Harry Potter and the Gemini Curse @ghostandmiracle42
Act III, Chapter 6

Notes: No disclaimer this week as Ghost and Miracle are currently passed out. On the bright-side, I now have a high definition video of a smashed Ghost and Miracle singing a duet of Taylor Swifts 'Me!' Oh sweet, sweet black mail. Might not get a new chapter next week, because Ghost's computer is going in for repairs. So sorry if any of the formating is off this week, cause i'm posting this from my iPad.

Act III, Chapter 6: The Library

Harry felt incredibly hollow. He was tired and cold. Every cell in his body felt like it was being drained of energy. He had a splitting headache, his stomach felt the need to vomit every few seconds, and his legs and arms were like jelly. And the Gemini Rune had no energy in it. It wasn't hot or cold, even the constant thrum it usually held was gone. It was like one of his senses had been ripped away. But the worst thing, the worst thing was how empty everything was. All the colours around him had lost their shine, and every time someone talked, he had to strain to hear them through the high-pitched ringing that clogged his ears. He could barely feel the rain dotting his skin as he stood on the dock at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, a gunmetal sphere with an eye trapped within it floating over his shoulder.

He had woken the morning of the Second Task in a pool of his own sweat, Dobby staring at him fearfully. His vision, which had been slowly improving since he received the Firebrand, was the worst it had ever been, the Gemini Rune – that constant companion and anchor – was dead, and Harry was sure he had lost at least five kilos of muscle weight. The elf had been sent for him by Luna, as he was late for breakfast.

He knew why he was feeling so terrible. Why his strength and senses had left him. He knew it like he knew how to breathe. Ginny was down there, somewhere at the bottom of the ocean, trapped in suspended animation. All her bodily processes frozen. Until that moment, Harry had never truly realised just how much his body had grown to rely on his connection through the Gemini Rune to Ginny. Now, with her constant presence negated, Harry had been practically stripped of his power. Clarissa said the Firebrand only worked when shared between two souls. With Ginny frozen, she couldn't do her part to contain the power that came with being a member of the Council of Fire. Now he was slowly wasting away. The very power he had come to rely on had deserted him. He was as weak now as he was when he first came to Hogwarts. The only power that remained to him it seemed, was his innate knowledge of her location. It was like a beacon of light in his otherwise cloudy vision. A gold and white glow that only he could see. And it was coming from deep below.

"Welcome ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, to the Second Task of the Tri-Wizard Tournament! Today, the three school champions will be diving head first into the depths of the Pacific Ocean to recover a hostage taken last night. Each champion has their own hostage to collect and must return to the surface within one hour, lest they fail the challenge. The first champion back with their hostage will be the winner!"

Harry stood beside Claire and Peter on the dock, Dumbledore, O'Neill and Strange standing behind them.

"We should have thought of this. Of course, this would happen. How could I've been so infinitesimally stupid!" Will exclaimed. He had an orb of Plutonium in his hand he was using as a stress ball.

"There's no way we could have known. No one has ever put half of a soul bond into an enchanted sleep before," Strange told him.

"Harry," Dumbledore said, placing a hand on Harry's shoulder, "the task can be delayed, we can retrieve Mrs Potter and find another hostage."

"No. Ginny's down there right now. And odds are, it would take time to get back to full health even if she was woken right now. Besides, I could probably get down, find her, and get back before any of you. You're just lucky I can't apparate straight to her like this, or this task would've been very short."

O'Neill blanched, "I definitely should have thought of that."

"Like you should have thought about the possibility of a Mer taking part in this challenge?" Claire ribbed, raising an eyebrow at her brother, who had resumed his aged appearance. His arm had also apparently grown back. The Mer looked as if she didn't give a care in the world. She wore a set of short jeans and a white blouse that said, "Ask me about my Feminist Agenda." Her hair flowed freely down her back.

"That was Bagman, Crouch and Moody's job. Not my fault. And why are you complaining?"

"Don't want it to be too one-sided for these two. I mean, and no offence, but Potter looks dead on his feet. I can swim at almost 200km an hour. What chance do these two have?"

She wasn't wrong. Harry felt very much like roadkill right now.

"Don't count me out just yet," Peter said. He couldn't have looked less like Claire if he tried. He wore a mesh wetsuit with an 'Oscorp' logo across the shoulder. Mounted to his belt was a small oxygen canister attached to a mouthpiece currently hanging around his neck. A pair of scuba goggles were sitting on his head, and he wore a pair of flippers on his feet. Harry also wore a wetsuit. His original plan had been to simply go in a pair of boardshorts he'd bought at the Rocks that Ginny had charmed to show the Hogwarts crest. Thank Merlin Hermione had insisted on buying a wetsuit as well, just in case. The suit, though a bit uncomfortable in the humid February heat, effectively hid the heavy breathes he was taking and stopped him from slouching his shoulders.

"Ready Champions!"

