- Dark Themes
- Disturbing Imagery
- Violence - Canon-Level
‘Harry!’ Hermione gasped. The old copy of Teen Witch Weekly, which she had been reading, clutched to her chest. Hermione had taken to reading all the British publications to try and find ways to stop the war. She kept looking at articles and muttering about propaganda.
‘Harry,’ she repeated her eyes bright with excitement. ‘What was the exact order used in the ritual to resurrect Voldemort?’
‘I told you didn’t I? Bones of the father, flesh of the servant and blood of the enemy.’ Harry reiterated.
‘You did say that, but Harry which thing went in first?’
‘The bone, I think,’ he closed his eyes and thought back to the ritual. ‘Yeah, Wormtail put the bone of the father unknowingly given in first and then he cut off his hand and then stole my blood. The weird baby Voldemort thing was already in the potion, why?’
‘Because this changes everything,’ without explaining further she hurried off into the stacks of books, the magazine still in hand. Unsure if he should pack up and follow her or stay and watch their stuff Harry stared off into the direction Hermione had gone. After five minutes she returned with a stack of musty books in her arms.
‘Here, start going through these looking up anything on Inferius,’ she ordered before delving back into the depths of the library.
The books were old and musty, the sort, which lurked on out of the way shelves, that not even Ravenclaws went to often. How Hermione found them Harry could never tell. He was partially convinced that it was a magical gift like foresight. Not that he would ever tell her that with how dismissive she was over the whole discipline of divination.
Looking through the book he quickly released that it was written before somebody decided that contents and indexes were a good idea; he would have to actually read it through to find what he was looking for. As he worked through the first text Hermione returned with more books in Hand.
‘How’s it going?’ she asked her voice tight with excitement. ‘Have you found anything yet?’ Using the improvised bookmarks of ripped parchment Harry flicked back to the information he had found so far.
‘Mostly it just says that you have to use fresh bodies to make them and their bodies need to be destroyed to defeat them,’ he explained while pointing out the relevant parts.
‘Brilliant.’ Not put off in the least by his limited success she took several of the new books and started to flick through them at speed. Only stopping from time to time to put in one of his parchment bookmarks.
After a few hours, the pair of them had worked their way through the pile of books and Hermione had a stack of intricate notes beside her; most of them done by Hermione but Harry felt like he had pulled his weight. Putting the last book down Hermione picked up the pages of notes and turned to face Harry.
‘Do you see it?’
‘Err, no’ Harry admitted. ‘I mean I now know how to defeat an Inferi which is great because Voldemort used them in the last war but I don’t think that Voldemort counts as an inferi. He’s in control of his own body.’
‘Exactly and that’s good news for us. Because while not exactly an Inferi he is still technically dead and a walking, talking corpse if you will. All because the bone went into the cauldron first. If it had been flesh then it would be a different matter but Wormtail or Voldemort, maybe both of them made a mistake. One we can exploit.’
‘To defeat the Inferi?’
‘Well yes, not that he will be able to make any new ones personally, he’s to busy possessing his own body; if he tries to animate corpses he runs the risk of ending up in them and they won’t be as good as his current body. He won’t risk it. But my main point is he’s just a complicated Inferi and we know how to defeat them.’
‘By destroying his body.’
‘Exactly Harry.’ Harry grinned at her the excitement that had been driving her catching him too.
‘We actually stand a chance in this war. We should start practising fire spells, that’s what the book mentioned worked well against them.’
‘I know it did, but, Harry we know this and likely so does he.’
‘You think he fire-proofed himself?’
‘It makes sense that he wouldn’t leave such a vulnerability and with his dead flesh he can carve in runes to protect himself.’ Harry deflated.
‘So he’s even more undefeatable this time around.’
‘Not necessarily. He’s probably fireproof and has some shielding built in like all high-end Inferi but we can still defeat him.’
‘By destroying his body in ways he didn’t see coming and wouldn’t think to defend against.’
‘Such as?’ Harry felt hope returning. Hermione had never failed him and he doubted that she would start now; she just got more brilliant with age.
‘Here.’ She laid out the teen witch weekly magazine that she had been reading before all this began.
‘Yes look this one,’ she pointed out the article that she wanted him to read.
