Harry Potter and the Locked Room (HP 7)
this is my own version of the seventh book. Please notice that this is full of spoilers for book 6 – so if you haven´t read "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", please don´t read this!
I hope you will enjoy this text; it was great fun to write it.
As the text is already completed, I will post new installments here regularly. It is 144 book pages.
DISCLAIMER: Harry Potter, the other characters, magical effects, and much more I use here are the property of Joanne K. Rowling, which I purloined to write this version I will post here. So I do not own this – neither does anyone else.
Harry Potter and the Locked Room
The man in the black travelling cloak was kneeling on the stone floor, head bowed so that his long black hair shadowed his face. ‚My doing the deed was not what you had ordered us to do, Master. I am well aware of this and ashamed of this deviation.‘
‚How precisely did it happen?‘ The voice was high and cold, but now sounded excited and angry. A shudder of fear passed through the dark, cool room when the others felt this anger.
‚When I entered the platform of the Astronomy Tower, Draco Malfoy and four other Death Eaters were there. And Dumbledore, under the Dark Mark. He had lost his wand and was slowly collapsing against the ramparts. It was a beautiful sight, but none of the others was acting to shorten his suffering. Probably Malfoy, who was pointing his wand at Dumbledore, thought the old man would die on his own account if we waited long enough. The other Death Eaters were quarreling among themselves who was to kill Dumbledore and seemingly did not understand that the Aurors from the Ministry would probably arrive any moment. So I killed Dumbledore and told the others that we had to leave immediately. I was grateful for being able to fulfill your wish to have Dumbledore killed – but at the same time, I regretted deeply–‘
‚It was against my orders, Snape.‘ The voice sounded even more cold and dangerous now. Two red eyes glowed dangerously in the horribly white face of the standing man. The two women and the boy who were kneeling on the floor trembled slightly.
‚Yes, Master. I am very sorry about this aberration.‘ There was not a trace of fear in his face or his voice.
‚Crucio!‘ the voice hissed. Snape fell down and writhed on the floor with pain, his legs kicking. While there was pure malice on the face of the black haired woman kneeling next to him, watching, the blond woman´s eyes, which were locked on Snape, were large with fear and something that might be regret.
Next to her, the boy with the pale pointed face was also staring at Snape, with eyes which seemed to be unseeing with horror and fear.
Voldemort lifted his wand with a jerk, and Snape relaxed on the floor, his breathing loud and ragged.
‚You, whom I thought to be so loyal ... there is yet more to this betrayal. Tell me about the Unbreakable Vow you took.‘
Snape scrambled to his knees again and bowed his head deeply. His hands were trembling, and his voice was hoarse. ‚Master, Narcissa begged me to take an Unbreakable Vow to protect her son and assist him in his task.‘
Then blond woman breathed in sharply, then clapped a hand over her mouth.
‚Bellatrix was our Bonder. During the Vow ... Narcissa changed the third phrase, asking me, if Draco seemed to fail, to do the deed myself. Bellatrix was standing over us with her wand – I did not dare interrupt the procedure, Master, knowing how Bellatrix hates me. She would certainly have slain me, disregarding your wishes, Master.‘
‚How dare you –‘ the black haired woman shrieked. But Voldemort interrupted her in a dangerous voice. ‚So you two went against my explicit wishes and plans – and you endangered the life of my most talented Death Eater.‘ He stopped talking. There was a rustle like from excitement among the hooded people standing around them.
‚Master, I didn´t want to visit Snape at all! I went only with Narcissa to keep her from committing a terrible mistake!‘
‚But you didn´t. You distrust my judgment concerning Snape´s loyalty.‘
Bellatrix didn´t answer; her jaw was clenched.
‚There are, however, ways to prove your loyalty to me. The Malfoy boy has to die because he failed to fulfill his assignment. And the Malfoy woman has to die because she made decisions which could have endangered my plans. I alone decide who will live and who will die. ... And who will kill.‘
Narcissa was gazing up at Snape between her tangled light blond hair. Her blue eyes were incredulous and pleading. Snape was looking back at her with an unscrutable expression.
‚Severus, you may wish I would spare the woman again. But it is my wishes who count. Again.‘
‚I understand, Master.‘ Snape´s voice was devoid of any expression.
Voldemort was fixing the black haired woman intensely with the slit-like pupils of his red eyes. ‚Bellatrix, kill her.‘
There was a short pause‚ during which Narcissa and the boy both sobbed, while Bellatrix seemed paralyzed.
‚Master, she is my sister ...‘ she said in a hollow voice.
The silence in the room was suddenly throbbing with danger. Bellatrix very slowly raised her wand to point it at Narcissa; the wand was shaking slightly. Narcissa stared at her sister, her dark blue eyes enormous, unbelieving. Snape closed his eyes.
‚Avada Kedavra!‘ There was an outcry, from Draco, while Narcissa fell back and onto the floor, her eyes open but now empty.
A cold, cruel laugh echoed through the stone chamber. Draco had buried his face in his hands and was shaking.
‚Severus. You kill the boy.‘
Draco looked up and stared at Snape; he was whimpering quietly with fear. Snape glanced at the boy, who was staring at him as if hypnotized, with an unreadable expression in his black eyes; then he spoke in a cool tone of voice.
‚Master, there is a slight problem. It is possible that the Vow is still intact. Then if I kill this boy, the Vow would kill me, too. It might act even if I witness his death. I tell you this so you are prepared for the possible outcome–‘
The whole room was bating its breath again.
‚I see in your mind that you are speaking the truth.‘ Voldemort retorted. ‚You have spoken only the truth tonight, Severus. – I do not wish to lose such a loyal and competent Death Eater. You may leave now and go back to your research. I will call you to me later.‘
‚Thank you, Master.‘
Snape slid towards Voldemort on his knees, kissed the hem of his robe, then withdrew backwards, his black hair shading his face, and swept out of the room with rapid steps. When behind him another green flash streaked through the cold stone chamber, he neither looked back nor slowed down in his walk.
Re: Harry Potter and the Locked Room (HP 7)
Harry woke up with a soft yelp. He had been on the Tower again, Petrified, helpless, having to look on while Snape killed Professor Dumbledore. There had been a green flash, then a terrible, cold laugh which made the hair in his neck rise. And there had been something he had forgotten. Something he could have done to prevent all this from happening, to change it in such a way that Dumbledore would still be alive, that he wouldn´t really have to have witnessed him being murdered by Snape. If only he could remember what it was! But neither in his returning dream nor in waking did he ever find it.
He sighed. His heart was hammering, his forehead wet, his throat dry. He knew that he wouldn´t be able to sleep now. The dream always left him wide awake and unable to relax. What could it be? Was there really something he could have done to prevent all this? Of course, a part of it hadn´t really happened. The laughter was Voldemort´s, and Voldemort hadn´t been there at all. But it must surely make Voldemort very happy how Snape had murdered his own Headmaster while Dumbledore was helpless, wandless.
Not wanting to think of this, Harry rubbed his forehead energetically. His scar had begun to prickle from time to time recently, since this incident. Normally he would have asked Dumbledore about this, but ... . Then again, he knew what this meant even without asking anyone. Voldemort knew what had happened, and he gloated over it. The world had become even more dangerous now, without Dumbledore.
But what could it be that he had forgotten? When he was following Snape, his first thought had been that he only had to bring the two of them together again, and everything could be mended. Dumbledore would be alive, and Snape wouldn´t be a murderer, a traitor of the worst kind. But of course, that had been a stupid thought, probably induced by the shock he had sustained.
Even while he was running after Snape, he had understood that Snape really was a hateful killer. And he had tried to stop him, to catch him. He would have killed Snape if it had been possible. He had also tried to torture Snape with the curse ‚Crucio‘; only it hadn´t worked. Pity.
Ron snorted loudly in his sleep, then opened his eyes.
‚You awake already again?‘ Ron yawned widely. ‚Don´t get much sleep these days, do you?‘ But he dropped the subject immediately, knowing that Harry didn´t want to talk about it. They dressed and began to think about breakfast.
They had every reason to think about breakfast, as this was a shaky affair every day. As was lunch, and dinner. And a lot of the time in between. They had been at the Dursley´s for three days now, and thankfully this was their last day, but it felt to them as if they had had to spend a three-week-detention here.
There was a knock on the door. As Dudley Dursley was away in a „Holiday Camp“ for the summer break – really, all three knew, at a cramming camp, as his grades in school were abysmal – the Dursleys grudgingly had let Hermione sleep in Dudley´s room. The alternative had been the cupboard under the stairs, but as even the Dursleys could see that Hermione would have fit into that room neither standing nor lying down, Dudley´s room it was.
‚We´re ready!‘ Ron said loudly, and the door opened to let in Hermione, in jeans and a blouse, her curly hair billowing behind her as usual, her face a bit doubtful. ‚Do we go down?‘
‚Breakfast. Yeah.‘ Ron sounded as if he´d rather go without food today while Hermione greeted him with a kiss on his cheek.
Harry was a little astonished at how sensitive his friends reacted to the Dursleys. As Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia were Petrified with fear upon having two wizards in their house who were of age and therefore allowed to do magic, the Dursleys were positively friendly to the three of them, compared to how they had usually treated Harry. Well, friendly for the Dursleys, at least. It had been a very clever move of Hermione to stress how they were of age now and to forget to mention the fact they were not allowed to do magic in front of Muggles – non-magical-people. Well, the Dursleys had swallowed it. If they hadn´t, the next step would have been to threaten them with taking their animals back, which they had left at the Weasley´s, as Aunt Petunia hated animals. While at least Crookshanks was sufficiently intelligent to do precisely those things an unkind person hated most. Harry chuckled softly.
Unfortunately, it was a Sunday, so Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon both were sitting at the breakfast table. Both used one of their favourite strategies again today, which was to pretend that Harry, Ron and Hermione weren´t there at all. So the three were able to get some food for breakfast today as long as neither Uncle Vernon nor Aunt Petunia were standing directly in their way.
When Harry had eaten as much toast as he wanted, he thought it was a good moment to try to talk to Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon. Or better, it was the last opportunity, as they would leave very soon. He cleared his throat. Both his aunt and his uncle ignored him, staring into directions within the kitchen were really no one was standing or sitting at all.
‚This is the last day I will spend here.‘ Harry finally said. ‚Around noon we will all leave with our luggage and all my things for Ron´s parents house. His eldest brother will marry today.‘
He ignored Uncle Vernon´s loud snort.
‚And I will spend the rest of the holidays there. And I will not return to this house. Ever.‘
There suddenly was a very resounding silence in the kitchen. Both Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon were now looking at Harry with something close to hope at the prospect of his leaving their house. Ron and Hermione, though obviously they tried not to let it show, seemed half angry and exceedingly embarrassed. Hermione looked as if she would open her mouth and say something acid any moment.
Harry breathed in sharply. ‚I have come back here this summer only because ... Professor Dumbledore wanted me to do this.‘ He pressed his lips together. Towards the Dursleys they had not mentioned the fact that Dumbledore had meanwhile died. Harry would not have been able to bear seeing them happy at the news.
Now was the moment he should say what he had to say to the two of them. Harry swallowed. ‚Professor Dumbledore already has said everything I can say to you now. You were asked to raise me, and you took me into your house. You saved my life with this, whether you knew it or not. I am grateful that you did. But you treated me very badly. I don´t see what I have to thank you for other than for taking me into this house until now. And now I will be a man very soon. On my birthday I will be a man under wizarding law. The protection this house gave me ends on that day, and therefore I will not return here.‘ Harry stood up. Ron and Hermione followed.
Harry gave Uncle Vernon his hand. Uncle Vernon was swelling up and reddening slowly. ‚The ungratefulness!‘ He shouted. ‚After everything we have done for him!‘ Then he fell silent suddenly and looked at Ron´s wand instead, which Ron was twisting casually between his fingers.
Aunt Petunia was staring at Harry, her eyes widened. Harry asked himself how she was able to stare down his nose at him while he was standing and she was sitting. He shook hands with her.
‚Say hi to Dudley from me.‘ he said quietly. Dudley had done nothing but bullied Harry as long as he could remember, but meanwhile Harry pitied Dudley. Being spoiled had not been helpful for him. Now Aunt Petunia opened her mouth, then closed it again. Then she opened it once more. She was staring directly into Harry´s light green eyes. ‚Good bye. Good luck.‘ she said curtly. Then she turned hastily away.
Hermione, Harry and Ron left the kitchen as fast as they could. One hour later they were standing on Privet drive with their trunks. Ron threw out his arm.
There was a terrible bang, Hermione screamed and jumped back, Ron ducked while there was a very loud crash on the street and Harry, on whose foot Hermione had trod, cried ‚Aargh!‘ and started to hop on the spot as soon as his foot was available for that again. The Knight Bus had arrived. Ron sighed. ‚I hate this bus-thing.‘
*When they arrived at the Burrow, all three slightly green in the face and swaying along with their trunks, it was sheer chaos. Everyone seemed to be strangely nervous and excited. Some people had red eyes and were wearing smiles which looked quite unnatural. This was a wedding and therefore supposed to be a very happy event, but with Dumbledore having died only two weeks ago, almost everyone felt deeply sad and disoriented.
Mrs. Weasley was harrassed. ‚Mad-Eye is driving me crazy! He is checking absolutely everything for spells and curses.‘
‚Constant vigilance is necessary, Molly, especially at public events like this.‘ Moody had a beautiful, fragile tiara on a table in front of him and was stabbing his wand at it repeatedly, murmuring strange words under his breath.
‚Fleur needs this tiara today, Mad-Eye! You took it from her three hours ago, and she can´t do her hair without it!‘
‚But you wouldn´t want her to fall victim to an ancient curse when she dons it, do you? The older, the more suspicious and dangerous, Molly.‘
‚Very true.‘ Mrs. Weasley pressed through tightly clenched teeth. ‚If you break anything off that tiara, Moody, I don´t know what I´ll do to you!‘
Moody´s blue magical eye started to swivel around into all directions. ‚I´m looking forward to it. Constant training against attacks of all kind is crucial.‘
Mrs. Weasley breathed in deeply and Harry, Ron and Hermione, instead of waiting for the explosion, hastily left the room, trying hard not to laugh. They stowed their trunks in the rooms they had been given and greeted their animals, then went down again to help with the preparations.
A few hours later, they were sitting on chairs in rows on the lawn, exhausted from all the last minute work they had done, and watching the ceremony. Fleur was magnificently beautiful with the tiara on her blond hair, and she was beaming at Bill as if he was the most beautiful thing in the world. Which, as Bill´s face was disfigured by the horrible scars from the werewolf attack, he wasn´t. But as her, he was looking extraordinarily happy.
Ron and Hermione were holding hands during the ceremony. Harry had his mouth clamped shut in such a way that his teeth were beginning to hurt and was trying very hard not to glance at the place up front were Ginny was standing, looking very beautiful in a pale golden robe and slightly melancholy.
When Bill said ‚I will.‘, Hermione, who was looking very pretty in a violet robe and with her hair magically curled and shining, breathed in sharply. Surprised, Harry caught her eye, but she only shook her head.
‚So what was that gasping during the ceremony?‘ Harry asked Hermione as the three of them were standing at the party with glasses in their hands.
It seemed Hermione wished he had forgotten about that incident.
‚Well, I remembered ... I asked Moody about Unbreakable Vows earlier. And he told me about them. If someone who has done such a Vow to another person breaks the Vow, he dies immediately. There is always a third person involved who oversees the Vow, but the Vow itselfs kills the person. An Unbreakable Vow always consists of three phrases. To every phrase, the person who takes the Vow says „I will.“ The wedding ceremony just reminded me of that.‘
Ron rolled his eyes. ‚Do you have pity with Snape, or what? All the better if a Vow kills him, isn´t it?‘
‚But don´t you see? The question is precisely what he Vowed to do. You heard him say he had done an Unbreakable Vow to protect Draco, Harry?‘
‚Yes.‘ Harry really didn´t want to think about Snape now. ‚I told you one hundred times, Hermione. And they didn´t say anything else about it. I´m sorry.‘
‚Hm. I understand that you don´t want to think of it, Harry, but we have to analyze this, so we understand what happened. So we understand why ... you know.‘
‚Sure.‘ Harry mumbled.
Thankfully, Mr. Weasley was that very moment tapping his glass, wanting to make a speech, so they had to stop talking.
Re: Harry Potter and the Locked Room (HP 7)
On the following morning, Mr. Weasley called Harry into the kitchen relatively early. ‚Professor McGonagall in the grate for you.‘
The head of Professor McGonagall was sitting in the kitchen fire, which was emerald green. Harry kneeled down and greeted her. ‚Good morning, Potter. I would like to talk to you in person, here at Hogwarts. Could you come by Floo-powder now?‘
‚Sure, Professor. Er ... if it´s o.k. for Mr. and Mrs. Weasley ...‘
‚Yes, of course, Harry.‘ Mr. Weasley was saying kindly behind him.
Professor McGonagall disappeared from the fire with a faint plop.
‚So, bye then!‘ Harry grabbed some Floo powder, threw it into the fire, which turned bright green again, and stepped into the flames. ‚Hogwarts, Professor McGonagall´s office!‘
He tucked his elbows in and waited while he whirled through many strange wizard fireplaces and could see into many wizard homes for moments. Then he slowed down, saw an office in front of him and stepped out of the fireplace. Professor McGonagall was sitting at a desk in front of him. He was in the Headmaster´s office in Hogwarts.
‚Please sit down, Potter.‘
The new Headmistress hardly raised her eyes, and Harry noticed that her lips were pressed together. Then she looked at him fully, and he saw that her eyes behind the square glasses were sad.
‚I have here a letter from Professor Dumbledore which I received as part of his estate and opened yesterday. And in it, there is a passage which concerns you, which was the reason for asking you to come here.‘
Professor McGonagall held the roll of pergament open and gave it to Harry. The document was quite long, Harry saw, but the passage meant for him was relatively short.