"Good luck guys." Peter pulled his goggles down onto his eyes and fixed his clear plastic mask over his face. Claire pulled off her blouse, revealing a thin spaghetti strap bikini, and several wolf whistles echoed from the stands. She tossed her shirt at Will, who rolled his eyes as he caught it. Harry pulled out his wand and cast the Bubblehead Charm he had been practising the last few days. A thin bubble of air materialised over his mouth, nose and eyes, and he breathed a sigh of relief. The charm would allow him to breathe and see clearly while he searched the reef, but wouldn't obscure any sounds he might hear. The only problem, of course, was making sure he didn't vomit.

"Potter, I don't give a shit about school pride. You think you're going to pass out, you pull out. You understand me? Don't make me come down there and save your ass," O'Neill told him.

"I'll be fine." O'Neill, Strange and Dumbledore didn't look like they believed him very much.

"3! 2! 1!"

A horn blast blew across the stands erected along Paradise Coast, and Harry, Claire and Peter dived into the ocean, their cameras following them. As soon as they were beneath the water, both Harry and Peter couldn't help but stare at Claire.

The bubbles of water surrounding her cleared and the Claire they knew had vanished. In her place was a figure with a sky blue and silver blended tail. She had two sets of four fins, one at her hips, one at the end of her tail. Blue and silver scales dotted her skin in certain places. Her jeans were gone, though her bikini top remained. Her hair, usually a dirty blonde colour, was now the same shade as her scales, and her eyes were a vibrant crystal blue. On each side of her neck were three scars. Gills.

"See you boys," she said, winking at them. Then she flared her tail and shot forward into the ocean, leaving nothing but a trail of bubbles behind her. Harry sighed and turned towards the gold and white light. It was hovering deep beneath them, so Harry deemed following the seafloor was the best course of action. He glanced at Peter, who was fiddling with a metal device in his hand. Shrugging, Harry pointed his wand behind him and cast the propulsion charm he had learnt specifically for this occasion. He shot forward, angling down towards the sand.

The sea floor was mostly white sand, dotted intermittently with red and grey rocks, where clumps of green moss and seaweed waved in the ocean currents. At least at first. The further he followed the bank, the more he came to appreciate the Mer as a people. After only a few minutes, he was forced to cancel the charm, not from lack of energy, but from the fact that a small town now blotted his vision. Harry thought back to what Claire had said when they first arrived at Alcheringa.

"Beneath the island are ten individual Mer settlements, done in the same design as the regions above."

Harry, naturally, had no idea what area of the deep this region attempted to emulate, but he could feel that the water here was hotter than when he first entered. Geysers dotted the ocean floor spewing bubbles up to the surface. The houses were made from a glassy black rock and were very geometric in shape. Dozens of Mer, all with tails and hair of different hues, watched and applauded him as he swam through. One Mer girl with violet hair and an indigo tail with three fins along her back like a shark, who looked about the same age as him, told him he was headed in the right direction and pointed towards the white gold light Harry was following. He thanked her and, though he couldn't be sure as he was underwater, he swore he saw her blush.

Leaving the volcanic village behind, the sand started to become more sparse, replaced with more of the reddish-grey rocks. For the first time in his life, he actually thanked Uncle Vernon, because he knew that the stones were Iron Ore. The terrain radically changed with the next village. This one had its buildings constructed from shards of massive coral, with roofs made from seaweed. He also couldn't help but notice that the Mer who lived here had significantly more colourful and vibrant tails and hair. He guessed they must be more reef based. Beyond the village was a veritable forest of coral and marine plants. It was like staring into a rainbow, and thousands of fish of different patterns and colours flitted in and out from between the giant structures.

By now it was so dark that Harry couldn't even see the sun. Hermione had told him that the Mer could see in the dark, thanks to their different biology, but Harry hadn't really understood why that was important until now. Harry had to use a Lumos charm to even see where he was going!

Keeping Professor Lupin's lessons on underwater creatures in mind, Harry wisely went over the forest, though it took him longer than he thought it would. Eventually, he winded up in a village that rested on the very edge of a massive drop-off. This village was built from grey stone and looked the most like a village you would see on land. The Mer here seemed to have more fins, and their hair and scales were more transparent. Maybe they spent more time at deeper levels?

Either way, the white and gold light was coming from beyond the cliff.

Harry floated at the edge of the drop-off, gazing down into the trench below.

"Your time's half gone, so tarry not. Lest what you seek stays here to rot." Harry wasn't sure where the eerie voice came from, but it filled him with dread all the same.

He took a deep breath and prepared to jump, but felt a hand on his shoulder. He spun around, raising his wand, but the hand merely belonged to an elderly Mer with a long white beard.

"What you seek lies below. Be careful, the ruins are sacred and unguarded. There may be many creatures hiding in the darkness." With that he swam away, leaving Harry to continue to fight the urge to hurl on his own.

