A/N: Sooo, I totally would have had this up about a week ago, but I was really into my writing and forgot to save, then my computer shut off and I lost it all. I lost the motivation to rewrite it but I finally did, so here it is!
Chapter 13 – Pierced By Love
Jean-Claude hit the release mechanism on his shotgun, making the spent magazine fall to the ground, before he popped a new one in, making sure to steadily feed magic into it. The din of the battle did nothing to hinder his concentration, experience making him immune to the confusion the sound and all-around craziness of battle made. Bodies were everywhere, both friendly and enemy, both dead and alive, magic swirled erratically through the air, and it wasn't exactly easy to differentiate friend from foe.
But back to the gun. The gun infused with magic was actually something Jean-Claude invented, called guns magic. The magazine was actually filled to the brim with magic, and whenever Jean-Claude pulled the trigger, a small bit of the magic was instantaneously formed into a bullet, or in the shotgun's case, a shell, and fired from the gun. It was semi-automatic, meaning he didn't have to pump a pump or cock a hammer, and generally held about twenty shots per magazine depending on how large or compressed he wanted the shells.
When he was using his guns magic he was in his element. He was all over the battlefield, filling whichever enemy he could reach with a blast of magic, generally blowing holes in them or blowing off their heads.
He sprang at a werewolf, slammed the end of the barrel into its jaw, and pulled the trigger, blowing the brains of the beast into the giant's face that was directly above it. Then, using the deceased werewolf as a shield, he shot upwards at the giant. Everybody thought giants were scary, but in reality they were incredibly slow, possessing nowhere near enough speed to catch even the slowest of vampires.
And Jean-Claude was definitely not a slow vampire.
He blasted a shot into the giant's stomach, blowing chunks of flesh and guts everywhere, but it did little to slow it. It let out a cry of pain and swiped at Jean-Claude, who rolled under it and, mid-roll, fired the shotgun at its elbow. The arm below the elbow fell to the ground with a thud and rolled several feet away as the giant got even angrier.
Just when he thought it was about time to wrap it up, a second giant, alerted by his brother's howls, came up behind Jean-Claude.
They never learn…
The giant that had come up behind Jean-Claude threw a punch, attempting to squash the vampire into the ground. Jean-Claude held out his open hand in front of himself nonchalantly, not moving a single centimeter as the giant's fist slammed into his open hand. The force of the blow made the ground blow out around their feet, leaving them standing in the middle of the crater.
The giant stopped, confused, his fist still against Jean-Claude's hand. Jean-Claude smirked, brought up his gun, and pulled the trigger while feeding in more magic than normal. The shell ripped through the giant's face and head, leaving nothing below the chin as the lifeless body fell to the earth with a heavy thud.
Jean-Claude then whirled around, intent on blowing the other giant's head off, but Katerina came flying in, a long spear with a curved blade at the tip. She was twirling it above her head as she dropped to her feet, then brought behind her back as she took a fighting pose.
"Jean-Claude!" she said as she jumped into the air.
He grinned and brought up his gun. He fed a massive amount of magic into it, though didn't compress it. When Katerina landed on the tip of the barrel he pulled the trigger, then Katerina spun her body. She spun so fast that she took chunks out of the ground even though she was five feet above it. Her spear was held out ahead of her as she sped through the air with the speed of a bullet, blasting through the giant's stomach and continuing to decimate the enemy ranks. She skidded to a stop a good hundred feet away with her bloody spear held out the side her magic power still thrumming around her. She looked up and saw Harry and Hermione getting up, brushing themselves off. They took each other's hands and started walking towards the manor. Katerina grinned.
"You better beat him, Master," she said softly to herself. "If not for your sake, then for Hermione's."
Harry let go of Hermione's arm, holding his hands out in case she couldn't stand. She managed to stay upright, though, and said, "Kinda eerie, eh?"
