Chapter 5 - From Wonky to Worse to Wonderful
Snape finished his report and waiting for the Dark Lord to respond, hoping for favour.
"Our desires have become reality," the Dark Lord concluded. "We shall attack immediately."
"Is that...wise," Snape asked shakily.
"I am Lord Voldemort. I shall break the bearded freak, showing the world once and for all that there is no truth to the rumours that I fear him. I'll barbecue the Potter boy with the Cruciatus Curse. After that I'll leave the school in your capable hands to teach what really matters," he grinned. His red eyes flashed, causing the Potions Master to shudder.
"Thank you, my Lord," Snape said with a bow. Bloody Hell! This is bad!
"But at the moment, I think it's time for tea," Voldemort said softly. "Hogwarts can wait. We are Englishmen, after all."
At Hogwarts, Professor McGonagall smiled wickedly at the caged Pixie. "I warned you I'd do it," she sneered. "Now, I'm off to see the headmaster. Don't go anywhere."
The Pixie glared at the Transfiguration mistress. Professor McGonagall left for the headmaster's office and once there, she found him deeply concerned.
"What is it, Albus," she asked.
He looked upon his deputy. "I have no idea how to stop this, Minerva. The school is turning into a madhouse. The latest report is that a magical Argus Filch and my alter-ego are chasing Peeves around the school, throwing hexes all over the place. There are at least twenty Potters by now. It appears that he's quite the popular bloke among the girls. There are a few Viktor Krum's, who appears to come in at second place on the popularity scale."
The old man ran his hands over his grizzled face and then rubbed the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger. "For the boys, there are a number of Veela wandering about, the two Miss Weasleys, a few Miss Changs, and even a few Madames Rosmerta. Madame Pomfrey is currently treating a few boys for priprasm and over-enlarged... manhood. Filling out their pants was, I heard, a painful experience." The old man winced at the thought.
"Any more...reactions...from parents," Professor McGonagall asked.
"Oh I'd say Molly's was heard and is reiterated all over Britain," Dumbledore replied. "I must say, the woman knows her Howlers."
"She's had a lot of practise," professor McGonagall said, referring primarily to the Weasley twins.
Ginny left Hermione in the hospital wing because Madame Pomfrey had some emergency shrinking to do before she could attend to her. She also noticed Crabbe and Goyle in a bed each. When the Matron arrived, Hermione couldn't resist asking what had happened to them.
"Oh, I believe they desired better brains, but didn't have a nervous system to support it. They're in a potion-induced coma to keep their brain activity to a minimum."
"As it should be then," Hermione snorted.
"Right," the Healer said with a smirk. "Now, what can I do for you, Miss Granger?"
"Oh, I'm only suffering from the girl-part of the month. Cramps."
"Thank Merlin for something simple to treat. I'll be back with the potion in a tick," Madame Pomfrey promised, clearly not happy with the current situation at the school.
When Hermione was about to leave the Healer looked at her pointedly. "Do tell Mr Potter I'm glad he's not in his bed yet," she said with a nod towards the Potter-bed, one that Madame Pomfrey claimed Harry had been in almost as much as the one in Gryffindor.
"I will. Thanks for the potion. It tasted like dung, but helped," Hermione said, ready to leave.
"Well it wasn't pumpkin juice, but if it was, you'd want to take it too often," the Medi-witch told her. "Off you go, then."
Hermione headed for the library when she heard an odd sound emanating from a classroom. She opened the door and stepped onto a beach.
"Blimey. This Transfiguration work is amazing," Hermione said in awe.
"You really think so," a familiar voice asked.
Hermione turned around and there was Ron. "Ron. Is that you," Hermione asked, feeling a tingling suspicion about the entire set-up. Ron's not this good at Transfiguration.
"Of course it's me," he replied. "Who else would I be?"
When Hermione took a few steps towards him, vaguely-familiar soft music began to play. Ron walked up to her and without a word, he took her into his arms and kissed the ability to stand out of her. They ended up snogging on the beach, with warm waves gently splashing over them. That's when Hermione realised what this was. The beach, the music, the snog. This was her childhood idea of the perfect romantic date, after having seen Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity.
