Chapter 26 : Chapter 26: Vanquish the Demons
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“We need to go and get Nott. Right now. We can’t let her sacrifice be for nothing.” Tonks’ voice was husky but stern.
“You are right.” Kingsley said as he rose. “Hermione, have you found a way to cleanse the sword?”
“Yes. When you bring it back, you need to bring it down to the Department of Mysteries and I will be able to remove his spirit. We have something there that will destroy the evil as effectively as the bonding did but it is meant for evil objects.” She told him.
“What is it?” Harry asked.
“You should know, Harry. You have used it.” Hermione replied. “You were the reason that the Department of Mysteries has this particular cure.”
“I am?” Harry said in bewilderment.
“How come you couldn’t use it on Harry and Ginny then?” Ron asked her.
“You can’t use it on humans.” Ginny whispered and then cleared her throat. “I think she means Basilisk venom.”
“Exactly. We will use the venom to destroy the possession.” Hermione said. “Now, go get it and bring it down to me when you have it. I’ll be waiting for you.”
“Ginny, why don’t you go down and wait with Hermione.” Harry said into her ear. “You shouldn’t be Apparating and…” He swallowed hard. “I would feel better just knowing that you are safe and not any where near that sword in case one of Nott’s followers still thinks that killing you with the sword will bring them more power.”
She wanted to protest. She wanted to tell him that she should be there to get the sword but two Healers had entered the room to collect Tracey’s body. She watched them put her on a stretcher and float her from the room. That woman had given her life for her child. She had put up with rape, abuse and having to do horrendous things just so that her child would have a chance to live. Ginny placed a hand protectively over her stomach. Her baby deserved a mother that would be that careful and caring as well. “All right. I’ll go with Hermione.”
He seemed startled that she had so readily agreed but he simply kissed her softly. “I’ll see you soon.” He and the other Aurors left.
Hermione was studying her from her seat at the table. “Do you think you’re pregnant?”
Ginny nodded. “I had a dream and this small boy said I was having a little girl.” She felt a smile tug at her lips.
Hermione beamed at her. “I’m so happy for you two! I can see that you are excited.”
“I am.” Ginny agreed and she stood slowly. “I suppose we should head down to the Department of Mysteries.”
“Yes. I will need to set up for it.” She glanced sideways at Ginny. “I am surprised that you did not protest more about going with them.”
“I need to stop playing the hero right now.” Ginny replied simply.
Hermione gave a short laugh. “It is hard to let others try worry over you but I agree, you need to let them go after that sword. You can go back to being on active duty after you have given birth.”
“It is going to take a bit of adjustment on my part.” Ginny agreed. “Are you sure that Tom’s spirit won’t leave the sword and try to possess something else?”
Hermione peered around as she pushed the button for the lift. Ginny looked as well and saw that no one was about. “Basilisk venom is the most toxic venom that can be stored. We have been doing experiments with it over the last year since the department acquired some. His spirit will be destroyed, just as he was with the diary. Its toxic effect is too potent.”
The lift came and both women stepped in and Ginny pushed the button for level nine. “Where did you get it from?”
Hermione let out a snort. “I’m not really supposed to talk about this but it isn’t like you couldn’t find out. Your brother was the one to alert us that he and several of his friends had caught one.”
Her mind jumped immediately to Charlie. He and his wife were dragon keepers, although Lark, Charlie’s wife, was currently taking a break while she was pregnant. “How did Charlie catch a basilisk? You have to be a Parselmouth for that to even be attempted?”
Hermione turned slowly to face Ginny. “Charlie didn’t catch it! It was Fred, Lee Jordan and Dennis Creevey. They were out searching for a Manticore in Greece. Someone had tipped them off that they might find one and instead they found a five-foot long basilisk. It’s lucky none of them were killed even if the snake was just an infant.”
“How did they catch it?” Ginny asked in awe. She had never heard of anyone successfully taking on the king of snakes, besides from Harry, of course.
“Ah well… that would be where Dennis Creevey came in.” Hermione began to giggle. “They were using a common Muggle trap to catch the Manticore. It was a dug out pit with a net in the bottom so that it would be trapped when they pulled it out. The trap was set, they caught an animal but instead of a Manticore at the bottom of the pit, they found the basilisk. It was luck that the serpent was still trying to eat the bait that they had left or they would be dead from its stare.”
Ginny laughed but inside she felt sick. She could not believe that her brother would be so stupid but then again, it was Fred so she could see him taking that kind of chance. “So Fred just willingly told you all of this?”