Harry looked around the inside of the manor, which was completely dark and full of furniture and objects that looked like they belonged in an antique store, cobwebs and all. Dark shadows clung to everything, the deepest shadows hard to see through even with Harry's enhanced eyes. The smell that immediately invaded his nostrils was the smell of evil. He took Hermione's hand in his and gave it a small squeeze, grateful for the slight pressure he received in return.
They began slowly walking into the mansion, Harry using his senses to search for any sign of danger, no matter how small. There was no doubt in his mind that there was an ambush or trap waiting for them somewhere in the manor. Every speck of dust floating through the air, every tiny creak of a floorboard he felt. His eyes were darting all over the place even though he knew that he had better senses than sight, and he was walking slightly ahead of Hermione, shielding her with his body.
They reached a closed door made of dark, grand mahogany wood, and Harry held Hermione back as he reached forward and grasped the handle, nothing in his ears but Hermione's heartbeat and soft breaths. Harry could feel nothing in the next room, though his stomach was churning in apprehension. Even if he felt nothing, he knew there was something in there waiting for him.
He glanced back over at his shoulder at Hermione, who swallowed and nodded her head determinedly. So she could feel it too…
Harry slammed the door open and stood in the doorway with Hermione's hand in his, ready to Shadowalk her to safety. Nothing happened for a second, leaving Harry to slowly relax and survey the room. It was a large, wide-open room, with nothing in it but a grand chair at the far end. In that chair was a person.
"Voldemort…" Harry growled, his hold on Hermione's hand growing even tighter. Now that he thought about it, it hadn't been the smartest of ideas to bring her in here with him. "Hermione," he whispered, "get out of here."
Normally, he knew she would've questioned him, but there was something in his voice and the set of his jaw that made her obey without question. She turned around, but the door suddenly slammed shut, knocking her backwards into Harry. He barely moved as he caught and righted her without looking, his eyes not leaving Voldemort as the dark wizard slowly stood up.
"I have to thank you, Harry Potter," said Voldemort, giving him the barest flash of a grin.
Harry narrowed his eyes at him. "For what?" he growled.
Voldemort snorted. "What do you think?" he said, holding his arms out. "For killing that senile old fool, of course!"
Harry crouched a little lower. "He was one of the greatest wizards to ever walk this Earth," he said.
Voldemort looked down at him. "Congratulations for killing one of the greatest wizards to ever walk this Earth, then," Voldemort replied condescendingly, pulling his wand out of his robes.
So Harry had riled him up a bit.
"And you could never beat Dumbledore," Harry said, smirking as he shielded Hermione even more. "This should pretty easy."
A quick look of fury flashed across Voldemort's face before it turned to normal. "I hope you're ready to die, Harry Potter."
Harry began drawing out his magical power. "I'm already dead."
Harry gained the upper hand once again as Voldemort held up his wand and pointed it at Harry. This was the beginning of the end. Harry could feel the sweat rolling down his face, could feel Hermione's heart pumping hard in place of his, could feel the magic thrumming in the air. He heard Voldemort inhale to shout his spell, heard Hermione's gasp as the dark wizard pointed his wand at Harry, and heard as he shouted, "Reducto!"
Harry pushed Hermione as gently as he could into the corner before he Shadowalked onto the ceiling, not surprised that Voldemort had learned from his previous mistake of trying to use the killing curse on a vampire.
He sprang from the ceiling as he drew his katana, using it to slice through Voldemort's next spell. Voldemort's eyes widened as Harry landed right next to him and sheathed his katana, the upper half of the dark wizard's body falling to the ground a second later.
Harry got up and wiped his forehead of his sweat, a bit disturbed. That had been way too easy…
He stood over Voldemort's corpse, which was lying in a puddle of blood, and prodded it with his toe, then sheathed his katana when there was no response. He turned to Hermione with a grin on his face.
"You lose, Harry Potter," said a nasty voice from behind Hermione, then Voldemort had one arm around her and the other arm pointing his wand at her head, a nasty grin on his face.
Shock just barely had time to register on Harry's face before the fake Voldemort on the ground exploded, shrapnel tearing through his body while the force of the explosion slammed him straight into the wall behind him.
