Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.
"Are you sure you don't want me to come with you?" Pansy asked as she grabbed her purse before walking over to him. She pulled him down for a kiss. "I really don't mind."
"Don't worry about it," Harry answered. "Have fun with Luna. Sam and I can take care of business and then hopefully I'll join you soon enough."
"Try not to take too long. Remember that Luna's making dinner for us tonight."
"I remember," Harry nodded. "I am curious to see what Swedish food is like."
"She was excited to be using one of her grandmother's recipes for something called raggmunk." Pansy stepped back, straightened her clothes for a second, and then smirked. "Don't get in trouble at the ministry."
"Don't have too much fun without me," Harry countered with a grin.
The little house-elf responded to Pansy's call and popped in looking very excited. "Winky can't be takings too long. Miss Luna is in Winky's kitchen, makings a mess!"
"I'm ready to go," Pansy said. "See you later, Harry."
Harry waited while they disappeared before Dobby took the two of them off to Sam McKenzie's office.
It was only ten minutes later when he was walking through the ministry with his lawyer at his side. Harry had spent a lot of time talking things over with Sam over the last couple of weeks, but he felt it was all too prudent to have something in writing before some bureaucrat tried to make his life more annoying. After seeing Fudge blunder his way through too many dumb mistakes and outright abuses like throwing Hagrid in Azkaban with neither proof nor trial, Harry wasn't willing to leave anything up to chance if he could help it.
Unfortunately, he was also noticing all the stares from the people they passed. Mutterings about his legend had only grown worse since he'd been seen rising from the dead, on the front of the Daily Prophet no less, and the more it happened, the more Harry wished that damn camera man hadn't been there that day.
"Try not to glare," Sam whispered.
"I am trying," Harry replied quietly.
"Try harder," Sam chuckled softly. "It's much better to have the public on your side, no matter how annoyed you might be feeling."
"You know, you damn Slytherins are too insightful sometimes."
"That's what you pay me for though," Sam laughed. They were finally at the lifts that would lead deeper into the ministry of magic. Harry was glad to have the help on another level though, as he had no idea where Amelia Bones' new office was. Or her old office or anything else for that matter- and he had no desire to spend any more time in the heart of the bumbling government than absolutely necessary.
After a short ride, they went down a hallway before coming to an office. There was a secretary at a large desk and a guard in front of an ornate doorway. Sam stepped inside with a smile. "It looks like Amelia's settled in nicely."
"Mr. McKenzie," the young woman said from behind the desk. "Your appointment isn't for another five minutes."
"Better early than late for such an important meeting," he replied with a grin. "There's no need for putting on airs, Cecilia. How are your parents doing?"
"As well as can be expected, all things considered." She nodded towards Harry. "Like a lot of people, they're hoping your client can pull another miracle out of his hat and stop you-know-who before he kills too many more people."
Sam clapped Harry on the shoulder before he could muster an annoyed response. He tried to relax because he knew that Sam could handle people better than he would- that was what he paid him for- but this shit was getting so damn annoying.
"Send them in, Cecilia," a voice said over some sort of intercom, or at least that's what Harry assumed it was. They might have had a spell for that too.
"At once Madam Minister."
"Thanks, Ceci," Sam smiled. "Let's go, Harry."
The guard opened the door and closed it behind once they'd gone inside.
"Nice new digs, Amelia," Sam whistled. "The big chair suits you."
"Yes, congratulations, Minister Bones," Harry added.
"Thank you both," she replied as she motioned to the chairs in front of her desk. "But let's get down to business, shall we? I doubt the two of you are here for something as simple as a meet and greet."
"That is true," Sam said as he sat down. "We do have important business to discuss."
"Alright, let me have it."
"With the Dark Lord back, and with the ministry officially recognizing that fact, things have changed a lot since Fudge was in charge."
"Obviously," she snorted.
"Indeed," Sam nodded. "I saw the official bounty placed on his head. Fifty thousand galleons? You're not messing around Amelia."
"Of course not. Anyone that can kill that bastard deserves it."
"I agree, but..." Sam opened his briefcase and pulled out a couple of papers. "Unfortunately, we have recent evidence that the ministry isn't as well run as we would like. Now, I hope that with someone competent in charge things will change greatly. However, Harry still had to wait more than three months for the rewards for the Death Eaters he dealt with during your battle in the Department of Mysteries. And that was after the last couple of years where disavowing everything having to do with the truth was the norm. I know that isn't your fault, but it still leads us to have concerns."
