Author's Note: I'm on the homeward glide with this chapter. I'd like to thank the following people for their help with this chapter: Nicol Miller, prince_charon, gemm ethan whitake, patrick cross, dragonbard, yamaban, honor harrington 42, dr who 13, Derek Dees, kadedeetje, MoKR, doghead thirteen, and Eddie.

Chapter Nine

Hedwig banked off the oncoming front, hoping that its course remained sliding to the south-east, towards Dumbledore. With the wind at her back, she figured she would be able to get to Dumbledore quicker than any other trip. Of course, it didn't help that he was still traveling south, still on his way away from Hogwarts.

Hedwig put on as much speed as she could. If she didn't get this letter to the Headmaster she would have failed her master. Failed to the point that she might not have a master to go back to. There was a good chance that her Harry's mate would not survive either. And since that mate hadn't been sensible enough to lay her egg, there would be no heir of her Harry's blood.

The wind reached gale strength behind her, and Hedwig put on every bit of speed she could, heading south-south-east to deliver her message to Professor Albus Dumbledore.

She had to get there in time.

The next room proved to be filled with a large chess set. Ron Weasley knew this was his chance to take the lead. He didn't often get a chance to lead, to be the person responsible for anything. He was the sixth child after all. "Chess," Ron said with relish.

"We're going to have to play our way across, aren't we?" Dean said.

"It's Wizard Chess, isn't it?" Harry asked. His tone was one of worry and trepidation.

"This is Hogwarts, of course it is Wizard Chess!" Ron exclaimed. "Is that a real question?" Ron wished he hadn't said that last statement once he noticed where Harry's gaze was focused. You didn't endanger Hermione. Ron averted his gaze and looked at the board, hoping for something, anything he could say to make up for that statement. The entire row of black pieces from Rook to Rook had slid off the board. "There are nine of us, and it looks like we have to play eight pieces."

"Good, Hermione, you're not playing," Harry announced. "Sit with the queen."

"Right. Dean and Sally-Anne, rooks, king and queen-side respectively," Ron took over. "Neville, you're the king. Lavender, queen. Parvati and Seamus, bishops. Harry and I will be the knights."

"You're the chessmaster," Harry acknowledged, moving to take his place. "I don't think any one of us have beaten you."

"How many moves do you think he'll take?" Seamus said as he took his assigned position, looking at Dean.

"Ten moves, max," Dean replied, assuming the king-side rook position

"No way he'll take that long, seven," Neville said. "I'm betting you'll move more than I do.

"I'm not that good," Ron said with a big smile.

"Put me down for five, Seamus," Harry said.

"Oh no," Sally-Anne moaned. "We're all going to die."

"Theirs is not to reason why," Parvati replied, being the last to assume their post.

"Don't you dare complete that quote," Hermione said from where she found a seat on the base of the black queen. "Ron, don't ..."

Before she could complete her sentence, the White King's pawn moved forward, beginning the game. Ron quickly called out his counter, "pawn to C five."

"That's not the move you did against me last night," Harry noted.

"Yes, but I bet that McGonagall created this set," Ron said as white move its pawn to match the one he'd just moved.

"Professor McGonagall," Hermione corrected from behind everyone else.

"Sorry, Hermione. When you create a chess set, you tend to imprint your own knowledge on the set. At least until they're played with other people, they tend to favor what you favor." Ron ordered, " Queen side Knight to C six," before moving to stand behind the pawn he moved first.

"That's why when you buy a good chess set it's already been played by at least two dozen chess masters, much better than I am." White moved his King side Knight in front of his King. Ron considered the move, and smiled.

"So, that helps you figure out where to move?" Dean asked. "I know you've played Professor McGonagall a lot."

"Do you know what Professor McGonagall's favorite Bach Sonata is, Seamus?" Ron asked. "I know you like a lot of Bach pieces. Harry, move in front of your side's Bishop, Knight to F six."

"Sonata in E-Flat, the Sicliana," Seamus said, as White's Queen side knight matched Ron's position.

"Exactly," Ron said. "Knight to B four." Ron matched his orders moving to stand next to the pawn that white had moved second.

