Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Harry Potter and the Children of the Night" - Part Three

In celebration of the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, I’m debuting a brand-new Harry Potter story throughout this week, one that pits our favorite Hogwarts characters against the creatures of Twilight.  Presented in four parts, one chapter will go up every day, Monday thru Thursday.  Read part one by clicking here, and part two here.

Today, we continue with Chapter Three, in which Harry, Ron, and Hermione get help from some old friends while battling a group of wolves, and Hermione has a poignant chat with Bella Swan.  Read Harry Potter and the Children of the Night – Part Three after the jump…

Harry Potter and the Children of the Night
By Jonathan R. Lack
Based on Characters Created by J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer

Chapter Three:
Hermione’s Discovery

            That night, Hermione fished a tent out of her small beaded handbag, which had been made bottomless thanks to her Undetectable Extension Charm.  The tent, like the bag, was far roomier on the inside than it appeared from the outside, though this was a familiar trick to Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
            “I haven’t had to stay in one of these tents since we were searching for the Horcruxes,” Ron said with a shiver of unpleasant nostalgia.  “It felt like we spent an eternity in this tent.”
            “Yeah,” nodded Harry.  “I think we can all agree that went on way too long.”
            That night was restless for each of them; Harry knew they were safe in the tent, thanks to the large array of protective enchantments Hermione had cast around the perimeter, but he couldn’t stop thinking about the vampires they would have to face in the morning…no, not vampires.  That was the disturbing part.  He had learned enough about vampires and how to kill them in the last 24 hours to know that whatever the pale creatures they had met were, they were certainly not the mythical beasts of legend.  And that meant that they were back at square one, with no idea how to kill their foes.  Garlic, wooden stakes, crosses, holy water, even sunlight…all of it was out of the question.  Even spells would be ineffective, such were the creatures’ speed; unless Harry, Ron, or Hermione caught them off guard, the creatures were fast enough to dodge most spells.  Harry knew they would have to get creative, and if it came down to a fight, he bet it would all depend on raw strength – whichever side had greater power would win. 
            That was exactly why Harry had sent Pigwidgeon off with letters to Hagrid and Neville.  They would be invaluable in this fight.
            Harry, Ron, and Hermione stayed up very late discussing what to do in the morning, and once they finally fell asleep, there were only a few hours left until sunrise.  Harry was woken at the crack of dawn on Tuesday morning by a strange, quiet hum emanating close by.  Groggy, he got to his feet and tried to find the source of the noise; though the sun was beginning to rise, it was still dark in the tent, save for one dim light near Hermione.  He approached the light, and found that it came from Hermione’s wand, which was glowing a soft blue and creating the hum that had woken him. 
            Harry shook Hermione awake.  “Hermione,” he whispered as she came around.  “Your wand.”
            She looked at it, and then sat up straight with a start, a look of surprise on her face.  “It’s an alarm,” she said, taking the wand.  “Wake Ron up, and get your wand – there’s someone outside.”
            “Damn,” Harry muttered as he woke Ron.  “We’ve got company, Ron.”
            Wands at the ready, they walked outside to see Jacob, the shirtless man from the day before, standing at the perimeter on the edge of the clearing, still missing his shirt.  He was trying to get in, but every time he did, he was blocked by an invisible force. 
            Ron stepped on a branch, making a loud cracking noise.  Jacob looked straight at them in alarm, though Hermione’s defenses meant he couldn’t see them.
            “I know you’re there!” he yelled.  “Your scent hasn’t changed!”
            “Scent?” Ron mouthed to Harry, who shrugged. 
            “I’m not here to kill you,” Jacob continued.  “And I promise you I’m alone.  Edward wants a truce, and I’m here to negotiate with you.  I’m not a vampire, as you can tell.  I can’t hurt you.”
            “Let him see us, Hermione,” said Harry, stepping forward.  Jacob’s eyes widened at the sound. 
            Hermione waved her wand, and the invisible barrier surrounding them shook; Hermione had kept the barrier itself standing, but removed the force that kept them hidden. 
            “Ah, there you are,” said Jacob.
