Content Harry Potter Trixie Belden Star Trek: TNG My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
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Author Notes:

This chapter would not be anywhere near ready yet if not for the help of two people here at FFA - my wife and beta, Ishtar, and Aaran St. Vines. He is the one who wrote a goodly portion of the battle scene, although it was tweaked here and there. I would recommend that you look for his work by clicking on the "Other Authors" link at the top of the page and then clicking on "Aaran St. Vines". You won't be disappointed.

None of us would complain if you checked out Ishtar's work, too. *smile*

With a Little Help From My Friends

Chapter 9

The day of the Wizengamot meeting was finally upon us and we were all rather nervous. After all, we would soon be fighting for our lives against a particularly unpleasant foe who had some especially skilled psychopaths on his side. I wanted our babies to grow up in a Dark Lord-free world —I had every intention of giving Molly Weasley a run for her money, now that I had a worthwhile husband — and that meant that the fighting that was to happen today had to be perfect. I needed to be sure that the baby inside me — who had somehow remained completely untouched by Pansy’s ineptitude with poisons — stayed safe, but I also knew that I needed to be there for today’s meeting.

I was happy that all scans showed our baby to be unharmed. Ecstatic would likely be a better word, to be honest. I honestly do believe that there would not have been enough left of Pansy Parkinson for me to pour into a single serving vial had the poisoning caused me to miscarry. It is actually rather likely that Hermione would have pushed Harry out of the way to administer her punishment, and let Harry have what was left — if anything. That woman loves so deeply and powerfully that it is almost scary, and it takes my breath away when I realise that it is somehow aimed at me as well as our Harry. There is nearly a level of psychosis when it comes to her devotion to us, and we shall need to be careful, I believe.

On a whim, I kissed her forcefully to thank her for her love, and she murmured, "You know that you'll need to follow through on that once we're back from the Wizengamot."

"Gladly," I responded, letting my fingers brush lightly across her breasts. I found myself pleasantly surprised that she wore no brassiere. "I think both Harry and I may wish some nourishment later," I whispered, feeling the nipple under my fingers tighten just before I gave it a very soft pinch.

"We have a Wizengamot meeting, we have a Wizengamot meeting ..." I heard her begin to murmur, and I chuckled.

"Wait until you're carrying his child beneath your heart — you'll be as horny as I've been." I kissed her quickly; it was all we had time for before we met the others at the front gates.

"If I’m going to be worse than I am right now, I'll need both of you around, if only to keep Harry around for more children. I'd kill him otherwise."

"Yeah, but think of the smile on the corpse," Harry added sotto voce, a soft chuckle behind it that weakened my knees. I began Hermione's chant in my head. We have a Wizengamot meeting, we have a Wizengamot meeting ...

I was surprised when Draco arrived. "If I will be taking the seat in seven months, mother, I should learn how to do my job properly." He smiled softly. "Besides, I have a future brother or sister to protect."

"You do know that there will be fighting today?" Harry asked softly.

"I have people to protect. Mother, my brother or sister, Gra ... Hermione, and even you." At Harry's raised eyebrows he added, "Until she met you, I never saw my mother dance somewhere in the process of just doing a simple task. It was as if fun wasn't allowed at Malfoy Manor. You make her happy. Even if we can never get past the stage of being able to tolerate each other's presence, you've done something for her that I never knew possible — you've made her happy. I'll avoid comments about her glowing, since she's pregnant. So yeah, I'm going to protect you."

Harry nodded his acceptance and thanks, instinctively knowing that Draco would not accept anything more as real.

At first I reacted poorly when Harry next asked that I stay back during the fight to protect our unborn child. I felt as the representative of the House of Black I needed to proclaim that ‘we do not back down from a fight.’ Harry seemed at a loss for words at my defiance, but then our Hermione stepped in and ruthlessly destroyed every logical reason I’d raise for not being cautious, and demolished several other reasons I might have used if I’d thought of them. In the end, her logical blackmail won her case and gave me even more insight into my husband and how much more I needed, and wanted, to know about his life so I too could join Hermione in healing his many old emotional wounds.

Her final words, the ones that reduced me to near tears as I agreed to stay back from the heart of the conflict, were, "Think of how it will hurt Harry if this baby is harmed." I hate it when someone else is right. I’m usually the coolly logical and rational one.

Arrival at the chambers was business as usual — slow — since a certain level of pomposity seemed to be required by the simple act of entering the chambers. As we entered, Harry whispered in my ear, "Make a note of who isn't here. Likely Riddle won't want them hurt in the cross-fire, or will have them on his side."