"I can understand that," Amelia replied.
"The whole damn country seems to expect me to fix things," Harry scowled. "As if it was my responsibility to save them- yet again, mind you. Now, I don't think you would try to screw me over. But I have a lot less faith in most of the rest of the people that work here. Between Fudge, Umbridge, Bagman, and even Crouch, I haven't seen much that has impressed me from the ministry."
"You're worried that someone would try to create problems afterwards?" Amelia asked, looking for clarification.
"Yes, but even if it isn't me. I'd be equally annoyed if Alastor kills Riddle only for someone to try to arrest him for murder or something."
"He speaks highly of you, you know," Amelia said with a small grin. "Is there any chance you might think of becoming an auror someday, Harry?"
"No way," he shook his head. "I have all the respect in the world for him, but I don't want to end up like Alastor. I've done enough already."
"That's a pity."
"If I may," Sam interjected, sliding the papers across the desk. "This outlines our concerns, and we would like to have something in writing absolving Harry of any wrongdoing when it comes to possibly having to kill Tom Riddle. Once again, I do not mean to question you personally, Amelia, but there are others that I do not trust as much. Plus, who knows what some fool may try to do after your term in office ends? Harry doesn't deserve any fallout from protecting himself, nor for potentially putting an end to a mass murdering terrorist."
"I agree. Let me look this over, and I'll see what we can do."
"Thank you," Sam replied.
"Yes, thank you," Harry added. He sat back and waited as the new minister read things over. A few moments later, she set the papers aside and called for her secretary to schedule an appointment with the new head of her old department. Amelia was going to have something written up, and after a brief discussion, she agreed to let Sam know as soon as possible when it could be official that whoever might end up dealing with Riddle would have protection from any future legal entanglements.
Pansy awoke a little too early. There was barely any light sneaking in through the thick curtains, which she assumed meant that it was probably right about sunrise. They'd had a late night, watching a horror movie about ghosts called The Fog with Luna. Like usual, they'd all had a blast together.
But, she also remembered that part of the reason they decided on watching a horror movie was that it had been a dark and stormy night. With them scheduled to join Luna and Xenophilius in shopping at Diagon Alley for the upcoming school year, Pansy really was hoping that the rain would not still be around.
She carefully climbed out of bed, not wanting to wake Harry, stepped into a pair of slippers and slipped out of their bedroom. Once she got into the living room of their flat, she was glad to find that the storms had passed and the skies were only partly cloudy.
Pansy sat down on the couch and looked at her ring, smiling brightly for the millionth time that summer. The diamond itself was big and brilliant, but the part that had made her choose that particular design were the emeralds on either side of it. She'd always liked the color green, but since she'd fallen for Harry and those gorgeous green eyes of his, it had become far and away her favorite color.
She was still sitting there just smiling to herself and thinking pleasant thoughts when Luna's voice disturbed her.
"Good morning," she yawned before noticing Pansy's face. "You've got that 'I'm thinking about being Mrs. Potter' face again. It's nice, but it will take people by surprise if you're like that all day when we go shopping."
"Screw them if the jealous bitches can't handle it," Pansy said while she kept on grinning.
"I assume you're wearing your ring today then? Not thinking of hiding it or anything like that?"
"Nope. I'm done hiding things."
"Good," Harry interjected as he too yawned while entering the room. He slumped down on the couch next to her. "I'll have Sam send out the letters that tactfully reject all possible betrothal offers. Been waiting to do that for a while now."
"I hope I didn't wake you," Pansy said.
"The bed got a bit colder without you in it." He shrugged though, not seeming to be too bothered. "I did need to get up early for once."
"Dobby is making tea!"
"I think I'll go home to eat breakfast with daddy," Luna said as she stood up and stretched. "I need to get changed anyway as I didn't bring any clothes with me before spending the night. Also, I don't want Winky to get jealous of me eating another elf's cooking."
"Good thinking," Harry chuckled.
"Why don't you come over in a couple of hours?" Luna suggested. "That should give us all plenty of time to get ready."
"See you then sweetie," Pansy replied.
Two house-elf pops later and Luna disappeared with Winky back to the Rookery.