            “First, I want to correct something you just said,” began Harry.  “Not being a vampire doesn’t make you special – none of your lot are vampires.  I just want to make that perfectly clear.  Please go back to Edward and tell him to come up with another name, because it’s starting to get confusing.  Second, we’re only here to stop the killings – if Edward can somehow guarantee me that his family will go back to eating only animals, then we might be able to work something out.”
            “Good,” Jacob grinned.  “Then let me in and we can talk through this.”  He tried passing through the barrier again, but to no avail.
            “Stop trying,” Hermione said wryly.  “Humans can’t pass through that barrier.”
            Jacob considered this for a moment, as a menacing smile grew on his face.  “No humans, huh?  Fine.  I guess we’ll do this the hard way.”
            From behind Jacob, six enormous wolves emerged from the trees, snarling and staring fiercely at the trio.  They came to a stop behind Jacob. 
            “We’re going to kill them all,” Jacob said simply, and right before their very eyes, Jacob transformers into a wolf, larger and fiercer than the others.
            Harry looked at the wolves in horror, his mouth agape.  He turned to Hermione; she was similarly terrified. 
            “So what are you then, an animagus?” Ron asked incredulously.  “How can fake-vampires be hanging around with animagi?  This is ridiculous!”
            “Hermione, could an animagus get through the barrier in animal form?” asked Harry as the wolves started to advance.
            “No, of course not,” Hermione replied.  “But if they’re not animagi…..”
            “Well if they aren’t, then they’re ripping off us wizards,” said Ron angrily.
            Jacob the wolf approached the barrier, hesitated, and then walked right on through without any trouble.
            “Nope, they’re not animagi,” Hermione said, panicking. 
            The rest of the wolves followed Jacob, and bounded straight towards Harry, Ron, and Hermione, snarling and barking as they rushed forward.
            “Oh, you plagiarizing sods,” fumed Ron.
            “Into the tent!” Harry yelled as the wolves drew nearer.  “I have an idea!”
            Ron and Hermione followed Harry as he rushed into the tent.  The seven wolves followed, and the trio could barely stay away – these wolves were much faster then them.  As Harry neared the back of the tent, he pointed his wand at the wall and shouted “Diffindo!”  A large split was torn in the tent’s fabric, and he leapt through it, followed by Ron and Hermione.
            Harry stopped, spun around, and shouted “destroy the tent!  CONFRINGO!”
            “DEPRIMO!” bellowed Hermione.
            “DEFODIO!” cried Ron.
            The tent exploded in a burst of flames and debris, shooting fire and rubble high into the sky.  Harry’s spell had blasted the tent and everything inside it to smithereens, while Hermione’s curse blasted a hole in the ground that tore away any pieces of the tent Harry missed; Ron’s contribution widened and deepened that hole until it was six feet deep.  All the debris, including the wolves, sunk into the chasm, and as the smoke cleared, Harry walked in closer to survey the damage.
            “Could those wolves be any more derivative?” asked an exasperated Ron.  “What’s Jacob playing at, copying hard-working wizards like that?”  Inside the pit, Harry could see the bodies of the seven wolves – they were charred and bloody, and they looked still.
            “Ron, I don’t think this is the time to complain,” Hermione said through deep breaths.  Harry saw one of the wolves twitch; it couldn’t be alive, he thought…just a post-mortem reaction.
            “I’m sorry,” Ron calmed down.  “It’s just the blatant unoriginality is really insulting.”  Another wolf twitched.  Then another.  And one more.  Harry’s eyes widened.
            “Guys, you may want to move back,” Harry cautioned.  He couldn’t believe what he was seeing.  Below, in the burning chasm they had created, the wolves were stirring.  Before Harry’s very eyes, their wounds were healing, missing patches of fur rapidly grew back, and their eyes opened, an enraged intensity burning inside each pupil.
            The wolves were regenerating. 
            Harry turned around slowly; Ron and Hermione looked frightened, and gave him a quizzical look, asking the question they dared not to ask.  Harry nodded.  “Run,” he said simply, and they all bolted into the forest as fast as they could.  Behind them, the wolves had returned to full health.  Jacob leaped ten feet into the air with ease, landing with a resounding thud on the ground outside the chasm.  The other wolves followed; sniffing the air, he located his prey’s scent, and gave chase.
