Chapter 29 : Hermione's Moment of Truth
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The cell was cast in darkness, the only light filtering through the barred air vent high in the corner of the wall.
“Look at you. It is truly a shame. Here you are, broken and defeated, once again...”
Harry Potter sat on the ground with his back to the wall, his elbows resting on the apex of his bended knees.
…Leave me alone…
His captor stood at the door to his cell, his features hidden in the deep shadows thrown by the light of the waning moon. Forearms tucked into the opposite sleeves, the robed Magi stood arrogantly, his posture indicating that he looking down the length of his nose at him.
Mocking him. Laughing at him.
“Your power is great. I cannot give up such a gift.”
After a few moments he looked up at his captor, hatred in his eyes.
…You are not real. This...is all a dream…
“You keep saying that. What more proof do you need? This cell is your soul. And only I have the key to this door.”
…I am not going to lose my mind! Not by the likes of you, not by anybody…
His captor walked directly under the light, and removed his hood. Harry’s blood ran cold as his own visage leered down at him, a huge scar marring the left side of his face.
“I’m afraid, young Potter; that it is already too late for that.”
“Ron, take a left here.”
Ronald Weasley decelerated in the near pitch darkness, having driven for nearly a whole day. Pursing his lips, he peered through the dewy mist of the lonely, winding road. He did not respond, only turned on the indicator to make a left unto the dirt track. After ten minutes of uphill travel through a remote wood, Ron really was starting to worry.
“Are you sure this is it? Women, from my experience, are horrible at directions...” grumbled Ron, his chin low over the SUV’S steering wheel as he strained his eyes to see. Hermione was in the backseat alongside a comatose Harry Potter. She had vanished the entire left side of the vehicle’s chairs to allow his stretcher to lay flat on the carpet.
“I’m sure, Ronald, we’re almost there,” she said in trepidation, tenderly brushing away Harry’s long hair from his face. As the hours passed, she could feel the inner turmoil inside of Harry, her sensitivity to his physical condition somehow rubbing off on her. His wounds weren’t untreatable, but the mere fact that his conscious felt as if it were slipping away from him, only to be replaced by another was a frightening prospect, and the gravity of her mission was gnawing at her insides. Focusing her mind to remain calm, she directed Ron up to a charming holiday house on the crest of the soft incline. The small, picturesque building was a foreboding tower of destiny in her eyes; all the possibilities running through her mind were already giving her knots in her stomach.
The Dark Arts were a completely knew territory to her, and now she would have to use them on both of her best friends. Steeling herself, she got out of the vehicle while Ron clambered out gratefully from the driver’s seat of the car.
“Bloody hell- that felt like forever! How do they do it?” Ron grumbled, giving the vehicle a nasty look. Hermione looked up at the quaint two story cottage, the wooden lodge made out of interlocking logs a virtual fortress of solitude.
In four days, the moon would be right. That meant four days for her to complete the preparations. She said nothing, clenching her fists to prepare her for what she was about to do. She came up and stood in front of Ron, a strange expression on her face. Ron looked at her quizzically.
“Huh? What’s up?” he asked, but she simply shook her head in non compliance. “Wait…Are you ready?” he asked, a bit more serious this time. Abruptly, she hugged him then kissed him on his cheek. Ron touched the spot, shocked.
“I’m sorry, Ron, I really am,” she said softly.
“For wha-” Ron started, but did not get to finish. Hermione enraptured his eyes with hers, and she whispered a faint incantation.
Ron froze still, lost in a trance. Hermione sifted through his thoughts, then begun the Obliviation memory altering hex. Going through the day backwards in his minds perspective, she erased the entire day’s events from when they reached Durmstrang until up to this point. Spooling all of his memories into one of the three special crystal orbs she had in her possession, she pocketed it into her Hogwarts robes and disengaged the Leglimens hypnotism.
Ron gasped, rubbing his knuckles in his eyes, trying to re-orient himself from the brutal mental attack. Without warning, Hermione drew her wand, and pointed it directly at his face. It almost hurt her to do this.
Ron stood stock still, his eyes lost in space. Hermione began to rattle off instructions, her eyes burning with unshed tears as she raped Ron’s loyal nature and imposed her will upon his. In a strong voice, she commanded him to do her bidding.
