Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Moments in Love

The Illuminated One and the Dragon

by Gandalfs_Beard 0 reviews

The mission to retrieve the final horcrux leads to a dangerous flight, and a Vision Quest brings Harry face to face with Voldemort...

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst,Drama,Romance - Characters: Harry,Hermione - Published: 2018-01-07 - 8985 words

Severus Snape began laying out clothes and readying his traveling bags. It was quite likely that he would be in the Amazon for several days, and he was rather looking forward to a change of scenery and the opportunity to work with a potion new to him.

It was only when he had finished packing that he remembered that it was time for Lupin’s potion. Snape made his way to the staff-room where he found Lupin planning a lesson and an exam for Jennifer Watts.

“Ah, there you are,” said Lupin when Snape entered. He took the steaming mug from the Potions Master. “Thank you Severus.”

Lupin took a large gulp. His eyes bulged and his face turned red. He gasped and sputtered, spraying Wolfsbane Potion everywhere.

“Stop... don’t drink any more of that,” Snape hissed.

“You... don’t... have to tell me twice...” Lupin wheezed. “I’m used to it tasting vile... but it’s never been like drinking acid...”

“Fortunately, the burning sensation appears to be largely a sensory reaction. I am seeing only mild inflammation...” Snape said as he examined Lupin’s mouth. “Perhaps a visit with Madam Pomfrey would be in order.”

“Don’t you know what’s wrong?” Lupin asked in surprise. “You probably know more about the potion than anyone living or dead...”

“There is absolutely nothing wrong with the potion,” snapped the Potions Professor. “There is something wrong with... you!” Snape concluded in a puzzled tone.

“If I didn’t know better,” Snape continued, with a more concerned expression, “I would say that you no longer carry the werewolf curse. Only fully human Wizards have the reactions you just reported. To those without the Werewolf Curse, the potion presents a sensation of acidity upon the tongue.”

“But that’s impossible!” gasped Lupin.

“Precisely!” said Snape, raising an eyebrow, “That is why we should be consulting with Madam Pomfrey...”

“Yes... yes of course,” Lupin muttered as he followed Snape to the Hospital Wing.

A strange thought crossed Remus Lupin’s mind; it seemed too ridiculous to be credible. But no matter how hard he tried to ignore the notion, he began to wonder if being “attacked” by Harry and Hermione’s Patronuses had anything to do with it.

The idea seemed ludicrous on its face. Nobody had ever heard of Patroni curing Lycanthropy before. But Remus had been feeling different ever since he had been caught in the shockwaves of Patronus light and been bowled over by the etheric stag and doe. In fact, he felt more than just different...

Remus felt great.

Remus felt better than he could ever remember feeling since his childhood - since before he had been attacked and turned into a werewolf by Fenrir Greyback. He felt as if a shroud had been lifted from his soul, and as if his brain and body were swept clean. He felt fantastic.


Morphing into Bellatrix Lestrange proved harder than Harry would have thought, and it took several days to get it just right. He picked up her outer physical characteristics quickly enough, but adjusting his voice, mannerisms, and behaviour to match hers was another matter altogether.
Fortunately, Hermione was a good coach. She witnessed Neville’s and Ginny’s memories with Harry as they replayed them dozens of times - sometimes pausing and focusing on a particular trait.

“Perfect,” said Hermione when Harry’s vocal adjustments finally achieved the correct tone. “Now, you’ve got to think about how she acts towards those she sees as subordinates - Bellatrix treats her underlings poorly and she behaves like a petty tyrant. Did you see how she snapped at the Snatcher...?”

Harry nodded and sighed, not keen on the idea of having to be rude to Goblins, even though that’s what they would no doubt be expecting. He was glad that at least Ragnok and the Chairman of Gringotts were in on it. It wasn't like he and Hermione were really stealing from Gringotts if two of its most Senior Officers were helping them, was it?

“So you’ll have to sneer a lot and look down your nose at everyone,” Hermione continued, “Do that, and then you’ll sound just like her...”

“Do you think you can manage it?” Hermione asked with concern when Harry didn’t respond right away.

Harry’s stomach lurched at the idea of actually trying to get inside Bellatrix Lestrange's head, but then a thought occurred to him and he laughed.

“Yeah... actually I think I can. I’ll pretend I’m Malfoy talking to Crabbe or Goyle when they’re being particularly stupid,” Harry chortled. “That should work...”

Harry practiced sneering for a while until Hermione was in stitches.

“That’s brilliant Harry,” Hermione giggled. “Now it’s time to try your Bellatrix impression on Sirius.”

When Sirius roared with laughter and gave his seal of approval to Harry’s portrayal of Bellatrix, Harry knew he was ready to go.

Harry and Hermione packed a few things in overnight bags as Dumbledore had agreed that they could stay a day or two at Number 12 once the job was complete. When they were finished, they spent the evening with the rest of their friends in a new room in the corridor of the Unaffiliated.

The room had been magically provided by the headmaster at the insistence of Sirius and Professor McGonagall, who were both keen on providing a private space for the Potters and their friends to congregate in, as they didn’t have a proper Common Room of their own.

When the Potters entered their unofficial “Common Room” they discovered Dora and Jennifer both sitting at the grand piano in the corner of the room and giggling as they tickled the ivories together. Luna and Ginny were trying to coax Parvati into singing along while the others lounged nearby on the sofa and in the poofy armchairs.

Not wishing to interrupt, Harry quietly sat in one of the cozy armchairs with Hermione on his lap letting the joy of the moment wash over them. Ginny turned around when she noticed that Harry and Hermione had silently settled in.

“Hey you two,” said Ginny with a grin. “Going to spend a few days in London with your family to celebrate then?”

“Bit early for a celebration really,” Harry retorted, returning Ginny’s grin. “We’ll have to save it for when we get back if everything goes alright...”

