Okay, so you have all seen the other side of this story, and I'll admit, I'm not usually one for writing the side of the Light, but as I know plenty about both sides of mythology, I wanted to try and get this done too. That, and for all the Flurry I see here, I have found maybe seven stories that are actually worth reading, so... yeah. I wanted to try and make another one. Basically, the description is the same as Seven Queens in Darkness, just with the Light half of the equation and not the Dark half.
Oh, and I don't do disclaimers coz this site is a FANfiction site, but hey, for once I guess I can say that I do not own JKR's genius, I do not make money from this, etc. etc. thank you come again.
Italics is thoughts, italics and " are French.
His world is agony and suffering, his entire existence narrowing down to the burning spikes driven through his wrists and ankles. His sight is dark now, but in the first moments of the torment, he saw a hero born when Neville drew the Sword from the hat in his hand. He saw the Malfoy matriarch turn her back on the Dark Lord, her son in tow and her husband looking lost. He saw many things before the position he was in took too much from him, many of them good, some worse than any other in the war. He struggles to breathe now, as he has struggled for the last two days(or is it three? Time does not work now, the only thing left is the burning in his chest, the dull throbbing fire in his limbs.)It was forever ago that he witnessed the deaths before him, though he cannot quite attach names to the corpses at his feet. The woman with the purple hair, he reaches for an identity but comes up with nothing, his throat raw as he pushes against the spikes again to try and gasp one more breath. He feels he should know her, but he cannot think.
The small boy with the sandy curls, he cannot think of a name but he comes up with an image, a tiny human no larger than an elf, clutching a camera of ruined film as he lays unmoving in a bed. There is more to it(a brother?) but he cannot grasp it, his brain is too slow to catch his thoughts now. The thoughts of how it came to be flit through his mind, chasing the names and faces of the dead before him, just out of reach but filling his mind with images. For a moment he recalls the smiles of the dead, the men he called 'father' standing next to the shades of his parents. He grasps at the comfort they brought him in his darkest hour, or what he thought would be his darkest hour before this happened to him. There was fear in his heart as he stepped into the clearing, but fear of what he does not know as nothing could be worse than this torture, to be hung on a cross for all to see and left to die a slow and painful death. He remembers that, the fire of the Crucio as it robbed him of the strength to resist the hands that held him down, left his voice unable to call out as the nails were driven through his joints. He would do anything to be able to feel the sweet mercy of that curse again, it would be a relief for him to only have to endure that.
His vision fades out again, leaving him with one final image before he sees nothing more. A flash of green, a cold laugh, a red-haired girl tumbling down from high above. His heart jerks as he recognizes her, but with his strength gone he can no longer move and so must succumb at last. The cold touch of death creeps closer to his heart, leaving him just enough time to think one final thought, the name of the newest casualty slowly slipping through his mind: Hannah. Then he is gone, slipping away into whatever afterlife there is. Nothing could be worse than the life he has lived, and as the fog clears and his eyes can see again for just a moment, he remembers his mentor's words, "Death is nothing to be afraid of Harry, it is simply the next great adventure." He smiles for a moment and thinks, 'Yes sir. I am ready for the next adventure, as this one was too painful. Will you be there with me Albus? Will my parents?' The aches in his body slowly fade away and he feels lighter, freer, and more at peace than he has ever been as the journey into Death begins.
Except this isn't how it's supposed to be, right? He looks around, vision fading in again and showing him a little at a time, disjointed images that finally settle into a concrete form in his mind and he realizes he is sitting in a theater, the lone occupant of a huge amphitheater. The screen in front of him flickers to life and a review of the last year starts to play. The first scene is his escape from Surrey, the flight in that sidecar a cramped and painful experience, one quickly exacerbated by his stupidity in trying to use Expelliarmus instead of the bevy of other curses and jinxes he knew even then. Of all the things that Dumbledore taught him, that is the only one he learned that he himself could not abide by, he simply was not powerful enough to only use non-lethal means and expect to survive. That was the night he lost his oldest and most trusted companion, Hedwig's form tumbling through the air as she dove into the path of the Killing Curse to save her master's life.
