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Foundations of Stone and Magic
By elaithin

- Text Size +

Category: Reconstruction Challenge (2007-5)
Characters:None
Genres: Angst, Comedy, Drama, Fluff, General, Romance
Warnings: None
Story is Complete
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 8
Summary: Facing the possibility of the collapse of Hogwarts, Harry reclaims the Elder Wand in order to repair the damage - no matter the consequences. Will doing so allow him to find the direction he needs in his life?
Hitcount: Story Total: 4355



Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.



Author's Notes:
Thanks to FaithfulCynic and TopGun for their beta work. This was written for the Reconstruction Challenge, and along the way ended up becoming Ch. 8 of Harry Potter & the Veil of Shadows, since it set up/dealt with some things I wanted to so nicely. For the latter, it'll be expanded since there's no worries about word count or rating there, and some additional plot elements which were excised from this version. Also, a big nod to MyGinevra and her story The Hog's Head, for one of the names bandied about around mid-chapter. You'll know it when you see it - it was just too perfect to not at least mention.




ChapterPrinter


"Foundations of Stone and Magic"

"Wonder is the foundation of all philosophy, inquiry the progress, ignorance the end." - Michel de Montaigne

* * * * *

It had been just over two months since the Wizarding world was freed.

Harry Potter, aged seventeen (though he would be eighteen in less than a month's time), and did not generally think of it in those terms, however. He thought of it instead as two months since he himself had been freed. Freed from the bounds of prophecy, of the fate that he had thought would leave him a murderer, of the demon in human form that had haunted his life and infected him with a portion of his soul for seventeen long years. Free to live, since the other no longer survived. Free to simply be. To be what, he still did not know.

But most important to Harry's mind, and the one thing he was certain of (particularly as he considered the feel of the gorgeous girl in his arms), Harry was free to love. More specifically, he was free to love Ginny Weasley. With the feel of the smooth skin under the back of her shirt, the softness of her lips pressed against his, the press of the rest of her body against his - Harry considered himself completely and totally distracted from his woes about his future.

Which, to be fair, had been her entire plan today.

"Mmn," he muttered incoherently as Ginny pulled back away from their kiss. Their brooms lay side-by-side, stacked haphazardly against a nearby oak. The couple was in what had become "their" own private spot, here on the Burrow's grounds. It was a secluded copse of trees near the edge of the Weasley property, with an excellent view of the pond and the valley beyond the treeline. If one was to compare it to the new garden that decorated the roof of Number Twelve Grimmauld Place, one would find a remarkable similarity.

Harry had yet to enjoy the view beyond those trees. He was quite satisfied with the view he had in the more immediate vicinity.

Ginny flashed him a wicked grin before she stretched languidly on their blanket. The remains of their half-eaten picnic still sat in the basket, thoroughly abandoned. "What's the matter, Potter? Powers of speech haven't abandoned you, have they?"

"Completely," he grinned, and stretched his arms back behind his head as he settled back against the tree. Ginny shifted herself to sit sideways on his lap, and began absently running a finger across his chest. Her eyes, however, never left his, and he silently enjoyed the feel of her fingers dancing across his skin as his unbuttoned shirt hung loosely from his shoulders. "Keep that up and I might need a longer break from it all," he grinned, an expression which she happily returned.

"I think I could sit right here forever," she said contently after another long kiss and some time had passed.

"I wouldn't mind a bit," Harry replied with an equally content smile. He knew Ron would call him a sap - and probably a lot of other things - if he could see him right now. It'd make his friend a hypocrite, of course, Harry knew very well that Hermione and Ron had their own "spot." But Ron was down in Cornwall with Hermione and the Grangers, helping them settle back in and spending some time together, and therefore had very little to say about how he and Ginny spent their time.

Not that Ron's presence would have changed either Harry or Ginny's actions any.

Would that the rest of the world could be so considerate. Harry's smile quickly changed to a frown when a small silver Patronus in the shape of a tabby cat flashed into the clearing and interrupted their afternoon with the voice of Minerva McGonagall.

"Mr. Potter," it began. "I should like to make a request of you. Please return to the Burrow as soon as it is convenient so that I might have a moment of your time. I'll not keep you from Miss Weasley overlong."

Harry groaned and this time, it was not in a pleasant manner. "So much for getting away from it all."

