Part 11: May 1992 (II)
Saturday, 16th May 1992
Somewhere underneath Hogwarts, close to dawn.
“This is the last obstacle,” said Quirrell, sounding out of breath. “It’s Severus’s contribution… you have to find the right potion bottle… Forgive me, my Lord, I need to catch my breath for a bit.”
Despite himself… and despite feeling quite dizzy after having floated around under the Invisibility Cloak for an uncomfortably long time… Harry was impressed. For someone who had been accused of weakness, Quirrell got through the non-Fluffy security measures easily enough. He’d burned his way through a savage plant that threatened to strangle anyone that came near, he’d caught a flying key in the air with some spectacular broomstick flying, he’d played his way through a gigantic chess set and knocked out an enormous guardian troll with its own club… and that was at the same time as keeping Harry and Hermione subdued and levitated. Though it had probably helped that the mysterious cold voice had been with them all along, egging him along.
Now they’d reached a chamber where, as soon as they had stepped over the threshold, strange purple flames shot up and blocked the exit behind them, while at the same times eerie black flames appeared in the doorway leading onward. In the middle of the room was a table with seven differently shaped bottles standing in a neat row, with a roll of parchment next to them.
“You have five minutes, Quirrell…” said the voice. “In the meantime, you can put the children down… and remove their gags… nobody can hear them scream down here anyway… and I would like a word with Potter…”
Harry and Hermione yelped against their gags as the Invisibility Cloak was pulled off them, the Levitation charm ended, and they fell to the stone floor.
As soon as the gag vanished from her mouth, Hermione took a deep breath and fixed her eyes on Quirrell. “It was you!” she said.
“I beg your pardon?” said Quirrell.
“At the Quidditch match! You were the one jinxing Harry’s broom! I thought it was Snape, because he was muttering under his breath and keeping eye contact with the broom, but… he was muttering a countercurse, wasn’t he? He was trying to save Harry!”
“What?” said Harry, surprise overriding any dizziness he felt. “Don’t be daft, of course he wasn’t…”
But Quirrell laughed, a somewhat wheezing laugh. “Quite astute, Granger. Too bad you didn’t figure it out before. But I will say this for Severus… he’s a pain in the neck, but he is useful for diverting people’s attention. With him hovering around like a big black bat and acting like a pantomime villain, who would ever suspect” (and here he put on a mocking version of his usual timid voice) “p-p-poor st-st-stuttering Professor Quirrell who encountered va-va-vampires in the Bl-Black Forest, and he l-l-lost his n-n-nerve…”
“And I bet it was you who let in the troll on Halloween too!” said Hermione. “And when Harry overheard you talking to Snape… you weren’t trying to protect the Philosopher’s Stone from him, he was trying to protect it from you!”
“That’s…. almost correct…” the cold voice sounded amused. “For a Mudblood, you do have quite the mind… perhaps I will spare you after all… But you got one thing wrong. Severus wasn’t protecting the Stone from Quirrell… he was protecting it from me. Quirrell…”
“Yes, my Lord.” Quirrell pulled back the hood of his cloak, revealing that he wasn’t wearing his turban underneath it. He was completely bald, and as he slowly turned around….
Harry would have screamed, but couldn’t make a sound. Next to him, Hermione made a half-choked noise. On the back of Quirrell’s bald head was a face… a horrible, disgusting face with glaring red eyes.
And Harry knew, as surely as if someone had told him, that this was Voldemort.
“Surprised?” said the face. “See what I have become, Potter… a mere shadow of my former self, forced to live as a parasite… unicorn blood has made me stronger, but I am still so much less than I was…” He chuckled again. “But the Philosopher’s Stone will restore me, give me my full strength back… And you’re going to help me get it… that is if you don’t want your little Mudblood to die.”
“I… you’re mad,” Harry managed to say.
“Mad…? I am the most brilliant wizard Hogwarts has ever seen,” said Voldemort smugly. “I will admit… ten years ago, when we last met, you managed to surprise me… making my Killing Curse turn back on me. If I hadn’t been so strong… if I hadn’t gone so far in conquering death… that would have been it for me. But I held on… you see, Harry, I can never die. I can always find my way back.”
Harry gulped. “So… if you’re that powerful, what do you need me for?” he managed to say.
“There is… a final test,” said Voldemort. “Quirrell and I managed to find out that much… I don’t know exactly what the test is, but in case it’s of a particularly nasty sort… I figure you’re the best person to help me pass that test. There is a certain ironic justice to this… I wouldn’t have been reduced to this sorry state if not for you. Now I’ll return to my full glory thanks to you… If you want your girlfriend to live, that is…”
“Harry, no!” Hermione cried. “You mustn’t!”
“Say ‘aaah,’ Granger,” said Quirrell, pointing her wand at her without even turning around.
“No! No no no, wait, I have something to tell you, I have… aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah…. mmmph…”.