He grimaced as he struggled to stand up, his magic still healing him. "Exploding doppelganger magic…" he said to himself disbelievingly.
He glared at Voldemort, anger engulfing him as he saw Hermione squirming in his arms. Harry's eyebrows then furrowed as he looked at Hermione closer. Something was weird…
Then he smirked at Voldemort. Voldemort's eyes widened and he threw Hermione away from him as realization hit him. He just barely managed to throw up a shield as Hermione exploded, the force cracking and almost breaking Voldemort's shield.
The real Hermione stepped out of the shadows from behind Harry, an angry look on her face. "Two can play at that game, Voldemort," she said, drawing her wand.
"Don't you dare say my name, you filthy mudblood," Voldemort spat, dark energy radiating from him. He raised his left hand, the one that wasn't holding a wand, and snapped his fingers.
All of the windows immediately blew in, Harry just barely managing to throw up a magical shield around him and Hermione to protect them from the colorful glass raining down on them. Vampires streamed in through the windows, and for not even one second did Harry hold the illusion that they were friendly. So Voldemort had only been testing their strength earlier…
Harry and Hermione glanced at each other, both of them seeing and feeling the hope fade from the other. "You really thought there wouldn't be an ambush here, you fool?" Voldemort cackled, his wand still trained on Harry. "There's no way you can take on both me and the vampires simultaneously!"
Harry clenched his teeth and grabbed Hermione. "Apparate," he said under his breath.
"I saw your lips, Potter," said Voldemort before Hermione could so much as open her mouth, victory making him stand taller. "There is an apparation ward around the manor. I'm not stupid." He finally lowered his wand as the two hundred plus vampires finished streaming into the room. Suffice to say, it was a little packed in there, with vampires everywhere except for the five feet around Harry and Hermione and their line of sight to Voldemort, who was grinning.
Harry grabbed Hermione's hand, but she immediately shook it off. Harry whipped his head around to look at her, and she said, "Hold everyone off for thirty seconds. If you can do that, I can take out the vampires while you take out Voldemort."
Harry sensed that she was telling the truth. "How?" was his real question.
Hermione only shook her head. "Just do it," was all she said as she got on one knee on the ground and pulled the necklace with the cross from her pocket and another necklace with a pentagram from her other pocket and put one on each wrist before putting her hands in front of her as if she was in prayer.
Harry shook his head as Voldemort started laughing. "What is this?" he asked. "Has she given up? She's praying to the heavens?"
Harry growled and summoned up all of his magic. Hermione was the smartest person he knew. She definitely had a plan. He took one glance back at her, held out his hands in front of him, and let out a loud, feral cry, his magic exploding into a thick shield around them. He began counting down, knowing that keeping this shield up for twenty seconds would be difficult, thirty next to impossible.
Hermione began speaking softly to the sky, her eyes closed. "Oh guardians of the heavens above and the fiery depths of hell below, please bestow upon me your strength."
"Get them!" Voldemort shouted, knowing they were up to something.
"I am your humble servant, and I give up what little I have for the power to do what I must."
Sweat began to form on Harry's brow as the vampires hit the shield with everything they had.
"I understand the severity of the contract I wish to make, and I understand what will become of me at the end of my days."
"With the right hand of God and the left hand of the Devil, I will bring justice upon the enemies of all who strive for the light."
Harry's shield began faltering and he fell to his knees, though he managed to hold on to the shield as it was attacked even more powerfully by the vampires.
"I ask for this power in the name of love, and for love only shall this power be used."
"So please, I ask once more, do not allow my wishes to go to waste. Grant me the power I need." The two necklaces around her wrist twisted together so the cross and pentagram were touching each other, the cross glowing a blinding white and the pentagram a dark, yet just as powerful, black.
"I will be the harbinger of all that falls under the light, with my will forming my power." As soon as the last word left her lips, Hermione collapsed gently on the ground.