* * * * *

When Harry and Ginny got back to the Burrow, they did indeed find Professor McGonagall chatting with Molly at the kitchen table, along with a man they didn't recognize. He had a rough-hewn look about him, Harry thought, rather like a Muggle construction worker. He was even in Muggle clothes - a flannel shirt with rolled-up sleeves, jeans, and heavy work boots. A wand was hanging from a holster on his hip, however, so he was certainly a wizard. His manner sparked a memory of Bill telling him weeks ago about the master builder that had been contracted by the Board of Governors to restore Hogwarts to its former glory in time for the Fall Term.

"Professor," he said in greeting, even as Ginny did the same. Molly gave both Harry and Ginny quick kisses on the cheek, and then excused herself to the den so that the foursome could speak privately. Though he felt reluctant, Harry would have to confess that his curiosity was beginning to grow.

"Mr. Potter, Miss Weasley," McGonagall acknowledged as they sat. "Allow me to introduce Mr. Robert Parker, a master builder from the States. He's been overseeing the reconstruction efforts at Hogwarts in our attempt to reopen for the fall term. I believe Bill may have spoken of him to you?"

"How do you do, sir," Harry said as he nodded at the Professor, and then extended his hand to the foreign wizard.

"I'm fine, kid," Parker replied, returning Harry's handshake with a quick firm one. His accent had a drawl that was decidedly American - somewhere from the southern half of the country, Harry reckoned. "Good to meet you. And make it Bob, please. I ain't so formal as all y'all 'round here are. From what ol' Minerva here tells me, I could damn sure use your help."

Ginny frowned. "Harry's help? But he's not a builder." Harry nodded in agreement, even if he had to fight down the instinctively masculine objection to his skills, he really couldn't see why this man could possibly need his help.

"Don't get me wrong," Harry started, "I've learned a lot, fixing up Grimmauld Place, but..."

"Minerva?" Parker asked, and was gratified to see the older woman nod. It looked as though he'd prefer the Headmistress to take the lead - likely because she knew Potter better.

"I shall explain, Mr. Potter," she said and Harry and Ginny both reflexively came more attentive as she adopted her 'lecturer's tone'. "Hogwarts, as you are aware, is one of the most magical locations in this country. There are enchantments on the grounds, and especially the castle, dating back a thousand years. Every Head of the school has added their own touches to the school's defenses, and at this point, that is actually hampering our efforts more than assisting them."

Harry frowned at this. "How so?"

"Voldemort was the first to bring down the wards at Hogwarts in a thousand years, Harry," McGonagall said, and Harry wondered if she even realized she'd switched to his first name. "Even Slytherin himself never managed that, and he helped cast them. When Voldemort did so, it has caused much of the castle's magic to go... haywire, for lack of a better term. Even simple spells now have unpredictable results. Mr. Parker, Filius and I are all capable of casting the necessary spells to correct the situation, but what we lack is the power. We need this to be permanently straightened out."

McGonagall's features tightened as she continued. "I am not Albus, Harry. He could have repaired this himself, I believe but there is one other wizard in Britain who compares to his strength," she said, looking directly at Harry. Then, with a second look, this time to Ginny, she amended her statement. "Though there is one other who comes very close."

Ginny and Harry shared a brief look between them - McGonagall's pointed looks had not been lost, and six years under her tutelage had taught them quite well how to read them. Harry fought to keep the utter shock in his features from expressing themselves totally. "Us?" Harry asked, nearly rhetorically. "Me?"

"Indeed," McGonagall replied, her tone becoming deathly serious as she continued. "Especially if you are to use the Elder Wand."

Harry drew in a sharp breath at that, and felt a cold, hard lump form in his stomach. "Professor, I'm sorry, but we - Bill, Ginny and me - we've sealed the wand back up in Dumbledore's tomb. Even we couldn't get it out without setting off the wards we built into it. And the effects... well, they wouldn't be pleasant."

"I daresay not," McGonagall chuckled, her expression softening a bit for the first time. "Professor O'Donnell and I were quite impressed when we examined them. We'll speak of that later, however. Harry, the Elder Wand possesses many special gifts of its own. It is a powerful magical artifact, not just an exceptional wand. If you were to summon it, it would come to you."

Harry blinked. "I'm sorry - what?"

"Hold out your hand, Harry," McGonagall instructed, and Harry did so by reflex. "Now think of the Elder Wand being in your hand. Will it to be so."

