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no no no i didn't forget about this but my college is seriously hounting lol
sorry for the huge delay, thanks for keep loving it
enjoy....












-          CHAPTER FOURTEEN –

-          The Mask of Death –

 

 

The Potters had decided to check at Hogwarts before they could go to the cave of the locket; they had decided to search at Hogwarts before to take the risk to go to the cave. Maybe Bellatrix had left her Mask in the old school before their fight a few days ago.

The couple had just apparated a few feet away from the gate of Hogwarts in the middle of the night, only Harry’s wand enlightened their path, the rain that had started a few hours ago hadn’t stopped so the couple tried to hurry and moved faster in the mud, their clothes quickly getting soaked by the water.

‘Take Moody’s cloak and try in the castle, I will try on the grounds.’ Harry said to Hermione loud enough to be heard above the noise of the rain. Hermione looked at him with concern, it was less than two days ago when he got himself splinched but he didn’t want Hermione in the purring rain alone, she had been taking care of everything for the past days as he was weak and the thought of her being inside the castle searching made him feel better. ‘Don’t even argue with me, you’re more tired than I am even after the splinching so put the cloak on and get in the castle.’ Harry went on as he felt Hermione ready to argue his words, she looked at him for a few more moments and then nodded her head as he felt her agreeing thoughts through the bond.

‘Fine, but please, be careful.’ Hermione said and Harry smiled faintly and nodded his head as the couple took out of their robes’ pockets their respective cloaks and put them on. Harry expected not to be able to see Hermione with the cloak on but to his utter shock he realized that he could actually see her beneath the magical fabric, he could feel her own shock as she could see him as well. That was a first.

‘You can see me like I do?’ Hermione asked and Harry nodded his head still in shock, and saw her nodding too as she could see his reaction.

‘The bond probably developed even more.’ Hermione said but the couple decided through their thoughts to figure this out later on as at that moment, the purring rain was hitting their skin like tens of needles.

The couple entered their old school in a hurry as they pushed the gates open and entered the grounds. Hagrid’s shack was dark and deserted, like the rest of the castle as the children were probably in the security of the school. Harry and Hermione hadn’t notified McGonagall for their “visit” and they were only glad to see that the wards were up, wards that had been set by them a few years ago, when the ministry was having more measures for the security of the students. They had decided not to say a word about their late night visit as they didn’t want to expose anyone in danger and it would be better if there was a trap, to be set to them and only.

The couple was separated as Hermione headed toward the castle and Harry kept his pace toward the forbidden forest and Dumbledore’s restored tomb.

Be careful Was Hermione’s last thought before she entered the castle.

Likewise Harry sent back before he could see her once again.

Harry was sure they wouldn’t find anything in Hogwarts, Hermione would use some dark magic detectors and some summoning charms and he would do the same but they both knew deep down that Bellatrix wouldn’t do such a favor to them, she was the leader of the game and she wouldn’t let her pawns to get with the game so easily.

It was a few hours later when the couple was leaving Hogwarts with empty hands and heavy hearts, now the cave was their next stop and they needed to move fast before Bellatrix could strike again.

It took them more than three weeks to locate the cave through the detecting objects they had as aurors, Harry was almost fascinated with the fact that his pensive of his visit at the cave when he was sixteen helped so much, he thought as he was in the bathroom of their tent and was looking at his idol in the mirror.

He could see the differences of time upon his skin; he could no longer see the sixteen year old that fought under Dumbeldore’s protection and Hermione’s help. Now he was seeing a father of three children who were waiting for him to go back with his wife safe and sound as to keep up with their lives. He could see his changed body, his once skinny form was now toned and shaped for an auror in his thirties. His face was manlier with no glasses framing his bright green eyes. With no shirt one he could see the scar of the locket that had collided with the skin above his heart, the night the doe showed up was still there, marking him like a personal medal of what he had been through.

Harry kept thinking things over as he examined his form in the mirror until Hermione entered the bathroom quietly and smiled slightly at him. For some odd reason she wasn’t wearing a blouse either and her simple black bra was keeping her from being nude from the waist and up. Harry glanced at her beautiful body and he could see the differences on her as well.

The girlish body of his best friend and once virgin girlfriend was replaced with the womanly body of his wife and mother of his children, her small breasts had now became fuller and after three children her body had gained beautiful carves in the best of places for him to caress on her body. Hermione’s face had changed as well with her once girlish face now having become a beautiful picture of feminine elegance. Even Hermione’s hair had changed from very bushy to beautifully curly as she had let it grow long and its own weight was making it curly instead of bushy. Hermione looked at Harry with a little amusement in her eyes.

