"SIRIUS!" Harry yelled as he moved to where his Godfather had fallen through the veil.
Remus reached out to grab him and stop him from following Sirius through but Harry slipped through his fingers and disappeared through the doorway into the unknown. Everyone in the room froze for a minute.
"I killed Sirius Black." Belletrix cackled, "And bitty baby potty too."
"Nooooo." all five of his friends screamed and pointed their wands at the woman who was then blasted back into the wall. Blood smeared the wall as she slid down. She was not breathing any longer when the crumbled heap stopped sliding.
Next all five wands turned towards Lucius and the same thing happened time and time again until there were no other death eaters remaining. The last person to have the wands pointed at him was Remus Lupin but the horror on his face as he stood stock still and stared at the veil woke them up from their rage. They ran towards each other and met in a five way hug screaming their rage about the death of their friend.
"Run." the thought hit all five minds at the same time and they turned as one and fled the room. They ran back through the brain room and then to the room of doors.
"I need the exit." Hermione yelled as the door they came through closed.
The room spun and then a door opened and they all tumbled through it. They ran into the lift, hit the button for the atrium and watched Dumbledore running towards them too late to stop the doors from closing. Once they were in the atrium Ron pulled off his shirt and held it out for the others.
Each of them grabbed hold and Luna pointed her wand and yelled, "Portus."
Albus arrived just in time to see them vanish in a swirl of color. He thought to follow them but the arrival of Voldemort stopped him. An instant later the five friends were slammed into the floor of a house; all of them collapsed and didn't wake for several hours.
Ron was the first to wake up because he was cold. He pulled his shirt on first and then looked around. The other four were close by but still unconscious and they were all in a room with covered furniture. Ron decided being awake alone was probably not a good idea so he tried to wake Hermione.
"Five more minutes." she grumbled.
"Sorry Mione." Ron shook her again, "I think we're in a tight spot and you're the best to figure it out."
"I'm awake." she sat up quickly but then held her hand to her head, "Where are we?"
"I don't know, Luna made the portkey." he scratched his head.
"Well let's wake the others. Maybe she knows where she brought us." The two of them woke the other three and they began to discuss just what had brought them to this spot.
Ginny was the first to start, "Harry's dead."
"I know Gin but we need to figure out where we are and what happened after he died." Ron pulled his sister into a hug.
"We killed the death eaters." Neville took a deep breath, "My parents have been avenged, Belletrix and both Lestrange brothers are dead."
"Malfoy, Jugson, Crabbe, Dolohov, Macnair, Avery, Rookwood and Mulciber." Ron added, "Nott was injured in the Hall of Prophecy's but he's probably still alive."
"Did you guys hear Harry tell us to run?" Hermione asked her face a mask of concern.
"Yeah." they all replied.
"But that's the death veil." she shuddered and wrapped her arms around herself, "He's dead isn't he?"
"No one really understands the veil." Luna stated in her normal airy fashion, "Daddy thinks it's a doorway to another dimension or possibly New York in America."
"Harry told me to take my shirt off in the atrium." Ron looked sheepish, "Didn't understand why at the time."
"He told me where to send us." Luna smiled, "But he didn't say where it was just that we'd find his family's place."
"But Harry doesn't know any place his family may have owned except Godric's Hollow." Hermione leaned her head tiredly on Ron's shoulder.
His stomach growled and Neville said, "Let's see if there is any food in this place. We'll all concentrate better with food in our stomachs."
They struggled to their feet and began to look around the house they found themselves in. None of them mentioned splitting up and all of them had their wands at the ready. They crept through the halls and looked into doors until they found one with a roaring fire. Silently they decided if anyone was in the house this is where they were most likely to be, entering the room they looked around carefully. They could find no one so when a voice spoke they all jumped and turned their wands towards it.
"A portrait." Ginny sighed in relief.
"Well not just any portrait." the man stated, "It's a painting of me so it's very important."
"Of course Sir." Hermione rolled her eyes at Ginny's giggle then addressed the portrait again, "If you don't mind would you tell us who you are?"