The next scene to play is the wedding of Bill Weasley to Fleur Delacour, though it never reached the actual ceremony. Harry was at the Burrow early enough to see the tension for days, to hear the slowly escalating arguments between the eldest Weasley son and his fellow Champion. He remembers running away from it more than once, his sometimes girlfriend always finding him in the end and just holding him, understanding his issues with raised voices even though he only ever told general stories about his childhood, nothing definite or detailed. Those were the times during that summer where he almost felt normal, Ginny wrapping her arms around his waist and leaning her head against his chest just so she could hear his heart beating. She was doing it again as they all waited in the pavilion for Fleur to come walking down the aisle, only to hear Molly's shrieking voice warring with Fleur's melodic and heavily accented tones. The argument worsened more and more until Molly said the words that would result in her eldest son's heart breaking into tiny pieces: "My son would never marry a tarted up French hussy like you without some horrible mishap! Even scarred by Greyback he's more man than you could ever hope to handle without your Allure you bloody trollop!" Harry could hear her sob at those words, even distant as he was, and for some reason he could not understand that one little sound hurt him more than the heartbreak of the woman he loved when he told her he had to leave.
Without a pause, another scene projects itself forward. They are in a courtroom, Dementors circling overhead, Harry's body someone else's as he locks eyes with Hermione, his hand patting Ron's polyjuiced shoulder to calm his nerves. There before him is his most hated enemy within the Ministry, Umbridge smiling down with her usual simpering smile causing the flesh to crawl on his larger frame. They were here to procure a horcrux, but they had so far been unable to find it and had somehow been dragged down to the court proceedings against muggleborns. Then he saw it, the heavy locket fastened around the fat pink toad's throat, and with his time almost up, he had to act now. His wand whipping out, he looks at her and says with a grin, "You know Dolores, you really shouldn't tell lies." His patronus erupts from his wand as Hermione stuns the woman next to her and Ron drags the hapless witch on trial out of the room, the stag giving them the cover they need to escape in the chaos.
And another, the night Ron left them in the middle of the forest, his disgust and jealousy plain on his face. The horcrux around his neck had driven him to it, but it wouldn't have happened if he hadn't always wondered if he was truly good enough to be friends with the Boy-Who-Lived and the Brightest Witch of her Age. He'd always thought Harry led a charmed life, something that wouldn't have happened if he had just told his best mate the truth of the way he grew up, the beatings, the starving, the chores that amounted to slavery and criminal neglect. Ron would never have believed that Harry had it all if he had just told him the truth, but he could never bring himself to say anything, not wanting to burden his friends with the truth, not wanting to see the pity in their eyes. For weeks they thought Ron was gone for good, and the scene playing fast forwards through the endless nights and the tears from the only sister he ever had until he is drowning in the freezing water only to feel the strong arms of his best friend as he pulls him out, sword in hand. The look on his face, the pain as the horcrux defended itself threatened to break Harry again, but in the end Ron was stronger than he ever would have guessed.
Then one last scene, the faces of the hopeful and faithful looking up at him in the Room of Requirement as he enters the school to hunt down the last of the horcruxes and the means to destroy them after Griphook's betrayal. He remembers the look of wonder on Ginny's face, the tears brimming in her eyes as she looked upon the man she never thought she'd see again, the touch of her hand on his cheek. The way his heart pounded just being that close to her again, seeing her brown eyes and fiery red hair blazing in the flickering light. He was vaguely aware of all of his friends around him, but his whole world narrowed down to her, the woman who loved him, who had been the girl who never gave up until she became the woman he loved. He could smell her scent, so simple and light, broom polish and flowers, and everything was right again and his heart settled into a proper rhythm and the world stopped turning beneath his feet.
But then he had to go to the forest to die, not wanting anyone else to die for him. How stupid he had been, thinking they'd actually let it be quick and painless, thinking they'd let him join his family. He watched Ginny's face crumple in horror as he was paraded forward, Hagrid forced to carry the cross he was nailed to, every footstep causing him to scream in agony as his weight pulled on the nails. He remembers the way a hundred hearts breaking looked on the faces of his friends, his classmates, his fellow warriors. Hermione's strangled cry, Ron's blank stare and trembling form, Neville's blind rage and righteous fury... Fleur's keening wail as her legs gave out from beneath her, the hero she remembered from years ago and the young man she had harbored after his escape from Malfoy Manor subjected to the worst muggle punishment in history. From behind him, he hears the deep tones of the man who was always there for him once he learned what he was, "I am so sorry Harry. I did not mean for it to be like this, for any of this to happen. I tried to protect you, and I failed, even after learning Tom's secret. I had hoped to see you many years from now, happy and at the end of your natural life, not dying at seventeen in the worst way imaginable."