Bloody hell, it's my desire, and it's everything I ever wanted... and it's RON I'm snogging. Blimey! He snogs like a god! Thirty minutes later, Hermione left the classroom with her hair bushier than ever, shaky knees, swollen lips, and rosy cheeks, and a heart that beat for Ron Weasley. I have to know if the real Ron snogs like that. He's certainly had a load of practise with Lavender, after all. That snog was so...wow... Hermione let out a rare and girly giggle Maybe I can make him think I'm a duplicate.
A few moments later, Hermione headed for the sixth year boys' dorm where Ron and Harry said they'd be. She stood outside the door for a minute, realising that she needed to behave very un-Hermione-ish to pull this off. The morality of the thing didn't concern her, not at that very moment. She had to know. She opened the door and caught Ron's eyes. With a swift move the pulled the ribbon holding her ponytail out of her hair and gave her head a seductive shake. "Ron..." she purred and noticed Ron's jaw drop Yes! he thinks I'm not me.
Harry stood stock still, stunned, but it made sense that a Hermione appeared. Ron had admitted he desired her. "C'mon, go for it, Ron. I snogged the Ginny-duplicate after all," Harry whispered.
Ron didn't have time to do anything because Hermione pushed him down, flat on his back onto his bed and straddled him. "You are the man of my dreams, Ronald Weasley." Merlin, if they ever learn that I'm actually me, they'll haunt me forever with it. Hermione captured Ron's lips for an all-out snog. Oh my. The real Ron is even better than the replica.
"I think I'll go to the loo and barf," Harry said and escaped through the door.
Lord Voldemort approached the main gates of Hogwarts grounds and to his surprise, they hung wide open. The gargoyles at the gates cocked their heads at the invading wizard. "Hail the Dark Tosser," the first gargoyle snarled.
"What," Lord Voldemort asked, not amused about having been insulted by a stone gargoyle.
"Oh, please enter, but don't say we didn't warn you," the other gargoyle snickered.
"You'll allow me to pass without so much as a howl," Voldemort asked, too surprised to be angry.
"Sure mate, you're the Heir of Slytherin, after all," the gargoyle said. "But you're better off if you don't."
"Silencio," Voldemort hissed twice. "Buggers."
Voldemort approached the main entrance to the castle and carefully stepped inside. As soon as the door opened, he had something, or rather someone clutching desperately to him. "Let me out," Peeves cried.
Voldemort watched the poltergeist flee and then proceeded further into the castle. Inside the Entrance Hall, he stood opposite a weird-looking—weirder than usual, that is—Albus Dumbledore and someone resembling Argus Filch, but this fellow held a wand.
"Tommy-boy," Al greeted him heartily. "I'm so glad you could join us!"
"Albus Dumbledore, prepare to meet your doom," Voldemort snarled viciously.
"Honestly, prepare to meet your doom. Is that the best you can do? I mean, really—isn't that one a bit...worn out?"
Voldemort began to wonder whether the gargoyles warning had been sincere, because something was very definitely off here.
"Excuse me, Albus," Professor Dippet's portrait said. "I heard that there's a You-Know-Who fighting Al in the Entrance Hall."
"Really? The real Voldemort," Professor Dumbledore asked, a twinkle returning to his watery blue eyes.
"By Merlin's mischief! How should I know," Professor Dippet snapped."With all the things going on, I have no idea what's real and what isn't. But the portraits are talking about it all over school."
"I guess the students will know soon enough. We'd better get down there," the old man sighed, drawing his wand from his magenta robes.
Voldemort fought Al and Filch. The old Squib fought very well until a stunner blew him into the staircase leading to the dungeons. He didn't return and was presumably knocked out. Finally Voldemort disarmed Dumbledore.
"You barmy bearded bugger. I'd say your days as headmaster are over!"
"I'm not the headmaster of this school," Al replied with a silly grin.
Voldemort looked confused for a moment and then raise his wand. "No, that's right, because you're dead. Avada Kedavra," Voldemort shouted. The jet of green hit Al square in the chest and he fell. Voldemort grinned and looked up. To his amazement, the Entrance Hall was full of people. Someone had even conjured up a sign that read, "Go Dumbles." What was the most shocking—and unsettling—of all were the twenty-plus Harry Potters staring him down.
"What kind of magic is this? Polyjuice potion," Voldemort shrieked. "I'll kill you all!"
Harry, the real one, watched as Ginny snuggled up his side. He didn't mind. It felt good having her there.
