Harry Potter and the Gemini Curse
Act VI: The Mighty Defenders
Previously, on Harry Potter and the Gemini Curse…
Harry and Ginny have found the Lost City of Atlantis under the ice of Antarctica. But restoring it has come at a terrible price. Will O'Neill is dead, and the Dragon Force is lost to them.
Meanwhile, Voldemort and the Death Eaters have taken control of Hogwarts Castle. The Defenders have gathered the students in the Great Hall, but they know they cannot hold out against Voldemort on their own. In desperation, Hermione Granger has called upon a previously unknown Power – possibly the source of all Magic – to send a message to Harry and Ginny. Hopefully, it won't arrive too late.
The Defenders Army:
Hufflepuffs: Danny Rand, Hannah Abbot, Eloise Midgen, Zacharias Smith, Megan Jones and Justin Finch-Fletchley.
Ravenclaws: Terry Boot, Anthony Goldstein, Michael Corner, Padma Patil, Foggy Nelson, Mathew Murdock, Luna Lovegood, Leopold Fitz and Jemma Simmons.
Gryffindors: Katie Bell, Lavender Brown, Parvati Patil, Dean Thomas, Seamus Finnegan, Neville Longbottom, Colin and Dennis Creevey, Demelza Robbins, Vicky Frobisher, Hermione Granger, Harry Potter, Ginny Potter, and Luke Cage.
Slytherin: Daphne Greengrass, Astoria Greengrass, Lance Hunter, Emilie Brindle and Jessica Jones.
The Order of the Phoenix: Alastor Moody, Nymphadora Tonks, Clarissa O'Neill, Claire O'Neill, Fred and George Weasley, Lee Jordan, Alicia Spinnet, Molly Weasley, Bill Weasley, Charlie Weasley, Percy Weasley, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Brian Braddock, Betsy Braddock, Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson.
Voldemort = Horcruxes: Cup, Diadem, Snake.
Death Eaters: Lucius Malfoy, Nott Sr, Yaxley, Goyle Sr, Antonin Dolohov, Augustus Rookwood, Fenrir Greyback, Bellatrix Lestrange, Rabastan Lestrange, Rodolphus Lestrange, Zebadiah' Kilgrave' Jones, Travers, Selwyn, Alecto and Amycus Carrow, Rowle.
Students: Draco Malfoy, Pansy Parkinson, Theodore Nott, Blaze Zabini, Crabbe, Goyle, etc.…
The Enigma Forces:
An Enigma Force is a reservoir of cosmic energy. Not all Enigma Forces function on the same rules. Some have sentience, others do not.
The Aether Force: The manifestation of cosmic good. Generated by the existence of Ascended beings. It exists as an energy reservoir that separates Heaven from the Circle of the Gods. It fuels the powers of angelic beings. It can be tapped with the permission of Ascended Deities like God or the Vishanti.
The Nether Force: The manifestation of cosmic evil. Generated by the existence of Descended beings. Exists as an energy reservoir that separates the True Multiverse from the Dark Multiverse, keeping the Great Destroyer trapped within. It fuels the powers of demonic beings. Access is achieved through Dark Magic artefacts.
The Dark Force: The manifestation of cosmic destruction. Generated by the deaths of Universes. Initially created as an energy reservoir to power the World Forge, now it fuels the powers of the Great Destroyer, and can only be accessed by surrendering one's soul to it.
The Speed Force: (Also called 'Hyperspace', 'the Time Vortex', 'The Superflow', and other names.) The manifestation of cosmic motion. The Speed Force maintains the barrier between the three dimensions of space and the fourth of time. Without it, the fourth dimension would collapse into the other three, and all of time would start happening at once. It exists as an energy reservoir that separates the Multiverse from the Circle of the Gods. It generates its power from kinetic motion. People imbued with its powers are known as 'Flashes'.
The Conflict Force: The manifestation of cosmic conflict. The force that powers the Story Machine. It is generated by any and all forms of conflict in the Multiverse. This force is protected and hidden by the Travellers.