“Apparate to Hogsmeade, Ronald Weasley. From there, you will go directly to the Lizard Wizard and begin to drink whatever you so desire.” She put a small pouch of Galleons in his robes. “You will continue to drink until you pass out or are thrown out. When you awaken, you will say that you and I separated ways at Durmstrang, and when you reached back you stopped off for a drink to forget the horrors of the Dementor’s influence. You overindulged yourself, and deeply regret your actions. Do you understand?” Hermione ordered, a tear escaping her left eye.
And with that, Ronald dissaparated with a crack. She took a deep breath, her eyes welling up with what she has done, and what she was about to do. Waving her wand once again, the back door to the SUV lifted up, and she levitated Harry’s stretcher out of the car and followed him into her grandparents’ long forgotten Lodge.
It was no longer about her, or about Harry. Future generations would fall if she were to fail now. The Bird God Sansa Ferri herself proclaimed Harry to be one of the two prophesized Dark Sons of Magic.
It was up to her now. As of this moment on, she decided the fate of The Boy Who Lived.
“Madame Minister, what do we tell the families of the deceased?” Percy Weasley said, his voice solemn as he scanned the long roll of parchment in his hands. On it were the names of the brave soldiers who died in Lestrange’s three way attack. It was inconceivable at first, but the acts did not lie. Almost three hundred Ministry personnel perished at Hogwarts and Beauxbatons in one night.
Considering that most of these people were the same age, basically a generation of fully fledged wizards was gone forever, and the Ministry was now crippled to a devastating level. It was too early to feel the full effect of this tragedy, but in the years to come, when orphans grew up without the guidance of their parents, families without their loved ones the pain would linger in the air like a curse. And with a whole generation gap gone missing, the whole magical community would feel the aftershock of that night. It would undoubtedly be recorded in the history books as one of the worst tragedies ever.
Sherry Diggory hands were in her hair, the dark circles under her eyes a telltale sign of the pressure she was under these past three days. Assembling an army overnight wasn’t easy, and coordinating efforts across Europe on a moment’s notice did take a toll on her. Now there was the emotional and professional burden of losing almost fifty percent of her Auror squadrons, and to top it off- Harry Potter; the Commander of her Elite unit, has been abducted by persons unknown.
“I will issue the personal letters to the families of the deceased; we owe it to the survivors to let them…”
She faltered for a moment, steeping her fingers under her chin in contemplation.
“To um...show that we care,” she finished, trying to find the words to say. “It was a mistake, I admit; to send the direct relatives of the Hogwarts students there… t-to-to protect them. I thought the emotional factor would strengthen their resolve, give them something to fight for...but this unfortunate tragedy proves that a different approach would have been wiser…”
The Minister of Magic got to her feet, taking the smoky orb that was the lone ornament on her desk. The shimmering swirl of liquid memories danced in the crystal ball sitting in the centre of her palm, its perfect spherical shape about the same size as a tennis ball.
“Only two wizards survived while defending Hogwarts grounds that night- Albus Dumbledore, and Jeremy Kingsley. Two hundred and eighty two of our men and women died that night. Warren Jacobsen and his legion were defeated at Beauxbatons, and only had time to get all the students away before the school was destroyed. Nearly twenty dead, dozens injured. On the other hand….” She stared into the Orb in the palm of her hand- “Where the enemy was at its strongest, one man was willing to sacrifice his own life to protect our troops...and the school. There wasn’t a single injury to either the students, neither to our forces.” Her eyes narrowed at the swirling mist in her crystal ball, an entire lifetime of an individual captured in her grasp.
“Potter fights for something….” She said sadly, her fingers closing around the warm object. “Something that I didn’t understand before...but now I think I do. Percy, forgive me…I-I- I think I have made a horrible mistake.” Her eyes were red now, and the weight of her actions bore heavily on her chest. “What have I done?” she said softly, a tear running down her face as she realized what she held in her hand could lead to the death of them all. “Percy, please contact Jeremy for me. I need to have a private word with him.”
There was a sharp knocking on the door, but Rodulphus Lestrange barely acknowledged it. Did they know not to disturb him while he was doing his morning crossword? He continued to concentrate on the clue to fourteen down, twenty five across.
If you had a waistline as wide around as the __________, you’d have a World of trouble
The knocking came again, a bit more urgent this time.
Rodulphus leant back, taking the morning paper with him as he sat in his study. What in the world are they talking about? He cursed.
“Lestrange!” a voice bellowed this time, accompanied by a deliberate pounding on the door.
Rodulphus straightened his reading glasses, and set back down the paper on the coffee table, not even glancing in the direction of his unwanted visitor.
After a minute of silence, Rodulphus yelped as the door was blasted open.
“How did you do it?”