"What does that have to do with Professor McGonagall's Chess moves," Parvati said. "I mean, it's not like she ever plays classical music like Bach. Wallace maybe, and that piece by Mendelssohn ... what was it?"

"Fingel's Cave," Seamus said, as White moved its King side knight's pawn forward one square. "She likes the pipes and harps more than that. It's much better music."

"Hey, I like the Hebrides Overture," Neville said. "Ten minutes of the best orchestration ever to be written."

"Yes, but why does Professor McGonagall like it?" Ron asked. "Knight to D three." He began to move to his new position.

"It's Mendelssohn, he wrote a Scottish symphony," Seamus explained.

"That explains a lot," Ron said, come to stop in his new position. "Check ... and mate."

The White King's sword dropped, and then whole white side cleared the board. Ron turned back to look at Seamus. "I believe Harry called five?"

"I didn't realize we had started to play," Lavender said. "Come on Hermione, it looks like Ron's done."

"Not as quick as you cleared yours, though," Sally-Anne said, as they began to walk forward.

"Well, we all can't bring lock picks along," Lavender shrugged. "Say, Ron, why did you mention that Bach piece?"

"It's the Siciliana," Ron said. "McGonagall can't handle the Sicilian Defense most of the time I try it as black. It's all about knowing your opponent, really." He stepped through the door first, and stopped, looking up. "Oh bloody hell."

A beat of wings, a beat of wings, a beat of wings closer she came. Toward the traveling headmaster she flew. Into the storm she flew, seeking the headmaster. Forward the post owl flew. Deliver the message to her Harry said. Into the raging storm, on flew Hedwig.

Lightning to the right of her, lightning to the left of her, lightning in front of her, lightning and thunder. Storm of rain and hail, boldly she flew and well. Into the jaws of storm, into the mouth of hell. On flew Hedwig.

Flashes the lightning made. Flashes the world revealed. Lighting the house there, lighting the city while, all depended on Hedwig. Plunged through hail and rain, right through storm created night she flew. Post Owl and message, reeled from wind and rain, thundered and thundered. On flew Hedwig

Lightning to the right of her, lightning to the left of her, lightning in front of her, lightning and thunder. Storm of rain and hail, boldly she flew and well. Into the jaws of storm, into the mouth of hell. On flew Hedwig.

Into the cupola above the ministry she flew, plunging deep into the ministry, right through the wand line of wizards she broke. Every ounce of energy she used. Every wing beat powered her onward. On flew Hedwig.

Sally-Anne Perks was a Gryffindor, and proud of it. She was not a shrinking violet, though violet happened to be her favorite color. As Ron, Seamus, and Dean had recently discovered, she played football like a bull in a china shop. She'd been behind the challenge of boys against girls that morning, and the girls had won.

"Language, Ron," Hermione said.

Sally-Anne rolled her eyes. Only Hermione would say that to someone faced with a five meter tall mountain troll. This one appeared to be a Highland troll, per noted magical naturalist, Newt Scamander, denoted by its deep blue skin. There were those who believed that the Picts had chosen to use woad for their war paint after encountering Highland trolls. The one that had invaded Hogwarts on Halloween had been a Welsh troll, which barely topped four meters. "Boys, let us handle this," she said.

"Yes, no sense in you getting dirty, after all," Lavender said, pushing Seamus aside. Ron had said that they wouldn't want to get all sweaty and dirty playing football. Ron hadn't known their motivation.

"Or one of us end up like Hermione," Parvati chimed in, as she joined Sally-Anne in front of the boys. "Recommendations, Hermione?" The troll was standing guard at the center of the room, and there was a line of different colored pavers just about a yard in front of them.

"What do we have?" Hermione asked.

"Full stock of the powders," Lavender said. "I've been keeping them in my pack since just after Valentine's Day."

Hermione was chewing on a strand of hair again. "Given the location, and the sub-species, I'd say plan wicked west," Hermione recommended.