“Not really.” Hermione answered casually as the lift came to a rest and they walked out together. “They turned it over to us, rather than calling Harry to help them get it out of the hole, so we didn’t press charges. We considered erasing their memories but decided that since they could be useful in the future, we left them alone. Fred told me what happened off the record, since I am his sister-in-law. He made me swear not to tell your Mum, though. Actually I had to promise not to tell Piper either.”
Ginny let out a snort of laughter. Fred’s wife, Piper, was nearly as fierce as the Weasley matriarch. She rather enjoyed all of her new sisters and she was looking forward to actually building a relationship with them now that she was no longer under Tom’s thumb. They moved towards the Department of Mysteries and walked through the first door and into the circular room. “Where to?” Ginny asked quietly. She always got a hollow feeling in the pit of her stomach. Even years later, she still missed Sirius.
Ginny glanced over towards Hermione to see that she still held the plain, black door. “We want the Venom Room.” With that she shut the door and the room spun for several seconds. When it stopped, Hermione pushed through the door that had stopped right in front of them. “Here we are.”
“Well, that was easy.” Ginny muttered and gazed around it awe as the room came into view. There were vials of liquid on shelves all around the room, plus a large, metal box at one end of the room. “Please don’t tell me that the baby basilisk is in that box.”
Hermione looked over at it before turning back to Ginny. “I won’t tell you, then.”
Ginny groaned. “How did you get the venom from the snake, anyway?”
Hermione studied her for a long moment. “I could tell you, but then I’d have to Obliviate you.”
Ginny shook her head. “Never mind, I probably don’t want to know anyway since it’s likely you made Harry help you get it and then wiped his memory.” When Hermione didn’t respond, Ginny let out an exasperated cry. “Hermione! Please tell me you didn’t use my husband for this!”
“Fine, I won’t tell you.” She answered simply. She walked over and got down a flask of green liquid before moving over to a long, metal tray. “I got this ready yesterday.” She indicated the tray. “We’ll simply place the sword in here and it will destroy him. Actually, it could destroy the sword as well but I don’t imagine that it would since it was already used to kill a basilisk without any ill effect.”
The door opened and Mr. Croaker walked in, followed by Harry, Ron, Tonks and Kingsley. Harry had the sword, which he immediately took over to Hermione. “Here. Clean it fast.” His voice was hoarse. “I can feel the evil in it.” He then moved over to embrace Ginny, kissing the top of her head.
Hermione placed the sword into the metal tray before taking the green liquid and pouring it all over the sword. She moved off quickly and they watched as a green mist came off of the sword before evaporating quickly with a small hiss. Harry jumped in Ginny’s arm. “That was in Parseltongue.” He told her and everyone turned to stare at him. He blushed slightly. “It was just one word.” Harry informed them defensively.
“What was it?” Mr. Croaker questioned.
He hissed out a word and then cleared his throat. “Sorry, that is just strange to switch between them. The voice said, ‘NO’.” Harry said and then he jumped again as another hiss filled the room. He spun to face the box before turning to glare accusingly at Hermione. “Why is there a snake in there that said, ‘It’s nice to hear your voice again, master’?”
Hermione blushed slightly and only shrugged.
“So is the sword cleansed then?” Kingsley asked, distracting them from the previous conversation.
Croaker stepped forward and got out his wand. He waved it over the sword and muttered something that Ginny could not make out. Instantly the green venom was removed and he lifted the sword from the tray. He carried it over to Harry and gave it to him. “What do you think, Mr. Potter?”
Harry studied the sword for several moments. “I don’t feel anything.”
“Well, then I believe that belonged to you.” Croaker said mildly. “We would, of course, like to study it but as the heir of Gryffindor, it is your decision.”
Harry took a deep breath before handing it back to him. “Just give it back when you are done.”
“Thank you.” Mr. Croaker winked at him.
Kingsley cleared his throat. “We need to deal with Malfoy.”
“You also need to tell me how retrieving it went.” Ginny looked pointedly up at Harry.
“Uh...” He blushed and turned his head.
Ron answered for him. “It was simple. We walked in, found him alone in the house and dead. He was lying on the floor with the sword lying next to him. Harry picked up the sword and we Apparated back here. Tracey was able to kill him through their bond.”
“I still can’t believe she would do that.” Tonks muttered mulishly. “We could have gotten him.”
“She would still have been tied to him for the rest of her life.” Hermione replied. “She would have had to stay in Azkaban because they could never live apart.”
Ginny’s eyes widened. “She… she… but that’s horrible!”