“Do what, may I ask?” Rodulphus asked kindly, looking up at his unwelcome guest.
“Give them purpose. Give them magic- what the hell do you think I’m talking about?”
“Oh, the Inferi, is it?” He grinned. “Well...it’s a bit complicated actually, and why should I tell you? We’re enemies, aren’t we?” Rodulphus acknowledged, taking a sip of his morning tea. He raised an eyebrow in curiosity. “My guards?”
“Are enraptured by my Siren’s voice at this very moment.”
“Oh? A Siren? And what about the manor’s protection?” Rodulphus probed, intrigued.
“My Elemental supercharged all the wards here with lightning, blowing them all out like that-” he snapped his fingers. “Do not worry; none of your staff are dead, just merely overwhelmed by my followers. But enough of that, I am here, and that is all that matters.” The visitor fingered the ancient books of magic on the wall to wall shelving with a sense of almost sensual familiarity.
“Not even Voldemort himself could give a free will to the dead, far less empowering them with magic. But you, you have done so and restored the memories of their previous life- almost as if they were resurrected from the fires of hell itself. You mentioned your family hereditary charm putting them under your control, but giving them magic?! Where did you learn this knowledge?”
“Well, I fiddled here, doodled there...put together a potion and came up with a notion!” Rodulphus said casually, his hand relaxed deceptively on his wand. As he enclosed it in his fingers, the air grew heavy, his mannerism changed, and his voice was as serious as ever. “You have done well, I must say. It is not everyday that someone can enter my house and confront me like this. But first, as we’re in the process of giving information- enlightened me. I am a scholar, and information is my fetish. Who disenchanted our Blood wards?”
“Oh, your Azkaban friend, Rechaux Lestat- he owes me a favour here and there...” the other man said smugly. “Blood magic is their specialty you know.”
“The vampire?” Lestrange tugged on his trimmed beard thoughtfully. “I heard a whole clan was wiped out a few months back- you didn’t have anything to do with that, did you?” Rodulphus queried innocently.
“I might have.”
“So, straight to the point. Are you here to kill me?” Rodulphus continued; his voice neutrally monotone.
“Hmmm. By your words, you want something from me- or else we won’t be having this conversation, would we?” Rodulphus mused, laying his wand down carefully, never losing eye contact. “I know your little secret, Malfoy…or should I say ‘Tom’?”
Draco Malfoy smiled knowingly, his brow buried in the dark shadows of his hood.
“I thought you might have noticed a few similarities, but that’s all there is- just a few peculiar traits that I have now grown attuned to. Take this for instance-” He pulled out the broken remains of two wands, the shimmering orange core identical in both. “It has occurred to me that I do like trinkets, memorable ones that are priceless in both monetary- and historical value, such as these. A true prize, sister wands created generations apart, both possessed by the two strongest magi of our times…” Draco smiled. He had bigger plans than just keeping them as souvenirs. But that would have to wait. “And contrary to your belief, I am not Tom Riddle’s puppet. You may call me Lord Malfoy, and all I want is the secret to your mass resurrection curse.”
Rodulphus sat up a bit straighter in his cushy armchair, his eyebrows rising.
“Oh, and why should I give you that, Lord Malfoy,” Lestrange said smugly, a slight smile at the new moniker.
“Let’s put it this way. If we allow him to continue, we’re all dead men. Oh- while we’re on that, tell Ash not to send his wannabe elementals to challenge Potter, their lives may be worthless, but it would be a tragic waste of exceptional magical talent… ”
“Hmmm…yes, it does seem that Potter has thwarted all attempts on his life without much trouble…” Rodulphus nodded. “But I’m afraid Logan is pretty stubborn about it and is basically just waiting for an opportunity to strike, so who knows? They may strike gold and actually -”
“No,” Draco interrupted. “He cannot be killed by the conventional methods. I have seen Potter’s true potential, and he is guarded by powerful forces that you, I , and probably no one else can challenge by ourselves. For the time being, I rather those wizards remain alive, we may have use for them in the future,” Draco said easily.
“Is that so? ‘Powerful forces’? ” Lestrange said in mild curiosity.
“If you did not know, all of your men, to the very last one, are dead. To my knowledge, both the patron gods of Gryffindor and Slytherin have sworn loyalty to the blood that runs in his veins. Think you can match that?”
“I love a challenge,” Rodulphus said confidently, sipping on his mug.
“Very well. Let it be known- I will be the one who finally kills him, not you, nor anyone else,” Draco said calmly.