The swim had taken a lot out of his already depleted reserves. His headache, whether it was from the lack of surrounding noise or an increase in intensity, was definitely stronger. If he didn't find her soon… Harry didn't think it would be the monsters that killed him.

Muttering a thank you, not that anyone heard it, Harry propelled himself down into the abyss. He swam for a few more minutes until he encountered a ledge. He swam over to the moss-covered rock and peered over. Lying on the ocean floor were the ruins of an ancient fortress built from stone. Harry wasn't sure whether it belonged on the History channel, or in a horror movie. The walls, covered in moss, were in substantial decay. Sharks circled the statues, ducking in and out of their hiding places. Several stingrays were coalescing around what looked like the main entrance. No one had been here in a very long time. But Ginny's light was glowing from within.

A bang echoed from within the ruins, scattering most of the creatures, and seconds later two figures emerged from the roof, trapped within a giant bubble that was ascending rapidly to the surface. Harry assumed it was Claire and her hostage, whoever that was. Using the noise as a distraction, Harry dived down the last few meters and through a crack on the stone wall.

The inside of the ruined fortress was even more decayed than the outside. Entire wings had collapsed to the floor, and the surviving rooms it seemed had been taken as nests for various creatures Harry couldn't even begin to describe. He stayed away from them. Fortunately, the light from his wand kept them in the shadows for the most part. Harry assumed it was because they didn't get to the surface very often. He turned a corner into a large open courtyard, and his body broke into shivers. Ginny was floating, eyes closed and red hair billowing out in the darkness. A rope attached to a large metal weight was hooked around her ankle. A shell of energy surrounded her, keeping the animals away.

Pushing down the vomit once more, Harry swam over to her. She looked so peaceful, yet so vulnerable at the same time. It was a new kind of horror, and Harry was sure it would feature prominently in his nightmares for the next few months. Pointing his wand at the rope, Harry cast a Cutting Curse. The line snapped, and another loud boom erupted all around him. The water surrounding him vanished to nothing, and Harry fell a few feet, before crashing against a soft shape like a mattress. Then the equivalent of a volcanic eruption exploded in Harry's head. It was like a dozen needles being stabbed into his brain. Like sculling an entire bottle of vodka in a single gulp. It was singular, agonising, all-encompassing. And it was coming from the Rune on his neck, which had blazed back to life in a single second.

Harry pushed himself up and realised he was trapped in his own bubble that was rapidly ascending away from the ocean floor. On the other side of the sphere, was a very wet Ginny. Her body, contorted into a tight ball, was violently shaking, her face scrunched so tight it looked like it might burst, and her eyes were screwed shut.


Suddenly, as if flicking a switch, their mental connection slid back into place. The tiredness was still there, but the emptiness that accompanied it was gone. Harry pulled her close and buried her head in his shoulder.

It's all right. I've got you.

It hurts! Make it stop! Make it STOP!

Ginny screamed aloud, and Harry pulled her even closer.

What happened?! Why does everything hurt so much?!

Withdrawal. It sucks.

Withdrawal? From what?

Us. At least you won't get reverted back to a dweeb like I did.

Slowly, but surely, the pain started to lose its edge as their powers flowed back. Harry's vision became clear again, and ringing in his ears ebbed away. Ginny, instead of screaming in pain, started sobbing quietly into his chest. Then suddenly, they breached the surface, dumping them into the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. Harry pulled Ginny's head above water, and together they swam towards the beach. The crowd might have been cheering, but Harry didn't notice. All he could think about was helping Ginny to the sand. Every step felt like lead. Every muscle was screaming out in pain. It was all he could do to stay on his feet.

"Harry! Ginny!"

Hermione, Luna and Clarissa bounded over to them, towels in hand. Harry was immensely grateful when Clarissa took Ginny's weight away from him. His legs were shaking, despite the heat. That was when everything started spinning. He felt something draped over his shoulders, but he was too far gone to comprehend that it was a towel.



Harry's legs gave out, and the last thing he remembered was the vomit in his stomach finally reaching his throat.

Clarissa grabbed Ginny in both hands as she slipped into unconsciousness. This was all their fault! They should have thought of this! A quick glance to Harry confirmed that he had passed out as well. The two girls, whose names she couldn't remember, were holding him between them. She looked up the beach and breathed a sigh of relief as Albus, and the nurses ran towards them.

Will; Harry and Ginny are unconscious.

Claire's still not back. Where the hell is she? She should've finished first.

Go look for her.

Can't, there's still five minutes left… Wait… here she comes. Oh, thank the Valar.

Clarissa rolled her eyes before lowering Harry onto a stretcher. She glanced to Albus and nodded her head.

The medi-witches immediately began running diagnostic charms over the pair, frowning when the results came up.

"I don't understand," one of them said as they reached the healers' tent, "it's like they're going through withdrawal."