‘New exfoliation charm, our strongest yet can remove multiple layers of dead skin at a time leaving a glowing complexion suitable for a young witch on the go.’ He read out loud checking with Herminie that it was the correct one.
‘Do you see?’
‘You want us to exfoliate a Dark Lord to death?’
‘He wouldn’t see it coming.’
‘Hermione, nobody would see that coming.’
‘Exactly and its a charm, they’re harder to shield against because nobody sees them as a threat. And they aren’t; unless you get creative with their application.’
‘Will it work though, with Wormtail’s flesh and my blood added? He’s more than just dead skin.’
‘It should. It’s not his blood or flesh and his magic knows this. By your and Snape’s description of him, the skin at least is being rejected and is dead. That’s why he looks so pale and chalky. If we go after the skin holding him altogether he will hopefully disintegrate apart.’
‘Hopefully? You don’t know for sure?’
‘Well it’s not like I’ve got test subjects and from the arithmancy, I’ve done,’ she waved her hand vaguely at a page of notes, ‘it will definitely work on Inferi. Voldemort is a bit more unique. At the very least his skin will go away and he will have serious problems.’
‘That’s nightmare-inducing even thinking about it.’ Harry said with a shudder imagining the sight.
‘Yes, but if he’s busy being kept in a bucket, so as not to leak everywhere, and researching how to fix it he’s not attacking us. Plus he wouldn’t be able to recruit as easily, who would want to join a soupy mess of a man,’ Harry winced at her description. ‘Sorry, it may not happen it depends on how “alive” his tendons are. If they are as dead as his skin they will disintegrate and the skeleton falls apart because magic will stop holding him together killing him or leaving him a disembodied spirit again. And seeing as Moody in a fit of paranoia destroyed all his relative’s bones he would have to find a new ritual to be resurrected with.’
‘So you’re saying if we get the chance to go for it no matter how icky it will be?’
‘In essence yes. Whatever happens, it will fuck him and his day up.’
‘So how do we practice the spell, is it hard?’ Harry asked rather than dwell on how much liquidising his enemy would also fuck him up for a little bit. He’d never been fond of tomato soup anyway.
‘Of course not Harry. It’s in Teen Witch they aren’t going to put something in which the majority of their readership can’t use. Most witches can cast it easily and the more powerful ones can do similar beauty spells wandless.’
‘But wandless magic is hard,’ Harry pointed out.
‘Yes, it can be. It depends on the type of spell and beauty ones, apart from illusions like glamours, only use a small amount of magic. Here watch.’
Hermione took her wand and pointed it towards herself, with a simple flick of her wrist and muttered an incantation. Her skin looked to Harry to have become even softer.
‘Did it work?’
‘Yes, here you can touch.’ He swallowed, he really wanted to, and yet at the same time, really didn’t want to touch her face.
‘I believe you,’ his Gryffindor courage failed him. ‘How does it go again?’ he asked unable to meet her eyes.
After practising the wand movement and incantation under Hermione’s watchful gaze, Harry was allowed to cast on himself. The spell didn’t hurt; it tingled along his skin and left it feeling strangely tight afterwards.
‘Can I check?’ At his nod, she touched his face. ‘There it worked. See how easy it is. Give it a few weeks and we will have you doing this wandless,’ Hermione encouraged her hand brushing down his cheek, which was growing warm under her casual touch.
‘Thanks,’ he managed.
‘You’re welcome. I think we should do this every morning until its second nature to you. Before breakfast I think, Ron’s not awake enough to notice.’
‘You don’t want to include Ron?’
‘Well, I thought you wouldn’t want him to know you were using a beauty spell, even if its for the war effort. Ron isn’t the most sensitive of souls.’
Ron had picked up on Molly’s habit of enforcing gender stereotypes and her belief that beauty charms were the arsenal of scarlet women and harlots. Trying to teach him a charm from Teen Witch wouldn’t go down well. He would probably complain to Molly and then Voldemort would end up hearing their plan, at volume, from the howler she would send them.
‘It’s okay, Harry. This can be our project, and if it works we can teach it at the DA for Inferi defence.’
‘If it works hopefully the DA won’t be needed.’