‚As Headmaster of Hogwarts and Head of the Order of the Phoenix I gave Harry Potter a special assignment. The fulfillment of this assignment will be crucial for the vanquishing of Lord Voldemort, the more when the fight against him has to be continued without me. Therefore I request from the new Headmaster or Headmistress of Hogwarts that Harry Potter be allowed to fulfill this assignment, meaning that he be allowed to leave Hogwarts whenever it is necessary to complete it. I ask the same for Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley whenever they wish to accompany Harry.
‚As everyone who knew me must be aware of, in my opinion learning is crucial for the development of even the most talented of wizards. Therefore I ask you, Harry, to complete your learning in Hogwarts by doing your N.E.W.T.s this year. I hope the additional learning and training you will achieve thereby will help you to fulfill your task and survive. And I am confident in prognosticating that you will work on your assignments in your evenings and free times at Hogwarts, and thus will be able to achieve both goals in the same year. I am exceedingly proud of you, Harry, whatever you decide to do, but I think this will be the wisest choice. Good luck, Harry.‘
It took some moments for Harry to absorb this message fully and get over the slight dissapointment of there being so few and thin personal words for him in it. Dumbledore wanted him not only to look for the Horcruxes, but also do his N.E.W.T.s this year – so he wouldn´t be able to leave Hogwarts. He didn´t want to leave Hogwarts at all, but he had thought he had to do it for fulfilling his assignment. And he had never wanted to keep Ron or Hermione from achieving their N.E.W.T.s on his account. He let go of a breath, feeling that it was as if a heavy burden had fallen from his shoulders suddenly. He didn´t have to leave Hogwarts at all – Dumbledore had thought he could do both in the same year, and he wanted him to do it this way. Harry breathed through deeply and nodded.
‚O.k., then, I will stay at Hogwarts. It will re-open, won´t it?‘
‚Well, Potter, I am very glad that you want to stay at Hogwarts. I agree completely with ... Albus that, as this assignment probably is very dangerous‘ she gave him a very severe glance through her spectacles ‚it is crucial that you learn everything you can at this school.
‚However, the fight for the re-opening of Hogwarts School is not won yet. Far from it.‘ She sighed. ‚Owing to his powerful and charming personality, Albus was able to persuade almost anyone of almost anything. I am not that ... gifted.‘
Harry smiled, remembering how Dumbledore used to treat people from the Ministry.
‚As you have certainly seen in the ‚Daily Prophet‘, the wizarding community is in uproar. We always thought ... – every one thought that, as long as Dumbledore was Headmaster of Hogwarts, this was the safest place of all. We thought it was absolutely impossible for Voldemort or the Death Eaters ever to penetrate into Hogwarts.
‚And now Death Eaters came into the school. And even worse, one of our own teachers has been a traitor all along and has killed Dumbledore, who everyone thought could not ever be touched by Voldemort.
‚This means simply what we have known all along: that no person and no place is safe of Voldemort or the Death Eaters. But people see mostly how Hogwarts isn´t secure any more.‘
‚Do all the protections we had for Hogwarts still exist, Professor?‘
‚This is one of the many things Dumbledore achieved. He strengthened the protections and did it in such a way that most of them are still intact now. One of my tasks now is to study how to control some of those protections. But I can say that Hogwarts is still the safest place in the wizarding world.
‚The problem is that many people don´t see things like this. They think that because Dumbledore was killed here and because a teacher was his murderer, Hogwarts is especially dangerous.‘
‚Indeed. But sadly most people don´t think logically, Potter. But nevertheless, I hope I will be able to re-open the school. – Potter, there is something else.‘
‚Yes, Professor?‘ Harry said carefully. He thought he knew what would come now.
‚About this assignment. I understand that Dumbledore gave it to you, and that you were allowed to inform only Miss Granger and Mr. Weasley. Did you reconsider your intention not to tell anyone else about it? Not even me as the new Head of the Order of the Phoenix?‘
‚No, Professor. I´m sorry. I thought about it, but I can´t tell you. I don´t know precisely why Professor Dumbledore decided this way. But I am certain he knew what he was doing.‘
McGonagall looked at him through her glasses with a less severe expression than she normally had. ‚I agree that Dumbledore certainly knew what he did. You will get my special permission to leave Hogwarts whenever you absolutely have to for your assignment, and so will Miss Granger and Mr. Weasley.
‚I hope‘ her voice suddenly was like steel again, and her eyes behind the square glasses were piercing ‚that you will nevertheless give you full concentration to studying for your N.E.W.T.s this year. I have to tell you, Potter‘ McGonagall said in a ringing voice; her eyes were boring into him so that Harry felt very uncomfortable. ‚that your performance in school is insufficient. I know that you are highly talented; but you simply are too lazy. Your performance is mediocre, Potter. You remember that I told Umbridge‘ McGonagall´s eyes seemed to emit sparks of hatred while pronouncing this name ‚that I would see to it that you become an Auror, Potter. – But you will never become an Auror if you go on like this. I can not help you at all if you don´t work, if you don´t put all of your energy into working towards your exams.
‚At the moment, Potter, sadly, I have to agree to what Snape always said about you. You are mediocre, Potter. You will have to change to show me you are anything else than that.‘
Harry was struck speechless. How could McGonagall cite Snape to him, of all people, this abominable traitor! He opened his mouth, but no words would come out.
McGonagall´s eyes were blazing. ‚I see that to remind you of what Snape thought has hit home. Prove to me that Umbridge was wrong, and prove to me that Snape was wrong, Potter. I know you are able to perform admirably, but you have to prove it. Against your enemies, and for ... those who always believed in you.‘
Harry only stared at McGonagall.
‚And what you learn in your N.E.W.T. year will certainly also be very useful for – whatever you have to do.‘ Her voice was a little softer now.
Harry felt that his cheeks burned with embarrassment and anger, but he also felt something else, something new. He felt that he would do anything to prove that Snape, who had thought him mediocre, was wrong, and to prove that Dumbledore, who had thought he was highly talented, had been right.
‚Yes, Professor.‘ he said, hearing how his voice shook.
There was a little silence.
‚And, Potter, there is still something else. Another reason why I asked you to see me here in person.‘
Professor McGonagall suddenly fell silent, and her lips were a very thin line.
‚In the document from Dumbledore ... he hints that there may be a traitor in the Order of the Phoenix or at Hogwarts. It is possible that someone changed sides.‘
‚But we know there was a traitor!‘
‚–It seems Dumbledore thought of someone else. I don´t know why he suspected this. But if there really is a spy among us, it is indeed wise that you don´t give the information you possess to anyone besides Miss Granger and Mr Weasley. You should really be very careful. – Good luck to you, Harry.‘
Hermione seemed to be the happiest person in the world when she heard the news.
‚You are to go back to Hogwarts! Well, certainly, then so should we, too!‘
Ron groaned. ‚I don´t know why you ever considered doing anything else, Hermione. You are addicted to books and learning. You would have driven us nuts without a library in any case.‘
Hermione just sniffed, then started to speculate about what they would study in Transfiguration in their seventh year.
*The eyes looking into his were bright; their gaze was so intense, so powerful that he felt himself helpless, defenceless. The eyes of this man wanted him to do something, and they would make him do it. He felt at the other´s mercy to such a degree that he felt himself groan. He did not want it; he did not want to do it. How could he have promised to do everything the other ordered him to do? How could he not have foreseen that it might come to this? The bright eyes would not let go of him. The voice of the other was imperial. ‚I ordered you, and you will do it. You swore to obey me.‘
He groaned again with the pain of what was to follow.
‚You have to obey me, even if it means to kill me.‘
There seemed not to be sufficient air to breathe in. He was suffocating with the pressure resting on him. How could the other ask that of him? One hundred times rather would he be the victim himself, die whatever death would be the consequence of such a decision. One hundred times rather would he suffer whatever would be the painful consequences himself. Pain, torture – all that was nothing compared to the deed that he had been ordered to commit.
To kill his own teacher, his own mentor, to kill him in a horrible way. To stand there, proud and strong and healthy, while this old, wise man, who was already weakened so much by what he had gone through, by his last heroic efforts to destroy the Horcruxes, would suffer a terrible fate ... It was simply unbearable. He could not bear it. To murder his mentor, this man he loved – how could the other ask this of him? How could he not know, or disregard how it would maim his soul to do something like this, even if there was not even a decision to take, because it had been a clear order? How could a man so wise, so kind, ask him, order him to destroy his own soul? How would he live on if the other died under his hand? How could he live on knowing that, feeling that horrible guilt every day, every second?
The merciless blue eyes were glancing into his severely. ‚You have your orders. You will do it now.‘
He felt himself begin to scream with the sheer unbearable pain and woke up, panting.
Re: Harry Potter and the Locked Room (HP 7)
At Godric´s Hollow
‚Toc, toc, toc.‘ The sound was insistent. Harry looked up from his Transfiguration book. ‚It´s Hedwig.‘ He went to the window of the room he shared with Ron and let her in. The letter was a tidy little scroll of parchment in an unknown writing.
At the house in Godric´s Hollow,
where your water came from,
you will find a healing vessel.
If you see a snake, follow the snake.
A few minutes later he all three were poring over the letter.
‚ „Your water“ probably means the Potter´s water, isn´t it?‘ Hermione mused.
‚Seems so. And this here sounds as if Hufflepuff´s Cup was there.‘
‚All right. So we should look for the Horcrux where the water came from. Probably that is a well. Which would explain why Dumbledore couldn´t find it, if he only searched inside the house itself. But how does this R.A.B. know all this?‘
‚I agree we should be very careful. It could be a trap.‘
Ron interrupted. ‚From whom? From Voldemort? He doesn´t know we know about the Horcruxes, remember?‘
‚Hm. Probably not. But in any case, we should be very careful.‘
‚I am certain it is a trap, Harry. It will be very dangerous to go without any additional support. But at least we are three. But it will be dangerous and difficult. And how do we find the well?‘ Hermione was frowning.
‚Don´t know. It is probably really hard to find, too, or Dumbledore would have found it and taken the Horcrux long ago. And he certainly knew where the well was, didn´t he?‘
‚But neither Dumbledore nor Lupin or any one else from the Order even knew that they had changed the Secret-Keeper. So they had no visitors at all in the new house, Harry.‘
‚Oh, right. Well, we knew it wouldn´t be easy. I only hope, if this message really is from R.A.B., that this time we find the real Horcrux. I wouldn´t like to have to find every Horcrux twice.‘
*As Harry had wanted to visit Godric´s Hollow in any case, they had a good explanation for going there the following day. They went to the closest pub by Floo powder at twelve o´clock, then walked to the place where the Potters´ house had been. Though they knew the precise location of the house, they could hardly believe it when they arrived and found a large garden, but only some crumbling ruins instead of a house. Ron and Hermione did not comment on the state of the ruins, as they knew precisely what had taken down the house. The destruction from the spell which was reflected onto Voldemort and killed him must have been so severe that the house could not be saved. All three of them wandered around the ruins mournfully, knowing that Harry´s parents had died here, giving their life to protect Harry.
After one hour, Harry was emotionally exhausted and wanted to leave, and they searched for the graveyard of the village. Of course, it was next to the little church. It took them a long time to find the grave. A high, white marble gravestone marked the place, bearing their names. Ron and Hermione looked at it earnestly, then slowly strolled away, for which Harry was very grateful. He stood there for a long time, thinking about how he hadn´t seen his parents for sixteen years, how they had given their life for him, and how they had yet protected him a few times during the last year. And he thought of the others who had helped him and protected over the last years, and who had died. Sirius, who had given him so much ... and died with laughter on his face ... and Dumbledore ... . His resolution to do what would make all of them proud was stronger than ever. He would do precisely what he had to do. He would kill Voldemort. And if he met Snape, he would kill Snape. He felt his heart ache piercingly. He would do what his parents and teachers would want him to do. He would try to survive, and help the world become a better place. And if he had to die for this goal, then he would do that. But he would never, never turn away from what he had to do, from what was his task.
He looked around and smiled at Ron and Hermione, who slowly came closer again. His eyes were glowing from the tears he had shed and brighter green than ever.
As they had told the Weasley´s that they would spend the evening in Diagon Alley and the night in the Leaky Cauldron, they were able to come back to the house at Godric´s hollow very late in the evening, when it finally was dark and the whole village was sleeping, to begin their search for the Horcrux. They went there very quietly and entered the ruins, but when the clouds lifted from the moon, they realised with horror that there were two black hooded figures prowling through the neighbouring garden.
The voice of one of the hooded figures was very hoarse. ‚I am going to look around a bit now. If anyone is hiding in that miserable shack, I will find them.‘
‚It is Greyback, the werewolf.‘ Harry whispered.
Greyback was coming closer and closer. He seemed to get excited. ‚There is somebody here, I can smell them!‘ he suddenly shouted over his shoulder.
Harry felt Hermione tense at his side.
‚Hold your wands ready!‘ Harry muttered to the others. He raised his wand and thought with every ounce of concentration he could muster: ‚Greyback is in Godric´s Hollow, and another Death Eater. Please help us.‘ He could only hope that this was the right way to do it. An intense silver light shot out of his wand and streaked into the darkness.
They heard a shout from the two Death Eaters, and feet running on grass. Harry jumped out of the shadows. ‚Stupefy‘ he roared. Next to him, Ron had used the same spell. They heard someone fall, but still also someone was approaching through the darkness.
A moment later, the horrible, sneering face of Fenrir Greyback appeared in the moonlight.
‚Ah, three soft throats for tonight.‘
‚No, Greyback, you will not slit any throats tonight.‘ another hoarse voice said steadily next to them. Remus Lupin was standing besides them, his wand raised. ‚I got your message, Harry.‘
He turned to Greyback. ‚We are four, as you see. You can either give up your wand now, or you´ll have to bear the consequences.‘
‚Lupin. You sad excuse for a werewolf.‘ Greyback showed his pointed yellow teeth in a sneer and spit onto the grass. ‚I really regret having taken you. A tame werewolf, what a shame for us. You are too weak to enjoy our power.‘
‚I despise the way you live, Greyback. To take the happiness away from innocent children, to turn them into creatures of darkness and suffering is despicable. And I will not watch it any longer. I will end the taking of innocent victims tonight, Greyback. And I warn you that if I can, I will kill you. As you took my life away from me many years ago, condemning me to a life of pain and self hatred. Tonight I will end this. One way or the other. I will rather die than let you escape again.‘
Greyback hissed angrily. Then he ducked, wand in hand, preparing to go for Lupin´s throat.
‚Petrificus Totalus.‘ Lupin´s spell had missed. Greyback pounced, but Lupin instinctively jumped to the side, then whipped around. Greyback was snarling angrily, spit flying from his yellow fangs. He was able to duck the next spell from Lupin´s wand, then fired a spell at Lupin, which missed again. A moment later Lupin flicked his wand, and thin ropes flew out of it and slung around Greyback, who fell down, now hissing with anger, raging and tearing at the ropes with his fangs and talons. Lupin took one step towards him, his eyes narrowed, his wand still at the ready.
Suddenly, Greyback moved one of his arms jerkily, his long talons close to his own throat. ‚No!‘ someone cried out. A terrible snarling scream rose.
Harry stared horrified at Greyback, from whose throat blood was pouring. Lupin also was staring at Greyback, his eyes wide, unmoving. Greyback had slit his own throat with his talons and was bleeding to his death.
Lupin turned around to Harry, Ron and Hermione, who were standing two yards behind him, staring incredulously.
‚Can´t we do anything? He should be in Azkaban.‘ Ron said.
Lupin shook his head. ‚I am no healer. Those wounds are cursed. Madame Pomfrey or Snape would probably be able to save him, but I am not.‘
Greyback gave a short shudder, then ceased moving. There was blood all over the grass around him, but it stopped flowing from his throat. ‚It´s over.‘ Lupin said quietly.
Hermione went over to the other Death Eater. ‚It´s the large blond one,‘ she said. ‚Incarcerus.‘ Ropes were flying from her wand, binding this Death Eater, who was still unconscious.
Lupin glanced at Harry, Ron and Hermione in turn.
‚So. If you are here for a reason – in the middle of the night, I might add – I think it is time to tell me about it. We don´t know when, but in all probability Voldemort will know soon that you were here. Probably the Death Eaters were supposed to give him a message in the morning. So I estimate we may have four hours to do what you have come here to do, before they arrive. So, what are we here for?‘
Lupin casually strolled over to where the two Death Eaters were lying, one dead, one Stunned. He rapped the blond one over the head, Disillusioning him, so that his body, taking on the colouring of the ground he was lying on, became invisible, then, after a short hesitation, did the same with the corpse of Greyback.
Harry looked at Ron, then at Hermione. Both were nodding. He hesitated, thinking. Dumbledore had not wanted him to tell anyone about the Horcruxes. On the other hand, he knew with certainty that Lupin was loyal to the Order of the Phoenix. And possibly Voldemort would learn about his hunt for the Horcruxes this very night. So this night might be their last chance to retrieve this Horcrux. Harry breathed out with a little sigh. ‚O.k. I will tell you.‘
Lupin listened to the story with high concentration and without asking any questions.
‚You think the well is the entrance? Good. Pity I never visited the Potters´ house.‘ He pressed his lips together. They were walking through what must have been the garden while the house had still been intact.
‚Why didn´t you, Professor?‘
Lupin hesitated. ‚It seems in hindsight that your parents suspected me of being the spy in the Order. We didn´t see much of each other since they had to go underground. They did not contact me any more, and I was ... too uncertain and too proud to beg for their friendship. Wormtail was really brilliant as a spy – I suspected Sirius, everyone else suspected me, and we all were much too noble ever to confront each other with our suspicions. Thus I lost my friends at that time.‘ Lupin sounded a little bitter and self-ironic.