            As he ran, Harry could hear the wolves calling far behind him.  Their cries grew louder as the wolves bounded closer.  Harry looked over his shoulder, and saw all seven wolves rushing towards them at speeds far fast then he, Ron, or Hermione could hope to manage.
            “Sectumsempra!” he shouted, and a blast from his wand tore deep incisions all over Jacob’s body.  Jacob was caught off guard and, howling in pain, fell to the ground; Harry knew he would heal, but it would at least buy them some time.
            Ron and Hermione followed his lead, casting every spell they could think of back at the wolves.  Every time they knocked one down, another got back up, and while this pattern kept the wolves from reaching the trio, it only delayed the inevitable – the wolves would reach them eventually. 
            They suddenly burst through the trees, and found themselves standing in a vast, open field.  Here, there would be nowhere to hide, and with no trees or foliage to slow down the wolves, they would surely be caught in moments. 
            “Stop,” said Harry through gritted teeth.  “We can’t keep running.”
            Ron and Hermione moved close to him, and stood with their backs to each other, revolving in a circle to stay protected.  The wolves found them quickly, and encircled the trio on all sides, waiting for the wizards to make their move. 
            Finally, Ron broke the standoff.  “Eat slugs!” he shouted, and waved his wand at Jacob, who immediately began vomiting large, slimy slugs onto the ground.  The other wolfs howled maniacally in something that sounded eerily like laughter. 
            “What did you think that would accomplish, Ronald,” spat Hermione angrily.
            “If he’s going to kill us, I’m going to make him suffer!” Ron replied.
            To stop the vomiting, Jacob transformed back into a human, the change in his structure nullifying Ron’s curse.  “You’ve put up quite a fight,” Jacob grinned.  “But we’ve got you now.”
            “We surrender,” said Harry.  “Take us to Edward.”
            “We’re not taking prisoners,” Jacob laughed.  “Edward only wants your corpses.  Embry” - Jacob motioned to one his wolves – “kill him now.”
            The wolf snarled and leapt into the air, tackling Harry with incredible force. 
            “Harry, NO!” shouted Hermione.     
            The wolf opened its jaw and dove in towards Harry’s head.  Harry gripped his wand tightly and, summoning every bit of energy he had, thrust it into the wolf’s belly, bellowing the first spell that came to mind.  “FLIPENDO!”
            Embry was thrown hundreds of feet into the air by the spell; suddenly, there was a cry from high in the sky, reminiscent of a hawk or an Eagle.  Harry, Ron, and Hermione tore their eyes away from the wolf to see Buckbeak the Hippogriff soaring through the air.  Buckbeak intercepted Embry as he started to fall back to Earth and, clutching the wolf in his claws, flew into the clouds, out of sight.  Moments later, Buckbeak let go, and Embry fell thousands of feet to the ground, landing with a bone-crunching thud.  He wouldn’t recover from those injuries.
            “Buckbeak!” Hermione shouted, tears swelling in her eyes.  Along with Buckbeak flew two other figures that they couldn’t quite make out. 
            “HOLD ON HARRY, I’M COMIN’!” bellowed a familiar voice from above.
            “Hagrid!” Harry cried happily.  Indeed, as the figures came into view, they could clearly see Hagrid riding through the sky on a brand new flying motorbike; behind him soared Neville Longbottom, riding a Thestral and holding the sword of Godric Gryffindor aloft triumphantly. 
            Jacob began to panic.  “What are you waiting for!” he cried to his wolves, who had all turned to stare at the action in the sky.  “Kill them now!”
            The wolves turned and leaped towards Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and Jacob transformed once again.  Buckbeak dived towards the ground with amazing speed, bowling over three wolves and saving Hermione just in the nick of time.  Hagrid and Neville were coming in close as well.
            “Get yer paws away from them!” Hagrid roared, and as he descended, aimed his bright pink umbrella at the wolf approaching Harry.  Brilliantly fierce flames burst from the end of Hagrid’s umbrella, engulfing the wolf in a ball of blinding hot fire.  Neville’s Thestral, meanwhile, took him in low to the ground.  As a wolf pounced on Ron, Neville jumped from the Thestral’s back and impaled the beast with his sword as he landed.
            All the wolves, save Jacob, were incapacitated; Jacob himself was so stunned that he could barely move, and merely snarled menacingly.
            “Good morning, Professor,” Ron said to Neville, pulling him into a tight hug as Neville removed his sword from the wolf’s back. 