‘Stop staring at me, even without the bond I can feel your eyes piercing me.’ Hermione said with a small grin that was returned from her husband, this was one of the moments when it was just him and her, the all time lovers and friends, the people who knew each other better than anyone else. Harry smiled and approached her, his hand cupping her face as his bare chest touched her almost bare body. They looked at each other with care and love in their eyes, emotions that had been cherished over the years. Harry looked down at her bra and felt his heart aching at the sight of Dolohov’s scar still on her left breast, close to her heart, his free hand’s fingers brushed against his wife’s old scar.

‘I have told you this thousands of times before, but … thank you, for everything,’ Harry said quietly as he looked back up at his wife’s eyes, eyes he was so familiar with, he had thanked her in many occasions of their lives. He had thanked her back at their school times, during the Horcrux hunt, after it when they started being together, during their years as a couple, after every difficult time Hermione had to bring their children into the world, every time they came back from some mission and she had either survived or helped him survive, he had been thanking her for being there, in his life, ever since he was an eleven year old boy and she had repaired his glasses in Hogwarts Express. Hermione smiled up at her husband and wrapped her slender arms around his neck and broad shoulders.

‘I love you so much, I was there since forever because I love you since forever, Harry, there was never you and me, it was always us, even when we didn’t know it, it was us that made us who we are, not me on my own not you on your own, we’re one,’ Hermione said in a quiet whisper as she snuggled close to her husband and best friend who wrapped his own arms around her waist and kissed her neck.

The couple remained in the hug for a few more moments, both of them lost in the familiar sensation of each other’s warmth, for those moments, there weren’t in that tent that was bearably heated by magic, they weren’t standing far away from their household with just a few days separating them from Lily’s fifth birthday, they were just them in each other’s arms, there was no space and no time, no troubles and no happy thoughts, their bond was full of their love, full of their need and care and passion, they were the married couple they had been since they were younger, they were the best friends they had been for almost twenty years, it was just them, Harry and Hermione.

They broke their hug with sighs escaping their lips and sadness clouding their eyes and bond once again, it was nice when their love could overpower time and space for a few moments every now and then but they needed to stay strong for their next big task.

‘Lilly’s birthday is approaching,’ Hermione said and for a moment the memory of her child asking her for a birthday gift another sister made her heart clench in her chest and caused Harry to feel the same though their Bond, Harry brought Hermione closer to him and kissed her forehead as he let his lips linger on her skin.

‘If we’re lucky in the cave, we may be back for her birthday, if we find the mask, we can return and then go to Dumbledore’s portrait again as we have no clue of where to search next, we don’t know where he found Riddle’s ring so we should search there after he tells us the location, but we need to destroy at least one Horcrux,’ Harry said and felt Hermione nodding her head, that moment he had no idea of what kind of danger was awaiting for them.

The couple apparated on a big chunk of rock in the middle of the wild sea, the waves were crushing around the small piece of land with no mercy and the couple had to stead themselves as not to be taken down by the winds.

Harry had shown to Hermione his memory of Dumbledore and himself back in this place where they had found the fake locket so Hermione had only to follow her husband. Harry gestured for Hermione to follow him and he dove in the blistering cold water first, things had changed only slightly around him.

Inside the water, Harry heard the noise of Hermione’s body diving in the water as well so he started swimming  against the flow of the waves. The couple was soon moving inside the magically hidden cave, they could feel their teeth clattering in the cold and their toes and fingers were turning numb, even their muscles had started to hurt up until they got in the black coast.

Harry and Hermione got out of the cold water trembling at the low temperature and Hermione was the one who took her wand and casted a warming charm to each of the two. They shivered violently as the charm took effect on them but soon they felt better as their bodies started to feel normal.

They moved further inside and now Harry realized that he could see all the magical signs of dark magic his sixteen year old, oblivious eye couldn’t see back in his former visit in the same place. Harry stretched his arm close to the rocky wall and touched the rocks; it seemed like yesterday when Dumbledore had sliced his hand as to give the blood needed by the magic. Hermione’s slender hand wrapped around his arm and Harry looked at her with concern already in his eyes as he knew what she intended to do.

‘Even if the Hallows are under both of our possession, you know the place better so you shouldn’t be the one with a damaged hand, you have both yours and the Elder wand after all as I am carrying the Stone and both of us have the cloaks, let me do it,’ Hermione said calmly and Harry shivered at the memory of Dumbledore’s same calmness.

‘But, wait…’ Harry started but Hermione was already slicing her left hand magically with her wand, she gasped slightly as the blood started pooling in her hand and drops soon started to fall on the ground. Hermione touched the rocky wall with her hand and run her palm on it for the blood to run more freely as Harry was left by her side staring at her with no power to do something as she had made her decisions. When she was done and the wall disappeared, Hermione withdrew her hand and wrapped a piece of her robes around it. She smiled slightly at Harry who could only scowl but give her a kiss before they could move further inside.