"Ginny, I wish I could tell the real one this, but I love you. And...and...there's a ruddy prophecy saying I must take this ponce out. I don't think I can do it today, but I will have to face him."
Ginny kissed him and held him tight. Mid-kiss, they heard Harry's voice calling out all over the Entryway. "You won't kill us all. I'll die defending my beloved Cho," Cho's Harry called out.
"And I'll die for Romilda," another one cried.
"And for Millicent!"
"And for Katie!"
"And for Mandy!"
"And for Megan!"
"And for Laura!"
"And for Lisa!"
"And for Ginny," Harry called out proudly.
The Harrys kept coming until an army of nearly thirty Potters faced Voldemort. For the first time, the Dark One seemed nervous.
"What's up, Tom? Haven't you heard the more, the merrier," one Harry said cockily.
"Avada Kedavra," Voldemort hissed and struck at the Harry who'd spoken in the chest.
The curse bounced off him and Voldemort had to duck do dodge it. It blasted a chunk of the wall behind him.
"Whoopsy-daisy, Tom. That's a dangerous curse to cast, people might get hurt."
"How," Voldemort asked, looking a bit scared.
"...I survived? You bollixing up, as usual, of course. You know, Mum's love protects me and that protection lives in my blood, but you took my blood. I'm afraid the big bad Dark Tosser won't kill any Harrys today."
Harry stood and listened to the Harry who spoke. How the hell does he know that? I didn't know that! Suddenly he noticed Professor Dumbledore, presumably the original, wink at him. Oh, a bit of Legilimency then...
"Avada Kedavra," Voldemort snarled again and fired at another Harry.
"Merlin's nose hairs," Harry yelled to the students. "Duck and cover, everyone!"
With each killing curse, the jet of green seemed to grow fainter and fainter. Voldemort's face was twisted in insane fury as he continued casting his curses. Finally he fell to his knees. "What blasted magic is this," he cried. "AVADA KEDAVRA!" One last weak green-yellowish beam flew out from the tip of his wand, before his wand ignited and burned to ash with a magical flame. Soon the flames spread and engulfed Voldemort himself.
"Nobody move," Professor Dumbledore ordered.
The student body turned their attention to their headmaster, then to the dead body of the same man on the floor of the Entrance Hall, and then back at their headmaster again. Well, this wasn't so bad after all. Who knew this could happen when I dropped that ruddy mirror?
Professor Dumbledore surveyed the Harrys. "Could each of you please return to the one you consider your girlfriend," he sighed and finally approached the one next to Ginny.
"I'd say you're the real one, yes," the headmaster asked, his eyes twinkling.
"How would you know?"
"Well, you're the only one who didn't return immediately because you want to know what happened here. The others are the product of their respective girl's desire and returned to them without hesitation."
Harry shrugged. He was about to answer when he heard noise coming from upstairs.
"Harry," Ron shouted, dragging Hermione by the hand. She seemed to barely have the ability to stand up, her hair was beyond bushy, and her lips swollen. Ron was in the same state.
"Hey mate! Did you hear? Old Tommy here seems to have blown his fuses," Harry said with a smirk.
Ron didn't get it, but Professor Dumbledore laughed. "I guess he did. He cast too many AKs. He literally burned out his magical core," Professor Dumbledore said "Harry, you killed him, at least his life as a wizard. He is a Squib now and certainly no Dark Lord."
"The Prophecy's fulfilled," Harry asked.
"It seems so. I never thought of the possible interpretation that his physical life didn't necessarily have to end."
"This means I'm free," Harry shouted and took the Ginny beside him in his arms and kissed her soundly.
Voldemort jerked. Something was wrong. He had heard Professor Dumbledore talking about his magical core being burned out. Bollocks. That's bad, really bad. But the Horcruxes, they'll keep me alive. Voldemort thought and wanted to shout his defiance. "Ymf," Voldemort gasped and Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione and Professor Dumbledore turned their heads sharply to look at him.
"Bugger, he is a vegetable too. Seems he got a little more than his core fried," Professor Dumbledore said, his eyes now a full-twinkle.
A vegetable! Voldemort shrieked in his mind. He tried to move but wasn't able to.
"We'd better ship him off to St Mungo's, then," Harry said, winking at Ginny.