"Well how rude." it turned away, "In my day it was polite to introduce one's self before asking such questions."
"My apologies my good sir." Neville did a little bow in front of the portrait and smiled congenially, "My name is Neville Longbottom of the Westmoreland Longbottoms. We have come to your lovely home quite on accident and we were wondering if you would be so good as to tell us who you are and where we are."
"Good show." the man grinned, "Now that's how it's done. Who is next?"
"I am." Luna curtsied, "Luna Lovegood of the Quibbler."
"I'm not familiar with that family where do you reside?" he asked.
"Near Ottery St. Catchpole." she added.
"Still don't know that one." he said, "Oh well on to the next."
"Ronald Weasley and my sister Ginevra." Ron spoke and indicated Ginny, "We're from Ottery St. Catchpole too."
"I'm thinking this place must either be new or renamed." the man stated, "Alright lass you want to give it another go?"
"My name is Hermione Granger of London." she stated, "Can you please tell us who you are now?"
"Yes quite right." the man grinned, "I am Jameson Potter of the Wales Potters."
"Jameson we are the only Potters." a woman's voice had them turning to find the next portrait, "No need to introduce yourselves again I heard you the first time. I am Athena Potter his poor wife. Can you imagine being stuck with that all day?" she indicated her husband's portrait.
"Hush dear you know you love me." he crooned at her.
"Are we in Wales?" Hermione asked interrupting their conversation.
"Yes dear." she peered down at them but not in a condescending way, "A long way from Hogwarts, I assume you are students?"
"Yes Madam Potter." Neville stated, "Ron, Hermione and I are fifth years while Ginny and Luna are in their fourth. Our friend Harry is probably a relative of yours he sent us."
"Splendid, simply splendid." Jameson clapped from his portrait, "I don't know Harry but we've been expecting my Great Grandson and his lovely bride."
"Who?" Ginny asked confused.
"James, he's named after me you know." Jameson smiled widely, "I can't remember his wife's name."
"Lily." Ginny supplied, "I'm sorry Sir but they were both killed about fourteen years ago. Harry is their son."
"Well then where is this Harry?" Jameson asked.
"Harry sent us." Luna explained, "But he ran through the death veil first so now we're here."
"A death veil?" Jameson gasped as Athena began to cry, "What do you mean he ran through a veil?"
"It's a long story." Ron stated, "Would you mind if we found something to eat first?"
"Oh how rude of me." Athena dabbed her eyes, "Tabitha."
"Yes Mistress." a small elf appeared, "Would you like us to provide dinner for your guests here or in the dining room."
"Here please, we need to hear their story." she instructed.
"Yes Mistress." the elf was only gone a few moments. When she returned she was not alone and three elves sat food and drinks on the tables and began to distribute plates.
"Lovely job everyone, thank you so much." Athena smiled down on the elves, "You've been alone for so long and now you have someone to take care of."
"Yes Mistress." Tabitha smiled at the praise, "Is there anything else you wish?"
"No, you all need your rest now. I think we may have these visitors for quite some time." she smiled.
"Thanks a lot." Ron said as he dove onto his food, "This is better than Hogwarts."
His sentiments were repeated all around and the smiling elves popped away. Hermione was a little offended by the elves but the Potters treated them so well she was hard pressed to be really upset.
"Are you alright dear?" Athena addressed her, "You're not eating."
"Can you answer some questions about House Elves for me?" she didn't want to offend their hosts.
"What questions?" Athena asked.
"I don't agree with slavery." Hermione said, "I don't understand why they don't want to be free."
"Didn't you pay any attention in History of Magic?" Athena asked, "You did say fifth year. You should have learned about them in first year."
"Our history class only talks about the Goblin wars." Ginny offered, "I've not learned anything about elves other than what my parents have told me. They only say they like to take care of witches and wizards."
"Goblin wars?" Athena looked perplexed then turned towards her husband with a glare, "I thought Binns was canned."
"I don't know about that." Jameson shrugged, "I was commissioned before the review panel completed their work."
