Disclaimer: Harry Potter and characters are the intellectual property of J. K. Rowling. I claim no ownership over anything belonging to her that appears in this story.
Remedial Lessons III: Voldemort
Hermione sneered in contempt at the trembling figure cowering before her. The muggle child, probably seven or eight years old, whimpered softly as the after-effects of the Cruciatus wreaked havoc on her central nervous system. With a flick of Hermione's wand the child's screams once again echoed around the room as she flailed in agony under the torture curse, drawing jeers and cruel laughter from the others in the chamber. Only after the girl had soiled herself was the curse lifted, leaving her smelling of shite and nearly catatonic on the cold stone floor. All other speaking stopped as a sibilant voice hissed above the din.
With a nod Hermione aimed the tip of her wand squarely between the child's terrified eyes, eyes that begged for the pain to end. Hermione felt her lips curl into a cruel smirk as she relished in the power she could feel coursing through her veins.
The child's lifeless body slumped to the floor with a wet thump as her soul was torn from her by Hermione's wand. Giving the girl one last disdainful sniff she turned to face the front of the room where, in an ornate throne of ebony and gold, the Dark Lord watched her with amusement twinkling in his red eyes. His mouth split into a maniacal smile, revealing his sharp yellow teeth and causing Hermione to give an involuntary shudder.
"Come forward, child," he said. Hermione slowly approached the throne and knelt at Voldemort's feet, her face inches from the hem of his dark robes. "You have done well this evening, child. Give me your arm, so that I may welcome you fully into my service." Immediately Hermione presented her left arm, trembling in anticipation as she felt the tip of the Dark Lord's wand press into the flesh of her forearm.
Hermione barely stifled her scream as pain unlike anything she had ever felt erupted through her body. It felt like every bone in her arm was on fire, and she tasted blood where she had bit through her lip to keep from crying out. Fighting through the agony, Hermione focused on the magic she could feel entering her body. She felt it slither its way through flesh and bone, binding her very soul and magic to the Dark Lord.
"Arise, my child, and join your brothers and sisters."
Taking a few deep, steadying breaths, Hermione stood and looked upon the Dark Mark now etched into her skin, its blackness a stark contrast to the white of her flesh. She allowed her eyes to travel up and into the reptilian visage of the greatest Dark Lord in the history of magic. She smiled as she felt his presence in the tattoo on her arm, a writhing darkness oozing with power. She bowed her head submissively, the smile never leaving her face.
"I live to serve, my Lord."
Hermione blinked her eyes, shaking her head a few times to regain her bearings. She quickly rolled up the sleeve of her left arm, breathing a sigh of relief at the pale, flawless skin that greeted her.
"Well that was unpleasant," she said to herself, resisting the urge to vomit, "but it does answer my question." Taking a moment to clear her mind of the images she had just seen, Hermione soon turned her attention to the pug-faced girl in Slytherin robes glaring hatefully at her from the chair to which she was bound.
"You really are a piece of work, aren't you Parkinson?" she asked. "I mean I always knew you were a cold, heartless bitch, but torturing and murdering a child? And enjoying it? I'm not sure you still qualify as human after that."
"Speak for yourself, Mudblood," Pansy spat. "I'm not the one traipsing around the castle with that useless half-blood Potter, hanging off him like a five-sickle whore! Tell me, Granger, how long did you wait before you spread your legs for him? An hour maybe? A day? Or is Potter too busy getting buggered by Weasley to even notice you throwing your knickers at him?"
Hermione smiled. "What Harry does with my knickers is none of your concern. On the other hand, I can understand why you'd be interested, seeing as your little boy-toy up and disappeared on you." She snapped her fingers as if coming to a sudden realization. "That's why I caught you trying to curse me in the back tonight isn't it? You're jealous! Not that I blame you, of course, but it was still a terribly foolish thing to do. So, what should I do with you, hmm?"
Enraged, Pansy tried to leap at the smirking Gryffindor, straining against the conjured ropes holding her down. "I tried to curse you because you're the reason Draco is missing! I know you did something to him when he was following you on your prefect rounds that night, and if I find out that you hurt him I swear to Merlin and Morgana that I'll personally make your life a living hell!"