Harry turns in his chair to look at Albus, no longer dressed in his vibrant colors but instead robed in white even as the scenery changes and he finds himself in a facsimile of King's Cross Station. "Hello again sir. Does this mean I really am dead?" His voice is soft, forgiving as he has always been, hope that he will see the ones he loves again heavy in his words, yet Albus smiles a sad smile and shakes his head. "I think, Harry, that you are in between. Where you choose to go is up to you. You can board that train, go on to the next life, or you can walk out that door," he says as he turns to point the other way, "and return to life. You are afforded this chance because you died too young, and because in the ritual Tom used to bring himself back, he used your blood and took a piece of you into himself. You only get this one chance, my boy, should you choose to take it." The squalling of a thing behind him causes Harry to turn, and to his disgust he sees a sickly infant with the face of his enemy lying on the ground, struggling to breathe. Morbid fascination causes him to watch as slowly its life fades and what form it had dissipates into the air. "You must make your choice now Harry, but know that there are still people who love you, and they will need you soon if you choose to return." He looks at Albus, the old man smiling at him with that weight in his eyes from fighting back the Darkness for so long, and he nods.
"Thank you sir, for everything you have done for me. I'll go back, I don't think I really have a choice actually, I still have things I need to do. Will you be waiting for me, you know, when my time comes again?" Albus doesn't speak, simply nodding his head, but that is all the answer Harry needs and with a great effort, he begins to walk towards the door to return to what life he has left. The light beyond blinds him as he steps through, but now he cannot lift his arms to block it and his vision fades out once more. Sensation returns to him bit by bit, tugging at him and dragging him back towards his body, beaten and abused as it is. He can feel hands supporting him, so many hands, but he cannot open his eyes or turn his head. His chest is burning from lack of air, his heart stuttering back to life, but still those that carry him do not feel it. His hearing has begun to return, and he can hear the weeping of those he held dear as they mourn the loss of their hero, the Boy-Who-Lived, and so many others. The one voice he does not hear is the one that breaks his restored heart, Ginny conspicuously absent as he takes his gasping first breath, his body wracked with coughs as those around him gasping and screaming to see the dead return to life.
Strong and slender hands quickly grab him and turn him on his side, his continued coughing getting worse as it causes nausea that turns to wretching. When the coughs finally expel the blood and clear liquid from his lungs, he vomits bile until his mouth and throat are burning and foul, the hands that turned him still holding on and stroking his head, a melodic voice softly humming to comfort him. He tries to move, but his arms refuse to obey his commands and instead fill his shoulders with a dull ache, the roaring in his ears from the pain almost blocking out the words whispered to him. "I am zo sorry 'Arry, zis is going to 'urt. A lot." The voice is familiar, but he doesn't get the time to think on it because a moment later both of his arms wrench upwards and the joints pop back together with a sick pop, his screams tearing their way out of his already raw throat. The hands holding him quickly stroke his face again, the voice shushing him and distress rolling off of the woman holding him is palpable. When she picks him up, all he can do is mewl a little and weakly try to hold on, but his arms still won't obey him, and so he just feels the warmth of her body and lets her hold him. There are voices ahead, echoing loudly enough that he must assume they are heading to the Great Hall, but when the woman walks through the doors, silence begins to spread.