I simply nodded and waited until we were in the Malfoy seat before invoking privacy and explaining to Draco, who began to literally make notes on it. I will admit that even this short exposure to my husband seemed to be improving Draco's Slytherin skills — if I hadn't known the code that he was using, I'd have sworn that it was shorthand for things he needed to know about the Malfoy seat. Seeing what he was writing, I kept up a slow and steady stream of various things about the Malfoy seat. He smiled in thanks at me — another thing to thank Harry for.

I could see for myself that Lady Parkinson was in the Parkinson seat, but her husband was 'mysteriously' missing. Nott, Goyle, and a handful of others seemed to be amongst the missing. (Nott and Goyle are living proof that intelligence is not a requirement for a Wizengamot seat. Let me put it this way — Gregory Goyle is a genius compared to his father, and I am aware that Draco does not lie when he talks about Gregory's lack of intelligence. The Goyle family fortunes will improve when the son takes over the family. I do not use hyperbole when I say that Greg Junior could not possibly do any worse.)

We met Dumbledore's eyes and he nodded ever-so-slightly — he also had noticed the preponderance of missing Dark-aligned members. There was nothing that could be done about it, however, except to take note of it and ensure that they didn't come to power after Harry had defeated the criminal Riddle.

Finally, the Wizengamot session began, with its usual pomp. (‘Pomp and circumcision’, Harry quipped one day when he was particularly annoyed at some of the stupid laws. I’m quite certain he was willing to perform the surgery — without anaesthesia, of course.)

By thirty minutes into the session, I could see everyone beginning to relax. I think everyone knew that Voldemort was not likely to take the Slytherin seat being taken from him easily (lying down, I think the phrase is), and had expected that he would blaze into the meeting as soon as it began. At half an hour in, it was pretty well accepted by most that he would not be making an appearance that day.

That was their mistake. My husband and wife remained on high alert, and forty-three minutes and twenty-seven seconds after the meeting started, the reason was made manifest as the doors to the chambers exploded inward — actually most of that whole wall blew inward.

I’d never fought in a battle, or what Harry said this would be, a fire-fight. It’s a Muggle expression apparently, and it means a smaller and quicker battle. I asked why they just didn’t say so, but I never got an explanation. Harry and Dumbledore both stated this fight would probably not last long, and in truth, it will probably take longer to tell about it than it took to perform, start to bloody finish. I’d never fought in a battle before, but I did duel quite often in school in our duelling club, and I had several conflicts with witches at Hogwarts of a more serious and undisclosed nature than club match-ups. Nothing prepared me for this scene after the fact, but fortunately I reacted on instinct during the engagement. I carried my burden as Harry assured me I would. He had confidence in me that I didn’t really feel until he gazed into my eyes and told me, "You’ll do quite well. I expect, being a Black, you will maintain your family honour well, and now as a Potter you have a heritage to set for our child, and the other children to come."

Those words ran through my mind and my heart the entire time we waited for the fight to begin, and they resounded throughout my very being for the duration of the conflict.

I happened to look at the clock just seconds before the explosion — that’s why I knew the exact time. It seemed like a long half hour or more before the unnatural silence punctuated the end of all fighting, and the moans and other cries of pain elicited the beginning of the recovery from the battle. I looked again at the clock as if it was the logical thing to do amidst the carnage and destruction. Five minutes and fifty seconds had passed since I had last gazed in that direction. It was an eternity in three-hundred and fifty seconds.

Most of the entire east wall where the doors were was gone after the explosion. The chamber was designed back in the days when duelling was common, and for some reason it was considered appropriate to duel in the Wizengamot chamber itself. That practice had ceased over five hundred years ago, but the large room’s defences had never been changed. In this case said defences contained most of the explosion from badly hurting or killing most of us in the assembly, but the three Aurors standing with their backs to that wall were not so lucky. They were the first deaths this day, but not the last.

Most of us, even those who were expecting it, were stunned into inaction the first few moments after the blast, but not Dumbledore, and not Harry. Both of them sprang to their feet and began proving their reputations in a fight. Harry started sending Reductors and Cutting curses out as fast as he could say the incantations. His words were barely spaced as to be recognizable. Intent in spell casting is of prime importance, and his slurred-together words produced a blur of spell fire. The headmaster started off more defensively in his magical display. He proved himself the battle tactician of great skill and foresight in doing so. He animated the rubble from the exploded wall to form into barriers and reform into passageways through the rubble. The first six Death Eaters bobbed around several hastily erected segments of wall debris and made their way into the paths allowed. Those six were then crushed into unconscious or worse by the paths slamming in on them. Their screams were actually more like bloody gurgles.

And then my ex-husband made his presence known. Lucius stuck his head around a corner and transfigured the rubble into a flying hail of debris he attempted to fling our way. Dumbledore, the strongest wizard in Transfiguration in two centuries, and Minerva McGonagall, the best witch in this century in that skill, easily negated his efforts. Albus sent about two-thirds of the flying detritus of as blue birds and canaries. Min turned the rest of it to straw, which fell useless to the ground.

