Chapter 1: A Short Trip; The Long Fall
In a chamber beneath the silent halls of the Ministry of Magic, a cloaked form had begun the laborious process of crafting a greater ritual circle. A vile pigment crafted from ingredients that would shake the heart of all but the darkest of souls was used to sketch the increasingly complex sigils and arithmantic formulae. The figure glanced up at the thrashing veil suspended in the stone archway, “Soon, you will have your price, and I, my freedom. Patience…”
As they stood, the draping fabric of the cloak teased at the slightly revealed curves of the toiling form. She looked back over each line carefully and with a whispered word, infused the circle with magic, causing the painted mixture to set firmly into the stone. Nodding to herself, she returned to the beaded bag propped up against the stair. Rummaging around, she began to withdraw the necessary ritual components.
To the North, to symbolize Earth, she placed a pile of glittering sand harvested from the Time Room.
To the East, to symbolize Air, she placed the willingly given heart of a hippogriff. She faltered upon remembering Buckbeak’s shattered form as he exposed his chest to her blade, his eyes filled with a vengeful intelligence. She firmed her resolve as she moved on.
To the South, to symbolize Fire, she placed a branch of Gubraithian fire. The secret of its crafting found buried in Albus Dumbledore’s journals.
To the West, to symbolize Water, she snarled as she placed an expanded flask of Merfolk blood. She relished her vengeance upon them after their treachery. The blood of the entire village now lay within her ritual circle.
She faced the Veil of Death and placed the final item.
The severed head of Albus Dumbledore.
After a brief ritual cleansing, the woman approached her circle once more. She reached into her bag and withdrew a shimmering cloak that she settled over her shoulders, a ring set with a stone that seemed to draw in all light, and a long, thin wand with berries carved at even intervals down its length.
Taking a deep breath, she began tracing an intricate pattern in the air while chanting in an eerie tongue. The air around the circle began to whip in a frenzy and the circle began to glow with a harsh red hue. At the sharp conclusion of her chant, her efforts were rewarded as Albus’s eyes snapped open. They cast around in their limited fashion until they settled with abstract horror at the figure before him.
He was cut off as she sharply motioned for his silence, “Not yet, Albus. There’s someone who wants to talk to you.” Glaring furiously, she twisted her ring thrice and a ghostly form shimmered to stand at her side. The petite shade looked lovingly upon her summoner, her red hair a faded memory though her eyes retained their piercing green hue.
The baleful glare of the specter silenced the head-master. She turned to Hermione, “Everything set?” She raised her hands in defense as her question was met with a delicately arched eyebrow. “Right. Stupid question, O Mistress of Death.” She bowed with a lopsided grin that still caught at Hermione’s heartstrings.
“How could this have happened?” Albus interjected.
Hermione glared at the head, “You happened. Your hands-off neglect and refusal to punish those who deserved it fostered this war. Instead of bringing death eaters to your precious bloody light, you taught them their actions had no consequences. When we stepped up and did what you SHOULD have done, we ended the war. Oh, Riddle met his end alright. Granted, everything you thought you knew about the bloody prophecy was wrong, but that’s entirely beside the point. After he was gone, the corruption remained. Dorea was dragged from our bed and thrown in Azkaban for our ‘vile actions against society.’ I would have followed, but my side of the bed was opposite the door, so I had time to apparate out. That was the last time I saw Dorea alive. The Ministry beat her, tortured her, and ultimately had her drawn and quartered in the middle of Diagon Alley. I was too late to save her. Buckbeak was mortally wounded trying to effect a rescue. We were fortunate that I won our last duel, so the Elder Wand was mine, otherwise, I would have had to cut a bloody swath through the Aurors. Still did, but it would have been harder.”
She began to sketch once more in the air and started a lilting chant as Dorea took up the story. “She found the stone and contacted me. This isn’t really the ‘torture’ that Beedle described it to be. Frankly, being without Hermione was harder. From there, we nicked your library and hooked up with some old friends who taught us some forgotten ritual lore. Nick and Peri say ‘hi,’ by the way. And expressed some amusement that you thought the lump of garnet they gave you was the stone. They had a right laugh about it until we told them what you did with it. Anywho, we crafted this ritual to send our souls back to an anchored point in time to make sure this nonsense doesn’t happen again by whatever means are necessary.” She looked up as the chant escalated into a keening cry, “Britain seemed eager to make me a Dark Lady. Well, I accept.”
The portal tore open with a shuddering tear as if the Earth itself was screaming in agony. The pair looked down at Albus. “And here’s where you come in. We needed someone to anchor the ritual on this end. Someone who could never betray our secret should this world remain and a parallel split off at the point of our arrival. Once we make the transition, the power will cut, the circle will burn, and your soul will be drawn back into the veil where it belongs. All you must do now is think of September 1, 1993. Got that? September 1, 1993.”
The head glared crossly at the duo, “And if I refuse?”
