Disclaimer – Harry Potter and its affiliates are the sole property of JK Rowling.
Disclaimer – Merlin and Morgan Le Fey are characters in History and Myth. They do not belong to me either.
Disclaimer – Sun Runner abilities are the property of Melanie Rawn.
Chapter 20 – The New Dark Lord
The days flew swiftly by. Before Harry knew it, spring time was upon them. It would not be long before the end of the school year was there. Ginny, who was now in her seventh year, was feeling the pressures of the exams that were right around the corner. Luna was another one that Harry was worried about. He knew that both young ladies would be ok in their exams, but they were the last of the party that went to the Department of Mysteries with him. The rest of the group was all teachers in the school now. With Hagrid gone, Neville took over most of the Care of Magical Creatures classes. Professor Grubbly-Plank just took care of the more advanced classes. The loss of Hagrid still hit Harry hard. He had a picture of the half giant posted near the entrance of the Great Hall. He would stop for a few moments and look at the picture every time he entered. Every now and then, Albus or Severus would find him sitting at Hagrid's tomb, talking about things going on at the school. They both knew that Harry missed Hagrid the most.
One evening Harry was sitting near Hagrid's hut and Draco found him there. He didn't say anything. He just sat there with Harry in peaceful silence. Together they sat until the evening came. Finally as the stars started appearing in the sky, Draco broke the silence.
"I have some good news for you," he said. "Hermione, Ginny, and I all know what our Animagus forms will be."
"That's wonderful Draco," said Harry looking fondly over at him. "Let me guess, YOU will be a dragon."
"Yes that is correct," said Draco chuckling. "It looks like your nickname for me was more accurate than either of us could have imagined."
"Not really," said Harry. "I saw it in a vision. So what are Hermione and Ginny?"
"You knew already?" asked Draco a little stunned.
"Yes," said Harry. "You did not think that an heir of Helga Hufflepuff would not have inherited her gifts now did you?"
"I suppose not," Draco conceded. "Well Hermione will be a Unicorn and Ginny will be a Fox and a Horse. Ron is a bit disappointed. He went and talked with Minerva, but the potion did not show us an animal form for him. Luna surprised us however. She will be an owl Animagus just like Albus."
Harry looked over at Draco and smiled. Good hearted Luna. She talked crazy, but she was a wonderful person. Harry had nothing but respect for her.
"Dragon," said Harry. "I really want to thank you for giving up your love life for me. I know that it is hard to meet a nice girl and settle down when you share a room and a bed with me. If you want other quarters in the castle, I will totally understand."
Draco draped his arm over Harry's shoulders and pulled him close.
"I was wondering when you were going to broach this subject," he said. "While I agree that it would be hard to meet a nice girl and settle down, I want you to know, that I stay in your rooms because I want to. I could have moved out at any time. The truth of the matter is that I am not interested in settling down and having a family. You, Hermione, Sev, Albus, and the rest are all the family I will ever need. The only way I will move into my own rooms is if you want me too. Besides, who will chase away your nightmares if I am not there?"
Harry sat there with a small smile on his lips. The thought of a girl to settle down with just didn't play out in his daily plans. He had to much to do and not a lot of time to do it with.
"I don't want you to move out Draco," he finally replied. "I have gotten too used to you being there for that. Besides, like you, I feel like I already have my family. Tonks is due to give birth any day now. Hermione is pregnant though she doesn't know it yet. I'm sure that Ginny will let us spoil any children she has in the future as well."
"I didn't know that Hermione was pregnant," said Draco. "She is in for a surprise. Who is the father?"
"Ron is of course," replied Harry. "The two of them are inseparable. They came to me a couple of months ago and asked me to marry them in a private ceremony. However I find that I have a hard time hiding things from you. We are too connected to each others emotions for that."
"I agree with you there Harry," said Draco.
Finally the wind started picking up and Harry and Draco decided that it was time for them to go into the castle. When they reached the castle, Harry nodded in the direction of Hermione's room and Draco gave an impish smile and followed him. When they knocked on the door, they could hear an irritable Hermione on the other side. Both Harry and Draco was a little stunned by the ferocity in her voice.
"And another thing Ronald Weasley," she was telling him. "The next time you borrow my books, you had better put them back where you found them."
Harry knocked again and Ron answered the door. The relief on his face was evident when he saw Harry and Draco standing there.
"Is everything ok in here?" asked Harry coming into the room. "I could hear you yelling all the way from the hallway."
"I'm sorry about that Harry," said Hermione shamefaced. "I don't know what is wrong with me. I am so grouchy all the time lately. Ron, I am sorry I didn't mean to take it out on you."