Sally-Anne thought that was a good choice. The troll wouldn't know what hit him ... or her. She couldn't tell which, unless the troll dropped it's drawers. She stepped forward on to the line of pavers. "First of all, getting rid of the weapons," Sally-Anne said, as the troll raised his club. It was good meter long, metal, and spiked, obviously not the native choice of a wild mountain troll. "Baubillious!"

Lightning bounced off the ceiling and struck the club. The troll dropped the club as it was shocked. It looked down at the club accusatively, not really focused on the interlopers in his chamber.

"Nice," Seamus said, as the troll grunted accusatively at his club. It then looked back at the group. "Not certain that helped thought." The troll made its best attempt at roaring, clinching his fists above his head, and bringing them down to the floor with a crash.

"Maybe, maybe not," Lavender said, as Sally-Anne prepared to cast another Baubillious. The troll looked like he might pick the club back up. Lavender was looking though her bag. "Ah. Powered isatis tinctoria. Not exactly recommended for make-up, but if you're going to be around trolls..." Lavender banished the powder towards the troll.

Sally-Anne smiled as the powder hit the troll's head. "Nice aim, Lavender," she said. The troll's skin started to move to a softer, almost baby-blue.

"Are they allergic or something?" Dean asked. "Reminds me of that potion I spilled on my hand the last class we had with Professor Snape."

"Thanks, Sally-Anne," Lavender replied, as the troll started to stroke his head, the skin sticking slightly to the hand, turning the hand the same shade of baby-blue

"Not precisely," Hermione said from her position at the rear of the formation. "It's got more of a transforming effect."

"My turn, I believe," Parvati said. "Incendio!" An arc of flames shot out form Parvati's wand towards the troll's head. Once it touched the troll's head, it was almost like flame to candle wax, as the troll melted to the floor, especially after his skull caught fire.

"Did you know that troll bones make excellent torches?" Sally-Anne said. "And that ten percent of the wax in the magical Britains is a product of troll skin shedding?" The glow of the burning troll was almost too bright to look at. A glance at Parvati caught her blowing the tip of her wand, like she was blowing out a candle.

"That was cool," Seamus said, with wide eyes. They all watched it for a minute, until the fire went out, leaving behind a puddle of wax.

Then Hermione stepped forward, and with one sweep of her wand, and a cry of "Evanesco!" the melted troll disappeared.

"Ah, Hermione, do you know that your robes are cut all through in the back?" Ron asked.

For the first time since before they had landed in the devil's snare, Sally-Anne saw Hermione from behind. From just above the clasp of her bra to the ground, the back of her robes were ripped. Her panties were ripped, and there was a thin scratch visible down her right bum.

"Yes Ron, I'm aware that Fluffy ruined my robes," Hermione replied. "It's not like I didn't spend this morning in similar attire in the Hospital Wing. I'm used to it."

"Right," Sally-Anne said, taking off her own back pack, as she had somehow become the paramedic of the group. "I better not find more than that scratch, given how long it took us to find out you've been hurt."

"Hermione Jean Granger," Harry said with a firm tone that booked no defiance, "You lied to me."

"It's just a scratch," Hermione replied, as Sally Anne moved to examine her closer. "Barely anything at all."

"Just a scratch she says," Dean remarked. "Dost the Lady Black Knight yield to treatment, and her lord and master, or dost the knight fight on?"

"When we get out of here, I'm going to confine you to your closet," Harry announced. "At least there you can not risk our baby."

Sally-Anne was shocked to hear Harry say that. It was well known among the first years in Gryffindor that Harry equated confinement with his own experience in with the cupboard under the stairs, with his treatment under his Uncle Vernon's watch. It nearly stopped Sally-Anne from her appointed task to deliver first aid. She slid down Hermione's panties, noting that there were actually three scratches, fortunately not still bleeding. She uncapped a potion, and gently brushed it into the scratches.

"Yes, Harry," Hermione said, with her head down in a submissive tone.

Sally-Anne pulled back up Hermione's panties and looked at the remains of her robes. They were untouched in the front, but in the back, there were three long rips all the way to the bottom. It was perhaps fortunate that she hadn't gotten more hurt. Fortunately, mending charms were also among the things that she had personally studied. They weren't as good as Parvati was with needle and thread, but they'd do for now. Generally she didn't have to mend as much as this. It was usually rips around her knees from bad landings. Before she fixed that too, there was one question more she had. "Are you hurt anywhere else? Actually, is anyone hurt? I should have asked after the plant."