As Hermione grunted against her gag, Quirrell suddenly let out a scream of pain, doubled over and nearly dropped his wand. For a moment, Harry thought he’d gone insane, but then he saw Voldemort’s eyes flashing a bright red… he was angry.
“Quirrell!” Voldemort hissed. “Did I tell you to do that…?”
“N-no, my Lord,” Quirrell whimpered. “I just thought…. aaagh…”
“You will leave the thinking to me, Quirrell. Now… remove her gag.”
“Yes, my Lord.”
Hermione breathed heavily as the gag vanished again.
“Well, child…?” Voldemort’s cold voice was soft. “What was it you wanted to tell me?”
“The security measures,” said Hermione. Her voice was quaking a little, but she managed to raise her head and look Voldemort in the eyes. “They… weren’t they a little easy?”
“They were laughable,” Voldemort agreed. “But they were clearly the best those pathetic excuses for teachers could manage… what’s your point, girl?”
“If I tell you, will you promise to let Harry and me live?”
“Don’t tell me you believe he’ll let us live!” said Harry.
“I don’t exactly have a choice, do I?” said Hermione. And then, she continued in an impressively calm and steady voice: “Those security measures weren’t supposed to stop you. They were just there for show. To make it less obvious that you’re walking straight into a trap.”
“It must be! The Philosopher’s Stone, here underneath the school, protected by spells that are clearly for show? If I was Dumbledore and had the Stone, I’d keep it on me! Or lock it up in my office with some sort of security code only I knew! I wouldn’t make an… obstacle course.”
“Hmm.” Voldemort seemed to consider this. “I realize that you are just rambling to buy yourself time, you know… hoping that if you stall for long enough, someone will come to your rescue…”
“Er…” Hermione gulped.
“However… You may actually have a point. Dumbledore is a crafty old devil… It would be just like him to try and trick me…” Voldemort’s disgusting face split into an even more disgusting grin. “It’s a good thing I brought you along then. If there is a trap, you can spring it for me! Quirrell… Levitate her.”
“Wha — you said you’d let me live!” Hermione protested as she rose up from the ground and floated over to the table. “Let us both live! Harry and me! You promised!”
“Oh, I doubt Dumbledore’s trap would be lethal… he is rather sentimental, after all…” said Voldemort. “All the same, you had better hope you’re wrong and there isn’t a trap. Now… which of these bottles should we make you drink?”
“Wait… wait, let me see!” Hermione cried desperately. “The parchment! There must be a clue there!”
Harry could only watch helplessly from his place on the floor as Quirrell unrolled the parchment and held it up for the floating Hermione to read. The only thing he could think of doing was shout for Quirrell and Voldemort to leave Hermione alone, and he doubted they would pay him any mind at all.
But even with how scared she had to be, Hermione still had her wits about her. “It’s a puzzle,” she said, a little calmer. “I think I can solve it… seven bottles… three of them are poison, one of them takes you through the black flames and one takes you through the purple flames… the final two are just wine.”
“And which is which?”
“I don’t know yet! Give me a minute….”
“Quirrell…” said Voldemort. “If she hadn’t picked a bottle in fifteen seconds… pick a bottle at random and make her drink it.”
“The smallest one!” Hermione screamed. “No, the largest… no, the smallest! That’s the potion that gets you through the black flames!”
“Are you certain…?”
“Yes! No. Yes!”
“Very well… Quirrell, give her the potion….”
Quirrell grabbed the smallest bottle, uncorked it. and pointed his wand at Hermione. “Say ‘aaah,’ Granger…”
“No no no, I’ll drink it, I’ll drink it, you don’t have to make me — aaaaaaaaaaaaaah…Gllp! Gll gll gll gllmmmmmm….!”
Quirrell removed the bottle from Hermione’s mouth after he’d made sure she’d swallowed the liquid. “How are you feeling, Granger?” he said, not in the tone of someone who asked because he cared, but more like someone performing an experiment.
“Cold,” Hermione shuddered. “It’s like ice… but it’s not poison. It’s the right bottle.” Then she glared. “I said I’d drink it, you didn’t have to use magic on me.”
“Just to be on the safe side,” said Quirrell.
“Send her through the flames…” Voldemort commanded. “And you had better hope there is no trap in the final chamber, girl.”
With a flick of his wand, Quirrell sent a shrieking Hermione flying through the black flames. The flames roared, and Hermione was gone.
“What happened to her?” said Harry. “Is she all right?”
“There is no smell of burnt flesh, so I would say that is a positive sign,” said Voldemort. “Don’t worry, you will be joining her soon enough. Unless I am much mistaken, the potion should replenish itself in a few moments…”
A few moments passed. And a few more moments. To Harry, lying bound on the floor, it felt like hours. But finally, Voldemort announced: “Just as I suspected… the bottle is filled up again. Potter… prepare yourself.”
