Previously: (Though honestly I'd re-read everything has it has been a year )
"I'm about to give you a crash course in phoenix's and what that black hearted bastard we call the leader of the light has done to them." Harry said with a snarl. "And let me tell you now, if he is the leader of the light then I'm going to be the next Dark Fucking Lord! I will never follow anyone like him!" Harry's reply didn't shock any of them as they had all figured out that the Manipulative Old Bastard wasn't as lily white as they had thought. None of them were aware of just how dark he was though.
Harry's crash course on Phoenix's was enlightening to say the least. None of them knew that the number of Phoenix's stayed fairly constant. Phoenix's mate for life and the pair will only have two young over their long lives. While they are technically immortal they choose not to live forever. When a Phoenix is young, but after it has learned all it can about life from its parents, it leaves to travel the world. This serves two purposes. The first is to learn more about the world around them and it is on this journey that they will meet their life -mate. It is also during this time that they would bond with a witch or wizard. This happened even less often than was actually believed. Since the lifespan of witches and wizards, while longer than normal humans, is still only the blink of an eye to a Phoenix. Once a Phoenix finds its mate the two forms an unbreakable bond that is so amazing words would never do it justice. The pair of Phoenix's will then continue to travel the world together for hundreds of years before the female lays her first egg. The time between the laying of the egg and the hatching is very short, only a couple of days, the chick will then reach its maximum size in under a week. The parents will then spend the next 20 years or so teaching the chick all it needs to know. Once the fully educated chick leaves the nest for the final time the parents continue on exploring the world. It will be around another 50 years before the female lays her next egg. This chick will be the opposite sex of whatever the first chick was, thus keeping the balance, as magic is very much about balance. After the second child has left the nest the parents once again continue exploring the world. After many years, and it varies from pair to pair, the Phoenix's, as a pair, will perform a ceremony, or ritual if you like that word better, that will release their life force back to where it came from, back to magic itself.
Everyone was amazed at the amount of knowledge on Phoenix's that Harry now possessed.
"Harry why hasn't anyone every written this down before," asked Hermione? "You have just told us more about Phoenix's than any book at Hogwarts has. I looked up Phoenix's after you told me about Fawkes healing you. There is nothing like this in any of the books I read." Hermione looked like she was going to keep rambling before Fleur interrupted her.
"We can get Harry to write it all down later Hermione." The smile she sent her co-wife took any sting out of the words. "But Harry none of this information explains why you are so upset." Fleur half asked, half stated.
"I know I haven't gotten to the bad part yet," Harry said. "In fact I've been avoiding this part because it really pisses me off. I'm also avoiding it because what Fawkes and Firella want will be very difficult to do."
"What is it they want Harry?" Asked Luna from her position curled up into Neville. His comments from the night before and today had led the young blonde to believe he actually did love her and did want to be with her. That he wasn't just honoring the contract.
"I'd rather save that until the end of the story. Everyone dwelling on it won't do any good and you really need to hear this story and not be thinking of anything else. Why don't we get a house elf to bring us breakfast and we can all eat while I talk," Harry replied.
"Harry you know how I feel about using house elves this way. They should all be free!" Hermione said loudly. It was obvious that she was very upset and heading towards a major rant.
Fleur was surprisingly the one who interrupted her. "Hermione you are going about this the wrong way. You need to change the way house elves are treated…." Before Fleur could complete her sentence Hermione erupted.
"No! Slavery is wrong!" She all but screamed. "It has been outlawed in the muggle world for over a century!" She looked to continue when Fleur cast a silencing spell at her.
"Before you continue to making a fool out of yourself you need to understand something. You are confusing bonding and slavery." Fleur continued as if she hadn't been interrupted before. "House elves are magical creatures that get their magic from the witch or wizard they are bonded to. Without that bonding they will lose their magic. Understand this if they lose their magic They Will Die! That is the reason that house elves put up with such horrid treatment. It is either put up with such treatment or die. You need to change the way they are treated. You need to change the witch's and wizards of the world. You also need to remember that you are no longer in the muggle world and that things are different here. You need to research why things are the way they are before you just jump in and try and change them. That is one of the main things that purebloods hate about the muggleborn. The muggleborn are always comparing our world to theirs and trying to change things without every asking why we do some things the way we do. Yes I'm sure there are some things that do need to be changed but there are lots of things the way they are for reasons. Discover those reasons before you start condemning them."