"Siaolus laquem silures," Neville said, as Hermione shook her head.

"Good, because, Hermione, if those scratches had been, say a quarter deeper...," Sally-Anne said. "Well, I might not have had enough to treat you. As it is, I'm kind of surprised that your panties are still on." With that the aforementioned panties dropped to the floor. It was a good thing that Sally-Anne was the only one behind the pregnant girl.

"Spoke to soon," Dean replied, as Sally-Anne began to cast mending charms on Hermione's robes.

"I think Sally-Anne jinxed Hermione, actually," Seamus shot back. "Anyone think to bring a change of underwear? 'Cause you know you're always going to need it."

Hedwig banked past a flight of paper air planes, cursing the replacement for the Ministry's internal post owls. The loss of that particular job had been a hard blow to the Avian Postal Union. The ministry branch had been decimated. They still had the outgoing mail contract, but no owl liked the paper planes.

Hedwig banked right, through the owl passage. Dumbledore seemed to be on his way to the minister's office, and Hedwig intended to catch him before he got there.

There he was, with those strange purple robes with peach smiles on them. His arm stretched out, and Hedwig made a perfect landing.

Parvati entered the triangular room first, the girls following her closely. Harry had his arm around Hermione's shoulders, and the rest of the boys were guarding the rear. On the longest wall, which was actually a bit curved, there was a table with seven large potions vials. "Do come along boys. We don't want you know who to get too far ahead," she said, as she approached the shelf. There was a poster above it filled a sixteen line poem. She began to read it out loud, as different color flames filled the passages before and behind them.

"Danger lies before you, while safety lies behind,
Two of us will help you, whichever you would find,
One among us seven while let you move ahead,
Another will transport the drinker back instead,
Two among our number hold only nettle wine,
Three of us are killers, waiting hidden in the line.
Choose, unless you wish to stay here for evermore,
To help you in your choice, we give you these clues four:
First, however slyly the poison tries to hide
You will always find some on nettle wine's left side;
Second, different are those who stand at either end,
But if you would move onwards, neither is your friend;
Third, as you see clearly, all are different size,
Neither dwarf nor giant holds death in their insides;
Fourth, the second left and the second on the right
Are twins once you taste them, though different at first sight.

Parvati carefully examined the bottles. The largest bottle was the sixth from the left, and the smallest was the third from the left. "It looks like we've got a logic puzzle to work on," she said.

"Really?" Ron said. "You're not just going to test the potions?"

"I'll do some, but if we can logically eliminate the poisons, I'll save some testing material, and we'll probably get through quicker," Parvati said, opening her bag to pull out her notebook

"Yes, and we know that you wizards have no head for logic," Hermione said.

"Yes, as encountering a mountain troll is apparently, wicked," Sally-Anne shot back "Lavender?"

"Well, the first can't be wine," Lavender concluded. "It doesn't have anything to it's left to be poison."

"And the poisons can't be together, because the wines have to have poisons on the left," Parvati said, making a note.

"There isn't anything between two of the poisons," Hermione said.

"Right, two and six can't be either the forward or back," Sally-Anne said.

"Those have to be the wines," Lavender said. "I think Snape dyed one."

"Oh, he probably ruined it then," Seamus said. "You don't dye wine."

"That's not helpful," Hermione interjected. "That means that the first is poison, then."

"And that means that the seventh is one of the ones we need," Sally-Anne said.

"But only to go back," Lavender said.

"Which means, the third is the one to go forward," Parvati said, examining the container. "There isn't much here. Certainly not enough for all of us to go forward. Probably only enough for one of us. And the one going back won't take the rest either. If it's what I think it is, you're not drinking it either, Hermione."

"I'm going forward," Harry ordered, standing up to his full four and a half feet in height. "We'll send three back, and the rest of you stay and guard the way back as well as Hermione. I'm not taking any risk with you, Hermione."