“‘If everything goes alright’...? What do you mean, Harry?” asked Neville.

“Er...” said Harry, suddenly realising what he’d just let slip. Not sure if Dumbledore meant it to remain a secret - even from their friends - he glanced at Hermione beseechingly. Fortunately, Hermione seemed to think it was alright to tell them and took over.

“Actually we’re sort of going on a mission,” said Hermione, launching into lecture mode. “You all know that Voldemort keeps managing to come back somehow after he’s supposedly been killed. Well, it’s because he found a way to split his soul into pieces and hide them in certain artifacts. As long as those bits of soul are alive, they keep him from dying completely.

“Anyway, Harry and I have been helping Dumbledore track the artifacts down and kill the bit of soul inside them. We’ve managed to get most of them...”

“The Diary that Harry found in Myrtle’s bathroom...” Parvati gasped. “That was one of them wasn’t it?”

“Yes!” Ginny answered before Hermione had a chance to reply. “The piece of Voldemort in the diary possessed me in my first year. That’s how the Chamber of Secrets was opened...”

“That’s right,” Hermione agreed. “Anyway, there’s only one left and Dumbledore found out where it is - in Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault in Gringotts. Harry’s going to use his metamorphmagus powers to turn into Bellatrix and we’re going to get it...”

“Wait, Harry can turn into a girl now?” gasped Daphne.

“Oh yeah. You and Parvati ‘aven’t heard yet,” said Dora. “Harry’s a metamorphmagus like me... and yeah, he can turn into a girl.”

Daphne’s mind boggled; Parvati’s jaw dropped and then her eyes began to gleam.

“Ooooh, Harry, let us see,” begged Parvati, “Please!?”

“What... er... right now?” Harry gulped. “Here...?”

“Why not?” Luna grinned. “It’s your common room, and nobody else can get in unless you let them.”

Harry glanced at Hermione. It was entirely up to him. Harry grinned nervously as he peered at all the girls’ eager faces. But Harry flushed when he glanced questioningly in Neville and Viktor’s direction. Viktor was very curious to witness Harry’s transformation, but seeing Harry’s discomfort, Viktor tugged on Neville’s sleeve.

“Come! Ve go Neville... I think this moment for girls only.”

Neville breathed a sigh of relief as he followed Viktor out of the room, feeling as awkward as he imagined that Harry would feel to transform in front of guys.

“Right then, here goes,” said Harry, steeling himself once Neville and Viktor had left. “Sorry about my clothes... they’ll look a bit funny on a girl...”

“Don’t worry about those Harry. It’ll give me a chance to practice my transfiguration,” giggled Hermione as she waved her wand. “Everyone, this is Harret.”

Harry’s clothes transfigured as he morphed into Harriet. Harriet groaned when she realised that she was now wearing a snugly fitted dress with a short skirt which was the same iridescent green as her rolling eyes. Hermione had obviously been preparing a spell just for such an opportunity. Harriet blushed furiously, but couldn’t help snorting with laughter in a most unladylike manner and shaking her head.

“Oh wow! You’re adorable!” Parvati squealed gleefully.

“You look very lovely, Harriet,” said Luna, beaming brightly

“Oui, vairy charmante indeed, Harriet,” tittered Fleur

Daphne practically pounced on Harriet. “As a girl, you’re close enough in size to try some of our clothes on...”

Parvati chortled. “I agree with Daphne. How about a little fashion show Harriet?”

“Oi... I’m not your dolly,” Harriet laughed. Inside, Harriet groaned, desperately hoping that Daphne’s ideas were soon forgotten.

“Come on, it’ll be fun Harriet,” Luna giggled.

Hermione tried vainly to hide a smirk. Dora managed to look both sympathetic and curious all at once.

“Alright, okay! Maybe next time - when we get back,” Harriet moaned, palming her face. “I have to get up early tomorrow...”


“Tell me why this is a good idea again?” Bellatrix Lestrange nervously asked Hermione as they prepared to step into the fireplace of Number Twelve’s parlour. Hermione closed her eyes and kissed Bellatrix.

“Harry, you’ll be just fine!” Hermione reassured the young Metamorphmagus, “Gringotts Bank is Sovereign Territory. The Ministry has no jurisdiction there. Aurors can’t arrest you even if they’re standing right next to you...”

Harry felt a lot more relaxed after sharing a kiss with Hermione, but he was still anxious as it was he who was impersonating a dangerous fugitive - the ex-consort of the more-or-less dead, once again defeated Lord Voldemort.

“...unless the goblins turn me in,” the former-wizard-now-witch-who-looked-exactly-like-Bellatrix-Lestrange grumbled. “Yeah, I know Hermione - the Chairman of Gringotts and Ragnok have approved this operation. But I still don’t like it.

“What if the other goblins catch us in the act and call in the Aurors? Obviously the Chairman and Ragnok must think that the rest of Gringotts’ Board of Directors wouldn’t approve if they’re only willing to let us get the last Horcrux through subterfuge...”

Hermione sighed and bit her lip anxiously. It was all well and good having a positive attitude, but there was no getting around the truth.

“You’re absolutely right Harry... er...Harriet? Bother it, I’m not sure what to call you. I mean you’re obviously a witch, but you’re not really Bellatrix, nor Harriet at the moment...”

“It’s alright, Hermione! I’m perfectly fine with Harry when I’m not in Harriet form, even if I am a witch at the moment. Anyway, you were saying...”

“Right then...” said Hermione, feeling a bit better. “It is still risky. Obviously the Chairman and Ragnok want some measure of plausible denial for Gringotts Bank as a business entity should anything go wrong. They have a strong reputation for protecting their clients’ interests at all costs to maintain...”

“Exactly!” exclaimed Harry-Bellatrix sourly. “As long as they can blame us if we get caught, they don’t care...”

