Disclaimer: I do not own The Vampire Diaries or Harry Potter. I do not own any movie/book/TV series quotations, along with anything else recognizable.
Notes: So, while (extremely, extremely) late and shorter than usual, there is a bright side; the rest of this story is planned out and outlined! So the end is in sight! If you're still reading, thanks! And I hope you enjoy this chapter!
Part 7: Sinkin' Soon, Act III
King and the Lionheart
The Gryffindor table was looking bare just three days before Christmas break, but if one would perform a closer inspection, they would find that all of the tables in the Great Hall were looking sparse, with the notable exception of the green bannered Slytherins. Bonnie and Luka had been rapidly joined in the Room of Requirement by other members of the DA hiding from the Carrow's; they'd been caught out doing things for the group and now had no way of leaving Hogwarts without being brutally punished by the two maniac sibling professors. Perhaps the worst thing was that there was that the other professors could do noting besides secretly helping the students along to the hideout when they were escaping.
But Christmas drew ever near, and Stefan felt the pressure building to retrieve the basilisk fang from the Chamber of Secrets; he wanted to get it before their holiday break so that there was little the Carrow's could do in retribution, even if they caught him and his friends out after dark during their mission. The previous Saturday they'd attempted to go, but Seamus had steadily grown suspicious of the trio's quiet whispers and had tailed them. Stefan, Elena, and Neville had gotten away, but Seamus had not been nearly so lucky; he'd been spotted by Amycus and had had to go into the Room of Requirement that very night and so they had aborted their mission while they still could.
Neville and Stefan were the only boys left in the Seventh Year's dorm, and they were oft joined by Elena to plot, and though she wouldn't admit it, a bit of comfort. With their limited time, they'd finally come up with a risky plan that they would perform that Wednesday night.
"We may not have Harry's cloak, but we can perform the Disillusionment Charm," Elena had explained a few days prior, and now she quietly murmured the incantation under her breath and waved her wand as the three of them stood in the Seventh Year's boys' dormitory. Elena's wand tapped Neville on the top of his skull, and only moments later Neville slowly became unnoticeable; he couldn't be found, not even if Stefan strained his eyes.
"Did it work?" Neville asked quietly. His voice seemed to come out of nowhere, making Stefan twitch and Elena grin.
"Yeah," Stefan said, awed. Elena was constantly awing him with her talents.
"It's perfect." Elena grinned momentarily and then turned her attention onto Stefan. "It's your turn now." Stefan let his eyes slip closed and Elena's slim wand tapped his forehead gently, releasing a sensation similar to that of a raw egg that had been cracked over his head. He fought a shudder as the slimy sensation washed down his body, head to toes.
He opened his green eyes to find Elena's gaze just missing his by a few inches. "How does it look?"
"Can't see a thing," Elena promised and then performed the charm onto herself, which included a bit more wand waving than she'd performed on Stefan and Neville. She melted out of existence the same way Neville, and presumably Stefan, had. "Ready?"
"Ready," Stefan and Neville confirmed together. Stefan fingered his wand in his jeans pocket, flashing back to a memory of Damon bemoaning Mad-Eye Moody crankily saying not to put it there – you'd blow your ass of that way by accident. The thought made Stefan smile and then grind his teeth; Damon was in trouble, possibly even dead at that moment. Mad-Eye's probability of death was even higher.
"Stefan?" Neville asked warily.
"I'm fine. Let's go," Stefan said tersely as he led the way down the steps of the dormitory and through their house, passing through the portrait hole. The fat lady was sleeping in her painting, snoring loudly enough that Stefan was a little surprised the surrounding paintings weren't awake.
The trio made their way through the castle as quietly as possible, and headed towards Moaning Myrtle's lonely bathroom. The shadows were long and especially dark and their footsteps sounded like gunshots in the night. Elena stuck out a hand to make the boys pause and she murmured a charm under breath, "Silencio." Taking her lead, Stefan and Neville quickly performed the charm as well, and the excess noise they had been making ceased. They continued.