The Dragon Force: The manifestation of cosmic balance. It is responsible for keeping Universes from colliding with one another. It can be tapped by 'avatars' imbued with its power through the use of 'shards'. Shards are often drawn to points of imbalance between 'good' or 'evil', offering a powerful advantage to the weaker side. Some shards hold more power than others, allowing them to actually speak to their bearers, though this is uncommon, while others hold far less power, and many avatars never even know that they are avatars at all. The shards will often 'leave' through one means, or another once equilibrium has been achieved.
The Phoenix Force: The manifestation of cosmic rebirth. This force determines the death and resurrection of the universe, and each world has its own Phoenix Force. Its power comes from its cycle of rebirth, drawing strength from creation and using it for destruction. It bonds to unsuspecting individuals in attempts to find those capable of harnessing its true power.
The Source: The True Source is the source of all creation, the first firmament. Everything that ever has been or ever will be in the Omniverse came from the Source and will eventually return to it. It is the origin point for all forms of magic in all Multiverses.
Act IV, Chapter 1: The Armour of Ancients
Harry stood silent as he looked down at Will's body. It was lying on what had once been a bed, on a level of the Control Tower that had been a hospital or infirmary. Claire hadn't released her brothers' hand since they'd retrieved him, and Clarissa was sitting on the next bed over. She wouldn't meet his gaze. Ginny wasn't in the room. She was blasting the most powerful reduction hex she could create over and over and over again into the City shield – a dome of transparent liquid energy that now surrounded the entirety of Atlantis. T'Challa and Okoye were off somewhere with Shuri, he wasn't sure where.
Will's charred body, covered in horrid burns and smelling like sulphur, made him want to hurl. This was their fault, and Ginny couldn't even bring herself to argue the point. They had been careless with people's lives, and now Will was dead. He had become as bad as the man he blamed for his entire childhood, Albus Dumbledore. And that realisation made him feel far worse than any smell.
"He can come back… the bond…" Claire whispered as if trying to make herself believe it. Clarissa nodded vaguely. He couldn't imagine it. Clarissa and Will were soul-bonded just as he and Ginny were. He knew first-hand what the effects of removing or shielding one half from another were. When Ginny had been lost… he'd gone through the worst depression imaginable. The emptiness was enough to drive anyone mad. He didn't want to even think about that happening between him and Ginny. The Gemini Rune burned with icy pain.
"How…" Harry tried to ask, but the words caught in his throat.
Clarissa shrugged. "I don't know."
Silence descended on the trio once more. A heavy silence, one in which you knew you needed to say something, but nothing could come to mind. Harry simply stared, unseeing, at William O'Neill, wielder of the Dragon Force – the same force that now powered Atlantis. Every death, every failure came swimming through his mind. He would have been better off if he'd stayed in his cupboard. Maybe his friends would still be alive. Ron, Susan, Will, Mr Weasley, Ernie Macmillan, Anthony Goldstein, Jason Denric, Elizabeth Brocker, Brian Levison, Sam Caspian… Then there were all the names he didn't know. People who'd died fighting Voldemort, fighting for him…
"But I'm going to find out," Clarissa stated. Harry looked up at her, but the distraught woman had already burst into a flurry of golden dust.
"Tell me it mattered," Claire begged, staring at Harry with tears in her eyes, "Tell me my brother died for a reason."
"We have Atlantis now. We can defend ourselves now. We can save the world, thanks to him." Harry tried to make himself believe the words.
"I hope you're right," Claire said, turning back to Will, "I hope you're right."
Harry hoped he was right too.
A flash in the room caught both their attentions, and Ginny's too through the mental link. A silvery shape had appeared in the air and began swimming down to him, glowing with soft ethereal light. An otter. Ginny apparated beside him with barely a pop.
"What is…" Claire asked hesitantly, standing up on shaky legs.
"It's Hermione's Patronus, but how could it be here? It's thousands of kilometres too far for a Patronus message to reach us…" Ginny breathed, reaching out to touch the otter. As soon as she did so, it spoke with Hermione's voice.
