Harry Potter and Druidic Magic by StarFeather
stunning banner by Asphodelic @tda
The story begins from the time when Lily and James on the run from Voldemort. Half of the story will be categorized as AU. Chapter 4 and 5 were written for Magical Creatures Challenge 2017-3.
Categories: Alternate Universe, SIYE Challenges, Post-Hogwarts, Magical Creatures Challenge (2017-3)
Chapter 1: Chapter 1 Life on the Run
Chapter 2: Chapter 2 The Cold Heaven
Chapter 3: Chapter 3 Phoenix's Song
Chapter 4: Chapter 4 The Start of A Bad Day
Chapter 5: Chapter 5 The Hat and The Bird
Chapter 1: Chapter 1 Life on the Run
Author's Notes: This story was written for these three story challenges: MargaretLane's The 1916 Centenary Quotes Challenge, cherry_pop94's Inspired by the Masterpieces Challenge, and Gryffin_Duck's The Dowager Countess Quote Challenge.
Nature descriptions of this story based on the art works by Gerard Dillon (Irish artist).
*Thanks to Paula for giving me the idea of catching fish.
**Countess Violet Crawley’s (Downton Abbey) quote.
Many thanks to my brilliant beta, Bardic Magic.
And thank you again to Margaret, she gave me advice on the Travelling Community in Ireland at that time.
A Currach on the Shore
"Your regime has been one of the worst and blackest chapters
in the history of the mis-government of the country.” - Bishop Thomas O'Dwyer.
A boy with freckles was milking a goat in the farmyard where two local men were making hay stacks. Intermittent rain had wet the land, but a breeze was now drying washing hung on a hill which looked down at the shore. The red haired woman he loved the most trotted down the hill with her inherent curiosity; her little white feet made a beautiful contrast against the emerald green land. He followed after her.
“Wait, Lily. Watch out. The muggles will find you.”
But she didn’t stop until she reached the currach on the shore, which was in the middle of being tarred. She heard voices nearby: an old tinker was fixing a pan and two kids were playing with empty bottles of whiskey by the bonfire where the tar was being heated. She noticed one of the children could produce small fireworks with her magical energy. Orange and light green sparks flew from the bottles. The girl must have the same ability. She approached them and talked to the little girl with rumpled red hair.
“Hello. Do you like fireworks?”
Perplexed, the girl hid behind her brother whose hair was as jet-black as James. He asked in his innocent voice, “Who are you?”
“I’m …” she glanced back to James. He shook his head lightly. “I’m Petunia. I like fireworks and flowers. I’ll show you if you want.” She smiled at them and shoved her left hand in the pocket of her long calico skirt. She pulled out a sky-blue Forget-me-not and held it out to the little girl.
When the tiny hand reached it, the five-petals started spinning slowly on her palm. She made a joyful cry and asked Lily, “How did you do that?”
“In the same way as you did with the bottles.” She smiled at the little girl.
The girl smiled back and stared at the petals on her palm fondly. James took a step closer to Lily and said,
“Let’s go. It’s getting colder, my love.”
“Where will we stay the night? I’m not sure if any Muggle hotels or cottages are safe.” She whispered back.
“I reached an agreement with the guy.” James nodded towards the gypsy man, who was staring at them, smoking. He seemed to be the children’s father. “A wagon. I’ll enchant it into a nice cottage.”
Lily cried joyfully and asked him, “Can we camp? By the shore?” She almost started dancing.
James couldn’t stop smiling, “I’ve never expected that you would be so happy.” He guessed the long fugitive life had affected her mentally. Then he got gloomy, thinking where to run away next. Godric’s Hollow would be their last place to hide from Voldemort. They were going to have a baby in a month. He had to choose the Secret Keeper carefully. He said, “Tonight here and tomorrow, we’ll go back to Scotland. I just remember McGonagall has a friend there. The family will give us a place to hide away.”
But Lily didn’t listen to his remark. She went tripping up the slope to the wagon and inspected inside of it. She called him, “James, come here! Can we transform it into a nicer bed room?”
“Okay. I’m coming.” He pushed aside his worry and climbed the wagon.
She was engaged in casting spells on the junk in the wagon enthusiastically. James just marveled at her magic. An old kettle was turned into a portable cooking stove and he could see a pot sat on it. The rags transformed to blankets and were waiting for them.
“Good job. Now we need fish to cook. Let’s go back to the shore. We may be able to get shellfish or lobster.” James took off his glasses and smiled at her. “Wait here. I’ll come back soon.”
“Wait. I’m coming.” Lily tied her hair back and said before James protested, “I know what you’re going to say. I reckon you will use the coracle. I want to see you fish. I’m okay. I know about myself. I’m sure.”
James barely kept calm, but he couldn’t stop saying, “Lily, I doubt staying like this is a right choice. We’re going to have a baby. We should move to a better place for you and our baby who will be born.”
Lily had already started stepping down to the ground from the wagon. She turned to him, “Come on, James. I’m okay. Our baby boy needs fresh air, too.”
“Our baby will be a boy? How did you know?” James was surprised.
“I feel it. Our baby is a boy. Come on James, we’ll be all right. We are safe here.” Lily smiled at her husband and held out her hand to him.
“Alright. Let’s go.” He grasped her hand and they walked down to the shore.
They saw the tiny boat, called a currach, on the shore. It floated on the water on which the moon light flickered. James made sure nobody was around and beckoned Lily to get in.
“Can you row a boat?” Lily asked James. The small boat bobbed on the waves when their shoes landed on it.
“Sure.” James grinned and started pulling an oar. “Kingsley forced me and Sirius to join the boat race in Muggle London. Our team won.” As soon as he began pulling an oar, the boat became stable. He stopped rowing and pulled his wand out. “Accio fish!” But it didn’t work at all.
Lily giggled hard at his puzzled look and pulled out her wand. She concentrated on casting a spell and pointed it to the surface of the seawater. “Laques.” Instantly, a translucent threaded net* emerged on the water. She smiled when she saw the silver fin flip in the net.
“Lily, I didn’t know you can fish. How do you know the spell?” He was amazed at the sight of a big lobster whose claw shined under the moonlight.