A sharp meowing made them pull up short soon thereafter; Mrs. Norris was standing in the middle of the hallway in front of them, directly stopping the group from entering the corridor they needed to access to get to Myrtle's bathroom. Elena mumbled a soft curse and Mrs. Norris' head snapped in their direction. She meowed plaintively.
"We need to stun her or something," Neville said, but Stefan heard to the confliction in his tone; he didn't want to hurt Mrs. Norris after all, and surely Filch could stumble upon his cat at any moment.
"I have an idea," Stefan whispered and then conjured a ball of twine. He rolled it towards Filch's friend, distracting the cat long enough for the trio to hustle around her.
When they crept into the bathroom and towards the center, Myrtle was strangely absent. The room was earlier silent except for the dripping of one of the ceramic sinks. Stefan stepped forwards after a brief moment of deliberation, and stood before the entrance of the Chamber.
"Open." Stefan hissed lowly and Neville and Elena both jumped in surprise, though Stefan could not see it. The entrance shuddered and groaned before the sinks creaked apart slowly, making the trio back up a step. The sinks performed something almost akin to a dance as the interlocking parts shifted and moved; it created an open tunnel through the floor that went straight down.
"Do I really need to stay up here?" Elena's voice startled Stefan, almost making him fall forwards into the long winding slide.
"Yes," Stefan said firmly, once he'd recovered himself. "We need you to let us know if someone comes." He heard her sigh softly in resignation.
"I just can't think of you two alone down there," Elena murmured.
"Then don't think about it," Stefan said quietly and yearned to be able to see her so he could wrap Elena up into his arms and just hold her to his heart, stroking her beautiful dark hair. "If you hear anything, send us a Patronus. Until then, think about . . . anything. What our lives will be like when the war is over; what you plan on being once you graduate."
Elena didn't say anything, but Stefan hoped she nodded.
"We'll be back as soon as we can," Neville promised and then asked Stefan, "Ready?"
"Let's go," Stefan stepped forwards. "I'm at the edge here . . ." Neville joined his side a moment later and their shoulders brushed each other. The touch was reassuring and Stefan's confidence rose. Together, they jumped.
Damon sat next to Katherine in the dank Malfoy cellar, and his head leaned back against the stone wall. His wand was gone and so was Katherine's, leaving them without any kind of security or light. Katherine had yet to say a word to Damon, but whether or not that because she wouldn't or couldn't was still up in the air.
Sudden light flooded the dungeon, making Damon blink rapidly, and the nasty voice that belonged to Wormtail snarled something as another person was shoved through the doorway. The metal barred door clanged shut and the light disappeared.
"Hello?" The new voice sounded a little frail, but mostly unafraid.
"Who's there?" Damon demanded shortly, eyes narrowed and pupils blown in the dark to catch sight of this mysterious newcomer. The wizard shuffled forwards slowly and warily until Damon could use the dim light to see the man's face.
"Ollivander?" Damon asked dubiously.
The white haired wizard raised a hand in greeting and he pulled his lips up into a small smile, creating even more wrinkles on his already lined, aging face. "Damon Salvatore; your wand was aspen, thirteen and three quarters inches, dragon heartstring, and unyielding. I remember the day you stepped into my shop with your mum."
"Wow." Damon settled back onto his haunches, but was still alert as he drawled, "You remember everyone's wands. Must be exhausting."
"Of course." Ollivander was serene still, even in the face of his capture by Death Eaters, and then spied the lump on the ground that was Katherine. "Is that –"
"Katherine Petrova," Damon said flatly and one of his hands ghosted over her shivering form to offer any of kind of protection he could give.
"I wasn't the maker of her wand," Was all he said, his head tilted thoughtfully.
"Why are you here?" Damon asked suddenly and next to him, Katherine shifted in her sleep. (Well, Damon was assuming she was sleeping, now, but anything was possible. He certainly wouldn't put it past her, anyway, to pretend just to get some information from them.)