"Why should you go forward, alone?" Hermoine said.

Parvati could tell that Hermione was about to begin a rant. She knew that ranting wasn't good for Hermione, and looking at the determination in Harry's eyes, no one could stop him. Still, the question of him was in the air, and Parvati found herself repeating the one word question, "Why?"

The determination in Harry's eyes grew, as he replied. "I have to. None of you have gone up against him. I haven't really, but I'm the only one to survive. If it's true that my mother gave me some sort of protection, and that's how I survived the curse, then maybe, just maybe, it will help me now. I at least have that possibility. None of the rest of you do. I have to do this. I can't take the chance otherwise."

Hermione stepped up to hug Harry, pulling him as close as she could to him. Her reply was soft, barely audible, "I know you do." Then she pulled away, taking two steps back, and letting her gaze drop, as if she was afraid to look at those determined green eyes.

It was a determination that Parvati had only seen from Harry as he soared after the snitch on game day. It was a determination that she had a hard time believing would be stopped, but in all likelihood, on the other side of that black fire was You-Know-Who, a wizard who had only been defeated once, at the cost of Harry's own parents. They were first-years. It was ridiculous that they would be expected to defeat the most evil wizard of their age.

"Dean, you're the fastest," Harry said. "You go back and see if you can get help. Lavender, Seamus, go with him. Dumbledore should be on his way back by now. The sooner he gets here the better." Then Harry turned towards the flames. "I'll try to stop him if I can."

"There is no try," Hermione said, sudden stepping forwards to turn Harry around and catching his eyes again. Even half the room away, Parvati could feel the sudden electricity of their connection. "You will do it. There is no not, either."

"Yes, Master Yoda," Harry said, his expression suddenly morphing into a smile for a moment. And then he suddenly met her lips.

Parvati had never really seen anyone kiss on the lips before. Not like this. It was not gentle. Their lips met with abandon, his arms going around to keep her close as he could, given her swollen belly. Her arms reached around, and up to his hair, keeping it close. It was almost indecent for them to watch. She felt as if she was intruding on something sacred and private, as she watched the kiss, but she could not turn away.

Parvati had heard about how Harry had been slowly getting closer to Hermione. She'd seen him move from keeping a large area of personal space around him to holding her close. She'd heard about the first kisses, first on the forehead, and then once barely on the lips. Now though, the connection and passion that had been building throughout the year, in this moment where they all knew that Harry might not return, it had forced a moment that she had not considered possible. They were not even teenagers, yet.

But there before them, the emotions of the moment had manifest in a kiss. Or The Kiss. For some reason, Parvati knew it deserved the title.

Harry broke the kiss, their embrace, and as Parvati watched Hermione's hand going up to touch her lips, he turned and stepped through the flames.

Percy stared into the flames. The common room was full, but he'd still managed get a seat, next to Penny, in front of the fireplace. The room was rather noisy, but it was nice to be able to sit next to Penny, his hand resting on her pregnancy swollen belly. Sometimes he couldn't believe that Penny was his, Mrs Percival Weasley, but as he felt their twins move under his hand, he smiled.

Oliver passed in front of him, off to discuss Quidditch with the Chasers in the South-South-East corner of the common room. Percy wasn't as Quidditch obsessed as his brothers, but had played Seeker last year. Harry was a lot better than he was, and Percy was glad that he'd been found, as there was no way, given everything that was going on, that he could have played Seeker in his OWL year.

Where was Harry Potter? For that matter, where was Ron? It wasn't like Ron to not be drawn into the Quidditch discussion. Percy looked around the room briefly. None of the First Years had appeared in the tower since the last time he looked. Their study alcove was empty. "Save my seat, Penny," Percy said standing up. "I think I may have a prefect question coming on."

Percy dodged a pair of second years, heading back up to their dorm room, on his way over to the Quidditch players. They had some animated figures on miniature brooms moving through a miniature Quidditch pitch on top of the round table they were sitting around.

"No, Wood, there is no way that we can do that play," Katie Bell said. "We're good, but two weeks is too short of a time to practice and have the timing right for it, even if you were to make us practice twenty-four seven."