Hermione's eyes had gotten wider and wider as Fleur continued. When Fleur mentioned the elves dyeing the tears started to fall. By the time Fleur was finished Hermione was balling her eyes out.
When Fleur was finished she took the silencing spell off of Hermione. "I'm sorry. It's just as you said I was hearing slavery not bonding," Hermione said. "I didn't even ask any elves what they thought. I was actually doing the same thing to them; I was making decisions for them without taking their thoughts and feeling into consideration. I'm also sorry about comparing the wizarding world to the muggle one. I've never thought about it that way before. It is just that everything else is over a hundred years behind the muggle world; I thought that the purebloods were fighting changing things just because they were so comfortable with the way things are that they didn't want them to change. Thank you for making me truly see things. Others have said things similar before but I didn't truly comprehend what they were saying."
Fleur and Harry pulled her into a hug and say her down on the couch between the two of them. The rest of the group went to move to the kitchen area when Harry stopped Sirius. "Padfoot, get an oath from them and tell them everything." At Sirius' look Harry continued. "Sirius, the Blood War is starting all over again. Since Dumbledore made sure that as few of the Death Eaters as possible were actually made to pay for their crimes, letting Malfoys gold buy them out of trouble, we are facing an army that is just waiting to be called; an army that raped and killed its way into being one night away from ruling wizarding Britain. We are going to need all the help we can get and those people in the kitchen are the beginning of our army."
"Are you sure Harry," Sirius asked? "You know we also have Moony on our side."
Harry flinched badly at that statement. "No Padfoot he's not. He is Dumbledore's man through and through. The castle gave me a whole slew of memories that involved Moony, Dumbledore and Snape. Snape and Moony have been lovers for years."
At that Sirius went dead white and then bolted for the bathroom. The others all looked at each other as Minerva hurried to take care of Sirius.
"Guys go ahead to the kitchen and order us some breakfast," Harry said. "We will be in shortly."
"Ok Harry," said Luna. "And just so you know I'll take any oath you need me to. I'm sure Neville will as well." Neville nodded his head in agreement as the two headed off.
By the time that Harry and Fleur had gotten Hermione calmed down and cleaned up the others were just finishing hearing Sirius' story. The looks of shock and awe were evident on all their faces. Minerva had tears rolling down her face. It was obvious that even though they hadn't had their first date yet, Minerva had strong feelings for one Sirius Black.
Sirius looked up as the trio walked into the room. "Harry are you sure about Remus? He was never able to lie to James or me."
"Do you remember when we talked to him over the summer," Harry asked? "The way he acted when I asked where he was during my childhood seemed strange to me."
"Now that you mention it, he did act weird," said Sirius. "I thought it was just embarrassment over how he had to live, what he had to do to survive."
"From what Camelot sent me last night, he lived well," said Harry. "In all the images he is wearing new robes and smiling. In one of the images his robes had a crest on them." Harry then went on to describe the crest to the others.
Minerva's shocked gasp drew everyone's attention to her. "That is the Prince Family Crest," she said. "That is Severus' mother's family. I never knew he could use the family name or crest. This isn't known by many but Severus Snape is a half-blood."
Everyone was digesting that information when Harry dropped another bomb shell on them. "It doesn't really matter one way or the other," Harry said. "Because Severus Snape is a dead man walking." Before the protest could get too loud or out of hand Harry continued. "I know we all have different thoughts on killing; however my reasons for killing Snape are long and personal. I'll explain all in time; however at the moment we are running out of time so some things will have to wait."
"Running out of time for what pup?" Asked Sirius, sounding confused, and he was confused about a lot of things, with Remus being at the top of the list. Harry really wasn't looking forward to the rest of that story. He knew Sirius was going to go off the deep end. That he, Harry, felt the same way did not help matters at all.