“Professor Slughorn taught me how to catch blue mussels. Accio doesn’t work for shellfishes in the Great Lake at Hogwarts. You can use ‘accio’ by the river, but it doesn’t work for a big lake or the ocean. I think we got them, too. There!” Lily muttered, “Accio mussels!” They jumped up from the net and landed on the bottom of the boat. “Let’s share them with the gypsy family.” She transformed the net into a bucket and handed it to James.
The family let out a joyful cry at the haul of fish. The father grinned wide and said, “The old wagon was worth a quantity of fish. You paid us more than I expected.”
“My wife is a skillful fisherwoman.” James winked at Lily.
“Sure thing. You caught a fabulous lady. What’s your name? I’m Frank. This is Mary. And her brother, Harry.” He took his red haired daughter up on his lap.
The little girl smiled at Lily. Lily smiled back and said, “I’m Petunia. My husband is…” she cast a questioning look at James.
“Edward. Thank you for giving us the camp wagon.” He helped Frank with putting wood on a fire. The breeze blew softly from the land to the shore. Pastel colored hues melted above the horizon and the purple dark sky dominated the seashore. When the fire was settled, he sat down on the drift wood on the sand. He noticed the boy stare at him. James smiled and beckoned him to be near the spot where he sat. The boy, named Harry smiled shyly and went near him. James grinned at him and rumpled his jet-black hair and said, “You are a good boy, Harry!”
“Agatha died soon after Mary was born. Harry took care of her while I went to do a tinker job. He’s a good laddie.” Frank smiled at his son satisfied and handed a worn-out pot to Lily.
“Yes, he is. I hope our baby will be like your son. Harry, you’re brave.” Lily beamed at Harry, who sat closely to James, and started cooking fish.
James sensed Lily had used the magic. He was impressed by the way she did without being noticed by Frank. She flipped her wand, putting twigs into the fire. He guessed Frank believed that she was just taking care of a wood fire. Soon the smell of bouillabaisse wafted from the pot.
“There. I’m done! Where are bowls?” Lily asked Frank.
Frank let Mary off his lap and grabbed aluminum bowls. Lily took them one by one and began talking about Mary’s school. “Frank, your daughter will get a letter from a Scottish school soon. You don’t have to worry about it at all. They’ll take care of everything for her.”
James reproached her meddling. “Li…Petunia, don’t. We can’t say the school is safe for her.”
“The school is protected. She needs education, Jam…Edward.” Lily stopped serving bouillabaisse and turned to James.
“The circumstance has changed. We shouldn’t recommend our old school. The place isn’t safe for young people.”
“Oi, don’t start a quarrel in front of the children.” Frank stared at Lily, and continued, “Why would she want to go to a real school? She isn’t a doctor’s daughter,**” He replied.
“He’s right, you see?” James nodded showing his approval.
“But…” Lily tried to retort, but James put his index finger on her lip,
“No buts. I’m hungry. Let’s eat.”
oOo oOo oOo oOo
James squeezed Lily’s hand, “You don’t have to worry about the girl. Dumbledore will send her a letter. They will care for the Muggle-borns. All we need is to run away from Vol…” he looked around and continued, “Anyway, why did you worry about explaining everything to the gypsy father?”
“James, you don’t get it. You are from an old Pure-Blood family. When I heard from Severus what I was, though I couldn’t believe the whole story he told me, I had a silver lining. I was very relieved to know I wasn’t a freak.”
James apparently looked offended to hear the name of his nemesis. He stopped on the sand, released his hand from hers and looked up at the big full moon which was watching the young couple. He mumbled, “Did you regret that we got together?”
“No, James! Why do you say such a stupid thing?”
“Every time you say the name, I feel jealous of him.” The hazel eyes bored into the green ones for a while. Then he grinned, pulled her closer to him and wrapped his arms around her. “Did I say you are beautiful?” He kissed her. He felt her lips smile against his. He loved her brightness with all his might. He didn’t want to end the moment. : the salty scent, a silver full moon and the beautiful green eyes. The world existed only for the two at the moment. James sat down on the sand and urged Lily to do the same.
Lily sat down next to him and leaned against his shoulder. “Did I say I love you?” She was so happy that she didn’t notice a hooded man was watching them behind the big rock.
Severus Snape couldn’t take his eyes off of her. She was right in front of him. She was so close to him that he could reach for her if he moved forward one more step. He might be able to take her by force from James Potter, but he didn’t. He told himself to protect her and her baby in his mind. He would be able to get her back after the baby was born. The Dark Lord promised to give her to him after he killed Potter and the baby. All he had to do was inform the Dark Lord of their hiding place. But he rethought the first plan when he saw her touch her belly fondly next to her husband. He was not ready to tip the Dark Lord off. He went back to the guest house and contacted Lord Voldemort via Floo Network. He lied, “I couldn’t find them, my Lord.”
But his Lord wasn’t such a git. “Severus, how weak you are. I know you found them. I’ll train you in Occlumency after I killed them.” He gave him a creepy smile in the green flame
Severus protested desperately, but Voldemort didn’t accept his compromise. He was driven to despair, felt like the rug was pulled out from under him. He didn’t want to lose her. Not the unborn child, either.
oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo
Lily was awakened by a familiar voice, “Severus?” She saw a silver doe was standing by the bed.
The doe told her in a low voice, “He’s coming with the great snake. I sent the owl to Dumbledore. Run!” And it vanished.
James was stirred, “Lily? Who were you talking with?”
“I don’t know. Someone sent us a warning. We have to leave here. You Know Who is coming.” She couldn’t believe what she saw. Was Severus Snape’s Patronus the same as hers?
James didn’t ask anything more. He pulled his wand, shoved things in the backpack and checked his Invisibility Cloak in his pocket. Lily admired his ability to gear himself into the circumstance without questioning her. They got out of the wagon and hurried to the top of a hill where nobody would witness them use a portkey. On their way there, they sensed a dark cloud shadow their destination. Lily screamed silently at Voldemort who descended from the cloud with his great snake above them. James acted quickly; he pulled his Invisibility Cloak, covered Lily with it and he whispered, “Go back to Frank.”
Lily got what he said, climbed down carefully in haste without glancing back. She had no plan, but she didn’t think her husband could hold out against Voldemort alone. Even a muggle man might help them. She was going to protect Mary and Harry while they fought back Voldemort. If Severus was right, Dumbledore would give them help soon. Until then she had to hold on. When she returned back to the old camp wagon, Mary bounced towards her.
“Petunia, why is your shoulder missing?” She giggled at the sight of Lily.
