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SIYE Time:5:38 on 18th June 2018


Darkness Within II
By MollyandArthur

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Category: Pre-OotP, Post-OotP, Alternate Universe
Characters:Albus Dumbledore, Draco Malfoy, Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Minerva McGonagall, Neville Longbottom, Nymphadora Tonks, Other, Remus Lupin, Ron Weasley, Severus Snape, Sirius Black
Genres: Drama, Romance
Warnings: Dark Fiction, Death, Disturbing Imagery, Extreme Language, Intimate Sexual Situations, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Negative Alcohol Use, Sexual Situations, Violence/Physical Abuse
Rating: R
Reviews: 215
Summary: Sequel to Darkness Within. This story begins the night before Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts. Canon couples accurate to JKR. The romance between Harry and Ginny will develop slowly due to their ages. Please note rating and warnings.
Hitcount: Story Total: 25260; Chapter Total: 497
Awards: View Trophy Room




Author's Notes:
Tremendous thanks to everyone taking the time to read and review this story! Also, a gentle reminder about the rating and warnings of this story. Thank you to my beta, Arnel!




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Chapter 30

The Ones You Love

The puddings had just been served when Professor Dumbledore rose to his feet. Peering in the direction of each of the House Tables, he cleared his throat loudly. The Great Hall descended into silence. The rarity of the Headmaster speaking to the student body during an ordinary evening meal clearly indicated that an important message was about to be conveyed.

Harry’s arm went around Ginny as he smiled at her. She and Anna had been released from the hospital wing just the previous morning. While logically, he knew they should be safe in the castle, he had been trying to keep tabs on both girls. Ron, Neville, and Charlie had been hovering more than usual as well.

“Due to the supreme excellence of the Hogwarts rumor mill, I feel certain that by now most of you are aware of the incident that occurred this past Saturday in Hogsmeade,” Professor Dumbledore began. “For those who do not know, I must inform you that two students were abducted by Death Eaters outside a shop. This was, of course, a brazen attack occurring long before nightfall. Fortunately, the students returned to Hogwarts unharmed that same evening. Knowing that Voldemort’s followers are willing and able to act in such a bold way has greatly concerned the faculty and staff, as well as the Board of Governors. The safety of students is always of paramount concern and must override the privileges older students typically enjoy.” He paused as he allowed his message to sink in, his gaze wandering briefly over those assembled. “Therefore, l must inform you that until such time as the safety of students can be ensured, visits to Hogsmeade are hereby suspended.”

Angry muttering broke out at all the tables, though most of the Gryffindors sitting near Harry limited their reactions to sighs of resignation. Dumbledore calmly waited for the frustrated buzz to rise and then slowly die out before continuing. “On a happier note, I am very pleased to announce that we will be holding a Yule Ball on the last Saturday evening of the term. All third-year students and above are encouraged to attend.” Delighted squeals and excited chatter filled the Great Hall.

Professor Dumbledore chuckled, and his blue eyes twinkled. “I’m pleased to hear this much excitement. I must admit that I’m quite looking forward to it myself, having thoroughly enjoyed the last Yule Ball. We are still in the process of making arrangements for the evening, but rest assured we will have a fine dinner, a group of musicians to entertain us, and dancing until midnight. More specific details will be announced closer to the event by your Head of House.”

With a slight nod of his head, the Headmaster returned to his seat, immediately engaging Professor McGonagall in conversation.

“Well, I’m not going to bollox this up again,” Ron announced. His jaw was set even though his face was rapidly flushing. Turning to Hermione, he grabbed her hand tightly. “Will you be my date for the Yule Ball?”

She sat in stunned silence for several seconds, her eyes widening as her mouth fell open. “Umm…yes, Ronald.” She nodded and smiled. “Of course I’ll be your date for the ball.”

He exhaled loudly. “Alright then!” A goofy grin spread across his face as he released her hand and grabbed another piece of treacle tart.

xxxxx

Later that evening, Harry and Ginny made their way quietly to the Astronomy tower. He had remembered both the Invisibility Cloak and the Marauder’s Map.

“Sorry this isn’t the warmest option,” Harry said.

“Perhaps not, but I like it here,” Ginny replied. She sat in front of him on the conjured blanket and rested her back against his chest. His arms wrapped around her middle as he kissed the soft skin of her neck.

“I suppose I should ask since I don’t want to presume,” he said. “Will you accompany me to the Yule Ball?”

She laughed softly. “Of course I will, Harry.”

He tilted her head gently to lean against his shoulder and captured her lips in a tender caress.

“How are you feeling?”

