A/N: Not certain if disclaimers are required as I didn't see anything about it on the guidelines. However, I would like to state for now and forevermore: I do not own Harry Potter and I am making no money off of this work of fiction.

So I am not the best writer ever. However, I have read several other pieces of fanfiction and have found that I like the Harry Potter in fanfiction a whole lot more than the what that Miss. Rowling wrote. She deserves the praise for her original idea, but I like what I have greatly enjoyed what I have read on this site.

Hopefully this will be good. If someone else likes the idea and maybe wants to use it, that is completely okay with me. Hey, send me a message if you do, I would love to read someone else's take on it.


In a small clearing in the Forest of Dean sat the most unusual of tents. This tent seemed like nothing more than a single person tent to the uninformed observer. However, if one were to duck inside the entrance to the tent, they would find themselves standing in a modest sized living room of what appeared to be a home, complete with three bedrooms and a dining room. The kitchen and the bathroom were by far the weirdest areas due to the fact that both had running hot and cold water.

In the dining room it looked as though a library had thrown up all over the table. Books were scattered and stacked everywhere. Some lying open haphazardly while others were actually lying on their sides with their pages folded together. Other books could be found floating in the air around a rather bushy haired woman's head. This woman was currently nose deep in a book as she read through the contents, at least until she gave a soft frustrated cry and tossed the book to the side.

On any other day, the irreverent way these books were being treated would have caused Hermione Granger to go into an apoplectic fit. At twenty-six years old however, Hermione had found some things are more important than books.

Poring through another ancient tome, Hermione absently reaches down and gently rubs the withered flesh on the outside of her right leg. It was ironic that the same curse that had led to the end of Dumbledore's life was even now working its' way through her system.

The previous week, against Harry's wishes and without his company, both Hermione and Luna had gone to a nearby muggle town in a bid to restock on some supplies and to find something with which to celebrate Harry's upcoming birthday. After finding themselves having a reasonably peaceful day they had decided to stop in at a local bakery to pick up a cake.

That's where the Death Eaters had found them.

Neither Hermione nor Luna were lightweights when it came to spellcasting and both held their own against the five that surrounded them. Until the first Crucio managed to hit Hermione.

Luna faltered at the sight of her sister in all but name falling to the ground screaming. Her hesitation proved to be her downfall as she too was hit by the Unforgivable.

Neither woman noticed when they were struck by the withering curse.

Harry, apparently possessed of some kind of sense when his girls were in trouble, managed to apparate into the middle of the fight and quickly put down the five Death Eaters. There was a reason he was considered the Dark Lord's equal.

Leaving the cake and other birthday supplies lying in the middle of the road, Harry got both of the girls back to the tent as quickly as possible. He applied first aid to both of them and sat at their bed sides until they woke.

It wasn't until a few days later that they noticed the withering curse working on their extremities.

Again finding nothing helpful in her newest book she tossed it to the side and leaned back in her chair with her hands over her face. This was useless. If there had been some way to cure the withering curse, then Dumbledore would have used it on himself all those years ago. True he had been able to use potions to prolong his life. But here, in the middle of the woods, with only Harry and Luna and no way of obtaining ingredients that might be needed, Hermione had no way of obtaining those potions. In less than a month, Hermione's worst fear was going to come true.

Harry was going to be left alone.

A soft voice turned Hermione's head to look at Luna. "He's finally asleep. Have you found anything?"

Luna Lovegood stood in the doorway staring at the pile of books on the table. Any other time, Luna would have made a joke about the situation. Any other time, Luna would have had that distant dreamy gaze as she regarded Hermione. Any other time there would have been a comment on the number of Nargles that must have nested in Hermione's bushy hair for to act this way.

Any other time Luna would have had two arms instead of the one that she had left after they had cut the other off before the withering curse could act too quickly.

Not that it worked.

"Nothing," Hermione said with a shake of her head, "I don't think there is a cure."

Luna nodded before she took her wand from behind her ear and began casting wards against eavesdroppers in the room. She then sat herself across the table from Hermione and picked up a book in which she had placed a feather that came from a certain well missed snowy owl. "I think," she said, "that it is time we discuss something different. Something that will help Harry once we're gone."

Hermione sat forward to give Luna her undivided attention. Harry was the one who would suffer most with them gone, and she hoped that there was some way to ensure that he could survive without them.

Luna hugged her book to her chest as she regarded Hermione. "What do you think is going to happen?"

"Well," Hermione said sitting upright in her chair as she thought, "the Withering curse is designed to rot away both our bodies and our magic. So over the next couple weeks we'll both become quite weak and frail. Our magic will start dwindling down until even the most basic of spells will be too difficult for us. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, the rot will reach our brains before our magic is completely drained. We'll be similar to muggle dementia patients, with no idea who we are or where we are. Then finally our magic will be completely gone; and so will we."

Luna shook her head as her surrogate sister missed the obvious and most important part of their circumstance. "Hermione, I mean what do you think is going to happen to Harry once we are gone. You and I are all he has left. Not to boost our egos, but we are literally the most important people in his world. The way I see it he will stick by us until the very end. He will help us, and clean us, and do everything in his considerable power to make us comfortable. Then when we finally pass and relieve him of our burden, he will do one of two things:

First, and least likely: He'll give up, completely. With no one else around to care, he'll have no reason to continue on. We both know how his relatives treated him, and if he goes back to feeling like that again then you can bet that he'll be joining us within the year.

Second, and the more likely of the two: he'll give up in a different way. Without you and I holding him back, keeping his humanity in check, he will go out and begin hunting the Death Eaters and Riddle until either they're all goneā€¦ or he is. Then what? If Riddle is gone, and all his sycophants are gone, what then? Anybody and everybody that Harry ever cared for is dead."

Hermione stifled a sob as she thought about the issue. Luna was right. Harry would throw himself into the cause with no regard for his own life. He would be more reckless than he had been in their years at Hogwarts.

Luna set the book she had been holding on the table in front of Hermione, she turned to the page that Hedwig's feather had been placed in and placed a finger on the page.

"I think," Luna said, "that this is what we should do."

The book, it turned out, was older than almost all the books they had in their collection. This was quite a lot considering they had looted both the Hogwarts library and the Black library before they had been forced to go into hiding. Thank Merlin for trunks with expansion charms placed on them.

Hermione read the page but leaned back in surprise and revulsion as she realized what the book was about.

"Luna," she said as calmly as she could, "these are dark rituals. They're illegal for a reason"

"Yes, Hermione, I know," Luna said, "but who's going to arrest us for using them? Between the three of us we are the most wanted 'criminals' in the entire wizarding world. If they catch us, Hermione, they will kill us. The ministry fell years ago. Riddle controls everything."

Tears began falling down Luna's face as she began to get worked up. She began to pace the room as she ranted.

"We've lost, Hermione. Everything we have done over the past few years has been worthless. You and Harry were able to destroy all of the horcruxes, but Riddle still got away. We've tried for years and nothing has worked! You and I are going to die," she turned to glare at Hermione, "and the man that you love; my brother is going to be left alone! I can't do that Hermione. I can't be the reason that he gives up."

Hermione gingerly stood, favoring her right leg, and took Luna into her arms as she tried to calm her.

"Luna," Hermione said, "you're right. I would gladly do anything to help him. I have done everything I could for him since the troll. Even when he didn't want my help. But Luna, that ritual you just pointed out; it requires human sacrifice."

Luna sighed, leaning into Hermione's shoulder to give her a half hug before she stepped back to look Hermione in the eyes.

"Two sacrifices Hermione. There are two rituals I want to do. Each one requires one human life to complete."