Exactly two hours later, Harry arrived at Diagon Alley and found people once again staring at him. There was even a round of applause when they made their way through the Leaky Cauldron.
He may have thought he'd grown used to some of the staring, but it was worse than ever. Plus, the fact that so much of it was coming from adults who should have known better was even more unnerving. Being there with Luna and her father did help though, as Xeno's outfit was outlandish as usual, and people were naturally drawn to looking at him as well. Harry greatly appreciated it regardless of the lack of intent.
The four of them hurried through the pub, and that did help although the people in the alley were just as awestruck. You'd almost think they didn't believe that their so-called boy who lived had once again lived.
On the other hand, if Harry felt like being charitable, the fact that the paper had also captured him standing up and blasting Riddle with a spell certainly contributed to his fame. For too long, Riddle had been some nightmarish figure that no one stood up to, at least not while surviving to tell the tale, so to see a teenager doing so was pretty striking.
But the way Harry saw it, that was the entire problem. He couldn't help but agree with Pansy- there were far too many sheep who didn't seem to understand that they could use their wands for something as basic and obvious as self-defense.
Luna was already talking to Pansy about the classes they would take for their NEWT studies though, and her carefree attitude helped pull him out of his grumpiness as he followed the girls into the bookstore. They had their lists of books, and Harry dutifully took up the role of the muscle, carrying a large stack of them as he trailed behind. Since he and Pansy were going to be taking the same classes, he didn't really need to do anything on his own.
"Harry?" Luna's voice drew his attention.
"I asked if we could go shopping for more records later," she repeated.
"Oh, sure," he shrugged. "We've got to go back to school in a few days though."
"Yes, but I assumed we would often end up back in your quarters and we could listen to music while we study or just hang out."
"Oh, yeah, good idea."
"That's everything," Pansy said as she set two copies of a book on advanced Transfiguration on the top of the stack. "We can head to the register and then have Dobby take things home."
"I'm glad we don't need new robes," Luna added as she nodded to the window. "It looks like it's getting pretty busy out there."
"I haven't needed new robes in three years," Pansy scowled.
"Oh, don't be fussy," Luna teased. "Or else I'll have Harry do filthy things to you right here in the store."
"I'll do them too," Harry grinned.
"I did not need to hear that," Xeno chuckled.
"It's alright sugarplum. Just try to keep everything kinky away from the eyes and ears of your poor old father."
"Will do!" Luna cheerfully agreed.
"If you're all taking Potions, then I would suggest trying the apothecary next," Xeno said. "That's another store that's bound to be busy today, so we should see if we can beat some of the crowd."
Once the purchases were made and then handed over to the capable hands of Dobby and Winky (house-elf delivery services were quite handy), they headed off in search of Potions supplies. Harry was holding the door open for the others when a voice called out to him.
He turned and saw Parvati and her sister heading over.
"Hi. Or should I say welcome back?"
"Either works," Parvati grinned. Padma rolled her eyes at her sister but said hello as well before heading into the apothecary. "You don't need to hold that for me; I'm finally done with Potions."
"Oh." Harry shut the door. "Congratulations, I guess."
"I passed my OWL, but the class has never really been my thing. Of course, Snape being such a jerk those first few years definitely made me not like it even if Slughorn was much better."
"Yeah. I like him a lot, and Pansy loves the class, so..." Harry shrugged. "How was your summer?"
"Not too awful, but pretty boring."
"Do you think Pansy would get mad if I hugged you?"
"I don't think so."
"I'll keep the snogging to myself this time." Parvati smiled as she stepped closer and hugged him tight. "It's really good to see you again."
"You too. Oh! And I was going to tell you..." he looked around for a moment, trying to make sure there weren't any blatant eavesdroppers, then whispered to her. "The reward money finally came through, so you've got a nice little nest egg set aside."
"That's good news. How much do you think that would be in the muggle world?"
"Good, I'm thinking I might spend some time there once school is done."
"Yeah, me too."
"Not liking all this?" Parvati motioned to the people watching them.
"Expectations can be annoying."
"I guess so," she replied before sighing. "I should warn you that it's going to get worse."
"Yeah, apparently word is spreading that 'The Chosen One' is in the alley today, so a lot of people are going to be flocking here." She saw his scowl and continued. "It's not just to stare at you though, it's also that a lot of them have been worried about attacks, and I guess they figure that if you're here, they'll be safe. As if you would single handedly drive off Tom Riddle and protect them all."