Harry's shield died as he, too, collapsed, needing a second to recover his energy. He glanced back at Hermione, despair clenching his heart as he saw that she hadn't moved. Voldemort had called off the attack and was laughing again.
"So that was the big plan?" he said, amused. "Gain an extra thirty seconds?"
Harry clenched his fists and shakily got up to his feet, refusing to stay down until Voldemort was dead no matter what it took. He'd go in for a suicide run if that was what it required. He met Voldemort's eyes as he took a stance to jump, prepared to die. His only wish was that Hermione didn't have to die, but at this point it looked impossible. He grinned despite it all.
At least they would die together.
He let out a cry and went to jump, but was stopped when he was blasted flat onto the ground by a magical explosion from behind him. He turned over and his eyes widened as they fell on Hermione, who was floating in midair, one giant, glowing white wing and one giant, glowing black wing keeping her aloft. She was glowing gold like before, and so were her eyes when she opened them. She was radiating the most powerful magical aura he had ever felt, and in the hand that had held the cross she was now holding a long, glowing claymore while in the other hand, which was previously holding the pentagram, she was holding a sharp scythe that was shrouded in dark magic. She looked down at Harry with no emotion whatsoever, and he couldn't feel anything concerning her mood or thoughts.
"H-Hermione?" he breathed in awe.
"Go, young one." When she spoke it sounded as though three voices were speaking at once: there was her own, normal voice, a high, soothing voice, and a low, grating voice. Somehow the three voices formed a perfect harmony. "Only together can we eradicate this evil from the face of the Earth."
Harry nodded determinedly and turned around, katana glinting in hand as he formed a second one in his other. "Here we go," he said under his breath.
He and Hermione were back to back as the vampires circled them warily, unsure of what to make of Hermione. "It doesn't matter!" Voldemort yelled. "Get them! Overwhelm them with numbers!"
The vampires, their bravery coming back to them as they realized they outnumbered the two defenders by about two hundred, let out battle cries and charged. Hermione grabbed Harry around his elbow, surprising him, and spun around once before throwing him at an incredible speed straight at Voldemort. He broke straight through the ranks of the vampires and slid to a stop in front of his arch enemy, who just barely managed to shield in time.
A clear wall with a slight golden glow slammed into the ground right behind Harry, cutting him and Voldemort off from the rest of the battle.
The vampires all swarmed Hermione, who decapitated three of them at once with her scythe. She stabbed the blade of her claymore straight through the heart of another and stayed still for a moment before a golden beam erupted from the tip of her sword, completely destroying any vampires unlucky enough to be in its path.
She still hadn't taken a step and had already managed to kill a good ten vampires, then continued to kill more while using magic as a shield, her giant blades decapitating, maiming, and killing scores of vampires with each powerful swing.
Harry got up and turned his back on her, confident that she could handle herself. He didn't know what she had done, but she was a killing machine; even more so than Harry. In fact, she probably could've handled Voldemort much more easily than Harry, but they both knew it was he who was supposed to kill the dark lord. Not to mention the fact that there was no way Harry could take on two hundred vampires at once.
"You ready to die?" Harry inquired confidently, katanas gleaming as he held them in front of him.
"We'll see who's laughing in the end," Voldemort said before raising his wand to point it at Harry.
He fired a spell that almost caught Harry, the speed of it faster than any spell Harry had ever seen. Harry lunged at Voldemort, who managed to apparate away and unleash a torrent at fire directly at the vampire. Harry gritted his teeth, then spun as he jumped, the speed of his spinning allowing him to fly directly through the fire, the wind speed he generated blowing the fire away from him.
He slammed one sword into the empty wall that Voldemort had been recently standing with his back against so hard that everything within a ten foot radius of his blade crumbled and fell, exposing the inside of the mansion to the sounds and carnage of the battle still raging outside.
Harry shielded his eyes as Voldemort's spell blasted into the ground right in front of him, sending debris flying at his face. Voldemort took advantage of this small moment of confusion to fire a spell straight at Harry, who felt it slicing through the air and managed to avoid it.