Dorea smirked, “Ever try not thinking about a purple elephant? Granted, if you were intact, alive, and not bound to the will of the Mistress of Death, you could probably use occlumency to block out the thought, but you’re pretty much a squishy adding machine right now. That date is in your subconscious and that’s just fine.”
The pair bowed deeply and hopped through the open rift.
“Oi!” A thudding nudge repeated itself on Dorea’s temple, “Get up! What are you napping for? We just got on the train!”
Dorea’s eye cracked open to see the looming form of Ron Weasley. An early adulthood full of unfortunate reflexes engaged before her mind caught up and her hand lashed out and jabbed him in the throat.
A squealing squawk interrupted the rude awakening, as Dorea and Hermione looked around and took stock of their surroundings, “The Weasel, Sleepy Werewolf... Yep. Made it.”
“Honestly, Ronald. Would you like it if someone jabbed you in the head to wake you up? No answer? Bliss,” Hermione stretched and glared at the half-choking redhead. She began to rummage through her satchel when her hand caught on a small bundle. Hoisting it into her lap, she opened it carefully and peered inside. Hermione’s eyes widened and she got Dorea’s attention. “I think some extra things got packed in my bag. Didn’t realize they’d send spares...”
Dorea looked inside and saw the Deathly Hallows resting nicely inside her bag, “But…” She hopped up, dragged the recovering Ron from the car, “Sorry, Ron. Girl stuff.” She quickly shut the door, and with a flick of her wand, locked, warded, and concealed it from notice. Looking at the napping werewolf, she snapped off a quick sleeping spell to keep him unconscious before retrieving her own bag. “If I’m right… Oh, sweet Morgana…” She pulled a second Cloak of True Invisibility from her bag. “We’re going to have some fun.”
Sharing a conspiratorial smile, Hermione laid her head upon Dorea’s shoulder. “You know, it might be nice to leave the compartment concealed. No Ron. No Malfoy. No Dementors…” she trailed off, a thoughtful look on her face.
“I know that tone. I don’t like that tone. It’s the ‘Dorea, I am curious about something that might eat our faces’ tone,” she arched her eyebrow and glared lightly at the voluminous curls masking her vision.
Tilting her head, Hermione smiled sweetly, “Yes, but if this works, we pretty much own the Dementors. If not… Patronus time.” She batted her eyelashes and bit her lower lip distractingly.
“Gah! Not fair!” Dorea snaked her head closer and captured the lightly abused lip with her own. “Fine. Fine. The minute it goes all ‘Souls! Om nom! I am going to shove Padfoot down its throat.”
Hermione hopped up and smiled winningly, her lightly mussed lip gloss smudged, “But of course! Now, a little preparation…”
A few hours later, Dorea was beginning to grow antsy. She tried calming her thoughts by running through their plan in her head:
“Step One: Tether an alarm charm to rouse the sleeping werewolf with the verbal trigger ‘Moony!’: Check.
Step Two: Rekey the door ward to repel humans and snap shut again once a single Dementor has entered the compartment: Check.
Step Three: Wait until the train stops, then Hermione stands between me and the soul snackers: Pending.
Step Four: Hermione talks the thing into eating the Horcrux from my forehead: Pending.
Step Five: Give further orders to the Dementors at Large: Pending.”
Her musing was cut short by Hermione looking out the window and muttering, “And three… two…” The train slammed on the breaks. “And we’re in business. Dorea, you know the plan.” She threw the cloak over her shoulders, donned the ring, and brandished the wand. “Let’s hope this works.”
They watched in tense silence as the frost began to creep across the windows and the door handle slowly rotates. Dorea’s eyes twitched as unwanted memories flashed through her head, “’DOREA! Percy you BASTARD!’ ‘RUN HERMIONE!’” She snarled and wrestled her demons back in their cage and tightened the grip on her wand. As a single Dementor drifted in, the ward snapped shut causing it to keen a piercing tone that rattled Dorea to her bones and worsened the icing as the dementors converged on their compartment.
“THAT. IS. ENOUGH!” Hermione bellowed; her wand pointed presumably between its eyes.
The keening wail ceased as the figure cocked its head sideways, #Mistress?#
Dorea sighed as Hermione blinked, “It worked. Fantastic. Right. Yes. I am your Mistress. You will cease your attack on this train. Sirius Black is not here; however, I do have a few questions and a task. Why did you enter this compartment specifically?”
#Our mandate is to reap the souls of the guilty. The one behind you bears a guilty soul.#
Hermione waggled her hand in a so-so fashion, “Yes and no. HER soul is Dark, sure. However, you are picking up on the soul fragment of the former Dark Lord embedded in her forehead. Your first task is to remove that fragment without endangering her soul. Fail, and I will see you destroyed. Afterward, I have a few tasks for you to complete. Agreed?”
The dementor let out a gurgling tone and the dementors dispersed, #As you command, Mistress.#
“Dorea, they agreed. I’ll have a Patronus on my lips and the Wand at the back of its skull,” Hermione said as she stepped to the side.