Ollivander shot a nervous glance towards the doorway that Wormtail had disappeared through, but when no one immediately barged back in because of Damon's line of questioning, he relaxed minutely. "You-Know-Who had some questions about the-the Elder Wand."
Damon's brows inched up towards his hair line. That was an interesting development. "Everyone knows that that's just a tale to scare your kids with. My mother told it to me when I was younger."
Ollivander shrugged a little helplessly. "You-Know-Who seems to think that it's real, and he greatly desires to obtain it because he believes it will help him kill Harry."
Damon arched his brows, and then changed the subject, "What's the date?"
"Just a few days until Christmas – it was the twentieth when I was captured, see. How long have you been here?"
Damon shrugged noncommittally. He cast his thoughts onto Stefan, who would be spending only the second Christmas that they had spent without their parents – the first Stefan would spend without Damon. He would stay with Neville, Damon hoped, instead of staying alone with Elena in their flat in London. It would be safer.
"A while," Damon replied vaguely. He hoped Rick, Lupin, and Tonks were alright. His thoughts wandered back to the Elder Wand and its companions, the other Deathly Hallows: the Invisibility Cloak and the Resurrection Stone. Was Voldemort after the others, as well? Surely the Deathly Hallows were just stories. They couldn't possibly be more, could they?
Katherine shifted again and then she sprang forwards into a sitting position, gasping and clutching her chest. Her dark eyes were glazed with terror as they roved the dungeon wildly, looking for some unknown assailant.
"Katherine . . ."
She whirled around and cried out, hand dropping to her the bite mark on her pale thigh. "Damon?" She gasped. "What –" Katherine tried to get her bearings around her, her eyes wildly searching the darkness still.
"We're in Malfoy Manor – the dungeon," Damon explained carefully, and as nicely as possible considering he was still conflicted on what exactly he should be feeling for this woman. "You look like you were attacked."
Instead of a witty retort she would normally shoot back at him, Katherine remained silent as her breathing evened out a bit. Then she threw back her head, releasing wild laughter that made both Damon and Ollivander jump backwards a bit. She shoved a tangle of her dark hair away from her eyes, still giggling off key. Her cackles turned to sobs and she huddled into herself.
"Kill me before he comes back," Katherine moaned and Damon's eyes widened a little.
"Who?" He demanded, creeping closer to her shuddering body. "Before who comes back, Katherine?"
"The werewolf," Katherine moaned again. "The one everyone talks about."
"Fenrir Greyback?" Damon asked.
"No," Katherine snapped, swept up into anger, eyes blazing as she spat out his name like it was acid, "Klaus."
"Who's Klaus?" Damon asked slowly, hands hovering over the witch's shoulders in a vague gesture of comfort. "Who the hell talks about this Klaus guy?"
Katherine trembled. "Only those who are affiliated with the Dark. Voldemort has another pet werewolf – one worse than Greyback – and his name is Niklaus Mikaelson. He's some kind of accident; a freak of nature."
Some part of Damon shivered at the name as it tickled some part in the back of his mind. "What do you mean? Did mummy and daddy forget to use their protection spells one evening?"
Katherine barked laugher and turned hysterical again, clawing at the bite on her leg; her long and cracked finger nails raked across the wound, making rivulets of blood gush. "I don't know! He was in some kind of magical accident or it was a – a curse or something! He's not like other werewolves."
Damon growled in frustration. He clapped his hands onto Katherine's shoulders, making the witch hiss and flinch. "But how is he different, Katherine? Focus!" Despite the fact that he felt just a tiny sliver of pity for her, the wizard was becoming angry with her blathering.
Katherine shoved him away with a surprising amount of strength and glared at him with furious, desperate eyes. "Klaus can turn whenever he wants to." She finally started to make some sort of convoluted sense. "I thought he was just You-Know-Who's pet psychopath, but he's also nearly invincible. He's a hybrid." Damon tilted his head and behind him, Ollivander was making surprised gasping noises.