“I’m okay,” Ginny assured him. “I don’t know how to explain it exactly, but facing him was almost…not cathartic really, but…” she sighed. “Part of me feels like I needed to see him as he is now. Voldemort isn’t the Tom I knew from the diary. He’s certainly as evil and horrible as he was -- maybe even more so.” She shrugged. “But he’s different and not just physically. I really don’t know how to describe it.”

Harry tightened his arms around her. “Tom won’t win. Somehow, we’ll defeat him, and he won’t be able to hurt anyone ever again.” He cleared his throat awkwardly. “Ginny, I know you said they didn’t hurt you, but–"

“Nothing happened to me, Harry,” Ginny said. “Rowle grabbed me and took me from Hogsmeade, but he didn’t hurt me at all. He held me, so I couldn’t escape, but that was it, truly.” She took his hand in her own and raised it to her lips, gently kissing each knuckle.

“And Tom?” he asked.

“Just a headache from the Legilimency,” she answered lightly.

He nodded, pressing his lips to her cheek, her temple, the soft skin below her ear. Unable to stop himself, he suddenly blurted out, “I still can’t believe that sick bastard showed you what he did to Anna’s grandmother. Why would he show you that? What kind of twisted fuck would show that to an eleven-year-old? I mean…” His eyes widened as he pulled her around in his arms so that he could see her face clearly. A sudden tightness gripped his chest. “Ginny, Tom became solid in the Chamber. He was able to pick up my wand. He had a physical form. He–"

“Stop!” Ginny ordered. She placed her hands on either side of his face, holding him securely as she stared into his eyes. “Nothing happened.” She enunciated each syllable with slow deliberation. “He said hateful things to me, but that was all.” She shook her head slowly. “I fully admit I don’t know what could have happened had you not arrived when you did, had you not destroyed the diary, but you came. You found me! He didn’t do anything.”

Harry exhaled raggedly as he pulled Ginny tightly to him. His heart was hammering painfully within his rib cage. He squeezed his eyes shut to block out the horrible images that flooded his mind. He forced himself to concentrate on this moment, on the feel of her in his arms. Her warm, steady breathing slowly regulated his own. “I didn’t have a clue at the time,” he whispered. “It never even dawned on me back then.”

“Shhh!” She stroked his cheek. “Let it go, love.”

He nodded, trying to let go of the guilt of not reaching Ginny sooner in the Chamber, of not seeking more information about her condition after their escape, of not securing her friendship when they were younger. Forcing his thoughts back to more recent events, he asked, “What about that spell Tom cast on Anna? Did she ever tell you what it was?”

Ginny grimaced slightly. “She didn’t actually tell me, but she told Charlie in front of me, and his reaction was rather…loud.”

“I won’t tell anyone,” Harry assured her. “What did Voldemort do?”

She chewed her lip for a moment. “It was my fault really. He was using Legilimency on me and saw enough of my thoughts to know that Malfoy hurt Anna. From what she told Charlie, Tom asked her about what happened, about what exactly Malfoy did to her, but she wouldn’t tell him and he….” Ginny’s cheeks were bright red. “The spell tests a witch’s…innocence.”

Harry frowned. “Innocence?”

“It shows whether the maidenhead is intact. It’s a virginity test,” Ginny blurted out. “I suspected at the time that’s what he did, but hoped I was wrong.” She shook her head, her eyes sliding out of focus. “It looked like the wand movement Madam Pomfrey did on me after the Chamber. I had woken up screaming in the hospital wing and I guess I must have said something that concerned her. She didn’t tell me what she was a doing, but the test is a bit of uncomfortable pressure, you know, down there.” She was staring down at their entwined hands resting on her thigh.

He shook his head slightly trying to ignore the heat suffusing his face. “Not to sound like an arse, but why would he care? I mean–”

“I don’t believe that he did care out of any concern for Anna,” Ginny admitted. “Tom wanted something, some piece of information, he could use to manipulate her. He wanted to garner a reaction from her, and he did.”

Harry rubbed his forehead. “I can certainly understand why Charlie’s reaction was rather loud.”

Ginny nodded, her gaze still downcast. “It’s hard to realize you can’t always be there to protect the ones you love.”

“Yes, it is.” He placed one hand lightly under her chin and tilted her head up. He stared into her warm brown eyes, where flecks of rich gold sparkled subtly in the moonlight.

She closed the distance between them and kissed him gently. Her lips were soft and tentative. He returned her light caresses with sweetness rather than heat. It wasn’t the time for heat, not when all his instincts were directing him to hold her, to protect her. They sat in silence for several minutes, arms wrapped securely around each other, exchanging tender kisses.

“We should probably head back to the common room soon,” Harry finally whispered.

“Five more minutes?” Ginny asked.

“Sounds perfect.”

xxxxx

“Hufflepuff’s cup!” Albus exclaimed, staring at the small, golden vessel on his desk. “How? Where did you find it?”