Harry closed his eyes and concentrated on his mental image of the Wand that he still thought of as Dumbledore's. He fought down the part of himself that wanted to decline, but McGonagall knew how he felt on the topic of the Elder Wand. If she was asking him to claim it, and use it now, then it was important. So Harry concentrated harder, and imagined the feel of the knobbed handle against his palm and -

He heard identical gasps of surprise from Ginny and Mr. Parker. Parker was the first to say speak. "Good God, Minnie, you said, but I didn't believe - "

Harry opened his eyes. There in his palm was the Elder Wand once more. He could feel its power in his hand, exactly as he felt with his own wand. If he concentrated on it, it was almost like it made his own magic... hum in recognition. He felt the sense of rightness and belonging even as Ollivander's words from so long ago echoed in his mind. The wand chooses the wizard.

McGonagall, however, exhibited no surprise whatsoever. "I need your help, Harry," she said softly. "If you don't provide it then I fear there may not be a Hogwarts to reopen. Not this fall and possibly... not ever."

Harry met her gaze with an even, steady one of his own. He felt Ginny's hand tighten around his own - she knew as well as he did that his decision was as good as made right then and there, whatever the consequences. "Then you've got it, Professor."

* * * * *

It was a shock, still, to see the castle like this. Yes, and Harry had returned for the memorial service, but...

Well, it hadn't really sunk in, then. And he'd hardly been paying attention to the castle itself, not when there were more important things to focus on.

He wasn't blind to the damage now. There were the remains of the Astronomy Tower, which had collapsed two days after the fighting. Gryffindor Tower had an enormous hole just below the roofline, in a spot that, Harry realized with a pang, was only just above the dorm room he'd stayed in for six years. Ravenclaw Tower looked considerably worse - even from here, he could make out some of the details of their ruined common room. The great fountain in the courtyard, where he was standing, was nothing more than rubble. Many of the piles of debris had been relocated - there was a great pile of stone sitting outside the castle walls, but the actual holes themselves had yet to be patched. They couldn't be, with the magic so unstable. And even house-elf magic had limits.

Harry's eyes continued to pass over the castle, surveying the damage. There, just outside of the Great Hall was a huge, gaping wound where a Giant had smashed his way in. There, farther up - the shattered corridor outside of the Room of Requirement where Fred had met his end. All of these, and so much more, Harry could see. So many small holes, so many nicks and scrapes and bruises.

But more than that - he could feel it. Harry didn't know how to describe it. It was as though Hogwarts were a living thing, and he could feel its pain. If he let his eyes lose focus, he could almost see the magic that was only barely holding the place together. Voldemort had done such damage...

"And he huffed, and he puffed and he..." Harry murmured under his breath.

Next to him, Ginny looked up at him with furrowed brow. "Harry?"

She obviously had her own mixed feelings about being back at Hogwarts. She still hadn't spoken to him in any detail of what she'd been through in the year he was away - no more than vague generalities. Though what he knew from Neville, he knew it had been bad. But he wouldn't push her on it. He knew he hated that, and could only assume that Ginny felt the same. She would speak of it in her own time, he knew. Or hoped.

He shook his head, bringing his thoughts back to the present. "Sorry, old Muggle fairy-tale. Just thinking about what Tom did to this place..." he gave another shake of his head.

McGonagall and Parker were standing beside him as well. Parker had been very closely watching the way that Harry looked over the devastated castle. He'd recognized that lack of focus as Harry's eyes glazed over from time to time, and then and there knew that Minerva had been completely correct. "You can see it, can't you son? The magic?"

"I can," Harry nodded, as he realized what it was. "Dumbledore - he could do this too, couldn't he? I saw him do it once, that night at the Cave."

McGonagall gave a brisk nod. "Yes, he could. I can as well, though Albus was much more gifted at it than I."

"I can see it too," Ginny whispered, tilting her head slightly to the side. Her voice had a slightly frustrated tone to it. "But only barely. If I look just so..."


"Why can I - we - do this now, Professor? Why not before?"

"A combination of many things, I suspect," she replied frankly. "You are of age now, Harry. Your powers matured on your seventeenth birthday - this is the reason that seventeen is the age of majority in the Wizarding world. I expect Miss Weasley will experience a similar growth in her abilities next month. You've come into your own in many ways, Harry. I also believe that the presence of Riddle's Horcrux inside of you all this time..."

"It was sapping me," Harry finished, instinctively knowing the answer. "It was drawing my magic into itself, to keep him alive. Like a parasite," he spat out.