"Voldemort has taken Hogwarts. Kids locked in the Great Hall. Dumbledore dead. Jessica and Matt missing. Help us."
The otter faded away, leaving three shell-shocked teens alone in the hospital.
"I am going to pulverise that fucker," Claire seethed, seemingly channelling her depression into anger. She took one last look at Will, before wiping her tears and turning back to Harry and Ginny, who were still staring at where the Patronus had been.
"Lead me to the armoury. I'm going to use some of the Ancients' weapons to fuck that walking corpse in the ass."
Demelza stood in the Great Hall with roughly a hundred students from all four houses, and all seven years, wand held limply by her side. Another 'BANG!' thumped against the giant wooden doors, but they still held. Professor Babbling had drawn a series of Ancient Runes on the back of the door, and they seemed to be holding, barely. Not that Demelza really thought it mattered. Voldemort would break down those doors any second now, and if he didn't enslave them all, he'd kill them. It was all hopeless. She intended to go down fighting for sure, but she didn't think it would matter.
Only a hundred. The rest were still outside somewhere. Only Professor Babbling and Professor Vector were still with them. Professor's Slughorn, Snape and Flitwick were all outside the doors, and she'd caught a glimpse of Professor Dumbledore before they slammed shut.
None of the foremost Defenders were inside either. It was only Parvati, Padma, Foggy and her. They'd transformed their school robes into the Defenders Cloaks, which gave Demelza a bit more confidence than she felt and a lot more authority, in marshalled the students – mostly third and fourth years if Demelza had to guess – to the back of the hall. Now she was standing with the three other newly raised Defenders, Daphne Greengrass, Tracey Davis, Lance Hunter and Professor Vector between them and the doors. If they broke, when they broke, she didn't have any faith they'd survive.
The doors thudded again, and an ominous creak echoed through the room. She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear and narrowed her eyes. She hadn't thought she'd die here. Not inside Hogwarts. She honestly wished she'd never heard of the bloody place. Never heard of magic. She was muggleborn after all, why couldn't she have just been born without the magic like all ordinary people were. She liked science and math. She could have been an engineer, or a physicist, or maybe a teacher. She could see herself as a teacher. Instead, she was going to die in a school for witches and wizards, at the hands of a genocidal maniac with no nose.
A dull thrumming sound began to rumble through the room, but it wasn't coming from the door. A scream echoed from behind them, and the defenders spun around in time to see a glowing blue symbol appear in the air over the staff table. She recognised it from Ancient Runes class. Centaurus. The ground had begun to shake slightly. Another thud banged against the doors. A second symbol appeared below and to the left of the first, then a third below and to the right of that one. She didn't recognise those two.
"What's going on?" One of the students whispered, pointing her wand at the symbols.
"I don't know," Parvati whispered, "But I don't think you want to be standing there when that circle finishes." She and Padma began pulling the kids back, and Demelza realised the twins were right. A fifth symbol had appeared now, glowing with the same soft blue light as the others, but this one had arced back up. It was clear the runes were going to form a circle, but for what purpose? The rumbling grew louder, in sync with the banging on the door.
A sixth rune materialised.
"Bootes…" Daphne mumbled. Professor Vector was staring at the runes blankly. A final rune appeared at the apex of the circle. The Home Rune – an inverted V with a circle over the peak – blazing with sparkling blue light. All the runes flashed once, and Professor Vector's eyes widened in shock.
"GET DOWN!" She screamed, and the entire hall dropped in reaction. Rainbow light exploded out of the space within the circle of runes, flaring out like an explosion of water, before it was sucked back into the ring. When the glare abated, Demelza found herself staring in awe at a swirling portal of rippling blue light, like the surface of a lake, or the ocean. The runes had vanished, but the circle of light hung suspended, shimmering softly as it cast it's glow out on the flagstones.