Harry and Hermione were gazing at him with empathy.
‚Do you know how to detect magic, Professor Lupin? That would be terribly useful now.‘
‚Well, Dumbledore was so superior in that to anyone I know that I doubt I will be able to see where the Horcrux is hidden. But we are four. Let us try. Let us search and simply keep our eyes open.‘
They searched intensely in the pale moonlight, but were frustrated during the next two hours. Then, suddenly, Ron was on his knees.
‚Oh, Ron, can´t you even walk any more?‘ Hermione hissed in exasperation.
‚For your information: I didn´t fall. There is something that looks like a snake here in the grass. It looks almost like a root, but it is metal, and it has the head of a snake.‘
The others came close. ‚Great, Ron, you have found it! Fantastic!‘ Harry was very glad. ‚Probably the well is here, but under a concealing Charm. Professor Lupin? I have thought about this. You are much more experienced in fighting the Dark Arts than any of us. Would you lead this group, please?‘ Ron and Hermione nodded.
‚All right.‘ Lupin said lightly. ‚Thank you for this honour. So, then, let´s step back a bit and try some spells on this. – Neglecto!‘
A few minutes later, Harry, hardly remembering any spell they had not tried yet, shouted ‚Ssillvah hillsslicha cheem!‘ and was very surprised when something like a large pillar lit up with a greenish glow in front of them, then went dark again. There was a round well in front of them now.
‚Brilliant, Harry! It was Parseltongue you had to speak! No wonder even Dumbledore couldn´t do it!‘ Ron said.
Harry beamed, jumped onto the rim and looked into it, using his lit wand.
‚There are steps inside it! Let´s go.‘ Harry went first, then came Ron, Hermione and Lupin. ‚Careful, the throngs are slippery.‘ Ron warned Hermione.
Soon only their wands brought a little light into the well. The climbed deeper and deeper into more and more dense darkness.
Suddenly, Hermione screamed. Ron bellowed ‚Wingardium Leviosa!‘. While both of their voices were echoing through the shaft of the well, Hermione, quite pink in her face and panting, floated down very slowly next to Harry; she grabbed the ladder, murmured ‚Slipped‘ and climbed on.
Finally, they saw solid ground beneath them. ‚Does it seem secure?‘
‚I think so.‘ Hermione said and carefully stepped down. Seconds later, they were all standing on the ground. They were in a large, wet tunnel. Raising their wands, they went on.
‚Ouch.‘ They had bumped into each other when Lupin had suddenly stopped. ‚Three doors. We have to make a choice.‘
Indeed, apart from the tunnel they had entered through, there were three doors in the small room before them.
‚Extremely careful now. On no account should we touch any of these doors. Probably all but one are deadly.‘
They scrutinized the doors, which were covered with strange patterns, knobs and handles.
‚This is easy.‘ Hermione said decisively. ‚These are Necobolic runes. Do you know Runes, Professor Lupin? No? Hm, well. It will take some time, but I can work them out. Does anyone have a piece of parchment?‘
Lupin conjured up some parchment, a quill and a tiny writing tablet for Hermione.
‚Thank you.‘ she muttered distractedly. Lupin and Harry withdrew and leaned against the wet walls. Hermione wrote something down, peered at the doors alternately, then scribbled again, all the time muttering to herself, while Ron was holding the writing tablet for her.
It seemed to take her hours. ‚This is all a terrible rambling hogwash about the power of the person who built this, about eternal life and, well, one thing and another. „The one who will go to eternity will take the right door.“ Well, this is very interesting, as in Necobolic runes, the word for „left“ actually means „correct“, that is, what we would call „right“. So this really says that this person will take the left door.‘
‚Great. And what does „go to eternity“ mean? Sounds a bit ambiguous to me, if you know what I mean.‘ Ron remarked.
‚Well, not if you take it together with the inscription on the right door. It says that the one who takes the „right door“, that is really the right door in this case, will have a „shortcut“. This is a very unusual word, which doesn´t come from Necobolic runes at all, but which in Seburolic means a „short life“, as in the classical „The hero Yormdubat who came from the mountains had ...“. Well, anyway. So this is clear. It is a very cleverly constructed trap, because anyone who knows runes without knowing those two special dialects would draw the wrong conclusions from these runes and walk through the wrong door. We have to go through the left door. I hope.‘ Hermione frowned slightly.
‚Fine, and how do we do it?‘
‚I´m not there yet, this is hard work.‘
‚That´s all right, Hermione, we have complete trust in your abilities. Take the time you need.‘ Lupin said easily.
So they waited for another hour, or at least it seemed like an hour to Harry.
‚It says here you have to speak to open the door. Harry, that will be you.‘
‚You think I have to speak to it in Parseltongue? Again?‘
‚Yes, I think so. And I think what you say should better be Parseltongue first time, Harry, or we may all have a short life.‘
‚Great to know that.‘ Harry frowned. They all stretched their limbs after the long wait, rolled up their sleeves and raised their wands.
Harry took a few deep breaths, closed his eyes and concentrated intensely on imagining a living snake in front of him which he wanted to talk to. Then he abruptly moved towards the door. ‚Open!‘ The hissing sound which came from his throat made his own hair rise up in his neck; it was, thankfully, Parseltongue.
Suddenly he was sucked forwards, then fell down in a crumpled heap. Behind him, there were noises of falling people. He lifted his head and looked around. It was completely dark. Then a wand lit up, and he saw Ron, Hermione and Lupin on the floor, unhurt, as it seemed.
Slowly, all stood up. They were in a dark room which seemed to be enormous and was wet and full of a nasty fog.
‚Oh, oh, this feels really uncomfortable.‘ Lupin commented. ‚I think it is Dementors breeding in here.‘
They felt it only moments later. It was as if all happiness was slowly being sucked out of them. Harry concentrated on the awareness of being here with his friends. ‚Expecto Patronum!‘ he shouted, and an enormous bird streaked from his wand and flew up into the air, triumphant. Harry felt his heart beat in his chest. His Patronus had changed its form – it was a phoenix now. He had always associated Dumbledore with a phoenix, felt that he had some of the qualities of this magical bird. His mere presence had always given him such hope. Everyone had always said that as long as they had Dumbledore, they knew that everything would end well. And now that both Dumbledore and Fawkes had left him, something of their quality remained with him in his Patronus. Upon seeing the beautiful, joyful creature, soaring over them and into the dark fog, Harry immediately felt new hope burgeon inside his heart.
The others around him were also conjuring up patronusses, and soon they were surrounded by beautiful, silver white creatures which dissolved the fog around them and enabled them to walk further into the room. Lupin´s patronus was a large Unicorn, an incredibly beautiful and elegant animal, which galopped around the room, scatttering Dementors into every direction. Ron´s lion patronus also attacked Dementors again and again. Their Patronusses were extremely efficient, but still they were all feeling depressed, while the horrible creatures swooped away when attacked, then came towards them again. And there were more and more of them coming closer. The whole room was full of them. Harry felt how his energy was slowly being drained from him by the presence of those horrible creatures.
Lupin said loudly ‚We should also attack them directly, I think. We are inside a closed room with them – if we aren´t able to destroy some of them, we won´t be able to keep up in here long enough to cross this room.‘
A moment later, Harry heard him shout ‚Collabefio!‘, and saw a beam of light shoot out of his wand and hit one Dementor, which seemed to collapse into itself and disappeared. Ron said ‚Cool!‘ and started to shoot this spell at Dementors, too, while the other kept upt their patronusses to protect them. This way, with patronusses and the spells which destroyed single Dementors, they were able to go on through the room. They all felt increasingly weaker and more hopeless from minute to minute, and Harry gave all his strength into keeping up his patronus; but then finally there was something even darker in front of them – a wall, and inside the wall, a door. Hermione reached the door first, said ‚Alohomora!‘ and moments later they were all through the door and inside a new room, exhausted, but very glad.
They were standing in an oval room which ended in an ornate archway that was engraved with strange symbols. The air inside the archway glowed and shimmered strangely.
‚Let me go first.‘ Lupin said calmly.
Harry shook his head, but Lupin smiled faintly, saying: ‚I am in charge here, remember? So if I say that I go first, I will. This thing looks very dangerous.‘
He approached the archway and pointed his wand at it, starting to murmur incantations. After a few minutes, he turned around towards the other and said: ‚It seems safe. I will try to go through now.‘
Lupin took a deep breath and went through the archway; then he looked back at them, smiling. Harry went through next, then Ron and Hermione. The room, more a cave, really, was pretty in the light of magical oil fires burning greenish everywhere on the walls. Directly opposite the archway, there was a little niche in the wall. And in it there was a small cup, seemingly from porcellain, with two graceful handles. Hufflepuff´s cup, as he had seen it in the Pensieve.
‚I will check this for spells first. We must not touch it before we know it´s safe.‘ Lupin said. He used ‚Specialis Revelio‘, then ‚Finium Misterivor‘, then ‚Exitrecallio‘, then fired a number of spells at the cup which were increasingly unknown and mysterious to the others. The cup reacted to none of this spells in any way. At last, Lupin waved his wand and a small white mouse appeared, hovered over the cup for a moment, then feel into it. The mouse gave a tiny squeak, they heard a scrabbling, then its nose appeared over the brim of the cup again, sniffling.
‚It seems safe.‘ Lupin said easily and stepped forward. ‚Ah, Harry, as you are the Chosen One and more precious for us than I am, may I?‘
Harry hesitated. ‚I don´t want you to risk‘ – but Lupin had already taken the cup. ‚It is safe. Now let´s get ourselves out of here as fast as possible.‘
‚Can we Apparate?‘
‚It feels to me as if these rooms are secured against using Apparating and Portkeys. So we have to get out into the open first. It would be foolish to try to Apparate out of here.‘
Lupin gave the cup to Harry, who put it into a pocket of his robe carefully. Then they went back. Again, crossing the room with the Dementors was the worst part. All four used their patronusses, and they all fired the spell ‚Collabefio!‘ at Dementors, too. This way they were able to slowly cross the room.
When they had finally banged the door shut between them and the Dementors, Harry suddenly felt his feet give in, and sank onto the floor. ‚I´m all right, I´m all right. Only exhausted.‘ he mumbled. The others looked very pale and exhausted, too.
The climb up the well seemed endless, but finally they reached the surface. When Ron as the last left the well behind him, there was a loud hissing sound and the well had diguised itself again, looking like a normal patch of grass now. All four of them were panting now.
‚So, we can Apparate back now. To the Burrow, right?‘ Lupin said, gasping for breath. ‚Hermione, would you take Ron with you? I can assist Harry.‘ Thus they Side-Apparated to the Burrow.
A puzzled and worried Mrs Weasley let them in. ‚You should all go to sleep now. You look extremely tired. Remus, you are invited to stay here overnight, of course.‘ All four of them were so exhausted indeed that they decided to try to destroy the Horcrux the next day, especially as Lupin first had to bring the two Death Eaters to the Ministry and tell them a convincing story about how he had caught them and why Greyback was dead. So while Lupin, grey with exhaustion and clutching a large piece of Honeyduke´s chocolate in his hand, Apparated away again, he other three stumbled to their beds and a few hours of sleep before the new day would begin, Harry taking the Horcrux with him in the pocket of his robe.
Last edited by Rabia; May 26th, 2006 at 3:02 pm.
Re: Harry Potter and the Locked Room (HP 7)
Very early the next morning when Harry rose from his short sleep, Lupin was back, looking terribly exhausted, but impatient to destroy the Horcrux. Hermione and Ron were still sleeping. So while the deeply clouded sky still glowed in shades of red and gold, Lupin and Harry Apparated to a street directly behind the Forbidden Forest near Hogwarts, which Lupin knew to be deserted, to destroy the Horcrux without any witnesses. The air was wet, dark grey clouds drifted over the sky, often darkening the sun, and they heard thunder roll in the distance. Having walked a mile further on the street and thus entered the forest, they turned around a corner in darkness again.
‚How will we do it?‘ Harry asked Lupin, while over them the sun twinkled through the clouds.
‚You can – Oh no. Snape.‘ Lupin raised his wand swiftly and pointed it among the trees.
Harry glanced into the sharp shadow of a large tree, out of which Severus Snape was stepping, his wand raised, covering both of them. ‚Lupin.‘
Harry, feeling a terrible anger rise inside his chest, drew out his wand and raised it.
Snape stared at him, his pale face unreadable, and then slowly began to sneer. He gave his wand a little flick and Harry felt his own wand fly out between his fingers, towards Snape, who caught it deftly in his hand and smiled at Harry maliciously. A moment later, Snape took Harry´s wand into both hands, suspended it, lifted one knee under his robes, and with a fast movement broke Harry´s wand in two over his knee.
‚No!‘ Harry cried out, furious, staring at the remains of his wand dropping onto the soft ground, while he felt Lupin breathe in sharply and take one step forward to protect him. Both of the men were standing in a duelling pose, their wands raised and pointing at each other.
‚Regrettable there is no full moon, isn´t it, Lupin?‘ Snape commented in a cold voice. ‚Or you might have been able to kill me very swiftly indeed.‘
In the unsteady light of the approaching thunderstorm, Snape looked more strained and older than he had only a few weeks before.
‚You talk to me of killing? You dare?‘ Lupin´s rough voice was rising dangerously. ‚You cowardly murderer! How could you kill Dumbledore, when he was weakened and wandless? It is the most horrible, cowardly thing I ever heard!‘ Lupin´s hoarse voice was rising to a shout and the wand was shaking in his hand.
Snape´s face was unreadable, his body very tense. A cloud moved over the sun and threw them into shadows for moments.
‚It is the most horrible deed I ever heard of, and I am longing to kill you.‘
Lupin´s breathing was ragged, his wand was pointing exactly at Snape´s heart.
Snape was staring at him intensely, his eyes glinting in the renewed sunlight.
‚Longing, yes. But do you think you can do what you are longing for, Lupin?‘
A cloud threw them into dark shadow again, and there was a roll of thunder.
‚Dumbledore trusted you, Severus. He made you a teacher, he always stood up for you against our doubts, against the Ministry. He would have trusted you with his life. Dumbledore trusted both you and me, when no one else would have done. His trust meant everything to me. Didn´t the fact that he trusted you, who had been a Death Eater, and whom everyone else mistrusted, mean anything to you, Severus?‘
Lupin´s eyes were glittering with tears, his body trembled, but his wand hand remained steady. Snape was watching him, his body completely rigid.
‚And you murdered Dumbledore, betraying him, for whom trust was so important, him, who believed in redemption so deeply, who symbolised forgiveness for all of us! When you killed him, the last thing he must have thought is how everything he had always stood for seemed worthless. How could you betray him like this, destroy everything he stood for, make him seem a stupid, foolish old man! What a horrible thing to do!‘
Lupin´s voice broke; there were tears in his eyes. ‚How could you do this to Dumbledore?‘ Two tears were slowly running down Lupin´s face.
Snape´s body was totally rigid, his face unreadable. When suddenly there was a crash of thunder, Harry jumped, but Snape and Lupin did not even seem to hear it.
After a few seconds, Lupin went on, his voice trembling with emotion. ‚Tell me a single reason why you killed Dumbledore. Did he ever do anything which hurt you? I know your childhood and youth was miserable and painful. And I know that James, Sirius, Peter and I tormented you, hurting you more than we knew, maybe destroying you. I am terribly sorry that happened, Severus. I am terribly sorry that I didn´t keep the others from tormenting you. It was very wrong. I was weak in not standing up against my friends ... ever. I regret deeply that I wasn´t stronger.‘
Lupin´s eyes were glowing. ‚But what made you give up all your emotions except anger and the sentimental clinging to you childhood pains, Severus? Was it so unbearable to be weak, so unbearable to have others witness your weakness, your humiliation, that you had to give up all emotion and become an unfeeling murderer instead? You cannot bear to know that I saw you when you were weak, isn´t it? It isn´t even that I helped torment you as a student – it is the fact that I saw your weakness and your humiliation which makes you hate me. Maybe it is even the fact that I empathize with you which incites your hatred against me.‘
Snape was standing as still a a statue; his eyes were shining with a strange light, and his face was distorted as if he was in pain.
In Lupin´s voice there was some emotion he seemed to try to suppress. ‚I know you think me weak because I experience feelings like pain, sadness and empathy. But it seems to me that you are mortally afraid of your own feelings, and I call that real weakness. Without empathy, pain and sadness, you are half dead.‘
Lupin gazed intensely at Snape, as if willing to see more than he could in him.
‚What happened to you, Severus? Was it pain, or shame, or guilt which became unbearable for you one day? When did your human feelings get so unbearable that you had to give them all up, Severus? Did it happen when Lily–‘
He was interrupted by a flash of lightning and a loud thunderclap.
‚Don´t! – don´t speak her name.‘ Snape suddenly shouted; in the dazzling blue light of the lightning he seemed to be extremely pale and shaking.
Lupin simply stared at him.
‚You don´t understand.‘ Snape´s voice sounded completely toneless after they had been deafened by the thunder. His face seemed to be white to his trembling lips and contorted as if in pain.
Another cloud threw darkness over all of them; they could hardly see Snape any more among the shadowy trees. Harry couldn´t bear it any longer; he was shaking with anger. ‚Kill him, the murderer!‘ he yelled. ‚He deserves it!‘
Lupin made a sudden movement, as if coming out of a trance, and stared at Harry, who was panting, fighting for breath in the oppressive air.
‚I will certainly not simply kill Snape without even knowing why he murdered Dumbledore.‘ Lupin said evenly. ‚It was you, Harry, who asked me not to kill even Wormtail. Since when do you wish to kill a human being?‘
Lupin, his wand still on Snape, was looking very seriously at Harry, who, without knowing why, felt embarrassment rise inside him. He stared at Snape and felt that he was shaking.