Ron walked over to her and wrapped his arms around her. She sighed and leaned into his embrace. Harry looked over at Draco with a smug smile on his face. Hermione however was quick to pick up on it.
"You told him we are married didn't you," she accused Harry. "You promised that you wouldn't tell anyone."
"Hermione calm down," said Harry with a small chuckle. "I don't know why you are so worried. People have been expecting you to get married for awhile now. If you think that people like Albus, Minerva, and Severus won't figure it out then you are crazy. If anything everyone will be upset that they were not at the wedding."
"I guess you are right Harry," said Hermione defeated. "But you actually told Draco. Why did you do that?"
"I find it very hard to keep anything from him," admitted Harry looking down at his shoes. "Our emotions are tied up into one another's due to everything that has happened over the last two years."
"I can imagine," said Hermione wryly. "When are you to going to pull your heads out of your asses and realize that you are in love with one another?"
Realizing she spoke what she had been thinking out loud, Hermione looked in horror at Harry and Draco. The two men in front of her were stunned by her words.
"Hermione," said Draco hesitantly fearing she would blow up again. "Harry and I are NOT gay. We just are very close friends. I think of Harry as the brother that I never had, and Harry feels the same way. Yes we love each other, but not in that way."
Harry stood next to Harry nodding his head in agreement. Ron was looking at Hermione as if she had just cursed them into oblivion.
"I'm so sorry," she whispered. "I don't know what is wrong with me lately. I cry at strange times, I get angry quickly, and I flare up in annoyance at the slightest things."
Harry and Draco looked at each other with a grin on their faces. Ron was quick to spot it.
"What are you two grinning at?" he asked. "What do you know that Hermione and I don't?"
"Should we tell them Dragon?" asked Harry in an amused tone. "Or should we wait until Hermione can't keep her breakfast down anymore?"
"What was that?" asked Hermione jerking her head up. "What do you mean? You had better tell me right now Harry James Potter or I will hex you."
"Keep your knickers oh Hermione," said Harry laughing. "I am going to tell you. Draco I recommend you conjuring some cushions behind Ron. I think he will need them."
Chuckling, Draco pulled out his wand and quickly conjured some soft cushions. Ron just sat there with a confused look on his face. Hermione's mind was working over time. She was counting the days. She looked at Harry with a look that froze Ron in his shoes.
"You don't mean?" she asked. "No I can't be. Are you trying to tell me that I am pregnant?"
"That I am," said Harry with a huge smile on his face.
As soon as the words were out of his mouth, a crash could he heard. True to Harry's prediction, Ron passed out and hit the floor.
"Oh that is going to leave a mark," said Draco. "He missed the cushions."
By this time Harry and Draco were howling with mirth. They were so loud in fact, that they did not hear a knock at the door at first. Hermione however did and she went to answer the door. Albus, Minerva, Severus, and Poppy all stood there.
"What did you do Harry Potter," said Poppy pushing him aside and rushing over to Ron.
"I didn't do anything," replied Harry trying to act innocent. "Well not much anyway. Poppy rather than looking over Ron, I suggest that you look over Hermione instead."
Poppy looked at Harry in confusion for a moment before she ran her wand over Hermione. The look on her face was priceless. When Harry and Draco saw it, they dissolved into peals of laughter again.
"I think we are missing something important," said Albus with a smile on his face. "May we join in on the merriment?"
Harry pointed at Hermione. She glared at him, but decided that the time was right for her to come clean.
"Ron and I got married a couple of months ago," she said. "It was a small wedding that only had my parents and Ron's mom and Ginny attending."
"What wonderful news," said Minerva delightedly as Poppy made her way over to Ron.
"Indeed it is," said Albus. "However that doesn't explain all of this."
"The Head Master," she snarled the word. "Thought it would be funny to come and inform me this evening that I am pregnant. The shock made Ron faint. He hit his head on the way down. Mr. Malfoy seems to think that is hilarious."
"Oh lighten up Hermione," said Harry still chuckling weakly. "We did after all conjure up some cushions for him to land on. It isn't our fault he missed."
By this time, Minerva, Severus, and Albus were all walking towards Hermione. They were positively delighted by the news. Hermione finally calmed down and admitted that she too thought the sight of Ron fainting at the news was a bit funny. They all sat down after Ron was roused and had a nice chat. Poppy gave Hermione a list of potions she would have to take on a daily basis. It was during the camaraderie that Harry felt the twinge of a weave on his consciousness. The rest of the room did not feel it, but they knew just by the expression on Harry's face.