Harry found himself being levitated off the ground and floating over to the table, where Quirrell was holding up the smallest bottle. Just as Voldemort had said, it was full again. The liquid was a pale yellow and looked a little like white wine.
“There is only enough potion for one person,” said Voldemort. “Severus made certain to make the bottle small enough that only one person would be able to pass through the flames at a time… I suppose this is a moderately interesting security measure. Severus was always a bright wizard. Too bad he threw his lot in with Dumbledore in the end.”
“But… what if Hermione was right?” said Harry. “What if it is a trap?”
“That would be too bad… for you,” said Voldemort mercilessly. “I am not so easy to trap. Of course, I can’t say the same for my servant here, but… he would be an acceptable loss…”
“My Lord,” Quirrell pleaded. “You wouldn’t abandon me… haven’t I been a good servant to you?”
“Do not presume to tell Lord Voldemort what he would or would not do,” Voldemort hissed. “But… you have been… adequate. Continue to be useful, and you shall not find me ungrateful… indeed, if you are still with me when I get the Philosopher’s Stone, you will be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams… everything you have ever wanted, Quirrell. Power… revenge over those who mocked you.”
“Yes… thank you, my Lord.” Quirrell smiled dreamily. Harry didn’t want to speculate on what sort of dreams. Then he pointed his wand at Harry. “You know what comes next… say ‘aah,’ Potter.”
“Aaaaaaaaaah – glk!” The potion was poured down Harry’s throat. Just like Hermione has said, it felt like ice was flowing through his entire body.
The next thing he knew, he was flying through the air, towards the black flames. He just had time to hear Voldemort’s cold voice call out: “You had better hope I see you on the other side, Potter…” before he was engulfed by the fire.
For a moment, everything around him was black fire. He could feel the flames lick against his body and face, but it didn’t hurt; he didn’t even feel slightly warm. All that happened was that the feeling of ice flowing through his body slowly lessened… and as the feeling completely vanished, he tumbled out on the other side of the flames and landed on the floor. The ropes that had bound him were gone.
“Harry!” Hermione was standing over him. She too was free of her ropes and looked none the worse for wear. “Are you all right? Here, I’ll help you up…”
“Hermione? You’re alive! What… what happened to the ropes?” It wasn’t the most intelligent thing to say, but it was all Harry could think of as Hermione helped him to his feet.
“I think the fire burned them away,” said Hermione impatiently. “But Harry, this is bad. Look.” She held up her hand. In her palm was a small, blood-red stone.
Harry gasped. “Is that…?”
“The Philosopher’s Stone!” said Hermione. “I don’t even know how I got it! There’s a mirror over there and I thought there might an exit or something hidden behind it, and I don’t know what happened, but I happened to look in the mirror while thinking about how I wished I could find the Stone so I could keep it from Quirrell and… and my reflection just winked at me, and pulled the Stone out of her pocket, and before I knew it I was holding the Stone!”
“Mirror?” Harry’s heart suddenly soared. He looked behind Hermione… and there it was, standing at the far end of the room: The Mirror of Erised.
“Yes!” said Hermione, who apparently hadn’t realized what that Mirror meant. “But Harry, if Quirrell comes in here and sees I have the Stone… we can’t let him have it! Not if it means You-Know-Who comes back! I’ve heard all the horror stories about the war, and…”
“Hermione,” said Harry. He gently took her hand — for some reason it didn’t feel awkward. “It’s okay. I know what to do.”
She blinked. “You do?!”
“I do. I just hope it works.” Harry stepped up to the Mirror of Erised. It was just as large and beautiful as he remembered it, with its ornate frame and its flourishing inscription of Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi.
“I show you not your face, but your heart’s desire…” Harry murmured. “And I know what my heart’s desire is. My heart’s desire is you. It’s for you to come and rescue us.”
“What?” said Hermione, looking at him like he’d gone crazy.
“Lady Vidia,” said Harry. He gazed into the Mirror. “I know you can hear me.”
A melodious laughter escaped from the Mirror, with the familiar tinny sound… and then she stood there. Tall, green and shapely, with flowers in her hair, wearing a long flowing skirt and a red lace-up halter top that didn’t leave a lot to the imagination.
“Hello, Harry,” she said, smiling warmly down at him. “What a coincidence. I was just thinking that you might be needing that third favour around now… wouldn’t you say?”
“Yes!” Harry exclaimed, relief washing over him. “Please! We have to keep the Philosopher’s Stone from Quirrell and Vol — and You-Know-Who! Er… wait, do you know what’s going on? Are you spying on me?”
“Not exactly… but I do have a certain tie to you for as long as I still owe you all those favours,” she answered lightly. “So I think I know the broad strokes… you’ve had a busy night, haven’t you? Evil teachers and parasitic Dark Lords and a Philosopher’s Stone to make the entire thing complete. I was starting to think the situation might be dire enough that you would need that favour.”