“Oh, it’s magic.” She removed the Invisibility Cloak, folded it and shoved it into her pocket. “Mary, call your dad. Edward is fighting against a bad man on a hill.”
Mary ran away to fetch Frank and soon they came to Lily. Harry dashed across the sand to the top of the hill where James was fighting back. Voldemort was sneering at the sight of his sneak’s attack. The great snake struck James with her tail and was going to bite him. Then she saw the muggle boy run up the hill. Lily shouted,
“No, Harry, come back.” It was utterly an unexpected turn. She saw the boy lunge at the legs of Voldemort. The great snake gave up James and crawled back to rescue her master. Lily cast the Shielding Charm over him before Voldemort could stand up again and threw the Killing Curse at him with rage. Then she heard music coming from above. A swan-sized crimson bird glided by and started attacking at the great snake. The phoenix dove and pecked the hard skin of the snake with his long sharp beak; Voldemort roared at the phoenix, and shot the Killing Curse. James ran up to Lily, dragging Harry. Frank stood there stunned, holding up his daughter in his arms.
“He is a wizard, then. And you.” Frank asked James.
James nodded and spoke fast, “Yes. You and your family are in danger. I’m sorry, but this place is no longer safe. I’ll take you, three to a better place. Hold this boot.” He held out the ragged boot.
Frank hesitated for a while. Lily pressed,
“We have no choice. He’ll kill us all.”
Frank still hesitated, but Harry, on the contrary, grabbed the boot next to James and urged his father, “Dad, we have no time! Hurry!”
Finally Frank grabbed the boot, and the activated portkey carried them all to Scotland.
oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo
At the foot of a foggy highland, they landed slowly. James stood firm to support the weights of Lily and Harry. Frank fell on his bottom and barely kept holding Mary in his arms. Mary looked around with an amused look and pointed at the cottage in front of them. McCormack’s cottage stood there, which gave them comfort after lives had been in such peril. The McCormacks welcomed them warm-heartedly. Catriona, who was once a famous Quidditch player, had a daughter, Meaghan who was a rookie of the Scottish Quidditch team, Pride of Portree and a ten years old boy, Kirley. Their cottage had four rooms, two upstairs and two down. They gave James and Lily one guest room upstairs and the square living room for Frank’s family to stay temporarily.
James thanked them,
“Thank you, Mrs. McCormack. I’m sorry that we intruded on your cottage in such great numbers and so suddenly.” He made an apologetic face.
“Oh, it’s alright. We’ve heard from Minerva about you, two. And you will have a baby, soon? No other events will please us as much as the happy news.” Catriona beamed at them. “We’ll be happy to be with you, a big company. What’s your family name, Mr…?” She asked Frank.
“Frank O’Shanahan. Do you need mending cook wares? I can fix anything.”
“Well, we can fix them by ourselves, thank you.”
“Oh, of course, you can. I forgot you were witches.” Frank mumbled staring at a polished floor.
James and Frank’s son, Harry deepened the bond with each other since they fought back against Voldemort together. Though Harry wasn’t a wizard, he listened to James’ story about Hogwarts where his sister, Mary would stay for seven years, with shinning eyes. The McCormacks loved Mary instantly just like Lily. Kirley, and Meagan taught Mary how to play the piano and Lily joined them with singing. James asked Frank, who seemed to be bored of doing nothing, to join him fly fishing, but he refused.
“Why do you have to fish without using magic? Don’t worry about me just because I am not a wizard.”
James didn’t know how to answer. He got worried with Frank’s sullen mood. One morning, James talked to Frank when he went out of the cottage to smoke.
“Hey, what are you thinking, Frank?”
“I can’t stay here any longer. Let us go back to Ireland. There is no job for me here.”
James was ready for the answer. His hunch turned to be right. He couldn’t force them into a fugitive life. He said,
“Alright, I’ll tell Dumbledore. He’ll find a better place to live for you and your family.”
As soon as James talked with Dumbledore via Floo Network from the hearth of McCormacks, Dumbledore began setting a safe place in Ireland for Frank and his family. Dumbledore in the green flame said to James,
“Voldemort’s regime has been one of the worst and blackest chapters in the history of the mis-government of the country. More Muggles, wizards and witches will suffer great losses in the near future. We have to keep fighting. I’m sorry for you, too, James. Do you and Lily have the next hiding place in your mind? If my secret double agent is right, Voldemort will find McCormack’s.”
“Yes, I have. We will leave soon after you send Frank and his family to Ireland.” James wished the next hiding place would be the last. He had fought back against Voldemort to protect his family three times. He wanted to end this endless war game.
“You had better use Fidelius Charm. I’ll be your Secret Keeper, James.”
“Thank you, professor. I’ll talk with Sirius about it.”
“Good. Floo me anytime. Don’t use the owl. They will censor it.”
oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo
James and Lily were standing on the top of a hill after sunset. Frank, Mary and Harry had gone to Ireland. Tears were spilling from Lily’s eyes. She muttered,
“I miss them. We became good friends. They cared for us and we cared for them. How many times will we have to repeat this unbearable life?”
James hugged Lily close and said, “We will meet them again.”
Back to index
Chapter 2: Chapter 2 The Cold Heaven
Author's Notes: Many thanks to poppunkpadfoot for suggesting me to add more descriptions about Sirius.
Suddenly I saw the cold and rook-delighting heaven
That seemed as though ice burned and was but the more ice,
And thereupon imagination and heart were driven
So wild that every casual thought of that and this vanished
-- W.B.Yeats “The Cold Heaven”
Sirius smiled at Lily’s delighted face. She was singing a lullaby to a baby, Harry,
‘My love, my love I will hide your cloak on the roof, while my dad cured his stallion's injured hoof,
My mother Mary I found your cloak, my father's wand was made of oak, Say good bye at the mouth of River Shiel…’
‘What the title of the song? It’s beautiful, Lily.” Sirius asked her.
Lily smiled at her baby sleeping in her arms, “I don’t know the title. I just learned the song from an old druidic witch whom we happened to know in Scotland.”
“Oh, then you learned the song before you two come here?”
“Yes, I bought an enchanted music box from her, but we had to leave soon and I noticed later that I forgot to bring it.”
“Well, I think I can get it back for you.”
“Oh, will you go to Scotland?”
“Yeah, the Order thing…” He stared at the glass of fire whiskey.