Harry dashed straight at Voldemort, who fired a slicing hex at Harry's neck. Harry sliced straight through it with one of his swords, though one of the halves of the spell slammed straight into the side of his stomach, leaving him with a large gash. His magic instantly healed the wound, though when it did Harry felt his reserves of magic drop even more.
He caught a glimpse of Hermione making absolute mincemeat of the enemy vampires, blood, heads, and limbs flying everywhere as she cut through their ranks with absolutely no problem.
Harry gritted his teeth and continued to try to push back Voldemort, who continued to stay just out of reach and kept just barely nicking him with spells, making him use all of his magic.
Harry growled and, incredibly angry and annoyed at this point, turned into his panther form. Voldemort's eyes widened, and in that time Harry managed to get right on top of him. He swiped his giant paw at the dark wizard, who only managed to throw up a semi-decent shield. Harry broke through it, though the shield managed to slow him down to the point that Voldemort had enough time to escape the blow.
Now Harry really was pushing Voldemort, the wizard desperately throwing out spells that always managed to slow down, yet never stop the giant panther. Voldemort brought the battle to mid-air, which was a big mistake because Harry knew he had better control in the air than the slow floating mechanics Voldemort used.
Harry jumped up and placed magic right under his feet to push off of whenever and wherever he wanted to, allowing him to close in on Voldemort much faster than the dark lord had anticipated.
Or so Harry had thought.
Right when Harry was about to decapitate his enemy, Voldemort turned into a giant serpent, fangs gleaming in the moonlight. His head snapped at Harry so fast that Harry couldn't even see it, though he did feel the pain when he was slammed back-first into the floor below, driving all of the air out of his lungs.
Voldemort, still a snake, landed on the ground in front of Harry and coiled again, ready to strike as soon as the panther was in range. Harry stood up and shook the pain out of his body, his eyes meeting the snake's challengingly.
Harry shot off from the ground so hard that the stone he leapt from cracked, his paw held back in preparation to slice through the serpent's neck. Voldemort brought his head back, opened it, and unleashed a torrent of fire. Surprised, Harry only managed to half-avoid it, making him wince as the heat slammed into him.
But still, that attack had left Voldemort wide open, so Harry homed in on the thinnest, weakest-looking part of his neck and prepared to slice through it. Harry was so caught up in the kill opportunity that he failed to notice the serpent's tail rise up. It slammed him down against the ground, breaking the tile again as it broke all of Harry's legs and ribs, leaving him motionless on the ground as they knitted back together.
Voldemort was still pinning him down with his tail, too, so when Harry's bones finally did heal he was still rendered completely motionless. Voldemort brought his head back to strike, and, making a quick decision, Harry returned to his vampire form and held his swords out in front of him in an X.
Voldemort's mouth opened wide as he struck down, Harry just barely managing to block him even as the force threatened to overwhelm him. Voldemort continued to push, then Harry saw the flame begin to build in his mouth. He brought up a magical shield just in time to block the fire, but it left him blind from the inside of the shield.
Voldemort flicked him with his tail, sending him slamming into a wall before falling to the ground. He shakily stood up only to have to roll to evade a fresh round of fire, and once again Voldemort's tail slammed into his side, sending him straight into a wall again.
He grunted as his weak reserves of magic did their best to heal him, but he felt that the wounds didn't heal all the way. There was blood running down into his eyes from a gash on his head. He couldn't move all too well either.
He sat up with his back against the wall as he did his best to get even a tiny bit of strength back, dropping one katana and holding the other with two hands. He pointed the tip straight at Voldemort and began gathering the last of his magic around it. Voldemort reared his head back to strike, and Harry shot the beam of magic straight at the weak point of its throat again.
The magic blasted through a little lower than intended as Voldemort lunged in for the kill, the pain instead sending the snake slamming straight into Harry, almost knocking him out as the wall was blown out behind him.