At first it is silence in reverence to a fallen hero, the man they all followed and stood behind because he was Harry, that was just what it meant to be him. when those closest hear his small noises of pain, there are murmurs of pity, sadness, even anger as they see what their leader has been reduced to, but the reaction that none expected came from his best friend. A quiet voice filled with the pain of loss hisses through the air, "He's alive? After two days on that bloody cross, he's alive?" When the woman who still holds him close answers, her accent fluid and settling even though it confuses him as to why it's her, the murmurs rise further. "Oui Ronald, 'e eez alive. I do not know 'ow, but 'e eez alive." For a moment, that is all that is said on the subject, then Ron bellows, "I'm gonna kill him! Why does he get to live when my sister is dead!? Get out of the way Fleur, I'm gonna kill 'im!" Many voices rise up and from the sounds around him, the whole hall is holding him back, holding him down, but all Harry can do is turn his head a little and look up at the woman holding him. Long platinum blonde hair falls in a curtain around him as she looks down in surprise, her crystal clear blue eyes peering down at him with a warmth that he did not expect to see directed at him. From her he has only ever seen that warmth directed at her sister and once, a lifetime ago, at Bill.
"F-Fleur?" His voice is weak, but he can feel the relief flood her, the pulse rippling out to the Great Hall at large and those closest to him relaxing the tiniest bit. She strokes his head and though her eyes still show pain, she attempts to smile for him and whispers, "Oui 'Arry, I 'ave you. You are zafe, 'E-'Oo-Muzt-Not-Be-Named eez gone. 'E 'as fled, we do not know why." In that moment, that is all that matters to him, that this battle is over and he is alive, then something Ron said slips through his befuddled thoughts. "Ginny!" he cries and manages to sit up, adrenaline pushing him past the limits of his spent body only to collapse against the veela at his side. Her arms clamp around him and he can feel her fighting the sobs as she chokes out, "I am zo zorry 'Arry, I-I couldn't zave 'er! I tried, but I couldn't do eet! Ginevra eez gone, I'm zorry I'm zorry I'm zorry..." Though he is numb to it, on some level he knows that he should be grieving, and when he can feel again he probably will, but for now the sudden distress of the veela who is taking care of him feels more important and he murmurs, "Shhh, it's okay Fleur, it's not your fault. It's not your fault..."
~Six Months Later~
He hasn't slept in days, the images of his friends dying flashing in his mind every time he closes his eyes, and though he is exhausted he can't let go enough to rest. He's been sitting in this same chair in Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place for nearly twenty hours and still he doesn't feel it necessary to move. It has been a rough six months since the Battle of Hogwarts, the war still raging and battles breaking out in the streets in every city on the Isles. Worse, it seems to have spread to the continent, causing more casualties in every country it touches and leaving him with an ever increasing weight as the dead pile up. His only consolation is that after a seemingly interminable stretch of weeks, Ron eventually accepted that Ginny's death wasn't Harry's fault and yet he still carries the grief as though it was his wand that killed her. In a way it was. Official accounts of the battle state that it was Voldemort himself who killed the woman Harry loved, which means that she was killed with the Elder Wand that Harry had won the loyalty of during his imprisonment in Malfoy Manor.
Harry has only ventured out a few times in the months since his return to life, every time specifically to fight Tom Riddle and every time pushing him back only to have him flee before he can land the finishing blow. It is frustrating to Harry to have the end of this war so close and yet always just out of reach, just on the other side of a glass wall that he can't break down. Hermione checks up on him every now and then, and sometimes Ron comes with her to tell him how things are going, but it's never really good news and so they can never really celebrate. The last time they came, they brought some disturbing stories of a new breed of inferi that seem to be able to cast spells, that image made worse by the descriptions given of them. So far the rumors state that there are only a few, three or maybe four, but they don't appear to be shambling lumps of decaying flesh. The rumors state that they look almost human, and in fact the only thing that seems to point to them being dead is that they are ashen gray in color and clothed in torn robes and dirty funeral garments.
However, the worst part of it is that slowly the stories are beginning to show a pattern, descriptions of the monsters all agreeing that the first one seen was tall, thin, and possessed of long white hair matched by a beard tucked into its belt. Others have begun to be talked about, one with red hair to its waist and standing side by side with a tall man with messy black hair, their clothes seventeen years out of date. A tall, willowy redhead with deep brown eyes. Every time they are mentioned, there are incredible numbers of casualties among the defenders and not a single spell seems to stop them. It makes him wonder, just what is happening and why? Are they really who they appear to be, and if they are, how is it possible? Albus had once told him that the dead could not be raised, not truly, but if these reports are accurate then somehow it must be possible and Tom must have learned how to do it. They had taken to listening to Luna about when the attacks will come, her short term futuresight the only way they were able to prepare even a little bit for this. That all ended last night.