Lucius was one of the first of Riddle’s key Death Eaters to enter the chamber, and he was faced with a hail of Stunners as soon as the Aurors recovered enough to join the fray. After his quick attempt to repurpose Dumbledore’s original defences, Lucius popped up his Shield spell and retreated. From the other side of the hole in the wall, a number of suicidal Death Eaters ran in, concentrating on the Aurors still firing at Lucius. Eleven more Aurors went down, thinning out the defenders, at the cost of six bound Death Eaters and six more down, unconscious, and bleeding. I heard a number of Summoning Charms cast and all of the downed toadies of that assault wave were recalled. We could hear the Ennervates being cast outside.

Harry called out, "Either hurt them or kill them. If you Stun them they’ll just be back at us in seconds."

Sure enough, my dear one was right. Another wave of Death Eaters ran in, casting a variety of hurtful curses. This time they spread out, so that they did not present a concentrated target, and used their Shield spells.

The few Wizengamot members who attended this day fell into two categories: basically prepared and unprepared. The bulk of these parliamentarians were older than typical. It had apparently never occurred to them that they might have to fight. A number of them stood and were struck down while expressing their outrage at the events of the moment. Many more of these ancients wisely fell to the floor, seeking what cover they could.

There were others who stood besides Dumbledore and McGonagall, and Harry’s appointees, my sister Andromeda, Molly, Arthur, and Percy, Harry, Hermione and myself. Few others from the Wizengamot offered more than a token Stupefy before crawling under a desk. However four were effective.

Griselda Marchbanks and Tiberius Ogden made a formidable team, sending a combination of curses and hexes towards the crowd, and shooting conjured rocks the size of skulls towards the Death Eaters from a variety of different angles. They knew they could not dodge and spin out of the way of return spell fire, so they holed up in the back of the chamber behind several summoned desks and tables and proved themselves a formidable nuisance. A number of the vermin were knocked unconscious, and more were dazed by the duo’s stinging counterstrikes. Ultimately two of the attackers had to spend most of their time shielding the others from the rocks.

Augusta Longbottom had a particularly wicked old Bone Cracker hex her family was famous for. Their grimoire was said to be full of arcane magic few alive today had ever heard of. None who survived the fight will ever forget the results of the Bone Cracker — it was a well-feared spell for very good reason. The usual bone breaking hexes do just that — break bones. The Longbottom Bone Cracker causes immediate compound fractures. Trust me when I say that the people hit by this hex do not willingly rise to their feet quickly. Unfortunately, she was hit with a nasty Cutting curse on her wand hand\, and it had to be wrapped in a Wound-binding spell shortly after the fight began. She sat behind an overturned desk and did shoot left-handed Reductors at the attackers, but her efforts were now weak and easy to shield. But any distraction of the attackers opened the way for someone else’s spell to slip through.

My friend, Angelique Parkinson, stood by my side, actually just ahead of me, trying to draw attention to herself and away from me. I decided to be angry at her later. She was only trying to protect her pregnant friend, after all. Hermione was near enough to defend me but a few steps away to draw fire as well. Draco stood right in front of me also. I knew Angelique had a particularly fine Reflecting spell that sent back curses towards the original caster. She was better than most at aiming the returning spells, and I fired off my favourite Blasting hex either just before or just after her returned spells. We made a good team.

Molly Weasley, for someone known even among the pure-blood purist as a kindly, motherly soul, showed an amazing lack of concern for hurting people. Her Bone Shattering curses, gruesomely painful spells that could generally cause a person to faint dead away from pain, caught a number of Death Eaters by surprise as they smiled at the matronly woman. One man even called her a blood traitor, but he never said another word after her spell of choice crushed his skull like a ripe tomato. Molly fired off offensive spells rarely after Augusta was hit. Molly tended her wounds and those of any others hurt on our side after that, ignoring the Cutting curse that nicked her forehead and the blood that ran into her eyes sporadically.

My husband, Harry, was the primary target. The third wave of Death Eaters came in as a group and went straight at him, wands blazing. Harry put forth an astounding array of shielding to protect him, and from across the room Dumbledore conjured a stone slab that took three simultaneous Killing Curses sent his way. But one curse slipped through. Percy Weasley jumped in the way and took the violent Cutting curse on his right side. I could hear several ribs crack loudly; thankfully Molly was on him in moments, binding his wound and helping him to shelter behind an overturned table.

Arthur Weasley has always been considered wishy-washy and hen-pecked, an odd duck even in the magical world, where being odd is a cherished character trait. Many of the wealthy pure-bloods hold him up as an example of weak magic in the poorer pure-blood families, as if wealth presupposed magical power or ability.