"They are," Albus told them, "from the effects of the Soul-Bond. We can only surmise it is because of the enchanted sleep. This has never happened before." The old wizard removed his hat and scratched his beard, concern visible in his face. Clarissa didn't buy it for a second. He was probably far more interested in the fact that the enchanted sleep could be used against them in the future, should they need to be contained. And against her and Will.

What the actual fuck!

Speak of the devil.

They put the hostages in Altica!

Clarissa's eyes went wide, and she all but raced out of the tent. She ran to the dock, before forcing herself to stop short near Parker and his hostage, a blonde girl with pink highlights. The Ilvermorny kids had come out first, much to all the Alcheringa Delegation's surprise and Will's concern.

That explains why she's out last.

It does that. No way she'd go down to such a religious site. Its sacrilege to even step foot down there. Bloody Brits.

Oh yeah.

Clarissa watched, a toothy grin on her face as Claire shot out of the water, transforming back into her human form in mid-air, and landing, completely dry on the dock, inches away from Ludo's face.

"You insensitive, mother-fucking piece of crocodile shit!" The Mer raged. Clarissa couldn't help but notice Ludo's eyes drop to Claire's bikini covered chest for a moment.

"Ah, what's going on?" Parker asked.

"The fortress they put the hostages in is sacred ground. No Mer would ever dare enter it of their own free-will. It's like holding a Cricket game in Westminster Abbey. Or drawing a dick on the Declaration of Independence."

Parker's hostage gasped. "How could they do that!"

"They didn't care. Most likely Moody looked at a map of the sea surrounding the island, picked the scariest thing he could find, and stuck them in there."

"That's just messed up. I haven't committed any crimes, have I?" Parker asked.

"No. You haven't. It's not an actual law. Just heavily frowned upon."

Will, who was fuming as much as Claire, but tactful enough to hold it in, was using the vibrations in the air to amplify the Mer's rant to the entire crowd.

"You dare use one of our most sacred locations for sport! How would you like it if I took a shit on one of your cultural icons!"

She's going to be at this for quite a while.

"She's going to be at this for quite a while," Parker said, echoing Will's silent statement.

"Oh, you can bet your ass. Might even be an ICW issue. Will'll be over the moon. He loves a good international law case." Clarissa frowned and turned back to Parker, remembering something she had wanted to ask before.

"Where'd you get that stuff anyway? I didn't think Muggle technology was that efficient yet. The last dive suit I saw was large and clunky."

Parker chuckled to himself. "It's not really. At least the commercial stuff isn't. But I went to school with Harry Osborn, Norman Osborn's kid, before I transferred to Ilvermorny."

"The CEO of Oscorp?"

"That's the one. I still hang with him and my old friends when I'm in New York. We go to summer camp together. So, I called him up, told him I was taking part in an underwater challenge and asked him for some gear. He sent me this top of the line Oscorp Marine Mission gear. Twelve hours of oxygen, pressure resistant suit, and a waterproof GPS tracker. I tagged both Gwen and Hermione last night. I assumed it would be Gwen they picked, but I wanted to make sure." Parker's hostage, Gwen, slapped him across the back of the head.

"You could have told me you prat."

"I could have yes, but where's the fun in that?"

Gwen rolled her eyes and poked her tongue out at him, which looked incredibly immature on someone who was the same age as Clarissa, but she dismissed it as an American thing. Americans confused her.

"How could you not have checked first!" Claire continued. Hundreds of people in the stands were now roaring loudly in agreement. Everyone had seemingly forgotten Claire's hostage; a short, brown-haired woman walking up the beach who looked just as mad as Claire did. Finally, Bagman politely excused himself from the raging girl to confer with Crouch. Crouch made a note on his page, then handed a sheet of paper to the Announcer, who also stood on the dock.

"Well. What an incredible way to start the year for the Alcheringa Academy students! And a fascinating finale to the second task. Mr Peter Parker of Ilvermorny and his hostage Miss Gwendolyn Stacy were the first to return and did so uninjured. As such, Mr Parker receives a full 60 points from the judges!"

The Ilvermorny students all jumped to their feet, cheering on their champion. Gwen grabbed Peter's arm and hoisted it in the air, making the Americans cheer even louder.

"In second place, is Mr Harry Potter and his hostage Ginevra Potter. They finished the task just a few minutes after Mr Parker and Miss Stacy but returned injured. As such, the judges have awarded him 40 points!"

More cheering, combined with a great deal of booing.

"That's not fair," Parker said, folding his arms, "Potter would have easily won. He had a massive disadvantage."

"Maybe…" Clarissa said. Gwen, wisely, stayed silent.

"Finally, Miss Claire O'Neill and her hostage, Mrs Mallory O'Neill, returned last, uninjured. But… do I have to read this? Fine. For the record, I don't like it."

Clarissa frowned.

This can't be good.

Oh, it won't be.