Lily stared at Sirius and said, “You are lying. You will visit Remus, won’t you?”
“How do you know?”
“Sirius, trust him. He can’t be a spy.”
“How can you be sure about it? He has disappeared for these months.” He sipped his glass gloomily.
“Lily, I told you that we should stop talking of him.” James entered the room, with his jet-black hair wet after shower. “Thanks, Padfoot. I could relax in a bathtub after a long time.”
“What do you mean, James? You shower every morning. You can use the bathtub anytime you want.” Lily looked incomprehensible.
“I couldn’t, Lily. Voldemort might have attacked you and Harry during the short time when I had taken my eyes off him.” He took a glass from Sirius and sat down.
“Oh…” she watched his face blank.
“Don’t worry, my love. We’ve survived so far. When will you leave for Scotland, Sirius?”
“Tomorrow. To tell the truth, I’ll visit Cornwall, first. I want to make sure a curious legend around there.”
“Is that Dumbledore’s order?” James tried to refill his glass.
“No, thanks. I have to leave in the early morning tomorrow. I’ve just found this.” He pulled out the worn out old book and put it on the table.
“Ancient Druidic Magic?” James turned it over and read the title. “…by Cliodna Cadwagan. Is that ‘Cliodona’?”
“I don’t know. I found it in my dear mother’s library while I came back to Grimmauld Place.”
“Could you talk with your mother at your family memorial service? Eh…I’m sorry for your brother and father. After two years, you must be grieving.”
“My mother wouldn’t accept me after she disowned me a long time ago. I just visited there in secret. Nobody thought I came back there. Don’t let me remember him. He was a Death Eater. The death… he invited himself. If Kreacher hadn’t brought him back, my parents couldn’t have given him a proper funeral.” His eyes drifted in the air remembering Regulus and shifted to Harry in Lily’s arms. “You’d better put him in his bed.”
“I will. Good night, Sirius.” Lily smiled and went upstairs.
James and Sirius discussed how the Order should continue fighting against Voldemort’s regime. Sirius felt James’s impatience that he and Lily had to send their lives just hiding from Voldemort doing nothing. He had to repeat that guarding Harry from Voldemort’s menace is the most important. They dreamt what they would teach Harry and how they would reconstruct the Wizarding World after they beat Voldemort and his allies. They had lost many valuable lives, friends, relatives and a girlfriend. The memory of Marlene came back to him. He clenched his fist in remorse for his powerlessness. James flipped few pages of the old book. He looked up and said,
“Lily will be interested in this. She got curious to know Druidic Magic. Can I lend this?”
“Sure. I got a copy the part I need from the book.”
“What do you want to know in Cornwall?”
“Cliodona told in a book that there are twin towers, the one is in the druidic castle, in Northern Ireland, the other is near the sacred lake in Cornwall. They could transport from the one to the other. Then I thought of the idea. If what she said in the book is right, the tower will bring you and your family to the castle unknown to anybody. Dumbledore knows the chieftain of the castle. He may help us.”
“We ran away from there, Sirius. Voldemort will find us and I don’t want to let the chieftain and his people in trouble. He may do harm on them, too.”
“Oh, you are so heroic, Prongs. I suspect the security of this place.”
“What do you mean?”
“Did Wormtail visit here recently?”
“No. I guess he is also busy with Dumbledore’s order.” He bit his lips. It’s apparent that he felt frustration against his locked up situation.
“I’m afraid he will be trapped or will make a big mess.”
“Trust him. He is okay. It was you who said to me that he is the last person to be caught by the Death Eaters. The ability, his animagus shows that, you know, he is very cautious.” James chuckled.
Sirius shook his head. “I’m very amazed by your optimism, Captain.” He called him by the old Quidditch status at Hogwarts and grinned. At the same time, he was relieved. James would never change even under that serious situation. He survived three times from Voldemort. He would survive the fourth.
Harry’s bright green eyes found Lily’s and he smiled. His tiny hand reached to her ginger red hair and he purred.
“Harry, my little prince. How adorable you are.” Lily kissed him on the forehead and she went out of the room.
“Morning, Lily.” Sirius came out of the bath room.
“Good morning, Sirius. Are you leaving so soon?”
“Yep. I need to meet an important person for Dumbledore.”
“So you don’t have no time to have breakfast here?”
“Sorry. Oh, I almost forgot. I got the present James had asked me to buy. Here, little champ.” He pulled out a toy snitch and let it hover it in the air.
Harry made a joyful cry and tried to touch it.
“Oh, thank you, Sirius. It’s a nice birthday present for him! You must have run a risk to buy this in the Diagon Alley. There must be the Death Eaters lurking.”
“No, Padfoot had a fun time to deceive people in the street.” He winked at her.
When he stood in front of the entrance hall, the door was half opened and he saw James wiping his flying motorbike. He glanced back with his jet-black disheveled hair and grinned.
“This is only what I could now.” He put the rag on the rails. The frame was shining in the morning sunshine.
Sirius chuckled, “You did this without your wand? Brilliant!”
Listening to their cheerful conversation heard from the outside, Lily sat down on a chair. She sighed in satisfaction when her chubby baby began sucking milk from her left breast. Then she noticed a worn-out old book on the dining table. She took care of Harry in her left arm and her right hand grabbed the book. She opened and thumbed through it. Then one interesting page jumped into her eyes. There are two illustrations: The one showed the ceremonial drowning of a victim in a big cauldron. The other was a witch guarding her child in front of the soldier holding a sword in his hand. The title on the page was read, ‘Druidic Blood Magical Defense’. The spells written there were not so complicated. She could understand those old runic letters. When she had been at Hogwarts, she used to explore the library with Severus Snape before the quarrel. They had studied together to learn the old druidic letters by heart and mastered reading them. The letters above the witch on the page were deciphered as ‘Pour your soul into the one you want to protect. Your self-sacrifice is ultimate powerful magic.’
She repeated the spells in her mind three times. ‘le grá go deo, mo chroí’. She uttered, “It sounds Gaelic, doesn’t it, Harry?” She turned his body and let him suck from her right breast.