The Death Eater who hit Percy dissolved in hideous screams as an acid shower jetted from Arthur’s wand. The two attackers near him went down seconds later, their internal organs turning to mush and destroying all life functions from within. Arthur could be heard humming a tuneless ditty of unknown origins as he went back to casting what now seemed like low impact Cutting curses and Reductor fire. Today was the day for ruthlessness to come forth to hopefully spare future generations the impact of a Dark Lord.

My sister Andromeda, Andi, made her way to her daughter’s side. The Aurors remained a prime target for the vermin assaulting us. Dawlish went down in a hail of spell fire and I wondered if he could live through it. He didn’t. A bald-headed black Auror at Nymphy’s side went down also, but I saw him moving afterwards, so his wounds were not immediately fatal. No other magical law enforcement officers were left standing. Few were even alive. Andi and Nymphy made quite the team — either they had practiced fighting together, or there is some truth to the idea that mothers and daughters can think alike — VERY alike. But theirs was a lost position.

Proving his near omniscience in battle once again, Albus Dumbledore looked across the room from where he was duelling five talented Death Eaters. He instantly saw the plight of the two Tonkses. A table jumped up and danced for a second before the two women who now took the brunt of the last wave of Death Eater cannon fodder. The table wouldn’t hold for long, so Dumbledore actually summoned Andi and Nymphy across the room and shielded them while they flew to him. Several boulders dropped in and around those sent in to kill my two kinswomen, and many of those Dark minions’ screams were cut short when they were crushed.

Never assume that Dumbledore’s reputation as a warrior is anything but understated.

The next group into the room came in as they owned the world: twelve Death Eaters who stood there as though they held their places on the field of battle by divine right. Minerva McGonagall called out, "Accio masks!" and these twelve’s faces were revealed to all. The ten Death Eaters who had been captured by my husband and wife and their friends at the Department of Mysteries stood before us: Walden Macnair, Rodolphus Lestrange, Rastaban Lestrange, Augustus Rookwood, William Avery, Anton Dolohov, Frederick Nott, Terrence Mulciber, Vincent Crabbe, and Stephen Jugson. Joining them were Severus Snape, no surprise there, and Bruce Parkinson — there, now I remember his name.

A hush fell as the Death Eaters who we’d dealt with, but who were still conscious, tried to disengage from the combat. In turn, we used the brief respite to reinforce our own positions. The new arrivals seemed to think that a little taunting and flaunting was in order, as if this was nothing more than a schoolyard spat.

Bruce looked over at Angelique and me and smirked. She hissed, "I wondered why he’s not asked for marital privileges for three weeks now. He took the Mark."

Dolohov said, "Mudblood Granger, I’ll not miss cleaving you in two this time around."

Macnair held his axe in one hand, his wand in the other, and grinned a broken-toothed grin that made him seem like one of the Beasts he was tasked with executing.

Severus Snape said, "I knew Potter would lead you all to your doom. My master--" His words were cut short when a silently cast Cutting curse took his wand arm off just above the elbow. As he stared at it another silent spell removed his left hand.

"I am tired of your diatribes, Snivellus," Harry said. My dear husband joined both hands onto his wand, the manner he developed to cast wordlessly. Snape fell to his right as that side’s leg shattered at the kneecap. His screams of agony ended the pause in the fighting.

It took three spells before Hermione was cleansed forever from the dream that still awoke her from time to time, in spite of our tender loving embraces at night. She sent a Cutting curse at Dolohov who easily flicked it away. He sent back a similar curse and she seemed to barely dodge it. He laughed again as she sent a Reductor of medium strength his way. I wondered what she was playing at. Once again the Ukrainian madman flicked it away and raised his head up to the ceiling laughing at her pitiful efforts. He lowered his eyes just in time to see the same purple spell he’d sent her way in the Department of Mysteries coming straight at his chest.

The spell that had been fired at her a few months ago has been thought of as a cutting curse, but it is not. If anything, it is a bludgeoning style curse. It is designed to cut the skin open and pulp the insides so that they can flow back out the hole the spell creates. A very nasty spell. That is what Dolohov inexpertly cast at Hermione those months ago. That is also what Hermione expertly cast at Dolohov, whose eyes widened in terror in his last seconds, when he realised what was happening. I don’t believe that he appreciated the irony, but I didn’t care about that. My wife’s mental healing could begin in earnest now.

Bruce Parkinson called his wife a dyke and a whore. She removed his head from his torso and both body parts fell behind several other Death Eater corpses. So much for wizard supremacy in a fight.