"I mean, I probably would, but it's the single handed part that bothers me." Harry shook his head. "If there are a hundred witches and wizards here today-"
"Probably more," Parvati interjected as she looked around.
"Yeah," he nodded. "Well, however many there are, if everyone just fired spells at him, or any other of his henchmen, they would be routed. Even the best shield spells can't stand up to a constant barrage forever, and no matter how skilled a wizard might be, he can't deflect everything."
"You think so?"
"No one, not even Voldemort, is invincible."
A woman passing by gasped at hearing the name of the boogeyman. Harry rolled his eyes and Parvati laughed. "I see what you mean. Well, you know I'd blast any of those baddies with you, right?"
"I think you proved yourself back in April," Harry said with a smile. "Thank you again for that."
"Anytime, Harry," she smiled back.
"There you are!" a voice squealed from Harry's left and he turned to see Lavender dragging Ron along. She ran up and hugged her best friend. "I've missed you!"
"Ron," Harry nodded at his former best mate, who looked a bit uncomfortable.
"Hey, Harry. How are you?"
"Yeah, me too."
Lavender turned back to the two guys and smiled at Harry before latching back onto Ron's arm. "Is your mum still watching us?"
"No, she and Ginny went into the twins' shop."
"Good." Lavender pulled him down the nearest alleyway and proceeded to start snogging her boyfriend.
"I guess they lasted the summer," Harry chuckled.
"Lucky them," Parvati sighed. "Here's hoping it lasts for awhile."
"I'm sure you'll be able to help her get over him if she needs to."
"Don't jinx it already," Parvati hissed.
"Sorry. I was just meaning that you're a good friend," he shrugged.
"Thanks," she sighed.
"Hello, Pavarti," Luna cheerfully said as she and Pansy exited the apothecary. "Did you meet any nagas on your trip?"
"Uh, no, not this time."
"That's too bad. Maybe next time."
"I hope you managed to have some fun, even without meeting any legendary creatures," Pansy added.
"It was alright, I guess," Parvati shrugged.
"I see. Well, maybe next year will be better."
"I'll keep my fingers crossed," she replied with a smirk before catching a glimpse of something shiny. "Oh my! Is that...?"
Pansy raised up her hand to give her a better view of the ring. "It is."
"Wow, that's... wow."
"Isn't it just lovely?" Luna added with a smile.
"Isn't what lovely?" Sirius asked as he appeared strolling through the crowd with a beautiful blonde on his arm.
"I didn't think dogs were allowed in the alley," Harry replied with a smirk.
"Ha ha, your wit is so powerful today," Sirius mocked.
"We were remarking on Pansy's engagement ring," Luna answered with a grin before winking at Harry. "Are you going to invite him to the wedding? I'll be sure to bring a rolled up newspaper to keep him in line if need be."
"I'd appreciate that," Harry smiled.
"I should be able to keep my husband from making too big a fool of himself," Kathryn said.
"Did anyone warn you that you were marrying into a family of crazy people?" Harry asked the newest Mrs. Black.
"Hey, we're not all that bad," Sirius protested.
"First of all, I've gone out drinking with you and Nym, so yes you are," Harry replied. "Bellatrix was a full on raging lunatic when we fought her. Not to mention the fact that Andromeda was willing to threaten Dumbledore at wand point. And who could forget your sweet mother's portrait?"
"Yeah, but..." Sirius thought about it for a moment then shrugged. "I've got nothing."
"Sirius can be quite charming," Kathryn said, seeming to defend her man. "In small doses."
"Ouch!" Harry laughed. "So, what are you doing here anyway, Sirius?"
"I've come to check on my newest investment," he said as he gestured down the street. Harry followed him as he walked. "Several months ago, I was introduced to two very creative young men and I was persuaded to finance the biggest thing to hit Diagon Alley since Tubby Turdner tried selling quick-growing pear trees."
"That doesn't sound too remarkable," Harry frowned.
"Ah, but you see, two very handsome young men might have taken the opportunity to sneak into the alley one night, magic up a few spots of bare soil, dump in plenty of dragon dung, and voila! The next morning there were nearly one hundred foot tall pear trees with thousands and thousands of pieces of fruit filling the alley," Sirius chuckled. "Poor Tubby was forced to close down but I heard he made a fortune after moving to the States. Might've saved his life too, now that I think about it, since this was back in the Seventies."