“Please,” Harry repeated. “Hermione has the Philosopher’s Stone, but we can’t let You-Know-Who get it, and he and Quirrell will be here any minute…!”
“Harry!” Hermione pleaded. “Who are you talking to? This is not the time to lose your mind!”
“Oh… your friend can’t see or hear me,” said Lady Vidia casually. “I’m not her greatest desire, after all. Let’s see if we can remedy that… Stand back, please.”
“Harry?” said Hermione again — and then shrieked in surprise.
The glass of the Mirror shimmered and rippled like water as the Lady stepped through it, and grew solid and still again as she bare green feet touched the stone floor. And there she was – Lady Vidia of the Spring Court of Faeries, completely solid and real… and out of the Mirror, it really hit Harry just how… not human she was. Her body and face were a study in youthful, feminine beauty, but she was older than anyone, but he sensed rather than saw just how ancient she was… older than Dumbledore, older than any of the ghosts in the castle, maybe even older than Hogwarts itself.
Harry felt a strange urge to hug her, touch her, make certain she was really there… but he managed to control himself. And moments later he had it confirmed anyway because she reached out and ruffled his hair, and her hand was as solid and present as anything. She was warm and soft, like a day in spring. “Well,” she said, and her voice was even sweeter and more melodious now that it was freed of that tinny echo from the Mirror. “I think I’m supposed to say ‘my, how you’ve grown’… I’m delighted to see you again… see you properly this time. Oh… and here’s your friend. Now she can see me.”
Hermione had taken a step back in alarm, but now she was staring at Lady Vidia as if transfixed. “So… beautiful…” she murmured.
“Yes, I know,” said Lady Vidia, with a complete lack of modesty, before reaching out to ruffle Hermione’s hair as well. “Hermione, right? What pretty hair you have.”
“Lady Vidia,” said Harry, forcing himself to focus. “We don’t have a lot of time! You-Know-Who and Quirrell are coming!”
“Mmm? Oh, yes.” Lady Vidia turned back to him. “We really should have a good, long talk one of these days, shouldn’t we? But that’ll have to wait. For the moment, perhaps it’s best if you two leave this place… while I deal with your Dark Lord. This may not be an event suitable for children.”
“What do you mean, leave this place?” said Harry. “Where can we go? We can’t walk through mirrors!”
She smiled. “Not unaided, no, but with a little help from me… come here, both of you.” She beckoned them to come closer to the Mirror… “I told you once, Harry, that the Mirror of Erised has a strong connection to Faerie. What I did not tell you is that it can do more than show you your heart’s desire… Hermione, do you still have the Philosopher’s Stone? Good… hold onto it now, don’t drop it.” She placed a gentle hand on Hermione’s shoulder and then guided her towards the Mirror. “Step inside.”
“I… this is like a book I read once…” said Hermione in a dazed voice. Just like before, the glass rippled and waved like water as the girl stepped through it and vanished into the Mirror.
Harry blinked. “Where did she go?”
“The other side,” Lady Vidia replied simply. “Hurry now, you next. I can’t keep the gateway open forever… and I think I hear that Quirrell person coming through the flames. Don’t worry… this is your third favour. You won’t come to any harm, I promise.”
Harry didn’t hesitate any longer. He took a deep breath and stepped through the mirror.
Saturday, 16th May 1992,
Dewberry Grove, unspecified time of day.
Bright blue sky. Green grass. Colourful flowers growing everywhere. Soft breeze rustling though the trees. Harry and Hermione looked around at the serene landscape. Hermione was still clutching the Philosopher’s Stone in her hand.
“Where are we?” she asked, still dazed.
“The other side, Lady Vidia called it,” Harry answered. He turned around to see if he could see the Mirror of Erised behind him, but there was nothing there… well, other than what could only be described as a shining white marble palace. “I don’t think we’re in Hogwarts anymore.”
“Or Kansas,” muttered Hermione, whatever that was supposed to mean. “It’s like a dream…” Then she blinked, looking down at the Philosopher’s Stone in her hand, and seemed to snap out of her daze. “Harry, what just happened?” she said, sounding a lot more alert and worried. “There was this beautiful green lady, and then I was walking into a mirror and – and I’m holding the Philosopher’s Stone in my hand, Harry! The Philosopher’s Stone! It’s not a dream, right? This is really happening! I’m not dreaming!”
“Not unless I’m dreaming too,” said Harry. “I really should have told you all about this long ago, but… but you’d better hold onto that Stone! It belongs to that Nicolas Flamel bloke, right?”
“Yes…” And then, all the energy seemed to drain from Hermione. She dropped on her bum, sitting on the grass and breathing heavily.
“Er… are you okay?” Harry dropped down beside her.
“No,” she answered. “I don’t think I am. I was so scared… Now the adrenaline is dropping and I’m just tired… it doesn’t help that I’ve barely slept all night.”