"He wasn't canned he died." Ron shrugged, "He just doesn't know it yet."
"James must be their Great Grandson by many times. Binns died in the seventeen hundreds." Hermione whispered to the others as the portraits continued to talk.
"A ghost teaching history." Jameson said thoughtfully, "Well he was terrible when he was alive, did he get any better?"
"Most people consider it nap time." Neville answered between bites, "I try to stay awake but it's really difficult."
"I can't believe the Board is allowing this to go on." Athena grumbled, "Jameson you should have straightened them out before you died. Who is on the board now?"
"I'm not sure." Hermione answered, "I know Lucius Malfoy was but they don't have them listed anywhere that I can find."
"Lucius Malfoy." Jameson looked perplexed, "I've never heard of the name."
"Really?" Ron snickered, "They take such pride in saying how they've been purebloods for centuries."
"Oh, I remember them." Athena giggled, "Are they tow-headed?"
"What?" Ron asked dumbfounded.
"A tow-head is someone with white blond hair. Tow in this sense is from the German word meaning flax." Hermione explained quickly, "Yes they are."
"Them, my word our world has gone to the pigs." Jameson exclaimed.
"Do you mean gone to the dogs?" Ginny asked.
"No I meant pigs." Jameson smiled, "They are French immigrants. New money made from pig farming and probably a bit of thievery."
"Jameson you do not know that for sure." Athena scolded.
"I can believe it." Neville chuckled, "They try to make people think they are better than everyone else. But they practice dark arts in a terrorist group called death eaters."
"I think I remember James talking about a group like that." Jameson scratched his chin, "Had a leader named Moldysnort, Soldymort or Voldesnot something like that anyway."
The five teens were laughing at the man butchering the name of the bad guy. Luna was the first to control herself and comment, "I think Moldysnort is what we should call him from now on."
"Yeah, no reason to show him any respect what so ever." Ginny giggled.
"Now that you're finished eating would you tell us about this Harry that sent you?" Athena's question calmed them down immediately.
"Harry is the son of James and Lily Potter, the last of the Potters." Hermione started the story.
Each of the teens added bits and pieces of Harry's life to the story. Funny things, sad things and even the dangerous things were spoken of during this time. When they finally reached the end everyone was crying again. They were holding each other and trying to share comfort. Even Athena and Jameson had moved into one portrait to comfort one another.
"Such a brave, brave boy." Athena sniffed at the end, "A true Potter in every sense."
"This veil is a portal to where then?" Jameson asked.
"Death." Luna sighed, "You walk through but can't come back."
"Where is it?" he asked.
"In the Department of Mysteries in the ministry." Ron supplied.
"With the Unspeakables." Jameson nodded, "Athena dear do you have any idea where Rupert is?"
"His portrait?" she suggested sarcastically.
"Oh, yes good idea." Jameson jumped up from the couch he was sharing with Athena and swept out of the picture.
"Don't mind him." she waved the others off as he went walking off through the pictures on the wall, "He'll drag Rupert back and he'll tell us how the veil really works and then we can retrieve Harry."
"Really?' the group exclaimed together.
"Thank goodness." Hermione sighed and slumped in her seat.
"Tabitha?" Athena called and the elf popped up, "I forgot to ask you to prepare rooms for our guests."
"We already did that." Tabitha assured her, "When they are ready just call and we'll show them to their rooms."
"Lovely thank you so much." Athena smiled.
"May I ask you again about the elves?" Hermione asked, "We kind of got off subject."
"Yes right, many years ago, I don't know exactly how many, a wizard was walking through a dark forest." she spun her tail, "As he walked he kept his wand at the ready because it was known as a dangerous place. He was near the middle of the forest when he heard a woman scream. Moving as quietly as he could he ran toward the noise. When he arrived he found three small elves, sporting knifes, trying to kill a unicorn. What he had assumed was a woman's screams were actually that of a female unicorn."
"That's so sad." Luna sniffed.