            “How’s it going, Ron?” grinned Neville.
            “Oh, alright.  Glad you could join us.”
            “Hagrid!” Harry exclaimed as the half-giant pulled him into a rib-crushing hug. 
            “How can yer all get yerselves inter this kind of trouble?!” Hagrid asked disapprovingly after he had similarly hugged Hermione, who was blue in the face. 
            “In our defense, Hagrid, we didn’t know there would be wolves,” Hermione explained. 
            “Well, they’re taken care of now,” said Neville cheerfully.
            “No Neville,” Harry corrected.  “They can regenerate.”
            Sure enough, the wolves Buckbeak had bowled over were getting back to their feet, and the wolf Neville had impaled began to heal itself.  The only wolf they were sure had perished was Embry – Buckbeak had taken care of him quite effectively. 
            One wolf, however, was still engulfed in fire.  Hagrid pointed to it.  “Well, that one won’t be gettin’ back up, I can tell yer that,” said Hagrid triumphantly.  “That fire will burn him ter ashes.”  He waved his umbrella, and the flames dissipated – just as he had said, there was nothing left of the wolf but a pile of soot on the ground. 
            “Trouble is, I don’t know how ter do it again,” Hagrid said, shaking his umbrella.  “If only I had a real wand…”
            “Hagrid, I think we’ve got bigger troubles than that,” Harry corrected.  The wolves were all regrouping – only five of them now – with Jacob heading to the front of the pack. 
            “We can take them,” said Neville assuredly.  He raised his sword and prepared for battle.  Harry, Ron, and Hermione put their wands at the ready, and Hagrid began twirling his pink umbrella.  Buckbeak and the Thestral circled the air above, waiting to strike.
            Jacob howled a fierce battle cry, and the wolves charged.  Jacob jumped many feet into the air and soared down towards Neville, intent on ripping him apart.  Neville, however, was ready – this wolf shouldn’t have underestimated the power of Gryffindor’s sword.  As Jacob neared, Neville took aim, and thrust the sword through Jacob’s chest, penetrating the wolf’s heart with startling accuracy.  Jacob fell to the ground, blood spewing everywhere, and Neville drove the sword in further.  This was a wound that Jacob could not heal. 
            Jacob’s demise didn’t stop the other wolves; they continued to charge, but with their leader gone, they were unfocused.  The battle quickly became one-sided; Harry and Ron would send every destructive spell they could think of at the wolves, and once the wolves were down, Neville would swoop in with his sword to wound them further or, if his aim were true, finish them off for good.  Hagrid ran through the battle twirling his umbrella wildly, firing a wide assortment of spells that were only occasionally effective, but distracted the wolves long enough for Buckbeak and the Thestral to swoop in and match claws with the beasts. 
            Hermione, meanwhile, had seen something terrifying on the edge of the forest: Bella Swan, her eyes as dead and vacant as ever, her face sparkling in the sunlight.  Bella was surveying the battle with a look Hermione could not comprehend – was it fear?  Revulsion?  Grief for her fallen friends?  Bella’s disturbed visage betrayed no meaning, and Hermione felt compelled to investigate.  Without anyone noticing, Hermione left the battle and, keeping her wand at the ready, approached Bella.
            As Hermione neared, she aimed her wand at Bella’s throat.  “Bella,” she said gently.  “What are you doing here?  Did you bring the others?”
            “No, I’m alone,” Bella mumbled soullessly.  “I just wanted to see the battle.”
            Hermione was confused; how could Bella be so incredibly reckless – how could she want to be so reckless?  “Bella, it’s dangerous out here,” said Hermione.  “Why would you risk walking into the middle of a deadly battle?”
            “Why?” Bella mumbled with an inflection resembling confusion.  “Why not?  Danger is fun – the closer I get to death, the more Edward notices me.  It feels great.”
            Hermione shivered, her eyes widening in appalled bewilderment.  Bella was the most seriously disturbed person Hermione had ever encountered; Hermione should have cursed Bella right away and been done with it, but she had to know more, had to understand this deranged enigma better.
“Bella, couldn’t you attract your boyfriend some other way?” Hermione prompted.  “This can’t be the best solution.”
“He’s not my boyfriend,” mumbled Bella forcefully.  “He’s my husband, and we’re together because I was reckless.  Because he noticed me when I was in trouble.  If I couldn’t have him, I’d hurt myself, put myself in danger, and now that he’s mine…well, I’ve got to remind him of that every once in a while.” 