“Maybe,” Hermione interjected, “but you have to realise Harry, the Chairman and Ragnok have both put themselves on the block too - If we get caught, their careers are finished, and they would probably end up in a goblin prison.”

“Oh!” Harry-Bellatrix took pause. “I hadn’t thought of that... Yeah, I suppose I can take some comfort in knowing that those two really don’t want us to get nabbed then.”

Harry-Bellatrix snorted and shook her head resignedly “Alright then, I suppose I’m as ready as I’ll ever be... How do I look Hermione? I feel really weird in this dress...”

Hermione gave Harry-Bellatrix a once-over. Hermione flushed slightly. There was something about Bellatrix Lestrange’s black dress with its cleavage revealing low-cut top, its leather straps, and witchy collar, which sent little shivers through Hermione - not entirely unpleasant shivers. She crossly suppressed the feeling.

“You look like Bellatrix,” Hermione said brusquely. “Now don’t forget to sneer...”

Hermione began to fling the invisibility cloak over herself, but Harry-Bellatrix stopped her.

“Wait... close your eyes again Hermione,” Harry said softly in his own voice. A calmness had settled over him, and he could see that Hermione was just as agitated and nervous as he was.

“Whatever happens, I just want you to remember this...” Harry whispered, before kissing Hermione with Bellatrix Lestrange’s lips once more.

Hermione felt a warm glow swell inside her as the kiss deepened. Somehow, she knew that everything was alright - she could deal with whatever came their way as long as she was with Harry, whatever form he took. When the kiss was finished, Hermione stepped back and grinned with a naughty golden gleam in her big brown eyes.

“Harry, when this is over... I want that dress.”

Harry’s chortle turned into a cackle as his voice became Bellatrix Lestrange’s once again, and Hermione disappeared inside his invisibility cloak. Harry flung a handful of floo powder into the grate and stepped into the green flames with his invisible wife as he called out their destination clearly.

“Gringotts Bank, London Office, VIP Entrance...”


The odd assortment of muggles and wizards sitting around the kitchen table of Number 12 Grimmauld Place regarded the Headmaster keenly, looking for signs of anything which would indicate knowledge of the outcome of the Potters’ mission. Dumbledore sipped his tea, returning everyone’s gaze serenely.

As the kitchen clock’s hands slowly crawled by, Harry Potter's cousin Dudley grew fidgety.

“I’m bored Mum, can I watch the telly?” asked Dudley.

In truth, Dudley was extremely anxious that something bad was going to happen to Harry, and he wanted a distraction. Petunia glanced at Jean who was frowning slightly at the inappropriateness of Dudley’s interruption.

Hermione’s Auntie Joanne sighed. She could see immediately that her sister Jean was too wrapped up in her own anxiety about Hermione and her son-in-law to see what Dudley was going through at the moment.

“Go on dear,” Joanne said to Dudley gently. “Don’t mind the rest of us. Why don’t you go watch the television for a bit too, Susan dear...” Joanne turned to look at Susan Bones who was sitting next to her Aunt Amelia, “there’s no need for all of us to sit here like a load of lumpkins worrying ourselves silly.”

Petunia nodded gratefully at Joanne as Dudley slipped out of the kitchen. Susan glanced at her own Aunt. Madam Bones nodded her assent and Susan followed Dudley to the parlour.

The clock continued to tick interminably, and Moody began to drum his fingers on the kitchen table until Abbie Brixton glowered at him. Moody wanted to curse and rant; the Potters should have been back by now. But he didn’t want to upset Hermione’s mother so he just sighed.

Severus Snape sat in silence, his features inscrutable despite his weariness and the tension. He had returned from the Amazon the previous morning and spent the last twenty four hours preparing the potion until he was certain it would work as intended.

Suddenly there was a clattering of footsteps coming from the stairwell and Susan burst into the kitchen.

“Come quickly, something weird is going on...” Susan gasped, “The BBC is showing something flying over London - it looks like a dragon. The Muggle news shouldn't have dragons... should it?”

Dumbledore sighed and followed everyone to the parlour to watch the television; even the best laid plans could be spoiled when dragons were involved. Dumbledore peered at his hand-mirror hopefully and after another ten minutes had passed, he was rewarded when he heard his name being called and spied Hermione Potter’s disheveled visage in the glass.


Everything seemed to go well at first. None of the goblins dared to question Bellatrix Lestrange when she appeared in the VIP Fireplace and entered the main lobby of Gringotts. Harry couldn’t decide if the goblins were scared of Bellatrix, or just didn’t care that she was an escaped convict. They didn’t even bother to ask for Bellatrix’s wand.

Hermione stayed close to Harry-Bellatrix, under the invisibility cloak, hoping that nobody would bump into her. She and Harry were both startled when a witch grabbed Harry-Bellatrix’s arm.

“Oh my goodness, Bellatrix! How delightful to see you again after all these years... and looking ravishing as always. Clearly Azkaban didn’t do you any harm.”

Harry-Bellatrix looked wildly around for escape, but the witch seemed to be following their direction. He wasn’t certain that a sneer would be enough to put off the witch pawing at him. Harry surmised that the witch must be an old friend of Bellatrix.

“Er... I’m sorry. I’m dreadfully busy right now...” Harry-Bellatrix said curtly as she followed an old goblin named Bogrod to the vaults.

“Oh, no matter,” said the other witch cheerily, “Griphook and I are going to the vaults as well. We shall have all the time in the world to catch up on things. Surely it hasn’t been so long that you’ve forgotten that the Carrow vaults are right next to your own?”

“Alecto,” Hermione whispered directly into Harry-Bellatrix’s other ear.

Harry started when Hermione hissed the name in his ear. He didn’t know how Hermione knew, but he was sure that she was right. In any case, he had no time to challenge the information.

“Of... of course I haven’t forgotten - Alecto!” Harry inwardly breathed a sigh of relief that the witch accepted the name without hesitation.