"Don't forget that we are meeting the Weasleys later this morning." Hermione interjected.
"Speaking of that, Minerva could you send a letter to Amelia Bones and ask her to meet us here for that," asked Harry? This raised the eyebrows of those that knew what was going to happen at that meeting. None of them could think of a reason for then head of the DMLE to be there.
As Minerva was sending the letter off with a school elf, Harry seemed lost in thought. In reality he was checking with the castle and seeing where certain people were located. It wouldn't do for certain people to slip away. Coming back to himself with a start, it was a little disconcerting to converse with a sentient castle, Harry gathered himself for what he knew would be a tough conversation.
"As you may have gathered Albus Dumbledore is not the light wizard he portrays himself to be." Harry began what he knew was going to be a long and draining conversation. "Over fifty years ago he created a ritual that would keep him young and powerful forever. He caught a pair of mated phoenixes," here he gestured to Fawkes and Firella "by using the killing curse on both of them forcing a burning day." He paused to allow for the expected cries of outrage and anger. Both Fawkes and Firella started singing. At first it was a song of sadness and pain. Slowly the song shifted to one of hope and happiness, this stilled the shouts of outrage as everyone paused to listen to the beautiful song. As the song ended Harry picked up the story before anyone could start asking questions. He knew he would never get done if Hermione started rattling off her questions. He knew his wife and knew that from just the little he had said she would have dozens of questions. "The ritual was designed to use one of the phoenix's to extend his life and strength, the other his useful looks and magic. Fawkes was able to disrupt part of the ritual by nudging his mate partially outside of the ritual circle. This kept Firella from being bound to Dumbledore but still allowed him to draw a little from her for his youth and magical strength." Harry paused here and looked sadly at Minerva. "Minerva I don't know of any way to say this without being blunt, so here it goes. You have by now noticed that you have de-aged more rapidly than Sirius; more rapidly than the rest of us have aged."
"Yes I have," she said. "I thought it was because I was so much older than Sirius and thus I had farther to go."
"Minerva you know that you are not that old and that for the most part we wizards and witches age slower than those without magic anyway," Harry said.
Everyone nodded their assent to that and Neville even said, with a lot of embarrassment. "Yes Minerva I thought you were my Gran's age. When I asked her about it I was shocked to learn that you were only two years out of Hogwarts when you were then hired here. And that my parents started the year after you were hired."
"It's ok Neville I'm well aware of how I look. I'm not upset with you; I'm not upset with any of you. I just took it as a fact of life," Minerva replied.
"Minerva did Dumbledore offer you your job here before you graduated from Hogwarts," Harry asked?
"Yes he did. He had me sign a magical contract to come back and teach in exchange for Hogwarts paying for me to get my mastery," she said. "It was the only that I would have been able to afford it. I would never have entered into an apprenticeship as I had heard the horror stories of how women are treated in them." She paused here to shudder in revulsion. An act that was copied by the others in the room; all of them had heard the horror stories of rape and torture that women had endured under the guise of apprenticeship. "I got my mastery at the Magical University of Capetown, South Africa."
"That fits the final piece of the puzzle that I did not understand." Harry said with the air of someone who finally understood something that had been on the tip of their tongue but couldn't spit it out. "When part of his ritual didn't work Dumbledore created a spell that would allow him to draw either the youth or magical strength off of someone, as long as they were nearby much of the time. He held off on casting the youth portion on you until you started teaching. This way you would be in the castle most of the time and fewer would see the changes in you. You would be spending almost ten months of the year here in the castle. He then made you head of Gryffindor and deputy headmistress to keep you in the castle and close to him even more."
"Harry if he waited to cast the youth drain on Minerva, I take it he cast the magical drain sooner?" Fleur stated more than asked. "Upon whom did he cast that, and how did they not notice?"
"He actually cast it on two people," Harry said. "The first was a young boy who had splashed mud on those gaudy robes of his and didn't stop to apologize. The drain made the boy appear to be a squib."