“That’s horrible!” Hermione exclaimed.  “Bella, you’re allowed to have a life outside of your lover!  You don’t need to let him define every action you take – what kind of horrible existence must that be?”
            “Horrible existence?” Bella mumbled indignantly.  “It isn’t horrible…if he didn't define me, how would I define myself?”
            Hermione was flabbergasted.  “Don’t you have any hobbies?  Any dreams?  Any aspirations?!”  
            “Of course!  To be with Edward!” mumbled Bella passionately.
            “But you’re already with Edward!” Hermione shouted impatiently.  Then it hit her – the source of Bella’s problems.  “Wait...that’s it…”
            Bella nodded.  “I fulfilled my only dream years ago now, and since we’re both immortal, I get to enjoy Edward for eternity,” she mumbled.
            Hermione knew where Bella was going with this.  “Eternity is an awfully long time to go without any direction in life,” Hermione said gently.
            “I have a direction – into his arms,” Bella mumbled defensively.  Hermione rolled her eyes.  “But…eternity is a long time.  I realized, a year or so ago, that I couldn’t spend every waking moment of eternity thinking of nothing but Edward.  So I started getting reckless again, seeing if I could rekindle the fire.”
            “Like walking unarmed into a battle between wolves and wizards?” said Hermione.
            “It is pretty exciting,” Bella mumbled with what may, at one point in time, have been a faint imitation of a smile; now it just looked a dead facial twitch.  “But with my only dream fulfilled, I did have to find something new…something I could include Edward in, something fun and destructive and new…and exciting…” she trailed off.
            “Oh my…” Hermione muttered.  “It was you, wasn’t it?  You were the one who started killing humans again.”
            The look on Bella’s face would have been menacing were it not for the constantly apathetic gaze in her eyes.  “Exactly.  And Edward joined in; after all, he’d committed to me for eternity too – he was just as bored as I was.  Jasper was so excited about it, and then Alice joined in…Carlisle was the last to come around.  And for a little while there, we had us some fun.” 
            She stared squarely at Hermione.  “Until you showed up.”  Somehow, her eyes still didn’t quite meet Hermione’s.
            “I pity you Bella,” Hermione said sincerely, and lowered her wand.  She had never met anyone with such a horribly pathetic existence.  “I really do.  I wish there was something I could do to help you.” 
            “I don’t need help,” Bella mumbled.  “My life’s perfect.”
            Hermione gave up.  This woman was poison; she would never come around.  “Goodbye, Bella,” Hermione said, and began to walk away, to rejoin her friends as the battle wound down. 
            Bella snarled apathetically, and grabbed Hermione by the arm.  Hermione spun around; Bella had her fangs bared, and sunk them into Hermione’s flesh.  Hermione screamed in pain – what could she do?  Every idea they’d had for killing vampires turned out to be a dead end, and she had to act fast.
            Suddenly, she remembered something George had told them back at the shop.  “…and you may want to practice the Incendio spell for fire.”
            Of course.  Fire.  Why hadn’t she thought of it before?
            “Incendio!” Hermione bellowed, and flames engulfed Bella’s torso.  Bella let out a shriek of pain and released Hermione, backing away.  Then, as quickly as the flames appeared, Bella’s body shook them off, and her skin healed as though nothing had ever happened.
            But the fire had undoubtedly hurt her.
            Hermione knew what to do – the skin of these creatures protected them from any harm, but if Hermione could get under the skin, then the fire might do some real damage.  If this didn’t work, nothing would. 
            “Diffindo!” Hermione yelled.  A large, deep slash appeared around Bella’s shoulder, disabling her arm.  Hermione aimed for the cut – “Incendio!”  The fire entered the wound and ate at Bella’s arm from the inside, the flames disintegrating her flesh as they travelled.  Within seconds, Bella’s arm had crumbled away to ash. 
            For once, Bella wore a recognizable expression on her face: fear.  Hermione had found a way to kill her, and there was no going back.  “Sectumsempra.”  Slashes appeared all over Bella’s body.
            “I’m sorry Bella, I really am,” said Hermione.  “But your eternity has come to an end.”
            Bella braced herself.
            “Incendio.”
            The network of cuts gave the fire a perfect delivery system.  Bella was engulfed in flames, and once they had dissipated, all that was left was a pile of ashes. 
            Bella Swan was dead.