"A hybrid?" Damon made a dismissive noise, despite his stuttering heart. "What kind of hybrid?"
Katherine's dark eyes were round and dead serious. "Vampire. He's a vampire-werewolf hybrid."
Ollivander gasped loudly behind them and Damon shook his head. "That's not possible. Tell me another one, Katherine."
She only cackled again, her mood a wildly swinging pendulum.
"Dear, this is a mite important," Ollivander stepped a little closer while Damon reeled with the new information. "Is Klaus the only one of his kind?"
One look into those frenzied eyes and Damon knew the answer. "And you know what?" She giggled.
Damon and Ollivander exchanged wary glances. "Hm?" Ollivander asked softly.
Katherine leant forwards and whispered, "For my punishment and to control his beast, Voldemort intertwined the Petrova line with the blood of the hybrids. Every time Klaus wants to make another monster like him, they need the blood of someone from my family. So here . . . I . . . am."
Stefan landed roughly on his back, knocking the breath out of him. Neville lay panting next to his friend, stifling noises of pain. Stefan sat up slowly, checking his wand and his body to make sure nothing had broken. "Neville?"
"Bruised, is all," Neville replied. "I'll be fine." He tried to grin, but it turned more into a grimace.
Stefan dragged himself to his feet and then stuck a hand out for Neville to grasp. The brown haired wizard grabbed it, and Stefan hauled him upwards. They patted themselves down and brushed off the dirt on their muggle attire, sending up a cloud of dust that made them cough erratically.
"Alright there, Neville?" Stefan asked again, green eyes traveling up and down his friend's form anxiously.
"I'm alright. You?" Neville replied.
Stefan relaxed a little. "Fine."
"Onwards, then?" Neville tried to joke, but the atmosphere was too tense for either to crack a smile. They trudged forwards together, wands held loosely in their fingers. The tunnel was long, and there was a lot of debris from the last time someone had entered the chamber, making it slightly difficult to travel. A few times, Stefan or Neville had to magically move a few roadblocks that stood in their way in the form of large rocks.
They arrived to another doorway, though instead of sinks, this one had snakes carved intrinsically onto the surface decoratively.
"Open," Stefan hissed once more, and in some kind of unlocking sequence, one of the stone snakes traveled around the circular door, nudging the others to retreat. Slowly, it opened wide enough for the two students to step inside. Within was a large cavern that soared over their heads and expanded far beyond their reach. In the center was the dead basilisk, its body mostly decayed. The smell of the entire cavern was revolting and almost sent the two teenagers back a step. They forged on.
Neville was the one to approach the snake; he hesitantly reached inside its mouth and wrapped his fingers around a fang that was the length of his hand and pulled. It stuck fast.
"Try another one," Stefan suggested as he came closer.
Neville licked his dry, chapped lips, and positioned his hands onto another fang, this one slightly smaller but still just as effective. He gave it a sharp twist and jerk, wrenching it free with a nasty suctioning noise. The force of it sent Neville sprawling backwards; his head landed on Stefan's dragonhide boots. He blinked up at his wryly smiling friend.
After Katherine's revelation, Damon and Ollivander actively began looking for a way out of their prison. They checked for hidden doors in the walls, the ceiling, and the ground; they searched for any weaknesses in the foundations and in the magic warding; but there was nothing, no possible way of escape besides the barred door that Wormtail would shove their food through twice a day. There didn't seem to be an end of their captivity in sight.
They were joined by another prisoner shortly thereafter; a goblin called Griphook. He was short and squat like all goblins, not particularly attractive looking, and had the attitude of a cranky dragon. Griphook was not friendly towards his fellow captives, and preferred to stay on the far side of the Malfoy dungeon, eyeing them through hooded and wary eyes.
Damon, despite the anger and betrayal he felt for Katherine, kept close to the witch if only to make sure she didn't die in the cell with them. "We certainly don't want the smell of rot on top of everything else," He'd said cruelly when she'd inquired about his hovering presence. Ollivander had been scandalized, but Griphook's face had twisted up into a biting leer.