"I imagine I might be able to guess who these two 'handsome young men' were," Harry said as he rolled his eyes before turning the corner next to Sirius and coming to a stop in surprise at the enormous and garish new shop. Leave it to Fred and George to go completely over the top.
"Welcome to Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes," Sirius announced with a smile.
The girls had been following behind and Harry heard Pansy groan. "I am not going in there."
"Oh come on, it'll be fun," Sirius argued.
"Fun for buffoons like you maybe," she answered with a glare.
"Why are you with such a mean girl, Harry?" he teased back.
"She's my mean girl," he replied with a grin as he wrapped an arm around Pansy. Then Harry kissed her on the cheek. "I won't be too long."
"We'll go get ice cream!" Luna said cheerfully. "Want me to order you something?"
He shook his head. "I don't want it to get all melty."
"Let's go, Harry," Sirius said as he pulled him to the door. "I'm going to find something to make your next school year a lot more fun."
As they disappeared into the shop, Kathryn sighed fondly. "I don't know how it turned out that my husband is more of a kid than I am, despite the age difference."
"I am so sorry for you," Pansy said, patting her on the back.
"Can I join you girls?"
"The more, the merrier!" Luna smiled.
"And you can tell us all about your honeymoon," Pansy suggested as they headed towards Florean Fortescue's.
"There isn't too much to tell, really," Kathryn replied. "We spent a lot of time on a private tropical island."
"Clothing optional?" Luna asked excitedly.
"Well, I enjoy teasing him, so I'd usually wear something just to see how long I could keep it on before Sirius lost his mind," she laughed.
"I hope for your sake, Sirius knows what he's doing in the bedroom," Pansy said. "I've heard the way he and Harry talk, but I never know how much of his hot air is just trying to wind Harry up or try to outdo him."
"I wouldn't want him to start bragging too much," Kathryn grinned as they reached the door and entered the ice cream parlour, thankfully without a huge line at that moment. "But he is very good in bed. And so enthusiastic."
"I'm happy for you then," Pansy replied.
"Me too," Luna agreed. "By the way, we seem to have lost Parvati along the way."
"She said something about needing to do some more shopping," Pansy said. "I wouldn't be surprised if we run into her again later."
Later, Harry and Pansy ended up back at home eating pizza for dinner before planning on going out to the movies one last time that summer.
"You never did tell me about that shop of the Weasleys," she said. "I would have thought you would be more excited, but when you showed up for ice cream, you quickly changed the subject."
"I didn't want to cause a scene or ruin Sirius' good mood," Harry sighed. "Most of it was pretty interesting. Fred and George are really creative guys, and I'd give them credit for most of what I saw. There was only one problem."
"They sell love potions."
"Ugh," Pansy grumbled. "That does explain how those awful gingers can get dates."
"Yeah, I know you don't like them," Harry snorted. "But it wasn't even just them so much. There were a number of people there checking those things out- guys and girls- and not a single person seemed to be bothered by the fact that rape in a bottle was being openly sold to teenagers. What the fuck is wrong with the magical world?"
"A lot, I'd say," Pansy shrugged. "I thought you had figured that out by now."
"I have, it was just... disappointing." Harry frowned and took another bite. "Sirius said something about how I should have loaned them money, as he thinks he's going to make a fortune as part owner, but after that..."
"I understand," she nodded, reaching across the table to give his free hand a squeeze. "Let's talk about something more pleasant."
"Okay." Harry chewed for a moment as he thought it over. "So, you know how I've been looking into blood magic?"
"I could have sworn I said 'more pleasant' not more disturbing." She rolled her eyes. "Why?"
"A number of reasons," Harry said as he set his slice of pizza down. He raised one hand and started to count off the reasons. "First of all, according to Dumbledore, my mother's death enacted some sort of blood protection against Riddle all those years ago. Second, Riddle then took my blood as part of his rebirth ritual. Third, from our own experiences, we know that there can be other positive effects of blood rituals. Fourth, you saw how a simple little spell could be useful when I assured Steven about little Gracie. And fifth, I've had this idea ever since that day at the ministry about how to deal with Riddle for good."
He waved his fingers at her and smiled. "How's that for why?"