Dorea nodded as she kept her wand in hand, “Alright, Love. If I can’t trust you, I can’t trust anyone.” Before she shifted her hair to the side, she had a brainwave, “Oh! Idea.” She reached into her bag and withdrew the second cloak, shrouding her form but for her forehead much to the Dementor’s surprise.
#Two Mistresses? The Handmaidens have come! Your will be done.# The dementor surged forwards, wrapping its spindly fingers around her head gently and placed its mouth over Dorea’s scar. A tiny puff of black swirling energy pulled forth from the scar causing a wave of energy to surge through the cabin. #It is done. What would you have us do now?#
Hermione sighed in relief, “You have our thanks. Here’s the plan…”
Chapter 2: Third Eye Blind
The first night at Hogwarts. Wrestling with demons from the past, they take steps for their future.
Dorea Potter stared at the ceiling above her bed, “I have a pulse. I bloody well have a pulse again! Good thing Hermione has always been overprepared as I maaaay have overeaten a little.” She let out a light burp, “A lot. Gods… you don’t realize how much you miss food until you’ve been dead a few years and suddenly get to taste it again. So glad I am not doing this alone or I would probably… definitely… get fat. At least I used my utensils.” She shuddered, remembering the cruel fate of the food crammed in Ron’s mouth. “Right, definitely glad we’re as young as we are because otherwise my little bookworm and I wouldn’t be leaving these curtains for at least a week.”
She glanced over to the bushy-haired figure curled tightly into her side, “And of course, I am wired. Having a pulse is distracting! I can literally feel my chest vibrating…” Dorea closed her eyes and tried to fight back the memories threatening to encroach on her tiny isle of peace. Tried and failed…
January 15, 1998 – Potter Household
Dorea’s eyes fluttered open as she inhaled the sweet fragrance of her lover’s shampoo. She tilted her head and nuzzled into the barely tamed curls scattered carelessly across her shoulder and chest while listening to the soft sounds of Hermione’s breathing. She held her gently as she smiled, “And a new record for hours spent in our bedroom without leaving. Happy Anniversary, love.” Craning her neck slightly, she saw the devastation in the room. Scattered trays for their various meals and other… edible enjoyments. “Winky is going to… blush and be happy to have something to do. Never thought I’d be taken to task for cleaning up after myself too WELL!”
Kissing Hermione’s forehead, she whispered in her wife’s ear, “Wake up, love. We need to finish packing.”
A single eye visible amongst the cascading locks, Hermione grumbled, “Five more minutes.”
With a contented sigh, Dorea nodded, “Alright love. But I’m going to let Winky in to get things tidied and hop in the shower.” She leaned in and breathed in her love’s ear, “You are welcome to join me.”
An almost predatory growl emerged from the voluminous hair, “Better get moving, or you won’t make it to the shower.”
“Promises, promises… You know-“ Her words cut short as a suppressive field of magic snapped into existence around their home. “FUCK! Anti-app wards!” The two barely managed to roll out of bed, their nightshirts (worn at Winky’s blushing insistence) offering scant armor as they snatched up their wands.
Their bedroom door burst inwards as red-robed Aurors flowed into the room, “Aurors! Drop your wands!”
Dorea snarled, “What is the meaning of this?!” Her eyes narrowed in fury as a familiar bootlick entered their bedroom.
Percy Weasley looked around with a barely concealed sneer at the furnishings and the two witches, “Dorea and Hermione Potter, you are under arrest for multiple counts of murder, treason, sedition, theft, assault, and the use of forbidden spells.”
A leering John Dawlish grabbed Hermione roughly by the arm, “DOREA!” She yelled as the remaining Aurors cast repeated banishing charms at Dorea, wearing down and shattering her shield before slamming her into the wall. She turned to their ringleader, “Percy, you BASTARD! You know full well we haven’t done any of that!”
He lifted his head to look down at the seething witch, “You have already admitted to the murder of countless innocent purebloods during the war.”
Dorea shook her head clear as the implication of the words dawned on her, “RUN HERMIONE!”
Dawlish snickered, “Anti-apparition wards, bitch. You degenerates aren’t going anywhere.”
His mirth ended as Hermione slammed her heel, crushing the arch of his foot. His hand spasmed at the pain and she pulled free. She looked to see Dorea fully bound by the Aurors and being taken. Tears flowing from her eyes, Hermione clutched the Elder Wand tightly and with a twist, she vanished.
Pain bloomed in her head as a heavy blow smashed into the back of her skull and as darkness encroached upon her vision, she felt the telltale hook of a portkey.
An odd warmth, filled with an oppressive sense of malice instead of comfort, roused the unconscious Potter. Dorea cracked an eye open to see herself bound to an almost medieval style table, her clothing absent save for the barest of coverings displaying her astonishing array of tattoos. She shuddered at the potential implications as her cell door opened. “Ah, she is awake.” She stared incredulously at the pink nightmare descending the short steps into her cell. Dolores. Fucking. Umbridge.