Everyone was shocked that Dumbledore would do that to a young child. But after thinking about it for a moment the shock passed. If he would bind a phoenix why wouldn't he do something to a child? Harry's next comment did shock them though.
"He then hired the squib boy to clean the castle for the rest of his life; laughing at the thought of the boy who got mud on his robes as a child, having to clean the mud of hundreds of children without magic." The bitterness in Harry's voice was matched by the look on his face as Neville shouted, "Filch!"
"Yes Neville, Mr. Filch shouldn't be a squib," said Harry. "In fact he really can't even be classified as a squib; he has plenty of magic, it is just shunted off to Dumbledore instead of being available for him to use."
"Harry how did the spell work if Mr. Filch was not close by at first," asked Hermione?
Before Harry could answer, Fleur asked "I'm sorry but who is Mr. Filch?"
Looking embarrassed Harry went to answer but Luna beat him to it. "No it is we who are sorry Fleur. I hope I'm not stepping on anyone's toes here, but speaking for myself I feel so comfortable with all of you that I feel like I've known you forever. I forgot that you have only been in the castle for one day Fleur. Mr. Filch is the castle caretaker. He was the man who brought the Goblet of Fire into the Great Hall that night."
Fleur shuddered at the thought of the dirty looking man who had brought the Goblet into the hall. Then her eyes saddened at the thought of what had been done to him. Harry and Hermione gave her a quick hug in apology as they both had forgotten that she did not know everyone they did. They were so comfortable with her presence already that is seemed, to them at least, that she had always been a part of their lives. That in itself would take some thinking about as they had not been together that long for those types of thoughts and feelings to be there.
"To answer your question Hermione, at first it didn't. That is how Dumbledore knew for a fact that the target of the spell had to be in close proximity to him. It still caused him to appear as a squib because the magic was drawn from him, it just never made it to Dumbledore," said Harry. "He knew the spell worked though, as he had already cast it once before."
Everyone was looking at Harry and trying to figure out who the spell had been cast on. Suddenly, Minerva's eyes went wide in comprehension as she figured out who the target of the spell had to be. "Hagrid," she whispered. "It has to be Hagrid."
Hermione turned to Fleur and started to explain about Hagrid. "Hagrid is currently the Care of Magical Creature Professor. Before that he was the Keeper of Keys and Grounds for over fifty years. He was wrongly expelled in his fifth year of Hogwarts; he was wrongly accused of opening Salazar Slytherins Chamber of Secrets and releasing a monster that killed another student. We proved two years ago that it wasn't him; we proved that it was the person now known as Voldemort that opened the chamber and released the monster, which turned out to be a basilisk. At this Hermione turned to Minerva and asked, "Why wasn't Hagrid's expulsion over turned when we proved that he didn't open the chamber?"
"I don't know Hermione," stated Minerva sadly. The kind hearted half giant had never hurt anyone, and was always kind to everyone. She remembered him fondly from the time she started at Hogwarts.
"I bet if we look close enough it was," stated Sirius. "However; I bet that expulsions and their overturning are routed through the headmaster. Can you see Dumbledore letting his free power source get away? I'm sure that he buried that as far down as he possible could. Couple that with the way most people in Ministry feel about those of mixed race can you see anyone questioning why Hagrid hasn't gotten a new wand? As far as they are concerned they did their job, they filed the paperwork and passed the word to Dumbledore. What do they care if the man actually did his job and let Hagrid know?" The bitterness and anger in his voice was echoed by the looks on everyone's faces. They all knew the way most of the Ministry thought and couldn't argue with Sirius at all. None of them but Minerva actually understood exactly what Sirius was alluding to.
Harry had a thoughtful look on his face as he started speaking. "Can you imagine how powerful Hagrid actually is? I've seen Hagrid do magic with his broken wand, the one he keeps in his umbrella. Either the curse acted different because it was cast on him when he was older, or there is something else going on."