Voldemort returned to his human form and clutched right below his right collarbone, where the magic had blown a hole that was now bleeding freely. Just as that happened the magical wall Hermione had put up faltered and died, and Harry looked over to see her fall onto her knees, back to her normal self. Thankfully, it seemed as though she had killed all of the enemy vampires first.
Voldemort began laughing evilly. "She made a contract with a guardian spirit?" he asked. Harry couldn't muster the strength to respond. "She really is stupid, isn't she?" Harry's eyebrows furrowed. "And it seems as though she didn't tell you what that means! As soon as the guardian's end of the deal is complete, she loses her life." Harry's eyes widened. Voldemort grinned at him. "Yes, she's going to die any minute now, though from what I don't know. Perhaps I should do the honors?"
"No!" Harry managed to choke out, coughing up blood as he did so. Why couldn't he move?
Voldemort sneered down at him as he raised his wand to point at Hermione. "You'll be joining her shortly, so don't fret."
Move! "Avada Kedavra!"
Harry found a sudden burst of strength as everything regressed to a state of slow-motion, the green spell shooting straight for Hermione. He lunged after it, intent on shielding Hermione from it.
He could reach it…he was going to beat it!
He gave a final, desperate lunge with the last of his strength…wham! He was slammed back with incredible force, though his eyes never left Hermione, who was still on her knees.
"Hermione!" he shouted with his hand stretched out to her, tears in his eyes.
And right before the spell hit her, Harry swore he saw the barest ghost of a smile pull up the corner of her lips. "No!" he cried as it slammed into her, sending her flying into the wall a good ten feet behind her before her body fell lifelessly to the floor.
He dashed immediately to her side, sliding to a stop and cradling her body. She wasn't breathing. He couldn't feel her heartbeat.
She wasn't alive.
"Hermione…" he said, shaking her a little. "Come on, Hermione. You can't be dead…"
That smile was still on her lips even as his tears fell on her face. He hugged her tightly, crying into her neck. "Hermione," he sobbed.
"I just told you not to fret, Potter," said Voldemort. "You will be joining her right about now."
With that, he unleashed a massive reducto straight at Harry. Harry whirled around glared at Voldemort, his magic bursting out of him and deflecting the reducto. "Voldemort!" he yelled as a giant column of magic exploded upwards from him, blasting a hole through the ceiling.
Voldemort smirked. "You're just as stupid as your late mudblood whore," he said. "The sun's up now."
They stood still for a couple seconds, and when nothing happened to Harry, who was still standing right under the hole in the ceiling, he smirked. "The sun's what?" he said, a crazy glint in his eyes.
Voldemort's eyes widened. "How?" he said, raising his wand at Harry.
"I prepared for this," he said, referring to the seals he had had ten of his underlings place around the battlefield. When all were placed properly they formed a giant dome that blocked out all sunlight, with the seals as the boundaries. "Now die."
He let out a yell and lunged straight at Voldemort, who fired spell after spell at him. Harry's magic, which was wreaking destruction around him as he closed in on his enemy, deflected each and every spell, and as Harry got closer to Voldemort, the dark wizard's eyes filled with more and more fear.
"M-monster!" he said when Harry was right on top of him.
Harry slammed his fist straight into Voldemort's chest. "You thought you could defeat me."
Voldemort coughed blood right into his face and grinned. "I already did," he said as the light began to leave his eyes.
Harry let out a cry of mixed agony and anger and his magic immediately blew Voldemort into little bits, leaving nothing of the dark lord but a bloodstain on the floor. He stood in place holding nothing but Voldemort's heart in his hand, which he crushed before turning around and looking at Hermione, who was still lying dead on the floor.
He felt his throat tighten and burn and began staggering towards her. He fell onto his knees beside her and laid her on her back, then brushed a couple strands of hair out of her face with a shaky hand. His hands clenched into fists. Why was she smiling? "You told me you'd be fine!" he shouted, his voice breaking.
He grabbed her shoulders and shook her a little. "You said you'd be fine," he whispered before breaking down and crying into her chest, his arm draped over her protectively. "You can't be dead," he sobbed. "I love you."