“No.” Kingsley interjected. “He would have been pushed through the Death Veil for his crimes.”
Hermione nodded solemnly. “Then she would have died shortly after.”
“Her time would have been limited.” Croaker answered. “She could have lived for a little while but part of her soul would have died so she could not last long without him. The longest a bond mate has ever lived past the death of their spouse was a year.”
Hermione sighed heavily and rubbed a hand over her suddenly tired eyes. “I’ve told you before, this is why bonding is no longer done for wizards and witches. It is not the best of situations but I could not think of anything else that would save you.” A small smile pulled at her lips. “It wasn’t like I thought you and Harry would ever split anyway. I could trust that you two would stay together forever and if one of you were to die in combat, well you are partners. Where one of you goes, the other follows.”
“So she had to die?” Harry asked and his voice was husky.
Hermione nodded slowly. “It wasn’t really a life for Tracey anyway. She didn’t love Nott and he didn’t care about her. He used her and manipulated her for years. I am sure that her only thought was making sure that her son was safe before taking Nott out. I am sure she was glad to hear that she had the power to kill him by simply leaving him.” She ran a hand over her small stomach. “It must have been the first thing she had control over in years. This way she could be sure that he couldn’t harm anyone again and she was finally free.”
“We still could have gotten him.” Ron reiterated. “She might have had some more time with her son.”
“Not if she had to stay with him in Azkaban.” Croaker reminded him.
Ron’s face paled and then went instantly red. He rounded on Harry. “You’d better not do anything to my sister!”
“RON!” Ginny and Hermione yelled together, both outraged at his behavior.
Harry didn’t move or retreat; his eyes never strayed from Ron’s. “I won’t, Ron. I promise.”
“Good.” Ron growled. “I may not be able to threaten your life but my brothers and I can beat the shite out of you if you mess up.”
Harry let out a snort and nodded. Ginny left his arms and moved over to her brother. “You can be an prat, Ron. Did you know that?”
He gave her a hug and kissed her temple. “It is only because I love you.”
“You two are just…” Hermione sniffed and Ginny giggled.
“It’s probably best not to finish that.” Ginny turned towards Harry who was not paying any attention to them but instead staring at the box. She realized that he was hissing quietly. “Harry?” She grabbed his sleeve to catch his attention.
“What?” He started and turned to her. “Sorry, Gin I was just talking to the basilisk in that box. He says that he knows me and that I have milked him for his venom.” Harry raised an eyebrow as he looked over at Hermione. “You’ve been tattled on.”
“So Malfoy is back in Azkaban, then?” Ginny asked Kingsley who had just returned with Dawlish and Tonks.
“Yes. He is there and since the sword was cleansed the ordeal has fully hit him. He now knows that he has been controlled.” A smile lit his lined face. “He was not too happy about it and he was rather unhappy with us for putting him back in his cell.”
“It isn’t enough.” Ginny interjected.
“I agree. He should be walking through the veil but it is not our decision. We are not the lawmakers. We are simply the enforcers.” Kingsley replied sagely.
“Hey boss, can Ginny and I have the afternoon off?” Harry asked with a small smile. “I promised my Aunt that I would let her know when we solved my cousin’s murder.”
“Go on,” was his only response.
Ginny and Harry went down to the fires to take the floo network to Arabella Figg’s before walking down to his Aunt’s home, hand in hand. They arrived at the door and Harry hesitated before knocking. Ginny squeezed his hand and lifted her own to knock. After a moment, the door was opened to reveal Petunia Dursley who appeared to have aged ten years in the past few weeks since they had seen her.
Her face was impassive as she spoke. “Well?”
“He’s dead.” Harry replied evenly. “His wife killed him.”
“Good.” Petunia’s bottom lip trembled slightly but she clamped her lips tightly until she had regained control over herself. “Is that it then?”
“No.” Harry glanced quickly over at Ginny. “I just wanted to tell you that Ginny and I got married a few days ago.”
Ginny was taken by surprise by his announcement but she held back the urge to throw herself into his arms. She watched the play of emotions over the older woman’s face. Although her disgust was prominent she finally Petunia’s face settled on resignation.
“Thank you.” Harry said softly. “If you ever need anything…”
“I won’t.” She retorted quickly. “Good bye.” She moved away from the door and slowly closed it.
Ginny turned to Harry. “Are you all right?”
“Yes.” He answered resolutely. “She doesn’t really matter.” He pulled her into his arms and kissed her before sliding his hand down her side and rubbing his thumb in a circle over her stomach. “My real family loves me unconditionally.”
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