The heavy iron doors to the vaults shut behind Harry-Bellatrix and Alecto Carrow as they followed the goblins to the carts which would take them to the lowest levels.

“Well, I see no reason not to share a cart then,” Alecto said with a husky voice as she leaned closer and took the arm of the witch whom she believed to be Bellatrix.

Harry-Bellatrix swallowed nervously as realisation dawned on him. If he wasn’t mistaken, Alecto and Bellatrix had at one time been intimate with each other. Harry groaned inwardly, wishing that Hermione was the metamorphmagus and that he was under the invisibility cloak. He had no idea how he was supposed to talk to a past lover not seen in well over a decade.

“Er... after you,” Harry-Bellatrix offered Alecto.

There was just enough room for Harry-Bellatrix to sit next to Alecto in the cart while the invisible Hermione sat squashed between him and the side with the door. The two Goblins clambered onto the front seats and settled in for the ride. Griphook turned around and glanced at the two witches, narrowing his eyes in suspicion.

Harry needn’t have worried; Alecto carried the whole conversation during the entire trip through the labyrinthine tunnels under Gringotts. And some of the discussion turned out to be quite informative. Shortly before reaching their final destination, Alecto dropped the bombshell.

“Well, my dear Bella, I cannot tell you how pleased I am that you survived the Dark Lord’s misguided attempt to take Hogwarts by force. I was quite concerned when I heard that most of Azkaban’s Death Eaters met their unfortunate ends... as was Dolores.

“Believe me, the Minister has no desire to see the Blood of the Pure spilled - and Dolores has a much better plan for revitalising Wizarding Britain and restoring Hogwarts to its former glory. Soon it will be time for all of the halfbloods to learn that their place in the natural order of things is to glorify the purest among us, and the Mudbloods will be purged from our race.

“I have a message for you from Dolores herself which you will not see in the headlines of the Daily Prophet, nor hear on WWN. The Minister is offering a full-pardon to all Death Eaters and Snatchers who turn themselves in and agree to follow her lead. She is most pleased that you were not found among the dead at Hogwarts, and is hopeful that you will join her...”

“Er... yeah! Maybe...” mumbled Harry-Bellatrix. Thankfully the cart finally came to a halt and Bogrod called out Bellatrix’s name.

“My stop,” gasped Harry-Bellatrix, eager to escape. She managed to get the door open and let invisible Hermione out of the cart unnoticed, before stepping onto the platform herself. Bogrod opened Bellatrix’s vault and stood patiently next to the open door.

Alecto climbed out of the cart as well and took Bellatrix’s arm as if to enter the vault with her. Harry couldn’t think what to do. Under the invisibility cloak Hermione began to panic. She performed the first spell she could think of and whispered, “Imperio,” three times.

Harry-Bellatrix was surprised when Alecto’s eyes glazed over, and the two goblins stared blankly. Hermione whipped off the invisibility cloak and darted into Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault, quivering with agitation.

“Quickly Harry,” Hermione moaned, “We don’t have much time. I’ve never performed that curse before, and I doubt it’ll hold very long...”

“Never mind Hermione,” Harry-Bellatrix responded gratefully. “That was brilliant. I couldn’t think what to do at all...”

“Can you feel the horcrux Harry?”

Harry nodded, gritting his teeth as his scar throbbed and burned. As they entered the vault his knees wobbled slightly and Hermione lit her wand.

Moving further in, he and Hermione were taken aback by the massive amount of all sorts of things: piles upon piles of galleons and gold ingots, heaping mounds of jewelry and precious gems, covered paintings, odd items such as the skins of strange creatures, a skull wearing a crown, swords and armour, and crystal vials of potions and what unnervingly appeared to be blood.

But as the pain increased, Harry knew they were drawing nearer. He looked up and groaned.

“That’s it up there Hermione.”

A jewel encrusted golden goblet glittered in Hermione’s wandlight at the top of a high shelf. Harry-Bellatrix would have to climb over armour and shields to reach it. He remembered the instructions which had been passed on from Ragnok, that Harry could touch nothing but the item he had come for.

Suddenly, Harry realised that he was floating up towards the cup and he glanced back at Hermione who was aiming her wand at him. He quickly grabbed the cup and Hermione lowered him back down.

“Thanks Hermione,” Harry-Bellatrix gasped, passing the cup to Hermione who quickly thrust it into a satchel. “I’m glad you remembered wingardium leviosa... It’s bloody hard to think clearly when I’m this close to a horcrux.”

“I was going to use levicorpus from Snape’s book, but then I thought you might prefer not dangling upside down by your ankle...”

“You thought right,” Harry-Bellatrix agreed as she dragged Hermione out of the vault. “Now we’ve just got to figure out how to get out of here before...”

It was too late. Griphook had shrugged off the Imperius Curse mere moments before Harry-Bellatrix had exited the vault. Griphook was nowhere to be seen, and many voices could be heard approaching in the distance. Only the still imperiused Bogrod and Alecto Carrow remained, oblivious to everything.

Hermione threw the invisibility cloak over herself and grabbed Harry’s hand. Together they ran the opposite direction from the nearing voices.

The corridor they had dashed into opened up into a cavern which they had spied from the cart as it trundled down to the last, deepest vaults under Gringotts. And chained up in the cavern was a pale, sad looking dragon. They both whirled around to find another way, but goblins and wizard security guards cut off their escape.

There was only one way out now.

“Hermione,” Harry-Bellatrix whispered to thin air, “do you trust me?”

“Of course Harry,” Hermione whispered back.

“Then climb up on the back of the dragon, now!”

Hermione didn’t question Harry’s mad idea. She just did as she was told and clambered up the steely scales onto the dragon’s back while Harry-Bellatrix fired several stunners at the yelling goblins and the wizards who returned fire, angering the dragon.