She choked out, “How? You were sentenced to Azkaban. How the hell are you here? Where the fuck is the Minister?”
The Toad’s eyes narrowed as her gaze swept over Dorea’s heavily tattooed form and her lips stretched into a rictus grin, “After careful evaluation, FORMER Minister Kingsley Shacklebolt was convicted of War Crimes and sentenced to the Veil of Death. A review of his decisions and sentences showed that my conviction was unwarranted, and I was restored to my rightful place.” Umbridge walked over to the small table beside Dorea and began to inventory its contents. “The Interim Minister stepped down and after a short election, I ascended to Minister of Magic.” She turned and gazed admiringly at the harshly glowing metal rod in her hand. “You WILL tell me what I wish to know. Refuse, and well… Spare the rod…”
Pain raced through Dorea’s body causing her to arch over the table as the superheated rod was pressed against the sole of her foot, charring an inch-wide strip.
Sweating heavily, Dorea sat bolt upright in her bed, disturbing Hermione in the process. “Hmm? Wha.. Dorea? Whaswrong?” Hermione’s eyes opened and saw her somewhat panicking lover clutching at her foot in seeming agony. “Dorea?!”
Turning her unseeing eyes toward Hermione, Dorea blinked uncomprehendingly at her until the words sank in. “Hermione?” She looked down at her sweat soaked nightshirt. “Morgana… It’s been years, but I guess being dead and not sleeping just put a pause on the nightmares.” She let go of her foot, flexing it carefully. “We need to find time soon to start preparing. I think we should get some of them done before we go into class. You know Dumbledore and Snape like to take their little peeks into our heads, and I’d rather they be disappointed.”
Hermione bit her lip and looked closely at her best friend, “You have a point. We can get some Pepper-Ups to make it through classes tomorrow and we have a time-turner to get some sleep.”
The two slipped from their bed, put on some clothing to ward off the chill of the castle, and quietly retrieved their Hallows. Donning their cloaks and with a few judicious sleeping, silencing, odor masking, and finally cooling spells they crept their way to the empty common room before Dorea pulled them to a halt. “Mind if I try something?”
A quick double squeeze of the hand silently gave her assent as the red-haired witch whispered, “Dobby…”
A soft pop later and a nervous house elf appeared, looking around for his summoner, “Dorea Potter, Ma’am?”
A quick flourish and the excitable elf was within their cloaks and silencing charms, “Hello, Dobby. It’s good to see you again! We were wondering if you could help us with something very important.”
Wide eyes grew wider as Dobby took a hitching breath, “Of course, Dorea Potter. It would be an honor to help you and your Hermione Potter.” He did a double take, “You have a Hermione Potter! Dobby is most pleased to see Miss Dorea bonded!”
Dorea arched an eyebrow and grinned her pinball smile, “Looks like you’re still stuck with me, Mrs. Potter.”
With a wink, Hermione snapped her fingers, “Darn. Even Death wouldn’t part us.”
Dobby blinked in confusion, but shrugged, “Miss Potters wanted Dobby to help?”
Still grinning, Dorea turned to her pint-sized friend, “Sure do, Dobby. Can you pop us to the seventh floor outside the Come and Go Room?”
“Miss Potters found the Come and Go Room? Truly clever and wise are the Ladies Potter. Dobby can do this,” he held out his hands, and with a faint pop, they were gone.
Upon entering the Room of Requirement, the two witches turned to their smiling friend, “Dobby, you have done amazingly. Could we impose on you for a few tasks? We are trying to protect ourselves from those who would harm us and you are just about the only person we can trust right now.”
Puffing up his chest, Dobby nodded vigorously, “Of course, Ladies Potter. Dobby can do this, just ask!”
Hermione looked up and her eyes seemingly glazed over, in a distracted voice, she spoke, “Oak, untainted by disease, dark magic, or insects. From a wand-quality tree would be ideal. A centaur’s arrow. The blood of a doe.” She blinked and focused on the house elf, “Would this be possible?”
Dobby scoffed and grinned at the bushy-haired witch, “Easy, Hermione Potter, ma’am. Dobby will be back!” He popped away soundlessly.
Dorea sat back and whistled, “Going full ritual?”
Nodding, her lover agreed, “The most powerful protections. I refuse to let what almost happened to us happen again.”
Threading her fingers between Hermione’s, she gently squeezed, “Never again. Now… Dobby will be gone for a bit. We should get the mind fortress runes done.” She snapped her fingers, “Damn. Should have thought to have him pick up a hair restoration draught.” Dorea looked at her little bookworm and paused, “You have something face. I don’t like something face. That means bad things for the Dorea.” With a sigh, she gestured, “Lay it on me.”
Biting her lip, Hermione blurted, “Umbridge.”
Dorea shuddered, remembering her nightmares, “What about the bitch?”
Hesitantly, she continued, “When… she tortured you… You said she burned away your runic tattoos to break into your mind.”
