Bubble, Bubble, Toil, and Trouble
Disclaimer – Harry Potter and its affiliates are the sole property of JK Rowling.
Disclaimer – Merlin and Morgan Le Fey are characters in History and Myth. They do not belong to me either.
Disclaimer – Sun Runner abilities are the property of Melanie Rawn.
Note – thanks for all the wonderful reviews. You guys are posting reviews as fast as I can get up the chapters. Thank you all so much for the wonderful words of encouragement. I am hoping that my fourth book gets as many good reviews as this trilogy has.
Chapter 17 – Bubble, Bubble, Toil, and Trouble
For the most part, things were quiet and peaceful around the castle. Professors acting like children pulled pranks on one another. For every prank pulled, Harry's mood brightened more and more. The ghostly look to his skin was starting to fade. The dark circles that were under both his and Draco's eyes were gone. Both young men look well rested and eager to move on with their lives. The Dark Runners were being very quiet at this time. Harry and Draco both knew that it would be a matter of time before one of the last four threats exposed themselves and someone from the forces of Light would catch them. Harry totally surprised everyone by grabbing his and Draco's broom and manhandled Draco out into the afternoon air. They mounted their brooms and flew off. It was not long before they were surrounded by others on broomsticks. Now that Harry had replaced all of the old school brooms with Nimbus two thousand two's the teachers were eager to fly with the pair. Poppy and Molly were at the castle watching over the children and of course Hermione was up to her eyebrows in the library reading. Minerva, Pomona, and most of the other teachers would be coming back any day now. As the air whistled past Harry's ears, he felt lighter than he had in months. Things were going smoothly at the castle. The babies were growing rapidly and learning to talk. Things were as peaceful as one could wish. Harry was no fool. He knew that it was just a matter of time before someone from the Dark side would shatter that well placed and deserved peace of mind. Dudley was progressing rapidly in his studies. He was going through his courses faster than Harry could keep up. The professors were delighted by his thirst for knowledge and his delight in learning. The only other student they had like that was when Hermione was starting. That Dudley was an adult and a former tormentor of Harry made no difference to anyone. This included Harry.
Even though this was a leisurely flight around the perimeter of the Forbidden Forest, the group kept a vigilant eye one the area. Allies in the forest were assisting with keeping out all manner of dark creatures. Only one werewolf was allowed in the forest and that was Remus. Harry made a special trip into the forest to inform the centaurs, acromantulas as well as any other intelligent or semi intelligent creature about the sole exception to the werewolf rule. Harry and Draco saw Grawp and his new female friend. Both giants waved to Harry when they saw him fly over head. Gwyneth was as polite as Grawp was. She spoke better English then he did. She truly liked Harry and Draco. The two giants were hunting for dinner when Harry landed in the clearing with Draco right behind him. Both Giants sat down so that they were on an even eye level with Harry and Draco. They talked for about an hour as the rest of the staff of Hogwarts flew over head and waved to the quartet. Gwyneth was a delightful giantess. She was small like Grawp in the aspect that they were only about sixteen feet in height each. That was short for a giant. Gwyneth had told Harry and Albus that the giant population was just starting to recover from the unfortunate attack on the castle that the Dark Lord commanded. None of the giants held a grudge against Harry or Albus. Both wizards went out of their way to help bury the dead and to send packages of needed supplies to the giants after the war.
Gwyneth wore the necklace that Harry had given her. You did not often see a giant wearing a necklace with a diamond on it the size of Harry's head, but she wore it proudly. Harry had given the couple an enlarged cave to live in. Hermione and the ladies went in and made it homier by adding curtains and other things to make the giants feel more like they were part of the family. Harry even gave them the gift of Gubraithian Fire. It was a delighted gift for the giants. Harry had herds of deer and elk brought in so that the giants could hunt comfortably. It was on this day that the giants looked sadly at Harry.
"Harry," said Gwyneth. "Grawp and I want to move closer to the mountains. We love being here in the forest, but soon our family will grow. We don't want to hurt your feelings, but we want to leave soon."
"You are more than welcome to go where ever you are comfortable," said Harry. "Just know that you always have a home here if you ever need it."
"Thank you Harry," she said. "We will probably be gone by the end of the month. We are just building things to store our stuff in."
"Do you need any help?" asked Draco. "We could always conjure you up some traveling trunks and things like that."
"Thank you, but no," she said. "We will take it from here. We will stop by the castle and say goodbye before we depart though."