Fleur had come tumbling out of nowhere onto his doorstep, bleeding from a deep gash in her leg that she told him came from a Death Eater using one of Snape's spells, almost certainly Sectumsempra from its resistance to healing. She was hysterical, nearly catatonic from the shock of the battle she had just escaped, but she brought terrible news with her when she finally was able to make her mouth work. "'Arry, Luna eez... Eet eez 'orrible 'Arry, she eez gone! She told us they were coming, but we didn't 'ave ze time to prepare and zen ze battle was all around us! Mon dieu, eet was terrible... She fought like a demon possessed, and still eet was not enough. She cut zem down one after anozzer, but she could not stop zeir pet monster. 'Arry, eet... eet was Ginevra! I don't know 'ow, but eet was 'er and she kept dodging our spells and firing back and she just... Luna was not quick enough and she was 'it and she fell like a puppet 'ose strings 'ad been cut!" After that, she wasn't able to speak anymore and broke down sobbing as Harry continued to work on her leg.
Now she is asleep on the couch, just a few feet away from Harry, who had dosed her with Dreamless Sleep and laid her to rest, and he continues to stare out the window into the street. After Fleur's frantic story, he's been reevaluating all of the rumors and is forced to accept that there just might be some truth to the rumors. Another common thread to them all? They are all people close to him, at least if he is correct in his guess as to who the other two are and they are James and Lily Potter. If the trend continues, then Luna will probably be seen soon, a thought that darkens his mood immensely and causes him to hate Tom more than he did already. The questions in his mind all boil down to one in particular though: Why these particular corpses? Harry has lost many friends, many mentors in this war, so why are Remus, Sirius, Alastor, and others not among the desecrated dead? More importantly, what makes him so sure that Luna will become one of them? He does not know, but there is something in him that knows the truth of what will be, and he feels a creeping dread as he comes to the realization that soon, Ron and Hermione may join them. He cannot let Fleur go back out there, not without him at her side, because he cannot get rid of the feeling that if she were to perish, he would find himself facing her as well.
The night passes on, and still he cannot sleep. There is an edge to his nerves that tells him something is about to happen, something that would be avoided if Luna had not just died, and at four in the morning, his suspicion is confirmed. His greatest fear becomes a reality, a distraught seeming otter appearing through the wall and screaming out, "Run Harry, they know where you are, they're com-aaaaghhhh!" The sound manages to jerk the sleeping veela out of her slumber, a panicked look in her deep blue eyes matched by the frantic desperation in Harry's emerald gaze. A moment later, a terrier bursts through the wall as well, Ron's voice bellowing out, "Harry, 'Mione's down and I'm about to be, get out, go!" Dread fills him but he doesn't have time to think about it so he just grabs Fleur and bolts out the back door, swinging her onto his back as he goes and finding that she is much lighter than he expected. The moment he steps beyond the bounds of the wards, he twists on the spot and they are gone, the squeezing sensation lasting until they pop into existence on the cliffs of Dover. A moment more and her feet are on the ground, her grip shifting to hold onto him more securely before she twists herself and they are gone, off the Isles and out of reach for now.
~Three years later~
In among the peaks of the Pyrenees in France, a small and unassuming log cabin sits tucked away where no one ever goes. For the last couple of years, stories have started to grow and be told about the lights that can be seen dancing on the slopes of Aneto Peak, the highest mountain in the Maladeta central Pyrenees, though what they are no one knows or can agree. These recent tales tell of groups of hikers setting out to comb the mountains looking for something, and those that wander too close to that mountain vanish without a trace. Others say that sometimes one will make it back, burned and cut and babbling of impossible things happening, like trees getting up to walk or fire leaping out of no where to splash down and yet burning nothing but the people it touches. Still others say that there is une dame en blanc, a lady in white who tempts the hearts of men, and that sometimes she is accompanied byune cauchemar, an incubus who devours women.