"Quite right, my boy," Dumbledore agreed. "I'm afraid he shall live there for the rest of his unnatural life."
Which will be an eternity. Voldemort realised in horror that his mind was trapped in a useless body for all eternity, unable to communicate with anyone, with a burned-out magical core.
Moments later, three Unspeakables arrived in the Entrance Hall, carrying the Mirror of Erised. Professor Dumbledore blushed. "Ah, Headmaster," one of them said cheerfully.
"We registered some escaped magic here last night and found this mirror in one of our chambers," the second revealed.
"We need to put it back into the mirror at the place the accident happened," the third explained.
"Oh, please do," Professor Dumbledore cried, never happier to see Unspeakables "Please wait a moment and I will escort you there myself."
He looked back at Harry and put a hand on the boy's shoulder. "Not that it's really necessary, but can I trust you to keep watch over Tom," he asked.
"Sure, Professor," Harry replied. He still hadn't gotten his head around the fact that his life of pain and torment under Voldemort was behind him and a real future shined ahead.
Every student had arrived in the Entrance Hall by then. Professor Dumbledore touched the tip of his wand to his throat. "Sonorus. I shall take the Unspeakables to the North Tower, where they will fix the mirror that caused the troubles here today."
A cry arose from the dungeons. "No! Don't fix it," Mr Filch pleaded.
Harry turned to Ginny after a few minutes. Any time now, the Mirror would be repaired and his Ginny would be gone from him. "Blimey, Ginny. I wish you were the real one. But you helped me realise that I truly love Ginny. I'll tell her—I promise—and I'll ask to be whichever part she wants me to be in her life. I'd like to be her boyfriend," Harry told her.
"Harry..." Ginny began.
A murmur spread through the hall as the duplicates started to disappear. Harry held on to Ginny's hand. "I love you, Ginny," he said and closed his eyes. He couldn't bear the sight of Ginny disappearing. After a minute he opened them again. All the duplicates were gone, but he still held Ginny's hand. "Ginny," Harry asked.
"Erm...Harry...I sort of realised I love you too. I broke up with Dean and then tried to find you, but then Tommy here tried to make this a really bad day. I hope you're not mad that you said all those things to me. I sure loved hearing them."
"Mad? I'm madly in love, that's all the mad I am," Harry said. He took her beautiful face in both hands and gazed longingly into her chocolate-brown eyes. "I'm madly in love with you, Ginevra Weasley." He lowered his messy raven head and kissed her tenderly. His dreams had come true.
Next to them, a still-rosy-cheeked, bushy-haired Hermione with swollen lips stood, leaning into her Ron. Her knees still felt a bit weak after a magnificent snog. Ron slipped an arm around her waist and pulled her close to his side. "Hermione...you...you...pulled a Ginny..." he gasped. "It's really you."
"Yes, Ron. It's really me." Hermione explained the beach snog in the classroom and how she had snogged him in his dorm.
Ron's face lit up with the widest grin ever. She really wants me! "Oi, Lavender! It's over," he shouted. He took his Hermione in his strong embrace and snogged the barely-regained ability to stand up out of her.
Harry and Ginny – Married and lived happily ever after, producing two sons and one daughter.
Ron and Hermione – Married and lived happily ever after, producing a daughter and a son.
Filius Flitwick – Had to admit losing the bet on Harry and pay a Sickle to Albus Dumbledore.
Albus Dumbledore – Got a cool set of robes like Al's, but steered clear of smoking Tentacula. Had to pay the Sickle he got from Flitwick to Horace Slughorn, for betting on Ron and Hermione.
Severus Snape – Revealed that he had a potion to heal Dumbledore's hand and did so, He excused himself for not administering it sooner, saying that the headmaster had been too damned stubborn to listen to him.
Minerva McGonagall – Entered the pool on relationships and smiled a lot more often.
Dean Thomas – Got over Ginny and got a life.
Molly Weasley – Started a study group consisting primarily of magical mothers, teaching them how to create an effective Howler.
Argus Filch – Remembered the day he chased Peeves with a wand as the best of his life.
Peeves – Remained jumpy and skittish for a year following the event.
Tom Riddle – Lived a very long, immortal, and very miserable life bickering with himself, earning himself the nickname Arch-Cucumber, as the most famous vegetable at St Mungo's.