Snape´s lip curled.
‚I see that Potter is really Dumbledore´s student, Lupin. As forgiving and wise as his teacher.‘
‚He ... deserves to die.‘ Harry stuttered. ‚He murdered ...‘
‚Harry, no human being deserves to be killed. Do you really think Snape deserves to die because he killed Dumbledore? If we kill him now, saying that he deserves it, it will simply be a killing from the cruel instinct we call revenge, and then we are no different from the Death Eaters. Even if he murdered Dumbledore, Snape is a human being, and to kill him would still be terribly wrong. It is one thing to kill someone in self defence, if there is no other way. But cold blooded killing is always murder. Don´t you realize that Dumbledore fought for this belief? Don´t you understand, after all you saw and heard, that Dumbledore died so we could learn that every human life has to be protected, that it is even better to die yourself than to kill another human being?
‚If we let him live now, Snape will either go to Azkaban or be killed in this war. I will be content with that; but I will not kill Severus myself. Nor will you kill him in my presence. If we kill him, we become precisely like Voldemort and the Death Eaters – unfeeling murderers. Do you want to be like him? If that happens, everything Dumbledore ever fought for will be lost. You yourself will have destroyed it in yourself. Do you want that, Harry?‘
There was another loud roll of thunder.
‚I ...‘ Harry, confused and trembling, was staring at Snape, who still was very pale and seemed to be trembling slightly.
‚I ... want him to be dead.‘ Harry whispered, tonelessly.
‚No, Harry, you want Dumbledore to be alive. You want to make what happened undone. So do I, Harry. – But to take another life will not bring him back. And it would destroy us – as Severus Snape destroyed himself.‘
Lightning flashed over them brightly, and for a moment in the strange light Snape, who was staring at Lupin, seemed to have a peculiar expression on his face, as if pain mingled with another powerful emotion. ‚Don´t.‘ Snape´s voice was rising like a painful groan. ‚You don´t understand. Remus–‘
Loud thunder interrupted him; then suddenly there were noises behind Harry and Lupin, as if riders were approaching them. Lupin whipped around and gazed into the forest in the unsteady light of the thunderstorm. Snape stared into the forest like a hounded animal; he seemed to be frightened. Moments later Lupin cried out ‚Firenze!‘ and turned around again. But Snape was already whirling around on his heel, his robes swishing, and Disapparated. Lupin swore loudly.
The noise of hooves approached them and the white blond hair of a palomino centaur gleamed through the leaves. Seconds later Firenze was standing before them, his light brown body gleaming in the shaky light.
‚You seem disturbed, my friends. Did my appearance interrupt something?‘ he asked politely in his soft voice.
‚Well, sort of. Good day, Firenze.‘ Harry said, then, unable to keep himself back any longer, went to his wand on unfeeling legs and picked up its two halves. He held them in his hands, speechless, and felt his eyes burn. ‚My wand ... Fawkes ...‘ he mumured and felt his eyes burn. The last part of the phoenix, the last thing that had connected him with Dumbledore, was destroyed. The reddish-gold feather of the phoenix peeped out of one part of the wand. His legs felt very weak. Without thinking, he stowed the two parts into a pocket of his robe.
‚Was it Severus Snape who left so suddenly?‘ Firenze asked.
‚I have seen him around this forest a few times.‘ Firenze said musingly. ‚I wander around here sometimes, never going too deep into the forest, because of my herd ... . But I need movement. I cannot live without it. ... Did you notice the rise of the morning star today? Venus is getting extraordinarily bright today. And this seems to be only the beginning.‘ He glanced at them for a moment, then stared into the sky. ‚But it might be better not to linger here too long.‘
He turned and trotted back into the forest. When he had disappeared, Lupin turned around to Harry, who hadn´t moved, and held his arm out to him. ‚Let´s get away from here, fast, before Snape returns with some Death Eaters.‘ Harry grabbed Lupin´s arm tightly and felt them both turn and Apparate. A moment later, they were standing at the gates of the school.
Lupin, having opened the gate magically, entered the school grounds with long strides, then closed the gate behind them.
‚I guess we´d better go into the Forbidden Forest from here, where the Death Eaters can´t follow us.‘
They walked over the grass rapidly among last rolls of thunder.
‚You would have let him go?‘ Harry noticed that his voice was shaking.
‚Of course not, Harry. But you should remember that you have the Horcrux in your pocket. It would not have been exactly useful for you to be caught by Snape and brought to Voldemort, and with a Horcrux in the pocket of your robe, isn´t it?‘
‚Oh. I didn´t think of the Horcrux at all.‘
‚I noticed that, and it was good that you forgot, as Severus is an excellent Legilimens. It would have been a disaster if he had found out about the Horcrux.‘
Harry nodded wearily.
‚I am terribly sorry about your wand, Harry. But I think it would in any case have been preferable for you to get another wand because of its connection with Voldemort´s wand.‘
‚Yes, I know. It is only because ... its core was from Fawkes. It reminded me of Fawkes and Professor Dumbledore so much.‘
Harry hung his head. Then he remembered something he had noticed.
‚Ah, Professor, how come you recognized Firenze so long before I did?‘
‚Oh, as a werewolf I have sharper senses than normal humans have, Harry. I heard that it was only one centaur, and then I saw Firenze´s white blond hair. – But it is really annoying that Snape was able to escape.‘
They had arrived at a small clearing in the Forest.
‚Harry, as you are the one who is supposed to finish off Voldemort, how about your destroying this Horcrux?‘
Lupin held out his wand to Harry casually, who sighed deeply and then took it.
‚OK, then.‘ Harry cleared his throat nervously. ‚This cup is from porcellain. So first I will try to shatter it. I think it might stop being a Horcrux then. Maybe Voldemort´s soul will come out. It did with the diary, you see. And I can attack the soul directly then.‘
‚Sounds like what I would do.‘ Lupin said easily, and Harry felt himself relax a little.
Harry put the cup onto a large boulder, raised the wand, pointed it at the cup and concentrated intensely. ‚Reducto!‘
The cup shook once, vibrated and began to glow bluish, clattering sinisterly on the boulder. Suddenly, a face began to enfold out of it, blue-white and horrible. The face, skull-like and noseless, rose higher, and a body followed it – Voldemort, in black robes, with glowing red eyes, his face livid. Lupin gasped audibly.
Harry aimed his wand at Voldemort´s chest and shouted, determinedly, ‚Avada Kedavra!‘
The effect was immediate. A horrible scream sounded through the forest, making birds take flight hastily, the picture burst into many pieces, smoking and slowly fading, and a second later the cup fell over on the boulder and shattered into tiny pieces with a loud crash. Then all was silent again.
‚Marvellous!‘ Lupin sounded very relieved ‚You´ve done it, Harry! Another piece of Voldemort´s soul gone. A pity that Dumbledore didn´t see this. I am certain he would have been very proud of you indeed!‘
Re: Harry Potter and the Locked Room (HP 7)
Coming Of Age
Ron and Hermione were aghast when they heard that they had met Snape. Hermione seemed especially interested in every word and gesture of Snape. Both were shocked to learn that Harry´s wand had been broken.
‚The swine.‘ Ron said.
‚Well,‘ Hermione retorted ‚you will have to admit that Snape could as easily have killed Harry as destroyed his wand. So we really have to be grateful he didn´t do that. And you would have needed another wand in any case, Harry, as yours doesn´t work against Voldemort´s.‘
Harry didn´t like to admit this, but knew she was right. He asked every single member of the Order he could talk to where he would get a good wand. Finally, Professor McGonagall was able to give him an answer. ‚There is a new wandmaker, named Rodell, in Hogsmeade. We buy all wands for the Order there. I will meet you in Hogsmeade in precisely one hour, Harry – you must not go alone without a wand.‘
So Harry, still coughing from the ash and brushing off his clothes, was standing in Hogsmeade one hour later and looking out for Professor McGonagall. Then a whirl of greenish robes appeared in front of him, and Professor McGonagall was standing there, looking as severe as always.
‚Good, Potter. Over there.‘
The shop was almost as small as Mr. Ollivander´s shop had been. An extremely ugly security troll was standing next to the door of the shop, thus blocking the whole shop and half of the neighbouring one from sight.
When they entered, having finally been able to convince the troll that they were not Death Eaters, a tiny bell tinkled over them. Professor McGonagall was still muttering ‚Stupid trolls ... unable to understand that the Head of the Order of the Phoenix who ordered him there can hardly be a Death Eater at the same time.‘ while Harry peered around the shop. It looked very much like Ollivander´s had, and Harry felt a moment of unreality when suddenly Mr. Ollivander stood in front of him. ‚Mr.–‘
‚Rodell is my name.‘ The shop keeper said emphatically. ‚Ivan Rodell. Professor McGonagall – nice to met you again. A new wand, Mr. Potter? Not wanting to use your old wand any more? Eleven inches, holly, phoenix feather.‘
‚Someone broke it, sir.‘
‚Oh. Terrible. Well, I am confident we will find something else suitable for you. Yes. This – ebony, ten and a half inches, Dragon heartstring. Very resilient wand, springy .... but I see, not the right one for you.‘ Rodell snatched the wand out of Harry´s hand, who had given it a shake but found it clumsy and unresponding.
‚Ten inches, rosewood, unicorn hair, very smooth and elastic. No. Holly, eleven and a half inches, phoenix feather, very flexible, similar to your old wand. No. I see you have changed since we last met. So you´ll need another wand, too. This is mahogany, eleven inches, unicorn hair. Very powerful, whippy wand.‘
Harry took the wand in his hand and immediately felt a warm, tingling sensation through his hand and arm. He gave a little wave with the wand and a large bunch of white lilies appeared in mid air.
‚Wonderful!‘ Mr Rodell cried, swiftly catching the flowers and presenting them to Professor McGonagall, who actually reddened slightly.
‚This is it, I see.‘
Five minutes later they were standing on the street again, Harry cradling his new wand in his hands.
‚That is Mr Ollivander.‘ he said very quietly to Professor McGonagall.
‚Yes, indeed. We felt he might be in high danger, especially because of the slight problems with your wand and that of ... You Know Who. As he might want another wand, too, but not wish for you to aquire another superior wand, Ollivander was in terrible danger. So we gave him all the security we could give him, including being protected by – incredibly stupid – trolls, and a new name and location. Well, I don´t really know about the trolls, but he is still alive, so it seems to work.‘
*The morning of the 31st of July dawned cloudless and warm. Harry stretched luxuriously in his bed. He was finally of age; he was allowed to do magic everywhere from today on, and he would be able to Apparate, too. If ... . Harry shuddered slightly. In a moment of great optimism, he had decided to take his Apparating test today, together with Ron. If he failed, that would suddenly be the worst birthday present he got this year. Except if Kreacher gave him something again; Harry mused what could be even worse than the last present he had got from the house-elf, when Ron awoke.
‚Happy birthday, mate! Hey, today´s the day! How do you feel?‘
How, indeed? If he was really honest with himself, Harry was feeling a bit queasy. And the Apparition test was only part of the reason. From today on, the magical protection which had lain over him through the sacrifice of his mother was gone. If Voldemort attacked him now, it would be only Harry who stood against him. No more magical protection. His grown up life might be shorter than anyone reckoned. But this also meant that from now on he could really prove himself. If he survived an attack from Voldemort again, and if in the end he even vanquished him, it would be he, Harry, alone who did this. He was a grown up man today. He rose and began to examine his presents.
Three hours later, Ron was quite green when he stepped out of the fireplace after Harry in the Ministry. He was exceedingly nervous, fearing that he might fail the examination for the second time. Harry led the way, knowing that Ron would probably prefer not to have to open his mouth right now to talk.
Having taken the escalator and walked through a long corridor, they finally arrived at a shabby wooden door on which was written „Apparition Licences“, and Harry knocked. There was a desk behind which sat a secretary, and to the right side, a row of seats. Harry just opened his mouth to say both of their names when a terrible scream of pain sounded through the door to the left. All of the waiting people jumped terribly; one of them started to chew on a handkerchief; only the secretary didn´t react at all.. Ron stared at the door and turned even greener. ‚Splinched ...‘ he muttered, wide eyed.
‚They certainly have someone to fix him.‘ Harry said, trying to sound optimistic.
And really, only a few minutes later, the door opened and a young man came out, his shoulders hunched, his eyes huge, staring at his left arm as if he was seeing it for the first time.
‚Well, it´s not as bad as some we get!‘ a very tall, thin man was saying to him while dismissing him from the room. ‚One arm ... well, and you saw it was really easy to fix it back on. I´m sure you´ll make it next time. Next!‘
A few minutes later, it was Harry´s turn first. He went through the door and found himself in a room which was much larger than it seemed possible from the outside. Two people with serious expressions on their faces, a man and a woman, were leaning against the wall to the left and right; the tall, thin examinator was standing twenty yards further, where there was a circle a yard wide painted onto the floor.
‚Harry Potter, sir.‘
‚Right. You will now kindly Apparate from here into the circle over there which you can just see from here. We´ll examine you, and then you´ll Apparate back.‘
One of the assistants was already striding over to the other circle with a slightly bored air.
Harry stepped into the circle and concentrated with all his might on Apparating to the marked place. He turned and felt how his molecules went over into nothing. A moment later, he was standing inside the other circle, still turning slowly. The assistant scrutinized him, looked at his face and his fingers, then said ‚Correct.‘ and nodded.
The first half was done. Harry was glad. A moment later, he turned fast and Apparated back, feeling already elated; he would certainly succeed. And indeed, he felt well when he Appeared again, and the examinator, having stared at him for a second, nodded curtly and said ‚Correct. Done it, young man. Congratulations.‘
Harry left the room, confused and very glad.
A quarter of an hour all was over. Ron had been so surprised when Harry had come out triumphantly that he had seemingly forgotten to be nervous and passed his test, too.
In the evening there was a great party. Almost all the friends from the Order were present. Only Lupin was missing. Tonks seemed cheerful nevertheless, but when asked where he was, she looked a little worried and changed the subject. Ron was more cheerful than he had been for a very long time – finally having passed his Apparition exam seemed to be quite important for him. Hermione was beaming with joy, and more than once that evening the two of them kissed so fervently that everyone tried to look another way, which was not that simple in rooma as small as the Weasley´s were.
They ate and talked long into the night, and a few minutes before midnight there was a wonderful display of fireworks – Harry´s birthday present from Fred and George. A few hours later, Harry fell into his bed very grateful – knowing that being persecuted by Voldemort and now being of age and less protected than ever, he had to be grateful for every day he lived.
*Three weeks later the letters from Hogwarts arrived. Harry had already told McGonagall that he was resigning from Quidditch, as he didn´t have enough time this year. He had done this with enormous regret, but he knew that it was the only possible decision he could take. His assignment was much more important than his hobbies were, and as he had to take his N.E.W.T.s, too, he would have very much to do this year. Ron resigned from Quidditch, too, so he could help Harry to work out spells and accompany him to find them. ‚I mean, we wouldn´t want to lose against Slytherin because the Keeper is just away hunting for a Horcrux!‘
Nevertheless, the letters from Hogwarts held an enormous surprise. When Hermione had opened hers, she suddenly became very quiet, and her cheeks slowly turned red.
‚Hermione? What´s the matter? Do you have to take less subjects than you wanted to? Or did the library burn down?‘
Hermione didn´t answer; she seemed to be speechless. Ron peered over her shoulder onto the parchment she was holding. ‚Head Girl! She is Head Girl! Look!‘ He shook the envelope Hermione was clutching in one hand and let a small heavy object drop into her other hand. ‚A Head Girl badge. Beautiful. Congratulations, Hermione!‘ Ron swept around her, beaming, and emphasized his congratulations by a kiss on Hermione´s forehead.
Harry beamed. ‚Fantastic! I knew they would make you Head Girl. Whom else?‘
It seemed Hermione was in a kind of trance. She was shaking her head slowly and sadly. ‚I think I should turn it down. It is such a responsibility, and I will be away quite often.‘
Ron and Harry protested immediately. Who else but Hermione was sufficiently gifted to do both, hunt for the Horcruxes by night and be Head Girl by day? They both knew she would be able to do this. Finally Harry mentioned that if Hermione turned the position down, McGonagall might give it to Pansy Parkinson. When Hermione heard this, her eyes started to glow. ‚You´re right, I have to take this. I will manage.‘
All three of them where much happier now than they had been only weeks before, but Harry often felt Hermione´s gaze on him.
‚What is it, Hermione?‘
‚I only notive that you never talk about him, Harry.‘
‚About Snape? Why should I want to talk about that traitor?‘ he said in an aggressive tone.
‚Not Snape, Harry.‘ Hermione gave a short glance at Ron that told Harry the two of them had talked about this.
‚You don´t talk about Dumbledore.‘
Hermione was hesitating.
‚Harry. You were really close to Dumbledore. It must have been a terrible shock for you that he was killed. But it somehow seems even worse that ... he was wrong about ... Snape.‘
She gave an uncertain look at Harry, who usually exploded at every mention of this name, but now only looked down at his shoes.
‚Yes. I was very close to Dumbledore. It is terrible for me that he died ... and how he died. That I could not do anything against it, but had to watch it.‘ Harry had to swallow. ‚That I was somehow even ... a part of it.‘
Hermione gave a tiny moan. Harry had told them how Dumbledore had ordered him to force the poison down his throat, and how Harry had obeyed, weakening Dumbledore such that he had been almost helpless when they were finally attacked.
‚And you are right that somehow the worst of it is that Dumbledore was wrong about Snape. That he trusted Snape all those years when everyone else mistrusted him was such a dangerous mistake that I am really angry at Dumbledore. But he died because of this, so I hardly dare to be angry at him, you know?‘
Suddenly Harry felt that his eyes were full of tears, that they were overflowing. He felt torn between anger and sadness; it was very painful.
