Ladies and Gentlemen! We're starting the battle sequence! I've decided to fast forward the scenes a little bit. By now, Harry, Ron and Charlie have already been inside Hogwarts, and are currently in the Room of Requirement looking for the diadem. We're going to assume they find it. (Obviously they do). I don't own Harry Potter, but we all know that. Enjoy!

Chapter 21

Hermione sat on Hemera's back, looking down on the ancient castle. This was her home, and she'd be damned if she let anyone take it from her. Looking behind her, she saw the elves standing at the ready. She barely knew any of them, but she loved them all the same. They were her family. Each was ready to die; to give their lives to protect the good in the world. She was proud.

The castle sat below them. Taking a deep breath, she turned to face her people. "Let's go!" she shouted, her voice carrying over the wind.

Slowly, the large group made their way down the hill. Hermione had Bill pull some strings and authorize some portkeys. The whole situation was awkward and messy, but in the end it worked. They had made it, and the fight hadn't started yet.

Hermione shivered, looking up towards the sky. It was starting to darken, despite the fact it was only the afternoon.

"An omen for what's to come," Ethriel said from behind her.

Hermione nodded, a chill setting in her bones.

"Do you think we'll be victorious?" Ethriel asked.

Hermione bit her lip. "Yes, I believe so. We've come so close." She was quiet for a moment. "We have to be," she whispered softly. Ethriel still heard her.

"Minerva, is everything ready?" Molly Weasley asked.

Minerva McGonagall turned to the Weasley matriarch and nodded. "Mr. Finnegan is almost finished with the bridge, Mr. Longbottom is helping Pomona, and the rest of the students are making themselves busy."

"Minerva, the wards are adjusted and the Order members in place!" Filius said, wobbling over.

A large roar sounded over the distance. They all turned abruptly towards the sound. "Was that…?" Minerva trailed off.

"Sounded like a dragon," Molly added.

Minerva shook her head. "Hermione said she was bringing help, but I have no idea what sort of help she's bringing."

Bill's patronus appeared. "I've just let Hermione into the gate. They're making their way towards the courtyard."

Minerva clasped her hands together. "Good, send word that everyone is to be ready." Molly nodded before hurrying off.

Hermione tightened her grip on Hemera's saddle.

"Don't worry little one." Hemera's voice rang out in her mind.

I'm worried, Hermione responded.

"Don't be, I won't let anything happen to you." Hemera let out a roar, digging her talons into the earth. "Let them try."

Hermione chuckled, giving Hemera a pat.

They were approaching the gates. Hermione saw Bill was waiting on the other side. She gave him a wave.

Bill waved back, and then quickly undid the wards by the door. Hemera carried them through, the Elves following in behind them.

Hermione jumped off Hemera and gave Bill a quick hug. Holding her away from him, he checked her over. "Wow," he said softly.

Hermione blushed. "Yeah, it's weird."

He chuckled. "You look so different."

Hermione cocked her head to the side. "Different good or different bad?"

"Good. You look older, more responsible." Bill waved his hand. "Come on, the rest of them are waiting in the courtyard. You go ahead, and I'll wait for the rest of….."

"My army?" Hermione suggested, a smile on her face.

Bill shook his head. "We're did you get an army?"

She shrugged, "I'm sort of a queen now."

Bill shook his head laughing. "Good luck explaining that to everyone."

Hermione climbed back onto Hemera. She urged them forward, moving up towards the castle.

"Another redhead?" Ethriel questioned from behind her.

She stifled a chuckle. "There's quite of a few of them."

"Is that normal in your world?"

Hermione shrugged. "Not really, just everyone I'm friends with."

They moved towards the courtyard. Careful Hemera, they'll be frightened of you at first.

Hemera simply growled in response.

"Hermione!" Someone shrieked.

Looking down, Hermione saw Ginny staring at her. Hermione turned, motioning for the elves to wait behind a bit.

Hemera let out a small growl, causing several people to stumble back. McGonagall's face was open in horror while Hagrid had a face full of happiness.

Hermione slid off Hemera. Ginny squealed and throw her arms around the girl. Hermione hugged her back tightly. She had missed her best girl friend.

Pulling back, Ginny's face was one of awe. "You look so badass."

Hermione grinned. She had a bow strapped to her back, a sword on her hip, and her wand tucked into her boots. She was ready for battle.

"Ginevra!" Professor McGonagall hissed, moving forward.

Hermione smiled at her Head of House. "Hello Professor."

Professor McGonagall gave her student a look. "And where have you been all year? And what in Merlin's name happened to you?"

"Well, I'll let Harry fill you in on what we've been doing later. But, and I know this sounds weird, but I'm actually an Elf! Or part Elf… or something. But anyways. This is Hemera, and she is my dragon."

Hemera growled, causing a few people to flinch. Hagrid moved forward. "Mione, are you really?" He asked, his eyes wide.

Hermione nodded.

"There 'asn't been a dragon rider for ages!" Hagrid exclaimed. He studied Hemera.

"A dragon rider?" Professor McGonagall asked sharply, her eyes turning back towards her formed student.

Hermione nodded. "I am."

"Oh Merlin," Ginny said.

"Right, well, this is Ethriel," she said, motioning for him to come forward. "He'll be leading the Elves in the battle."

Professor McGonagall nodded. "Wonderful, would you disperse then around the ground?"

She turned. "Ethriel, move the warriors to various locations on the grounds, five in a group. Afterwards, I want you to return here. You'll be fighting with me." She said the last part with a small smile.

Ethriel bowed. "Yes, My Lady." Turning, he began to address the elves in elvish, then moving them away.

"Why did he bow to you Mione?"

Hermione turned back towards her peers. "Oh, I'm a Queen." She smiled.

"Merlin Mione, you disappear for a year and now you aren't even the same person anymore!" Ginny exclaimed. Hermione simply shrugged.

Suddenly, a crackle rang out.

"They're trying to break through the wards!" Someone cried.

Immediately, Hermione moved and jumped onto Hemera's back. Hemera let out a roar. Hermione clenched her fists, ready for it.

Ethriel reappeared by her side. Holding her hand down, she pulled him upwards. He positioned himself behind her, drawing his bow.

Another loud crack sounded out.

Hermione took a deep breath.

She was ready.