"Which I hope you're not considering, Oliver," Percy said. "At the very least, they need eight hours of sleep, and I don't think that any of the Professors, even McGonagall would let they out of their classes."

"I'm not that obsessed," Oliver said. "We'll save this one for next year, then. Now what ..."

"Oliver, I need a word with my brothers," Percy interrupted again.

A few seconds later, Fred and George had stepped away from the table. "I need the Marauder's Map, Fred. Everyone is here but the First Years, and I have a bad feeling about that." The expression on Fred and George's faces was priceless. Percy was sure they hadn't known that he knew that they were current custodian of the map. He was also certain that they had no idea that he'd had the map until he'd lost it to Flitch his second year.

Another clap of thunder shook Gryffindor Tower, as George pulled the parchment out from his back pocket.

It took Harry a moment to focus once he cleared the black flames. His mind was still on his kiss with Hermione, when he stepped through. There had to be some significance to the kiss, and intellectually he knew that it was significant, but somehow it felt like there should have been more to it, especially since Hermione was having his first born.

He had to focus, though. After all, Quirrell was standing with his back to Harry as he looked into a familiar mirror. It had been several weeks after Chirstmas, during the time that Hermione had been in the hospital wing when he'd encountered the Mirror of Erised. He'd stopped by it thrice, before Professor Dumbledore had explained what it was.

As Quirrell stood there, Harry couldn't help recall the latest speculation as to who was after the stone. "Seamus owns me a sickle," he muttered. "I told him it wasn't Snape."

"He does seem like the type," Quirrell replied, suddenly turning around, his wand flashing out to freeze Harry where the stood, unable to move forward, ropes binding him in place. "No one would expect poor Pro-pro-professor Quir-ir-rell."

"Actually, three of us suspected you," Harry replied. "Parvati said you were possessed, though. I did think for a while that Snape was behind cursing my broom, but things started adding up differently."

"Well, I did my best to point you that way," Quirrell said, turning back the mirror. "He certainly plays the villain well. Now quiet Potter. I need to retrieve the stone. I'm certain that this mirror is the key."

Harry had no intention of being quiet, to allow Quirrell to figure out how to get the stone from the mirror. "Speaking of keys, you know you made to so easy to get through that part," Harry said. "You damaged the right key so much that it was easy to catch."

"As a Seeker, should have been for you," Quirrell replied. "Trust Dumbledore to come up with something like this."

"Actually, Lavender got us through it," Harry said, finding that he was starting to be able to move a bit. "You know he'll be back soon."

"He's all the way in London, and I'll be far away by the time he gets back," Quirrell said.

"I sent Hedwig after him," Harry said, trying to sound as confident as he could. "He'll be back sooner than you thing."

"I see the stone," Quirrell said. "I'm presenting it to my Master, but how do I get it?"

"Use the boy," a raspy high pitched voice said.

Harry had heard that voice once before, when he'd thought that someone was with Quirrell, trying to convince the Professor to get the stone. There was no one else in the room.

"Use the boy," the high pitched voice rasped again.

Harry found himself suddenly standing before the mirror, the ropes falling loose. He tried not to look at the mirror. He couldn't stop himself from doing so. The mirror resolved into a reflection of himself. It was not the one he'd seen back in January. It was not of his parents standing behind him, Hermione at his side, and a baby in her arms. No Harry's reflection stood alone. As he watched, the reflection held up a blood red stone, then placed it in his left pocket. He suddenly felt the weight of the stone in his own pocket.

He stiffened. It couldn't be there. He couldn't let Quirrell know.

"Well, what do you see?" Quirrell asked.

Harry had to lie. He couldn't let Quirrell know that he had the stone. Quirrell had to believe that Harry was seeing something real.

"Hermione's had our baby. I'm getting to hold him for the first time. He's so small. I'm almost afraid that I'll drop him, but I've finally got real family ..."

"Get out of the way!" Quirrell ordered, pushing Harry to the side.

Harry smiled, and freed of the ropes started to move away.

"He lies!" the voice said.