Some say that the lights are the High Elves returning to this world to revel as once they did, or that the fae of old have come back from their seclusion to dance and be merry as legends say. In the end, it does not matter what the tales say, muggles stay away and anyone foolish enough to get close enough to that mountain does not return, at least not whole. The fact that sometimes those that journey there do return unharmed if disappointed is never talked about, and there are few who make that return journey anyway, empty-handed though they tend to be. The magical community in France speaks of that peak in hushed voices, wondering why it is that suddenly it has become so dangerous, never once connecting it to the rather immediate and unexplained disappearance of the Chosen One late in the year three years previous. Nor do they connect the sudden and controlled flames with the fireballs thrown by a veela when she is angered, or some other threat appears.
This is exactly how Harry and Fleur like it to be, though they are occasionally found by roving bands of Death Eaters who have been seeking them out since the fall of the last Weasley and his muggleborn companion. Today is not one of the days when they must defend themselves, and the twenty-one year old wizard is thankful for that as he absent-mindedly rubs the long, twisting scar that runs from the right side of his forehead in the middle of the now ancient wound of his fame all the way down to his chin. He has been researching Dark rituals that would allow a true resurrection since he and his veela friend fled England, and still he has not found whatever answers exist for him as to how Tom did it to his fallen comrades. Still he looks, and this time he feels confident that he will find something, a text dating back to the time of Merlin and Morgan Le Fay in his hands, one in fact penned by them both. It is one of only three books they ever collaborated on, from before the time of their association with Arthur Pendragon and the court of Camelot, in the ages past where they were yet friends.
Turning the page, he scrunches his brow for a moment, his scarred fingers brushing over the words on the page before they settle under his gaze and form something coherent to be read. 'Ritual of Rebirth? Could this be it?' Hurriedly he reads further, seeking to know how it is done and how it can be reversed so that the dead can rest once more only to find two things that send his spirits down. 'This ritual requires a sacrifice of your own power, something Tom would never do, and because of the use of a Philosopher's Stone at the heart of the one being brought back, it cannot be reversed without destroying the stone itself.' Still he has come no closer to learning what Voldemort has done to the greatest heroes the Light has had in recent years, and thus no closer to destroying the bonds of their servitude. Disheartened again, he closes the book and gently lays it aside, his magic slipping free of his control a little bit at a time until there is a wind swirling in the glade and a glimmer of light can be seen between his nearly closed eyelids.
A short distance away, a stunning blonde witch watches her scarred friend with a sad smile on her face. 'Il va être un de ces jours à nouveau.' she thinks to herself, one hand over her heart as she feels the tug that his pain has caused since shortly after their arrival here. When his magic flares into visible ranges of color, she forcibly stills the impulse to go to him, to try and sooth him, knowing that this time he must let it out. When Harry's bellow shakes the forest, she jumps and gives a small squeak of surprise, startled that such a quiet man can be so very loud, and yet she stays where she is and simply watches as his hand juts out and a bright purple hex arcs from his palm to strike a sapling, the soft wood splintering and spraying outward as the water inside it flash boils. Again her instinct is to run forward, to run her fingers through his hair and try to calm his nerves, ease his anguish, but even after three years with him in seclusion she unsure whether such attention would be welcome. However, when his emerald eyes flick up to meet her gaze, the simple need in them calls out to her and she cannot stop herself, gliding forward through the trees to wrap her arms around him and make the same soothing noises she had when she pulled him down off of the cross he was nailed to during the last two days of the Battle of Hogwarts.
Harry accepts it for his part, needing the closeness more than he would freely admit and cherishing that it is coming from Fleur. Though the loss of Ginny still aches in his chest, the truth of the matter for him is that he was only with her a few months, then he broke her heart and left her behind for months on end only to be the cause of her death, indirectly or not. The French veela holding onto him on the other hand, their interactions were more than just a fleeting word here or there, more than a kiss in the passion of a single moment, more than a flash in the pan. When they met, though she thought him but a boy he stood tall and tried valiantly to endure the trials he faced that year, and during the Second Task he saved her sister with no other motivation than because it was the proper thing to do and he was afraid of what would happen if he left her down there.