Suddenly, above all of this we could hear the cackle of a mad woman. My other sister had arrived. With her was my ex-husband, and behind them, hanging back near the entry to the shattered wall, was Voldemort.

Harry wasted no time taunting Bellatrix. "Trixie, you bitch, thanks for coming so I can kill you and not have to hunt you down after I kill Riddle."

"DON’T YOU DARE CALL HIM THAT!" They don’t call her a psycho-bitch for nothing. They also don’t consider her a skilled fighter, second only to the Dark Lump, for no just cause. Harry almost went down under her barrage of curses, but was able to stay up with the aid of a distracting animated chair sent by Dumbledore. Bella destroyed the chair and easily cast aside Harry’s return cannonade of spells. Nymphadora and Andi moved to his aid, probably feeling like they needed to uphold the family honour by at least aiding him, if not taking out Bella themselves. My bitch-sister didn’t even look their way as she sent out a Reductor, shattering Andi’s shoulder and sending her flying back into Nymphy’s path, taking her down as well. I moved toward them but stopped when I saw Harry cave in Bella’s chest with a powerful Reductor. In hindsight, I realized Bella never used anything as benign as a Reductor, and the one she used on Andi wasn’t all that powerful. I’ll always believe that in her perverse way she was showing mercy to her sister - but I’ll never tell Harry. He killed the slayer of my cousin Sirius and the torturer and murderer of countless others. In spite of all of that, I know that for my sake he regrets having to kill my sister, even though I truly rejoice that she no longer lives to torture, maim, and destroy.

I’d been holding my own all along. I’d personally stopped cold five Death Eaters in the first three waves all by myself, and helped Angelique and Hermione fight several more. Vincent Crabbe lay at our feet bound and unconscious, with several broken bones. Augustus Rookwood had retreated from fighting us. My mistake was that in my concern for my sister, I left the safety I had, grouped with Angelique, Draco and Hermione. Lucius saw his opportunity and struck. I was petrified and bound in a second.

After Lucius disabled me I found myself positioned to view the rest of the battle. Hermione came to my aid and Lucius placed her under the Cruciatus. Angelique moved to help her and in a flurry of spells, Lucius released Hermione, bludgeoned Angelique, and returned to torturing my young wife. However, Draco now stood in his way.

"Come son, join me in her torture, you know you want to." Draco sent a Stunner at his father. I can only believe he did so not wanting to kill him — an emotion I can readily understand despite his feelings from Lucy’s obsequious toadying to a half-blood pretender to pure-blood nobility. Lucius blocked the spell from his son and returned a strike from his Lashing curse. Draco manfully cut short a cry of pain as the flesh ripped on his left shoulder, embedding pieces of his robe in his flesh. The fight was on.

I must say I was proud of Draco. He fought using many but not all of the semi-dark spells my ex-husband taught him. Lucius is a sadist, but I do believe he held back a bit. Draco was cut. His left arm hung loosely, and Lucius drove him to the ground mercilessly, but mercifully he did not kill his own flesh and blood. Lucius turned to me. "Now the torture you so richly deserve, my dear."

Harry was unable to reach me. Dumbledore wasn’t looking my way. I knew the Cruciatus would abort my baby as sure as any curettage. But it never came.

I heard a weak "Reducto!" The spell entered Lucius’ cranium from under his jaw, bypassing his tongue, and entering the roof of his mouth and into his brain. Draco had committed patricide with a very concentrated and well-aimed spell. He vomited on the spot, and I did not blame him.

Hermione crawled to me and released me from my bindings. We both somehow made it to Draco and held him. He was hurt, badly, but not fatally. I Summoned Hermione’s wand, lest it be broken by someone stepping on it. To my surprise, Hermione summoned the magical power from some deep reservoir to perform a few needed healing spells. I looked at Angelique. Her breathing was ragged, and I prayed help would arrive in time to save her.

It was at this moment that the crusty old Auror, Alastor Moody, arrived and set off several large hugely loud explosions behind the remaining Death Eaters, and sent violent Cutting curses at Frederick Nott and Terrence Mulciber. They both bled to death in the minutes to come.

The jumped-up self-proclaimed Lord Voldemort turned his back to us and used the Killing Curse on Moody. The Auror jerkily dodged the first one, but Riddle’s second one hit him in the face. The others with Moody — the Weasley twins, Remus Lupin, and several that I simply did not recognise — created shielding and confusion as they entered the fray.

"Now," cried Hermione weakly. I’d just come to my head and remembered our ultimate assignment for the day. She cast the soul-binding charm and I did a moment afterwards. It’s a spell that takes little power to cast, which is good, because we were both as weak as kneazle kittens. The spell is also easy to block, but no one did, and we both hit the monster.