Nodding slowly, Dorea rubbed the back of her head, “Yeah, on the scale of one to ten, that was about a twenty-two.”
Wincing, Hermione verbalized her plan in a torrent of words, “While skin is a decent runic conductor, bone is stronger, and if the runes were carved over the Third Eye it would provide a more potent defense.”
Dorea blinked. She opened her mouth to respond but paused. She lifted one hand to point but lowered it once more. “You…” She flopped onto her back heavily, staring at the ceiling, “You want to… deflesh my forehead and carve runes into my skull.”
“That… is a rough estimate. Yes. With the addition of the reverse being true as well. A few numbing charms, some medical charms to deal with the bleeding, and it shouldn’t take overly long.” She eyed her prone companion. “It does afford us an opportunity…”
Smirking cheekily, Dorea quipped, “Planning to crack it open to confirm that I do indeed possess a brain?”
Hermione rolled her eyes and lightly palmed her face, “And I married her on purpose, no. We can check the area behind your scar. If the Horcrux is isolated to the scar, then we destroy it. If I remove enough skin in the first place, we should be able to regrow the entire patch of skin and leave you scar free.”
The once and future savior’s eyes widen as her jaw dropped, “That… is brilliant.” A fey glint filled her eyes as she pounced her beloved, “The minute… THE. MINUTE. that our bodies are old enough, I am kidnapping you for a month, Mi.”
Blinking in mild startlement, her face quickly shifted to an almost predatory leer, “Promises, Promises, Dee.”
Dorea quickly rolled off and began shedding her clothing, “Right then. No sense getting these all bloody, and you’ve seen and will see it all soon anyway. Let’s get this done before Dobby gets back.”
Taking a deep breath, Hermione reconfigured the room to an operating theater complete with restraints, surgical implements, and plenty of illumination. Looking over her tools, she nodded in nervous satisfaction before applying the localized numbing charm. She brushed her hand over her love’s forehead and kissed her gently, “I am going to put you under now. See you on the other side.”
A look of pure devotion met her words which said everything that needed saying. As Dorea’s eyes fell shut, Hermione reached for the scalpel. Under her breath, she muttered, “The first incision…”
Chapter 3: A Few Odd Ends
The endless joys of prep work. What's a budding Dark Lady to do?
A bit short this time. Had some crazy ups and downs lately.
Their foreheads tingling from being magically regrown, Dorea and Hermione stared at the two broad flaps of skin sitting on the operating table. Tilting her head, the formerly scarred savior remarked, “You know, off the top of my head-“
Blinking innocently, she looked at Hermione, “But, I just wanted to share what was at the forefront of my mind.”
Hermione pinched the bridge of her nose, “Puns. You know how much I hate puns.”
Dorea nodded solemnly, “Yeah, one of the reasons the so-called Wizarding World drives you bonkers. Right, so Dobby should be back pretty much any time now. We should get as much prep work as we can finished before he gets here. I’d rather not see how red a house elf can get in embarrassment. Winky just scolded us, Dobby would probably pass out in shock.”
With a flick of her wand, Hermione vanished the surgical waste as Dorea used medical grade cleaning charms to sterilize the setup. “Right, Mi. Hop up so we can plot out our new tattoos and do a bit of tidying up.” She tilted her nose into the air and affected an exaggerated accent, “Aftair all, an arteest must pozzess ze pairfect canvas!”
A silent pinching hex met the ‘arteest’s’ bum, eliciting a yelp and a chuckle, “Yeah, yeah… Now don’t move. Last time you rushed or distracted me with a depilatory charm you were bald for a week.” Dorea carefully bundled Hermione’s hair and made a rudimentary topknot, exposing her neck. Gently placing her wand to her once and future lover’s throat, she whispered, “Depilio” and lightly dragged her wand over Hermione’s nude form. A few passes over the arms, with brief stops to permanently charm away any underarm hair, and Dorea lightly grazed her breasts and stomach causing the bushy-haired witch to shiver. “Hold still, love.” She muttered under her breath, “Almost three years… Morgana give us patience.”
After taking her time to ensure total coverage of Hermione’s legs, she gently spread them and bit her lip before letting out a shaky sigh, “Right. Depilio.” Taking great care to charm away all hair, she closed her eyes and sat back. “Three years… three… years…”
Her eyes darkened and her cheeks flushed, Hermione shakily stood from the table. “Y-Your turn.” She began to squirm a bit as Dorea took her place.
Once she isolated her hair away from the delicate wandwork, a whispered incantation and her skin was afire with sensation. After she too had been… prepped, she narrowed her eyes at Hermione, who was carefully staring anywhere but at her. “What?”
Picking her words carefully, Hermione finally spoke, “I… had forgotten the rush of hormones at this age. We agreed not to do anything sexual until we were at least legal in Scotland despite our minds being of age. It’s REALLY hard right now not to jump you.”