Another bang smashed against the doors. Daphne and Lance stood up and edged closer to the portal, wands pointed at it, but before they could even get close, four figures stepped out of the glow and onto the stone. Three of them wore white, black and red armour, making them look like something out of Star Trek, or maybe Star Wars. The figures on the left were women, one with blonde hair tied in a loose plait, the other with burnt red hair hanging loosely in waves across her shoulders and back. The blonde had the dark tan complexion she'd come to associate with the people from Alcheringa, while the redhead had the fair skin more common to Britain and Ireland. On the right were two men. The one closest to the middle – beside the red-haired woman – had shaggy black hair like a bird's nest, and green eyes that shone like emeralds reflecting sunlight. The one on the far right wore a different suit altogether. It was pitch black, with silver accents running across it. On his head was a helmet done in the same style, with the silver accents making out facial marks. The mask itself was the only distinguishing feature, as it had been shaped to look like a Panther's head. There was nothing to indicate what the man beneath looked like.
She almost didn't recognise them, appearing as they did, but Daphne cleared it up very quickly.
"Harry! Ginny!" She beamed, lowering her wand. That was all it took for the students to rise up and crowd around the four people at once, surrounding them in a swarm of bodies.
"They came back!"
"They'll save us!"
Demelza allowed herself a soft smile. She might not die here after all.
Ginny pushed through the crowd and pulled Demelza into a firm hug.
"It's so good to see you again," she said to the slack-jawed girl, "All of you. Even under the circumstances." She directed that last to the other Defenders and Daphne and Lance.
"What's happening?" Harry asked, cutting straight to the point.
"Voldemort," Daphne stated, "He attacked the castle. We tried to get as many people here as possible, but everyone else is still outside. Last we saw, Dumbledore cast something on the doors that slammed them shut. I don't think he lasted long." Something crashed against the doors Professor Babbling was reinforcing with the Taurus Rune, and Ginny winced.
First things first. Evacuate the people we can, then we grab whoever else. We've got the City now, we can sacrifice the castle.
As much as I hate the idea, you're right.
"Okay!" Ginny shouted, "Everyone through the portal! Quickly now!" As soon as the words left her mouth, the students started bulldozing towards the shimmering blue circle – connected to the Gateway back in Atlantis. With the Ancients knowledge of the City in her mind, it hadn't taken Ginny long to figure out how to use the portal device.
The first row of students hesitated slightly, but charged through after a moment, the rest of the group following behind. The portal made a soft squishy sound as each person stepped through the rippling event horizon.
"You guys should all go with them, they'll need help marshalling on the other side," Harry told the red-cloaked figures. Daphne and Lance bolted, but Foggy, Demelza and the Patil twins all hesitated.
"Go," Ginny assured them, "there's nothing any of you can do here now. You're more help in Atlantis." Foggy blanched at the word 'Atlantis' but let Padma dragged him towards the Gateway with the others.
"So," Claire said, wringing her hands together, "what's the plan?" Harry held his hand beside his leg, and a pistol materialised at his side. She loved these suits. Ancient Nanotech. They rebuilt themselves depending on the user's needs, and they were completely damage absorbent. In other words, any attack against the armour, only made it stronger. The Database said no energy-based, magical based, or physical based attack would affect it. They'd each tested the armour to prove it did actually do what it said it would, and they'd all been impressed when the strongest curses they could think of were simply absorbed by the nanites. Ironically, the only spell they'd had time to test that did work on the suit was the Disarming Charm, because that spell wasn't actually an attack against the armour itself.
He tossed the gun to Claire, "You shoot him with this magic disrupter the Ancients invented. It'll only work once before the Nether Force adapts, but it should give us a few minutes before he decides to blow us all up. In the meantime, I do believe a great deal of punching is warranted." T'Challa nodded his head, you could never tell if he was smiling or not under that helmet. Claire looked like Fred and George in a joke shop.
Claire flicked her hands towards the ground, and she floated up into the rafters. Ginny watched as Professor Vector and Foggy followed the last student through the portal. Harry stepped up to Professor Babbling and placed a hand on her shoulder. She turned around sluggishly, eyes glazed, weariness written in her expression. She breathed a sigh of relief at the sight of him.
"Potter," She breathed.