"Precisely," she acknowledged. "And now, without that hindrance, I suspect you shall surprise yourself in a great many ways, Mr. Potter. Do you believe that you might be able to assist us?"

"If I can do it, then... " Harry started, and then took a deep breath as he made up his mind. Ginny squeezed his hand reassuringly - she thought he could do it, and that meant everything. Harry grinned. "Well then, let's get started, shall we?"

Parker shot him an equally wide grin. "Let's."

* * * * *

They had started with the state of the wards, and the magic of Hogwarts itself. Using his own abilities and the power of the Elder Wand, McGonagall had been able to teach Harry how to 'see' the magic properly, and in relatively short order. It was like entering a brand new world. Harry could see the connections, the lines of magic binding everything together. It was a heady - and humbling - experience. It was a shift in his senses, one he accomplished by paradoxically loosing and gaining focus at the same time.

When he looked at the castle this way, he didn't see ruined stone and proud masonry. Instead, he saw bright ribbons dancing as though alive across the castle. The delicate weave was broken, interrupted, intertwined with oily black and green ones - that was Voldemort's work, he knew. Their presence, their magic, was foreign. They felt wrong.

Night had fallen, and Harry was standing outside of the castle, in the same spot that he had surveyed the damage from earlier. The walls rose in front of him as he considered what he was going to do. McGonagall and Parker had explained it, after she'd coached him through learning how to use his new perceptions.

Harry breathed deeply, slowly letting go of his sense of self. The more he did so, the more aware he became, until he could feel Hogwarts itself. A rush shot through him as the connection was made, and Harry knew that, somehow, he was tapping into the ancient magics that surrounded the school. McGonagall hadn't warned him of that, though he suspected she knew. He'd have to ask her about it later.

He raised the Elder Wand in his right hand, and then he went to work.

It seemed remarkably easy from this perspective, as though this was all nothing more than an overly-complicated ball of knotted strings. His wand - he now recognized his ownership of the Elder Wand as such, though he suspected he would always prefer his holly one - drew upwards, drawing one of the inky black lines that symbolized one of Voldemort's spells into itself. Concentrating on that thread, Harry pulled - more with his magic than anything, but his hand still drew his wand sharply down. The spell came slithering free, until it had been tugged from the lattice of spells surrounding the castle completely.

One down.

Harry smiled, and continued his task.

Time passed, though Harry lost all sense of it. The remains of Voldemort's magic were slowly coiled up loosely in front of him, waiting to be dealt with. Though few could see it, to Harry's altered sight it was a great quivering black mass. Physics applied, after all. Even to magic in its own fashion. Energy could not be created nor destroyed, only manipulated. Therefore, Harry couldn't simply dismiss the magic - it would have to be transformed, used, put to something good.

Dawn broke as Harry worked through the night. This was delicate work, and extraordinarily exhausting. He'd feel it too, if he wasn't drawing on the magic of Hogwarts to sustain himself. It wasn't something Harry was consciously aware of doing, though he recognized he was working well past his own endurance. And even with that boost, he felt as though he could sleep for a week.

But he didn't stop.

He was vaguely conscious of Ginny approaching from the camp area she'd set up. She'd watched over him the whole night as he worked, he knew, drifting off to sleep only occasionally. She was coming closer now, as he removed the last of Voldemort's magical damage. He recognized it, somehow, as one of the oldest pieces of the Dark Lord's corrupting influence on the castle. Somehow he knew this spell - this was the curse that Voldemort had placed on the post of Defense Against the Dark Arts. He had to fight laughter that bubbled up at the realization that the rumor mill had gotten something right for once.

After a final tug, the curse joined the rest of the magic in the invisible (to most) pile.

And Ginny was getting just a little too close... "I wouldn't stand there if I were you," he noted, his eyes only cracked.

Ginny started slightly - she hadn't realized Harry had been aware of her. "Why?" she asked, though she did step back a bit.

"Just watch," he grinned, and focused his attention on the concentrated magics in front of him. It needed to be transformed... redirected somehow, and he had just the notion. Harry concentrated his will on all of Voldemort's dark magic, and as he watched with half-lidded eyes, the magic changed, becoming lighter in tone until it was a brilliant white. The darkness, purified from the magic, settled to the bottom of the pile and then just... dissolved away.

