore being executed are important." Amelia protested half-heartedly.
"Not really. Relics of a bygone age." Harry said dismissively. "But, we need someone trustworthy, honest, impeccably organised and truly willing to stand up for themselves. Off the top of my head, I can only think of one person for that role... Madam Bones."
Harry rolled his eyes. "You, Madam Bones. Your stint as the DMLE Director has made you widely respected. You're well-educated and don't let the petty things, like bribes and blood statuses affect you. You'd be the perfect replacement for Dumbledore."
Amelia was shocked. "I..."
"Forgive the rude question, Madam, but what do you get paid from the DMLE?"
"Thirty-one galleons a week." She said, blinking as she revealed information she wouldn't normally. It wasn't any of their business what she was paid.
"Well, the standard pay for the Head Teacher of this school is fifty galleons a week. As a Founders' Heir, I'm offering you a job."
"Wait a minute." McGonagall interrupted. "Fifty galleons a week?"
"Yes." Hermione said, spotting the Deputy staring at her former boss. "Why?"
"A good question." McGonagall agreed. "Why are you being paid 112 galleons a week, Albus?"
Dumbledore didn't even have the good grace to look ashamed. "As the Headmaster, I am entitled-"
"Former Headmaster." Harry interrupted. "And people skimming the salaries will stop immediately. This is a school, not a den of thieves."
"Everything's moving so fast..." Amelia moaned as she rubbed at her head. "Even though you've told me, I still don't understand it."
Hermione sat next to Amelia and began rubbing her back. "It's very simple, Madam Bones. Voldemort will be dead in two and a half minutes. Dumbledore and Snape will be dead by midnight. You're being offered a better paid, and frankly, more rewarding job than the one you're in. With us so far?"
Amelia nodded robotically.
"Professor McGonagall will continue on as Deputy Head, of course. No disrespect, Professor, but you're not the leader the school needs at the current time."
"None taken." Minerva replied. "I don't think I'd want to weather the storm that will come of this."
Harry snorted, before getting himself back under control. "No... I wouldn't either. Still, some leaders are born great... some seize greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them. I get the feeling Madam Bones is going to be number three on that list."
"I haven't agreed yet!" Amelia snapped.
"No." Harry said, already knowing the answer.
"Not yet." Hermione added. "But you will. The prospect of seeing your niece everyday, not to mention the prospect of steering the children of Hogwarts to bright, light futures... we know you'll take the job."
Amelia just shrugged.
"Ragnok, your have your orders regarding Dumbledore and Snape. I want them out of my sight." Harry ordered sharply. "Take them away and do your duty."
Sighing, Ragnok gestured to two of his guards. They moved forward, each of them bearing a pike that was aimed at a wizard.
Before the two could be killed, the goblins that Hermione had sent away came back, bearing a shambling man in smelly rags.
"Sirius Black!" McGonagall breathed, before drawing her wand.
Harry moved over to the new arrival, waving his wand to remove some of the grime and stench, before wrapping him in a tight hug. "Hey, godfather..."
Sirius, like most people in the Great Hall, didn't have a bloody clue as to what was going on. A pair of goblins had made their way into his cell, grabbed him and portkeyed him away. Now, he was stood in the middle of Hogwarts, no-one was cursing him and he had his godson in his arms.
"H-Harry?" He whispered hoarsely. "Is it really you?"
"It's me, Padfoot." Harry replied. "You're safe here." Releasing the smelly man, Harry turned to Madam Bones. "Are you carrying Veritaserum?"
"Then please give some to Sirius. Question him about his 'betrayal' of my family. Hermione, would you-"
"On it!" Hermione shouted as she raced out of the Hall, heading for the stairs.
"Now what?" Amelia moaned, rubbing her temples even more fervently.
"Well, Sirius is accused of betraying my parents, which his oath as godfather wouldn't have allowed, killing Peter Pettigrew, which he didn't, and blowing up the Muggle street, which he didn't. I can prove two of those statements, right here, right now. Or rather, when Hermione gets back."
While waiting for Hermione to come back, Harry cast cleaning spell after cleaning spell at Sirius and the stench-filled rags he was wearing. McGonagall, taking her cue from Harry, began to transfigure the rags into something resembling clothing.
Amelia, gathering a few of her scattered wits, snapped at the goblins. "Well, restrain your prisoners!" Once Snape and Dumbledore were held at pike point, she drew a small glass bottle from her robes. "Would you open you mouth, Prisoner Black?"
Obediently, Sirius opened his mouth, letting the woman pour three drops of the truth potion onto Sirius' tongue.