"Alright, tell me this idea then," Pansy replied.
"Let's finish eating. I'll need to give you a demonstration of my idea and then you can see if you agree."
"Fine," she huffed.
Harry noticed with some amusement that she started eating faster. He didn't want to annoy her though, so he dug in as well.
A few minutes later when he was done, Harry washed his hands before retrieving the book he had been studying and a couple of other things as well. Pansy was waiting expectantly on the couch. "To start with, remember the spell I used with Steven. Invenio Familio, right? I told you how simple it is. Having a bit of blood on hand to use for a material component makes it extremely accurate."
"I'm following you so far," she nodded in agreement.
"Good. Now, let me remind you of something from when I was speaking to Death," Harry added. "He, or it or whatever, reminded me before I came back that the core personality traits of Riddle are that he is a coward and a thief. The coward part seems obvious to me- his fear of dying being a big part of the problem. However, it's the thief part that led me to my theory."
"Which is what exactly?"
"When I came back from the dead, I used a cutting curse to wound Riddle. Some people might not get why that was important. I'm not even sure if I realized why I used that spell in particular in the moment. I knew it was pointless to try to kill him since he still had some horcruxes around, but why a cutting curse. But then I saw his bloody fingers lying there, and..." Harry pulled out the vial of Riddle's blood he had scooped off the floor of the ministry. "I gathered up a bit of his blood."
"Let me show you." Harry set the vial down on the kitchen table, picked up a knife, and stepped over to join her. He carefully cut the back of his hand so that a trickle of blood appeared. "Invenio Familio!"
The blood from the back of his hand flew across the room and landed on the vial. Pansy gasped.
"Riddle's blood can also be considered my blood," he finished turning to look at her. "And he has no right to it."
"Then that means-"
"It's time to reclaim what was stolen from me."
Pansy did have a couple of ideas to help refine Harry's plan, which was far too brash for her tastes. It was the reason they ended up meeting Alastor Moody very late that night at the Shrieking Shack.
"I hope the two of you have some good news," the older wizard gruffly announced his arrival.
"Why do you say that?" Harry asked.
"Because Albus has picked a wonderful time to disappear. I hope the bloody fool hasn't gotten himself killed."
"That hasn't been in the papers," Pansy replied.
"It's being kept hushed up at the moment. Wouldn't want to start a panic, now would we?" he scoffed. "You'd find out soon anyway, what with Hogwarts about to start back up. Now, what's this meeting all about?"
"Well, you could start by congratulating us," Pansy smirked as she showed off her ring.
"Hah!" he laughed. "You've got your work cut out for you in keeping Harry grounded, you know that, right? Congrats to the both of you. But I don't think you got me out of bed just to tell me that."
"No, but you did ask for some good news," Harry replied. "That was the simple bit. The other good news is a bit more complicated."
"How would you like to help finish Riddle tonight?"
"Are you serious, Harry?"
"Bloody hell," Alastor replied as he sat down and pulled out a vial. "Good thing I brought this then. Wideye Potion to keep me awake. Tell me your plan."
"I'm pretty sure I can handle Tom by myself, but Pansy suggested bringing along some back up. Naturally, I thought of you," Harry added giving Alastor a little smirk. "Who better to watch my back? Specifically, I'd like for you to be there to deal with Barty Crouch or anyone else that might get in the way."
"As far as we know, Barty's the only one the bastard has left."
"Yeah, as far as we know," Harry agreed. "Hopefully he hasn't recruited, or more likely Imperiused, any other help. I want to keep this mission as small as possible. I don't really like the idea of trying to assassinate someone with a gaggle of people there to screw things up."
"How do you think you can get rid of Riddle then?"
"Do you remember watching the memory of his little rebirth ritual?"
"Then, you'll remember that he used my blood in it," Harry said.
"Right. Blood magic is potent even if it is dangerous."
"Do you know much about it?" Pansy asked.
"Of course," Moody chuckled. "I've studied every bit of dark and dangerous magic I could over the years. You need to know that sort of thing when you're dealing with the type of filth I've fought against and hunted down in my line of work."
"Then have you heard of the blood reclamation curse?"
Moody whistled and nodded his head. "Nasty bit of business, that. A very awful way to disown someone- permanently. I think one of the Blacks invented it a few hundred years ago. I guess Sirius should be glad his dear old mum never learned it."