Hermione's eyes narrowed. "So, you knew what he had planned for me that night, didn't you?" Pansy paled, causing Hermione to nod in satisfaction. "Then you understand why I couldn't let him get away with it. He was going to use me to hurt Harry, and I simply will not allow that. I thought about just obliviating him, but I knew he'd just try again. So I opted for a more... permanent solution."
"I knew it," Pansy whispered. "You killed him. You actually killed him. I can't believe that you're standing there with that fucking grin on your filthy mudblood face telling me that you killed my Draco!" Pansy thrashed against the restraints, spittle flying from her mouth as she raged. "Did it feel good, bitch? Did it fucking feel good? Did it?" Hermione frowned as Pansy gave her a grin with more than a touch of madness in it. "I wonder what they'll say, your friends, Dumbledore, your pathetic limp-dick boyfriend. What will he think when he finds out that perfect Hermione Granger is nothing more than a cold-blooded murderer!"
Hermione stepped forward and slapped the enraged Slytherin fiercely. "Shut your mouth you psychotic bitch! I'm not the one using Unforgivables on muggle children while my abomination of a master looks on with his dick in his hand! And as for Harry? He'll never know that I killed Draco, just like he'll never know what I'm going to do to you!"
Pansy suddenly relaxed back into the chair, a victorious smirk on her face. She quirked her eyebrows and glanced over Hermione's shoulder. "Wanna bet?"
Hermione whirled around and gasped in horror as Harry stepped out of the shadows with an unreadable expression on his face. "Harry? What... I..."
"I got a note today saying that something was going to happen on your prefect rounds," he said evenly. "It hinted that you might be in some kind of danger, so after you left I grabbed my cloak and followed you." He glanced to Pansy and then back to her. "I certainly wasn't expecting this."
Hermione stood frozen in shock, unable to make a sound as her mind ground to a screeching halt. Harry slowly approached her, his face giving nothing away as he held her gaze.
"Is it true?" he asked. "Did you really kill Draco because he was planning on hurting you to get to me?"
Though she was terrified of his reaction, Hermione could only answer with the truth. "Yes."
Harry's brow furrowed in thought. "And that whole thing with Snape and Umbridge. You had something to do with that too, didn't you?"
"Yes," she whispered, ignoring the startled gasp from Pansy. Harry's eyes bored into hers, seeming to draw her very soul into their emerald depths. After what felt like an eternity, he closed the distance between them and drew her into a kiss that set fire to every fiber of her being. When they finally broke contact, the smile he gave her obliterated her fears in an instant.
"Thank you," he whispered. "You're always looking out for me, even when I don't see it. I don't know what I'd do without you. I love you, Hermione."
Hermione gave a watery laugh as tears of relief leaked from her eyes. "Oh Harry," she cooed, "I love you so much." She began leaning in for another kiss when she saw his gaze travel behind her and widen in alarm.
Before she could react Hermione felt herself being thrown to the side, landing roughly on the stone floor. She looked up in time to see the sickly green light of the Killing Curse slam into Harry's chest, sending him flying backwards to land in a lifeless heap a few feet away. Her wand was in her hand instantly as she turned to see Pansy cackling with glee, waving the wand she had apparently hidden up her sleeve. An Expelliarmus followed by a stunner shut her up quickly, but Hermione knew it was too late. She scrambled over to Harry's still form, ignoring the scrapes and cuts from the unforgiving stone. She gently pulled his head into her lap and began running her fingers through his hair, allowing her tears to fall onto his peaceful face. She didn't know how long she sat there sobbing and rocking with grief, but eventually the aching, gnashing pain in her chest was replaced by a fury the likes of which she had never known. Placing a tender goodbye kiss on his forehead, she gently lowered his head to the floor and stood, focusing her anger and hatred on her next task. Stalking over to her unconscious prisoner, Hermione didn't bother with her wand and instead delivered an open-handed slap to Pansy's face.
The pug-faced girl blinked the stars from her vision for a few moments before the fog cleared from her mind and she remembered what she had just managed to do, causing her to smile broadly. Her smile faltered a bit when she caught sight of the enraged form of Hermione Granger staring at her with death in her eyes.