"Come back here, Potter," Quirrell ordered. "Tell me the truth about what you see!"

"You don't believe me?" Harry said. "The baby had my eyes."

"Let me speak to him," the high pitched voice said.

"But Master, you aren't strong enough."

"I am strong enough for this."

And with that, Quirrell removed his turban and turned around.

Dean sprinted through the chamber that had once held the troll, with Lavender at his right, and Seamus at his left. His wand was drawn, and he was prepared to blast the chess set if he had to.

So it was at his great surprise, when he opened the door to the chess chamber and discovered that someone was trying to play his way across. Actually, a better statement would be people, in particular, standing in the place of the king's side knight was Gryffindor's married prefect, Percy Weasley, and in the place of the Queen was Professor Sybil Trelawney.

Dean came to a sudden stop. "Well, I guess you own Harry a sickle, Lavender," he said. "The Divination Professor can't be the one Harry's confronting right now."

"He's already confronting You-Know-Who!" Percy exclaimed. "I thought we had a bit more time. Knight to D three." Percy moved into place.

"I believe that's check and mate," Professor Dumbledore said, as he entered the room. "I do hope we're not too late."

Somehow, Harry was not surprised to see the face protruding from the back of Quirrell's head. The dull ache in his scar that he'd been ignoring all day exploded in a sharp stabbing pain. He pushed it aside, knowing that it was more important even now to conceal that the stone was in his pocket.

"See what I have become," Voldemort's face said, in the high rasp that Harry had heard earlier. "Forced to share another's body to take form. Forced to drink cursed blood to survive. Once I have the stone, I shall live again. I will have the Elixir of Life, and I will be able to create a body of my own. Where is the stone?"

Harry brought the image he'd seen of Hermione and the baby, the feeling of Hermione kissing, to the front of his mind. "I'm a first year. I'm not sure what stone you're talking about."

"You lie."

"I do not lie," Harry replied defiantly. "I saw Hermione and our baby in the mirror, not how to get the stone." His eyes met Voldemort's, and pain was strong enough that he nearly fainted. "I do not lie."

Voldemort's eyes drilled into Harry's mind, the pain seemed to get stronger with each moment. He couldn't keep his mind on the image of Hermione and the baby, or Hermione and any thing. He couldn't even keep his mind on the kiss that he never wanted to forget that he had just received from his Hermione. He saw a glimpse of the stone entering his pocket, he lost his grasp on his image of his Hermione.

"He has the stone," Voldemort announced, as Quirrell stumbled backwards, his arms and hands twisting around as Voldemort tried to take action.

"Master, let me get him," Quirrell asked. And with that, Quirrell flipped around and faced Harry.

Harry raised his hands as the red faced Professor, his hands out as if to wring his neck reminded him of his Uncle Vernon. His hands touched Quirrell, and the smell of brimstone that he'd thought was the Professor's cologne on the Night Bus back from Easter Break filled the air. This time, however, he could see the source. Smoke rose from where his hands touched Quirrell's.

"My hands, they burn!" Quirrell said, backing off. "I can not touch him."

Harry pressed his advantage, noting that Quirrell's hands were crumbling into ash where they had briefly grasped Harry's. With all the force he could muster, Harry grasp the Professor's robe, somehow managing to spin the man around. His left hand rose, and slapped Voldemort's face. The force he'd put behind the slap would have broken his nose, if he'd had one.

Instead, the smell of brimstone rose, along with the pain in Harry's scar. He was barely able to keep his eyes open, as his other hand came up to join his left on Quirrell's head and Voldemort's face. The face seemed to turn gray and crumble, but Harry wasn't sure, as the pain caused his vision to retreat. He tried to keep conscience as he felt the head begin crumble.

The pain was too much, and his vision closed in. The last sound he heard was Voldermort's high pitched rasp, as he felt himself fall to the floor. "Not again, Lily Potter, not again."

And then there was silence.

Author's Note: At this time I've likely got a chapter and an epilogue left in this story. That being said, there is probably a sequel to start soon there after. The next chapter will come shortly after I finish writing it. Begging for more now is counter productive, especially if that's all you do in a review.