"I've got this, Professor. Get to the portal." Babbling suddenly noticed the spinning silver circle, and her eyes went wide.
"I… think I'll do just that," she mumbled. She dropped her wand, and the Taurus Rune began to fade from the back of the door. The banging became louder and more insistent as the Runes professor hobbled to the Gateway and jumped through.
"Ready!" Harry commanded. Harry's wand extended from his wrist, and he caught the hilt in a firm grip. Ginny did the same. The rune vanished, and the doors exploded. Ginny's and Harry's helmets morphed around their faces, and debris bounced off them. She didn't even feel it. The masks were white and red like the rest of the suits, but the place over their eyes was transparent, with a heads-up-display activating instantly. It was as intuitive as the Chair, but you didn't need the Gene to use it. All Ginny had needed to do was activate the suits, and anyone could use them. The display showed the closest bio-signs, noted points of structural weakness surrounding them, and warned of incoming threats. It also monitored internal biometrics within the wearer such as adrenaline, lactic acid build-up, respiration, heart rate and blood flow. She hadn't tried using magic with the helmet on yet, but she had a feeling it would probably be able to detect that as well.
Dust filled the air, and Voldemort strode into the hall with his billowing black robes. His eyes were red, not black. Ginny twitched her wand, and the dust vanished. Two Death Eaters – Snape and Crouch Jr – stood on either side of him.
"Hi, Tom. Good to see you. Having a nice day murdering children?" Harry asked, keeping his voice steadier than Ginny could have. The snake faced man could call on the Nether Force at any moment and eviscerate them all, armour or no.
"Harry Potter. Finally, you show yourself. I was beginning to worry you didn't care as much about your friends as I was assured you did. After all, you led how many to their deaths against me in the Ministry?" His voice was soft, caressing, as if he found the whole thing terribly amusing.
"Oh, you know. Things to do, places to see. I fancy myself quite the world traveller these days." Voldemort raised an eyebrow.
"So, I've heard. Gallivanting off to America, Australia, even Wakanda if what my spies say are true." T'Challa flinched slightly but said nothing. She wasn't surprised Tom knew where they'd been. "It matters little, of course. Whatever allies you think you've gained, I will crush them as surely as I have destroyed Hogwarts. Soon, the whole world will bow before my power."
Harry sighed. "You know Tom, sometimes you even impress me with how much larger your ego can inflate between our meetings. I seem to recall the first time we met you were growing out the back of someone's head."
Voldemort laughed, a high-pitched chuckle that sent shivers down her spine. The Gemini Rune thrummed with warmth, and Ginny returned the feeling.
"Tell you what," Harry continued, "I'll give you a free shot. Just one, mind you. I'm tired of all the fighting, so if you can do it, do it. But I've got a feeling fate is trying to keep me around." Harry opened his arms wide, and Ginny tightened the grip on her wand.
What are you doing?
Testing the armour.
Are you sure about this?
Not in the slightest.
Oh good. Just checking.
Voldemort didn't hesitate.
"If that is your choice, Potter, then I commend it." He sounded practically giddy, "And, as I am a merciful Lord, I'll be happy to oblige. Avada Kedavra!"
Green light leapt from Voldemort's wand, and Ginny couldn't bring herself to watch as it impacted Harry's chest like an emerald lance to the heart. The green light discharged over Harry's chest with the faint sound of static electricity. Harry patted himself down absently and sighed dramatically. Voldemort was staring at him like a dead fish.
How about that?
You are such a drama queen.
"Told you so," Harry said with a shrug of his shoulders. At the same time, Claire blasted Voldemort with the Ancient pistol from her position in the roof. A bolt of blue energy struck him in the head, his whole body went stiff, and he fell to the ground like a felled tree. His head cracked against the flagstones. Ginny and Harry quickly stunned the shocked Snape and Crouch Jr before they could recover.
"Well, that was fun," Ginny stated as Claire dropped to the ground. T'Challa walked up to Voldemort and tried to punch him in the face. He was blasted back by a shell of black energy that appeared around his body.