Four questions later, Sirius was announced as a probationary free man. They'd need Pettigrew to make it official, but it had been proven ever since the invention of Veritaserum that it was impossible to lie when under the influence.
Harry closed his eyes and summoned a house elf to bring dinner to the near-starving former convict. It wouldn't take Hermione too long to grab the rat from Ron's hands... although, he'd probably kick up a stink about it being taken. Hermione wouldn't take any shit from Ron, though. The rat would be here.
Amelia simply stood and watched as Sirius tore his way through the leftovers from dinner. She shook her head slightly; how the bloody hell was he still sane? After ten years in prison, the man should have been nuttier than squirrel poo, but he was just... a bit dazed.
"He was innocent." Harry whispered into her ear, without her having to verbalise the question. "He's still sane because he had that thought in his mind. It's not a happy thought, so the Dementors couldn't take it away from him, but it kept him sane and his powers intact."
She glanced over at him. "He'll still need counselling."
"Undoubtedly." Harry agreed. "But, he'll also need a job. It just so happens that one of your first duties as Headmistress, and we both know that you're going to take the job, will be to find some replacement staff. A new Defence teacher, a replacement potions master and also, a decent history teacher wouldn't go amiss."
"I haven't agreed to take the job." Amelia said.
"How do you know?"
"Because you know it's the right thing to do." Harry said simply. "Have a think about it." Turning away, Harry spotted Dumbledore and Snape, still being guarded by a group of pissed goblins. "And how are you two faring? Knowing that you're both going to die within the next couple of hours?"
For Dumbledore, this was his golden opportunity. Well, his only opportunity. "Harry, my boy, we really do need to talk."
"Oh?" Harry asked. "About what?"
"This series of ridiculous charges that you've had brought up."
"They're not ridiculous. You're a thief, a manipulator and solely responsible for the shit that my life has been for the last nine years, not to mention it's your fault little Tommy became the Big Bad he did."
Dumbledore looked stunned. "I don't understand how can you say that."
"No... I believe that you don't understand it. That's simply more proof that you shouldn't have any contact in a child's life. You don't understand that what you do is wrong. You simply preach that everything you do is for 'the Greater Good'... but there's one important thing you fail to mention."
"Oh?" Dumbledore somehow managed to make himself look wise, infallible... and full of bullshit, in Harry's opinion. "And what's that, Harry?"
"Just whose 'Greater Good' it actually is." Harry concluded. "It seems that all these 'wonderful' things you do seem to benefit you. Maybe that sentence should actually be 'for the Greater Good of Albus too-many-middle-names Dumbledore'."
"How can you say that?" Dumbledore hissed. "For longer than you have been alive, boy, I have fought against the Darkness! I'm the Lord of the Light!"
"Really?" Harry looked politely interested. "If you're the 'Lord of the Light', why is one of your closest friends a sadistic Death Eater? I'm referring to the grease stain next to you."
Amelia cleared her throat as she stepped forward. "Mr. Potter, please stop baiting the prisoner." She turned to Dumbledore. "I know what you're doing, Albus; you're hoping to distract us. You're a prisoner of the goblins, and there's little I can do to transfer your custody to me... and from what I've heard so far this evening, I'm finding it difficult to muster up the energy to even care."
"Amelia, there are many things you don't understand." Dumbledore said patiently. "As has been proven here this evening, Lord Voldemort is not dead."
Harry glanced up. "No, he's not... not for another twenty or so seconds."
Every eye in the Great Hall, including that of the panting Hermione, who'd just entered through the doors, locked on the bubble near the Head Table. Inside, the whispy black cloud was thinner and smaller than ever, and the smoke-face appeared almost lifeless.
"P-Potter..." It wheezed, "I refuse... to die... I... I am... im... immortal..."
"You were." Harry corrected. "Your soul anchors have been destroyed, your powers broken. I have finished the job I started nine years ago. Your time has ended, Tom. Go on to your next adventure..." He sighed slightly. "I wash my hands of your filth forever."
The cloud flashed for a moment, before dissipating entirely.
"That's how it ends." Harry whispered. "Not with a bang, but with a whimper..."
Hermione came over to her husband, one hand tucked behind her back. "It's over, Harry. You did it."
"It's not over, Miss..." Dumbledore trailed off as he scanned his prodigious memory. "Miss Granger."
"Mrs. Potter." Hermione corrected.