She spoke to him a few times in the months after that before the Third Task, and when he saved her from Krum during the last leg of the competition, a feeling of gratitude seeded itself in her breast. Though she returned to Beauxbatons at the end of the year, she still wished to know of him and his life, so she watched, horrified at the treatment the press gave him, their blatant disregard for all that he had done. Her heart went out to the young man who had proven himself to her at the age of fourteen, and the entire year she wrestled with the desire to write to him, to reach out to him, but she never did. When she met Bill and learned of Harry's connection to the Weasley family, she was overjoyed to find that she could in some way keep tabs on him, and the blossoming relationship with the eldest son promised that she would be close to her young hero, especially if events followed the course most in that family expected and Harry married Ginevra.
The disastrous ending to an otherwise happy relationship shattered that hope, as did the knowledge that Harry and Ginny had also parted ways, putting paid to any hopes that perhaps if she could fix things with Bill without Molly learning of it that she could be in a position to watch out for him again. To hear that he had vanished without so much as a goodbye not long after she fled, it broke her heart to think of him alone in the world and without anyone to help him survive, though the fact that Hermione and Ronald had also vanished gave her hope that they were with him. For months she heard nothing, hoping that meant he was okay, and then early one morning was startled from her tea when she heard a loud -crack!- followed by an anguished wail she recognized immediately. On the beach she could see Harry bent over a tiny body even as she sprinted forward, the unadulterated pain in his heart and on his face tugging at her and making sure she was gentle as she took Dobby from him. His determination to bury the small elf the muggle way made her hurt more and she could not help but stare at this gentle man who cared so much for others whether they were human or not.
Then came the Battle, and somewhere in the press of bodies she lost him. She heard the ultimatum from the Dark Lord, but even with everything she knew of him, she never expected him to actually walk willingly to his death in the Forbidden Forest. To hear Voldemort's boasts when Hagrid carried a crucified hero forward caused her pain she never imagined she would feel, and seeing Harry suffering in such a way broke her already shattered heart. For two days she watched his life flicker and drain away, but in all that time she could not bring herself to release him from his torment. When all hope was lost and he was finally dead, for reasons no one could fathom Tom simply ran away, leaving the survivors to pick up the pieces and bury their dead, Harry Potter just one more that they had lost. Then the unthinkable happened and he took a shuddering breath, his body weak and quaking, arms long since dislocated and useless, and her world regained just the tiniest bit of balance. His heartbreak was muted by his exhaustion, but she helped him through it when she could, and when she could not she would go out and seek vengeance on his behalf. Then came the fateful night where they lost Luna Lovegood, their one defense against the press of the Dark Lord's forces, and with her gone, Ron and Hermione soon followed.
Bringing herself back to the present, she looks up at him tentatively, for a moment reminded of how much he grew since the time she met him, quietly murmuring her question, "Harry? What is wrong? Did you not find it?" The sorrow in his hollow gaze is a physical thing to her, the emotions it stirs in her almost blotting out his words as he replies, "No Fleur, I did not. I've looked through every book we can find, and still I don't know that Tom has done to them or how to fix it. I thought I had it this time, but... The ritual requires a sacrifice of some of your own power, something he wouldn't do, and uses Philosopher's Stones, or pieces of them. The only way to eliminate someone brought back with the ritual I found is to destroy the stone, a near impossible thing, and I'm no closer to saving them now than I was when we fled." His words set the wheels in her mind to spinning, a scheme she would never have thought of were they not so desperate for some way to strike back.
"What if... What if we were? Harry, I know it's insane, but ritual magic is only classified as Dark because it always requires a sacrifice of some kind, and you said yourself that this one requires a sacrifice of a piece of the caster's own magic. I'm sure that everything else can be done with... with livestock or blood drawn then put in stasis to remain fresh. What if... we did it? What if we brought back someone, or several someones, to fight back and stand up?" She cannot bear to look up at him now, afraid she'll see those beautiful eyes of his glaring down at her with disgust, afraid that he will hate her for even suggesting it, and indeed he does tense up but he does not pull away. For many long minutes she stands there, clinging to Harry half-convinced that if she lets go she will lose him forever, then his low, gentle tones query, "What did you have in mind? Let's just say we do this, what... who did you have in mind?"