"But, as Miss O'Neill decided to question the judges, she receives only 30 points…"

Suddenly, a massive tidal wave erupted from the ocean surface, soaring towards the dock the Announcer, the judges, and a Claire who was so shocked she stood utterly frozen, were standing. Who was controlling it, Clarissa wasn't sure, but she began to slide her wand from her pocket, latching onto the Dragon Force through the Libra rune on her wrist. But Will beat her to it. He held his hand up, and the wall of water exploded in a cloud of steam.

"Um… Alcheringa is in the lead with 162, Ilvermorny in second with 139, and Hogwarts in third with 124. See you in America folks."

The Announcer dropped the amplifier and all but ran from the dock. Peter nudged her and gestured to the beach, where Claire's hostage, who just so happened to be Claire's mother and Will's step-mother, had her arms raised, a scowl etched across her face.

"I think Will is going to be sleeping with me tonight."

Ginny woke up four days later. As soon as she opened her eyes, she breathed a long sigh of relief. The headache, the wretched feeling in her stomach, and the burning in her body were gone. Everything was clear and pristine again, and the Gemini Rune was thrumming with heat once more.

Oh, thank god.

Ginny turned to her left, following the magnetic pull of the Rune, and saw that Harry was sitting up in his bed, looking around the room the same way she had.

That was a rather horrible eye-opener wasn't it.

You have no idea. I had to swim to the bottom of an ocean feeling that bad.

Harry looked down at himself and sighed in relief.

My body's back to normal. Phew. I had not realised just how much this thing was affecting me.

Harry grinned and held up the arm with the Firebrand upon it. The Rune was rippling softly in the morning light.

Ginny looked around the room. They were obviously still in the Academy, judging by the ocean outside the window, but it seemed some principles of design, like hospitals, were universal. Beds lined the walls, which were painted white. Some were curtained off, others weren't. And the smell of antiseptic was thick in the air.

"What now?" Harry asked, jumping up from his bed. He flexed his toes and grinned. Ginny pointed to a pile of clothes at the foot of his bed.

"Right." He grabbed the clothes and ducked behind the curtains, while she giggled and moved to do the same. When she came back out, Harry was sitting on his bed, a blank look on his face as he stared at an envelope in his hands.

"What is it?"

He held it out to her, and she sat down beside him. Written on the front was a series of words in an unfamiliar font.

Harry and Ginevra Potter.

Beneath the writing was a symbol of a black dragon breathing a red phoenix wreathed in flame.

"This is the letter we should have got years ago. It's from the Council," Harry said, confirming her thoughts.

"Question is…"

"… do we open it?"

We'll finally get some answers.

Do we want those answers though?

Ginny wasn't sure what to say to that, so she remained quiet. As far as they knew, she didn't get any powers from the Firebrand, so it was his decision. Finally, after a few minutes, Harry took a deep breath and opened the letter. The second his fingers broke the seal, Ginny felt a tug around her navel, and she was pulled forward through a funnel of swirling colours and howling wind. Then, as soon as it had begun, she was on her feet, Harry beside her, standing on a mountainside, snow falling all around her as an icy wind bit at her skin.

"Shit it's cold," Ginny said, folding her arms around her chest. Then she laughed, "I've been spending too much time around Jessica."

"I'd offer you a jacket, but I literally don't have one to offer," Harry said slyly. They were high. Very high. The rest of the world was obscured by clouds; they were so high up. Only the ledge they stood on – which was covered in snow and ice – the sheer cliff below, the thick wall of rock directly in front of them, and the pinnacle of the mountain about fifty metres above them were actually in her field of vision.

"Ah!" Harry clutched at his right arm.

"What is it?!" She shouted over the wind.

Harry didn't answer. Instead, he held the Firebrand up in the air. The marking was glowing a bright ethereal light. As soon as the light washed over the wall, an immaculate archway appeared, a wooden interior visible beyond it. Ginny grabbed Harry by the waist and pulled him forwards. As soon as they crossed the threshold, the wind and the cold vanished, replaced by the crackling of logs in a fireplace.

Ginny let go of Harry, and together they made their way down the hallway. The hall wasn't long. Only a couple of metres. It opened into a perfectly circular room with bookshelves covering every wall save the door they entered, a fireplace, and another door on the far side. Hanging above each bookcase was a portrait. The odd thing? Ginny recognised most of them.

"Moses, Odysseus, Confucius, Jesus of Nazareth, King Arthur, Salazar Slytherin, Charlemagne, Leif Ericson, Joan of Arc, George Washington, and Queen Victoria," She listed as she made her way around the room. Before Moses were several portraits of people she didn't know, and after Victoria was two empty frames. The intriguing thing though, was that most of them had two people in them. Salazar's also had Helga, Arthur's had Guinevere and so on.

"Holy crap. Ginny check this out." Harry was holding a book with a red leather cover on it. On the bottom of the front cover were the initials BB.