"Please do," said Harry. "I will miss you both, but I know that this is what you feel is best for you. If you ever need me, then all you have to do is send word to me."
"Thank you again Harry Potter," she said. "For a wizard and a human you are an exceptional individual."
"So I keep getting told," he said with a laugh. The giants and Draco joined in the laughter.
"Well we better get back to the castle," said Harry. "I'll talk to you later."
Draco and Harry mounted their brooms and hurried back to the castle. They were met in the air by the rest of the staff. As they neared the castle, they could see what looked like a fire inside. They hurried to the entrance hall. Flames were mounting higher. It looked like the fire started near the nursery. Everyone ran with a horrified expression on their faces. Wands were pulled out and the word Aguamenti was shouted by a dozen different voices. Hermione came rushing up the stairs.
"What is going on?" she shouted pulling out her wand and joining the team in putting out the flames. "What has happened here? I smelled smoke and came as fast as I could, but the entrance to the library was blocked. Madame Pince and I had to eventually blast our way out."
"We don't know what is going on yet," shouted Harry over the roar of the flames. "We just got back from flying and saw the flames. We are trying to get to the nursery."
The whole battle with the fire lasted all of about five minutes, but to Harry, Draco, Remus, Tonks, Ron, and Hermione, it seemed to last a lifetime. The ceiling had caved in partly from the heat of the flames. Harry quickly cast the spell to repair and reset the stones where they were. Severus and Dudley meanwhile were sifting through the rubble looking for signs of what caused the fire.
The door to the nursery was barricaded. Magic was used to stop anyone from entering the room. Harry and the rest of the staff tried everything to get around the barricade. Nothing seemed to work. They did not understand what type of spell was used. Harry finally had enough and pointed his wand at the floor and started sifting stone and wood out of the way to make a tunnel under the wall. It did not take long for the rest of the group to catch on to what he was doing and lend a hand. After about an hour, Harry was finally in the room. He poked his head in carefully afraid of what he might see. No one was moving thought the babies were screaming. Harry entered the room and rushed over to the children. He was followed by Draco and then Hermione. Ron and Remus followed by Tonks was the last to enter the room. Each ran to the children and assisted Harry in attempting to calm the children. They were all screaming for Grandma. That was when Harry took a good look around and noticed that Molly was missing. Poppy was bleeding and unconscious on the floor. Harry rushed over to her and worked to stop the bleeding. When he checked her for any serious wounds, he was relieved to not find any. After he completely healed her, he woke her gently. She screamed as she woke in remembered pain and fear.
"Poppy, its ok," soothed Harry. "What happened here?"
"I heard Molly screaming for someone to get away from the children," she said quickly. "I rushed in to find her dueling with Dolohov. I could see Ginny protecting the children, but when I tried to approach, Molly got distracted and she got hit with a stunner. Before I could do anything, that bastard brought part of the ceiling down in front of me. He set fire to everything he could touch."
"I have the barrier down Harry," said Draco.
"Good," he said. "Let's get this place cleaned up so that the kids can breathe without ashes going down their throats."
"Good point," said Severus.
Each wizard stood and waved their wand in one fluid motion. When they were done, the floors and ceilings were clear of debris and scorch marks. Hermione and Luna waved their wands and created new linen while the men created new beds for the children.
"Where are the house elves?" asked Harry suddenly.
Harry and Draco with Ron hot on their heels ran to the kitchens. He doors were similarly magically blocked. Draco quickly outlined what the spell was and Harry brought it down with a wave of his hand. Most of the elves were unconscious on the floor. The rest were sitting in a terrified bunch on the floor.
"Ron and you elves," said Harry. "Get the injured to the hospital wing quickly. Draco, come with me as we search the rest of the castle."
Harry and Draco raced from the kitchens and ran smack into Neville and Severus. When Harry told them what happened, Neville promised to help Ron while Severus ran to get teams coordinated to search the castle.
Harry sent a patronus to the Ministry to summon the aid of the Aurors. Within ten minutes, Albus and twenty Aurors were assisting the search of the castle. They found many blocked and destroyed parts of the castle. Harry and Draco made their way to the trophy room and saw that the spells that Harry cast on the wands of the founders had held. It was evident that an onslaught had happened to the area. Whoever was here wanted to get their hands on the wands badly. Harry sent word for all those who had the swords of the founders to check to make sure that the artifacts were still there. To his relief, every sword was accounted for. Harry had to work really hard to get into his office. The spells there were tripled and it even blocked Harry for a time.