Sirius stood in the deep forest. It looked similar to the Forbidden Forest. He heard the humming sound and stared at the lights in the air. They were fairies, whose wings fluttering like the snitch he gave Harry in the early morning, were hovering around the spot where he had been waiting. When he got to a steeple, he waited for the chieftain’s arrival. He went there to find a way to protect the Potters. If he had a chance, he might get reinforcement from the chieftain. How long had he been waiting? One hour, or more? He finally felt a little tired and sat down on the flat rock by the water. And he was thinking over what Dumbledore said to him.
As I explained before, Remus has an important mission I asked. Just believe him.
He smiled wryly, “Hey, Moony, how long will it take until you come back with good news?”
The summer breeze blew across the surface of the sacred lake. He stared at the distant hills over the water. Then one of them moved, he thought. But it wasn’t a hill. It was an enormous shadow of a person. Is that a giant?
The bigger giant than Hagrid came across the water to the shore. He knelt down in front of Sirius, and looked down on him. His hair was ginger red just like Lily’s.
“I came here to bring you a message from my Master. He won’t send you a reinforcement. My Lady became pregnant. He won’t be side with any in your country. He’ll promise neutrality.” Then the giant stood up, and he turned his huge body before Sirius opened his mouth. When he said, “but… wait!” The giant had already charged through the lake.
Sirius stared at the back of the giant till it disappeared beyond the hazy hills. He even couldn’t ask for a hiding place for the Potters. When he flooed to Dumbledore, he said in the fire calmly,
“It was his final answer, Sirius. Anybody couldn’t have persuaded the chieftain to be side with us. To declare his neutrality is his best. It’s not your fault.”
Hot summer in the Godric's Hollow was very short that year. It was changed by the cool autumn quickly and the Potters spent the usual peaceful afternoon in the hiding place in the end of October. Nothing to do, James smoked. Nobody had visited their hiding place since Sirius visited them last time. Gradually, James had fretted over the boring secluded life. The first months, he had been alert every minute, even in the bathroom. He didn’t forget carrying the wand with him anywhere in the house before. But recently, he stopped to be highly nervous. Long isolation from the outside of the world might have made him dull.
While he was sleeping by Lily on the bed, he often had a dream. It was always the same. He was walking alone in the corridor of the ice castle. Strangely, he didn’t feel cold inside. He had an illusion that he was walking in the hallway of Hogwarts. Soon he would turn the corner and find the trophy room where his plaque was displayed. When he regretted that he didn’t take baby Harry in his arms to show his Quidditch famed records, he woke up.
Lily was shaking his shoulder, “James, someone is knocking the door,” her voice sounded uneasy.
“Go to Harry’s room. I’ll go down and see who it is.” He managed to find his spectacles and grabbed his wand on the side table. And he went down the stairs. On the way there, he wore the glasses and found it wasn’t his wand, a short toy rod for Harry. He discarded it on the floor in that case, someone, a member of the Order would laugh at his blunder. He should’ve retreated back to get his wand. When he opened the door, there was no man. Just a cold wind wailing around the cottage.
He shouldn’t have opened the door so carelessly. The hooded man had been observing the cottage from his hiding. He shouldn’t have opened the curtain in the living room. The man was watching James entertaining his son on the knees from the outside. He should’ve asked the password at the second knocking. He let Lily hold Harry in her arms, and stood up from the sofa.
“Maybe, Sirius. It’s about time to stop by. Today is Halloween. We used to have a spooky party together.” He grinned and walked to the entrance.
When he opened the door, the last man he had wanted to see was pointing the wand at his heart.
He bellowed at most, “Lily! Run with Harry! I’ll prevent him from…” They were his last words. When the curse hit his heart, only the memory, Lily’s smile and Harry’s face left for a second and vanished forever.
Lily had no time to get closer to her husband. She knew she mustn’t look back. She had to protect her son. Unconsciously, she was repeating the druidic spells in her mind.
le grá go deo, mo chroí
Her heart was breaking with grief, feeling for her husband who might have already been killed. “Oh, Merlin, save us…” She held Harry tight.
He became fretful in her sudden tighten arms. As soon as she reached to the baby room, she placed him in the bed and pushed the side table as a barricade to the door frantically. She cursed herself she didn’t make the hearth in the baby’s room, which might have flooed them safely to the next hiding.
Lord Voldemort intruded the room with ease. Shuddered with fear, she declined his offer to save her life in exchange of Harry’s life. There was no option. When Dark Lord’s wand was pointed to them, she had already made up her mind.
“Are you sure that I’ll borrow your bike?”
Hagrid’s voice was far away. After he witnessed the blown apart cottage, he didn’t remember how he came back to the Order Headquarters. Taking Harry, who had been crying hard, up in his arms, he managed to order Kreacher to bring James and Lily back to their hiding place. The funeral would be held tomorrow. His muscle tight and he clenched his teeth. His best mate and Lily left him forever. He blamed himself that he chose to seek for Remus in highland than stopping by the Potters. After he met Remus, he was very relieved to know Remus had been working hard not to sever the connection with werewolf’s community, but another fear seized him.
Where is Wormtail? A dark cloud got bigger and bigger in his mind. He hastily came back to Godric's Hollow, but it was too late. Letting his best mate’s eyes closed, his suspect was changed to conviction.
Peter betrayed James. His eyes burned with tears and his face turned red with rage.
Controlling his rage, he hurried to the screaming baby upstairs. It was heart-wrung sight to see the dead mother on the floor and the baby in the bed. Oddly, her eyes had been already closed. Someone might have stopped by the Potters before he arrived. The warmth of Harry’s tiny body in his arms barely kept his mind calm until they got to the safer place.
Staring at Hagrid holding Harry wrapped in a blanket vacantly, his feeling went back to the conversation on Harry’s birthday.
“I’m very amazed by your optimism, Captain.”
“Your optimism cost you your life, Captain…” He muttered and left for Peter’s hiding place. His fists were clenched again with the fire fueled with the doubt that was almost positive. He trembled hard cursing himself thousands of times for his lack of foresight and he stood in front of Peter's shabby hut .
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Chapter 3: Chapter 3 Phoenix's Song
Author's Notes: Finally I could be back to this story. Beta reading has not been done yet, so I really appreciate for your kind feedback. Thank you for reading. :) Many thanks to Grace for beta reading.