"It is." Athena agreed, "The wizard stunned the three elves and let the unicorn go. He then woke up the elves and chastised them for trying to kill a creature so pure. They tried to kill the wizard then but he froze them and asked them why such peaceable creatures, as the elves were known to be, could commit such crimes. The elves cried and told him of demons who had captured all their kind. They would only release them if the three of them brought back the blood of a unicorn that they had killed."
"Demons?" Hermione shuddered.
"The unicorn had not left but had only hidden nearby." she explained, "So when they had finished their tale she returned to them and said, I will give you some of my blood. I cannot offer enough to give you all they expect but I can have many unicorns give a little. If this wizard will cut us and heal us we will give it. The wizard agreed to help and released the elves that had jars to hold all the blood they were expected to get."
"Oh, the demons aren't going to get what they expected." Ginny smiled knowing the bad guys would lose.
"Very true are you sure you haven't heard this?" they all shook their heads and she continued, "The unicorns came and donated blood. The wizard spent hours cutting and healing the unicorns so they wouldn't be weakened by taking too much from each one. When they were finished the wizard decided to follow the elves to make sure the demons kept their part of the bargain. What he found was not demons but humans in dark cloaks. They had all the elves in magical chains so they could not leave. There were around fifty men and women surrounding the group of elves."
"That was a surprise." Neville blinked, "I wonder why the elves called them demons."
"That is just what the wizard thought until they pulled off the hoods." she stated, "They were humans but they had all done some kind of horrible dark magic. They were deformed by the magic and were near death. By drinking the unicorn blood they could live but their existence would cursed."
"They'd have only a half-life." Hermione gasped.
"That's right." Athena nodded, "But here is the rub. Instead of killing the unicorn like they were told they got donated blood. The act of murdering the unicorn was part of the blood magic they wanted to do. Since it was donated blood it corrupted their dark ritual. Each of the people who participated in the ritual lost their soul and was transformed into the demons that the elves had named them. They were cursed to walk the earth forever trying to find a replacement soul. However every soul they take only leaves them wanting more. They tried to take the souls of the elves but the chains had fallen away during the transformation and the elves were able to chase them off with their positive spirits."
"Dementors!" Neville gasped, "They became the dementors."
"And the elves created the first patronus." Hermione realized.
"To thank the wizard for saving them they bonded to him and promised to serve him and his family forever." Athena finished.
"Well wait." Hermione stopped her, "I think that's a high price to pay for just saving their lives."
"He did not just save their lives." she corrected, "He saved their souls and the souls of all future elves. If they would have murdered that unicorn their race would have become even more hideous than the dementors. You cannot kill a unicorn without paying a very high price. You can't even harm them without a price. The wizard volunteered to pay that price. Even if the unicorn volunteered to be cut it was still an injury. The wizard paid with his magic. He became the first squib. Every time a squib is born it is payment for saving the elves. Wizards have perverted the bond we share and have disposed of squibs when they could. But the elves will never forget. They may wish to escape their cruel master but they will not be truly happy without a bonded person or family."
"Can you come teach History of magic?" Luna asked, "This is something wizards and witches should never forget lest they be doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past."
"Wait, are you teasing us or is this really how it happened?" Ron asked, "This sounds like a story book."
"It is the truth." she answered, "Sometimes the truth is scarier than a pretend story."
"There are more than fifty dementors now." Ron stated, "Do they have dementor babies or did more wizards drink unicorn blood?"
"Not babies per say." Athena grimaced, "They merge and duplicate. Two will come together and if they can stay that way for a specific amount of time then four will emerge from the mist. It is possible that others duplicated the spell and blood combination but I doubt that happened."
"Found him." Jameson called from the door, "But he's at the ministry right now offering advice on a break-in his old department is cleaning up from. I didn't tell him we have the culprits here. We can give him the whole story in the morning. Tabitha is waiting out there in the hall to take you to your rooms."
They bid goodnight to their host portraits and followed the elf up the stairs to find two bedrooms with three beds in one and two in the other. They split and went to their rooms believing they would never get to sleep. But they did fall asleep just as soon as their heads hit their pillows. It had been a very long and exhausting day.