Harry-Bellatrix aimed her wand at the shackles which kept the dragon chained up and they shattered under the impact of her releasing spells. She leapt onto the dragon and hauled herself onto the dragon’s back right behind where she believed Hermione to be.

“Are you still there Hermione?” Harry-Bellatrix shouted over the roaring dragon.

“Yes,” Hermione squeaked.

“Hold on tight then, I think...”

But Harry-Bellatrix didn’t get a chance to get another word out. The bellowing dragon let loose a burst of flame at the wizards shooting spells, and the goblins, scattering them. It took every ounce of strength just to keep hold of the horned ridges along the dragon’s spine as it unfurled and angrily whipped its tail, sweeping aside another group of goblins and wizards.

With another thunderous outburst, the dragon began to blast and claw its way up through the rocky tunnels to the surface. At intervals, Harry and Hermione aimed their own explosive spells to help the dragon widen the passage and finally it burst furiously through the heavy iron doors which led to the enormous main lobby of the bank.

Sensing the outside world near, the dragon reared up and leapt, spreading its wings. It soared and crashed straight through the ceiling as wizards and goblins ran screaming to avoid the falling debris.

Ragnok peered out of the door of his office in horror. This was almost a disaster. As he watched the dragon vanish into the clouds above London through the gaping hole in Gringotts’ ceiling, Ragnok did manage a small sigh of relief.

At least the cover story had remained intact. Now, the worst that anyone could say was that Bellatrix Lestrange had gone barmy while visiting her own vault and stolen a dragon.


Hermione screamed and shut her eyes as she clung for dear life to the jutting bony ridges along the dragon’s spine as the ceiling of Gringotts crashed about her. Splintering beams of wood, chunks of plaster, and shards of roof tile rained down on Hermione. She cursed inwardly, wishing that she hadn’t reminded Harry to remove the tattoos after they had been released from the Hospital Wing several days ago. Nor had either of them considered that they might be necessary for this particular mission.

Moments later the pale dragon soared above Gringotts, its great wings beating the air heavily as it blinked uncertainly, its eyes unused to the sunlight after many years held captive underground. Hermione opened her eyes finally, her heart thumping in her ears over the roar of the rushing wind. She spied Big Ben and the river Thames below and shut them tight again.

The dragon swooped over Westminster Bridge and caught an updraft, sailing up through the clouds. Finally the dragon settled into a steady flight pattern and Hermione managed to barely collect herself enough to tug off the flapping invisibility cloak with one hand and stuff it inside her blazer.

Harry-Bellatrix gasped with relief when he saw Hermione reappear, her bushy hair whipping in the wind just ahead of him. He had caught glimpses of her feet as the dragon had burst through the roof of Gringotts, but he had been deathly afraid that Hermione might be injured.

Harry wanted to return to his boy form, but then he remembered that he really wouldn’t fit Bellatrix’s dress properly. Hermione glanced back to see if Harry was still there. Harry-Bellatrix caught Hermione’s terrified eyes and tear streaked face.

Harry decided that it was reasonably safe. The dragon seemed to be flying steadily enough. Carefully, Harry-Bellatrix crawled up the dragon’s back until she was pressed right up against Hermione with one arm curled tightly around her trembling figure. Hermione instantly wrapped one of her own arms around Harry-Bellatrix’s waist.

“I’ve got you Hermione,” Harry said in his own voice, kissing her clammy wet cheeks. “I won’t let you go.”

Feeling Harry next to her, even in Bellatrix’s form, Hermione began to calm down. She had been chilled by the wind and dampness of the clouds, but now Harry’s warmth spread through her and her breathing slowed.

Hermione closed her eyes and pressed her own lips against Harry-Bellatrix’s cheek. It suddenly occurred to Harry that there was something else he could do to comfort Hermione, despite not being able to return to his boy-form just yet.

Hermione opened her eyes again and stared gratefully into Harriet’s glittering green ones. Finally Hermione could speak.

“Th...thank you Harry... sorry... I mean Harriet. I f...feel much better now.”

“Good,” said Harriet, smiling softly, pressing her forehead against Hermione’s, “Because we did it Hermione. We’ve got the last horcrux... Now all we have to do is work out how to get off this dragon before the RAF send jets after us.”

“I don’t think we’ll have to worry about that Harriet. They should only be able to find us by line of sight now. I think Dragons probably have a number of natural defences which make them invisible to radar.”

“Really? How’d you work that out?”

“Well, to begin with, I’m almost certain that modern muggles would have rediscovered dragons despite the best efforts of wizards to keep their existence secret if dragons didn’t have their own means of avoiding radar tracking. It would be impossible for dragons to exist in the wild otherwise,” Hermione replied.

“It’s quite likely that dragons produce their own magical energy field which scramble electromagnetic signals. And it’s also a possibility that their scales and hide might have properties which absorb the signals - like stealth fighters.”

“Oh... yeah!” Harriet nodded thoughtfully, “That makes sense. So we’re alright as long as there’s a fair bit of cloud cover then?”

“I should think so. But you’re right, we’ll still need to get off the dragon sooner or later. Maybe Dumbledore has an idea...”

“Can you reach your hand-mirror then?” Harriet asked.

“Yes... I...I think so - as long as you keep a tight hold of me, I can use my right arm,” Hermione answered a bit shakily.

Hermione slowly reached her right hand into the bag slung over her shoulder and felt for the mirror nestled beside Hufflepuff’s Cup. Her fingers grasped the mirror tightly, and she pulled it out, speaking Dumbledore’s name. She was cheered to see the headmaster’s very relieved features peering back at her.

“Sir,” squeaked Hermione, “we’ve got it, but...”

“You are currently on the back of a dragon speeding out of London,” Dumbledore interjected.

“How did you know?” gasped Hermione.

“Apparently numerous muggles spotted a dragon flying by Big Ben and Westminster Bridge,” the Headmaster replied with twinkling eyes, “and a BBC news crew in the vicinity caught some of the flight. I am watching the BBC reports at this very moment...”