“You think so?” Rodulphus countered.
“Yes, but for now, there is much work to be done.” Draco stopped his perusal of the shelves, his back facing Lestrange as he spoke his ultimatum. “Are you with me, or against me?”
Rodulphus took a liking to Malfoy immediately on first encounter. He decided on the spot that he found a good ally.
“You are indeed perceptive beyond your years. Come, come, young grasshopper, it is time to show you the ropes.”
She had to plan this carefully. It had taken her all night and almost the entire following day to get Harry to a state where her healing magic would help his body start the recuperation process, then yesterday she spent the whole afternoon making the lodge unplottable.
Hermione Granger was disguised as an old crone in hag’s rags as she made her purchases in Knockturn alley. She trudged her way down the dark, cramped street with back hunched, a dirty grey veil blocking off her young features. With a large parcel hanging from her left elbow she concentrated on keeping up the façade before someone realized that this hag was not really what she appeared to be. Her shopping was almost complete, all she had to do know was get the cauldron, then she would apparate back to the pathway and finally make the ten minute walk up the hill to the house.
Finding the place she was looking for, she pushed open the door to Avery’s and Avery’s Iron Forge.
“Welcome. You here to buy?” a middle-aged woman grunted, her eyes glued to a magazine on the counter.
“Four foot cauldron, five across- iron granite with the diamond dust rim, Plea-” Hermione caught herself, almost letting that one piece of manners slip. She learned a while back manners got you nowhere in Knockturn alley.
“Only a few uses for that make,” the woman grumbled. “What’s an old hag like you doing with such a…carnal...cauldron?” she asked suggestively.
“Look here young lady...” Hermione croaked as she feebly drew her wand between trembling fingers. “Don’t make me…”
“That’ll be thirty four galleons and six sickles,” Mrs. Avery said nastily, brushing off the threat. Hermione withdrew her wand and offered her a small pouch with the fee, her hand trembling as she laid it on the counter.
“Rude of you to be minding other’s business. I’ll be leaving now,” she said as she pivoted slowly, her feet shuffling as she headed towards the cauldron that magically appeared by the door.
“Wait!” Mrs. Avery ordered, her tone threatening. Hermione froze, ready to stun her senseless if she suspected her. “You gave me three galleons extra, here you are, you sly old vixen!” She tossed the small pouch and Hermione’s hand automatically snatched it out of midair. Just as she thought she had given herself away with that sharp movement, there was a crude laugh behind the counter. “I know a pro when I see one, always eager to grab money-” she cackled. “Enjoy your cauldron, make his toes curl!” she chuckled, and Hermione made no mistake and dragged the cauldron out the door and disapparated alongside it with a crack.
At the remote lodge, Harry lay completely still, his body bandaged and wrapped with bone mending linen. Two days had passed since he was brought here, and he was of yet oblivious to his environment. Little did he know, very powerful dark magic was being crafted right above his head on the floor above.
Hermione was surrounded by text, flasks, parchments and various potion apparatus. The huge cauldron bubbled randomly as she prepared Siren’s Serenade, a potion whose scent mimics the powerful entrapment that their voices could create. A heady scent swam around her, but the illegal potion had no effect on women. However, there was a rite she must do before Harry was fully awake.
The requirements for this spell to work needed a bit more, personal influence to ensure success. What al the texts implied, is that for Siren’s curse to work, the female must be in ‘heat’. Henceforth, she also had to do research on that aspect. And for that, she needed blood from the male to create a potion that would allow her pheromones to achieve a level that could literally (if used inappropriately) cause men to actually jump her in the middle of the street.
She made her way out of the makeshift potions lab and went down the steps. Taking a small, sharp knife, she made a small cut on Harry’s chest, and used her wand to magically put the spilled blood into a tiny flask. Checking the progress on his injuries, she inspected the bone mending linen and all the other bandages. She frowned, even by her standards, these injuries were healing much faster than she expected. Glancing back at his chest, she was alarmed to notice that the cut had completely healed and only a faint mark showed that his skin was ever broken.
She had to hurry. He will be awake soon. The potions had to be finished before that happened.
Back in the cell, Harry’s face grew more haggard as he felt the imposing presence in his tiny cage closing down on him. His captor stooped low on his hunches and stared at Harry, his eyes hardening at what he saw before him.
“A long time ago, magic users were not afraid to proclaim and demonstrate their abilities far and wide, which lead to envy and jealousy, and that escalated into the bloodshed of innocent and guilty alike. The thrill of power is very intoxicating.