Dorea closed her eyes and concentrated on bathrobes. When a pair manifested beside them, she quickly bundled herself up and handed one to her partner, “Right. We need to stay pure for the ritual and the ritual should what? Dull that urge?”
Nodding, Hermione pulled on her robe, “Pretty much. It’s impossible to shut it off entirely, but they should be manageable.”
“Good… Good. What other runes should we get? I mean, we’ve got our Mind Fortress array already. I know we had a few random ones before, but that’s when we didn’t plan them out as optimally as we could. We just kinda… tossed them on our bodies to protect against things as they came.”
Tapping her chin, Hermione mused, “Well, any that optimize our physical health would be good. Being able to bypass certain health risks would be lovely, as would minimizing the debilitating effects our cycles bring.” She peeked up, “Pain relief might keep you from being so…”
“Let’s go with that. Given the high-risk nature of our task, having a regular period of weakness,” she groaned as Dorea snickered. “Not intentional, shut up. Having a regular TIME where we are vulnerable is a risk we need to negate, especially since we do sync. When Winky is available, we are so snapping her up. Dobby and Winky can shore up our defenses during that time. Something to neutralize toxins would be wise as it would take care of most harmful potions and poisons.”
Dorea kissed the top of her head, “Alright, that’s us for health and some basic protections. Embedded trackers keyed to each other?”
Hermione nodded, “Not a bad idea. We’ll likely need to bind the trackers to our rings when we get them from the vault. They are entailed, so they can’t be taken from us.”
Rolling back to rest on her elbows, Hermione looked at the ceiling, “While I wish enchanting spell shields to block all spells and hexes shy of unforgivable wasn't a pipe dream worthy of Xeno Lovegood, I think we can manage a one-shot contingency. It would have to be bound to something like our rings, but an enervate that would trigger if we got stupefied would be invaluable. Could save our lives and let us get the drop on someone who lowered their guard. The only problem is it would burn out the vessel and render it magically inert unless we start looking at goblin forged jewelry and they don’t sell that anymore, so nothing we want to keep. You blow up my engagement ring and we’re going to have words, Miss Potter.”
Dorea’s crooked grin made Hermione’s heart flutter, “Well, I have to go get it… again… before we have to worry about that. If we are REALLY lucky, the Room of Lost Things might have decent vessel quality items. It’s been nearly a century since they offered Enchanting at the NEWT level, so we might luck out.” She looked around, “I wonder how long it will take Dobby to collect our list.”
Tapping her chin, Hermione pondered, “Well, most of the materials aren’t exactly rare. There are wand-quality groves near York, and there is a centaur herd nearby. Given Dobby’s enthusiasm, I doubt he is going to ask for the arrow. Not sure how good of a hunter he is, so oddly the doe might be the trickiest part.”
“Not so tricky, Miss Hermione Potter. Just time consuming,” a voice chimed from behind them.
“Hear that? Just time consuming,” Dorea began before doing a double take, “And here’s Dobby! Excellent timing, my friend.”
Blushing to his ear tips, Dobby bowed deeply, “Anything for Miss Dorea Potter.”
Hermione fussed over the materials, “These are perfect, Dobby! Thank you!” She pulled out the oak and handed it to her once and future wife, “This needs to be rendered entirely into ash. Use as little magic as possible, and don’t contaminate the sample.”
Nodding, she accepted the branch, “Right. Let’s see…” Closing her eyes to commune with the room, an odd crank-powered device appeared. “Well. Alright then. This should make this a relative snap.” Dorea looked at Dobby, “Dobby, can you slowly feed the wood into the top of the grinder while I turn the crank?”
Dobby conjured and pulled up a stool and stood at the ready, “Yes, Miss Dorea Potter. Dobby can do this.”
With eyes sparkling with appreciation, Hermione grinned, “You had better not fudge your grades this time. I know full well how smart you really are.” She then turned to the centaur’s arrow and began the laborious process of carving runes down the shaft. When she finished, she looked to see Dorea and Dobby, “The D’s,” she mused, scooping the powdered wood into a metal cauldron. She took a breath and started to transmute the arrowhead into a fine array of needles suitable for traditional manual tattoo work. “Once I am finished with this, we need to create the ink then get started with the rituals. The room that is behind that door back there should provide us with a nice spot to turn back, perform the rituals, and start tattooing. Dobby, if you could snag us some Pepper-Up potions for after we are done, you will be an enormous help.” She looked up to see Dorea blinking innocently at her with the various materials needed to craft the ink already in place and Dobby nodding vigorously in confirmation of her request. “Right. I shouldn’t be but a minute or two longer. Dobby, we should be coming out of the room in a little bit. We’ll probably be exhausted and hungry.”
Hermione gently tapped the remnants of the ink from her stirring rod and laid it on the table’s surface. “Ashes of oak, the blood of a doe, our blood to bind it to us and in sacrifice.” A few passes of her wand in precise movements infused the mixture with magic and intent, forming a shimmering purple ink. “Dobby, can you carefully take this to that room back there without using magic directly on the cauldron? Dorea and I will gather the rest of the materials and be right behind you.”