"This is the Red Book of Westmarch. It's real…"

Ginny didn't know what the Red Book of Westmarch was, so she started scanning the shelves herself. There were hundreds of books she had never seen before, but each looked important, and made tingles rush up her spine as she ran a hand over the cover. The Song of Ice and Fire; the Star Wars; The Great Gatsby; the Chronicles of Narnia; Crisis on Infinite Earths; The Odyssey; The Tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table; In Search of Lost Time; War and Peace; The Elder Scrolls; 1984; The Aeneid; Watchmen; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; Jurassic Park; Pride and Prejudice; The Iliad; Great Expectations; The Wind in the Willows; The Dark Phoenix Saga; The Northern Lights; Ender's Game; Les Misérables; The Percy Jackson Chronicles; The Hunger Games; A Clockwork Orange; The Handmaid's Tale; The Wheel of Time; and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy were all titles that adorned those shelves. Then there were entire collections from dozens of authors: Shakespeare; Harper Lee; Hemingway; Terry Brooks; Roald Dahl; Ray Bradbury; Charles Dickens; Stan Lee; Arthur Conan Doyle and many, many more.

In Ginny's opinion, the most fantastic thing was the books themselves. Each appeared to have been literally plucked out of time. Some were so old they used actual animal skin, some were on ordinary parchment, and others were on white paper, with a flat and consistent type of writing that Harry called 'typing'. Then there were the books seemingly written inside a screen, contained on the library shelves in thin glass rectangles of different shapes and sizes.

But two volumes specifically drew both Harry and Ginny's eyes. The first was on a shelf with a golden plaque that read: 'The Amazing Spider-Man (Various Authors)'. One of the books on the shelf was titled, The Night Gwen Stacy Died. With shaking hands, Ginny pulled the text from the shelf. It was thin and weak, like a newspaper. But it was in colour and contained divided squares of artwork.

"It's a comic…" Harry whispered, looking over her shoulder as she flipped through the pages. A man in a red and blue suit with a spider-motif, who they realised was actually Peter Parker, was attempting to save someone who looked vaguely like the Gwen Stacy they knew after she was thrown off a bridge by a Green Goblin. Peter, who apparently went by the name 'Spider-Man', tried to save her with some type of grapple line, but she died anyway.

"They don't even look alike," Ginny said, trying to sort out the whole thing out in her head, "Peter has nothing to do with Spiders. And he certainly doesn't have these web-line, things."

"I don't know. Most of the books on the shelves are supposed to be fictional… but some of them aren't. Who knows how many are actually true…" Harry stopped short, his eyes had fixed on another shelf across the room. A shelf containing seven books of differing lengths, all written by the same author: J.K Rowling.

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

"What the hell?" Harry muttered as he hesitantly walked over to it. Ginny put the comic back and followed him. He reached up to pull the Philosophers Stone from the shelf, and his hand slid straight through as if the book wasn't even there. He tried again with the other titles, but his hand phased through each one.

"I wouldn't bother with that mate. Believe me, we've all tried." The pair spun around, but no one was there.

"Who's there?"

"Us of course." Harry and Ginny looked up and found themselves staring into the eyes of King Arthur, who had a broad grin on his face from within his portrait.

"Your story. It's the one thing the Library won't let you look at. You have to live it for yourself."

Harry turned back to the seven books labelled with his name.

"What is this place?"

"This is the Library of Worlds, Harry Potter. The Headquarters of the Council of Fire. Welcome to the pinnacle of Mt Everest," Queen Victoria said grandly, gesturing at the room around them.

Ginny gasped, "You're the Council of Fire!"

"Indeed we are Mrs Potter," George Washington confirmed, nodding his head to them.

"So, you all carried the Firebrand then?" Harry asked.

"This one is intuitive isn't he," Slytherin said, winking at them.

"So maybe you can tell us what the hell is going on?" Harry finished, ignoring Salazar's comment.

"Well, you've been bestowed the power of the Firebrand by the Herald of the Council, who chooses one worthy soul every hundred years or so. Well at least, she did. Until now. Never have two bearers been alive at the same time before. This is exciting," Leif Ericson proclaimed, rubbing his hands together.

"So, you're the Council then? A bunch of dead people?"

Ginny smacked him across the back of the head.

"Hey! What was that for?"

"For being a prat." Harry rolled his eyes but didn't retort.

"Is there anything you can tell us?" Ginny asked the portraits.

"Well, we all had to deal with some sort of possible world ending or potential genocide, so expect something similar," Joan of Arc provided.

"Yep got one. His name's Voldemort. He's a dick," Harry explained, rubbing the back of his head.

"We know, we've read your story," Slytherin said, before sighing, "How our dream of a better world has fallen." He turned to Helga and placed his head on her shoulder.

Is it just me? Or is that really creepy?

It's really creepy.

"Can you tell us about the Herald?" Harry asked.

"That would be me," a voice called from above the fireplace. It depicted a woman in a white and gold robes, with flowing red hair braided and hanging over her shoulder. Hers' was the first painting in the circuit.

"Fantastic. Who are you?"