‚I want to shout at him not to trust Snape, but now it is too late. And I don´t want him to be dead. I wish I could have done anything to change all this, but I couldn´t. Dumbledore ordered me, he decided. He Petrified me, so that I was helpless. Yes, I am angry at Dumbledore. ... Some days I feel as if I can´t forgive him this mistake. That feels so horrible – I mean, he died, he gave his life for me, to save me; but still, he made a terrible mistake. He was wrong.‘
Feeling that he had said everything, Hermione softly said. ‚Dumbledore was human, Harry. Everyone is entitled to make mistakes.‘
‚I know that. He made mistakes – he told me himself. I don´t think he was unfailing or something. But this was an enormous mistake.‘ he sighed. ‚Well, maybe only Dumbledore could make such a great mistake. He talked to me once about his making larger mistakes than others because he was cleverer than others.‘
Without wanting to, Harry felt a small, warm smile lift the corners of his mouth at the remembrance. Dumbledore had been so honest. Harry felt that it was much easier now to think of Dumbledore as he had admitted his anger and pain towards his friends.
Hermione was looking into his eyes with deep understanding and empathy.
‚It was an enormous mistake. But to be honest, I prefer it that he erred on the side of trust and not on that of mistrust. Dumbledore was very trusting, and I think that is a very precious feature. Remember how he said that we only had a chance if we stand united. That is true not only for Hogwarts, but for all of us.‘
‚But his trusting nature killed him.‘ Ron threw in.
‚Well, Ron, would you prefer to live your life like Moody, who always mistrusts everyone and is completely alone, or like Dumbledore, who trusts and likes people and around whom people group to stand and fight against evil together?‘
Ron frowned. ‚All right, I would prefer trust. But I feel Dumbledore took it a little too far ... with Snape.‘
Hermione sighed and did not contradict.
Re: Harry Potter and the Locked Room (HP 7)
Changes at Hogwarts
The Great Hall looked very somber with black hangings all around instead of the usual House Banners.
After the Sorting, Professor McGonagall, who was sitting to the right of the large thronelike Headmaster´s chair, which she had left free, though she was the new Headmistress, rose to her feet.
‚First I would like you all to stand up and raise you goblets to honour our Headmaster, who gave his life in June, protecting us and this school from danger. Albus Dumbledore.‘
‚Albus Dumbledore!‘ their voices rumbled through the Hall when they lifted their goblets in his honour.
The feast was much more subdued than usual. There was no really happy face to be seen among them. Everyone seemed to feel how very wrong things were with Dumbledore not only gone, but actually dead. Many students looked as if they had cried, and even more seemed at least as confused and helpless as Harry felt.
Even the Hogwarts ghosts seemed more solemn and out of spirits than ususual. Nearly Headless Nick looked around the table mournfully and moved more carelessly than normally as if he didn´t care, which made the students shudder often, as it is really unpleasant to have a ghost move through you. Finally, Harry dared to ask Nick how he was. ‚Unwell, as everyone in Hogwarts.‘ Nick said with a sad glance at Harry. ‚We are all mourning the loss of Dumbledore. Ghosts are not unfeeling only because we are dead. you know.‘ Harry hastily agreed.
‚Although‘ Nick continued ‚some of us have other reasons to be out of temper.‘ When Harry raised his eyebrows questioningly, he said ‚The Bloody Baron is in a horrible mood ever since the night ... you know.‘ here the Baron leaned forwards through Ron, who shuddered and hastily jumped up from his seat.
‚He missed what happened on the Astronomy Tower, when he might even have hindered it! You know, he spends most of his nights up there, clanking around, and wanted to be there that night, too, but then he fell asleep. He is in a towering mood – ah, excuse the pun.‘
Harry opened his eyes wider, waiting for the punch line to come, but Nick fell silent.
‚He slept. So what?‘ Ron said.
Nearly Headless Nick was not amused. ‚You seem not to understand. He fell asleep. We ghosts don´t sleep, normally, and certainly not unvoluntarily. He claims to have been hexed.‘
‚But who would hex a ghost?‘ Hermione asked.
‚Who could hex a ghost is more to the point.‘ Nick retorted. ‚It is extremely difficult to hex us.‘ Nick looked very gloomy, probably remembering the year when he was himself had been cursed.
Harry cast around for another subject to cheer him up.
‚Er, Nick, I always wanted to ask you: why is the Bloody Baron so ... er ... full of blood?‘
Nick looked more cheerful immediately. ‚Oh, that is a horrible story. He was hunting with his crossbow, you know, and its seems he had drunken a bit too much wine, so instead of the deer he was hunting for, he shot a Unicorn. It seems he didn´t realize his error even when he approached the creature, which was in severe pain, to slit its throat with a knife. – Terrible mores the people in the 11th century had! – So he tried to slit its throat, but didn´t do that properly either – the poor creature thrashed around horribly in its pain, splattering him and everything with blood, and then, it seems, by accident, it impaled him on its horn. So he ended up as a ghost.‘
Hermione was looking horrified. ‚He killed a Unicorn?‘
‚Yes. Terrible. Therefore he is cursed. But that isn´t even the worst. It is even worse that he caused the Unicorn, a creature of pure innocence, to kill him. This loss of the Unicorn´s innocence seems to be what really weighs on him. Therefore he is never easy to handle. Too bad that he wasn´t able to save Dumbledore.‘
Nick sighed heavily and drifted away from them, while Hermione hastily changed the topic.
Harry, Ron and Hermione were worried about the fact that Hagrid wasn´t present at the feast. When he hadn´t fetched the first years from the train, they thought it might be a coincidence; but now it seemed he was travelling again, and the memory of what adventures he had gone through the last time he had been away made them shudder.
After puddings, McGonagall rose from her seat again. ‚Now I have to make a few announcements.
‚We have a new teacher for Defence against the Dark Arts. Professor Remus Lupin kindly consented to come back to Hogwarts to teach in this post this year.‘
‚Lupin teaches Defence Against the Dark Arts again? Oh, but that must be dangerous!‘
‚Oh please, shut up, Hermione. It´s great that he is back!‘ They cheered loudly with the others.
‚Professor Lupin will also be the new Head of Gryffindor House.‘
Most of the students were cheering enthusiastically. Harry, Ron and Hermione beamed.
‚As Professor Rubeus Hagrid is absent at the moment, Professor Grubbly-Plank will take over his duties as a Professor for Care of Magical Creatures, and also as the Keeper of the Keys and Grounds of Hogwarts.‘
Hermione looked at Harry, visibly worried. ‚I hope he isn´t with some giants again.‘ she whispered, but Professor McGonagall was already talking again.
‚We also have a new teacher for Transfiguration: Nymphadora Tonks, a very qualified Auror, will teach this subject. She will also be the new Head‘ McGonagall gave a small sigh ‚of Slytherin House.‘
There was not a lot of cheering for this. Harry gazed over to Slytherin House and saw that many of the students there were looking pale and strained. Most of the first year Slytherins seemed almost frightened. It must have been a terrible shock for the Slytherin students that their Head of House had murdered the Headmaster.
Hermione said ‚The poor Slytherins, especially the first years. We should be kind to them. They don´t deserved to be punished for what ... Snape did. They trusted him. Imagine how we would feel if our Head of House–‘
‚Right. I´m bursting with pity. Especially with Malfoy, that little–‘
‚Ron, I don´t mean Malfoy, of course. But all the others are innocent. We should have empathy.‘
Ron snorted and murmured something about ‚Death Eaters´ children‘.
After dinner they three went up to the teacher´s table to congratulate Tonks and Lupin. ‚This is brilliant‘ Harry said enthusiastically.
‚Yes, we are very glad that this is possible.‘ Lupin said lightly, smiling at them warmly. ‚After what happened in Godric´s Hollow, the Ministry seemed to ... correct its view of werewolves. So when I asked for a job which everyone knows to be jinxed, they were glad to oblige.
‚Harry, Ron, Hermione, I think we have some things to talk over. How about coming to Tea on Saturday?‘
They agreed, then went out together with Neville and Ginny and towards their common room. But in a corridor on the second floor, they met Luna Lovegood, who was looking into their direction, the usual vague smile on her face. ‚Hello.‘ they all said. Harry noticed that Luna gave Neville a long, intensive look and that she seemed to be much more cheerful than any of them. This irritated him a bit – did she not mourn for Dumbledore as they did?
In a crisp voice he said abruptly to her ‚You seem cheerful – don´t you mourn for Professor Dumbledore?‘
Luna stared for him for some long seconds, while Harry felt Hermione move umcomfortably next to him, probably regretting his tactless comment. Then Luna said simply ‚I would mourn for Professor Dumbledore as you do if I thought him dead.‘
‚What?‘ The syllable had escaped Harry unconsciously, but he felt how everyone around him gasped at the same moment. ‚But–‘ as he did not know what to say, really, he fell silent again.
He saw that Hermione´s look at Luna was piercing.
‚Am I understanding correctly that you think Professor Dumbledore is not dead?‘
Hermione snorted, seemingly unable to keep herself from it.
Luna glanced at her, then said ‚That you think I am crazy is no sufficient reason to believe everything I believe to be wrong, you know.‘
Hermione looked very angry and reddened slowly.
‚We know that Dumbledore is dead. Harry saw him die.‘ Ron said reasonably.
Luna gave him a short glance, then said ‚Harry saw what Dumbledore wanted him to see, and the public believe what Dumbledore wants them to believe. It is all part of Dumbledore´s major plan, you know.‘
Harry felt his eyes turn towards the ceiling of their own accord and saw the same thing happen with Ron. How could anyone be so batty to believe in a ‚major plan‘ behind everything!
‚Will this great theory of yours incidentally appear in the next Quibbler?‘ Hermione asked in a sharp voice.
‚No, of course not. My father thought about it thoroughly and decided not to ruin Dumbledore´s plans by publishing the truth.‘ Luna answered quietly.
‚And what precisely‘ asked Hermione in a voice close to hysteria ‚do you believe happened instead of, as Harry saw it, Dumbledore being killed by Snape?‘
Luna looked at Harry now, empathy in her blue eyes.
‚Snape is involved in Dumbledore´s plan, of course. He only pretended to kill Dumbledore. Really, with the Avada Kedavra he killed Fawkes, whom Dumbledore was carrying in his breast pocket that night. The spell always kills only one individual. The force of the spell hurled Dumbledore from the Tower and out of sight, as planned, so that no one saw he was really alive. Then Dumbledore Transfigured the corpse of Fawkes to look like Dumbledore. At the funeral, we saw Fawkes burn himself. Dumbledore had planned it all together with Snape.‘
She fell silent again and looked vaguely around, as if suddenly bored with the topic.
Ron chortled, and Hermione gave him an angry look. ‚This is not really funny.‘ she said. ‚And why should Dumbledore do something as crazy as make Snape pretend to murder him?‘
Luna looked from Ginny, who was trying to stifle a hysterical giggle, to Hermione, then to Harry. ‚Oh, he certainly has his reasons. Snape must be very important for his plans to succed.‘ she said dreamily. ‚But I am certain they are very secret, and we should not talk about them, even if we knew.‘
Ron laughed out loudly, and Harry kicked his shin. ‚Er ... thank you very much for sharing you opinion with us, Luna.‘ Harry said. ‚Er ... bye.‘ He hastily started to walk into the direction of their common room, accompanied by chuckling and indignant murmurs from the others. He only shook his head.
Re: Harry Potter and the Locked Room (HP 7)
The lessons were even more demanding this year than the year before. All the teachers started their first lesson with severe speeches about how every student needed full dedication to their studies this year to pass their N.E.W.T.s, and in almost every subject they had to learn extremely difficult magic this year.
In Charms they were supposed to enchant objects to speak and behave as if they were intelligent, which asked for tremendously difficult spells. Professor Flitwick did not make their task easier by demanding that they do the spells nonverbally from the first lesson on ‚So you get sufficient practice until the exam.‘ None of them was able to make the wardrobe talk in their first lesson, but Hermione at least succeeded in so far as it opened one door and chucked out a ghastly mould green hat decorated with poppies and a stuffed lizard. ‚Well, its taste already begins to develop – intelligence should be the next step. Ten points for Gryffindor!‘ Flitwick exclaimed cheerfully.
Harry, Ron and Hermione were very glad that they had Defence Against the Dark Arts on this first morning, Wednesday. It would probably be Harry´s favourite subject this year that Lupin was teaching it again, especially as Harry had excelled at it even last year, when Snape had been their Dark Arts teacher.
Lupin, who looked healthy and cheerful, seemed to find them quite advanced for their year, as they had already learned to fight against the Unforgivable Curses – except the Killing Curse, against which there was no defence – as well as against the darkest creatures, such as vampires and Dementors. But Lupin said they had still a lot to learn, including the defence against werewolves – ‚Don´t tell me Snape did not do werewolves with you last year? Strange; well, of course I wasn´t at the school then. So we will go over that – but without any practical exercises.‘ he ended drily. The class chuckled with him; this year everyone knew that Professor Lupin was a werewolf himself.
Another subject for this year would be exceedingly difficult – how to detect and break magic, especially Dark Curses. ‚A wizard like Dumbledore was able to detect where magic has been done by simply looking at something or touching it with his hands.‘ he said to a class that was sitting on the edges of their chairs, intensely interested. ‚We will not get that far. But you will at least begin to learn how to detect where magic has been done and concealed, using your wand. And in the next term, we will start the detection and destruction of old curses.
‚This morning, I have done some magic to a wall in the corridor and then magically concealed it. You will now learn how to find the spot where this was done. You will step out into the corridor one after the other, you will lift your wand, point it at the wall and say ‚Echovellum‘. If then you move the wand slowly over the wall, it will vibrate slightly when pointing at the right spot.‘
The class was brimming with excitement at the end of the lesson.
Lupin, who had seemed very tired over the summer, now gave the impression of being healthier and stronger than he had for years. Ron speculated that probably it was because of Tonks, and indeed, Lupin seemed to be happier than they had ever seen him, and often held hands with Tonks when both thought the students weren´t watching them.
Hermione said that probably Slughorn was in part responsible, though. ‚If he makes Wolfsbane for Lupin and does it very well, he probably feels much better because of that. It must make a large difference if he is – well – tame, at full moon.‘
At this point, predictably, Ron opened his mouth, and Harry nudged him in the ribs to shut him up.
In Transfiguration they started Conjuring up objects from nothing, which was tremendously difficult. All of them felt deeply frustrated when they first were told by Tonks to Conjure up buttons from nothing and then had to realize that they weren´t even able to do that. So these days the lunch breaks of seventh years consisted largely of their sitting in front of the table with strained faces, red and sweating, trying to Conjure up waterdrops, buttons and needles. Friday was marked by Hermione´s triumphant outcry when she had finally Conjured up a tiny button over breakfast, which sadly she could show no one, because a large barn owl swallowed it immediately, obviously taking it for a beetle.
In Potions, after the first lesson Harry had to admit that without the Half-Blood Prince´s Potions book, he would do average or worse. Hermione shot triumphant looks at him when Slughorn praised her Memory Improving Potion, while he only said ‚tsk, tsk‘ over the still bubbling yellow substance Harry had brewed and couldn´t get into his flask.
At the end of the lesson, Harry had a deep frown on his forehead.
‚Will you fetch the book from the Room of Requirement?‘ Hermione asked him doubtfully.
Ron glanced at him hastily. ‚You know that Snape is the Half-Blood Prince. I would not use such a traitor´s book.‘
‚This is interesting.‘ Hermione commented. ‚Both of you told me what a nice bloke the „Prince“ was last year, before you knew who he was. And now he suddenly is a terrible person only because you know that it was Snape. But it has been Snape all along. He did not change, and the book did not change. What is it now? Is he a nice guy, is he a kind of friend to you, Harry? Or is he an enemy? Harry, the world is not all black and white, and people are not either all good or all bad. The ‚Prince‘ is still as talented, and his book is still as ambiguous as last year. Only your perspective has changed. Don´t you see that?‘
‚Of course I see that, Hermione.‘ Harry said, his teeth clenched. ‚I was wrong about him. As was Dumbledore. I will not use the book any more.‘
Hermione stared at him slightly incredulously, then shrugged her shoulders. ‚You say so now that you don´t need it very urgently. It may change.‘
*One slight problem for the school in these days was the mail. They had often received many and strange owls in Hogwarts, especially Harry, who often had received owls from complete strangers who either loved him or hated him or both because of what they had heard and read about him. It had been a nuisance.
But this year was really special – because of Snape. There were articles daily about the fact that the Ministry still hadn´t caught Snape, that they were putting all their efforts into catching him and that still there was no trace of him. And yet simultaneously people seemed not to understand that Snape was not at Hogwarts any more. Every day, they received hundreds of hate letters from all over the world. Many of them were Howlers. Others were bombs, contained acid or other unpleasant substances. No morning went by without at least a few dozen owls flying towards the teacher´s table hastily and with jerky movements, wanting to get rid of what they were carrying as fast as they could. Which was understandable, as what they were carrying was often dangerous. All efforts of Filch to lead the owls for Snape into the dungeon where they would not endanger anyone were in vain. Every morning the teachers had to duck some sendings and Stun others; they had soon found out that when a Howler started to scream the usual ‚Snape, you unspeakable swine, if I ever meet you, I –‘ it was effectively silenced by a Petrificus Charm, which hindered it even from burning a hole into the table. Being at Hogwarts, they all took it as additional exercise and training, but it kept them all only too aware of the deed they all would so very much prefer to forget.
Re: Harry Potter and the Locked Room (HP 7)
Lupin greeted them cheerfully in his old room, which looked much brighter now that he had taken down the grisly pictures of suffering people Snape had hung onto the walls and replaced them by some pictures of Tonks and his family and friends. There was also a glass cage full of Hinkypunks, which looked funny hopping around on one leg, but were quite dangerous, as Ron had experienced once.