"Yeah," Harry exhaled. "The thing is, with Riddle using my blood in his plan to get his body back-"
"He stole your blood." Moody started to chuckle before bursting out into full fledged laughter. "Oh, that is perfect, lad! The bastard practically offered up his own downfall on a platter for you. Hah! I always said he was too damn smug and arrogant."
"And now it can cost him," Harry added. "The crazy bastard probably never expected any of his foes to research such things to defeat him."
"Yeah, too many damn witches and wizards who went dark seem to think they're the only ones willing to pursue such 'esoteric knowledge.' Morons," Alastor snorted. "I like it. The only problem will be tracking him down and getting into wherever he's hiding out."
"Well, tracking him down might take a bit of time," Harry admitted. "But, we've already got the way in."
Harry smiled and Dobby appeared at his side. "Meet my partner in crime and bodyguard, Dobby."
"That might work," Alastor nodded thoughtfully. "I've never come across any sort of enchantment to ward off house-elves, and believe me, I've looked."
"I'm hoping that blood magic will allow me to track him down too," Harry added. "When we were at the ministry and I used that cutting curse on Riddle, I scooped up some of his blood. I tried using the spell that lets you find blood relatives and the vial did show up. I'm thinking that we'll just need to use that to sort of hunt across the country."
"There's a faster way," Moody interjected. "I know a spell like that. Only problem is that it would track all living family members. But with you being the last Potter, there won't be too many of 'em."
"Then I guess we should get to work."
"Even demonic-looking serpentine abominations have to sleep," Harry grinned. "Riddle and his band of terrorists never believed in a fair fight, so why should we give him the chance to fight back?"
"I like it," Alastor chuckled. "Let's go."
With Alastor's knowledge and help, they were able to use a charm to track down the Dark Lord's hiding place within an hour. It was a fairly large country manor, far enough out of the way to not have to deal with any muggles. For Riddle's purposes, that might have been due to arrogance, but it was helpful for Harry as well since they wouldn't have to deal with any possible witnesses or other extraneous problems.
"I've got one prone body in an upstairs bedroom," Alastor whispered as he scanned the building with his magical eye. "If that's the head bastard, then Junior isn't here."
"That would make things easier," Harry replied.
"Maybe our luck will hold then."
"Here's hoping." Harry turned and knelt down next to Dobby. "We need to get inside. Can you do that for us?"
"Of course, master Harry sir!" Dobby grinned.
"Where should we go?" Pansy asked. "Do we want to try to just pop right into the bedroom?"
"On the one hand, that could be best for a surprise attack," Moody answered. "On the other hand, it might be more dangerous." He looked over at Harry, both eyes focused on him after the magical one stopped spinning. "What do you think, son?"
After a moment to think it over, he finally replied. "I just want this over with. We go in with our wands ready and finish things before he has time to wake up and try to fight back. I'll summon his wand as soon as we get in. Can you incapacitate him as fast as possible? Just in case he wakes up fast enough and tries something."
"Aye, lad. Sounds like a plan."
Harry took a deep breath and tried to calm his nerves. "Alright, everybody ready?"
"I am," Pansy nodded.
"Dobby, take us in on the count of three, alright?"
"Dobby is ready!"
"Okay." Harry put his left hand on the elf's shoulder and started to count. "One. Two. Three-"
Dobby pulled them all inside the building with his magic. They landed at the foot of a bed with the noseless monster sleeping in it. Harry was already calling the brother wand to his own and he caught it just as Riddle awoke, his red-eyes gleaming in the darkness.
Alastor was ready for him though, and his body went rigid just as he sat up. The Dark Lord fell back onto the bed, his arms glued to his side.
"Petrificus Totalis," the older auror explained. "Good spell except for how long the bloody incantation is. I mastered the damn thing by practicing it until my arm nearly fell off. I think you can see why though."
"You ready for your part then?"
Pansy interrupted him though as her wand lashed out and she screamed, "Crucio!"
Harry and Alastor were both so shocked that they just watched as she cast the unforgivable curse, stepping forward as she held Riddle under it. His eyes looked terrified, and for a second there, Harry wondered if he had ever known that sort of pain that he was finally on the other end of the torture curse.
"Look at me, you bastard!" She yelled. "I want you to know pain before you die. For my mother, and Harry's parents, and every wasted life lost to your madness. Suffer, you fucking monster."