Chapter 3 The Phoenix's Song
Harry placed the broken holly wand on the Headmaster’s desk. The two halves were just connected by the very thin thread of phoenix feather. All he wanted was to fix the wand he had cherished for so long since he first began learning magic. When the tip of the Elder Wand touched the fine thread, he said, ‘Reparo.’ Red and gold sparks flew about, and his wand was successfully repaired. He picked it up and rubbed the surface of it. He felt the familiar warmth in his fingers. He felt like he could listen to a phoenix song from it. Grinning wide, he spoke.
“I’m putting it back with you, Professor.” He looked up to the portrait of Dumbledore, who had been watching him with huge affection. “If I die naturally like Ignotus, its power will be broken, right?” Dumbledore smiled and seemed to nod in the portrait.
Ron said, “ Are you sure?” His voice held a slight expectation that Harry would change his mind.
Before he answered, Hermione added, “Harry is right. The previous master won’t have been defeated. There will be no evil wizard who could use it.”
When the trio came out of the room, McGonagall was climbing up the spiral staircase. She looked extremely fatigued as she told them she spared the rooms for them to rest. “Only the Slytherin common room and the dorms were left unharmed. You might dislike it, but the Great Hall and the other dorms are occupied with the wounded and … the dead people. Have a shower and get some rest.” She held up her hands as the trio began to interrupt, and continued, “Don’t worry yourselves with helping us. You must be tired after the task, Potter. Granger and Weasley, watch him to make sure he doesn’t delve into any more heroic things tonight. You all need rest. No, Potter. You must be tired,” she insisted when she saw Harry try to say something.
But Harry interjected. “Professor, I have the last task. I have to …” His words were cut off when Ron kicked him in the shin. While Harry was staring at his best mate, Ron took over,
“I’ll watch him, Professor. We are going to help you tomorrow. Hermione, Harry, let’s go.” He urged Harry to descend the stairs.
“Good,” McGonagall said shortly and entered the room.
“Why did you kick me?” Harry suspected that Ron was reluctant to put the Elder Wand back into Dumbledore’s tomb.
“Use your father’s cloak.” Ron whispered back.
“Oh, yeah, right.” He was ashamed of himself for having doubted his best mate.
When they reached the Great Hall, Hermione stopped them. “Wait! You’d better go with Bill to Dumbledore’s.” She found him among the Weasleys, who were surrounding Fred’s body in mourning.
Not having slept, the exhaustion came back with heavy feeling that he had lost so many people he loved. He felt Ron pull the Cloak from the pocket of his jeans. Harry took it from him and slid it over himself. He went with Ron and Hermione to the spot where the Weasleys had been grieving over Fred. Hermione got closer to Bill and whispered something. Bill glanced back and stared at the space near invisible Harry, who was standing behind Ron. When Molly noticed Ron, she drew him close to her and tried to smile at him. But the attempt failed and a tear rolled down her cheek. Hugging his mother, Ron mouthed “go” to Harry over her shoulder. Harry nodded and waited for Bill, who was coming with Hermione to him. Bill whispered,
“You must be tired after you finished him. If we can get the job done without you, go and rest, Harry.”
“No. I won’t rest until I see this wand be put back with Dumbledore.” Harry whispered back and sought for Ginny among the Weasleys with his eyes. He caught the sight of her putting her hand on George’s shoulder. “Is she… okay?”
“I think so. Mum will be alright.” Bill answered and corrected himself immediately, guessing from Harry’s tone of voice. “Oh, you meant my sister. Yeah, she’s alright.”
They marched through the long tables. Behind them, Madam Pomfrey was occupied with caring for the injured students. Some Ravenclaws including Cho Chang were helping her.
When they came out of the castle, the setting sun cast the lingering glow of it on the surface of the Black Lake. Bill hauled in the rope which was connected to the edge of a small boat. Harry took off the cloak and got into the boat after Bill and Hermione. When Bill started rowing toward the island where Dumbledore had been sleeping, they heard the beautiful song of the phoenix. Harry rubbed his tired eyes and stared at the spot. To his surprise, one phoenix was getting closer and landed on the boat. “Fawkes?” He asked. The phoenix’s scarlet feathers glowed and it’s golden claws and beak were gleaming. The loyal bird answered by singing a beautiful healing tune. Listening to it, they felt their fatigue lift and slowly dissipate. When he finished singing, Fawkes took off for the island ahead. When they arrived there, he started singing again. With the healing song, they could regain power to continue examining the white tomb broken by Voldemort.
After elaborate examination, Bill turned to Harry, I don’t think there are any curses left,” he assured him.
It was a cue for Harry to put the Elder Wand back where it belonged. Hermione muttered something Harry couldn’t hear when Bill sealed the gravestone. He reckoned she prayed for Dumbledore. Bill swished his wand, drawing arcs in the air. He chanted a long incantation Harry had never heard of before. When he finished, Bill explained,
“I cast the strongest protecting charm I’ve ever learned. Nobody who has a guilty conscience can’t open this tomb.”
“Thank you, Bill. I think our task is complete.” Harry looked up at Fawkes who had been soaring high in the air. “Are you helping us? We need you to heal people at Hogwarts,” he spoke to him.
Fawkes answered in song and followed the boat to the shore. He kept circling over the castle. His song was heard by people inside the castle, and everyone listened attentively to the phoenix’s song. It seemed that everyone was cured and healed by it, even if just for a little while.
Suddenly a male voice broke the peaceful moment. Seamus Finnegan looked intensely sad and shouted out in the Great Hall.
“Fawkes, please cure her!”
When Harry looked at the spot where Seamus’s voice came from, he was stunned to see a girl student, fatally injured on the floor. Savaged by Fenrir Greyback, Lavender Brown was in a wretched way. She looked almost dead. Hermione uttered, “No!” and she ran up to them. Professor Trelawney put her hands on Seamus’s shoulders trying to calm him, and said,
“Let her go in peace, Finnegan.”
“No!” Seamus shook himself free from Trelawney’s grasp and ran out of the Great Hall, yelling loudly “Fawkes! Fawkes!”
Harry followed him and shouted together with Seamus. “Fawkes, save her!” He had a ray of hope, remembering the magical tears had healed his wounds inflicted by Basilisk.
Called on by two Gryffindors, Fawkes soared back and swam into the Great Hall. His soft clattering sounds of claws echoed through the hall as he touched ground. Stared at with awe by many people, he hopped towards Lavender. Inclining his head to her mercilessly torn neck, he dropped pearly tears one after another. After a long, drawn out silence, a miracle happened. Lavender stirred and opened her eyes. Though she had a hollow in her neck, the surface of the skin was smooth. After that, Fawkes got busy with curing some people mortally injured. When he shed the last tear for a poor boy student whose legs had been crushed by a giant, he took flight and left.