Our Harry was watching for this. He pulled from his pocket an enhanced Strengthening Potion that I had brewed for a ‘just in case’ scenario and downed it. Voldemort turned to kill all of us, calling "Potter!" to draw my husband’s attention.

Dumbledore once again proved his magnificence in battle. While fighting Stephen Jugson and both Lestrange brothers, he’d maintained the presence of mind to monitor our progress against Riddle. Albus sent a simple Cutting curse at Riddle, who had to stop and block it. He laughed at the small insult from the headmaster, and that provided all the time needed.

The Strengthening Potion kicked in. Harry jumped over several remaining Death Eaters, going over thirty feet, and landed almost right behind Tom Riddle. Dumbledore fired another spell, forcing Riddle to choose which one of them he’d face — and he made the wrong choice. Harry had landed facing the wrong way, but used the moment of Riddle’s hesitation to spin and attack him from the rear. Using the power he’d imbibed, Harry forgot all about magic and grabbed Riddle’s head. It took less than a moment, a fraction of a second — literally. In one superhuman exertion Harry twisted the master of torture’s skull to the right. He not only broke Riddle’s neck, but his overwhelming strength caused my young love to rip Riddle’s head completely off his shoulders.

Vile green blood torrented out, and toxic-smelling fumes filled the air in seconds. Harry was hit full in the face with blood and the polluted vapours, and proceeded to empty his gullet of every meal he’d ever eaten. I’m not sure if there was anyone who didn’t do the same, stopping the fight almost immediately.

The last Death Eaters just deflated from the fight as if they were wine sacks pricked by knives. They dropped their wands and fell to the floor, shivering as if the hand of death had given them an icicle enema.

Dumbledore made his way around binding the Death Eaters, just in case. My niece Nymphy joined him. Harry finally staggered to his feet. He didn’t come our way, but he looked to Hermione and me. We were fine, and I felt the dear one by my side visually return her love to him as I did.

On his way to us, Harry paused when he reached Severus Snape, who was stubbornly and miraculously still clinging to life. "Come to rub in your victory, Potter?" This time he not only figuratively spat out the words, he actually spat blood as he spoke.

"I take no pleasure in the killing," Harry stated calmly. "I do take pleasure in knowing all of you torturers and murderers will harm and kill no more."

"Such pious platitudes. Saint Potter, here to--"

"Silencio." The headmaster silenced his former potions master.

"I suppose you’ll try to heal him now, Professor? Reform him maybe?" There was no accusatory tone to Harry’s words. He spoke in a flat, matter of fact timbre, as if asking about the weather in Senegal.

"No, Harry. I think letting him end here is enough. I take mercy on him by not requiring him to face a trial or the dementor’s kiss." He turned to Severus and I watched Harry look at the dying man also. Dumbledore continued, "But I condemn him to these last thoughts. The knowledge that the son of his archenemy, James Potter, defeated him and his Lord Voldemort. Severus, both James and Sirius know now your true loyalties, and will spit on you in Hell to relieve your thirst."

Snape’s eyes went wide. Silently he tried to rail against these words. But his efforts opened fresh blood flows from his dismemberment wounds, and in seconds he was dead.

Harry said nothing. Dumbledore said nothing. The headmaster turned to minister to the living, and Harry turned and, half-ran, half-staggered, to Hermione and me.

He moved to hug me, but realised that he was covered in gore. He stripped off his robes, leaving him in trousers and a simple white shirt. (The trousers were leather — they allowed greater freedom of movement and an absolutely magnificent view of how well formed my husband is, to the great joy of my wife and myself.) He used the robes to clean his face as best he could, and then took me in his arms. He was far gentler than I expected him to be, and I believe that he understood my thoughts, because he said, unbidden, "I may still be super-strong, love. If I hug you the way I want to, I’d likely shoot body parts into orbit."

I giggled at the imagery — somehow the way he said it did not draw to mind the carnage we had just experienced — and nestled against his chest, revelling in the sound of his strong heartbeat. A moment later, Hermione snuggled in against us both.

"Are you two all right?" he asked. "I know that Lucius hit you both, but I was too busy to hear what you were hit with."

"She may hate me, but I think that you should know that your younger wife was struck by the Cruciatus Curse," Draco stated. Hermione scowled at my son, but Harry simply pulled her closer. "I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you from that," he whispered.

I was suddenly struck by something, and said, "We shall talk when we return to our quarters at Hogwarts, my husband. But for now, we need to restore order to the Wizengamot."

Harry looked at me, somewhat puzzled, but turned to face what was left of the Wizengamot. "Ladies and Gentlemen! Lords and Ladies! May I have your attention!"