"There is one place left to search," said Harry. "Albus and Severus, please take over here. Draco and Hermione, please come with me. Wands out and be ready."
Both nodded as Harry took their arms and apparated them into the Chamber of Secrets. They made their way to the statue of Salazar and pressed the leaver that would release the door. They rushed down the passage to the section where Merlin's body was laying. The door was gone. Harry sat dejectedly on the ground. Merlin's remains were not there. He started to cry.
"Do not fear Harry," said a voice that they all recognized.
"But your body is gone," said Harry miserably. "I failed in the task of keeping your remains hidden."
"Do you think that Albus is the only one that is crazy enough to have clever ideas?" he asked.
"What do you mean?" asked Harry looking thoroughly confused.
"My body is safe Harry," said Merlin. "I knew that eventually they would get past your guard. Therefore I used the last bit of magic I had left. My body is not here and has not been for some time."
"Where is it then?" asked Draco. "I was here last week and I saw your body there."
"A simple illusion my dear boy," said Merlin smiling. "I wanted you all to think that my body was still laying there. However it has been gone for some time."
"Where is it?" asked Harry again.
"With Albus of course," said Merlin. "I never owned a sword before."
"You never owned a sword?" asked Harry. "The sword I found under your tomb had your name on it."
"Think about this Harry," aid Merlin. "I was not a warrior that used steel. So why would I need a sword."
"Then the sword…" began Harry. "OH MY GOODNESS! ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT YOUR BODY IS IN THE SWORD THAT I THOUGHT WAS YOURS?"
"You guessed it right by boy," said Merlin. "Albus never lets my sword out of his sight for a moment. Therefore my body is never out of his sight unless of course he is sleeping. The sword is in fact made up of my body. Like I said, it was the last bit of magic I could do."
"Will your body stay a sword?" asked Hermione.
"Yes it will," said Merlin. "Makes it easier to keep track of now doesn't it."
"But what happened here?" asked Harry.
"The illusion was only kept to keep you from knowing or worrying," said Merlin. "Even I held some secrets. If you didn't know, then you could not accidentally reveal that my body was not here. The spell was designed to stay intact as long as an ally was checking. That way the ally stayed safe. If the enemy finally found my resting place, then they would know that my remains were no longer here."
"That makes perfect sense," said Hermione. "So who was actually here?"
"Lilith finally made it through my protective barrier," said Merlin. "What she is not prepared for is the after effect."
"Meaning?" prompted Harry.
"Why the same thing that happened to her mother when she tried to kill me will happen to her of course," said Merlin laughing wildly.
"My surrogate mother is missing, my castle is half in ruins, there are magical barriers all over the place stopping me from getting where I want to go, half my house elves are hurt, and my nurse was unconscious," said Harry bitterly. "And you are here laughing and joking."
"Harry that is enough," said Merlin sharply. "Powerful you may be, but I did what I had to do to protect the future. Now do as the term says these days and LIGHTEN UP."
"What about Molly?" asked Harry through his tears.
"She is fine dear boy," said Merlin in a kinder tone. "She is out hunting the man that tried to harm the children. Her only mistake was in thinking that he was alone. The spirit of the mother of the children is playing her part well. They could not get to the children. She would not let them. Thus Molly left to track the one you call Dolohov."
Harry decided to use one of his gifts that he was not known for using. He closed his eyes and concentrated. He looked into the future and saw Molly cornering Dolohov. He shifted the vision a little to see where they were at. Dolohov ran to the one place she refused to go. He was going to the Burrow and she would not be happy about going back there.
"I know where they are going," said Harry. "She is currently tracing him all around Britain. They will end up at the Burrow. He doesn't think she will track him there. I think it is time to catch us one more Dark Runner."
"We are with you Harry," said Draco and Hermione.
He grabbed both and apparated them up the stairs. By this time, Albus and Severus had brought down all of the barriers in the castle. Ron and Neville had moved all of the injured elves to the infirmary and Poppy was tending to them. Severus and Remus were assisting her. Harry sent out the summons to the rest of the Runners and Aurors. When they all assembled in the infirmary, he briefly told them what he learned. With a silent look at Hermione and Draco, he left out the part of Merlin's body being the Sword of Merlin. Both understood what Harry was thinking and did not say anything.
"I will start a strategy to catch him," said Ron. "Mione, please contact Fred, Bill, and Charlie. We know that area around the house better than he does."
"We will finish up here," said Severus to Harry and Draco. "You two need to lie down before you fall down."
