Shall Bring Us Relief
A/N: Disclaimer, spoilers, author’s notes, etc., are at the beginning of chapter 1.
Ginny watched as Hermione worked on the complicated wards over Dumbledore’s tomb. Ron was pacing back and forth, while Harry walked around the area, far enough away to be hard to see in the deepening gloom if you weren’t a Slayer. But she knew exactly where Harry was. She would have known even if he wasn’t walking around carrying Hufflepuff’s Cup. But it would soon be night, and she had a feeling Riddle was waiting for nightfall to launch his attack.
Hermione spoke into her end of the sonitransit
spell. “Okay, that took care of the trap spells. Now all we have left are the Violation Hex and… something my diagnostics aren’t seeing.”
Bill’s voice came clearly through the spell. “You can break Violation Hexes in one of three ways. Look in Runestrong’s book. I think it’s chapter 11 or thereabouts.”
“Oh wait, I know this!” Hermione squeaked. “Chapter 12! Give me a minute…”
Ron worried, “Hurry up, Hermione, Riddle’s bound to be on his way here!”
Hermione hissed, “Ron! I’m going as fast as I can. I can’t go any faster and not risk making a drastic mistake.”
“Fine,” Ron grumbled. “But if he gets here before we’re done, I’m going to say I told you so.”
“Ooh! I got it!” Hermione said happily.
“Okay, check your diagnostic spells again,” said Bill’s voice.
Hermione waved her wand… and waited. “It’s like there’s a dead spot now. I mean, I can feel the magic if I put my hand on the stone, but the spell isn’t seeing it.”
Bill’s voice groaned. “It’s an anti-magic trap. Think of it like a giant siphon. Anything you throw at it gets sucked down into wherever. Usually a massive reservoir that can handle it.”
Hermione gulped. “Dumbledore knew he was going to die sometime in the next year or less. He could have tied it into the Hogwarts wards.”
Bill’s voice groaned. “Oh no. If he used the Hogwarts wards as his reservoir, we won’t be able to break in magically without breaking the wards on the entire school.”
Hermione winced. “We can’t do that! We have to keep them up for when Riddle attacks!”
Bill said, “In the pyramids, we hit one of these a few years ago. Wergleheimer and Moritz ended up having to spend four months digging through the rock by hand, like Muggles. It was brutal.”
Hermione suddenly grinned. “So all we need is an army of people to lift the capstone off the tomb, right?”
“We’ve got it covered.” Hermione looked at Ginny and said, “Can you lift it by yourself?”
Ginny shrugged. “I can try.” She cracked her neck and strode forward. It was a massive slab of marble probably heavy enough to thwart someone like Hagrid. She hadn’t ever tested just how much she could lift, but now was a good time.
Getting a good grip wasn’t the problem. Someone had carved elegant fluting all around the capstone, and her fingers were small enough to be able to use that as handholds. She shifted position and got her feet under her. Then she lifted with her legs. She lifted with everything she had.
The groaning sound of marble grating across marble echoed across the open field. She had to shift her position, but then she pushed sideways until the interior was visible. And there it was. The decaying body of Albus Dumbledore, in a still-white robe, with his wand positioned in his right hand over his chest. She reached in and pulled it from his unmoving fingers.
Suddenly there was a bright flash of light all around the tomb. “What was that?” she asked hastily.
“I thought I got all the curses and hexes and charms!” Hermione complained.
And Harry came staggering toward them out of the gloaming, one hand holding the cup and the other hand clutching at his scar. “Alarm spell! You set off an alarm spell. He knows. I can feel it. He knows we have it, and he’s really angry. Here. He’s coming. Now. With his whole army!”
Hermione frowned, “I didn’t think to check the ground around the tomb for an external alarm spell. Snape or the Carrows must have put it there.”
Ginny turned to him, but he was already sinking to his knees with the pain. He groaned, “I… I can see it. Through his eyes. He’s so angry! At me… at us. He’s got an army of Death Eaters. And three… no, four… no, five full giants. In battle armor! And he has… maybe four dozen werewolves… and that’s Fenrir Greyback… as soon as it gets dark and the moon comes out they’ll all change… And there are dozens of demons. And over a hundred vampires. And… oh Merlin… there’s hundreds and hundreds of dementors! He must have every dementor in Britain here!”
Ginny saw in the distance as someone came rushing out of the castle. It was the two Carrows on broomsticks. And Snape, who was flying like a giant bat, just like Riddle could.
Hermione snapped into the sonitransit
spell, “Bill! Get out of here now! Riddle’s on his way here with an army, and you’re out in the open!”
Bill voice called out, “I’ll find some help and we’ll come for you!” The spell abruptly ended with a crackling sizzle.
Hermione said, “The moon will be out in…” She checked her watch. “…twenty four minutes. The werewolves will change. Riddle will probably wait until then, and attack us right after.” She swallowed hard. “We have twenty-four minutes.”
Harry said, “There’s no way we can fight off everything Riddle has coming our way. Not even Ginny can kill a giant.”
Ginny admitted, “A giant? There’s no way I can fight off a dozen vampires all at once. Face it, without help we’re doomed.”
Harry reached into his pouch and pulled out the snitch. He said, “I get it. I get it now. I open at the close
.” He held the snitch up to his mouth and said, “I’m going to be killed soon. We’re all going to die.”
Ginny watched as the snitch smoothly opened, revealing a rounded stone that had obviously been cut in half and repaired. The cut sliced cleanly through the symbol of the Deathly Hallows.
Harry gently lifted the stone out of the snitch and whispered, “The Resurrection Stone. It really is. We were right.”
White mist formed on either side of Harry, and slowly coalesced… into Lily and James Potter’s ghostly forms.
James Potter smiled, “Harry, my boy. You’ve done so much. Worked so hard. I’m so proud of you.”
“We’re so proud of you,” Lily insisted. “And of your friends. And of your girlfriend.”
Harry was struck speechless, but Hermione stepped forward. “We’ve done what we can, but we can’t destroy the last Horcrux, and Riddle is coming with an army of dark creatures and Death Eaters. If we take a stand here, we’ll be overrun. If we try to take a stand at the castle, we’ll be risking the lives of everyone we know in there.”
Lily smiled gently and said, “I know someone who can help.”
Ron asked, “Who? Merlin? Because even Ginny can’t stop this lot.”
A third ghostly figure formed. A young woman with long light-colored hair, in Muggle clothing. A soft blouse and a long peasant skirt. The woman ducked her head, almost as if she was hiding her face behind her hair. She said, “G-ginny, I didn’t think we’d ever g-get to meet like this.”
Ginny gasped, “You! You’re the one from my dream!”
“M-my name is Tara. Tara M-maclay. And I know just what to do. W-wait right here.” She abruptly vanished.
James Potter said, “Son, I wish we could be with you, but we can’t. Not for real. We’re no more than ghosts, and we never can be more. But you can save the stone for later.”
Lily Potter looked like she wished she could hug Harry, but she only said, “Good luck, Harry.”
Harry nodded tearfully at his parents and slipped the stone back into his pouch. The ghostly figures vanished.
Ron looked around. “What are we going to do now?”
Hermione looked at him and cringed. “A lot of people are going to get killed if we have to fight off an army of Death Eaters and vampires and giants and werewolves and Merlin only knows what!”
“That’s when you know you need the helpiness,” said a smug female Valley Girl voice from right behind them.