"Harry," Alastor prodded his side.
Harry stepped forward, slipping Riddle's wand into a pocket and then wrapping his free arm around Pansy. "It's alright, sweetheart. Let him go, so I can finish this. He isn't worth your anger. Tom Riddle is a failure, and its time for him to meet his end."
She sagged after a moment, lowering her wand and releasing the spell. Harry kissed her forehead and then stared the madman in the face. "You know Tom, I've seen Death. Beyond this world, there is an afterlife for almost everyone. Except you- you who tore your own soul to pieces because of your delusional need to be immortal. What an idiot. All that awaits you is oblivion."
He raised his wand and smirked at those red demonic eyes. "You are a thief, Riddle. It's time for me to take back what you stole. Sanguine Redito!"
The curse was apparently too powerful, as it undid Alastor's body bind, but for that brief moment all that meant was that Tom Riddle let out one last tortured cry as his veins burst open. The blood formed into a crimson ball, floating in the air right in front of Harry, and the light left those glowing red-eyes for the last time. The Dark Lord was gone.
They stood there for a moment as silence fell, the ending all that more shocking for how quickly it had come.
"Maybe we should cut his head off," Harry suggested.
"He's not a vampire, lad," Moody replied with a chuckle.
"Yeah, but we can't really be too careful, can we?"
"I suppose." Moody looked thoughtful for a moment. "Do you want to do the honors?"
"I guess," Harry nodded. "Diffindo!"
The ghostly white head slid off, rolling back onto the pillows.
"You know, Pansy," Alastor broke the tension. "Normally, I'd have to arrest you for casting that spell. Luckily, you didn't use it on another human being. Just this abomination. But let's try not to do it in the future, alright lass?"
He chuckled and she nodded against Harry's side. She put her wand away and wrapped both arms around him. "He tortured the man I love. He killed the man I love. That monster deserved some pain before the end. I couldn't let him have a peaceful death."
"I understand." The old wizard took a deep breath. "I can hardly believe it's over. I guess I should summon some back up."
"Maybe not," Harry interrupted.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, Crouch is still out there somewhere," he pointed out. "Maybe we shouldn't make this public just yet. If we stash the body some place safe, then you could have time to stake this place out. Wait for Barty to show up again so you can catch him too. He's bound to come looking for his master, right?"
"That is an idea." Alastor clomped around to the other side of the bed. "What would we do with the body though?"
"I've got a safe hideaway," Harry answered. "A place no one but my family knows where it is. Dobby could take it there and have it in stasis for... I don't know, maybe a week or two to see if you can nab Crouch. How does that sound?"
"You'll be back at school by then," Alastor pointed out.
Harry shrugged. "We could turn the body in on a weekend. It would give you and Amelia to come up with some sort of plan to deal with the publicity too. I'm sure letting everyone know that the Dark Lord, and hopefully his last follower, is finished."
"I like it."
"Alright," Harry nodded before looking down to Dobby. "Dobby, my friend, can you take the body to our safe house and leave it in stasis there until the time is right?"
"Dobby is honored to help the greatest of all wizards- Harry Potter sir!" The little elf jumped onto the bed, then grabbed hold of Riddle's sleepwear and severed head before disappearing with a pop.
"I think you might have to deal with just a tiny bit more hero worship from the little guy," Pansy laughed.
"Well, the lad did just once again save the world," Alastor chuckled. "I'd say he's earned it."
"Dobby can call me whatever he wants," Harry said with a smile. "After all he's done to help us, he's earned it. That little guy has been a life saver."
"When he gets back, I'd like to use his help then," Alastor said. "Assuming you don't mind, I'll get at least Nymphadora summoned over here, and we can set up a watch tonight before you two leave. Sound alright?"
It was well after three in the morning by the time they got home that night, but Harry and Pansy were both still so excited that they ended up celebrating until nearly dawn. Teenage hormones were a wonderful thing. They could spend the next day sleeping in if they felt like it. Getting back on schedule for school might be a bit of a pain, but after everything else, that was a very minor concern.
The second war with Voldemort was over.
Author's Note: This story is almost finished. I'd like to thank everyone for the support over the last two and a half years since I started posting it. All your reviews, favorites, and whatnot have been greatly appreciated. Cheers!