When Harry saw Fawkes vanish beyond the Scottish night sky, he felt someone grasp his left hand. It was Ginny. He held her hand back.
“McGonagall urged me to ask you to go to the dungeon. You need sleep. Take a shower. No more heroic things, Potter.” She said, mimicking McGonagall’s tone.
“Oops, it was lucky she didn’t reprimand me.” Harry said comically.
People smiled at them and cleared the passage for them. Harry was relieved to know that people in the castle were willing to leave them alone. Descending the dark stairs, Harry was still in a bright mood. He guessed the phoenix’s song lightened his heavy feeling after the battle.
Ginny whispered to him, “I hate the dungeon. It reminds me of my first year. You know, Tom’s diary…” She held his hand tight.
Harry held her hand tight back and said, ‘“No evil thing will happen here. And you are not alone. I’m here with you, Ginny.” Answering, he got a feeling that he was entirely free. Though he couldn’t speak Parseltongue any more, he felt he was himself, not under control by the other man.
They reached a wet stone wall and Harry asked, “Do you know the password?”
“Yes, I heard it from Professor McGonagall. Caput Draconis!” When she spoke the password aloud, it revealed a concealed stone door, which slid open.
When they came in the long room, greenish lamps had been lighting the dark underground room. In the center of carved chairs, Luna Lovegood was reading the ‘Quibbler’ upside down. She talked to them over the old newspaper in her sing-a song voice,
“I used a boy’s dorm shower. You can’t use a girl’s dorm, Salazar Slytherin was afraid that his house’s girls would be assaulted by Muggle-born wizards, so you need another password. Even McGonagall doesn’t know it. A new Minister should ban such special privilege from Hogwarts. You can use a gorgeous bath tub though. It’s made of marble stone. We don’t have such a rich treatment in our dorm.”
“Oh, really? Thank you for the information. You go first, Ginny.” Harry hesitated to have a shower first, caring her.
“Go, Harry. I wait for you until you sleep. I promised McGonagall to make sure you rest. Harry, no more saving people.’” She copied the way of McGonagall’s speaking tone.
“Okay, okay.” Hardly stifling his laughing, he left for the bathroom. When he opened the door, he was astonished by the grand sight. The bathroom had seven cubicles divided by green frosted glass and each cubicle had a luxurious marble bathtub as Luna told him. Then Neville came out of one of them. He was wearing Slytherin robes. Before Harry asked, he explained,
“House-elves are bringing in clean clothes for us, but they are all Slytherin robes, it’s the best they could do given the circumstances.”
“I don’t mind, are there only us in here?” He was afraid that girls might be using one of the bathtubs in the bathroom.
“No. Only Malfoy right now. I guess he can’t get out until you finish.”
“What? How did he dare stay here?” His irritated voice echoed through the bathroom. He was still irked remembering Malfoy had prevented him from seeking for the lost diadem in the middle of the battle.
“I reckon Malfoy can’t get out because he feels ashamed of himself. But he can’t leave here. He is in a complicated situation, you know?” Neville spoke for Malfoy.
“Where is he?”
“At the end.” He pointed to the end of the cubicles.
Harry thought of asking Malfoy to get out of there, but rethought it. He remembered his younger days in the cupboard under the stairs, living with the Dursleys. He knew the locked up feeling. He decided to ignore Malfoy. He chose the nearest cubicle and entered.
Taking off his dirty clothes, his stomach grumbled. He regretted he hadn’t thought of stopping by the kitchen under the Great Hall. He wondered if Kreacher would come to deliver sandwiches after a shower. The marble stone bottom of the tub was warm under his feet. Taking a shower, he took care of his bruises on his body. Without glasses in the steam, he was vaguely aware of a big scar across on the left side of his chest. He touched the surface of it gingerly. It had formed a scab. His heart started pounding, remembering the moment when he was hit by the Killing Curse. It was still eerie looking back at the fact that the maniac wizard had hunted for him for years.
Suddenly he got nervous; he had survived but had no family. After he finished Voldemort, he was alone in the world. The only reconciled relative he had was Dudley. But he didn’t know where his cousin was.He missed Dudley, who had left cold tea in front of his room. Dudley was reluctant to leave Harry alone last time. And he worried about his life in the future after Hogwarts. Hogwarts castle was his home. But he had to leave here soon. After the Dursleys left number four, Privet Drive, it wasn’t his home any longer. And he was not sure whether the house still existed or not. It might’ve been blown out by the Death Eaters. He missed his godfather, Sirius. Without Sirius, Harry didn’t want to live in Grimmauld Place. Dumbledore, Lupin had gone. The conversation with Dumbledore in front of Mirror of Erised flashed in his mind. He would still see the same people, his dead parents and dead relatives on the mirror. He missed even the sarcastic professor, Snape, who showed his affection towards Harry in his memory reviewed in the Pensive.
The hot water was dripping by his side. He was standing under an everlasting waterfall, trying to shake off his anxiety. Then someone’s voice called his name.
“Harry, are you okay?” It was Ginny. “Kreacher told me you didn’t show up yet. I brought you clean clothes. He found Gryffindor robes for you.”
Her voice was a warm candle in the dark forest. “Thank you, Ginny. I’m okay.” He remembered his last moment in the forbidden forest. Before the curse hit him, he had imagined Ginny in a white wedding dress. The thought brought his bright mood back. He opened the shower curtain. Ginny was still there with clean clothes in her arms. Her face was flushed with embarrassment seeing Harry in the nude at first, then she looked worried as her concerned eyes flashed down his upper body.
“You need to go to Madam Pomfrey.” And she handed him a towel.
Her alarming tone of voice made him uneasy. Wrapping the towel around his hip, he asked her to grab him his glasses. When his vision came back, he recognized pus gathering in the big scar on the left side of his chest. It seemed that it got worse by moistening the scab. It was not a stinging pain, but a recurring dull pain. He told her, “It’s alright, Ginny. I’m hungry. I’ll call Kreacher. Do you like sandwiches?”
But Ginny disregarded his words, her face flashed with concern and spoke in a fretful voice, “It’s not okay, at all, Harry. I told you to stop your heroic attitude. Why didn’t you ask Fawkes to cure the big scar?”