“Yes, Miss Hermione Potter. Dobby will do this.” Dobby tilted his head at the still-simmering cauldron then nodded, and with a snap of his fingers, he floated the table obediently behind him as he walked the ink towards the back room.
Upon entering the door, they noticed a brief hall ending in two doors, one labeled IN, the other OUT. “Well, that solves the seeing ourselves conundrum. We’re obviously behind the OUT door waiting for us to finish this conversation. That I seem to be extending. Just chattering on for no apparent rea-“
A light swat to the back of Dorea’s head cut off her endless rambling, that was met with light giggling from behind the OUT door, “Alright, Dorea, let’s just get this done.” Hermione ushered her into the IN door and closed it tightly. She wrapped the chain of her Time-Turner around Dorea’s neck and carefully grabbed the insulated wooden handles of the cauldron. “Eight Twists, D.”
A few flicks of the wrist and they were gone.
Chapter 4: The Right Rites to Right Wrongs
A few words, a circle, some ink, and a dash of blood and Dorea and Hermione might get a bit more than they bargained for.
Dorea let out a low whistle as she scoped out the ritual space. The Room of Requirement was a powerful nexus able to shift and change upon the desire of the one making the request, but to create a perfect reconstruction of the Temple of Diana in Rome with all statuary, mosaics, and tapestries intact filled her with a level of humility and awe that she had never felt in her painfully short life. She glanced over to Hermione and saw silvery tears streaking down her cheeks. “How?”
Hermione glanced over with a smile, “Nick and Peri… They weren’t the first names they used, just the ones that people noticed them using the longest. While Perenelle joined him in the third century, Nick was born Quintus Horatius Flaccus, now known as Horace, in 65 BC. When I was doing the bulk of my research into the rituals we would need after coming back, he shared his memories of the temples and the Rites of the Goddesses.”
Smiling serenely, Dorea basked in the hallowed atmosphere, “We should get things ready.” Spotting a rustic broom, she manually swept the ritual space as Hermione laid out the materials and sacrifices. Once ready, the duo began to draw out the ritual circle in purified chalk from their Rune kits, muttering soft prayers to Diana as they finished the final lines. The pair changed into simple shifts they found in a petitioner’s chamber and placed the cauldron containing the ink in the ritual circle along with the needles. They each lightly slashed their palms with the magically neutral knives from their rune kit and let the vital substance pool in their hands.
Channeling their magic to their feet, the pair walked in opposite directions charging and claiming the ritual space, their blood dripping along the runic lines and sacred sigils until they met on the opposite side and took two steps into the center of the space, kneeling in supplication with their bloodied hands clasped together.
Their voices in haunting unison rang out in the sacred temple,
“O Diana Trivia, rogamus tuum auxilium.
Nos flexis coram te, humiles, ut simus instrumenta tua erit.
Diana, benedicat operam nostram, ut nos quaerere, ut finem nostri hostibus et tueri corpora nostra ab immundo.
Luna, Aspectus Lunae, tueri nostra secreta ab iis, qui vellet agere contra nos.
Hekate, Ratione simul et Inferos, dux nobis, sicut et nos percutiet eos, qui contaminatis tua dona.
Suscipe nostrum vinculum sanguinis, et magia, quod nos perducat vindictam iis, qui wronged et vos et nos.
Quod ita sit.”
The ink shifted to a luminous purple hue as the circle began to glow, their spilled and dripping blood becoming motes of light swirling in the charged air. The cyclone of mystical energies tore around them as if a tempest of magic ripped into existence. Dorea and Hermione held fast in supplication before the powers they sought to invoke.
The howling magic suddenly collapsed and rushed into the glowing ink, blessing it with purpose. Opening their eyes, the witches noticed they were not alone. Trailing their gaze upwards, they first beheld pale white feet beneath an impossibly black robe. Following the inevitable line of the figure’s body, they halted at the harsh smile, teeth bared, beneath the obscuring hood. Hermione’s brain whirled through all possibilities before her eyes widened in shock, “Mors….”
A voice, dry to the point of being a tangible force, emanated from the grinning form, “Quite so. It has been many a year since I was last on Earth. When my lady, Hekate, heard your words stirring in the fabric of magic, I was curious. When I saw my Gifts, I was intrigued. When I saw a SECOND cloak, well…” The grin took a sharp downturn as the voice shredded through their minds, “I WAS ENRAGED! You mortals DARE to mimic the divine?!”
Trembling, the duo prostrated themselves before the Goddess of Death, “Lady Mors, it was certainly not our intent, nor our doing directly that caused the duplication. Through ritual, we activated the Velum Mortis that had been secreted to Britain some years into the future. I had collected what Britain refers to as the Deathly Hallows and Dorea’s soul and I stepped through the gateway to manifest in our younger bodies. We had no idea the Hallows would follow us.”