Harry sighed, "It was worth a try." The black shield dissipated from view, but that didn't mean it wasn't there.
"Come on. Before he wakes up and kills us all," Harry said, beckoning the others forward as his helmet folded back. Ginny and Claire let theirs fold back as well. They advanced out of the Great Hall, and Ginny thought she might be sick. The Entrance Hall had been totally devastated, and the Grand Staircase had more holes and missing stairways than remaining ones. The second they stepped out, Gwen swung down from the stairs with an unconscious Luna slung over her shoulder. She was wearing her Spider-Woman suit.
"Oh, thank God," Gwen breathed, rushing over to them. At the same moment, Danny poked his head out from behind a wall and sighed in relief.
"I thought I heard you, but I wasn't sure," he said, before leading Lavender, Fitz, Simmons, Cho Chang, Neville Longbottom, Hannah Abbot and about ten other students down from one of the still intact staircases. Neville stared at Voldemort's body.
"No. And he'll be awake in a few minutes, so get your asses into the Great Hall, and through that portal," Ginny said. Claire had ignored the whole procession, instead walking over to the wreckage of one of the staircases. She flexed her hand, and Hermione hovered up out of the rubble. Ginny breathed her own sigh of relief when she saw the bushy-haired girl hadn't sustained any wounds, though she'd lost the armband that hid the Pisces Rune on her forearm.
"Matt, Jessica, Luke…" Harry began, but Danny shook his head.
"Missing since this morning for the first two. Luke was searching for other students, but I haven't seen him since everything started."
"What about the rest of the Defenders Army?"
As soon as Harry said the words, Eloise and Katie Bell pocked their heads out of a portrait one level above them as it swung open to reveal a secret passage. Katie saw Harry and let out a whoop of relief.
"Quickly, everyone, Harry's here!"
Eloise led the way down the stairs and flung herself into Harry's arms.
"I knew you'd come back! I knew it!" Harry blushed, and Ginny laughed at him. Eloise released him and spotted Claire. She got just as furiously hugged as Harry did.
"Claire!" Ginny couldn't remember if Eloise and Claire had known each other very well, but they had both been members of the school delegations during the Triwizard Tournament, so she supposed they might have strung up a friendship when Ginny wasn't paying attention. That or Eloise was just a frantic hugger.
Katie smiled to Harry and Ginny, before leading what looked like the entirety of the fifth years – from all four houses – behind her. Bringing up the rear of the group was Emilie Brindle, Astoria Greengrass, Colin Creevey and his brother Denis. That was almost three-quarters of the school accounted for by Ginny's reckoning.
The smell of death suddenly permeated the air, and everyone turned around slowly. Purple lightning had started to spark off Voldemort's body. Ginny's helmet snapped back into place, and she choked back a strangled moan at the energy levels the suit was detecting as the Nether Force fought off the effects of the disrupter.
"Go!" She screamed. Everyone sprang into action, racing back into the Great Hall. A blip appeared on her radar, Ginny turned just in time to see Professor Flitwick blast a piece of fallen masonry off him. He groaned and tried to move, but he couldn't seem to stand up. Ginny, casting a look between Voldemort's crackling form and her retreating friends, cursed herself, and raced to Flitwick.
"Wingardium Leviosa!" Flitwick floated out of the debris, and Ginny pulled the diminutive man towards her frantically.
"Mrs Potter!" Flitwick stammered. She snatched him out of the air, carrying him bridal style. "That was highly inappropriate," he wheezed softly.
"Not now," she snapped, harder than she intended. She raced past Voldemort as the stones began to blacken, and steam echoed up where her footprints had been.
Flitwick grimaced, straining, then seemed to give up. Instead, he stared as best he could towards the portal.
"I have never seen…" he trailed off, looking back to Voldemort. Ginny's heads-up-display was beeping frantically at her now. She reached the steps at the far end of the hall, just below the Gateway, as Voldemort sat up.
He roared in anger, and Claire pointed her wand at the roof.
"Reducto!" A bolt of orange blasted from Claire's wand, they dove through the circle of blue light.