Harry opened his hand, his body stiffening as he drew all of that untapped power into himself as the evil intent was left behind. Focusing on his intentions, he then channeled it back out through the Elder Wand, back towards the castle, fixing the first view he had ever had of Hogwarts in his mind as he did so.

This explosion of power, everyone could see. McGonagall and Parker, he realized, hadn't left either. There were dozens outside now, despite the early hour. Harry noted Hagrid and Bill Weasley among them, but they all stepped back as stones began to hurtle from the accumulated pile of rubble that had been moved to outside the castle walls.

Gryffindor Tower was first, the stones filling in the holes just under its terraced roof. A flash, and the stonework was sealed. Ravenclaw Tower was next, as were the holes beside the Great Hall, and the Room of Requirement. Dozen of smaller wounds to the castle sealed themselves.

Finally, the rest of the power gathered up in the last spot Harry wanted repaired. (He would have left this particular space rubble if the power had run out first.) He concentrated, focusing all his attention, and all his memories, to where the Astronomy Tower had once stood. It rose anew from the rubble, completely reformed. Even the oldest of the holes in it - the one Albus Dumbledore had fallen from - had been sealed.

"There we go," Harry said weakly, the Elder Wand tumbling from his hand as he slumped towards the ground. Everyone else stared at the castle in shock. "All better."

Ginny caught him.

He was just conscious enough to realize that as he passed out.

* * * * *

He'd awakened shortly after noon, much to his chagrin, in the Hospital Wing. Madam Pomfrey had, as always, given him a stern lecture along with her pepper-up potion. All things considered, he considered himself rather lucky to be let off the hook with little more than a lecture about overtaxing his magic.

Harry had nodded and agreed at all the right points, left the hospital wing, and proceeded to ignore every instruction the mediwitch had given him.

Ginny's resulting lecture hadn't been nearly so forgiving or understanding.


As he'd suspected, his repairs had largely affected the interior of the castle, though Parker informed him that the entire structure was once again stable. Bill Weasley was even now making sense of what was left of the wards, and they planned later for Harry, Bill, and McGonagall to cast new ones together some time within the next day or so.

With Voldemort's magic gone from the grounds, Parker was also pleased to note that the contractors and the house-elves efforts were now proceeding normally - whatever Voldemort had done was no longer hampering the rebuilding efforts. Harry, therefore, was free to focus his attentions on the more unique sections of the castle that needed to be checked out.

"You know, son," Parker informed him as he, Ginny, and Professor McGonagall were returning from the repaired Room of Requirement, "It's tradition for a master builder to add a touch of their own to a big project like this. Something that only they know about."

Harry raised an eyebrow as he looked over to McGonagall, "Professor?" he asked, his eyes twinkling as an idea from a long-ago conversation seized his mind.

McGonagall nodded, though somewhat warily. "Mister Parker is correct, Harry. And as I am quite certain that I don't want to know what you have in mind, I will take my leave, and ask no questions."

"I don't know what you're talking about, Professor."

"I'm certain you don't. Good day, all."

Parker left with McGonagall, Harry was happy to note. Ginny, however, was looking at him oddly. "Harry," she asked, just as wary as McGonagall had been, "what are you plotting?"

Harry just grinned, and grabbed hold of her hand once more. "C'mon. You'll see."

He led her down to the third-floor corridor on the right hand side of the Master Staircase - the same corridor that lead to the room with a trap door, where Fluffy had guarded the entrance to the hiding place of the Philosopher's Stone. This whole corridor had been abandoned for much of his stay at Hogwarts. It was where some of the guest suites, an unused classroom or four, and a storage room that had various pieces of old, ugly, and unused statuary were located. He'd found the storage room back in fifth year, back when they were scouring the castle for a place to have their D.A. meetings.

He stood in front of what appeared to be a solid stone wall, trying to find just the right stone. He wished for a moment for the Marauder's Map... but it was on his desk back at Grimmauld Place. It would know. Finally, he found what looked to be the right one. "Yeah..." he muttered under his breath. "Yeah, this is the one..."

"Harry, how do you know that block does anything?" Ginny asked, genuinely curious now, a state which was pushing aside her annoyance.

Harry just tapped his wand six times on the spot, and the bricks began to pull back, just like the entrance to Diagon Alley. He turned back to Ginny, and flashed her that wide grin again. "Magic."

"I give up," Ginny muttered, throwing her hands up in the air. It had become a running joke between the pair all summer, and she knew better than to press further whenever he gave that flippant answer. "Tell me when you're good and ready, won't you?"