“Oh.” Now that she mentioned it, Harry was starting to feel rather drained as well.
“Well, that’s no good!” said a cheerful and feminine voice behind them. “Children your age need a proper night’s sleep. You still have a lot of growing to do, after all. Fang, come back here!”
There was a happy bark, and all of a sudden Harry found himself tackled by a very familiar, very big black boarhound.
“Gah! Fang!” he yelped, squirming as the dog enthusiastically began licking his face, tail wagging so hard that it looked like it might fall off at any moment. “Yes, I’m happy to see you too, but… aah! Get off! Get – oh, thank you,” he breathed in relief as Fang was firmly pulled away from him by a familiar blonde woman dressed in purple and pink. “Hello, Jenny.”
“Hello, Harry,” said Jenny, holding Fang back. “And Hermione. Are you going to behave if I let you go, Fang?”
“That’s not an answer. Are you going to behave?”
“All right then.” Jenny let go of Fang’s collar and the dog sat down on the grass, tail still wagging furiously. “You have to forgive him. He’s doing a lot better, but he misses Hagrid. Now, what are you two doing here at Dewberry Grove? I’m guessing this has something to do with my mother?”
“Yes…” Harry blinked. “She’s back at Hogwarts! You-Know-Who…! Ah-h-h-hhh…” He let out a yawn as a sudden burst of tiredness hit him. “We have to help her… she’s going to face a Dark wizard.”
“Easy, easy,” said Jenny. “My mother can take care of herself. I would like to see the Dark wizard who would be a threat to her. But you two… you’re exhausted. What have you been up to? No, on second thought, save that story for later. What you need right now is a nice hot bath, and then a soft bed. When you’ve had some sleep, you can tell me your story. Hopefully, Mum’ll be back by then too.”
“But…,” said Hermione. “Everyone back at Hogwarts… Ron, Lavender, Neville, everyone… and… who are you?”
“Lady Jenivah of the Spring Court of Faerie. Harry calls me Jenny, feel free to do the same. I’m not surprised you don’t remember me… last time we met, you were asleep and I was busy.”
“She’s Lady Vidia’s daughter,” said Harry. “There’s really a lot I need to tell you…”
“It can wait until you’ve rested. Come on.” Jenny pulled Harry and Hermione to their feet and then began guiding them towards the marble palace, with Fang trotting happily after them
Harry and Hermione let themselves be led. Whether it was because they were coming down from an adrenaline high like Hermione claimed, or whether there was some sort of Fae magic going on, was hard to say… but they found they were too tired to protest.
Saturday, 16th May 1992
Hogwarts underground chambers, just before dawn.
Seconds after Harry had vanished into the Mirror and the glass was solid and flat again, the black flames roared and Quirrell emerged from them. He stepped down onto the stone floor and looked around the chamber. If he was surprised to see Lady Vidia instead of Harry or Hermione, he didn’t show it.
“Fae,” he said, as a means of greeting. “I should have known… you’re that Spring Court Fae.”
“And you’re that unicorn killer,” she answered. ‘Or should I say killers… two for the price of one.”
“My Lord and I will kill a thousand unicorns if it suits our purpose,” said Quirrell. “All that stand in our way will die. Now, tell us where the Philosopher’s Stone is… where Potter and Granger are.”
He spoke steadily, but it was impossible not to notice that there was a weariness to his voice. Lady Vidia suppressed a small smile. She had told Harry that what came next wouldn’t be suitable for children. She shifted slightly… and turned on the charm.
Ensnaring and enchanting the minds and senses of mortals was an ability that all Fae had. Some had it stronger than others, of course… and some mortals were better than others at resisting… but there was a reason why, even centuries after the Fae had withdrawn from the mortal world, humans still had stories about the Fair Folk and of their seductive beauty… or, for that matter, of their revolting ugliness. After all, it was just as easy to repulse and reject as it was to entrance and seduce… though Lady Vidia preferred taking the seductive route. And unless she was mistaken… while the Dark Lord probably wouldn’t be easy to seduce, his vassal was another matter entirely.
“I’m afraid you’re too late,” she said. “The children are gone, and they took the Stone with them.”
“Where?!” Quirrell’s voice was tinged with desperation. “Where are they?!”
“Not here.” She began slowly walking towards the two-wizards-in one, slowly but deliberately, making sure to sway her hips in a way that would catch Quirrell’s eye as she put on her best seductive glamours. “But do we really need them? It’s a lot more fun when it’s just us adults, isn’t it…? We don’t have to watch our words, or worry that we’re setting a bad example for the young, impressionable minds. With the children gone… you can stare at my breasts as much as you want. I don’t mind.”
She knew he hadn’t been looking at her breasts. She also knew that this comment would guarantee that he did, just as she undid her top completely. The moment’s distraction was all she needed to hit him with a stronger glamour. “That’s it… just stare… aren’t I beautiful?”