“When I was around your age, I sought vengeance against the person who murdered my father, the wise and powerful Godric Gryffindor.
“Our lives are very closely intertwined, you and I. Both of us, at a young age, had to accomplish what hardened warriors twice our age could not.
“Once, there lived a man who wielded the power to change the realm of magic. Over the span of many generations, there will always be a special individual who has that power, that inner drive, that spirit. Before my death, I found a way to keep my essence in that weapon. And for the past five years, I have helped you along the way. You, my good friend, have done great deeds.”
There was a moment’s silence as his captor stood up, turning his back to Harry.
"Terrible deeds, but great deeds none the less. Sounds familiar, does it Potter?” Another chuckle. “Once again, the powers that be- have, and will always, cast judgment on those they fear to be the strongest. “
As he turned the key in the lock to make his exit, he paused.
“It is apparent that there is someone even more powerful than you and I combined. I cannot defeat her. You will get your wish.”
Harry’s face looked up, his eyes red with fatigue.
“I have not much longer for this world. However, it will not be without a price.”
… A price? Am I going to die? …
“No. You will be very much alive. However, the window to your soul will be forever closed, until those who wish to view it are ready to face the consequences.”
…What? What are you trying to tell me?
“When you awaken, you will know of what I speak. But little do they know, like me, you will not bow before any heavenly host, neither cower before the devils of hell.
"Soon, you will be re-incarnated from the ashes, stronger, even more determined, your eyes will ablaze with a power that even I could not have imagined possible. It is inevitable.
"After a restless slumber, the Dark Lord will rise again.”
And with that, his captor opened the door, and was gone.
A heady scent wafted into nose as once again, that uncomfortable feeling of reawakening out of a coma brought his senses online. His eyes opened wearily, the room swimming in his vision. He couldn’t move his arms or legs, and as he felt his sense of touch coming back to him, he realized he was flat on his back on a very bare mattress.
Craning his neck to look down at his feet, his eyes strained to focus at the beautiful apparition that stood before his eyes.
A young woman with long, brown hair was standing before him, wearing nothing but a transparent night gown. That heady scent went straight to his brain, and he could do nothing but gape as a sense of delirium washed over him. From the way she was staring at him, she was expecting him to wake up soon. With a graceful serenity, she lighted a candle at the base of her feet, then moved to his left, lighting another, then further up, lighting another, completing the sequence of five candles enclosing a circle ten feet in diameter.
When all were lighted, the young woman spoke an incantation, and all light from the windows were blocked out, leaving only the light from the five candles to cast flickering shadows on the wooden walls.
Harry tried to move, but his arms and legs were spread eagle, chains binding him down at his wrists and ankles.
“W-wha-“ he gurgled in protest, but soon realized that his brain wasn’t functioning well enough to complete the necessary mouth and tongue movements to speak.
“Shhh…” the woman said softly, and knelt down at his feet. Harry’s eyes followed her progress as she crawled in between his legs. With her delicate hands, she caressed him, her voice soft as she incanted powerful magic, driving her subject into a sexual stupor. Harry’s breath caught in the back of his throat, the blood in his veins excited by this glorious sensation.
Enraptured in pleasure, his head lolled back, his jaw falling open as he stared up at the ceiling. His body began to tremble as waves of sensation racked through him. The woman’s hands ran up his chest, her short nails digging hard into his skin as her brown hair danced against his lower abdomen. When Harry thought that he could take no more, she stopped, journeying up his body with soft kisses up the centre of his stomach, kissing up to the base of his neck as she crawled up the length of his body. Her breath was warm against his exposed skin, her lips supple and delicate on his scarred body.
The young woman poised over him, her legs smooth and unblmeished as she made her final incantation. In a slow, deliberate motion she straddled him, biting her bottom lip as the powerful spell began to take over. Harry gasped in pleasure as she slowly began to rock back and forth, her pelvis moving to the age old rhythm of sensual lovemaking. Her palms were flat against his chest, her beautiful face damp with perspiration as she grunted softly, her body working its way into a mode where she herself no longer had to think about what she was doing. Sensations and the feel of him inside her was all that she needed, and all that she had, she was ready to give it to him.
Harry’s arms tensed against the chains, his desperation to touch her, to run his hands over her body so strong that it was torture to be kept in bondage while this goddess did to him whatever her heart desired. The room was swimming again, and with each tensing of muscles, with each moan of pleasure, he could do nothing but drown in this carnal delirium.