His loud voice overrode all the small conversations that had cropped up and were beginning to get painfully loud. The chamber was suddenly silent. "Thank you," he said. "Now, we need to deal with the aftermath in an orderly manner. If no one has done so yet, please have someone contact St. Mungo’s and have them send every Healer that they can spare. Those of us capable should Vanish the rubble, or if perhaps Headmaster Dumbledore knows a particularly powerful Reparo?" He asked that with a slight smile, but was rather startled to find that the elderly man had already undertaken something quite like that.

"It helps to be the one involved in recasting the spells every few decades," Dumbledore said with a tired smile as the room reconstituted itself. The dead were still dead, but the room was once again pristine. He sagged against a desk. "While a pity that duels were once common enough to require those spells, it is good to know that they do occasionally have their uses."

"I’m almost sad that they exist," Harry said. "It would do us well to remember that magic can’t fix everything. Who tells the families of those brave Aurors that their father or mother or sister won’t be returning home tonight — or ever again? I don’t blame you, sir — never will I, especially since I suggested the Repairing Charm — but I wish that there were a permanent record of the violence that occurred here. Perhaps it would help us here in the Wizengamot to do what we can to stop the next Grindelwald or the next Riddle. But we need to start that process in school, and before."

Draco stood to address the surviving Wizengamot. "You know me, and you knew my father. I stand here beside Lord Potter to state that we need to stop this pureblood nonsense. A woman that I spent the last five years berating for her greater intelligence and her blood purity — or lack thereof, to be precise — stood to protect me. A woman that I admit that I called by the derogatory term ‘Mudblood’ showed her true measure by trying to protect others who would look down their noses at her as I once did."

My son walked to the Weasleys. "We purebloods need to become more like this family. Strong wizards and witches — if you don’t believe me, ask anyone on the receiving end of Ginny’s Bat Bogey Hex," he paused for the soft laughter that moved around the room, "and the Weasleys make no secret of where they stand in this fight."

"Make no mistake," Harry said, "this fight is not over. Until the day that someone utters the term ‘Mudblood’ and is properly shunned as they should be for bigotry, this fight is not over."

"How do we stop it?" Augusta Longbottom asked. As my eyes met hers, she winked, and I realised what she was doing.

"By changing the laws that hold down others," Harry answered her. "Dolores Umbridge was forced on Hogwarts last year, and she made no secret of her dislike of anyone not a Pureblood. She hated other species because they weren’t human. She and her ilk are the reason that we are treated the way we are by the centaurs. We have Cornelius Fudge, who spent a year trying to discredit me, rather than try to deal with the problem, and knowingly taking bribes from Death Eaters the whole time. Note that we still need to elect someone to take his place — we’ve only an interim Minister at the moment."

My husband began to pace. "We treat anyone not a pureblood as something vile that we’ve stepped in. Despite the attitudes of a handful of centaurs, they strike me as decent people. Yes, people. So they have hooves — big deal. They’re more intelligent than some of the people we just fought." I heard more than one person in the chambers doing some variation on "*cough*Goyle*cough*" and fought down a laugh.

"Look at our laws about underage magic use. It is an openly discriminatory law. We can’t detect who is doing the magic, only where. If magic was detected in Ottery St. Catchpole, then in all likelihood the Ministry would ignore it, because there are three wizarding families known to be living in that town. Even half-bloods living with a wizarding parent are in the clear. But if it’s an area where there are only Muggleborns, we send an owl and tell the offender that they might be expelled from Hogwarts. As a result they arrive at school each year weak and out of practice, and take longer to catch up. We need to change that law to allow students to practice — with the presence of a qualified witch or wizard around. ‘Oh look — we’ve registered magic in Little Whinging. Our team went out and found nothing, so we gave the offender a warning. Oh look, it happened again. Ah, it seems that he convinced Auror Tonks to oversee his practice on her day off. No problem then.’ If we do it that way, we end up with a more skilled population in every way."

He shook his head in disgust at himself. "Listen to me. We’ve just had a battle and I’m standing here politicking for changes in the laws. Please forgive me. We have dead to bury. You don’t need to listen to me complain."

"But it is good to hear from a man who cares so deeply for this world he lives in, Mr Potter," Albus stated. "I think that we should reschedule the meeting for two weeks from today, and then we can listen to Mr Potter tell us his ideas." The man’s eyes were sparkling madly, and I think that he was of a mind to do what Augusta appeared to be thinking — get my husband in on the ground floor of rebuilding the world in a much more reasonable way.

"I’ll second the reconvening," Harry said. With a wry smile, he added, "May it please the Wizengamot, I think the loudmouth in the Potter seat should be silenced for the duration of the next meeting."

The motion to adjourn was passed by those still alive and conscious, and the second motion was roundly ignored.