“Yes…” Quirrell breathed, staring at her in utter transfixation… and then he screamed in pain and clutched his head.
“You pathetic, weak-willed degenerate!” the high-pitched, cold voice of Voldemort sounded. “She is trying to seduce you with cheap Fae tricks, and you’re falling for it!”
“Trying? It looks more like I’m succeeding,” said Lady Vidia. She let her halter top fall to the floor and stepped away from it, now only wearing her skirt.
Quirrell screamed in pain once more, as Voldemort sneered: “Presenting yourself like a cheap whore might distract my vassal, but it’s wasted on me…. Do you have even the slightest idea who I am, Fae?”
“Well… I assume you’re the self-same Dark Wizard who marked our Harry for death ten years ago,” she responded. Despite herself, she was mildly impressed… Voldemort was being hit with some pretty strong glamours and he was shrugging them off like they were nothing. “He Who Must Not Be Named, they call you… I will admit I have wondered what became of you. I had a feeling you didn’t die.”
“Of course I did not die…. I am Lord Voldemort. I was merely… reduced for a while. I know you, Lady Vidia… oh yes, don’t I just… you’ve got a history of meddling in my affairs, don’t you? Not only Potter, but the House of Black… they would have made such excellent followers, but you had to meddle…”
“You’re remarkably well informed for a parasite,” she observed. “I have known for some time that the day would come when I met you, Dark Wizard. I did not imagine I would meet you when you were a parasite clinging to the life and body of another man, but I suppose life has a way of surprising us.”
“Parasite… only until I get the Philosopher’s Stone!” Voldemort’s scream was high-pitched and chilling; it reminded her of some of the nastier spirits of Winter… all hunger and want. (Being a parasite for so long probably hadn’t been good for the man.) “Give it to me!”
“I can’t. Like I said, the children took it with them when they left.” Lady Vidia stepped even closer, swaying her hips seductively. “I can give you something else, if you want…”
“Quirrell!” Voldemort snapped.
Quirrell gave a start and seemed to come to his senses. “Yes, my Lord!” Quick as lightning, he pulled out his wand to point at her. “Avada ked –”
That was as far as he got, because Lady Vidia swung out and hit him full-force with a powerful punch. Quirrell went flying backwards, colliding with the wall behind him and sliding limply to the floor.
His wand fell out of his hand and rolled away towards Lady Vidia, who elegantly swept it up with one hand. She only needed to apply a tiny bit of her Fae strength before the thing broke in two with a rather satisfying snapping sound.
Quirrell twitched as Voldemort screamed. “You… will pay for that!”
“Maybe I will,” said Lady Vidia, throwing the useless wand halves over her shoulder. “But before we continue down that path, you might want to consider something. I am older than your school, Older than your country. I have seen a thousand Dark wizards like you rise and fall. Each one thought themselves invincible. Each one met a horrible end. What makes you think you will be any different?”
“I.” Voldemort sneered, “am Lord Voldemort! No wizard has accomplished more than me! No wizard has come further in conquering death!”
Dark smoke began welling up from Quirrell’s body. It spread out, twisted and swirled as it formed the snake-like face of the wizard calling himself Lord Voldemort.
“You will not stop me!” the smoke that was Voldemort thundered. “I cannot die! I cannot be vanquished!”
“Ooooh… a challenge.” This time, Lady Vidia didn’t bother to suppress her smirk. “Come on, then… unless you’re afraid of a cheap whore.”
The smoke swirled around her, blackening the air. She could feel his presence trying to overwhelm her, take her over, smoke trying to enter her eyes, ears and mouth, to fill her lungs… She thrust out her hand and shoved him away, making the smoke retract.
“Awwww…did you just try to possess me?” she said, making her voice as saccharine as she could. “You couldn’t wait to get inside me, could you?”
“Is this just a joke to you?!” Voldemort screeched.
“No… but this is!” She held out her hand and spoke a few sharp sentences. “Faunn ho coamnn ra’mc. Tho llo’rr soo llha’ ho hooan llha’mo as.”
A shimmering bubble formed around the smoke, trapping it… trapping most of it, at least. One smoke tendril escaped and went straight for her face, distracting her enough that the shimmering bubble broke and vanished.
The smoke welled up again, swirling around to once more form Voldemort’s face. “This isn’t over… Lady Vidia!”
“I didn’t think it was.” She raised her hand. The air around her crackled with the magic of Faerie. “Ya’au lloa a’ raunn llah rlo, sa’ I llarr raunn llah iya’au….” The smoke pulsated, pulling itself together and getting smaller as the invisible forces pushed and squeezed. The voice of Voldemort let out an ear-piercing scream. The ground began to shake.
Suddenly, Lady Vidia stopped. The energies dissolved and the smoke expanded again.