"My name is Clara. Clara Hunter. And I lived roughly ten-thousand of your Earth years ago, so don't feel bad about not knowing me."

"You're an Ancient?" Ginny asked in awe.

"What you call Ancients yes. We called ourselves the Anquietas, which I guess translates roughly to Ancient."

"Brilliant. Then you know where Atlantis is then," Harry said hopefully.

Clara frowned. "Why would you need to know that?"

"Because we've been dreaming about it. Is that not normal?" The portraits all looked at them in confusion, and the Gemini Rune twinged with cold.

"Can you tell us where it is?" Ginny tried.

"I don't know where the City is. I ascended long before our civilisation was wiped out. I've given directions to where it was, but no one has ever found it. I think the later generations must have taken the City and left."

"Left? How can you just take a city and leave?" Harry asked, an edge to his voice betraying his frustration.

"It flies." Harry and Ginny's jaws dropped open.

"It flies?"

"Well yeah. It's an interstellar vessel. Of course, it flies," Clara said, staring at them in confusion. Ginny was incredibly relieved when all the other portraits started yelling at Clara.

"Why didn't you tell anyone?!"

"What do you mean it's an interstellar vessel?"

"What is an 'interstellar vessel?"

"Hold the wormhole!" Clara yelled, and the room quieted. "Seriously? None of you knows that Atlantis was just one of a bunch of spaceships the Anquietas built as we traversed the stars?"

Holy shit. Luna was right! The Ancients are from space!

Like I said, never, ever, doubt the genius that is Luna Lovegood. It may just be the last thing you ever do.

"I can't believe that got lost to history!" Clara fumed, "Hey, Ascended self, this is your younger self patronising you from beyond the metaphorical grave!"

There was a bright flash of light, and then, standing in the middle of the room, was a figure dressed in the same robes the Clara in the portrait wore. Same face, same hair, same figure. The only difference? This one glowed with awe-inspiring white light, and her cloak seemed to billow in a non-existent wind.

"Oh, don't you start!" the woman exclaimed, folding her arms over her breasts. Ginny wasn't sure if her brain had literally stopped working.

"I've been running around, trying to find loopholes in the Accords ever since I Ascended! The law clearly states that all beings of the lower planes must possess free-will. That means no interference from yours truly, or anyone else for that matter. I'm already in the dog house with the Multiversity for giving these two the Firebrand after I already gave it to someone this century. Do you know how much of a lecture I'm in for? I'm just lucky I'm dating one of the Celestials, or I might have been forcibly descended. Do you know just how excruciatingly painful and humiliating that is? Of course, you don't. You haven't ascended. Ascension, for those of you members of my esteemed Council that are idiots, is the process by which one achieves eternal enlightenment. Oh, hi, Jesus,"

"Hi, Clara. How's Heaven?" Jesus asked.

"Smashing. I'm going to a garden party with Raziel in a few minutes, we've got to discuss the latest development on Earth 185 involving the Shadowhunters. That's if I don't get arrested."

"Excellent. Give my love to Dad."

Clara paused for a second.

"He says thanks."

What is going on?

I have no earthly idea.

"Oh, shut it you two," Clara said, waving a hand at them. If it was possible, their jaws fell open even further.

"To answer your question, portrait me. The reason they don't know where Atlantis is because a plague wiped out our entire civilisation, and the city shield was left active when they died. All the Ancients in the Milky Way, save those who Ascended like me, bit the bullet. As a result, all our secrets died with us. Except this of course." Clara waved her hand and stepped closer to the fireplace. Suddenly, the ground in the middle of the room folded in on itself and a large hexagonal glass platform rose up to fill its place. In the middle of the platform was a blue and white metal and glass chair.

"Have fun kiddies. I'm off. Going to go punch Thanos in the face a couple of times. Doesn't really do much, but it makes me feel better about myself. Then I have a party to get too. Toodles!" Clara vanished as if she were never there, leaving a dozen shocked portraits and a completely stunned Harry and Ginny in her wake.

Eventually, Moses coughed and gestured to the chair.

"Please tell me you at least know what this is?" Harry asked, not really hoping for much at this point.

"We do actually. Every member of the Council has sat in that chair. It's a type of test," Moses explained.

"What kind of test?"

Moses shrugged, "it just is."

Harry – who, judging from his emotions seeping into her brain, was about an inch shy of blowing the portrait of Clara off the wall – walked up to the chair and unceremoniously sat down.

Nothing happened.

Harry looked around and slapped the armrests for good measure, then he jumped to his feet and shrugged.

"Oh well. Guess I'm not so special. Thank Merlin there's not another thing that makes me different!" Ginny rolled her eyes at him, before ascending to the chair herself. It was incredibly strange. The body of the chair was the white metal, but the back of the seat was made of glass, with a blue light trapped within it. Gingerly, she lowered herself down onto the seat. Instantly, the back of the chair leaned back, and the glass platform began to glow a faint blue light.