"You know," Hermione said, "I had planned on keeping you stunned for this next part, but now I think I'd rather hear you scream." Pansy's smirk turned to a frown of confusion as Hermione ripped away the sleeve of Pansy's robe to expose her Dark Mark. Her confusion turned to terror as Hermione placed the tip of her wand in the center of the skull's forehead. "Give my regards to your precious Draco, bitch. Crucio!"
Every first year at Hogwarts knows that magic is all about intent. From levitating a feather to conjuring a sofa, every spell depends on the intent of the caster to function. What every parent of a magical child knows is that magic is also closely tied to emotion. It's not uncommon for favorite toys to float into grasping hands or for tantrums to cause various household items to explode. So when Hermione cast the torture curse into Pansy's Dark Mark, her intent was for the Dark Lord himself to receive the brunt of it.
Her emotional state after seeing the love of her life struck down by a curse aimed at her made it the most powerful Crucio to be cast in almost 600 years.
The Dark Lord was in the middle of a planning session with his inner circle when Hermione's curse struck. Ironically, for all the times he had cast it, Voldemort had never felt the effects of his favorite curse personally and so had no idea what was happening to him. As his entire body erupted in agony, he instinctively threw his considerable magical power toward the source of the pain in an attempt to overpower and subdue it. However, because his magic was so in tune with that particular curse after having cast it so often, this had the unintended effect of multiplying and reinforcing the onslaught as well as opening up the magical conduits of the Dark Marks of every living Death Eater to the unimaginably overpowered curse.
Across the country, witches and wizards from all walks of life began screaming and clutching their left arms in agony. Many of them attempted to claw the tattoo from their arm in an effort to escape their torment, but not even stunning spells were enough to dull the pain. A few of the victims managed to make their way to St. Mungo's, but even the best magical medics in Britain were left shaking their heads in frustration.
The castle wards alerting him to a disturbance in the Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff dormitories jolted headmaster Dumbledore awake. A quick floo conference with his Heads of House confirmed that several of the upper year students were currently screaming and thrashing about uncontrollably. Dumbledore was alarmed to learn that each of the affected students bore Tom Riddle's Mark on their arm, giving him an inkling of what might be happening. He ordered the suffering students be brought to the infirmary at once before rushing out to wake Madame Pomfrey.
Amelia Bones, Director of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, had been looking over some reports concerning her eleven missing convicts when she was alerted to the strange phenomenon surrounding the Dark Mark by one of her senior aurors. She wasted no time in flooing to the Ministry where she was shocked to find that several of her on-duty aurors had collapsed clutching their left arms. She immediately called in every available auror and managed to convince Minister Fudge to declare martial law until the situation was contained. The order had barely left his lips before he barricaded himself in his office, causing Amelia to shake her head in disgust before heading off to try and keep the country from falling apart.
Meanwhile, chaos reigned in an unplottable, Fidelius-protected manor house a few miles outside London. Rabastan and Rudolphus Lestrange resorted to firing cutting curses at each other's arms trying to remove the source of their agony, but they were horrified when dark tendrils of magic reached out and reconnected the severed limbs almost immediately, a failsafe built into the Dark Mark to ensure everlasting loyalty. Bellatrix was in the throes of one of the most intense orgasms of her life, brought on by the exquisite torment pouring from her master's beautiful Mark. So caught up was she in her ecstasy, she never noticed when blood began seeping from her ears and nose. Peter Pettigrew's magic was going haywire, shifting him from rat to man in a bizarre attempt to escape his torture.
"Narcissa," Lucius whimpered. "Please, you must... help... m-me." The Lady Malfoy stared down at her husband with a look of cold hate in her eyes. Like her cousin Sirius, she never believed in the ideals of pureblood supremacy and domination, but she knew her place as the wife of a Malfoy. Now she looked on as her husband suffered the consequences for forsaking honor and family and enslaving himself to a monster. She bent down to look him in they eye, unmoved by the blood dripping from his eyes and nose.
"You and your master cost me my son," she whispered. "You poisoned his mind with your cruelty and your selfishness, and somewhere along the line he crossed the wrong person and paid the price. You took my baby from me, you bastard. May you rot in Hell." Her eyes never left his as she pulled the ring from her left ring finger and threw it at his feet before turning and stalking from the room, leaving her husband of almost twenty years to die.