Katherine had revealed that what very little she knew about Klaus' hybrid status; he was of the Pureblood line Mikaelson, and was the product of his mother's secret liaison with a werewolf forty years ago. Unfortunately, he'd had a vicious run-in with a vampire when he was thirty years old, and was turned. Around that same time, Klaus' adopted father had found out about his wife's infidelity and so when he learned of his pseudo-son's new condition, cursed him with black magic so that he could not access the werewolf side of his heritage, and therefore would not be a powerful as the young man wished to be. Voldemort had released him from the curse with one condition; Klaus stay in his debt and kill on command (and murder wasn't much of a hardship for him, they learned from Katherine).
They remained in captivity for what felt like weeks, but was probably only days, before they were joined by a couple of more prisoners: Dean Thomas and Luna Lovegood.
Luna was relatively cheerful as ever. "Hello, everyone," She murmured when Wormtail had taken off back up the stairs to his masters. "Happy Christmas?"
Damon jerked when he realized their new cellmates were still at Hogwarts, and he scrambled up from beside Katherine. "What's going on at the school?" He demanded sharply. "Have you seen Stefan? Elena?"
Dean shook his head. "I haven't been to Hogwarts at all, this year, considering the Ministry has it out for muggleborns now." They all turned their attention to Luna, who smiled at them serenely.
"Stefan's fine," Luna reassured, "and so is Elena. They're helping lead a resistance in the school, called the D.A, with Neville Longbottom and Ginny Weasley. No need to worry at all."
Damon's head was spinning as he stumbled back. "No need to worry?" He felt himself ask faintly.
Stefan, Elena and Neville took the fangs home with them during the holidays to make sure they weren't discovered, and they were already trying to lay out a plan for the Room of Requirement to find the horcrux there. It was agreed almost simultaneously that Stefan and Elena would go to Neville's Gran's so that they wouldn't be alone and unprotected at the Salvatore flat.
What they found there with his Gran was entirely unexpected.
"What are you doing here?"
"Waiting for a portkey to take us to a safe house," Alaric Saltzman replied. Lupin and a very pregnant looking Tonks were with him, both along for the ride. "Unfortunately, we can't tell you where we're going; it would be a security breach that would lead to more than just our lives threatened."
"You were with Damon," Stefan said. "When they took him." He and Rick stood across from each other in the living room while Neville and Lupin put on some tea. Gran, Elena and Tonks had disappeared up the stairs some time ago, which left Stefan and Alaric together.
Rick looked down. "Yes," he confirmed. He clasped his hands together. "I'm sorry, Stefan. There was nothing I could do."
Stefan's hands balled up into fists. "You let them take my brother." He didn't have a family anymore; his parents were gone, his brother was gone. He felt his face heat up. "He's probably going to get killed, if he isn't already dead."
"Don't say that," Alaric said harshly and took a step forward. Stefan stood his ground. "You don't know that."
"Of course he's dead," Stefan ground out painfully and felt like an anvil was sitting on top of his chest. "He's with Vol-," Stefan began, but Alaric clapped a hand onto his mouth.
"There's a taboo on his name! You'll bring destruction down on all of our heads!" Rick glared, but the comment only serve to push Stefan over the edge; he ducked out of the older wizard's hold and forwent his wand altogether – he threw his fist into Rick's face.
Alaric fell down onto the ground, knocking into the coffee table and making the glass on it shudder. In the kitchen, the noises abruptly paused and then stomping feet ran toward them. Lupin and Neville found Stefan with bruised knuckles staring down at Alaric.
"Mate?" Neville asked hesitantly.
"Mr. Salvatore," Lupin began.
Stefan looked up and his green eyes shined with unshed tears. Neville took a step forward, and then another and another until he was in front of his best friend. He pulled him into a hug, which Stefan reciprocated.
"Everything will work out, mate," Neville swore. "It will."