"Woah!" Harry exclaimed.

Suddenly, Ginny could see everything in the Library. The magic that made the portraits work. Each book title, date of publication and date of acquisition. Their exact geographical position – they were really within Mt Everest. Her and Harry's biosignature. She could even detect the energy residue left by Clara's arrival and departure. It was like being in her body, but out of it at the same time. The chair, as if providing the information straight into her brain, was an interface that allowed the conscious mind to connect to the technology present within the Library's structure. Everything was under her control. A blip at the edge of her vision got her attention. Will and Clarissa were standing outside, seeking entrance. She opened the door for them and ordered the chair to spin around, so it faced the hallway. The pair walked into the room without noticing her, as they were too busy arguing with each other.

"I know you don't have the best relationship with your parents," Clarissa was saying, "but you can't sleep in my dorm room at the Academy. School has started again. I don't care how powerful we are, or that you can fool the wards, if someone, teacher or student, catches us, they can suspend me. I am not having a suspension on my record."

"But Clarieeeee…." Will moaned. He had reverted to his nineteen-year-old form.

"You need to get an apartment. Who knows, if you do get one, maybe I can come and live with you, instead of in the boarding house." Will perked up considerably at that. Finally, they seemed to notice Ginny sitting in the Control Chair.

"Ah! Lovely! So, younglings, any more questions these old fogies couldn't answer?" Will asked. Ginny ordered the chair to deactivate, and she quickly stood up. Only now did she notice that Harry was sitting on the floor with his head leaning against the bookshelves. He was fast asleep. Hm. She must have been in the chair longer than she thought. Ginny, deciding to let him sleep, turned to the other Soul-Bonded pair.

"Boy do I have a story to tell you."

Anonymous reviews have been disabled. Login to review. 1. Act I, Chapter 1 2577 0 0 2. Act I, Chapter 2 3857 0 0 3. Act I, Chapter 3 6839 0 0 4. Act I, Chapter 4 3517 0 0 5. Act I, Chapter 5 2759 0 0 6. Act I, Chapter 6 3646 0 0 7. Act I, Chapter 7 3123 0 0 8. Act I, Chapter 8 3749 0 0 9. Act I, Chapter 9 3592 0 0 10. Act I, Chapter 10 4635 0 0 11. Act II, Chapter 1 4795 0 0 12. Act II, Chapter 2 4912 0 0 13. Act II, Chapter 3 4596 0 0 14. Act II, Chapter 4 4033 0 0 15. Act II, Chapter 5 4695 0 0 16. Act II, Chapter 6 4878 0 0 17. Act II, Chapter 7 5376 0 0 18. Act II, Chapter 8 4393 0 0 19. Act II, Chapter 9 3716 0 0 20. Act II, Chapter 10 7982 0 0 21. Act III, Chapter 1 8563 0 0 22. Act III, Chapter 2 3926 0 0 23. Act III, Chapter 3 4739 0 0 24. Act III, Chapter 4 2324 0 0 25. Act III, Chapter 5 5812 0 0 26. Act III, Chapter 6 6900 0 0 27. Act III, Chapter 7 3211 0 0 28. Act III, Chapter 8 6466 0 0 29. Act III, Chapter 9 2888 0 0 30. Act III, Chapter 10 7371 0 0 31. Act IV, Chapter 1 6177 0 0 32. Act IV, Chapter 2 6862 0 0 33. Act IV, Chapter 3 6360 0 0 34. Act IV, Chapter 4 7018 0 0 35. Act IV, Chapter 5 9640 0 0 36. Act IV, Chapter 6 4531 0 0 37. Act IV, Chapter 7 2345 0 0 38. Act IV, Chapter 8 7242 0 0 39. Act IV, Chapter 9 6161 0 0 40. Act IV, Chapter 10 11288 0 0 41. Act V, Chapter 1 12170 0 0 42. Act V, Chapter 2 3204 0 0 43. Act V, Chapter 3 7727 0 0 44. Act V, Chapter 4 3213 0 0 45. Act V, Chapter 5 7099 0 0 46. Act V, Chapter 6 8061 0 0 47. Act V, Chapter 7 5544 0 0 48. Act V, Chapter 8 5414 0 0 49. Act V, Chapter 9 6046 0 0 50. Act V, Chapter 10 7849 0 0 51. Act VI, Chapter 1 6040 0 0 52. Act VI, Chapter 2 3614 0 0 53. Act VI, Chapter 3 4633 0 0 54. Act VI, Chapter 4 4638 0 0 55. Act VI, Chapter 5 2781 0 0 56. Act VI, Chapter 6 6382 0 0 57. Act VI, Chapter 7 4027 0 0 58. Act VI, Chapter 8 7169 0 0 59. Act VI, Chapter 9 4260 0 0 60. Act VI, Chapter 10 5574 0 0 61. Glossary and Appendices 10011 0 0 62. Update: A potential podfic 265 0 0