As a final, desperate attempt to save her life, he brought his mouth up to her neck and bit her, pouring every last drop of his magic into her.
He stayed like that for an immeasurable amount of time before finally giving up and relaxing back on his knees, his hand clasping Hermione's. He felt an arm wrap around his shoulders and looked over to see Katerina with tears glistening on her cheeks, and looked up to see Jean-Claude looking down sadly at Hermione's peaceful form.
"She's dead, Master, biting's not going to get you anywhere," Katerina said softly.
"You think I don't know that?" Harry snapped at her.
"Master," Jean-Claude said, crouching down and looking him in the eye. "She's dead."
Harry's face crumpled again as agony gripped his heart. He let out a loud, agonized cry, his pain fueling the magic that exploded out from him. "No!" he yelled. "She can't…she can't be dead!"
"Master!" Katerina shouted over the sound of his rapidly swirling magic.
He put his hands on Hermione's shoulders. "I kept my end of the deal!" he shouted. "You keep yours! You can't be dead!"
"Master," said Jean-Claude, but Harry didn't look at him. "You have to stop. You'll burn yourself up."
"I don't care!" he yelled, his entire body shaking as he put in everything he had. "It's better than being alive!"
Katerina put her hand on his shoulder, almost making him stop. "No magic can bring back the dead, Harry. You know that," she said.
Harry gritted his teeth as fresh tears sprang to his eyes. "She's not dead," he said quietly enough for only himself to hear. Then he shouted it. "She's not dead!"
He let out a yell and began to feel something tear inside of him, as though he was losing a piece of himself. His eyes widened. He was losing a piece of himself, but there was something else worming its way into his consciousness.
Harry Potter, a voice said. How far are you willing to go? Would you give your life for this woman's?
Of course I would! Harry replied immediately.
"Master…Master!" Harry could barely hear his two underlings calling him.
There was no reply from the voice after that, and Harry tried to cling desperately to its consciousness as it managed to slip out. "No," he said. "Come back!"
"Master?" Katerina said. "Master, are you okay?"
Harry didn't know how to reply, and rose his eyes to look at her, confused. Right when he opened his mouth, the worst pain he had ever felt slammed into him, making him scream in agony as he fell to the floor. He writhed as the pain tore and ripped through him, but he gritted his teeth. No matter how much he wanted the pain to end, he had the feeling that this was necessary to save Hermione.
He felt that piece of him rip even more, making him cry out as Katerina and Jean-Claude hovered over him worriedly. The pain intensified to the point that he was convulsing on the floor, his resolve wavering. He couldn't stand it anymore!
An image of Hermione flashed through his mind, and he yelled, "Keep going!"
His body was screaming in agony, his screams hoarse as his throat grew dry and raw from all the screaming. The piece of himself was ripped from him, and he thought he heard, Farewell, weakling, before it was gone.
The pain stopped and Harry turned so he was lying on his back, relief at the end of the pain making his limbs numb. Black began to encroach upon his vision.
I hope you live Hermione, he thought. Live and love, and know that I love you.
A small smile fell on his face and he couldn't help but think, So this is why she was smiling.
And just before the black swallowed him whole, he felt a single heartbeat.
Harry opened his eyes groggily, attempting to blink the sleep out of his eyes as best he could. As his vision cleared, he noticed that he was in a completely white room. It looked like a hospital. There were hundreds of get-well cards lying on a table along with a plethora of candy and various flowers. He could hear a crowd of people talking outside of the door and furrowed his eyebrows, confused.
Then his eyes fell on the person sleeping in a makeshift bed next to his. His eyes widened and he sucked in a sharp gasp. "Hermione…" he breathed.
"Ah, Mr. Potter," said Madam Pomfrey, who was tending him. "Yes, Ms. Granger refused to leave the room, so I let her sleep in here."
"Madam Pomfrey," he said, clutching his head. "What happened?"