"No, I don't think so. You're too young to be married, and as Mr. Potter is my magical dependant, I have not given my permission for him to wed." He straightened up. "I've had enough of this foolishness. I declare whatever marriage you think you have to be null and void. As for Hogwarts, unless the Board of Governors removes me from my position, I am still the Headmaster."
Hermione shook her head. "Nope. The Heirs of Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Gryffindor have removed you, and the goblins will be executing you tonight. You've lost, Dumbledore. You gambled and lost."
Dumbledore shook his head. "I refuse to accept that. As long as there is Darkness in the world, there will be a Dumbledore to-"
"Promote it?" Hermione asked, stepping forward, dangling a rat from her left hand. "Like you allowed a Death Eater to enter Hogwarts... well, another one, anyway."
McGonagall blinked. "That's a rat." She said pointlessly.
"No, it's not." Harry and Hermione replied together. "This is, in fact, a Death Eater named Peter Pettigrew."
"Wormtail!" Sirius spat, hauling himself up from his bench. "Give him here, Harry. I want to commit the murder I was imprisoned for!"
"No." Harry held up his hand, stopping Sirius in place. "You will not commit a murder, Sirius. You will allow him to be tried and convicted for his crimes. We all know there's only one punishment a disgusting rat like him can have. Extermination. Personally, I think pushing him through the Veil would be beautiful poetic justice."
Sirius glared at the rat so hatefully, a burst of accidental magic occurred, setting the small rodent on fire. While it screamed and writhed, Harry quickly used his wand to douse the rat with flames. "Bloody hell..." He muttered. "I've heard of 'if looks could kill'..."
"Let me have it, Harry." Sirius wheedled. "I can make it look like an accident... a suicide... a series of unfortunate events..."
"The Director of Law Enforcement is stood right here." Amelia pointed out unnecessarily. "I won't sanction murder, Mr. Black."
"It's not murder." Sirius protested half-heartedly. "Like the pup said, it's extermination. It's just a rat."
Amelia shook her head. "Professor McGonagall, you're the second foremost transfiguration expert in Britain. Would you please cast the Animagus reversal spell, please?"
A flick of the Scotswoman's wand later, a trembling, hunched-over man was in the place of the rat, conveniently dropped onto the floor at Harry's feet, who took the time to add his own hateful glare.
"Good evening, Peter." Harry snarled. "Welcome to your coming out party. You're going to be arrested by an honest woman in a few minutes, and you'll face a trial and your death."
"H-Harry..." Pettigrew murmured, hauling himself up to his knees. "You..."
"Look like my Dad?" Harry completed smoothly. "How would I know that, Rat? Because of you, they're both dead. And you're going to pay for your crimes. Madam Bones, what is the penalty Mr. Wormtail faces because of his betrayal?"
Amelia blinked as her mind ran through a list of laws that Pettigrew had violated. "Having a Dark Mark is technically a criminal offence. The actions required to get one are also capital crimes. Supporting a terrorist organisation against the lawful government, accessory to commit murder of James Potter, Auror of the Ministry of Magic, accessory to the murder of Lily Potter, Charms Mistress of the Department of Mysteries of the Ministry of Magic... quite a bit, to be honest. At least life in prison. Could probably be voted for execution, for his capital crimes."
Pettigrew grew paler than a boiled shite at the list of charges. He knew that each and every one of them was a valid charge, and he'd relished the power he'd felt when he'd done his deeds. Somehow, it seemed that this was going to be Wormtail's last night.
"As the primary victim to his actions, I demand his execution." Harry said in a voice of ice.
"Harry, my boy," Dumbledore interrupted, stepping forward, ignoring his goblin guard, "I must counsel against this course of action."
"Of course you must." Harry muttered, rolling his eyes as the sheer predictability of the old man. "Fortunately for everyone present, you don't have a say in matters."
"Sentencing a man to death is a very dark action. It will harm your soul to do this. A good man would strive to show forgiveness."
"Then I'm a bad man." Harry said with a shrug. "He's a murderer, a coward and a traitor. He has no redeeming features, much like Snivellus Snape. For the Greater Good of the Wizarding world, those two, along with yourself, must be... removed. By whatever means necessary."
"Harry, you must listen to me." Dumbledore said, trying to step forward again, only to be stopped by the tip of a goblin spear pressing against his throat. "You must not do this. You must allow yourself to forgive others for their transgressions against you. Allowing yourself to carry such hatred inside of you twists you, turns you to the Dark. I really must insist that you allow Mr. Pettigrew to be sentenced to prison, where he may be redeemed."
"Like you did with Snape?" Hermione asked.