Harry felt Hermione’s shiver as she saw the pitch-black lake before them, the only thing illuminating the entire cave was that same green light on the other side of it, where something was shining inside the small basin. The couple looked at each other and Harry nodded his head and moved forward where he could remember the small boat was hidden.

He could feel the magic in the air; the waves of it were making him almost see with the eyes of his magic where the chain was waiting for the visitors, invincible to inexperienced or weak, magical eyes.

‘There…’ Harry heard Hermione whisper the moment he got the chain with his hand and it showed itself. Soon the small boat started to emerge from the black surface and the Potters waited patiently for it to come closer, the thought of what could be disturbed in case they touched the liquid made their stomachs drop.

‘Be careful, please.’ Hermione whispered close to Harry as he touched the boat with his hand and looked at her, she nodded her head and by his help, she got in the small boat first, Harry climbed in with his turn and the small boat started for the journey to the basin with the dim, green light.

‘Don’t look in the water,’ Harry said quietly at Hermione, his heart beating as fast as hers did, Hermione gasped and looked at him as she stopped staring at the black water, Harry glanced at the liquid and saw a hand close to the surface : the reason Hermione had gasped he assumed.

The small boat got close to the basin after a few minutes of dead silence, Harry had kept looking above his shoulder for any sign of some set trap but everything seemed normal if someone could say such thing for that place.

Harry was the first to get out of the boat and he helped his wife again as her wounded hand didn’t allow her a lot of movements, they didn’t dare to use a healing charm as the extra magic could activate some kind of trap, the atmosphere was already too heavy with magic. Harry looked with concern at Hermione’s soaked with blood robes on the spot she had wrapped the fabric around her left palm.

‘I’m good,’ Hermione reassured him and Harry looked up at her eyes, her pale skin glowing in the mid, green light of the basin behind him. The couple approached and looked at the basin, in its bottom, the Death Eater mask of Bellatrix Lestrange was laying but there was a burrier Harry knew well, the potion protecting it. Harry felt Hermione’s thoughts and his head snapped at her direction by his side.

‘No,’ he said firmly, Hermione smiled at him as calm as she could and Harry felt like suffocating at the memory of how Dumbledore had acted on the potion.

‘I think the potion makes everyone feel their worst memory, the feel of it, that’s why Dumbledore was feeling guilty, maybe the potion won’t be like that for me. I’m already injured-‘

‘Stop the lecture, you’re not drinking this shit,’ Harry said and he looked around him for a moment again, a feeling of being followed making the hairs on his skin to rise Hermione smiled and took the crystal cup with her right hand, Harry caught her wrist. ‘I said no, Hermione, we’ll find another way to take the mask.’ Harry said firmly, truth was, they hadn’t made a plan for the cave, partly because they didn’t have any ideas and partly because the last time they made a plan Harry got himself splinched.

‘Dumbledore hadn’t found any,’ Hermione said and Harry frowned. ‘I trust you to protect me,’ Hermione said calmly as she pushed the cup in the potion and let it fill. Harry sighed and framed her face with his hand.

‘Please,’ Harry pleaded in vain as she had made her decision and deep down, he knew there was no other choice with Hermione injured and himself in good shape able to cast spells with both wands.

‘I love you, don’t you ever forget that. Make me drink it all.’ Hermione said before she could empty the cup in her mouth, she closed her eyes and Harry watched with his breath stolen as she refilled the cup two more times and gulped the potion down as quickly, she drunk one more but at the fifth cup, her body jerked violently and a heart wrenching scream escaped her lips, her right hand dropped the cup and her damaged, left hand gripped the edge of the basin, causing her wound to start losing blood again but Hermione didn’t seem to notice that pain before what she was experiencing. Harry felt panic rise in his heart but he took the cup and refilled it, knowing history was repeating itself.

Harry trapped the writhing Hermione between his own body and the basin and cupped the back of her neck as she screamed in pain, every time she opened her mouth as to scream Harry got the chance and filled her mouth with the potion, feeling his heart bleeding at the sight of his wife in this condition.

‘PLEASE! STOP IT!’ Hermione screamed again and again and every time Harry whispered that this would stop her torture but by every moment that passed, Hermione’s torture seemed to be even greater.

‘Please, end this, I’m begging you! Don’t… don’t let her kill me… please!’ Hermione cried and moaned in pain and looked at Harry with eyes that for the first time in their years showed fear in the level of insanity.

‘Come on Hermione, please, this will end it all, come on,’ Harry was saying again and again as he made her drink more of the potion which was getting less every time Hermione screamed even more. ‘Come on, just a little more, please!’ Harry kept saying, his own heart and mind blind in fear and panic, he had blocked their bond as he knew he wouldn’t be able to make her drink the liquid and he felt the worst person possible for letting her though this on her own but he was sure she’d do the same, was she in her right mind.