Back at Hogwarts, the news had already spread, and a party had begun. It was quite raucous by the time we arrived, and Harry was almost immediately hoisted on shoulders and paraded around the room. He took it for a while, but when he noticed us on the ground smiling at him, he asked the crowd to place him near the head table. (It was not easy, by any means. It required a powerful Sonorus to get their attention.)

"Thank you," he said when he was on the ground again. "Could I please get Draco Malfoy, Hermione Potter and Narcissa Potter up here too?" I was astonished to find an exuberant crowd delivering us to him in exactly the same manner that he had been carried there, and I was laughing happily by the time we reached him and were lowered gently to the ground.

He was smiling as well. "I can see that you’ve all heard that the Dark Dweeb is defeated. These people can verify it, as can Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall. But I want you to know that while I did the ..." He paused and frowned for a moment before continuing, "While I did the killing blow, so to speak, I would not have gotten that far if not for these people. Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall did their bit to take out the Death Eaters, and I will publicly say to you all that I owe Draco Malfoy a debt that I doubt can ever be repaid."

The room was silent, and even my son had an astonished look on his face. "This man stood before a Death Eater who had used the Cruciatus on one of my wives, and was preparing to do the same to the other — which would have caused a miscarriage without doubt — he stood before this Death Eater and interposed himself between the Death Eater and his prey. I’m sorry to say that this Death Eater was his own father, and that Draco was required to —" He turned to Draco. "I’m sorry that you had to do that."

"To save my mother and Hermione, I’d do it again," my son said with a shrug. "It’s not as if I was doing anything in that room that anyone else wasn’t."

"But you faced down your own father and saved the two women who mean more to me than my own life. I can never repay you for that," Harry finished, his voice thick with emotion.

"What happened there, mate?" Ronald Weasley asked from the front. "And don’t think I’m ignoring that Mal ... Draco saved the life of one of my best friends."

My son started slightly at that, but stood a little straighter. Harry explained the battle from his point of view, including the method of killing Riddle. None listening missed the fact that he was almost literally green.

Not even that description could quell the celebratory mood, and the party picked up once more. Somewhere along the line, I noted that Draco had either peeled away from the group, or had been peeled away. He was speaking to Miss Weasley, who was showing all the signs of attraction. Once I might have sneered on the idea, but I now realise that my son would be hard pressed to do better than a Weasley.

When we could make an exit from the festivities, Hermione and I,dragged Harry back to our quarters, where a much needed conversation took place. "You do know that we still love you," I stated.

"I knew this day would come, Harry," Hermione said. "I pledged myself to you through good and bad. The bad is knowing that you, and only you, could put an end to that madman."

"I ripped his head off like an animal!" he exclaimed, his loathing for the action obvious.

"Are you going to do it again?" she asked.

His answer was to turn green and run into the water closet-cum-bath room we shared. His stomach had nothing in it, so he tried to return meals from prior lifetimes. We merely rubbed his back while he retched.

When he was done, he looked up at Hermione, who simply said, "Exactly. The thought disgusts you. Riddle would have enjoyed it as a way to generate horror. You are a sweet, gentle man who I am still proud to call my husband." She smiled a smile I knew all too well, having seen it in the mirror whenever I thought about our husband. "Even with everything that has happened, you have no idea how much that word fills me with an ineffable feeling of joy," she said. "Harry Potter, the man I gave my heart to, noticed me and thinks I’m worthy of being his wife."

"Worthy?" he croaked. He cleared his throat and drank a little of the water I offered him after using the first mouthful to clear his mouth. Voice still raw, he continued. "You worthy of me? You have it backwards, beloved. I am astonished that not one, but two goddesses entered my life and chose to grace me with their presence for as long as they deem me worthy of them. No mere mortal is deserving of the love of even one of you."

"Then you must not be a mere mortal," I said as I pulled him into a kiss. "I can think of no man more worthy than you. You defeat the worst Dark Lord of our time, and rather than use it for power and privilege, you come back here and feel disgusted with yourself because of the manner in which you defeated him."

"We’re going to do something to you that you’re going to hate for a while, Harry," Hermione said. "We’re going to love you all the more."

She bit her lower lip then, and said, "I’ve read that this is the case, but I’ve discovered that it’s true."

I couldn’t help but laugh. "Post-fight arousal?"

She blushed and nodded. "If he hadn’t been in such a bad mood because of what had happened, Harry probably would have known exactly how I felt back in June. I don’t care how badly I was hurt, I wanted him — right then, right in that bed, even if the whole school was looking on."

I dropped my robes from my shoulders. "Would our husband care to help his wives with the problem that appears to have surfaced?" I took one of the oldest erotic poses in existence. Even under those circumstances it did its work and soon the three of us were no longer mourning death, but celebrating life.

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Author Notes:

The story is not yet complete - there is an epilogue coming.