The two felt the marrow in their bones freeze as icy fingers tilted their chins upward, “I believe you. You have pleased my Lady, and you have pleased me. Stand.”
Without hesitation, Hermione and Dorea stood nearly at attention before the deity, “What would you have us do, Lady Mors?”
The grin widened as Mors placed her hands upon their sterna, “Send me the Defiler, Riddle. Send me his minions. Send me all who would seek to steal from ME. Slay those who betray Hekate’s gift of magic. Do this, my Handmaidens, and be rewarded.”
A searing bolt of cold ripped through their bodies converging on their breastbone. Gasping, they looked to see the glowing ankh fading into their skin. Hermione looked up in confusion, “I thought the Ankh was Egyptian?”
Mors smirked, “We have many names and many faces. Mors is just one. The Ankh has always been mine; you see. Beedle got it wrong.” The deity traced the shape into the air starting with the upper loop, “The Stone.” The horizontal bar, “The Wand.” The vertical, “The Cloak.” The Goddess smiled her cruel smile and pushed a finger into the Ankh on Dorea’s chest. “I shall get you started.”
Dorea’s knees buckled at the icy pain pulling at her soul as what felt like a vortex of magic spiraled in her chest. Her teeth began to crack from clenching them as the sensation ended, her body twitching uncontrollably from the pain. Opening her red and tear-streaked eyes, she saw the Elder Wand and Resurrection Stone. Gathering her focus with short panting breaths, she wrapped her hand in cloth and plucked the ring from the floor. “Our… Our first offering, Lady Mors. A fragment of Riddle’s soul tainting your relic.”
The cruel smile froze and the air chilled, “I see.” The duo shivered at the angry goddess’s whispered words and stilled as she plucked the Elder Wand from the ground. Twirling it in her hand, it shifted to form the traditional Reaper’s scythe and with a single fluid motion, she passed the blade through the stone, dragging the squirming black mass of Voldemort’s soul fragment free. “Your sacrifice is accepted, my Handmaidens. Go forth in Our names. We shall be watching.” The swirling energies of the room settle as the goddess vanished, her prisoner with her.
Taking a moment to breathe and calm, Hermione and Dorea shared a single glance and fell into each other’s arms, grateful to their patrons for both their success and continued survival. After sharing a brief, yet intense kiss, they held each other close in reflection.
A serene voice whispered through the temple like the faint tolling of bells, “Seek out my Child that she may aid you in your tasks.”
An impassioned voice that set their blood racing filled their ears with a tone like a horn, “Seek out the Hunters, brothers in bond and deed, to chase your quarry in places you cannot reach.”
A voice like a sepulcher sent shivers up their spine, “Seek out my Champion and end the lies that bind him. Drag his foes into the light and end them.”
Bowing low, the duo faced the altar and Hermione answered, “As you wish. In the names of the Diana Trivia: Luna, Diana, and Hekate, we shall undergo your tasks in gratitude for your blessing.”
The whisper of power faded from the room, and the witches immediately got to work. Closing her eyes, Dorea manifested a table within the ritual circle for them to lay on in turns to receive their tattoos. Shedding her robe, she climbed on first and laid down, “Right, I’ll get the ink first so we can check them over before I do yours.”
Hermione kissed her forehead gently before dipping the needles in the blessed ink, “May the Goddesses guide my hand.”
Hours later, the pair stood in front of a large mirror, turning to see the full effect of their tattoo work on each other. “Now, this is just the basics. This will take a few days of work, but the important marks are there,” Hermione said, breaking the silence. She lightly brushed the faintly glowing tattoo on her lower abdomen, “Can you feel our respective urges being muted?”
Dorea nodded with relief, “Yeah. Good thing, too. I know we were… quite active before I died, but we’re thirteen again. All knobby knees and yet to entirely bud curves. Our hormones would push us down mentally familiar paths that our bodies aren’t ready for… yet… again… tenses, bleh. So, this thing will keep us safe from attackers and ourselves, so… bonus?”
Hermione carefully looked over Dorea’s tattoos, noting the spacing and placement. “Did you want any ornamentation or just the basic protections?”
With a wicked grin, the red-haired witch winked, “You want to ink me up and make me all pretty, don’t you?”
Arching an eyebrow, she retorted, “And you don’t?”
Tilting her head, Dorea got lost in thought as two of her favorite fantasies competed in her mind until they merged, “Tattooed sexy librarian…”
Hermione rolled her eyes, “Thought so. Start thinking of what you might want on your skin, and we can do that for fun after the protections are all up.”
Nodding wearily, Dorea stretched, “Righto… We should be caught up with ourselves soonish, then we can go to bed.” Looking in askance as she felt through the hair at the base of her skull until Hermione nodded. Pushing a small bit of magic into her fingertips, she activated the embedded glamour charm masking her tattoos from sight. “Did I get them all?”
A quick once over, and Hermione nodded as she repeated the process, “Let’s get to bed. We have a lot to do and less time than I am comfortable with to do it in.”