Her smell, the way she moved, the way her smooth skin rubbed against him drowned any possibility of coherent thought, excepting the fact that Solidus had lied, for he was dead, and this was heaven.
Because here he was, a mere mortal, being dominated by what had to be an Angel.
With her every move, he could feel it building, something was happening along with his climax. Strength flooded back to him, and Solidus roared alive in defiance. His eyes closed, and when they reopened, the shone brightly with power. The woman screamed in shock, but she did not stop, she just closed her eyes and began to go faster, riding the up the waves of her own climbing release.
She just prayed that Harry could protect her until it was finished. Her back arched as she rode him faster, her hips moving furiously now as she dug her nails in his skin. Her pleasure turned into panic as she heard the snapping of chains on the right and left of her, her body beginning to infuse with Harry’s dangerous magic. Her eyes stared into his face, Harry’s mouth bared in a wide grin.
“Harry?” she said uncertainly, even though she dare not stop. The metal clamps on his ankles burst open and quick as lightning her possessed lover had her on her back, one of his hands taking both of her wrists captive and holding it high over her head. With the other, he covered her mouth, blocking off any attempt to scream.
The young woman 's face contorted as he began to ravish her once again, her soft cries turning into moans of pleasure.
“My god, you really are beautiful…” Harry said darkly as his forehead came in contact with her own, his body tensing as his orgasm climaxed. “ I will warn you, I will not go quietly. I have my price- as do we all. Your soft thighs and angelic eyes have done what legions could not. Be proud- my beautiful maiden, you have defeated me!”
And with that, Harry screamed, and everything went dark.
“Madame Minister, are you sure about this?” Jeremy Kingsley asked, his face furrowed in concern. “Is there no other way?”
“My thirst for vengeance has made me blind. I must now make a hard decision, one that I am sure, could prevent what my Divination specialists foresee. “
“But- Sherry, this is going a bit – extreme!” Jeremy countered.
“Drastic measures are necessary. Trust me on this. I have sifted through the boy’s memories, the ones I told you to modify. His life was full of darkness. The only thing that has kept him sane was the love of his friends, and the guidance of his teachers. In short, Hogwarts was the only thing he has lived for- that is why he fights so hard, that is why a campaign I thought may take my entire term is almost completed in only a year. His efforts to protect the school, its students- that’s what made him such a gifted magi. He loves that place, and will die trying to protect them.
“It was foolish of me to try and interfere with that, to make him something that he isn’t. Now, all that remains in his memories is of violence, and death. And from the feedback I’m getting, his popularity, or should I say, budding notoriety is quite disturbing. Rumours of him rising to power- just by the unofficial number of our military forces wishing to follow directly under his command is now becoming a direct threat to the British Ministry of Magic.
“It is my job, as Minister of Magic, to solve problems that arise, and also to prevent these same problems from arising. Tom Marvolo Riddle nearly destroyed our way of life by simply using a select group of followers to spread his teachings and philosophy, until it began to run like wildfire. While the use of the Imperius curse and violence was more his way of obtaining support- the fact of the matter is, Potter is too volatile to be left in such a position where our Aurors will follow his command unflinchingly. Now that we have tried to upset that fragile balance by altering his memories, I don’t know what to expect.
“In addition to that; the fact that he’s been A.W.O.L. for almost a month is not a good sign. We need to put him under military detention, and have a prognosis done on his mental condition. If he refuses, you are to take him in by force.”
Jeremy Kingsley’s mouth tightened. “Aye, Madame Minister…” he saluted, and turned to leave.
“Admiral…use any means necessary. Code Red mission status,” Sherry said softly. Jeremy paused, and nodded as he exited.
Under general clause 0234: Code Red. If negotiations fail, Lethal force is permitted and is advisable in the apprehension of any wizard/witch with military background or experience.
Fate had shown her ugly side to that boy at every turn. His nightmares had come to pass, and it was now too late. It had indeed turned out for the worst. Sometimes, Jeremy Kingsley wished he could throttle that woman.
A month had passed, and Harry was bedridden with severe fever and delusion. Hermione was in and out of Hogsmeade, making quick apparition visits to store owners after the reply owl stated that her orders was ready. Harry had passed out after their intense lovemaking, and had not woken since. She was there at his side all day and night, bathing him, taking care of him, using a sleep –repelling draught to ride out the nights when his temperature had sky rocketed. The side effects of using this type of exorcism were never documented, but she was sure that the worst of it was over. She had two secret meetings with Albus Dumbledore to give him updates, and his confidence in her ability was the only thing that was keeping her from panicking.