~Somewhere outside of Tours~
"Fleur, how did you even know where the Flamels lived?" Harry is looking up at a vast and very old mansion, built in a time when stone was the primary material for the rich and famous so that their homes would stand forever, or so it was believed at the time. Looking in this direction a half-kilometer ago would have yielded no results, but now he can see it clear as day and is genuinely curious how the enemy could have missed this place. Her amused response brings an answering grin to his face, "I know about this manor because it is in France, and my father is a very important man in our Ministry. He told me when I was a very little girl that the Flamels had lived here for several centuries, and that their door was always open to those who needed help. That they still live is vaguely important, but what is more so is that your Dumbledore was wrong, they did not have only the one Stone. When you asked me last week what I had in mind, I owled them and asked what we needed to do to be able to take seven shards." That last piece of information brings her hero up short, astonishment on his face and she wonders if she's gone too far. Indeed it seems she has and she begins to babble and try to take it back until his finger presses over her lips, bringing a worsening blush to her face the longer it stays there.
"Seven?! Why didn't you tell me you wanted to bring back seven? You only told me about Jibril, the first veela, and Nimue!" A plaintive look on her face begging him not to make her tell him only holds for a few seconds before the betrayed glint in his eyes makes her cry out, "Because I know you! I knew you would react like this, and I was afraid I'd make you run away from me! Even I'm not sure we can do this seven times, but if we could, if we succeeded in bringing back one witch for every person tied to you that we know he has brought back, then we would be able to focus on him, or at least focus on putting them all to rest again." His eyes are calculating, some process she cannot see running in his mind as he assesses her in a way that she is not at all comfortable with, and his words are so quiet that they make her want to crawl into a corner to hide, maybe die, "Who else do you want to bring back?"
She cannot keep silent, she knows he needs the information and she desperately wants to give it to him, to open up to this man who has saved her and protected her for no reason other than it was the right thing to to, hoping that maybe he'll turn her world on its head and feel the way about her that she does about him. There is fear in her eyes, but more hope than she feels she should have and she begins to speak just to keep him that close to her, "I want to bring back Brigid, your Celtic healer from so long ago, and then there's Lady Sif, a Valkyrie of great renown who supposedly died fighting against the giants almost a millennium ago. When I was researching during the Tournament, I saw mention of a dryad in ancient Greece named Gaea who was supposedly the genesis of all plant life in our world, and I thought she might be able to teach us more. Imagine what we could learn! Then there was one named Siobhan, a bean sidhe from about a century before Cuchulain who would wash the armor of the kings who were to die in battle. She was killed because one king thought he would be immortal if she could never wash his armor, which actually resulted in his death the next day when his son poisoned his wine. And last, Mary Nazare, the Seer who gave birth to Yeshua, himself a prophet among his people who was crucified at thirty-three. She knew here son was to grow up and die, and still she taught him to be loving and kind and free of judgement."
The look of wonder on Harry's face does more to set her mind at ease than anything else he could have done, and his gentle touch as his fingers trace up her jaw to thread into her hair causes an involuntary shiver of delight. The warmth of his arms as the fold around her gives her a sense of security that she has never had, and she covets it more than all that she has had. Neither knows that they have been watched for some time, curiosity tugging at Nicolas and Perenelle Flamel as to why they have been asked about shards of their stones, but the gentle applause makes them both jump and turn as one to see the bent and aged man standing before them. His speech is flawless, and yet some of the word forms are old enough to make his meaning a little cloudy at first. "Well then my dear, now I know what you mean to do with them, or at least I have an idea. There is only one thing I know that would allow you to bring back even one of those witches, let alone all of them, and from what I have heard of the war against He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, you may just need them. For this purpose, for your goals, I will grant them freely. Just remember to walk within the Light Miss Delacour, Mr. Potter, for this could very easily go astray." With no more to say, he holds out a small satchel, the surprising weight and the palpable pieces setting fire to Fleur's plans, giving her the impetus to begin as Harry bows and gives their thanks and appreciation.
Maladeta - Accursed
Il va être un de ces jours à nouveau. - It is going to be one of those days again.
Okay, so there we are, the first piece of the larger story. :) Dear gods that took longer to write than I thought it would. Interruptions suck, damn my need for food! Also, thank you for the support on Seven Queens in Darkness, I will try to alternate these two stories and also update anything else I am writing. Believe me, this is quite the project, and I hope to do justice to both the Flurry ship and the Black United ship. Bleh, lots to write. Crap. Please review, it feeds my muse and she will love you for it by helping me write more!