“No,” she said, subdued. “Not like this. If I use this much energy, the castle might collapse. Allies of Harry might get hurt.”
“Weak… sentimental…” Voldemort’s voice sounded, though much fainter than before. “Just like that fool… Dumbledore…”
Lady Vidia looked at the shimmering smoke. This Dark Lord was certainly a persistent pest. If it hadn’t been for her obligation to Harry… She shook her head. “I have more than one trick, Dark wizard. If I can’t crush you… I can banish you.”
“You can never banish me… I will always return!”
“Maybe…” Lady Vidia raised her hand again. Despite them being in an underground chamber, the air began moving around her, ruffling her hair and disturbing the smoke. “But it will take you a while to get back from where I’m sending you! Soc has cann a’ ho Ma’a’!”
The wind picked up in strength and swirled around the smoke like a hurricane. Voldemort tried to fight against it, but the wind was too strong.
“Boaash has oass rma’rl ho Eoamh, ro harl orrom so ra’a’ a’ ho ghma’auc auar ho lla’mrc hoas aumoc hmao!” Lady Vidia commanded.
“I will retur–”
There was a huge flash of blue light, and the smoke was gone. The last lingering echoes of Voldemort’s parting words died.
Lady Vidia took a deep breath and let it out again. Philosopher’s Stone saved, the Dark Lord at least temporarily banished… that should conclude her third favour to Harry quite nicely. After this, she deserved a little break… maybe some honey, or some nectar… or maybe she’d find some random human she could fuck senseless, just to relieve some tension…
A small groan from over at the wall caught her attention. Oh right. Not quite everything was concluded. She rested her eyes on Quirrell who was still lying against the wall. Even from a distance she could see that he wasn’t long for this world. Maybe she could… no. She wasn’t that horny. But she should at least see this through. She moved over to him.
Quirrell coughed and looked up at her as she approached. His eyes lingered on her bare breasts, but then she hadn’t really expected anything else. “Come to… finish me off?” he said weakly.
“Kill you, you mean?” She crouched down beside him. “I don’t need to. You are already dying.”
Another cough. “I know. My Lord has left me — after draining my body, even that unicorn blood he made me drink can’t save me now.”
She cocked her head, looking at him – really looking at him – for the first time. He wasn’t that bad-looking… well, he probably wouldn’t have been if he hadn’t been all pale and broken after a long time’s possession by a Dark wizard, and a brief beating by her. “How did you get involved with that wizard in the first place? I’m assuming you didn’t wake up one day and tell yourself ‘I think I’ll go off and get myself possessed by a Dark Wizard today’?”
He made a wheezing sound that was probably meant to be laughter. “Hell no. I was stupid. I’ve been stupid for a long time. I was stupid when I went in search of him… knew he wasn’t dead, but I thought if I could be the one to finish him off for good… keh…” Another cough. “Stupid. Even in his weakened state he overpowered me easily. And then I got even stupider. I let him talk me into joining him… partly because I knew he would kill me if I didn’t, but mostly because…ahk…” Cough. “Mostly because I actually believed his promises. Power. Prestige. Revenge.”
“Women?” she suggested.
“Heh… yeah….” He took a heaving breath. “It never really came up. But yes, I suppose I thought I would get women as well. You might not believe it, but… I was never very popular with the ladies.”
“I doubt there would be many ladies who would find it a turn-on to discover that you shared a body with a Dark wizard.” She paused and added: “Well, maybe a couple of them would be into it. But not many.”
Quirrell shook his head and then winced. “It didn’t start out like that. He didn’t start possessing me until after I failed to get the Philosopher’s Stone from Gringotts. He decided he needed to keep a closer eye on me. And yet… I didn’t see how stupid I was. I still believed he was going to reward me if I just did what he said.” Once again he laughed his wheezing laugh, but he was clearly getting weaker. “Ironic… that my eyes are opened… just as I’m dying, isn’t it?”
Lady Vidia thought for a second… and then smiled. “You don’t have to die, you know,” she said, “I can save you.”
“Eeeeh…?” He looked at her in astonishment. “You would… do that… for a unicorn killer?”
“I’m not saying it would be a reward. But it might be a chance to atone for your part in killing the unicorn. Oh, and for any other bad things you might have done,” she added as an afterthought. “Not everyone gets a second chance, you know.”
“A second chance…” Quirrell was silent for a long time. Just as she feared he was too far gone to speak anymore, he whispered: “I accept. Do it.”
“I will,” she said. “Just as soon as you’ve answered a few questions.” She leaned down and kissed him on the forehead. It was a simple spell, but Quirrell stopped wheezing and began breathing normally.
His eyes widened in surprise. “What did you do?” he said. “I feel… better. Did you heal me?”
“No, you’re still dying,” she said. “Restoring you wouldn’t be that quick or easy. I just removed your pain and lent you some extra strength so you could answer my questions properly. Once my curiosity has been sated, I will do as I promised and grant you that second chance.”