The initial sensation of passing through the wormhole wasn't that different from a portkey. The jerking motion was there, though it caught your whole body instead of just hooking around your navel. But unlike with a portkey, you couldn't actually see the vortex you fell through. There was a faint impression of blue as you passed through the event horizon of the Gateway and the jerking motion pulled you forward, but the next moment you emerged from the other side, with the exact same momentum you had going in. There was nothing in between.
They vaulted out of the Gateway in Atlantis and raced along the Gate Room platform.
"LOCK IT UP!" Harry screamed. Shuri, above them in the control room, slammed a button and a shimmering energy shield, like the one surrounding the City, covered the surface of the gate. The blue liquid turned black, and an enormous "BANG!" like a gong struck the shield. The light vanished, and the runes around the outside of the ring all stopped glowing. Ginny released a panicked breath and lowered Flitwick down next to Hermione and Luna, both still unconscious. She turned to Harry and realised he was watching the hundred and fifty odd students as they all stared around the grand room in awe.
"Welcome to Atlantis."
The first time Jessica woke up, she was lying on the couch in the Home, Professor McGonagall standing over her, concern etched on her face. She had a vague recollection of eating a broth before she fell asleep again.
The second time, she was in her own bed, and it was dark. She drank a glass of water on the bedside, turned over, and went back to sleep.
Now, on her third attempt, Jessica thought she had her bearings back. She made her way downstairs and into the kitchen, and her eyes widened at the sight of Mat sitting with Professor McGonagall and Amelia Bones, eating Sheppard's Pie.
"Professor McGonagall, Madame Bones," Jessica said softly, sitting down on a stool and shovelling herself a generous serving of pie. Matt instantly moved to her side.
"Are you alright?"
"Right as rain," Jessica told him. It was a lie. She still felt as if she'd been run over by a truck, but she didn't have time for that, so it was ignored. She turned her gaze on Professor McGonagall.
"I don't mean to be rude, Professor McGonagall, but I'm pretty sure you're supposed to be in a coma."
Professor McGonagall huffed. "I don't think I'm a professor of anything anymore. I woke up two days ago, during the attack… the moment Albus died." McGonagall shifted, and Jessica's stomach took a dive.
"How do you…"
"He transferred control of the castle to me, the infusion was enough to jolt me awake it seems. I'm technically the Headmistress now. Not that it does much good. From what I've been able to discern, Voldemort has dismantled most of the castle's securities. I assume he's replaced them with his own."
Jessica reached for her wand, then remembered she'd given it to Dumbledore. The Headmaster's wand was sitting on the kitchen bench, with the time-turner.
"It won't do any good," McGonagall said, following her gaze to the time-turner, "You can't change time like that. We already know what happens; therefore, time is set. Voldemort has already captured the castle. Nothing you go back to do would make a difference, merely rewinding time so you could experience it over again."
Jessica sighed. "He'll use the castle as a staging ground," she surmised, "perfect location for it really."
"He's already taken control of the Ministry," Amelia said solemnly, "we've had word from the Weasley twins, they've fled to the Oxford House with Lee Jordan, Angelina Johnson and Alicia Spinnet; their store was destroyed when the Death Eaters claimed Diagon Alley. No news yet on anything else that happened in the Alley. Nothing from the Burrow yet either."
"What about Sirius, Brian, the Aurors…"
"Nothing. Not a word. Moody's silent as well."
"Wizarding Britain is holding its breath, and each new piece of news is like another limb being torn from an already rotting tree," Matt said. He handed Dumbledore's wand to her.
"He wanted you to have it," he said. She took the wand in hand and felt an odd kinship with it. The memory that had eluded her on the Astronomy Tower returned in full force. The Tale of the Three Brothers. Jessica didn't think there was a pureblood who didn't know the story, and the three objects depicted within: The Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone, and the Invisibility Cloak. Legend told that the wand could only be won by an opponent who defeated its current master. But the same legend said that whoever wielded the wand was unstoppable. She shook her head, tucking the wand into the holster in her pocket. It didn't matter anyway. It would work for her, and it was most likely more powerful than hers had been anyway, she may as well use it.