"That's 'Professor Snape'," Dumbledore corrected, his eyes narrowing slightly as he looked at the girl. She would need to be removed from the boy's sphere of influence before she corrupted him away from Dumbledore's ideals. Harry's delusions about being married would also need to be 'corrected'. "And yes, Miss Granger. Professor Snape has more than redeemed himself in the years since Voldemort's fall."
"No, he hasn't." Harry and Hermione said in unison. "We are the Heirs of Hogwarts, old man," Harry continued, "and she has told us what your greasy pet does. He's biased, twisted and thoroughly irredeemable. You're simply a fool. And very shortly, you'll be a dead fool."
Dumbledore reached up for the spear pressing against his throat, only to find that his goblin guard had muscles like a draught horse; he couldn't move it. "My boy, everything I have done has been for your own good. In time, with my guidance, you will come to see that."
Harry scoffed in his throat, and turned to Ragnok. "This will be the last command I give you, beast; take it away, deal with it and never contact the House of Potter again."
Bristling at being called 'beast', Ragnok nodded, before gesturing to his guards. "We shall be leaving."
Amelia sighed. "I think it best if your actions were carried out on goblin soil. Please contact me in the morning to arrange the recovery of the bodies."
Fuming, and frothing at the mouth, Snape managed to escape from his captor enough to charge towards Harry, with the intent of throttling the young man, since his wand had been confiscated. He was, however, foiled when a goblin pike pieced the back of his right calf, bringing him to his knees and pinning him to the floor. "Stay!" The goblin commanded.
"Goodbye, Snivellus." Harry sneered.
The two men were dragged, kicking and screaming out of the Great Hall, knowing that their years of scheming, plotting and manipulating had failed them. The only thing to look forward to now was their eternal rest... not a happy prospect for the black-hearted bastards.
Harry watched the pair be hauled away, before turning back to Amelia. "Madam Bones, as one of the Heirs of this fine school, I'd appreciate an answer to our job offer."
Still entirely unsure about the matter, Amelia quickly worked out the pros and cons:
No more Fudge: most definitely pro.
No more pureblood Aurors who can't hex their way out of a wet paper bag: pro
Being removed from direct governmental policy: con
Being able to see Susan every day: Sold!
"I accept your offer, Lord Potter. However, my notice period for the Ministry is 12 weeks."
Harry turned to McGonagall. "Deputy Headmistress, will you be willing to cover the school while Madam Bones works out her notice?"
"I shall." McGonagall said heavily. "I'll also begin compiling lists of prospective teachers to cover Potions and Defence against the Dark Arts." She saw Hermione Gra... Potter open her mouth, and had a thought. "I shall also order a review of the other teachers to ensure that they're up to ICW standards." She knew she'd got it right when Mrs. Potter's mouth closed.
"Good." Harry clapped his hands together. "Professor McGonagall, would you arrange for Mr. Black to be sent to the Hospital Wing so Madam Pomfrey may ensure he's okay? Madam Bones... sorry, Headmistress Bones, I'd appreciate it if you got Pettigrew into custody... or thrown through the Veil would work just as well. I'll bid you a goodnight. My wife and I are tired and looking forward to a good night's rest. I'm sure we can catch up with the rest tomorrow." Bowing slightly, Harry took Hermione's hand and sauntered out of the Great Hall.
The Room of Requirement had already been turned into a suitable apartment when Harry and Hermione arrived, Hogwarts knowing what her heirs wanted and needed. Hermione's incredible skill and power came into play when she placed the entire room under a Fidelius charm, the secret of 'Harry and Hermione Potter's quarters are in the Room of Requirement. The Room of Requirement can be found on the seventh floor of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry' casually absorbed into Harry.
After a relaxing cup of tea, the two casually stripped and climbed into bed, wrapping as many body parts around the other as they could.
"So... that was fun." Hermione deadpanned.
"Yep." Harry replied nonchalantly. "If they ask us for an encore, though, we're pretty much screwed."
"Don't need one." Hermione said, already feeling the rhythmic thumping of Harry's heartbeat make her sleepy. "Done enough. After everything, Harry... we'll get an ordinary life. A normal life."
Pressing a kiss against Hermione's forehead, Harry agreed. "We're done, my wife. Here's to us; A Normal Life."
Author's Note: Technically, number 6 in the series, but 3-5 are absolutely kicking my butt at the moment. 7 and 8 are also WIP, and these seem to be coming along quite well. I should hopefully be posting again before another four months goes past... But then again, the future is not set. There's no fate but what we make for ourselves...