Minerva looked pensive for a moment, then, she started to speak. "I would like all of you to keep what I'm about to tell you quiet. Just as you are keeping everything else we have talked about quiet." After getting nods of assent from the group, she continued. "In case you didn't catch what Sirius was alluding to, Hagrid is not fully human. While his father was an ordinary wizard, his mother was a giantess. That is the reason for his large size and more than likely the reason that the spell did not act the same with him. If it got out to the general public that Hagrid was part giant then there would be calls to sack him faster than you could say quidditch. It does not matter that Hagrid would never hurt anyone; people would just think that because he is part giant then he must be like full giants and be an un-thinking beast that would kill you just because he saw you."
Everyone had looks of comprehension on their faces as the pieces fell into place. Well everyone except Sirius, who was looking chagrined. It had never occurred to him that everyone didn't know that Hagrid was part giant. He knew that the kids were all friends with him and just assumed that they knew about his parentage.
Fleur started giggling as a thought crossed her mind. At everyone's look she decided to voice what she found so amusing. "I was just thinking of Madame Maxine and your Hagrid. It's obvious now, where her size comes from; and if we can get it worked out can you think of someone better to tutor him in magic than the half-giant headmistress of a magical school?"
Everyone had a good chuckle at that which Harry thought was good. He was coming to the worst part of the story and hoped that this helped with the shock and pain that he knew was coming.
"I'm afraid that I need to continue the story and that the worst part is yet to come," stated Harry. "The spell on Minerva was broken by the phoenix blessing obviously. The spells and Mr. Filch and Hagrid will break when I complete the task that Fawkes and Firella have asked of me." The look of sadness and pain on Harry's face was easy to see.
"What is this task that you keep alluding to that has you so upset and angry my love," asked Fleur?
"Yeah pup what is it that you need to do?" Sirius asked with a look of concern. It bothered him that his godson was so upset about what he had to do, yet it was obvious that Harry thought it had to be done.
Hermione then tossed her thoughts out there. "It's obvious that they want you to break the binding on them. And since you are involved I'm sure that it's not as simple as it sounds." Her comment had the desired effect of making everyone smile. They all knew that it was true that nothing was ever simple when Harry was involved.
With a look of sadness Harry dropped the proverbial bomb on them. "Your right Hermione, it's not simple. You see, setting them free will kill them permanently."
Once again Harry let everyone babble themselves out. He saw no point in trying to calm them down and letting them ask questions. He knew that once he got done telling them what he knew most of their questions would be answered. Fawkes had already explained to him that there was no other way to break Dumbledore's binding on them and that they would rather die than be bound to such a man. This is what both he and Firella wanted and Harry would do his best to honor that. He owed Fawkes his life and would do whatever he could to help his friend. When Harry told the others what Fawkes and Firella had said about dying being better that being bound to an evil man like Dumbledore; tears fell like rain. The others then understood the pain it must be causing the creatures of light; to be bound to a man that thought of himself before anyone else.
"Harry if Firella is bound as well, how come we never see her like we have seen Fawkes?" Luna's question had everyone looking at Harry, for they too had had the same thought.
"Since the ritual was botched, his control over her is strange," said Harry. "It is actually easier to keep her away than it is to keep her close."
Harry then proceeded to give them what he thought of as the good news. "Since Fawkes and Firella were never able to have their children, they believe that they can funnel the magic from breaking the bond, the magic we are putting forth from the phoenix blessing, and the magic that is normally used for them to have their children and transform Hedwig and her mate here."
"That is why they brought them here," shouted Hermione!
"Yes they have spent the last two months getting to know them," said Harry. "Hedwig and Fawkes have been friends for a while. Since just after Hedwig and I bonded actually." The dead silence that followed that statement made Harry look up. "What?" He asked.
"Harry; how come you have never said anything about you and Hedwig being bonded?" Asked Hermione; sounding very hurt that she hadn't been told.