“How’s the Ministry going to cover this one up?” Harriet wondered aloud, overhearing Dumbledore.

“Oh, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem,” Professor Dumbledore responded. “Helicopters were dispatched to get a closer look, but dragons fly at high rates of speed and it was gone before any could reach it.

“A number of muggle ‘experts’ are already proposing that the beast seen in the footage is naught but an escaped parade balloon of some sort - and others are proclaiming it to be an elaborate publicity stunt promoting a film about dinosaurs run amok...”

Hermione couldn’t help giggling, despite being more than a bit anxious still, and Harriet shook her head in amazement. It was incredible how easy it was for many non-magical people to rationalise away things which didn’t fit into their narrow view of the world, even when the evidence was staring them in the face.

“In any case,” continued the headmaster, “The important thing is for you to stay safe. The dragon will tire eventually, and likely seek out water and sustenance. You should be able to disembark when it comes to ground. Call me immediately when it does, and I shall apparate to your location.”

That seemed like the only sensible solution, so Harriet and Hermione continued to ride the dragon as it steadily flew Northwards. Finally, after several hours, it seemed to tire and dipped below the clouds somewhere over Northwestern England. The dragon swooped towards a shimmering lake which it spied in a verdant hilly wooded area.

Harriet nodded at Hermione as the dragon skimmed the surface of the lake, scooping up water and schools of fish in its maw. The moment was now. Hermione returned Harriet’s nod. She slid from the dragon’s scaly back into the clear blue water below with a splash, followed quickly by Harriet.

The two young witches swam to the nearby shore and dragged themselves, gasping and sputtering, onto the pebbly beach. The dragon continued to drink and sup, apparently either oblivious to their presence, or simply not caring. After several minutes and numerous gulps, the dragon belched, a puff of smoke emerging from its nostrils. Its thirst and appetite sated, the pallid dragon flew off to search for a hidden place to rest.

Saturated strands of normally bushy hair clung to Hermione’s dripping face, and her rapidly heaving chest gradually slowed as she continued to gasp. Hermione sat up and smiled at Harriet, who was still lying on her back and panting, the replica of Bellatrix Lestrange’s dress clinging wetly to her own rising and falling bust.

A surge of relief and emotion took Hermione. She set upon Harriet and swept her into a passionate embrace. The soggy pair rolled around on the gravelly shore, lips locked in a steamy kiss which warmed them both. When they finally came up for air, Hermione grinned and rummaged in her bag for the hand-mirror. Harriet noticed Hermione’s hesitance.

“So, are you sure you want to call Dumbledore to collect us now, or just enjoy this moment for a bit longer?” Harriet smirked.

Hermione glanced around the wooded lakeside, recalling the view of the surrounding landscape from above. They were in a relatively secluded area, a fair distance from any semblance of civilisation.

“The Horcrux can wait a few more minutes I should think,” Hermione giggled. “It’s not going anywhere. We can call Dumbledore when we’re finished.”

Hermione dropped the hand-mirror back in the bag. Harriet shivered with a thrill of delight when Hermione began to nuzzle her neck, trailing her fingers across Harriet’s curves. Harriet needed a release of her pent up adrenaline rush as much as Hermione did, not to mention that Hermione’s affections substantially diminished the throbbing of her scar.

It wasn’t exactly comfortable on the pebbly shore, but Harriet didn’t care, returning Hermione’s kisses and caresses with abandon. Both of them became giddier as they were carried away by tremors of elation.

A loud crack shocked the young couple from their euphoric reverie and Hermione squealed. The pair of startled teens grabbed their wands and each peered around wildly, looking for the source of the sound. They gasped and blushed furiously when they spied Albus Dumbledore standing several metres away on the rocky shoreline with his wand in one hand, and the Sword of Gryffindor in the other.

“Please forgive the intrusion,” the Headmaster said apologetically, his cheeks turning pink. “I heard my name mentioned through the mirror - and then I heard no more. I grew worried and came looking for you both...”

“How did you find us?” squeaked Hermione, blushing at being caught in the midst of the rather impassioned snogging session.

“Oh, that was easy enough,” Dumbledore replied, his eyes twinkling. “I was able to determine your location from the coordinates of your mirror after you stated my name with it in your hand.”

“In any case, I must apologise again... I quite understand the necessity of release after your no doubt harrowing experience. Now, let us finish this, and take the next step towards finally sending Tom Riddle’s Shade to the underworld where it belongs.”

Hermione rooted in her bag for Hufflepuff’s Cup, still flushed with embarrassment. She couldn’t quite meet the Headmaster’s eyes when she handed him the jewel emblazoned goblet. The golden goblet glittered in the midday sun as Dumbledore carefully examined it. The headmaster managed to catch Harriet’s eye and he smiled kindly at the abashed witch.

“Well Harry,” Dumbledore began, as he passed the Sword of Gryffindor to Harriet, “I believe you should have this honour. After all, Tom Riddle is responsible for most of the travails in your life. It is only fitting that you should be the one to obliterate his last true horcrux.”

“Are... are you sure sir?” Harriet’s iridescent green eyes widened with anticipation.

Quite sure, Harry!” Dumbledore replied.

Harriet eyed the goblet sitting on the smooth flat rock upon which Dumbledore had set it. She was so near to the end of it all - she was so close to destroying the twisted wretch who had murdered her parents and killed so many others that she could taste it.

Her scar would burn no more when it was finally over, and Harriet was more certain than ever that ridding herself of the piece of Voldemort’s soul within her was within her grasp. Harriet felt a sense of steely resolve filling her and she was ready. Eyeing Hufflepuff’s Cup one last time, Harriet lifted the Sword of Gryffindor with both hands.

Hermione stood utterly still, holding her breath in anticipation. Harriet held the sword high for a brief moment. Then the blade flashed in the sun as Harriet swung it downwards and struck the golden goblet.