********************

            On a nearby hill, Edward Cullen arrived just in time to see his wife crumble to ashes.  He fell to his knees, grief-stricken, tears pouring down his sparkling face.  If only he had arrive a few moments sooner.            
            Edward had realized a few minutes ago that Bella was missing, and tracked her scent to this spot, using his incredible speed to arrive as quickly as possible.  Emmett, Jasper, and Alice had come with him – the others were caring for Carlisle back at the house. 
            “I’m so sorry, Edward,” moaned Alice through tears.
            Jasper put a hand on Edward’s shoulder, while Emmett growled.  “What should we do?”
            Below, the battle with the wolves was winding down – Jacob and his pack had failed to kill a single target.  Instead, all the wolves lay dead or dying save for one who was seriously injured, still fighting a giant man with a pink umbrella.  On any other day, this sight would have amused Edward.  But not today.
            He stood up, wiping away tears.  “I know what we’ll do.”
            “Kill them all right now, while they are weak from the battle,” Alice suggested. 
            Edward shook his head.  “Don’t be hasty, Alice.  The girl knows the secret to killing us.  We can’t take any chances, not now.”
            Next, Edward, took a slip of paper out of his pocket and a pen, and began writing a note.  He passed it to Alice.  “I want you and Jasper to kidnap the girl,” Edward ordered.  “Leave this note when you take her, and bring her back to the house.  I’ll be waiting.”
            “What are we doing with her?” asked Alice.
            “Setting a trap,” Edward replied.  As Alice and Jasper made for the field, he turned to Emmett.  “But we’re going to need reinforcements.  Go back to the house.  Call the Volturi.  Say whatever you have to, just get them here by tomorrow morning.  Tell them to bring as many of our kind as they can find.” 

********************

            Hermione breathed heavily; she was exhausted, but also exhilarated – she had finally figured out how to kill these creatures!  She looked back towards Ron and the others – it seemed like the battle with the wolves was almost over; the last surviving wolf had bitten onto Hagrid’s umbrella, and was refusing to let it go.
            “Oy, you give that back!” Hagrid bellowed as Buckbeak clawed at the wolf and Harry and Ron cast spells.
            Hermione chuckled; all in all, it had been a very productive morning, and if all went right, it should be an even more successful afternoon; she and the others could be home in London by dinnertime.  But first, Hermione had to tell the others how to kill the vampires; once everyone knew, they could storm the Cullens’ house and end this once and for all. 
            Just as Hermione began heading back towards her friends, something grabbed her from behind.  She swung her head around to see one of the Cullens gripping her tightly, his face sparkling brightly.  Hermione tried to resist, but another Cullen, a girl, took Hermione’s wand, and bound her hands together. 
            Hermione did the only thing she could do: scream.  “RON!  HARRY!  I KNOW HOW TO KILL THEM!  YOU HAVE TO CU—“
            She couldn’t finish the word; the man put a hand over Hermione’s mouth, and sped off into the forest; Alice dropped the note Edward had given her on the ground, and followed after him.

********************

            “Oy, you give that back!” Hagrid bellowed, desperately trying to pry his pink umbrella out of the wolf’s mouth.  “Give it ter me!”
            “Oh, stand back,” Neville said.  He raised his sword and brought it down on the wolf’s head.  The battle was over. 
            “Good work, Neville,” praised Harry.  “That went smoother than I expected.”
            Ron, a look of disgust on his face, stood over Jacob’s body; Jacob had turned back into a human to die, making for a particularly grotesque sight.  “Good riddance, you plagiarizing bastard,” muttered Ron, and he spat on Jacob’s shirtless corpse.
            “RON!  HARRY!”
            They all spun around to see Hermione being taken by two of the Cullens.  “Hermione, NO!” Ron shouted, and ran towards her frantically. 
            “I KNOW HOW TO KILL THEM!  YOU HAVE TO CU—“
            Suddenly, she disappeared, along with the Cullens; they had raced back into the forest at a breakneck speed.
            “Hermione!  HERMIONE!!!!” Ron hollered, but it was no use.  She was gone.
            They all stood in the field, silent for a few long, horrible moments.  Finally, Hagrid put one of his enormous hands on Ron’s shoulder.  “Don’t worry Ron, we’ll get her back.  Beaky and I’ll tear ‘em ter shreds.”
            “It’s not that simple,” said a shell-shocked Ron.  “We don’t know how to kill them.  But Hermione did…she figured it out, and they took her.”
            Harry hadn’t said anything; he walked towards the tree line, spotting something on the ground.  It was a crumpled slip of paper.  Harry unfolded it, and looked at it with horror.
           