"We Aurors will split up," said Moody. "Half will return to the Ministry, and half will run patrols here. Those that are not on duty can take shifts here. We will do this until the rest of the Dark Runners are caught."
"We will handle it," said Albus. "Take your children and go upstairs and take a nap."
"We will sleep in the nursery," said Harry. "This way the children can stay where they are comfortable, and we can be near them. It will help for when you want to check up on us as well."
"Very logical thinking Harry," said Albus. "Now please listen to Severus before you collapse where you stand. Make sure you all have your swords with you."
Harry and Draco lifted their swords in salute. The turned around and headed for the nursery. Harry was too tired to apparate there. Dudley decided that he would stand guard by the nursery while they slept. Harry patted him on the arm and went in to lie down on a comfortable mat on the floor. All five children were lying next to him and Draco sleeping.
Harry and Draco were asleep within moments. They slept soundly through the night and late into the morning. When they awoke, they grinned at each other and Harry poked his head out the door to see Hermione sitting there with some of the kids. She smiled at them as they passed her by to get to their room to shower and change into fresh clothes. Dobby and Winky had food waiting for them when they were done. Both ate like it was their last meal. Then again neither could remember the last time they ate a hot meal.
"We really have to stop doing this you know," said Harry.
"I know," said Draco.
When they were finished eating, there was a knock on the door and Ron and Severus let themselves in. They quickly outlined the plan that Ron created and Harry quickly approved it. Harry made to get up to start with the plan, but Ron shook his head.
"This is something my brothers and I will do Harry," said Ron. "Your job is to stay here and protect the castle and the children. We will not be alone. Moody, Remus, Tonks, and Blaise will be with us. Also don't forget the state of anger mum will be in when she gets to the Burrow and confronts Dolohov."
"I think you are right," said Harry to the astonishment of the room. "I will stay here and protect the children and the castle. I know that you will do an awesome job Ron. Good luck and be careful."
Ron smiled sheepishly for a moment and then turned to leave.
"Very wise," said Rowena appearing with the rest of the foudners. "I am glad to see that you are listening to what others are telling you."
"It had to happen sometime," said Harry. "Besides, I have seen Molly when she is furious. I do not want to see the shape Dolohov will be in when she catches him."
Draco and the rest of the group laughed heartily at this.
"She definantly has a temper," said Godric with a chuckle.
"I'm just glad that she isn't angry at me," said Harry while Draco nodded in agreement.
The rest of the room all were in total agreement with the statement.
Albus was not that surprised to see Harry and Draco sitting in the nursery. When asked why they were not at the Burrow to help capture Dolohov, Harry replied that he wasn't needed and was happy to be here with the children and relaxing for a change. Albus chuckled and left to head to the Burrow. He wanted to be there so that he could pass judgment on Dolohov and of course to calm Molly enough for her to head back to the castle.
Harry gave him a genial wave and continued to play with Octavia. Draco meanwhile was playing with the boys. Albus looked very amused at the scene before him and quietly left shutting the door behind him. Later in the day, Severus came in and lifted Alexander in his arms.
"I just wanted to say that none of the elves had any major damage," he said. "We were able to tend to all of them. Madam Pomfrey is sleeping and I am on my way to take a nap myself."
"I am glad that the elves are all ok," said Harry relieved. "I was worried about them. Go get some sleep Sev. Draco and I have this all covered for a few hours while everyone gets back some of their energy."
Severus nodded and put Alexander back on the floor. He smiled at Harry and Draco and left for his quarters. Harry placed his hands on the floor and searched around Hogwarts for a few moments. The castle was repairing herself, and all the magical barriers were gone. Harry was glad about that. When Harry lifted his hands, he saw Draco looking at him curiously.
"All is well dear," he said with a laugh. "Things are going to go back to some kind of peacefulness for awhile."
"Good," said Draco. "I am rather enjoying this. Just think. After today there will only be three Dark Runners left."
"Yep and Albus will be the unknowingly recipient of the job of protecting the remains of Merlin," said Harry tickling Destiny until she shrieked with laughter.
Ron and his brothers all arrived at the Burrow with distinct small pops. They moved in a way that was only known to the Weasleys. They knew every pothole and sink spot in the yard. They knew where every tight spot and hiding spot was located on the property. Ron quickly outlined the plan to his brothers. Hermione knew the property just as well as they did having spent much of her time here over the years. It was not long before Albus and a couple of Aurors appeared. Ron put them to work immediately.