An unearthly howl echoed, and ripples spread across the surface of the lake. A swirl of wind whipped Harriet’s dress around her ankles, a billowing vortex of black smoke blowing her dark hair across her face as the howl became a ghastly shriek of horror and agony.

Harriet gasped and staggered as the searing pain once again ripped through her skull. Hermione caught Harriet and held onto her tightly.

The goblet shuddered and rocked, and with one final roar of disbelief, the last horcrux cracked, spewing venomous black bile across the pebbles at the edge of the lake.

And then it was over, peace and quiet settling across the wooded countryside once more. Hermione took Harriet’s hand gently and kissed her clammy cheek, and then her lips. As the pain in her scar ebbed, Harriet released Hermione’s lips and took a deep breath, feeling the cool breeze against her skin, the knot in her stomach unwinding.

“It’s nearly over Harriet,” whispered Hermione, “We’ll work out how to get rid of the piece of Voldemort inside you... I know we will.”

Harriet turned to face Hermione, caressing her cheek with one hand, gazing into her brown eyes.

“I couldn’t have done this without you Hermione,” Harriet murmured.

She reached out her other hand and drew Hermione closer for another deep kiss as the headmaster glanced away. Harriet didn’t know how long she and Hermione kissed, but when they had finished, she knew she was ready to face the last step.

Harriet turned and saw Dumbledore holding what appeared to be a clean set of clothes. The old wizard’s clear blue eyes sparkled in the happy sun.

“I took the liberty of conjuring these for you while you were... otherwise occupied,” Dumbledore beamed. “I thought you might feel a bit more comfortable returning home to your relatives in your natural form.”

“Thanks Professor Dumbledore...” Harriet grinned, “I actually feel natural either way. But yeah - that’ll be nice.”


Dumbledore returned to Number Twelve with Harry and Hermione via the floo from the fireplace of a wizard pub owned by an Order Member in a village in the Lake District. Harry and Hermione brushed the soot and ash from their clothes, coughing and wheezing as they staggered out of the hearth at the other end.

“I expect your relatives would like to see you, but I suggest you keep it brief. Professor Snape awaits, Harry” said Dumbledore gravely. “The sooner this is finished, the better for you and your loved ones. I have no doubt that you will be successful.”

“Th...thanks Professor Dumbledore,” Harry responded, swallowing nervously. “Yeah... I’ll be quick. I can’t wait for this to be over.”

It didn’t take long to reassure Hermione’s mother and Aunt Petunia that all had gone as planned. When greetings and hugs had finished, Harry and Hermione followed Professor Snape into the parlour. Harry sat on the sofa, Hermione at his side.

Snape sat in a cushioned armchair opposite the Potters and retrieved a vial from a pocket inside his cloak. He took a deep breath, peering at Harry for a moment.

“As you know, the headmaster enlisted me to help find a way to destroy the piece of the Dark Lord’s soul which is attached to your own,” began Snape, not bothering with small talk or pleasantries. “I have indeed managed to develop a potion which will aid in that endeavour, based on one found only among the clans of the Deepest Amazon.

“This will be a difficult experience - with a slim possibility of death. You will have to face the Dark Lord within your very soul, and fight him with everything you have... and kill him.” Snape paused to let that sink in before continuing in almost a whisper.

“But I have no doubt that you will prevail... Harry. I believe...” Snape paused dramatically and raised his eyebrows. Snape’s gaze was intense and slightly wistful, “I believe in you.”

Snape unstoppered the vial of steaming potion and handed it to Harry. Harry looked at Hermione, gulping nervously. Her brows knitted as she peered back at him .

“I believe in you too Harry!” said Hermione with conviction.

Harry swallowed the potion without another thought.

Harry was spinning, falling through blackness. At first he could see nothing, but out of the darkness sparks of many colours emerged, streaking as they swirled around him. The whorls of colour began to breathe and undulate, at first seemingly random and disordered. Harry’s breath quickened, his heart racing, dizziness started to overtake him.

But as soon as he thought he was going to pass out and fall into oblivion, the chaos of colour formed intricately shifting kaleidoscopic patterns and the sensation of vertigo faded. The pulsating forms seemed alive, whispering to him in an unknown language, dancing, reaching out to touch him.

Harry was certain that they were trying to communicate with him - they were trying to tell him something important.

And for a brief moment Harry could see through the vastness of Space and Time - from one Infinite end of the Universe to the other - and he knew all there was to know - all knowledge that was knowable - the answers to every possible question.

The flare of Gnosis flooded him - became a surging swell of Emotion and Ecstasy that overtook him. He saw himself aglow - and a luminous feminine figure mirroring him - yet he was she, and she was him. He reached out to touch her and they merged as one.

And then She was All and All was He - an Ineffable Numinous Oneness - and she knew, he knew, that the Ultimate answer - the Ultimate source of Magic was Love - that which powered his Patronus, her Patronus - that which powered Hermione’s Patronus - that sensation he felt when merged with Hermione.

And then it was gone - yet still inside him - it was palpable - and yet he returned to himself - he was once again separate - yet he knew it would always be a part of him, that he was complete within himself, within herself - and yet even more complete with Hermione.

And the Whole separated into its constituent echoes - the alien entities which were in communication with Harry - the kaleidoscopic forms - a swirling chaotic rainbow of colour once more - the sense of vertigo returned - and then he fell through the eye of the storm.

Branches broke his fall, bumping and scraping him when he emerged from the other end, finally coming to rest on a mossy patch of ground. Harry dusted himself off and looked around. He was in a dark forest of enormous ancient oaks - older and larger than those in the Forbidden Forest.

There seemed to be a trail leading into a tangle of bushes. Cautiously, Harry advanced along the overgrown pathway, squeezing through the thicket. The path widened again into a dense misty forest of enormous pines and ferns. Harry’s heart began to thud against the wall of his chest as a sense of trepidation knotted his stomach.