“A bit of good luck and some help from Bill and Fleur,” Sirius replied, gesturing to the curse-breaker as he settled into a chair beside Remus.

“Fleur found an old Ministry by-law concerning how the family members of convicted felons could request access to their Gringotts’ vaults as long as they had specific need or cause,” Bill explained. “It provided us with the legal precedent to petition Gringotts on Sirius’s behalf for entry into the Lestrange and Malfoy vaults.” He handed over a copy of the relevant legislation as well as the letter of authorization from the Gringotts Head Goblin. “Basically, it came down to the fact that Sirius is the Head of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.”

“It was past time for me to receive some benefit from being born into my miserable family,” Sirius scoffed.

Bill smirked. “The Heads of the Lestrange and Malfoy families are, of course, all wanted criminals. As a male cousin of both Bellatrix and Narcissa and a free man thanks to his acquittal a few months ago, Sirius was in a perfect position to gain access to the family vaults. He formally requested the right to examine the vaults and search for suspected stolen artifacts. Unfortunately, we did have to name Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem and the cup of Helga Hufflepuff as the objects we were looking for. However, the goblins will keep that information in confidence.”

Albus quickly scanned both documents before setting them upon his desk. “And you were allowed into the vaults today?”

“It all happened rather quickly and easily,” Remus replied. “Bill brought over the authorization letter to Grimmauld Place this morning. We went to Gringotts and were escorted first to the Malfoy family vault, then to the Lestrange family vault. Once we found the cup, we placed it into the dragonhide sack and came straight here.”

Albus removed his wand from his robes and carefully scanned the golden cup. “It definitely appears to be another Horcrux. We must destroy it immediately.”

Sirius nodded soberly. “I would rather not be the one to wield the sword this time.”

“Understandable,” Albus commented. “I fully admit wishing to avoid that honor as well.” His shriveled hand rested on the dark wood of his desk.

“I’ll do it,” Remus volunteered.

Their old professor nodded. “You know what to expect.”

“Um,” Bill paused, casting his gaze from man to man, noting their grim expressions. “What do you expect will happen?”

Sirius sighed. “The Horcrux will fight back when it realizes it is in danger. Harry never said exactly how the diary reacted, what the shade of Tom Riddle did, just before he stabbed it with the Basilisk fang. Before I destroyed Slytherin’s locket…” his voice trailed off as a pained look crossed his face.

Remus clapped his shoulder lightly. “Images of people saying things they would never have said appeared from the Horcrux. I imagine something similar occurred when you destroyed the ring, Albus.”

He nodded tiredly. “It did indeed. I encourage you to move quickly. Hesitation will only prolong your possible suffering.”

Remus cleared his throat as he stood and walked over to the wall where the sword of Godric Gryffindor was on display.

“Wands at the ready, gentlemen,” Albus commanded.

Bill and Sirius pulled out their wands while the professor set the cup on the stone floor of his office. Remus hefted the sword easily with one hand and raised it above the golden artifact. A piercing howl emanated from the vessel as blood began to seep from its depths and spill onto the stones. The crimson liquid ran in tiny rivulets directly towards Remus. His eyes widened, and his jaw set as he swung the heavy sword straight at the cup. The clang of metal hitting metal reverberated throughout the Headmaster’s office as the howl became a tortured scream.

Remus’s hands shook slightly. He staggered away from the broken cup as it finally fell silent. Blood continued to trickle onto the stones, though it quickly dwindled to a slow drip. He turned his back on the sight and carefully set the sword back in its place on the wall.

“Not so bad, considering.” His voice was steady though oddly hollow sounding.

“You did well, and we have now found and destroyed four Horcruxes.” Albus removed the blood from the stone floor with a few sweeps of his wand. “Perhaps you’d all like to join me in a drink. I think we could all use one -- strictly for medicinal purposes, of course.”

The other men nodded as they quietly sank into the chairs and accepted their drinks.

xxxxx

Her nails scraped restlessly into the bedsheet before fisting the thin fabric by her sides. A keening whimper escaped her lips as her hips rose and her lower back arched slightly off the bed. Every muscle of her taut form tensed in anticipation. The whimper became a prolonged sigh just as her body relaxed and softened beneath him, sinking back into the mattress. He glanced up in time to watch the tension leave her face and her eyelids flutter closed.

“I love watching you come undone.” Charlie kissed the soft pale skin of her inner thighs.

Anna’s response was inarticulate.

“Not quite capable of speech yet, love?” His tone was light and teasing, but his dark eyes were heated as they roved over her creamy skin. He slowly kissed his way up her body, taking his time as he traversed the smooth plane of her abdomen before becoming distracted by her soft, round breasts.