They sat down around a table, Lupin cleared it of books and papers with a wave of his wand and conjured up a pot of tea and some cake, and soon they were talking about the serious topic which was on their minds.
‚It is obvious that the whole school is in a kind of shock – the teachers almost more than the students.‘ Lupin remarked. ‚They all trusted Snape. They knew him for so long ... it is horrible for them to think that he betrayed them, that they were so absolutely wrong about him all the time. Especially Dumbledore, of course. His complete confidence about Snape was the true reason why we all trusted Snape.‘
‚And his worst mistake.‘ Harry said reluctantly.
‚Yes. And the mistake which killed him. It is very tragic.‘
‚But how could Professor Dumbledore be completely wrong about him? I can´t believe that.‘ Hermione said. ‚I have thought about it. Maybe Snape was loyal to Dumbledore, but at a certain point the pressure just was too much, so he decided to go over to Voldemort and ... killed Dumbledore.
‚I tend to agree with you.‘ Lupin commented. ‚I absolutely can´t see why Snape ... did it. So I think it is possible that he just snapped. With his role as a double agent he has been under enormous pressure during the last years. Maybe Dumbledore overestimated his strength.‘
Hermione seemed to be very glad that someone thought along similar lines, while Harry and Ron frowned terribly and would have interrupted if Lupin hadn´t been a teacher.
‚Or he could even have been Imperiused by Voldemort, Professor. It is still possible that Snape really is innocent; I mean, if you are Imperiused, you don´t decide for yourself.‘
‚That is true. Harry, could you tell us whether there was anything conspicuous in Snape´s behaviour that night? Apart from the murder – how did Snape behave that evening?‘
Ron frowned at Lupin, and it was with some reluctance that Harry spoke.
‚He took flight as fast as he could, taking the Death Eaters with him. I caught up with Snape on the grounds. But ... I couldn´t do anything against him.‘
‚You duelled with Snape?‘
‚Then you were very fortunate to survive, Harry.‘
‚Yeah. He didn´t even fight back, the cowardly–‘
‚What happened?‘ Lupin interrupted calmly.
‚Well,‘ Harry squirmed on his seat uncomfortably, knowing that Lupin wouldn´t like what he would hear now. ‚First I tried to use a spell ... that could have killed him, and he blocked it. Then ... I tried to use the Cruciatus curse on him, but he was able to block that, too.‘
‚What?!‘ Hermione and Lupin had exclaimed simultaneously.
‚Harry, that was a very bad decision.‘ Lupin said seriously. ‚You should not have tried to torture or kill Snape when instead you could simply have Stupefied him. I must say I am disappointed that you used such means.‘
‚Really, Harry!‘ Hermione said, aghast. ‚I would never have believed that you ... would want to cause another human being pain.‘ She was staring at Harry with very bright eyes as if she was seeing him for the first time.
Harry hastily looked down at his knees. ‚I know it was ... – I was furious! I had just seen him murder Dumbledore!‘
‚Right. What happened then?‘ Lupin asked lightly.
‚Snape held me a sneering lecture on how I was too weak to do the spells. I tried others – to catch him – but he blocked everything. I called him a coward, because he didn´t fight back.‘
‚Strange that he didn´t fight back. Very odd.‘ Lupin was frowning.
‚Then another Death Eater used the Cruciatus curse on me and Snape lifted it from me–‘
‚He lifted it?‘ Ron sounded incredulous.
‚–saying that I belonged to Voldemort.‘
‚Ah, that explains it.‘ Lupin said.
‚But they could have tortured Harry nevertheless, Professor.‘ Hermione commented. ‚Why didn´t he want to torture Harry? He must have been very angry by then, after you had tried to torture and kill him.‘
Harry gave her an angry glance, but then, meeting her eyes, looked away hastily. He thought about what she had just said.
‚No, I don´t think so. He didn´t seem angry. Only when I called him a coward because he had killed Dumbledore. Then he freaked out completely. It was scary. Thank goodness then Buckbeak came and got rid of him. Or Snape would have killed me then, I think.‘
‚He got angry only when you said he was a coward because he had killed Dumbledore?‘ Lupin repeated.
‚I don´t understand this at all. You tried to kill him and to torture him, and he didn´t get angry. He got angry only because of Dumbledore. To me this does not sound as if he had been evil all the time, but as if that night he lost control and did this one horrible deed. Maybe he turned traitor only for one crucial moment.‘ Lupin seemed to be in deep thought.
‚Yes,‘ Hermione said. ‚And he did not do much evil that night either, Professor Lupin.‘
‚Not much evil? Are you mad?‘ Ron burst in. ‚He murdered Dumbledore!‘
‚Yes, Ron, but if you look at it objectively, that was the only evil that Snape did that night.‘
‚He knocked out Flitwick!‘
‚Yes, but he did not kill him. And he could have killed me and Luna easily. He could also have attacked the other teachers and the members of the Order of the Phoenix on his flight, falling into their backs. He could have let the Death Eater torture and kill Harry. And he could have taken Harry with him to Voldemort. He did one of these things.‘
‚I agree that this is very strange.‘ Lupin said slowly. ‚Severus Snape is a highly competent individual, but he seems to be an incredibly incapable Dark Wizard.‘
‚If Snape had been a traitor all along, he could have done so much more evil than he did. He had Harry at his mercy and could have hurt or killed him during six years. Instead he saved Harry´s life a few times. He could have betrayed any of the members of the Order to the Death Eaters, but none of them was betrayed. He could have poisoned me when he made the Wolfsbane potion for me, but he didn´t. And I have worked as a spy for Dumbledore all the time. One word from Severus would have sufficed to have me killed. But Severus never did anything against me, although he hates me. Nor against anyone else from the Order.‘
Hermione was nodding fervently.
‚And, Professor, there is much more he could have done. Snape could have let Dumbledore die when he came back desperately injured in July last year; but instead he healed him. Harry told us. He helped heal Katie, too. And he could have endangered all of us, and especially Harry, by not teaching us well in DADA; but instead he was an excellent teacher, as you confirmed, Professor.‘
Harry and Ron where frowning again.
Lupin looked very thoughtful. ‚It is exceedingly strange. Shortly before ... he disappeared, Snape brewed a large cauldron of Wolfsbane for me. That is the reason why I am so healthy this year – it is brewed perfectly, and the amount is sufficient for many months. And then the next thing he did ... – Maybe we will never understand what happened to Snape that night. After all that I have heard, I am still clinging to the hope that Dumbledore was right about him ... until that terrible night.‘
‚But he stared at Dumbledore with a face full of hatred for a minute and then killed him!‘ Harry exclaimed. The others stared at him like hypnotized.
‚He murdered Dumbledore when he was‘ Harry´s voice was wavering out of control ‚saying his name, pleading.‘
Lupin became very still, and his face blanched. ‚Dumbledore was pleading?‘
‚Yes. He said ... „Severus ... please!“‘
‚No! Dumbledore would never plead for his life!‘ Ron said, his voise rising.
Lupin shook his head slowly. ‚I don´t think so, either. It is ... out of character. Can he possibly have meant something else, Harry? Dumbledore and Snape were staring at each other for a minute, you say?‘
‚Then Dumbledore could have said something Telepathically to Snape.‘ Hermione said.
‚But Snape´s face was full of hatred when he killed him! I saw that! And he blasted him over the ramparts, so strong was his Curse – how´s that for hatred?‘
All of them were silent for a minute, thinking hard.
Then Lupin spoke again, seeming deeply worried.
‚You told us that Dumbledore was ill and weakened from the potion he drank, Harry. It must have been horrible ... ‘
He glanced fleetingly at Harry, who was staring down at his hands.
‚Maybe the potion he drank was really deadly. So maybe ... Dumbledore would have died anyway. – It´s only an idea,‘ Lupin added, as all three had breathed in sharply.
Harry felt his whole body tremble and the blood leave his face.
‚I gave him that potion. Then I would have really killed him.‘
Staring at his knees, feeling the empathetic gaze of the others on him, Harry told Lupin how Dumbledore had first made him swear that he would do anything that Dumbledore might order him to do, and how then Dumbledore had decided to drink the potion himself and ordered Harry to force him to drink, and how Harry had done this.
‚It was horrible.‘ he said. ‚I would much rather have drunken it myself, but I had vowed–‘
Harry looked up into the face of Lupin, which was full of understandig.
‚Harry – It was Dumbledore´s decision. He decided to make you swear to follow his orders, and he alone decided to drink the potion himself. You were incredibly loyal to him. It was his decision. And I am sure he was very proud of how you coped with the horrible dilemma you were in, and how you made the right decision.‘
Lupin suddenly stared at the wall, his gaze unfocused. The others waited for him to speak again.
‚What if Snape had vowed the same thing to Dumbledore? That he would follow every of Dumbledore´s orders?‘
The others stared at him.
Lupin went on hesitatingly.
‚If Dumbledore was dying from the potion, maybe it was ... slow and painful. It is possible that Dumbledore told Snape Telepathically that he was dying slowly, and that he asked him to kill him to end it.‘
Harry felt as if the ground had suddenly opened up at his feet. He was staring at Lupin as if transfixed. Lupin´s eyes were full of understanding and empathy, and he calmly held Harry´s gaze.
‚I don´t believe so.‘ Harry finally said, his voice unsteady. ‚I can´t say whether he was dying. He seemed very weak after drinking that potion. And he was pleading to Snape. That was obvious. But he was still able to swim, and to fly a broomstick. He seemed to be stronger whenever it was really necessary. So I don´t think he was dying.
‚And I simply can´t imagine that he was asking Snape to ... kill him. Why should he ask Snape to do that? There were Malfoy and all those Death Eaters who were only too eager to murder Dumbledore.‘
‚Hmm. That is true. Why should it make any difference if it was Snape who killed him? Well, it was only an idea, and obviously a foolish one. I somehow hoped that Snape had not betrayed Dumbledore. It seems such a cruel last moment of his life, to know that Snape had fooled him ...‘
Lupin fell silent and rubbed his forehead, seemingly in deep thought. Then, after a short glance at Harry, who was very pale, he swiftly changed the topic.
Re: Harry Potter and the Locked Room (HP 7)
At the Orphanage
The following weeks were filled with nothing but extremely hard work; all seventh years spent their days and long evenings with school work, because the teachers set them increasingly more difficult papers and tasks. Ron moaned about the fact that Lupin, as kind as he was as a person, made them work like slaves, precisely like Snape. ‚Is he trying to replace him, or what?‘
Hermione shrugged impatiently. ‚You should be grateful he knows what he´s doing as a teacher and makes us work so we will be able to pass our N.E.W.T.s with good grades.‘
Harry, Ron and Hermione spent a lot of time in the library these days, searching for information either for the increasingly difficult papers they had to write or on how to destroy powerful magical objects. Harry would have much preferred to search for the Locket Horcrux, but as he had absolutely no idea how he could do that, he followed Hermione´s suggestion to prepare for finding and destroying the other Horcruxes instead.
As they were sitting in the library one evening, doing research on how to destroy a ghost, spirit or other kind of imprint of a soul, they encountered the problem which had been haunting them between the shelves since the beginning of term. It was very difficult to concentrate while one heard loud snuffling sounds from Madama Pince, especially as she used to prowl between the rows of bookshelves while crying. Up til now that had never mention it among each other because it seems somehow indecent, but now Harry couldn´t stand it any more.
He sighed and whispered. ‚I never knew that she was so attached to Dumbledore.‘
‚Well, obviously she was.‘ Hermione answered very quietly. ‚She has been a complete mess ever since his death. I am really sorry for her. Only it´s a pity we can´t ask her anything at the moment, as she only starts crying if anyone tries to speak to her. She is an extremely competent librarian. Well, I hope she will get over her mourning soon.‘
Harry tried to have a look at Madame Pince, who had just swept by in her black robe, but was unsuccessful. He lowered his voice. ‚You don´t think she was ... attached to Dumbledore, do you? I mean, she isn´t young, but even elder people sometimes ...‘
‚No.‘ Hermione said decisively. ‚I agree that it is a bit strange how deeply distressed she is, but I don´t believe that is the reason.‘
‚Ah, she must have known Dumbledore for a long time, isn´t it?‘ Ron threw in. ‚I mean, she looks like what? Seventy years old? Probably she´s been here about forever.‘
‚No.‘ Hermione answered. ‚I heard that she got this position only sventeen years ago. They had a ghost as librarian before, but it seems he didn´t do very much.‘ She hesitated for a moment. ‚And it´s possible her being distressed isn´t only about Dumbledore.‘
‚What do you mean?‘ Harry asked her.
‚Er ... you know I always went here relatively often.‘
‚Yes, we always wondered why you came back to sleep in Gryffindor tower at all.‘ Ron threw in casually.
‚Well, it is possible that she is also deeply distressed about Snape being a traitor. I noticed that Snape came here very often, even for a teacher.‘
‚Yeah, Snape was always reading. He disliked people and instead liked books. We know that.‘
‚Well, he always talked to Madame Pince when he came here, and mostly in such a way that no one could overhear them. And he was always very polite and friendly towards her. I think Madame Pince and Snape were friends.‘
‚You don´t mean ...?‘
‚Only friends, Ron – she is thirty years older than he is. I think both were extremely reticent and lonely, interested mostly in books, so they had a lot in common.‘
‚Yeah, and both are more than a bit sinister, sweeping around like vultures with those noses. We are talking about Snape here, Hermione. Do you really have empathy with her?‘
‚Yes, I do. And the two of you should really begin to learn not to judge people from their appearance. I observed that Madama Pince is a very competent witch. She knows very much about most of the subjects the books here are about, which is more than can be said of many teachers we have had here, and certainly more than can be said about you.‘
She lifted her nose haughtily while simultaneously gazing down into her book again.
Ron murmured something which sounded to Harry like ‚Girls.‘
*The first weeks and months of term were quite difficult for Harry from an entirely different reason than studies, teachers, Horcruxes or even Voldemort – Ginny. He was still deeply in love with her, and with them not being together any more, and this resulting from his own decision, his heart ached every time he saw her or only heard her voice. It was not made easier by Ginny´s reaction. It was very obvious that her feelings for him also were as strong as they ever had been. She was pale and much less cheerful than usual. Both tried to keep from each other how much they really were suffering, but loving each other as they did, each felt the pain of the other clearly, and it added to their burden.
Harry thought of Ginny often, and meanwhile he saw clearly that probably the worst for him was his fear that she might go out with someone else. He watched her jealously for weeks, then felt how idiotic this really was and decided instead to talk to her about his fear. So he asked her for a word one day in the empty common room.
‚I did not want to talk to you about this,‘ he began, ‚but it is driving me nuts. I just have to tell you that though we are ... not together now ... I still love you ... very much. And when I think that you could go out with someone else now–‘
‚Harry, no,‘ she interrupted him. ‚I won´t go out with anyone else.‘
He looked into her clear blue eyes, felt his own burn with the pain he was experiencing, and held himself forcefully back from taking her into his arms.
‚You know that I love you, Harry. And that won´t change. I will wait for you. I will wait until you have done what you have to do. When you have conquered Voldemort, I will be waiting for you, Harry.‘
Her eyes were wet and glowing now, and he had to restrain himself violently while he felt his heart beat strongly and expand in his chest.
‚I am so glad. But you know that I may ... not survive this fight.‘
‚I am aware of it. But I hope you will. No one can ever persuade me to think you don´t have a chance to survive, Harry. It is unthinkable for me that you could die. There is no world without you for me. So for me you will survive. And then I will be there for you. And then we will be together.‘
She gave him a glowing look, and he felt his eyes and his heart melt. He pressed her hand, then hastily turned around and left the room, before he could do what he was longing for.
*A man was looking down on him, staring into his eyes as if wanting to hypnotize him. ‚No.‘ He did not want this.
‚Yes. You have to do it. You have to kill me. You promised to follow every order I give you.‘
The blue eyes were staring into his, their gaze penetrating, reading his very thoughts and feelings. No! He would not do this. It could not be. Dumbledore ordering to kill him. Suddenly, a terrible voice came from Dumbledore´s mouth. ‚Kill me! Kill me!‘
He recoiled in horror. This could not be reality. It must be a horrible dream. Dumbledore could not be weak, vanquished, dying, asking him to end his life, begging him for his death. It could not be. His mind was racing. Why was he here? He stared at the ancient face, distorted with pain, at the hypnotic eyes. They were dark, their pupils enormous – they looked almost black.
Those dark eyes – what was the matter? He was staring into the eyes of someone else, someone with black eyes, someone he knew. ‚You have to kill me. There is no other way. Do it now. Kill me.‘ The eyes were cold and glittering, staring at him, seeing his innermost thoughts, tearing at his soul. No. He did not want to do it. He couldn´t. He mustn´t. Everything would be lost if he gave in to what those eyes were asking of him. But their black stare was irresistible, he felt his soul give in to their will. The voice was soft and whispery. It penetrated directly into his soul. He felt himself tend to follow its suggestion.
‚I have to sacrifice myself, so your soul will be tarnished. Your soul will be torn and weak.‘ Those eyes saw everything he was thinking and feeling; it was so much easier to follow those eyes and the voice, to give in to that imperious will forcing itself on him. It was so much easier than to fight. But something inside him was still fighting, still resisting.
‚Kill me now!‘ – No, he would rather die than do that. ‚NO!‘
With a gulp like a diver breaking through the surface of the water, he came to his senses. A narrow beam of moonlight was shining in between the hangings and onto his bed. The sheets were wound round his body, wet with perspiration as was his face. He heaved a deep sigh and stood up very quietly, not to disturb Ron and the others.