A scuttling sound startled him and he peered about wildly, looking for the source. Then he saw them, colossal beasts with many legs dropping from trees all around him, blocking his passage. The gigantic spiders - larger even than the Acromantulas - scurried towards Harry. Steeling himself, his nostrils flaring, his wand out, Harry stood his ground.

Harry spun around, his wand pointing outward. He didn’t know what spell he used. He didn’t even know if it was a spell really. He just knew that he wanted the immense spiders gone. He was shocked when he was suddenly surrounded by a fluttering swarm of colourful, luminous gossamer wings which lit up the misty darkness. It took him a moment to realise that in place of the spiders was a multitude of glowing butterflies.

Finally the host of glowing butterflies fluttered away, and Harry was left all alone again on the forest pathway. The path curved to the right and that was when he saw it in the centre of a glade. A dark ruin of a house, silhouetted against a starry night, lay ahead of him.

There was a rushing sensation and the next thing Harry knew, he was inside the house, inside a room standing near a baby’s burned crib, the baby still inside, looking towards the doorway and crying. On the floor lay a body, a female figure with red hair. A chill crawled over his skin, raising goosebumps.

This was where his parents had been killed - where Voldemort had tried to kill Harry.

The scene shifted again, this time the room was lit, the baby’s crib undamaged, the woman trembling as she watched the door, her wand out. A tall menacing shadow emerged from the hallway, stepping into the light. Harry held his breath when he saw the pale figure with red eyes and slits for nostrils.


Suddenly, Harry was the baby, wandless. The woman shot a stunning spell to no effect; the figure shrugging it off as if it were nothing.

“Not Harry,” the woman screamed. “Please - not Harry!”

“Stand aside you silly girl,” the Dark Lord hissed. “Stand aside now... and you may live.”

“No!” the woman sobbed. She screamed again, “Not Harry... Take me instead!”

Golden filaments of magic - apparently invisible to the Dark Lord - reached out towards the baby, enveloping him in a loving embrace. Voldemort raised his wand and shot a green bolt of lightning at the woman and she collapsed.

Then without a word, the Dark Lord aimed his wand at Harry and the lightning burst forth from the tip of his wand. The arc of green magic seemed to slow down as Harry watched it draw closer to him, tears of grief streaming down his pink baby cheeks.

But despite his anguish, Harry felt a warm comfort as he thought about how much his mother loved him - and how much Hermione loved him. Baby Harry opened his mouth, letting out an ear-piercing shriek. A dazzling, radiant pulse of blinding white light and a Luminous Stag burst from baby Harry as the Killing Curse struck him and rebounded.

The Dark Lord screamed in agony as another pulse of blazing light struck him, his flesh withering and blackening before the baby’s eyes. Voldemort combusted, turning into ash; the resultant release of Dark Magic exploded, blowing off half the roof. And when it was finished, the baby with a lightning shaped scar stood in his crib crying in a demolished room, his dead mother lying on the floor beside him.

Harry felt himself departing from the baby, spinning up into the starry night sky, sucked into a kaleidoscopic vortex of whirling colours, speeding dizzily back the way he had come.


Hermione and Professor Snape watched as Harry fell into a deep trance within seconds of taking the potion. Carefully they lay Harry down on the sofa as his eyelids closed. Moments later, Harry began to convulse, foaming at the mouth.

Hermione screamed and she threw herself on him, sobbing. Harry’s scar split, but instead of blood, rays of blinding white luminescence burst forth, lighting up the entire parlour. The pulsing beams of light faded and an oozing black pus trickled from the scar. Then the scar sealed itself once more.

Harry came to, gasping for air, his face wet with tears as Hermione tightly clutched him in her arms. His gulps of air gradually slowed; Harry felt different, as if a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders and cobwebs had been swept from his brain.

“Oh thank goodness... thank goodness Harry!” Hermione gasped. “You’re back... I thought you were dying...”

“How long...” Harry panted. “How long was I out?”

“Under a minute Harry,” Hermione quickly answered, her tears still dripping from her cheeks.

“Are you serious?” Harry was stunned. “It seemed like hours...”

“Yes Harry,” Hermione nodded, beaming at Harry as she wiped away his tears and the black pus with a hanky. “How do you feel?”

“Brilliant!” Harry grinned. “I feel bloody brilliant... all thanks to you Hermione - you and my Mum!”


It had been nearly a week since the battle, and the adder inhabited by the Dark Lord was holing up near a small village in Northumberland which he knew had a few wizarding families. He was hoping to possess one of the wizards, but he was in a quandary; the closest Unicorn sanctuary was in the Forbidden Forest at Hogwarts, and he needed Unicorn blood to keep his host alive.

The risk seemed too great to return so soon to Hogwarts. Perhaps it would be best to make his way to the Unicorn sanctuary in Wales. It might take him several weeks, but the Dark Lord concluded that was his best bet.

It was early-afternoon, and he was hungry. The Dark Lord glided through the long grasses of the meadow in search of prey when he felt something strange. The adder hissed, venom spurting from its fangs involuntarily. Something was very wrong. The Dark Lord felt his tenuous grasp to life slipping away.

This could not be. How was it possible? The Dark Lord had never told a single person about the horcruxes binding his soul to the realm of the living. He could not die unless they had all been destroyed.

The adder uttered a keening sound unlike anything any snake had ever made. It was the voice of dying man, terrified of what he would find on the other side of the veil.

Then the sound was gone. The adder shook its head clear, uncertain how it had come to be so far from its home. Puzzled, but hungry, the snake wasn’t picky. It swallowed a few ants and a worm - just enough for a quick snack. The adder flicked its tongue, tasting the air, searching for its own scent. Then it turned around and slithered back towards the border of England and Scotland.
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