Tom Riddle, the self-styled Lord Voldemort, the most feared dark lord in history, watched in excruciating pain and mounting horror as his closest followers dropped dead around him. As more and more of his Death Eaters perished, the magic that killed them began building up in his body, having nowhere else to go. As the last of his followers died, the magical construct that was the Dark Lord's body finally succumbed to the strain, spattering the walls and ceiling with gore as it exploded.
In Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, in a hidden room on the seventh floor, Hermione Granger lifted her wand from the arm of what used to be Pansy Parkinson. The heartbroken girl paid no attention to the bloody mess of her former classmate as she shuffled over to her fallen love, sank to her knees, and wept.
"She loves you very much, honey."
"I know, Mum. I love her just as much."
"You couldn't have picked a finer woman if you tried, Harry. I'm so proud of you, son."
"Thanks, Dad. It kills me to see her so upset. I'd give anything to make it better, but I'll just have to wait for her here, no matter how long it takes. I'll wait forever if I have to, just to hold her again."
"It's funny you should mention that. Why don't we all go over here and have a nice chat..."
Hermione was dreaming. She and Harry were lying in bed, her head on his chest, his heart beating a gently rhythm in her ear. She closed her eyes and sighed as she felt his fingers running through her hair, sending tingles of pleasure across her scalp. He chuckled softly, causing Hermione to smile at the sound before her eyes snapped open in alarm. Even though she knew she was wide awake, she could somehow still hear Harry's heart beating, as if he was still alive. When she felt his fingers make another pass through her hair, she sat bolt upright and gaped into the sparkling green eyes of the man who held her heart, and who she could swear she saw take a Killing Curse meant for her. She held his gaze for a moment before throwing herself into his arms and sobbing into his shoulder. He wrapped his arms around her tightly and held her, whispering soothing nothings into her ear until she calmed enough to speak.
"Thought I... had... l-lost you Harry..." she hiccupped.
"Shh, love, I'm here. I'm here and I'm never leaving you again." She pulled back from his embrace and began running her hands all over his body, reassuring herself that he was really there. He caught her hands and kissed her fingers before pulling her back to his embrace.
"Harry," she whispered. "I don't understand. I saw you die, I know I did. How is this possible?"
"It's an interesting story, believe me. But first I think there's a few things we need to take care of..."
It took three days for magical Britain to recover from the turmoil of that fateful night. The DMLE eventually determined that at least 300 witches and wizards were killed in less than 10 minutes, each of them bearing Voldemort's Dark Mark. The top minds from St. Mungo's and the Department of Mysteries were baffled as to the cause until an anonymous tip led a squad of aurors to Malfoy Manor. There they found the grisly remains of the Dark Lord's inner circle as well as Voldemort himself. When Peter Pettigrew was discovered among the dead, the Daily Prophet ran a front-page story calling for the Sirius Black case to be reopened. When the fugitive showed up at the offices of the DMLE hale and hearty without a sign of having the Dark Mark, Amelia Bones wasted no time getting Fudge to issue a ministerial pardon as well as a bank draft for a tidy sum of galleons taken from the vaults of dead Death Eaters. Due to his cowardice during a time of crisis, it was his last act as Minister for Magic, and Amelia Bones was elected as his replacement in a landslide vote.
Harry and Hermione were sitting together at the Gryffindor table feeding each other bites of after-dinner dessert when Professor Dumbledore stopped on his way out of the great hall to speak with them.
"Miss Granger, Mr. Potter, I wonder if you would care to join me in my office once you have finished your dessert? I believe the gargoyle will be quite moved at the mention of Canary Creams." Giving them a twinkly-eyed smile, the ancient mage nodded and meandered out of the hall, quietly humming a jaunty tune. A few more bites and some stolen kisses later saw the happy couple riding the spiral staircase up to the headmaster's eccentric office. Receiving a muffled "come" at their knock, the pair entered the office and took the two offered chairs in front of Dumbledore's massive desk.