Re: Harry Potter and the Locked Room (HP 7)
One rainy and stormy day in November, there was another letter for Harry, brought by a magnificent large black barn owl who was very wet and splattered them all with raindrops. The letter was in R.A.B.s handwriting again, as Harry saw when he opened it in a corner of the corridor on the way to their first lesson.
the next Horcrux is at the orphanage.
Go there tonight.
Remember how strong your friendship is.
‚The moon is full.‘ Hermione said. So Professor Lupin can´t come with us tonight. I wonder if R.A.B. knows that?‘
‚At least he mentions friendship.‘ Ron said. ‚Maybe this means that we three have to go, because we are friends?‘ He looked at Harry uncertainly.
‚It sounds like it; and I would be very glad if you come with me.‘ Harry said immediately.
It took the three of them all of their breaks to find out the address of the orphanage Tom Riddle had grown up in. After dinner, they told McGonagall shortly that they would leave Hogwarts for a while, to which she nodded abruptly while her eyes were full of worry, then they left the school grounds and Apparated to the street where the orphanage had been.
The orphanage had obviously not been in use for the last few decades. It was not much more than a ruin now. They opened the squeaking door as silently as they could, then collapsed in coughing fits on the stairs inside the building. There was a lot of dust everywhere. Harry, who had seen the way in a memory in the Pensieve, led them to where he thought Tom Riddle´s room had been. It really was where he thought it should be. They entered the room with drawn wands, but the most remarkable thing inside was the wardrobe Dumbledore had set afire in the memory Harry had seen. It had half collapsed from old age.
They looked around and thought.
‚Hermione,‘ Harry asked, suddenly inspired. ‚What spell would you use to make this wardrobe burn without destroying it?‘
‚Mhm. That would be „Torchia!“ ‘ Hermione answered, and jumped hastily back when the wardrobe burst into flames. Harry had used the spell nonverbally. Thus the wardrobe burned magnificently for a while, but sadly, nothing else happened. Harry put out the fire again and looked at the wardrobe. Nothing had changed at all, except that it was very hot now, heating the cold room.
Harry frowned. ‚Well, if it had been so easy, Dumbledore would have found the entrance years ago. Why didn´t he?‘
They all scrutinized the wardrobe critically.
‚Maybe it is Parseltongue again? That is the only thing Dumbledore can not do, isn´t it?‘
‚True.‘ Harry racked his brains. ‚I used the „open“ a few times already; probably it is something else here. I will try to tell the wardrobe to burn in Parseltongue. That might be the solution – only Voldemort and Dumbledore knew about that incident, and of those two only Voldemort knew Parseltongue. But now there is me.‘
He concentrated on the image of a snake and then spoke to the wardrobe. To the others what came out of his mouth sounded simply like hissing.
The wardrobe erupted in green flames. Harry smiled, feeling that he had found the solution. Something interesting was happening to the wardrobe now – the flames disappeared, it unfolded, and in its stead there appeared an enormour doorframe. Instead of a door there was what looked like black light filling it. It wasn´t possible to see beyond this glowing veil.
When Harry wanted to step through the veil, Hermione breathed in sharply and said ‚I think you shouldn´t.‘, but Harry was already stepping through the veil, which felt like a very cold, sharp wind, and on the other side.
‚It´s OK, I´m fine‘, he shouted, and heard Ron and Hermione follow.
And then, one second too late, Harry knew. It had been a terrible mistake. Those two were really his enemies, the most dangerous fiends he had ever met, and would attack him now. Already, the face of Ron was distorted with hatred. Harry whipped out his wand and pointed it at Ron, who was baring his teeth, snarling at him: ‚You will not! It is me, you understand? I will fight you!‘ and pointed his wand into Harry´s face. The face of Hermione was also distorted with anger. She was screeching: ‚How dare you! I will not let you attack me! I will fight you, and I will win! I am much cleverer than you!‘ She seemed uncertain whether to attack Ron or Harry first, and Ron seemed momentarily confused by what she had said, which gave Harry the chance to fire a spell first of all.
But suddenly, a voice inside him said clearly, though quietly: ‚They are my friends.‘ Harry felt the wand shake in his hand, as if it was trying to sink and raise at the same time. He heard himself say: ‚No. This is not true. We are friends.‘ Hermione was peering at him as if she was almost blind and could hardly see him. ‚Harry?‘ she said uncertainly. ‚But you would never attack me. It only seems as if. But you can´t be my enemy. We are friends.‘ She let her wand sink. Ron looked very confused and excited, as if in a high fever. Then suddenly he let his wand sink, too, and it emitted some sparks which glowed on the floor. ‚It isn´t true!‘ Harry exclaimed. ‚We think the others are our enemies in this room; but it isn´t true. We mustn´t believe it. Remember our friendship, Ron, Hermione. We are friends. We would die for each other. We are friends. Come on.‘
Decisively, Harry turned his back onto the other two, though this was very difficult at the moment, and lifted one foot to walk a step towards the exit of this room. It was enormously difficult to go on, knowing the other two were behind him where he couldn´t watch them, but he knew that he had to do this. One step further, he was almost touching the white veil inside the next archway. Then he was inside the archway – something like a hot desert wind blew all around him – the next moment he was through the archway.
He turned and saw Hermione, then Ron appear, intense confusion on their faces.
‚That was horrible!‘ Ron exclaimed. ‚I thought you were my enemies and would attack me, try to kill me!‘
Hermione nodded sadly. ‚I guess most people would kill each other when they are inside this room. But our close friendship saved us. How horrible. We could have murdered each other!‘
They all were silent for some moments, before uncertainly looking into each other´s faces again.
Harry felt that there were tears in his eyes.
‚But we would never kill each other, Hermione.‘ Ron said. ‚We are real friends. I would die willingly every moment to protect you or Harry. And I know you would do the same for me. We are friends, and we will be as long as we live.‘
Ron seemed very embarrassed, but also deeply moved, and as happy as Harry felt. At this moment Harry knew that the most wonderful thing he had in his life, the most wonderful thing anyone could have, was his friendships. He swallowed, looked up into Ron´s face, which was full of emotion, said ‚Truest thing, I ever heard, mate‘, and embraced Ron shortly. Then they went on, and stopped after a few steps.
Directly in front of them was a black door with curved sides. It looked as if it was made from stone. They all scrutinized it using their wand lights.
‚Something´s written here.‘ Harry finally said. ‚It seems to say „secundum offertum“. What does that mean? Does it mean two sacrifices, or the second sacrifice?‘
‚I don´t know, but I don´t like this.‘ Hermione said. ‚Maybe we should turn back?‘
‚No. No way.‘ Ron said. ‚We have come this far now. Who knows whether we will be able ever again to pass that room without killing each other. If we had brought anyone else, there would have been bloodshed. So we have a unique chance now. And we are three. So even if one of us dies ...‘
Hermione looked frightened and very doubtful.
‚I think Harry should go last.‘ She said finally.
‚On no account.‘ Harry said quickly. ‚This is really my assignment, and I will take the risks here. I will go first, so we see what happens. You consented to my being the leader here, so please accept this decision. I am already responsible for the deaths of a few people. Sirius, Cedric – both of them would still live if I had taken different decisions. I don´t want to see anyone else die instead of me. Never again. I will go first.‘
‚Right.‘ said Ron. ‚I´ll go as second.‘
Hermione hesitated. ‚You don´t know which decisions will save our lives, Harry. You can only try to make the best decisions, and still someone could die.‘
‚Yes.‘ Harry said heavily. ‚But ... both of you, and some more people could have died because I took a stupid decision last year. It was sheer luck that all of us except Sirius survived. I risked all of your lives without even thinking about it. I never want to do something as stupid again. It seems to be most dangerous to go first, so I will do that.‘
He walked up to the door, raised his wand and said ‚Alohomora.‘ The door opened slowly. The room behind it was in complete darkness. Somehow it felt dangerous; they all sensed it. Harry took a deep breath and stepped through the door. Nothing happened. His wand lightened the room slightly, and he took another step forwards. He just opened his mouth to say something when Ron moved into the doorframe and a flash of lightning struck him. Hermione screamed; Ron, whose eyes were closed, fell towards Harry and into the room.
‚No. Oh no.‘ Harry heard himself murmur frantically. He bowed over the prostrate figure of Ron, who seemed to be either deeply unconscious or dead. Harry hardly noticed how Hermione stepped over the threshold, too, and bowed over Ron.
‚Is he dead?‘
‚I don´t know. I think he is unconscious. But I´m not sure.‘
They spent some minutes there with Ron, trying to find a pulse, but only feeling their own hammering pulse in their fingertips. At last, Harry found a pulse, but it was very weak. Hermione was sobbing quietly.
‚We can´t go on.‘ Harry finally said. ‚We have to take Ron back and to St. Mungo´s as fast as possible.‘
‚No.‘ Hermione said, her eyes full of tears, but in a decisive voice.
Harry stared at her.
‚Ron sacrificed himself so we two could go on. Do you want to throw this away and sacrifice yourself next time? That would be idiotic. We have to go on now. We have come so far; we will go on.‘
Re: Harry Potter and the Locked Room (HP 7)
Harry reflected for a moment, then nodded. He raised his wand and lifted Ron up with ‚Mobilicorpus‘, and they went on through this room and into another corridor.
Then there came another door. Harry shuddered slightly, then opened it using his wand, and had to shield his eyes from the brightness at the first moment.
They were standing in a large, round room which was very high and brightly lit by thousands of candles. In the middle of the room there was a round pool filled with water, on whose surface strange, pink lights were dancing. Harry stared at the pool, but suddenly saw something shimmer in the middle of the room, high in the air – something which was dark red and sparkled. The pink lights on the surface of the water were only reflections of the reddish beams of light this object was sending through the room. Harry looked at it with full concentration – it seemed to be a large jewel, dark red, and shaped like a heart.
Harry sighed deeply. ‚It is a beautiful red jewel.‘
He moved Ron into the room and layed him down.
It took Hermione a few minutes, even with Harry pointing at it over her shoulder, to make out the jewel. Then she gasped. ‚It is so beautiful! How can such a wonderful object be something as horrible as a Horcrux? I hope we won´t need to destroy it.‘
‚I doubt whether we would be able to destroy it, Hermione. It might be a diamond, and they are the hardest substance of all.‘
But the first problem was how to get the jewel. They spent ten minutes with trying every spell to get it, free it from curses, analyze it or get closer to it – all without any success. There seemed to be no curse on it they could identify, but still the jewel was hanging in the air, fifty feet from the ground, and that was it.
‚Let´s sit down.‘ Hermione finally said. ‚I have to think.
‚What we want is the jewel to come down towards us. There is gravity, which it doesn´t react to. There is the pool beneath it, with water, or at least some fluid, reflecting the lights from the jewel. Beams from the jewel fall into every direction, but only those which touch the water are reflected there. What we need is to construct a spell which does draw the jewel towards those reflections, those beams which have a longer life than the other beams. Right.‘
‚Hermione, what are you doing?‘
‚I am doing Arithmancy. I know you were never interested in Arithmancy, but it will enable me to construct a spell which will bring the jewel down here. But really, you should at least know that Arithmancy is the science of constructing new spells, Harry! We first analyze the situation, drawing information from it; then we use this information to create a new spell which does what we need in this situation. It is precisely what your Prince – sorry, I mean, you know who, used to construct new spells.‘
It took Hermione a long time, during which she murmured frantically to herself, writing words and strange symbols onto a piece of parchment she had conjured up for herself, and now and then waving her wand around in different ways, uttering strange syllables most of which Harry had never heard.
Five minutes later: ‚Descecho –. Mm. Descecholeor. No.‘
A few more minutes later: ‚Reconcilo echoleus. Yes, that must be the solution.‘
She stood up and pointed the wand at the jewel. ‚Come here, Harry, you´ll have to catch the jewel; after all, you´re the Seeker here.
‚Reconcilo echoleus! Harry, look!‘ She had finally done it. Harry fixed the jewel, hoping fervently that it would not fall into the fluid towards which it was now gently floating, downwards. He narrowed his eyes, estimated the jewel´s movement, waited, all muscles tense, while the jewel sank lower and lower, came closer and closer to the shining surface; he waited until the last possible moment, then jumped – he felt the jewel in his hand, scrambled to come down onto solid ground ... – he felt the ground under his feet, and let himself fall onto his back, the red jewel safely in his hand.
‚Are you all right, Harry? Doesn´t it do anything?‘ Hermione was breathless with excitement.
‚No. There seems to be no curse on it. At least none which is activated by touching it. This is no ordinary jewel, Hermione – I think it is a diamond.‘
Hermione looked at the precious stone. ‚It is blood red. If this is a diamond, it must be something very special, Harry. A Red Diamond – it seems unbelievable. – But now let´s get out of here and to St. Mungo´s as fast as possible.‘
Hermione used ‚Mobilicorpus‘ on Ron and steered his hovering body carefully with her wand. Thus they walked back without any more incidents, then went through the door which brought them back into the orphanage. Meanwhile both Harry and Hermione were tired, but they hurried through the corridors of the orphanage as fast as they could, thinking mostly of Ron.
Suddenly, a violet light shot at Harry, who was barely able to jump aside to escape it.
‚We are being attacked!‘ he said amazed, then peered very carefully around a corner into another corridor. ‚At least five Death Eaters!‘
Harry raised his wand and sent his patronus with a message to McGonagall. This time they really needed help, or the Death Eaters would surely kill them.
Harry murmured ‚Nox!‘ to darken his wand, then they went on as silently as they could, trying to get to the exit with Ron.
‚Don´t you think we can Apparate from this building?‘ Hermione whispered into Harry´s ear.
‚I´d rather not try,‘ Harry answered. ‚Better fight against Death Eaters than end up as scrambled eggs because of an anti-Apparation jinx from Voldemort.‘
There were running footsteps behind them, coming closer and closer. Then another corner, which they rounded. Now they could already see what must be the front door of the building. Suddenly this door flew open. Standing in the door frame, lit from behind by the light of the full moon, was Minerva McGonagall, three other shadowy figures visible behind her.
A blue light streaked over Harry´s head and missed one of the newly arrived wizards by inches. In the bluish light, Harry recognized Tonks, Professor Flitwick, Mad-Eye Moody and, to his surprise, Ginny and Neville. A moment later Harry and Hermione whirled around to confront the Death Eaters.
The fight became ferocious within a minute. There were what seemed to be seven or eight Death Eaters, some of them attacking from inside the building, some from the garden of the orphanage.
‚Disperse! Out of here!‘ McGonagall shouted decisively, and those who were next to the door, Harry and Neville among them, went through it, followed by two of the Death Eaters.
Tonks was dueling fiercely against a Death Eater in the pale moon light, both of their wands blurred. McGonagall had just Stunned one death Eater and was now attacking the next. Neville and Harry turned on their heels and saw another Death Eater jump over the threshold of the orphanage, then laugh shrilly. It was Bellatrix Lestrange. Both of them ducked even lower instinctively, separating to take her on from two directions. ‚Lestrange!‘ Harry roared, enormous anger boiling up inside him. She had murdered Sirius, and she had tortured Neville´s parents into madness. He wanted to catch her; he wanted her thrown in to Azkaban or even dead. While she ripped her hood from her head and opened her mouth, seemingly to throw derisions at them, Harry had shouted ‚Sectumsempra!‘. Bellatrix shrieked in pain. Her right arm was bleeding.
Neville pointed his wand at her and shouted ‚Crucio!‘, but the wand was shaking so badly in his excitement that he missed her.
‚No unforgivable curses, Neville, better use others!‘ Harry shouted, remembering how he himself had never been able to use such curses successfully.
Bellatrix was aiming at Neville now, whose wand was pointing directly at her chest. Harry took aim at Bellatrix again, precisely at her heart, and shouted ‚Stupefy!‘. He saw his spell streak towards her and at the same moment saw more light fly towards her from other directions; Bellatrix suddenly seamed to glow in a strange reddish light, and Harry understood that Neville had fired a spell at her simultaneously; the next second Bellatrix fell down into the grass.
His wand held at the ready, Harry very carefully approached Bellatrix. Her face still looked very angry, and her body was strangely rigid, like a statue. But she was clearly dead. Next to him was Neville, who stared at Bellatrix, and whose eyes widened. ‚She is dead!‘
They separated hastily and turned towards the other Death Eaters. Harry asked himself whether Snape was among them. It had been more or less an accident that he and Neville had killed Bellatrix, but he was longing to kill Snape. His hatred for Snape was even more intense than that against Voldemort. It was his destiny to kill Voldemort, but it was his desire to kill Snape. If he could only perceive whether Snape was among them! Meanwhile the garden was full of Death Eaters. There must be at least eight of them, but it was impossible to identify any of them in the ferocious fight. The members of the Order of the Phoenix were outnumbered. And it was obvious that they were losing.
Ginny came around the corner of the building, followed by a large Death Eater who was firing spells at her. Harry was much too far away from her to help her and saw with despair how she barely was able to duck one spell after the other. They came near some more fighting people. Ginny fired a spell at the Death Eater, but he was able to block it. The Death Eater aimed at her again, hurrying towards her; then he suddenly tripped and fell down. Ginny aimed at him swiftly, fired a spell and gave a shout of triumph. Her face was glowing, and she turned towards the next Death Eater.
Suddenly, Harry heard a shout mere yards behind him, and when he looked around he saw Hermione be hit by a spell and fly upwards and back, her arms spread wide, then fall. Harry felt his mouth open to shout ‚NO!‘, but couldn´t hear anything. His feet were carrying him towards the place where Hermione had fallen as fast as he could. Then he felt something hit him in the back. There was a moment when the world seemed to stop; the grassy ground, blue in the pale moonlight, came towards him very slowly. Then all turned dark.
A head with a lot of hair was bowing over him, but it was very indistinct. All around them there was silence.
‚Reparo. Here, Harry, your spectacles.‘ Hermione was crying.