He took a deep breath. “What do you want to know?”
“First of all, I would like to know just how your former master instantly knew who I was. I’m fairly certain I did not introduce myself to him, but he called me by my common name. Even you knew I was of the Spring Court before I had so much as said anything. How did you know that?”
Quirrell paused for a bit. “Have you ever heard of the Sense-Borrowing Charm?”
“Wizard magic, I presume? No, I don’t believe I have.”
“It’s obscure,” said Quirrell, “and not very popular because it’s… not very convenient. It lets you, for as long as you keep up concentration, experience someone else’s senses. You see what they see, hear what they hear, feel what they feel.”
“Sounds like the ideal tool for a spy.”
“It would have been, but it has too many setbacks… the charm has a limited range, it’s ridiculously easy to detect, and once your concentration breaks the connection is lost. If you want an unwitting spy, there are so many ways that are easier…” Quirrell paused. “But say you have a dragon egg, close to hatching, but barely alive… and say you place the charm on the dragon inside that egg… or rather, the Dark Wizard who’s possessing you places the charm while you go down to the local inn where you know that a certain half-giant always comes on Saturdays…”
Lady Vidia frowned. “The luck dragon Jenny told me about. He was your spy?!”
“An unwitting and near-useless one,” said Quirrell. “The dragon’s natural magic did help mask the Charm so it was harder to detect, but… my Lord… my former Lord… had to keep up the concentration constantly. I had to take a leave of absence and stay in isolation so his concentration wouldn’t break. He was hoping that Hagrid would let slip a way to get past that three-headed dog… but of course for most of the time all Hagrid would say to the dragon was things like ‘Danny, where’s Daddy? Peek-a-boo!’ and similar inane things. And those flitlings, and the half-Fae…”
“My servants and daughter,” said Lady Vidia. “I would be careful with what I say about them if I were you.”
Quirrell swallowed hard, and then continued: “And as if that wasn’t enough, the damnable dragon’s magic got stronger every day. I don’t know if it was consciously fighting off the charm, but my former Lord had to work harder and harder to maintain the connection… but before it did break, we struck lucky. Potter and Weasley were visiting Hagrid, and they had a conversation that clarified a lot of things… we learned about the dog, about the Blacks, about you…”
“I see,” said Lady Vidia. “Well, I suppose it doesn’t matter in the long run. How did your master come by the egg of a luck dragon, though?”
“I don’t know… it was hidden up in the mountains… my Lord said he’d acquired it, but I didn’t think it was a good idea to ask him to elaborate. The Dark Lord seldom shares his secrets.”
“I see.” Lady Vidia repeated. She stroked her chin in thought. “Did he happen to share anything else?”
“No… well, there was one thing,” said Quirrell hesitatingly. “Or rather… one word. He kept thinking it… when he was possessing me, I could often feel his emotions, but he shielded his thoughts from me… I only caught one word from him. Probably because he thought that word so often.”
“Horcruxes?” Lady Vidia blinked. “What in the name of the Abyss are Horcruxes?”
“I don’t know… or rather, I know it’s something very Dark. The books I studied when preparing to be the Defence teacher mentioned them, but didn’t give any details… Whatever they are, though, they are very important to the Dark Lord.”
Lady Vidia sighed. Well, that was it. Now she would have to talk to Albus. “All right. If there’s nothing more, then I suppose we might as well get on with it.” She stroked Quirrell’s cheek. “Don’t worry, this won’t hurt a bit.”
She leaned down and kissed him again. On the mouth this time. His lips were cracked and dry, but as the magic poured from her and into him, they softened and moistened. He made a slight “mmm” of pleasure before growing silent. His body shifted and changed underneath her, then stiffened and went rigid as the kiss went on… and on….
When she finally broke the kiss, Quirrell was gone. In his place was a marble statue of a naked young satyr, with a blissful smile on his face, sculpted abs… and a rather prominent and very erect penis.
She straightened herself, breathing heavily. “I didn’t say your second chance would start straight away,” she told the statue. “I think first you’re going to be on display in my garden for a while…”
Satisfied, she glanced over the statue. It wasn’t too bad… not her best work, and she may have got a little carried away with that erection (that’s what she got for doing last-minute transformations when she was feeling all hot and bothered), but all in all it was pretty pleasing to the eye. She didn’t have that many satyr statues in her garden, so that was a plus as well.
Well. Better get moving. She raised herself, picked the heavy marble statue up with one hand, and flung it over her shoulder. She’d just make a quick stop at her garden and find a good place for the satyr before she went to see to Harry and Hermione.
She carried the statue back towards the Mirror of Erised… pausing only briefly to glance at her lace-up top, which was still lying on the floor. “Oh, never mind,” she muttered, leaving it behind as she stepped through the Mirror.