"Welcome Miss Granger, Mr. Potter. Would either of you care for a lemon drop?" Receiving two negative headshakes, Dumbledore popped one of the offered candies into his mouth before continuing. "Very well. I'm sure you're both curious as to why I've asked you here this evening. Several years ago, Harry, you asked me why Voldemort came after your family that horrible night. At the time I felt that you were too young to bear the burden that particular truth would have been. In light of recent events, I believe now would be a good time for you to receive the answer to your question." He tapped his wand to a rune on the pensieve on his desk, causing the ethereal form of Sybil Trelawney to rise from the swirling liquid and deliver the prophecy that linked the fates of Harry James Potter and Tom Marvolo Riddle. When the memory ended, Harry and Hermione appeared deep in thought as they worked through the possible ramifications of what they had just heard. Sharing a brief, worried glance, Harry turned back to Professor Dumbledore, who had been content to sit patiently while they organized their thoughts.
"I'm not sure I understand, sir," Harry said. "Do you think this 'power he knows not' had something to do with what happened a few days ago?"
Dumbledore nodded. "That is quite possible, Harry. You see, after studying this prophecy along with the lives of both yourself and Tom Riddle, I have come to the conclusion that the 'power he knows not' is in fact your vast propensity to love. Tell me, were the two of you by chance... together a few nights ago, around, say, 9:00?" Mistaking their worried glances for embarrassment, Dumbledore smiled warmly. "I thought as much. You see, Harry, I believe that when Voldemort's curse left that scar on your head, it also left a kind of connection to the Dark Lord behind as well. Alarming as that may be, it would appear to be a blessing in disguise. I believe that whatever happened between yourself and Miss Granger that night generated such an expression of love that the Dark Lord was simply unable to deal with the sheer power that the two of you generated. They say love is the most powerful force on Earth, and in this case I believe that proves especially true."
"So you're saying the prophecy was fulfilled the other night? He's gone for good this time?" Harry asked with a massive blush.
"Yes my boy, Tom Riddle has finally gone on to his next great adventure, thanks to you two. And since he saw fit to take his loyal followers with him, I'm confident that there is minimal danger in the public learning of this prophecy as an explanation as to what happened that night. Suffice to say that the details will be quite vague, for obvious reasons, but I wouldn't be surprised to see you both receiving the Order of Merlin First Class for your great contributions to the wizarding world. In addition, your godfather has pointed out to me, and I have agreed, that with the Dark Lord gone there is no more need for you to stay with your relatives during your time away from Hogwarts. I understand that you have an open invitation to move in with Sirius should you so choose, and judging by the look on your face, that choice is a given." Dumbledore smiled at the look of elation adorning Harry's face. "Now then, since I'm sure that you would both rather spend the evening with each other instead of your stuffy old headmaster, I'll bid you both a good evening."
"Thank you sir," the couple said in unison before taking their leave. They waited until they were well away from the headmaster's office before commenting on what they had just heard.
"So, is he really gone?" Harry asked.
Hermione furrowed her brow in thought. "Well, let's see. The stuff about being 'marked as his equal' and having 'power the Dark Lord knows not' seems correct. 'Either must die at the hand of the other' is a little tricky, but if you count Parkinson as acting as Voldemort's hand, and me acting as yours, it makes sense."
Harry nodded. "Sounds good to me. So, you think our secret is safe?"
Hermione breathed a sigh of relief even as her cheeks flushed crimson. "I think so love. Nobody suspected a thing when Parkinson was found outside the Slytherin common room entrance. That reminds me, we really need to do something nice for Dobby soon. Maybe some interesting hats."
Harry nodded with a mischievous glint in his eyes. "So I was thinking, now that the war's really over, there's nothing stopping me from asking you to marry me and spend the rest of our lives together." Harry took a few more steps before he realized that Hermione had stopped in her tracks. He turned to face her just in time to catch her as she threw herself into his arms, snogging him senseless.
When they came up for air, Hermione fisted her hands in his robes, a hungry look in her eyes. "Unfortunately, future husband, we can't marry until you turn 17." Harry frowned slightly and nodded. Hermione slipped into a seductive smile. "However, there's nothing stopping us from spending as much time as possible from now till then learning every inch of each other."
Harry grinned. "Well then, Miss Granger, I believe I'm ready for my first lesson whenever you are."
She stood on her toes to give him a searing kiss. "I'm all yours Mr. Potter."