"Of course," he replied, and walked in. It was indeed the storage room that he remembered. The emptiness and the dust verified that even Filch didn't know about this place, and the house-elves never came here either, apparently. The hideous statues would make great raw materials. Harry didn't doubt that Dumbledore or some other Professor had long ago removed these hideous works of so-called art. And since Transfiguration was a lot better at staying permanent than Conjuring was... "Yeah..." he grinned as he considered the space. "Yeah, this'll do nicely."

Ginny just blew out a frustrated sigh, even if she was pleased to see Harry so clearly excited about whatever it was he was going to do.

Harry was still grinning as he planted his feet, and concentrated on drawing on the castle's magic once again. He wanted this place to become a permanent part of Hogwarts - and maybe it could accomplish a little bit of uniting the houses, like the Sorting Hat had always urged them to do. It was right after all, he realized, and he could only wish that he'd done more towards that end himself when it had mattered.

He began muttering incantations as he started transfiguring various pieces of statuary into what he had in mind. A particularly hideous statue of a Hippogriff became a long bar. He could tell the house-elves about this place later, they'd stock the bar appropriately. (Harry also had no doubts that some of the more enterprising students would figure out how to make their own additions to the bar's stock.)

A horrifically realistic wall hanging depicting the burning of several witches in a medieval setting (they were all laughing since they'd cast the flame-freezing charm, except for two on the end who were burning alive) was turned into a sleek mirror running the entire length of the bar. Other statues became billiards tables, tables where small groups could sit, and large booths along the wall with cushy, comfortable benches running around them.

At this point, Harry was running out of statues to transfigure, so he had to start conjuring. This is where he really had to draw on the power of the Elder Wand, to make these conjurings permanent. When he was satisfied he had enough power, he started creating bar stools, chairs, smaller tables (a few that would be perfect for Wizard's Chess), and a series of comfortable couches and chairs arranged in a circle in the middle of the room. Then he did his most complicated conjuring - a fully working 360 degree fireplace in the center of the room, right in the middle of the couches and chairs he'd summoned up. The chimney shot up to connect to the roof, and Harry felt it as it connected to the network of fireplaces that lined the entire castle.

Finally, Harry went to each of the room's four corners and, using a spell Hermione had come across when they were working on Grimmauld Place, created a doorway that led nowhere. Then he cast another spell on each door, tapping once again into the castle's magic that connected each door to one of the four common rooms - Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and even Slytherin. Afterwards, he placed a final spell on each doorway, which would only allow members of a specific house to pass through each doorway.

Ginny watched in shock as Harry went to work. Once again he didn't even seem aware of the passage of time, and so she settled onto one of the cushy couches he'd created. By the time he stopped, Harry had been casting spells non-stop for almost three hours. He was conjuring up a sign even now, hanging over the bar that he'd created.

And he was frowning, chewing absently on his thumb as he tapped his foot. He had his arms folded, and she went to him then, slipping an arm around his waist. "Having problems, luv?"

"I can't come up with a name," he started, and the paused. "Well, I've got one, but you won't like it."

"Oh?"

He waved his wand towards the sign, and the words 'Gins' Joint' carved themselves into the oak.

Ginny giggled and shook her head. "No, you're right; I don't like it at all. Maybe I can help - what were you thinking of when you came up with this idea?"

Harry ran a hand through his messy hair - he'd thought it would tame down, now that it hung down to his shoulders, but it hadn't. Instead it fell from his scalp in a way that Gin insisted was 'impossibly sexy.' "I was thinking - well, Hermione and I had talked about it once - the House common rooms are great, but there's nowhere inside the castle for people to get together with their friends from other Houses. And that's a shame, really, because it's the big flaw with the House system. I get why we have it, but it divides us too much. Maybe if we'd had something like this, something could have been done for some of the Slytherins... we wouldn't all be so isolated."

"Well there you go, then," Ginny replied. "There's your name."

"What?"

She just rolled her eyes, and pulled out her own wand. With one wave, 'Gin's Joint' disappeared. With a second, new letters etched themselves into the wood. 'The Common Room' carved itself into the wood - in, Harry had to note, a much nicer and more stylized script than his had been.

He grinned, "Brilliant."

* * * * *

Two days later, Harry was weighing the last task that he had to complete. He had no intention of doing all the work on the castle himself, and even Parker only wanted him around for the "heavy lifting". Harry rather thought the contractor was concerned about loosing his fee, but then, Harry had no real desire to stick around taking care of the tedious work himself, so it worked out.