Her fingers tangled in his messy red hair, drawing him up towards her mouth. He nipped at her bottom lip before snogging her intensely. His desire for her had become an aching, throbbing need that was increasingly difficult to ignore. Pushing his tongue between her parted lips, he explored her welcoming mouth. They were both breathing heavily when he finally forced himself to end the kiss.

Anna smiled up at him. “I’m glad you enjoy watching me come undone since you are so very good at making it happen.”

“I aim to please,” Charlie smirked. He bent down to nip at her throat. “I do believe your neck has been slightly neglected this evening.”

She giggled. “Make love to me, Charlie.”

“Pretty sure what I just did qualifies,” he quipped.

Anna stroked the rough stubble on his cheek. “You know what I mean.” Her voice was softly alluring. Staring up into his eyes, she deliberately lifted her hips to press against the hardness in his trousers. “I know you want me as much as I want you.”

Charlie sighed. “I won’t even try to deny it, but we don’t need to rush, love.” His actions contradicted his words as he rubbed against her instinctively while stifling a groan.

“We aren’t rushing.” Her hands moved lightly over his shoulders. “We’ve been bonded, betrothed, and engaged for three months.” Glancing over at the clock, she added. “And, legally, I’ve been an adult for seven minutes. There’s no reason for us to delay.”

“Are you sure, Anna?” He swallowed. “I need you to be very sure.”

“I’m very…” she kissed his neck, “…completely…” she sucked at the tender skin below his ear, “…utterly…” she gently bit the top of his shoulder as she pushed his shirt out of the way, “…sure.”

The last whit of restraint evaporated from Charlie’s mind. He finished unbuttoning his shirt and yanked the garment from his torso before unceremoniously removing his trousers. Anna eased his boxer shorts down his legs with a seductively slow movement that had his heart pounding forcefully in his chest.

Pinning her body with his own, he towered above her on the bed. Braced on his forearms, Charlie stared intently into her warm eyes. “If I do anything you don’t like, tell me to stop immediately.” His tone was suddenly demanding. “Promise me.”

She nodded. “I promise.”

“Keep your hands on my back,” he ordered. At her raised eyebrow, he continued. “If you reach a level of ecstasy to claw something, I want your nails digging into me, not the damn sheets.”

Anna laughed softly before biting her lower lip. Charlie reached over to the side table and pulled a small glass jar from the top drawer. He opened the container and quickly scooped out some of the viscous contents, applying it liberally to his erection.

“No such thing as too much lubricant the first time,” he said quietly.

Her cheeks flushed as she reached for him. Charlie felt more in control now that the moment he had been eagerly awaiting was suddenly upon them. He kissed her lips gently before moving to those places on her neck that always made her moan with desire. Anna’s hands roamed up and down his back as she nuzzled his neck in turn and grazed her teeth along his ear lobe.

“I love you,” she whispered.

He caught her lips in a searing kiss. His mouth was hard and demanding, claiming her and overwhelming her. He desperately wanted to drive her back to the same level of wild arousal that had consumed her moments earlier. Bracing himself on one forearm, he guided himself to her entrance.

“I love you.”

He entered her slowly, sinking into her tight, wet, heat in one smooth motion. Raw pleasure coursed through him, igniting every nerve ending in his body. A strangled whimper as she turned her head to press her cheek into the pillow made him pause. Exhaling slowly, he forced himself to remain still, to allow her body time to adjust to him. He was just starting to formulate an alphabetical list of the dragons currently living at the Reserve in Romania when she shifted slightly beneath him. It was a tentative movement but encouraging enough that he began a slow rhythm.

Her soft hum of approval, combined with her instinctive efforts to meet his thrusts, drew an answering groan from deep in his throat. She was his -- finally, completely and decisively his. He felt not only a primal sense of possession but also an almost overwhelming need to protect her and to worship her in the only way he knew how. He kissed her with all the gentle reverence he could manage while stimulating the most sensitive places on her chest with light caresses.

She clung to him, her hands pressing him to her tightly as she moaned. He began moving faster and harder, gripping one of her thighs firmly and pulling her leg up at the knee to allow him a better angle. Her reaction was immediate. The stifled scream coincided with her nails digging sharply into his back.

“Fuck, love,” he ground out.

A few more deep, hard thrusts had her convulsing around him, pulling him over the precipice to his own release. He barely managed to refrain from collapsing onto her suddenly lax body. Her hands had fallen from their previous position and were now limp on the bed. Her eyes were closed as her breath came in shallow little sighs. Breathing deeply, he withdrew slowly and rolled off her to settle on the bed beside her. He tugged her gently towards him before allowing his own eyes to close -- submitting to the soporific effects of their lovemaking.

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