‘PLEASE!! KILL ME! STOP THIS!’ Hermione screamed and writhed as Harry emptied the last dose of the potion in her mouth as her lips trembled. Her body had been writhing in pain for the past few minutes and Harry could only hold her still with one arm around her waist as Hermione almost collapsed against him. With his free hand, he took the mask from the inside of the basin and looked at the it, he could feel the same dark magic almost radiating from the object just like the locket once felt like, this was the true Horcrux.

‘It’s over, Hermione, we’re done, you did so well sweetie, we’re good and we’re heading home…’ Harry kept whispering in Hermione’s ear who was gasping and trembling and whimpering in his arms as he got the mask in his pocket and helped her in his arms as she was like a human-size doll, he could feel her trembling against him.

‘Please, water,’ Hermione whispered between her whimpers of pain and exhaustion. Harry kissed her forehead as he took her in the boat and helped her inside with her back resting against his chest.

‘You’ll have a lot of water the moment we’re away from here, Mione, just be a little patient please.’ Harry whispered and kissed the crown of her head as he took her hands in his own as to stop her from touching the lake’s water. A hysteric laugh made his heart kick in his ribcage as it was heard right after an apparition sound.

‘Well done, Potter! You made it that far! Now let me enjoy the sight of you and your Mudblood sinking with the inferis!’ Bellatrix Lestrange snickered from the entrance of the cave as Harry with Hermione in the boat were still in the middle of the trip in the lake. Harry didn’t have time to release Hermione’s hands and reach for his pocket as Bellatrix pointed her wand at their direction.

‘EXPULSO!’ Bellatrix screamed the spell and her voice echoed in the cave; the flash of light hit the boat and made it explode in pieces as Harry and the semi-fainted Hermione fell in the water. Harry felt the pain and he knew chunks of the boat had hit both him and Hermione but the terror surged in his veins as he felt the Inferis taking him down in the bottom in a matter of moments along with the almost fainted Hermione who wasn’t even trying to fight them back. Harry started struggling with all his power and he made it to grab Hermione close to him as tens of hands were pulling at the couple with force, others as to take them apart and other as to drown and choke them. Harry screamed in effort as he held on Hermione’s shoulders with all his power in an attempt not to let her drown, he was trying with his free hand to reach for his wand but it was impossible with so many Inferis pulling at him. He could feel Hermione’s try to fight back but she was too weak to make it, the laugh of Bellatrix from the other side was making his heart ache in furry and terror, maybe that was the end.

For a moment, he stopped fighting, only his arm was holding Hermione close to him, but for a single moment, he abandoned the try, maybe it was the end indeed, they had fooled death plenty of times and maybe this was the time they wouldn’t escape, they concurred Voldemort, maybe it just wasn’t meant to concur Bellatrix as well...

Harry’s life flashed through his eyes and he felt Hermione’s thoughts as well along with her pain and abandonee as she had started losing the battle too. As he saw flashes of his past the face of his daughter popped in his head, his and Hermione’s vow to their little Lily, her beautiful green eyes inherited by him and her beautiful dark mane, inherited by her mother, Lily was back home counting the days for their return.

Harry wasn’t going to let Lily, James and little Jane being orphans like he was, no, his children were back there and as Hermione had saved him a few days ago now he was going to save both of them with his turn.

Harry felt the Elder wand moving in his palm without being sure if he summoned it somehow, the next thing he knew was that he was moving in the surface with force again with Hermione still held by him against his own body. When his head emerged from the black water the familiar and so surprising sound of Fawkes’ cry was heard and echoed through the cave along with Bellatrix’s scream of furry. Harry smiled in his haze as he saw Fawkes trying to approach him and Hermione, avoiding a green flash of spell, sent by Bellatrix and finally catching Harry’s outstretched arm, apparating both him and Hermione like the eternal bird had done with Dumbledore years ago, back in Hogwarts.

The next thing, Harry saw was the familiar room of his house’s hall, he was back at Grimmauld Place after weeks and Harry could only breath in relief for a fraction of the second, terror suffocated him as he looked at Hermione and saw her as pale as ever, with many scratches on her body from the shattered boat and her hand still bleeding.

Her lips were white and trembling, her eyes were half closed with the pupils turned and if Harry couldn’t feel her faint presence inside the bond he wouldn’t be able to say if his wife was still alive, after one more moment of not being able to make a single sound in his panic and fear, he finally screamed out with all his power for help. 




i knooow!!! a clif end!!! i promise i will update very very soon!!!!! thanks for reading, please review!


 

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