And aside from that, if he didn't stop wearing himself out, Harry had a strong hunch that he would shortly finally find himself on the receiving end of a bat-bogey hex. It was a fate he had so far avoided, and he very much wished to keep it that way.


He was standing in the courtyard outside the main doors now, examining the ruined fountain that sat in the center. It had been hit with more than a few curses during the battle - including at least two reductor curses. He had forgotten to repair it when going after the rest of the castle's external damage. Trying to reassemble the piled pieces had resulted in a very... incomplete structure, so Harry was now considering designs for the new fountain.

It should be more than just that, he thought as inspiration seized him. There's something we haven't put around here yet... we need a memorial of some kind.

And then he had the perfect idea. He began muttering incantations as he pulled out the Elder Wand, performing a particularly tricky bit of spellwork that would allow him to slowly reshape the stone into its new shape. His wand moved back and forth like a conductor's baton, transfiguring the stone into clay that molded and reshaped itself, and then back into stone again. Then, without stopping the spells he was performing with his right hand, Harry pulled out his holly wand from his holster. He didn't know why, particularly, it was just something he did on instinct.

Even as the stone followed the directions of the Elder Wand and began to take on a new form, he started casting a second spell. This one converted the slate grey stones into a patterned blend of reflective hematite, jasper and tiger's eye, mixing strands to create a realistic, feathery pattern in the statue he was carving. He was reshaping with one hand, transforming with the other, and looked for all the world like a conductor leading a particularly complicated orchestra.

Ginny smiled at the quick intake of breath next to her as Parker watched Harry work in amazement. She held back a chuckle as the builder turned to address Professor McGonagall. "Hasn't anybody ever told this kid it's impossible to use two wands at once?" the man whispered.

"Apparently not," McGonagall replied with a proud smile. "Clearly with Mr. Potter, we should not attempt to tell him what is and is not possible."

Ginny let out a rather unladylike snort. "No disrespect Professor, but I've been telling you lot that for years."

"Indeed."


Harry didn't hear their conversation, which was probably for the better. After all, it was a lot easier to perform the impossible when you didn't know it to be so.

When he was done, a new fountain had taken shape. He'd had to pull some of the excess rock from the tops of the closest castle wall, but that would be easiest to replace. The fountain spread out in a large circle, with solid grey stone forming the base. A layer of black tiling spread across the rim, with each tile bearing a name of someone who had fallen in either the first or second wars against Voldemort. He grinned as he caught the name closest to him - 'Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, 1881-1997'. He could see, nearby, the names of his parents, Cedric, Fred, Sirius, Remus, Tonks, Moody, Colin, Cho... all too many names. All too many lives cut short.

Then and there, Harry made a promise to himself that he would spend the rest of his life making certain that no more lives had to be sacrificed to the Dark. Enough was enough.


At the bottom of the pool, spread out in large letters all the way around read the legend: "En Memoriam: Dedicated to all those who fought in the Wars against Voldemort. Burn brightly, little phoenixes, and be reborn."

"Aquamenti," Harry murmured, and a jet of water flew forth from his wand even as he slipped his old holly one back into its holster. The water quickly filed the fountain, and began to circulate itself from the jets at the base of the statue.



Finally, Harry considered the statue itself: It was a much-larger-than life replica of Fawkes, which, to be fair, was the only phoenix he'd ever seen. The hematite, jasper and tiger's eye had flowed themselves into veins which replicated the pattern of the phoenix's feathers, and the entire effect was rather striking.


With the sculpture complete, Harry had one last element to add. He pointed the Elder Wand toward the statue, and focused as much power as he could. This spell, he wanted to last for a long, long time.

"Eternus Curator," he yelled, casting the 'Eternal Guardian' spell. This inspiration came from the guardian gargoyle which had always watched over Dumbledore's office.

He heard McGonagall gasp behind him as the statue of Fawkes came to life and turned its head towards Harry. It was clearly waiting for something.

Wand still held aloft, Harry spoke the words that would complete the spell. "I charge you, Guardian, with keeping any ill intent away from the doors of this place of learning."

With those words, Harry released the spell. The phoenix state gave him a nod, and then settled back into its original pose, wings spread aloft as though it were about to take flight.