Your girl killed my wife, so we’ve taken her – don’t worry, we don’t intend to kill her.  First, I’m going to turn her into one of us.  I’ll wait to change her until tomorrow morning – come to the house no later than eight AM.  Any later and she’ll be changed for good.
            --Edward Cullen
             
            Harry brought the note back to the distraught Ron.  After reading it, he drew his wand and started marching towards the forest.  “I’m not waiting until tomorrow,” he said bluntly.  “I’m going to save her now.”
            Harry ran to stop him.  “Think this through, Ron!  It’s a trap!  We don’t know how to kill them!  They’ll destroy you, and then they’ll turn Hermione into one of them?  Is that what you want?”
            Ron wheeled around to face him.  “It’s still a trap if we show up tomorrow morning, Harry,” he said furiously.  “No matter when we go, they have the upper hand.  At least now I might be able to surprise them.”  He marched off again.
            “Wait!” Harry yelled.  “We’ve been given an opportunity, Ron – we have until morning to collect an army!”
            Ron stopped.  “What did you have in mind?”
            Neville approached Ron.  “Well, there’s me, for starters,” Neville reminded him.  “You may not know how to kill them, but a sword to the neck just might do the trick.”
            “An’ like I said, Beaky an’ I’ll tear ‘em all apart,” said Hagrid warmly. 
            “We have plenty of other friends, Ron,” Harry continued.  “Hermione has plenty of other friends.  They can all be here by morning.”
            Ron turned to face Harry.  “What’s your plan?”
            Harry put a hand on his shoulder.  “First, I’m going to send a message to some friends.  Then, when everyone’s here, we’re going to storm the Cullen house, kill them all, and rescue Hermione with time enough for me to make Ginny’s Quidditch match in the afternoon.”

********************

            “I’m telling you, you’re not using it right!”
            “All you do is push a button!  What am I doing wrong?!”
            Fred tried to bury his face in his hands, but his hands simply passed through his head.  Instead, he just gave the customer a very serious look.
            “Pressing a button can be more complicated then it looks,” he said sincerely.  “I promise you, if you do it right, that orb really will drive out all the ghosts from your house.”
            “But it doesn’t work!” complained the customer.
            “Are you questioning the expertise of a real spirit?” Fred asked with mock indignation.  “I designed this myself, and I know more about this than anyone alive today!”
            The customer looked at Fred blankly.  “I want my money back.”
            “Tell you what…give me a galleon, I’ll have it repaired, and if it doesn’t work, double your money back.” 
            The customer thought this was a rather good deal, so he paid Fred the galleon, left the orb on the counter, and left the shop feeling satisfied.  Fred would figure it all out later.
            “Fred, come here!” George called from the other end of the shop.  It sounded urgent, so Fred floated through the crowd, unsettling quite a lot of people who hadn’t expected to feel a ghost flying through them.
            “What is it?” asked Fred. 
            “Look what just arrived,” George pointed to a silvery-white patronus in the shape of a stag.  “Repeat the message.”
            Harry’s voice came from the stag, ethereal and soft.  “We’re in trouble; Hermione’s been kidnapped and we need force to get her back.  We’re in Forks, Washington – America.  Bring back-up; as much as you can.  Arm them with swords.”
            Fred floated above the crowd and stopped high above them in the middle of the shop.  “WE ARE CLOSED!” he bellowed.  “EVERYBODY GET OUT AT ONCE!” 
            There were murmurs of dissatisfaction from the crowd, but everybody cleared out without much hesitation; as much as they all loved Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, they didn’t quite feel like disobeying the ghost in charge. 
            Fred floated over to George.  “Who should we bring?”
            George pondered this for a second, then smiled broadly.  “How fast do you think we could assemble the old DA?”

To Be Concluded…
The Epic Battle Between Good and Evil Ends Tomorrow
in Chapter 4: Dumbledore’s Army Returns

This is an unofficial, fan-made work of fiction.  Harry Potter and all related characters are owned by Scholastic Inc., Bloomsbury Publishing Plc., Warner Bros Pictures, and J.K. Rowling.  Twilight and all related characters are owned by Little, Brown and Company, Hatchette Book Group, and Stephenie Meyer.  Please support the official releases.  

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