Ron thought with a pang of regret of the brother and sister that would have loved to be here but would not ever grace the halls of this home again. Tears sprang into his eyes as he remembered George and Ginny laughing and joking in the house. He quickly wiped his tears away before anyone saw. Albus pointedly looked away pretending he did not see anything. When all was ready, the got into position and they waited. True to Harry's vision, Dolohov popped into view. He snuck up to the property and entered the kitchen. What he didn't know was that he triggered the first trap. His legs snapped together in a perfect Petrificus Totalus. Dolohov however was not amateur. He quickly muttered the counter curse and moved a little more cautiously into the house. It was not long before they heard another pop and saw Molly storming into the yard. Dolohov saw her and met her half way with a stunner. It bounced away from Molly without even coming near her. It was then that Dolohov knew that he was being watched. He turned on the spot to apparate away and fell over. Albus had placed and anti apparition spell on the Burrow after Molly appeared. He would allow her to have her revenge on the man. It gave him some comfort to know that Dolohov was going to pay dearly for what he did at the castle by threatening the children. Albus was surely not disappointed. Molly screamed her challenge at him.
He stepped into the yard and the battle began. She was a fierce combatant. When it came to protecting her loved ones, no one doubted her ability to defend and destroy the opposition. In her mind, Dolohov not only attempted to hurt Harry, Draco, and the rest of her children, but he put her grand babies in danger, set fire to her home, and threatened to destroy what she loved the most. Now this man was invading her home that she shared with her dearly departed husband.
Dolohov laughed wickedly at her as he sent stunners and minor spells at her. She deflected each one easily. When he saw that she was not going to be easy pickings, he moved into more advanced spells. Again she battled on not slowing in the least or showing any sign of weakness. Dolohov started getting furious.
"I will get you, you red haired blood traitor," he snarled.
"Do your worst," she snarled back.
"Avada Kedavra," screamed Dolohov.
"I don't think so," said Albus dropping his invisibility spell and deflecting the killing curse with his sword.
"DUMBLEDORE," he raged. "Why, am I not surprised to see your crooked nose here?"
"Oh I'm sure that you know exactly why I am here," answered Albus. "Just to clarify things, I want you to know that you are under arrest for the attempted murder of Molly Weasley, Poppy Pomfrey, Arthur, Octavia, and Alexander Potter, Destiny Weasley, and James Lupin. You are also under arrest for the destruction and trespass of Hogwarts. I think that those charges enough will get you another life sentence in Azkaban or maybe even the Dementor's kiss."
"You will not take me alive," snarled Dolohov. "Lilith knows that I am here. She will come for me."
"Oh you mean me?" asked Hermione dropping her spell.
"What is this?" asked Dolohov looking surprised. "How did you do that?"
"Simple spell really," said Hermione. "It was not difficult to intercept your message on the light. No one knows you are here except us."
"Avada Kedavra," screamed Dolohov pointing his wand at Hermione.
"Expelliarmus," she said and the spells collided in air.
The killing curse sent at her reflected and hit Dolohov square in the face. He was dead before he hit the ground.
"Harry was right," Hermione whispered. "That simple little spell does stop the killing curse if used properly."
"Hermione," screamed Ron. "Are you ok baby?"
"I am fine Ron," she said. "I know how Harry feels after he has to hurt someone. I never want to have to do that again."
"Hermione, no one blames you for this," said Albus. "There are too many witnesses here in the clearing. You did what you had to do to save your life."
"Like Harry says," she replied. "It doesn't make what I did any easier to bear. I'm sorry everyone, but I need a few moments to clear my head."
"Take all the time you need," said Albus. "Molly I am sure that Harry and Draco miss you at the castle. When I was there last the children were all wondering about you."
"Of course Albus," she said quietly. "I will leave to go home now. Thank you everyone for coming here to help me."
"Don't worry about it mom," said Bill.
"You have helped us so much over the years that it was our turn," said Charlie.
"Go get some rest Mom," said Fred hugging her.
"There is nothing left for you to do here Mom," said Ron hugging her as well.
"I will see you all at home then," she said hugging each of her children and then Albus.
She turned on the spot and apparated to the gates of Hogwarts. From there she hurried to the nursery where she found Harry and Draco sleeping peacefully with the babies. She hurried to her suite of rooms and took a quick shower. From there, she went back and waited for the babies to wake.
Author's Note – Thanks for the wonderful reviews. I decided to end this chapter here for the new twist I will throw into the next chapter.