She shook her head and scoffed, a notion that Harry was very used to, but only now realized that it showed how much she really cared about him. It was bound to happen considering how much time he had spent in the medical wing at Hogwarts. "You're in St. Mungo's right now; they gave me permission to tend to you since I know how you heal best," she said in a friendly manner. Then she folded her arms across her chest and said, "You went missing for months, dear boy! Where have you been?"
Harry blinked once. He only now realized that Madam Pomfrey must have done a multitude of medical scans on him, as she did every time he was treated by her. He brought his hand up to his heart and felt that it was once again beating its slow, content beat, pumping blood through his body. He was breathing naturally again, and he felt weak. He froze.
He wasn't a vampire any longer. And even more, he wasn't as happy about this development as he thought he'd be.
He never thought he would miss that other side to him.
He looked back at Madam Pomfrey and realized she was still waiting for answer. He thought for a moment, then decided to tell the truth. "I defeated Voldemort."
Madam Pomfrey's eyes widened, then she promptly fainted. Somebody must have had really good ears outside too, for there were a couple seconds of confusion, then the crowd burst into cheers.
The sound must have woken Hermione, for she rolled over and groggily opened her eyes, rubbing them sleepily. When she was fully awake, her eyes widened. "Harry?" she said as if Christmas had come early.
He smiled at her and she moved quicker than he had ever seen her move before, jumping off of her bed and landing on his, her arms wrapping around him in a tight hug. "Harry," she said, burying her face into his neck.
"How long was I out, Hermione?" he asked. "And what happened?"
"You've been in a coma for two and a half weeks, Harry," she said happily into his shirt. "And the vampire part of your soul was traded for my soul, that's how I'm alive."
"And who was the person speaking inside of my head?" Harry asked.
"The person I made the contract with," said Hermione quietly. Then, after a moment of silence, she whispered, "The only other person who's given their life to protect you and you alone."
"My mother?" Harry asked, his eyes widening as Hermione nodded.
"She and your dad both told me to tell you they love you," she added.
"You met them?" Harry asked, stunned.
"I was dead for about ten minutes, you know," she said. "They found me right away and prepped me for returning back to my body."
Harry was silent, and Hermione looked up at him worriedly. "Harry?" she asked.
"I can't believe you did something that you knew would kill you," he said, not meeting her eyes.
Hermione looked down at her hand on his chest. "I knew you'd find a way to save me," she said quietly. "Can't we just be happy that this is all over and we're both still alive?"
Harry tightened his arm around her. "As long as you promise to never do anything that crazy ever again," he said, smiling when she nodded. Then he added, "You have to admit, my mother totally kicked butt as a guardian spirit."
Hermione laughed before getting out of the bed. "That she did," she said as she picked a specific card out of the stack and handed it to him. "This is the only one worth reading," she explained. Harry accepted it, opened it, and read:
I must thank you for all that you have done for the vampire empire. You will always hold our respect, even if you are only a human now. I am Master now, with Jean-Claude as my first.
I will always remember everything you taught me about what it means to live and love.
Visit whenever you have the chance…we promise not to bite.
Harry smiled a bit sadly. "We definitely have to visit some time."
Hermione hopped back in bed with him and gave him a quick kiss. "We can go wherever you want," she said, "as long as I'm with you."
Harry gave her a deeper kiss. "You think I'd let you out of my sight after all of this? Not a chance." He relaxed in the bed, pulling her down with him. "You know I love you, right?"
She quirked an eyebrow at him. "Only if you know I love you just as much."
As they smiled at each other, they knew they were going from one great adventure to another: The adventure of life.
And even if nothing else, they knew they would face that adventure together.
A/N: It…It's over…
I can't thank all of you enough for your support and reviews! They really kept me going when the going got tough! I loved writing this story, and I loved reading all of your lovely reviews! I have another long (though I don't know about this long) story in the works that won't be posted until it's finished, though I hope to keep you appeased with a plethora of one-shots!
Once again, thank you all so so much for the reviews, favorites, alerts, and messages, and I hope to see you on my next one!