“Hullo Miss Granger,” the shopkeeper at Healers’ Haven welcomed her as she stepped inside. “Came to collect?”
“Yes. Thank you Mr Hibbert.”
“I hope you’re doing well with your internship,” he said jovially as he gave her the packages she ordered.
“Yes- umm,” she reddened slightly. “Very good, good experience, y’know, great opportunity for me,” she smiled shakily. Her ‘internship’ was beginning to worry her though. She paid for the items, and shoved those negative notions away.
He’ll awake anytime now, she knew it. Sighing to herself, she left the shop and apparated back to the track. As she walked up to the door and was about to open it, two wizards ported to directly on either side of her, both wearing scarves that covered their entire mouth and chin, tall pointed hats with large brims pulled low over their eyes. Before she got a chance to scream, a hand was clamped over her mouth and while the other disarmed her with silent efficiency.
“That was easy,” the wizard on her left said arrogantly as he pocketed her wand. “I hope you’re doing well with your internship,” he mocked, using Mr. Hibbert’s squeaky voice. “That's a portkey." he pointed at the package. "You won’t recognize the Imperius curse if it kicked you in the arse, Miss Granger.”
“Cut it out,” said the Obliviator who held her captive. “Don’t worry. We won’t hurt you. Is he inside? Nod or shake your head.”
Hermione shook her head immediately.
“Well, your lying skills aren’t that good either. Whoever was treating his injuries had to buy items from somewhere. Hmph. Just a matter of time until we found out who. Not surprised actually. “
“Gentlemen, I advise that you let her go, right now,” a voice said from behind them. All three of them froze for a second, then turned slowly, the Obliviators' hands held high in the air. Harry Potter was standing behind them, clad in a simple black robe, the hood pulled back on his shoulders. Hermione took the opportunity and immediately stepped out the way. She frowned at Harry's face. Wait- what was he doing?
“What do you want with me?” Harry said calmly. It took them a second to fully realize that Harry was talking to them, but his eyes were closed.
“Commander, we’re here to bring you in. You can come quietly, or we can use force,” one of the men said cautiously, dropping his hands slowly. The other smirked, thinking that this was some new trick. Harry tilted his head, as if contemplating something out of the ordinary, then smiled.
“I refuse. If that will be all?” he said cordially, his smile vanishing.
“Refuse? W-we ..you’re surrounded! There are ten-no, t-twenty of us in the surrounding bushes!“ the other man countered, his bravado vanishing in an instant.
“Oh? Actually it was five, and they’re in no condition to surround anybody, far less surround me. I have cast an anti disapparation ward since I felt your presence from lower down the hill. Right now, you are presently my captives. I have a couple of questions to ask you two,” Harry smiled sardonically, his eyes still closed. “You can either answer them, or-" (he mimicked the other's tone) "- I can use force.”
It was with those words that Jansen Rockwell and Lewis Zabini began to panic, their eyes darting from left to right.
“Who ordered this?” Harry demanded. "Who wants me killed?"
“Our ...o-orders..came directly, from the Minister herself... sir!” Jansen said, his voice trembling.
“Really? She sends seven men to take me? I thought I warranted a few more than that, don’t I?” Harry said casually, his tone deadly soft.
“Sir- no, I mean Yessir!” Jansen agreed, his teammate nodding vigorously.
“I see. Now, the real question is... do I let you two live, or should I just be rid of you two right here, right now?”
“Sir, it was orders! We had no choice! Please, I beg you-“ Lewis fell to his knees, the front of his robes turning dark with what must be urine. Harry sniffed noticeably.
“One soils himself, and the other wets himself. Please take your rubbish,” Harry nodded to the woods behind him. “If by the time I escort this young lady inside and I still sense you two nearby, I will find you. Good afternoon, gentlemen. “
Harry turned his back on them and took Hermione by her upper arm. “Come with me,” He opened the door and ushered her inside. He closed the door behind them and stood in the centre of the room. Hermione was beyond puzzled. The fact that he still had his eyes closed was terrifying her.
“Harry-?” she began. “What happened to your eyes? Are you okay?” He raised his hand, cutting her off.
“First and foremost, are you the same woman from before? If you are, then please tell me your name, I need to be sure of something.”
“My name, Harry, what? You – it’s me! Hermione?”
“Hermione? ‘Hermione’ who?” Harry enquired, his mind racing as he tried desperately to make a connection in his memories.