"Did you think I forgot about you Potter?" asked a voice that was familiar to Harry. "We have not forgotten about you. I have been training hard. I have been building up my strength. Like you I am now a five color runner. I will be training my other runners so that when we come for you we will be your match. We will not make the same mistakes that Voldemort did. This time you will be destroyed."
With that, Harry felt the weave pull back. He knew that he had to figure out who that voice was. He knew that they all knew this person, but he could not figure out who it was.
"I think it is time for us to go to my office," said Harry quietly. "It is time for us to work together to figure out who this runner is."
Grabbing Draco, the two young men disappeared with a small pop. Albus sent out a message to the rest of the runners in the castle and the rest of the group slowly made their way up to Harry's office. When they arrived, Harry and Draco already had chairs ready for them all to sit. There was also a screen up. Albus wondered briefly what Harry was going to do with the screen. He then saw that Harry's pensieve was on the table near the screen. The rest of the group quickly filed in and were all seating themselves. Harry was standing next to the pensieve.
"I have been able to create a spell that will allow everyone present to hear what I heard on that weave," he stated. "I have also extended that spell so that when I place my wand into the pensieve, the images I saw on the weave will appear on the screen. Our mystery weaver still has no idea that I am a six color runner. Nor does he know how many of you are also at five colors. He only thinks that it's just me with five."
"Harry," said Hermione ever observantly. "You just called the Dark Runner a he. Is it finally established that it is a male?"
"I believe so Hermione," said Harry. "I want you all to watch and listen. Any clue as to who this person is will be helpful. I know the voice. I just can not place it. Also this person said he had other runners that he was training. Maybe if we can figure out who he is, then we can find out how many others there are and then we can search them out and stop them."
"Stop them how Harry?" asked Ginny. "The only way to stop a Runner is to get them shadow lost. I can't see you going around doing that to people."
"You are right Ginny," he replied. "I will not be going around making them shadow lost. I am not a killer. However I have been talking with Merlin. There is a way to strip them of their Runner powers. The stronger they are, the more difficult it will be. However anyone with 5 colors can rip the ability to weave out of a runner. All of us here trust and love each other. We would never do that to one another. They don't. Evil always turns in upon itself. This person is not only trying to destroy your running abilities. He also is trying to take the place of Voldemort. Please draw your attention to the screen."
Harry put the tip of his wand to his head and pulled out the memory of the weave. He placed it in the pensive and left his wand in the bowl. Slowly he placed his hands around the edge and started chanting softly. The screen lit up and the voice sounded to the rest of the assembled Runners.
"Did you think I forgot about you Potter? We have not forgotten about you. I have been training hard. I have been building up my strength. Like you I am now a five color runner. I will be training my other runners so that when we come for you we will be your match. We will not make the same mistakes that Voldemort did. This time you will be destroyed."
The image on the screen was definantly that of a male. There was no mistaken that. When the person started to speak, there were a few members of the Light Runners that stood up immediately. Those consisted of Luna, Hermione, Minerva, Albus, and Severus. All of them started talking at the same time. Harry waved his hand for silence, and then he looked at Luna. She seemed the most distraught of the group.
"What is wrong Luna?" he asked. "You know who this is. I can tell from your expression. Who is it and how do you know him?"
"I know him," said Luna. "I know him because he was the one who tormented me last year. He was the one that was making my life so hard."
Harry looked at Hermione for assurance. It couldn't be. There was no way possible that he got so powerful so fast.
"It would appear Harry," said Albus gravely. "That Terry Boot has the idea that he will be the next Lord Voldemort. If you remember, Voldemort only had four running colors. You said that this person has five. We recognize that voice Harry. That is Terry Boot. There can be no doubt about that."
Minerva, Severus, and Hermione all nodded their heads.
"Its true Harry," said Minerva. "Boot spent months with me in detention. I would know that voice anywhere."
Harry sat down heavily. After it was told to him who the voice belonged to, it hit him like a ton of bricks. He also knew the voice. It was he who had given the year long detention in the first place. Terry Boot had a year to train under the Dark Lord. He had a year to discover that he is an heir to Morgan Le Fey. He had a year to plan his revenge on him, Luna, and Hermione. To make matters worse he had a year to find others that would join in his cause. Those that had grudges against people like Albus, Severus, and Minerva. The new battle had just begun.
Author's Note – Thank you all for staying with me though out this book. I kept you in suspense about the mysterious stranger due to the fact that it would make a great story for my 3rd and final book in the trilogy. Please join me as I write the new book. It will be titled, "Warriors of Hogwarts". I will start on it as soon as I am done fixing all of the hundreds of errors I have found in Guardian.