"Whew," Harry finally said, letting out a deep breath, and gratefully putting an arm - and most of his weight - onto Ginny's shoulders as she came to his side.

"I'll say," she muttered. "Think you've done enough now?" Her tone suggested that he would do well to agree, and thankfully, he did.

"Yeah, I'm good," he muttered back, smiling weakly. He'd done some pretty incredible magic these last few days - maybe Pomfrey had a point after all. Turning, he addressed the builder who he'd gotten to a first-name basis with these last few days. "Hey Bob; think you can handle the rest?"

Parker chuckled. "Yeah, kid, I think I can. And even if I didn't, I ain't fool enough to argue with your lady-friend there."

"Smart man," Harry muttered, to Ginny's satisfaction.
"Indeed," McGonagall noted. "Thank you for your assistance, Harry. Hogwarts owes you a debt of gratitude - or rather, even more of one, I should say."

Ginny held back a smirk as Harry tried not to blush. "Thanks Professor," he mumbled, and allowed Ginny to lead him towards the Floo that would take them back to Grimmauld Place.

* * * * *

Later that night, Harry sat at his kitchen table with Ginny as Kreacher cleared the dishes from dinner away. The room was silent otherwise as Harry contemplated the Elder Wand laying in front of him. Closing his eyes, he concentrated once more, and tried to send it back to Dumbledore's Tomb.

Once again, he failed.

The flash of the floo behind him didn't even register as he considered the implications. He didn't hear Ron and Hermione approach, until the latter let loose a small gasp. "Harry is that... "

"Yeah," he replied tonelessly. He hadn't expected this. He'd thought he could just send it back, just let the wand rest in peace with Dumbledore...

He looked up to see that Ron was frowning. "Mate, I thought you put that back in... "

"I did," Harry replied with a sigh, and then proceeded to explain to his two best friends just what he'd spent the last few days doing, and why. Ron had his eyebrows raised in appreciation, and let out a low whistle when Harry described using both the Elder and holly wands simultaneously. Hermione remained uncharacteristically silent, waiting until he finished his recitation. Ginny added things in from time to time - details he neglected to mention, or hadn't considered how they looked from the outside. (Harry strongly suspected he was in for a lecture from Hermione, too, about overtaxing his magic.)

"... and now it won't go back," he finished.

There was silence for a moment. They all understood why Harry felt as he did. The Elder Wand had a particularly violent history, one that Harry had wanted very much to put to an end. Using Dumbledore's wand just seemed wrong, no matter how right it felt when it was in his hands. "It was easy to put it away the first time," he noted, giving a slight shake of his head.

"It looked easy the first time," Hermione corrected, breaking her silence. "But it doesn't want to return, Harry," she explained softly. "You could get rid of it before, because you hadn't really used it. The wand recognized your intent when you repaired your old wand with it, but you changed that when you tapped into its power to repair Hogwarts. You've accepted it now, just as it had accepted you. It won't go back now," she finished softly.

Harry's eyes darted up to meet hers. "I thought you didn't buy into all of Ollivander's "nonsense" about wands," he noted, fighting the smile that was coming to his lips.

"Well," Hermione started uncomfortably, and then blew out a breath of frustration. "Oh, fine. Well, after using Bellatrix's wand, I thought there might be something to it. So I talked some more to Mr. Ollivander, and borrowed some books from him, and I have to say he's right. There is a magical nature to wands, as much as I hate having been wrong. What he told you was right - the wand does choose the wizard, and you've been chosen by two. There has to be a reason for that."

"So much for being normal," Harry muttered darkly.

"Harry," Ginny said softly, drawing his attention to her by placing her hands over his. "I know you don't like it... but you're not normal. None of us are, not after all we've been through. And honestly, there's not really such a thing in the first place. You are what you are, and this is just another part of that. And I'm relieved that you'll have that wand, honestly."

"Relieved?"

"It's just a tool, Harry. It's not evil on its own, even if it's been used for that. Dumbledore proves that - he used it for fifty years, and it didn't make him evil. It can be used for good, too. And if it's going to be used, then there are no one's hands I'd rather it was in than yours. And this way I know you've got the best protection possible. So to my mind, it's not a bad thing at all." Harry knew then, that Ginny understood the implications of the silent promise he had made. She understood that his life would take him into conflict with the Dark again.

It was just who Harry was, and she understood that - better, probably, than he did.

Harry considered her words carefully, and then closed his palm around the Elder Wand once more. "I can live with that."

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