"Hermione; you know how much I want to be normal, right?" Harry asked; then continued on, not waiting for a response to his question. "Being bonded to Hedwig was just one more thing that made me different from everyone else. Gaining a familiar and eleven!?" Harry all but shouted the last part. "And no Hedwig I'm not ashamed of you." Hedwig looked hurt and first and then surprised as Harry continued. "You know that having you with me; and then your bonding with me are one of the few reasons that I'm still alive. I would have killed myself before second year even started if not for you. Now I would kill myself before I would let anything happen to you." The words were spoken softly but no-one doubted that Harry meant every word.
The birds looked strange as they got ready for the ritual. Well it wasn't really a ritual, as the two phoenixes would be doing most of the work. Fawkes and Firella were in the middle, each with their outside wing draped over one of the snowy owls. The contrast between the red of the phoenixes and the white of the owls was very striking. Harry took out the wand that he had taken from Dumbledore the night before and laid it between the two phoenixes. Each bird cut itself with its talons and then coated the wand with blood. Before either of the wounds could heal the phoenixes dripped blood on the heads of each of the owls. Both owls looked as if they had been badly wounded. Each phoenix then dripped tears on the wand, causing it to smoke. Both then trilled softly to Harry, who nodded in reply and turned to the others.
"Firella and Fawkes want to thank you all for witnessing their release," said Harry. "What they ask of each of you it to think thoughts of love and happiness. Then while doing that, touch me on the arm, shoulder, or back. Then focus your thoughts on your magic and push it towards me. I will then use your magic, plus mine, to cast the spell Fawkes asked me to at the wand. This will fuel the ritual, for lack of a better term, and grant them their release."
"Harry, why are you using Dumbledore's wand for the ritual? Not that I really care what happens to the bastards wand, but still." Sirius seemed confused about the whole thing. "Not to mention you really looked upset about that wand when you saw it."
"While going over my families vault inventory with the goblins, two things were missing," said Harry. "The invisibility cloak that I got back in first year, and a wand were the two items missing. I'm sure that all of you have read or heard The Tales of the Beetle Bard and the story of the Three Brothers?" Harry questioned.
Looks of comprehension, awe, and skepticism graced different faces. Luna was almost vibrating with excitement. "My daddy always talks about it," she said. "Are you saying that you have the true cloak of invisibility and the Elder Wand?"
Harry nodded and then started telling what he knew. "As you can see the wand isn't really unbeatable as the tales say it is. My grandfather came upon the wand sometime ago and knew what it was. He placed the wand in the family vault hoping to break the bloody history of the wand. If he were to die in anyway other that being killed by someone, then the curse on the wand would be broken. Dumbledore somehow found out about the wand and must have disguised himself as a death eater that then proceeded to kill my grandfather and grandmother that day in Diagon Alley. Since my father was a month away from being of age when they were killed, Dumbledore must have talked him into letting him be his guardian for that month instead of immediately taking up his place as Lord Potter. He would have been in the same position as I was, and would have been able to take up his rightful place at the time. Like I should have done at age eleven, like I would have done if I knew that I could."
"Yeah I remember that," said Sirius. "Since we were still in school and Dumbledore swore and oath not to enter into any contracts, change any investments, or remove any money from his vaults, your father let him take his guardianship. That allowed Dumbledore to handle your grandparent's funeral arrangements. Something your father wanted no part of."
"Yes and while he had guardianship he must have looked through the vaults and found the wand," said Harry. "Since the oath he swore didn't cover taking items out of the vault, he had no problem just stealing it."
"Harry, how do you know that Dumbledore was the Death Eater that killed your grandparents?" Asked Hermione, she had read over the story of the Three Brothers but that type of story really didn't interest her. She didn't enjoy wizarding fairytales; she preferred facts and real knowledge.
"Because Hermione," answered Neville "according to legend, the only way for the wand to change allegiance is for the owner of the wand to be defeated in battle."
"And since I took the wand from him last night it has acknowledged me as the new wielder," Harry said with a smirk "which means that Dumbledore was its master and now I am. However after this the so called 'DeathStick' will be no more. Also many of the spells that Dumbledore cast are tied to the wand; this means they will all fail when the wand is destroyed. Mr. Filch and Hagrid will be free to use all their magic after this. For Hagrid not much will change, though we should see about letting him know that he was cleared and get him a new wand. Mr. Filch on the other hand is going to have to have training if he ever wants to learn how to control his magic. After going so long without it, it may be very difficult for him to learn."