Having put on his spectacles, Harry tried to sit up. It felt as if his head would split from the movement, but this way he could see Hermione with some moonlight on her face. ‚Ron?‘
‚We don´t know whether he will survive yet. He is deeply unconscious ... or ... dying. We sent him to St. Mungo´s. I hope they can help him.‘
Harry took Hermione into his arms, where she cried for some minutes.
‚Is anyone else ...?‘ He didn´t dare end the sentence.
‚Moody is dead. Every one else survived more or less unhurt. We were incredibly lucky.‘ She sniffed loudly.
Both scrambled to their feet together. The heaven was already turning lighter in the east, and it was extremely quiet. There were houses around them, but all were empty, waiting for the morning, when Muggles would come to their work, knowing nothing about the ferocious fight that had taken place here tonight.
Re: Harry Potter and the Locked Room (HP 7)
Some hours later, having visited Ron, about whose condition the healers could say nothing more substantial than that he was still alive, Harry, Hermione, Neville and Ginny were sitting in the Gryffindor common room together. It was Saturday and very quiet in the common room at this early hour. Both Hermione and Ginny had very red eyes, and Hermione was clutching Crookshanks, her enormous ginger cat, tightly in her arms.
They had talked everything through a few times. How McGonagall, being unable to contact any members of the Order outside the School, had alarmed Neville, thinking, she had said, ‚that he would be very willing, and very able to help.‘ It seemed Neville had grown at least two inches during the night, and his eyes were gleaming in the early morning light.
They had also discussed obsessively how Bellatrix Lestrange seemed to have died from the combination of two spells by a strange concidence ‚Normally, no one dies from two simple spells, but ... well – it was an accident, and she is dead.‘ McGonagall had commented. The officials from the Ministry had been surprised and content to find Bellatrix Lestrange´s corpse in the garden of the orphanage and taken her away with them.
And they had discussed Moody´s death, which Hermione had observed. He had fought two of the Death Eaters at once, and as he was not very agile on the uneven grassy ground with his wooden leg, one of them had it him in the back with an Avada Kedavra.
All in all, they had been incredibly lucky during the fight – and this time without any Felix Felicis. They had encountered eight extremely dangerous Death Eaters, and still most of the members of the Order and the students had survived without any serious injuries. Harry had been Stunned and lain in the grass for a few minutes, seemingly unnoticed by everyone, until Hermione found him, but none of the other students had been hurt at all.
And how they had won was a complete mystery to them. ‚One minute we were losing, and I thought we might all die, and the next minute, the Death Eaters were withdrawing.‘ Ginny had said. ‚One of them fell, then another, and then they somehow melted away, as if realizing that it became too dangerous for them. One after the other Disapparated. But I don´t know how we were able to defeat them. – Well, it doesn´t matter really, does it?‘ Ginny fell silent, and they all seemed to be thinking the same thought – the only thing that really mattered now was that Ron survived and got well again.
Harry looked at Hermione, who seemed only slowly to be realizing what had happened that night and seemed very sad and extremely exhausted. The price for getting this Horcrux had been much too high. Neville stood up and went down to take breakfast, persuading Ginny to come with him. Harry, glancing around to find the common room empty, put his hand into the inside pocket of his robe. ‚I ask myself whether the jewel–‘ – he drew his eyebrows together and scrambled around in the pocket.
‚Harry? Have you lost it?‘ Hermione was suddenly completely awake and staring at him, her eyes wide open. Crookshanks started to squirm, and she let him settle on her lap.
‚That can´t be. It was in my inside pocket, the pocket for my wand. It can´t have fallen out, the pocket is much too deep.‘
He searched first this pocket, then all his other pockets, then the floor. After five minutes, he resignedly admitted that he had to search for the Horcrux in the orphanage and its garden. This was how he spent the rest of this horrible day. But it was all to no avail. The Horcrux, having been retrieved with such enormous difficulty and for such a high price, had disappeared without a trace.
Re: Harry Potter and the Locked Room (HP 7)
The next day Harry did what he had sworn to himself he would never do. They had received an owl by Mrs. Weasley, telling them that Ron´s state was unchanged. He was deeply unconscious. The Healers did not know anything about why he was that way or how to change it. They would try all the usual remedies and some new ones, but could not tell them even how the chances stood. It was possible that Ron would die, too. Having read this letter, which was tear stained, Harry jumped up and streaked out of the Great Hall, while Hermione stared after him with a wet face.
He walked in front of the wall opposite the Trolls in ballet attire with a frown on his face. ‚I need to get into the store room. I need to get into the store room. I need to get into the store room.‘ When he turned for the last time, the door was there. Heaving a sigh of relief, he opened the door and stormed into the cathedral-sized room with alleys and towers of things broken, stolen or dangerous. To the left here, then to the right*– Harry broke into a run. If the Prince could not help him – he checked himself. The book had been written in by Severus Snape. True. But there had been many useful hints in it, and he had never read the last two chapters. Maybe there was something about how to awaken someone from a state of deep unsconsciousness.
He stared up to the bust of the ugly Warlord with the wig and tiara. Looked a bit like Snape really. Harry felt a bitter smile on his face. With a jerk, he opened the door of the cupboard; he moved his arm behind the cage with the five-legged skeleton and – there the book was. He let go of a breath he hadn´t known he had held and took the book out. ‚This book is the property of the Half-Blood Prince‘ in Snape´s cramped writing. He tucked the book under his arm and broke into a run, his bag banging against his shoulder; he would already be too late for Charms.
During the following days Harry studied the Half-Blood Prince´s Potions book very thoroughly. He finally read the last chapters with all the notes written on the margins – they were very interesting, but there was nothing about deep unconsciousnessor mysterious lightnings, black or otherwise, in them. It felt extremely strange now to read the book, knowing that it was Snape´s, knowing that the person whom he had considered as a friend during the last year was, indeed, Snape, whom he hated so much that he wanted to see him dead. There were times when he noticed that his hand lay on the book as if by his touch he wanted to ask it how this was possible. He kept the book.
*When the next Hogsmeade Sunday came, the weather was horrible, with heavy rain and a nasty wind as cold as ice. Harry and Hermione bought some sweets and quills, but really were more interested in getting an opportunity to talk about things. Harry felt it to be more and more urgent to understand how two of the Horcruxes had been lost, and even more, how he could retrieve them. They had to get away from the other students to talk without being overheard, so they decided to go to the Hog´s Head.
As usual, the rusty sign creaked on its hinges, and as usual it smelled strongly of goat inside. Remembering the grey bearded barman´s habits considering the cloth he wiped the glasses with, they ordered butterbeer, which came in bottles. The Hog´s Head was nearly empty at the moment, with only one person muffled in a heavy shawl who looked as if he might be a vampire sitting in a corner, and a hag at the bar, eating something with her fingers which Harry and Hermione preferred not to look at too closely. Instead they took a first swig from their butterbeers.
‚It is incredible.‘ Harry said, a bit louder than he had intended from his excitement. ‚We have found two Horcruxes, and we have lost two people. Dumbledore is dead, and Ron is unconscious. And now it transpires that we don´t have a Horcrux at all, but lost them both. It is maddening. If only I knew how the red jewel disappeared! It must have happened while I was unconscious, but how could it be stolen? I mean, it is a large red heartshaped jewel, probably a diamond and very valuable–‘ Harry noticed the barman´s head fly up and talked more quietly, ‚but how could anyone know that I had it? No one knows anything about all that. No one could know that I had it in my pocket. It must have been a Death Eater filching my pockets who found it. Which probably means that Voldemort knows I am after his Horcruxes now.‘
This was about the twentieth time that Harry sad all this to Hermione, who therefore only nodded silently, looking almost as depressed as Harry felt.
‚Forgive the intrusion.‘ The tall, lanky barman with the long grey hair and beard was suddenly standing at their table as if he had popped up from the ground.
‚I could not avoid overhearing what you just said, and I might have some information for you. May I ...?‘
Harry looked at the barman with deep mistrust. There was something vaguely familiar about his face and stature, but the Hog´s Head was such an awful shack that he could hardly trust this individual. Nevertheless, he waved at him to take a seat, which the barman took.
‚I heard you were talking about a red diamond in the shape of a heart.‘ he said very quietly, fixing Harry with light blue eyes. ‚Obviously you do not know what it is, but I do. It belonged to my brother, or to be more precise, he created it. I see that you still don´t recognize me for who I am. May I introduce myself, Miss Granger, Mr. Potter? I am Aberforth Dumbledore.‘
Both of them simply gaped at him, their mouths slightly open. That was, of course, why the tall, lanky stature and face with a long nose and light blue eyes had seemed so familiar to Harry. Once he had heard it, the family resemblance was obvious, though Aberforth´s hair was grey and his nose was almost straight.
‚You are Dumbledore´s brother?‘ Hermione asked incredulously.
Harry added internally that Dumbledore had once claimed Aberforth could not read; now it seemed to him that it might really have been a joke. Aberforth looked anything but stupid at the moment, scrutinizing them out of sharp light blue eyes.
‚That I am indeed. Very inofficially, though. The person Aberforth Dumbledore ceased to exist, so to speak, many years ago, after Albus very barely was able to get me out of Azkaban before I would have lost my mind. Since then, twenty years ago, I am only known as the barman of the Hog´s head. I had been framed by Death Eaters, you see. They knew that I was Albus´ most important informant, moving among the shadier elements of society as I did. So they arranged an extremely nasty incident with a goat and ... – well, I prefer not to talk about it. That day, they took away my pub, my freedom, my honour, and they almost got my mind, too. It was very unpleasant in Azkaban, and if Albus had not dared to go there and help me to break out, I would certainly have lost it in the months to come. Since then, I live and work here. It was always an additional protection for me to be so close to the school and ... Albus.‘
He sighed and gave them a short, uncertain glance. ‚And of course, I became an important source of information for Albus again. But–‘ he gave them an intense look. ‚You don´t want to hear an old man´s waffle. You want to hear about the Diamond, and I think indeed that you should hear about it. As fas as I know, it is the only Red Diamond in the world. Albus created it for his wife, and a long and arduous work it was, he told me. Took him months of studies and then eight weeks work to make it.‘
Hermione and Harry were staring open mouthed at him again.
‚Ah, you didn´t know that Albus was married, did you? Well, with such a very long life as his, it might be understandable that he was married some time ago. Leonore her name was, a very beautiful woman with floating blond hair, and they loved each other deeply. Albus especially ... – so much love inside him ... .‘ He gave them another of his short glances, while Harry felt his throat tighten. ‚He created the Diamond while they were engaged and gave it to Leonore for their betrothal. It was in the shape of a heart and had the magical ability to absorb and give off love. It is unique. When–‘ It seemed Aberforth had to swallow. ‚when Leonore died – I thought it would kill Albus, too, then, he was suffering so much – anyway, then her daughter inherited the Diamond.‘
‚Dumbledore had ... a daughter?‘ Hermione asked quietly.
‚Oh, yes, yes, certainly. Laurie. I always thought it was for her that Albus survived the loss of his wife. He loved his dughter. And a very beautiful young lady she became. Sadly, she died shortly after the birth of her child. Dark wizards killed her ... because she was Dumbledore´s daughter.‘
‚Yes, it is a very sad story indeed. Even now–‘ Aberforth wiped his eyes with one hand. ‚I prefer not to think of it. Poor Albus, he suffered terribly at that time. So we lost count of things at that point a bit, you know. There were much more important things to think about than diamonds. So Albus never even knew that the Diamond had disappeared. It seems almost incredible that Voldemort got it. A bit pointless, too, as Albus didn´t know about this. But knowing how obsessed Voldemort was with Albus, is does make sense that he took something which had been so important to Albus.‘ He frowned. ‚So you should know that the Diamond is connected with Albus. That is the most important information I can give you at the moment.‘
The hag seemed to be wanting to leave, and Aberforth stood up and went back to the bar.
Re: Harry Potter and the Locked Room (HP 7)
The next weeks were spent in frantic work again. December had come, the exams were getting closer and closer, and all seventh year students worked extremely hard. Harry additionally worked very hard to learn even more spells for his hunt for the Horcruxes. Nagged by Hermione, he also did serious research about large snakes and how to fight them for the encounter with Nagini he would one day have.
And he followed his own obsession on the side, which was to try to find the two lost Horcruxes. He found out everything he could about every wizard with the initials R.A.B. of the last two centuries. He learned everything about Sirius´ brother, as he had those initials. Professor McGonagall used to groan now every time she saw him approach her, as he relentlessly asked her questions about Regulus Black. ‚I have told you everything I know or ever heard even rumoured, Potter. Leave it, please!‘ McGonagall cried whenever she saw him now. Another interest was, of course, the Red Diamond. Harry asked Aberforth Dumbledore every question he could think of considering Albus Dumbledore´s family and the Diamond. But whatever he did, no information seemed to help him in the least to find the two lost Horcruxes. He felt really depressed most of the time.
Hermione was a good friend in this difficult phase, although she was deeply worried about Ron. It seemed to help her to think of other things, and so she supported Harry in every way.
‚It took Dumbledore years to find two Horcruxes, Harry.‘ she said. ‚You can not ask more of yourself than what you achieved. I am certain the two Horcruxes will reappear some day. Probably someone else is also fighting against Voldemort. We will hear about those Horcruxes when it is time. I think you should concentrate on finding the last Horcrux and learning to fight Nagini.‘
In december she said this in considerable length every time Harry came up with the Horcruxes he had lost. Having tried to find the Locket Horcrux for months now without the slightest progress, Harry was indeed willing to concentrate on those other questions. When he was too frustrated about all that, Harry simply worked for his classes. There was sufficient work to do for that.
*The second half of December came almost as a surprise to them. They had worked so much that they had hardly noticed how cold it had turned outside and how the holidays were approaching. And then the holidays had come. Harry and Hermione had decided to stay at Hogwarts this year. Of course the Weasleys had invited both of them, but with Ron still unconscious at St. Mungo´s and feeling responsible for that, Harry simply could not face them; and Hermione kindly staid with him so he felt less lonely.
Very few of the students had remained at Hogwarts, so on Christmas day, they sat next to Professor Lupin at a small table for Tea and could talk openly.
‚You look very pleased, Professor Lupin.‘
‚And I have reason to be. The werewolves are back on our side.‘
‚Wow! You were able to ...‘
‚Yes. With Greyback gone, they were looking for a new leader.‘ Lupin said lightly. ‚Wolves tend to be a bit dependent, you see. And as I had conquered Greyback, I was the natural candidate to be their new leader. I was with them often, which is why I was absent so much during the summer. By and by I was able to convince them. Dumbledore has built the groundwork for that, of course. He left behind some excellent drafts for new legislation for werewolves, giants and other people who have been subjects of discrimination up till now. And I am happy to say that now – sadly only after he has left us – the Ministry are more willing than ever to listen to his voice of reason. We werewolves, together with many other creatures, will be given the same rights as wizard from January 1st. Then I will finally be able to get a job officially. My teaching here is not strictly official, you know. It is more that he Ministry is extremely grateful to me for getting Greyback and the werewolves off their backs.‘
‚Yes, and you were all over the Newspapers in summer! „Hero-Werewolf Conquers Brutal Child-Killer“, „Werewolf Saves Students Instead of Eating Them“, „Ex-Teacher Saves Three Children from Fangs of Savage Werewolf“, and so on.‘ Harry snorted. ‚ „Children“, really!‘
‚Well, I think it is crucial that werewolves and other people finally get equal rights with wizards!‘ Hermione said decisively. ‚I mean, to this day werewolves aren´t even allowed to marry wizards or witches.‘
‚What?‘ Harry was aghast. ‚You couldn´t ... you and Tonks couldn´t ...?‘
‚No.‘ Lupin said earnestly. ‚At the moment, I don´t participate in most of the rights wizards have. My status is not really that of a human being, but more of a dangerous animal. Therefore I am not allowed to marry a witch.‘
He drew his eyebrows together; then his face relaxed again when he saw how Harry simply gaped at him.
‚That is horrible.‘ Harry said. ‚I didn´t know. How can they do that? I mean, obviously you are as human as we are. It is incredibly unfair.‘
‚And it is even worse.‘ Hermione said. ‚Werewolves aren´t allowed to own a wand or do magic, either. All simply because they are a bit different from us. The grade of discrimination is incredible and really unbearable.‘
Lupin smiled fondly at the two of them.
‚Well, thank you for your understanding and true empathy. It feels good that some wizards simply empathize with how it would feel to be in this situation. But thankfully, all this will change on January first, mostly thanks to Dumbledore. It is truly sad that he didn´t live to see this.‘
They all look sad for a few seconds; then Harry asked his next question. Hagrid was still away ... .
‚And the giants?‘
‚Didn´t you hear? Hagrid and Grawp have brought the giants back to our side. It was a lot of work, of course. As Grawp is unable to Apparate, Hagrid had to accompany him everywhere, which was a bit dangerous for him. But it went very well. It was crucial that Grawp is one of them, whom they know. They tended to trust him. And the giants wanted the same things everyone wants: equal rights. In exchange for some rights they promised never to attack wizards or humans any more.‘
‚Well, according to what I heard, they didn´t really like Voldemort. They aren´t as stupid as people often think. They felt that Voldemort and his Death Eaters were only using them. And the Death Eaters murdered some of them, too. The giants are really touchy about that, as there are so few of them left. All those factors worked for us. – So the situation is much improved for us now.‘
‚Oh, that is wonderful.‘ Hermione´s eyes were very bright. ‚So hopefully Hagrid will come back here soon?‘
Lupin nodded, smiling.
‚I am so glad. We miss him so much.‘ Hermione sniffed a bit.
Harry sighed. He missed Hagrid terribly, too. And he missed Ron. What would Hagrid say about what had happened to Ron?
|Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)|