The fireplace flared, and Betsy Braddock stepped out, Bill Weasley behind her, both covered in soot and ash.
"Oh, thank Merlin you guys are alright," Bill breathed, wiping some of the dirt away.
"What happened?" Matt asked hesitantly.
"We were in Gringotts," Bill said, shaking his head as if to clear it. Betsy advanced on the fridge and pulled out a Corona.
"Then the alarms went off, and a bunch of Goblins came and yanked us to a cart track I'd never seen before. We went down through the tracks, far deeper than I thought the tunnels went, until eventually, we came out in this giant underground city. We docked at this massive cart station, easily the size of Kings Cross, us and some hundreds of other Goblins and employees. Once the flow stopped, there was this huge crash, and the very cavern started trembling. The Goblins sealed up all the tunnels to the surface in a panic. We were down there for… how long was it Betsy?" Bill spoke the whole thing breathlessly, as if still in awe of what he'd seen.
"Two days or so," she said, discarding the now empty bottle and grabbing another.
"Yeah, two days sounds about right, then they let us use this ancient Floo they keep down there for emergencies to transport back up here if we wanted too, but not before telling us that the branch had been destroyed, and subsequently discontinued. What the hell happened up here?"
Amelia and McGonagall filled the pair in, while Jessica stared at Matt. He was twisting his fork in his fingers absently.
"We need to find Harry," she said softly.
"How? We have no idea where he is. Anyway, while you've been recovering, I've been thinking. We need to go after the Cup. Quickly."
"Because Voldemort's busy. He's consolidating his hold on Britain right now, which means all his Death Eaters will probably be occupied. There's no better time than now to sneak into Jones Manor."
"Why do you need to sneak into Jones Manor?" McGonagall asked, staring at them intently. Evidently, they hadn't been talking quiet enough.
"There's something inside that we need," Jessica told her, "we can't stop Voldemort without it."
Professor McGonagall nodded as if that explained everything, then turned to Bill and Betsy.
"Can you get us past the wards?"
The pair shrugged.
"Possibly. We can try."
The group began discussing how they could get inside, and Jessica gave as accurate floor plan as she could think off. She couldn't help feel the first bit of hope bloom in her chest since Matt told her their trip to the cave had been for nothing. That reminded her…
"The fake locket…"
"Regulus Black, Sirius younger brother," Matt explained, "he left a note inside it. He turned against Voldemort and stole the Horcrux. He must never have found a way to destroy it, which is why it was still in Grimmauld Place for us to find." Jessica nodded in understanding, before returning her attention to the planning. It was time to get back to work.
Heya Guys, Miracle here (We've just arrived at Ghost's parents' house, and he's asleep on the bed behind me). So sorry for being late, but we've had a big weekend, and were a tad busy. Ghost asked me to marry him! I haven't stopped smiling for three days.
So, here's how this is going to affect you guys. We are going to be going on hiatus starting the back end of November. We were going to be going on break anyway because we planned to go backpacking across Europe. We've decided, that, as we were already planning to go, we're going to merge the trip we've planned with our Honeymoon. We don't know what time we'll be coming back online.
As a result, we will absolutely have Gemini Curse finished and posted 100% before we leave. Shards of Heaven, unfortunately, will have to go on hiatus. However, we plan to post all the chapters we have in the vault before we leave, which is up to chapter fifteen or so, depending on if we write anymore before we go.
I want to apologise, on behalf of the pair of us, to all of our fans and readers who will be inconvenienced by this. We absolutely love writing these stories and have every intention of coming back to Shards of Heaven, and we are going to get started on the sequel novella to Gemini Curse: Harry Potter and Blessing of the Phoenix. But we've been preparing for this trip for a long time, and we don't know how much, if any, time we'll have on the road for writing, or how steady our ability to post will be.
Thanks, so much for your understanding, and we can't wait to bring you the grand finale of Gemini Curse, and all we have so far for Shards of Heaven.
Love Miracle and Ghost.