With that Harry turned back to face the strange combination of birds, and prepared himself to set two of them free from a life of slavery. The others in the room gathered behind him, laying a hand on his back or shoulder. Fleur had to be different and with a wink she tucked her hand in Harry's back pocket. Not to be out done Hermione stuck her hand in the other pocket. This lightened everyone's mood and helped them mentally focus their thoughts and love and happiness.
Feeling the magic beginning to pour into him, Harry focused his own thoughts and began to cast the spell. All the spell really was was the word free said over and over again in a chant. The language itself though, was an ancient language that no one there knew, so no one had any idea what he was saying. A beam of pure white magic left is wand and struck the still smoking wand being held by the two phoenixes.
Suddenly there was an explosion of sound, light, and flame. It sounded as if there were thousands of phoenixes singing and though it was loud, it wasn't painful. As everyone's eyes adjusted from the flash of light and flame the singing died down until it was just a pair of phoenixes singing a song of love and rebirth. Now however, everyone could hear whimpering noises coming from Harry and looked at him to see a gruesome sight. His wand, which had contained a feather from Fawkes, had burst into flame at the same time as Fawkes did. While the flames of a phoenix would not normally burn someone unintentionally, it seemed that since it was no longer a part of Fawkes, Harry was badly burned. Before anyone could move to help him a pair of snow white phoenixes, with what appeared to be two, blood red tear drops under one eye, landed next to Harry's kneeling form and began to bathe his hand in tears. Before everyone's eyes, charred skin and bone was healed and made whole.
Hedwig was trilling sadly when Harry began to speak. "I know girl and I don't blame either of you. Thank you both for helping me. We both know I would have done it even if I did know that this was going to happen. There was no way I could have left them bound to that evil old man. That was killing them more that what we just did. We set them free; we allowed them to choose what they wanted. We didn't decide for them, nor did we bind them against their will."
"Harry are you ok? What happened? Did it work?" Hermione looked to be working herself into a right state when Fleur surprised them all and grabbed Hermione's head and starting kissing her.
Everyone stood there in shock before Harry said. "That is just so damn hot!"
Fleur and Hermione broke apart blushing and panting while everyone else laughed. A slightly calmed, but now flustered for a different reason, Hermione asked. "What happened?"
Harry and Hedwig looked at each other for several moments before Harry answered. "Everything worked fine. Hedwig says that Fawkes and Firella completed what they wanted to do. There was so much extra power from using the Elder Wand, that not only were they able to easily cross over, but Hedwig and Lancelot" at this Harry gestured to the second phoenix that was once an owl, "were able to avoid starting their new life off as chicks."
"Lancelot," Stuttered Neville, no doubt thinking of his long lost ancestor.
"That's what Hedwig named him." Harry said. "She says that he was very brave to undergo an unknown ritual. That his loyalty in staying at her side is worthy of the name." With that Harry turned to the newly dubbed Lancelot. "You stood by my girl when you had no reason to stay, for that you have my approval. But if you ever hurt her you are still cat food, immortal cat food, but still cat food none the less."
Both phoenixes trilled a laugh and everyone else joined in. Harry's next statement had even the two phoenixes rolling on the floor in laughter. "I hope someone had old Voldie's wand in their back pocket and lost a buttock, or even better in their front pocket."
Meanwhile many miles away at Malfoy Manor, Lucius Malfoy was rolling around on the floor screaming, "Put me out, put me out!" as the front of his robes were burning. He would never stand in the men's room again.
AN: Well it's been almost a year since I've done this and what a year. I've moved twice. Had a couple of heart attacks. Had a couple of cardiac stents put in. And had to have hernia surgery. Then to top it off I couldn't find my notes for this story after the moves. Well it's here now and I hope you enjoy it. Not sure where it's going after this but it should be fun! Cheers, Steve