“Granger! What other Hermione do you know?” she said in frustration. Harry turned away from her, rubbing his eyes with his thumb and forefinger, cursing softly under his breath.
“To answer your previous question, no I am not blind, but neither can I see. I can sense a small animal directly outside this room, can you see it?”
Hermione nodded, really not believing what she was hearing. “Y-yes I see it. Oh Harry, I’m so sorry…” she began, coming up to him to hold him close, but he muttered a spell softly, and she was gently levitated to the far end of the room.
“Do not come any closer, Hermione Granger.” Harry turned completely away from her and faced towards the window. “Look closely.”
After a few seconds, he finally opened his eyes. Hermione felt a dark magic ringing in her ears, then suddenly felt very weak. The songbird took off from the branch, desperately trying to escape his piercing gaze. Hermione’s eyes widened as the tiny bird’s wings begin to fail, and then stop flapping completely. The bird nosedived, dead before it hit the ground. Harry peered down at the poor animal, his face devoid of any emotion. Hermione gasped in shock, taking a few steps back as she realized what had just transpired before her very eyes. Closing his eyes once more, Harry let the sun warm his face as he leant on the window sill, his thoughts racing to only a few hours before.
“As of this morning, I have lost the use of my conventional vision. It makes sense now: how could he create a Horcrux or even think about possessing me if he had no control over magic? The books were wrong. Solidus Gryffindor was never a squib, he was a powerful dark magi who simply could not or did not use conventional magic. Hermione Granger, this was the price for my freedom. “
Hermione’s heart dropped into her chest as she fully understood what was happening. She couldn’t believe it. What have I done?
“I can only ‘see’ when my eyes are opened, but at a terrible cost.” Harry crouched near the mattress, using his hands to probe where his uniform lay in a neat folded pile. “Where is it, oh fuck…” he cursed as he began to search for the blindfold that was near the wall. “Accio !” he said in frustration, and it flew obediently into his hand. Tying the black material around his eyes, he began to dress, putting on his Ministry battle fatigues and then donning the cloak of the Order of the Phoenix over that.
“It’s very hard to keep my eyes closed, it’s unnatural- the muscles tire easily,” he smiled sadly in her direction. “From the other men's dying words, it is clear that someone has sabotaged my memories, leaving only blurred images of the happy moments in my life. Not only that, but robbing me of the few memories I was holding desperately unto – my parents, Sirius… my friends…”
“Now, I only remember my path in becoming the Commander of the S.T.A.R. Elite…“ he murmured softly, securing the gold armband on his left bicep.
“All the battles, all the dark wizards I have murdered, they are my only company now. I am sure you were once someone special to me, but I can’t even remember what you look like, or how I know you in the first place. For that transgression alone, I will have my revenge. Dumbledore has hidden something that belonged to me. I want it back. "
Harry stepped outside, and raised both hands into the air, his palms ready to accept blessings from the sky.
"Come to me, my faithful servant. Rise from your imprisonment, and be at my side once again."
The clouds overhead darkened, and Harry Potter began whispering incantations, creating the very air around him to swirl with magic. There was the sound of a missile falling, and Harry turned his face upwards to the sky as a projectile sped towards him at incredible speed. Without hesitation, Harry snatched it out of the air, the Sword of Gryffindor safe and secure in his palm. With a contented smile on his face, he tucked it into his belt.
"I’m sorry….I have to go. Goodbye, Hermione.”
“Wait! No! I can help you! Where are you going?” Hermione screamed.
“I am going to take back what is rightfully mine. Do not interfere,” he said simply, and then he closed the door behind him. By the time Hermione raced after him, he was gone.
She couldn’t believe it.
Hermione fell faint and unsteadily lowered herself unto the bare, wooden floor. Tears began to run down her face as she realized the fate of her hero, the wizard once known as The Boy Who Lived. The sunlight glinted off a shiny object near the centre of the room, catching her attention. Getting up to retrieve it, she picked up Harry's Medallion of the Order. There was a huge metal scrape running through the centre, defacing the proud Phoenix that was etched into the magical object.
It was a damning symbol of her failure. She couldn't do it. The Prophecy had indeed come to pass, and she was powerless to stop him. Trying to put things into perspective, she quickly decided what she must do next. It was imperative that she get back to Hogwarts and warn everybody.
Harry was now truly lost to them. It was now up to the Order to stop him, before it was too late.
Author’s Note: Don't miss the gripping conlcusion to LEGACIES: The Grim ! Special Nedved chapter! Coming up next-
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