He was very surprised by her unusual tone. Her voice was trembling, filled with tears. “I thought you were dead when I saw Hagrid carry you in his arms. I thought you might have been killed in the middle of the task. I regretted letting you go with my brother and Hermione alone. I regretted failing in bringing back the sword of Gryffindor from Snape’s office. I regretted that I couldn’t save Fred. I regretted that I couldn’t stop Tonks. I regretted …”
“Ginny, stop. Please.” Hastily throwing on the clean clothes, he hugged her tight in his arms. “I’m sorry, Ginny. Please don’t cry.” He was at a loss. He had never seen her cry like that for years. And he remembered the first year Ginny was sobbing after he broke Tom’s diary. He cursed himself for making her worry so much. He sought for the way to calm her down in his mind, but he couldn’t think of anything. He kept stroking her head leaning on his shoulder. Then she looked up and her swollen eyes stared at his green eyes through glasses. She spoke,
“Am I still your girlfriend?” The tone of her voice showed she regained her tough temperament.
Harry answered by kissing her. Ginny kissed him back. Her lips tasted salty after crying. His lips caressed hers gently like the kiss would be able to heal her pain. Before their kiss was going to be deepen, they heard a male voice behind them. Harry grabbed his holly wand off the washstand reflexively and took a defensive posture protecting Ginny. When he observed the intruder, it was Malfoy. Harry felt his face flushed remembering Malfoy had been shutting himself at the end of the cubicles. He imagined the old nemesis might have been watching them kiss. He managed to ask, “What are you doing here, Malfoy?”
Malfoy looked worn out in his Slytherin robes and his face was paler than normal. He answered in his small voice, “I asked you to put my wand back.”
Harry uttered, “Oh, your wand.” He couldn’t remember where he put it. While he searched for the best excuse, Malfoy got irritated,
“You must have lost my wand! If you didn’t save my life, I would have killed you by now!” He turned around and stormed out of the bathroom.
“Did you take his wand by force?” Ginny asked him.
“It’s a long story. Come on. I’m starved.” Seeing at her questioning look about his big scar in the chest, he tried assuring her. “I’ll go to Hospital Wing immediately when I feel pain.”
Ginny consented reluctantly. “Okay, food first. But you have to go to Madam Pomfrey tomorrow morning after enough sleep.” She let him promise.
When they came out of the bathroom, Ron and Hermione were eating sandwiches with Neville and Luna. Ron looked up and said,
“We saw Malfoy storm out of here. What happened? Did you fight him in the bathroom?”
“No. He asked me if I had his wand.” He sat down on the two-seat chintz sofa with Ginny on the opposite of carved chairs, where the other Gryffindors and Luna were sitting. He took a piece of sandwich and started eating. Then he was slightly disappointed at the filling of his sandwich. It had only cucumbers. When he tried taking another, Ron told him,
“I checked. No ham.”
“Oh.” His stomach growled as if it got angry being short of meat.
Ginny finished her sandwiches and told Ron. “Watch Harry until he falls asleep. Me and Hermione will take a shower.”
When they left for the bathroom, Ron asked Harry,
“Did you get back together?”
Harry finished the second sandwich and his hand reached for the third. He answered, “Ah, sort of…”
“What do you mean? Didn’t she forgive you?”
“I’m not sure.”
Luna poured pumpkin juice into a goblet and passed it to Harry. She asked him in her dreamy voice, “Are you humming, Harry? I’ve heard a beautiful tune from your pocket since you came back from the bathroom.”
“No.” Harry thought Luna was indulging in her flights of fancy, but he was surprised by Neville’s next words.
“Harry, I can hear the song from there, too.”
Perplexed, Harry started examining his pockets. He wondered if someone left the joke goods from WWW’s inside the pockets of robes. He ended the search by pulling out his holly wand. When he was going to open his mouth, he heard a song. The pleasant tune was coming from his wand.
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Chapter 4: Chapter 4 The Start of A Bad Day
Author's Notes: Thanks to Grace and melian, I could edit this chapter. I will post chapter 5 soon. This chapter was written for Magical Creatures Challenge.
The sandwich was mocking him and that was just the start of a bad day.
“Master, Kreacher is sorry. It will take one more week to prepare ham sandwiches,” Kreacher said.
Harry stared at his cucumber sandwich. He liked the fresh smell of cucumber, but he didn't think he would be able to survive a day without eating meat. Hogwarts needed rebuilding. Manpower was essential, but a food shortage was serious. Lack of protein also didn’t do any good for the big scar on his chest. Madam Pomfrey often told him to take eat meat, the iron aiding his recovery of the skin. He fleetingly wondered that if the Dursleys had given him enough food growing up, that if his scar on the forehead might have disappeared. He thought back to whether what Ginny told him the other day was true; if he should have asked Fawkes to cure his big scar on the chest as well. As he thought of his scar, it seemed to hurt more. His attention was interrupted when Ron walked up to him, a shadow on his face.
“Harry, McGonagall told us that Hogwarts will hold a joint service for the dead. For us, that means we will also say goodbye to…” Ron hesitated for a while and finally said, “And my mum and dad agreed with her. McGonagall hinted you will make a funeral address after Minister Kingsley.”
Harry grew mournful remembering Fred’s death. He still didn’t want to admit the person he thought of as a real brother was dead. In spite of the heavy news and his hurting scar, his stomach started rumbling. “This is a bit too much for me. How about Hermione? I’m not a person who makes a great speech in front of people.” He took a goblet of pumpkin juice and gulped it down in an effort to not have to speak.
Refilling his goblet, Ron shook his head. “Hermione has already prepared your speech. She didn’t beat Voldemort at the last minute. It was you that finished him.” He pulled out a sheet of parchment and handed it to Harry.
Harry unfolded it and started reading. Hermione’s neat letters were aligned on it.
Seventeen years ago, a mad man tried killing a happy family in Godric’s Hollow. But his curse bounced back due to the mother’s love and the baby survived. The mad man seemed to vanish. Unfortunately, evil resuscitated to this world again and he possessed the power to destruct our Wizarding Community. We fought for freedom. We fought for our cherished people. Our grandparents, our parents and friends have experienced the two wars. Between the two wars, we lost so many precious lives. Thanks to them, we reclaimed peace. Let’s pray for the dead. And let’s reconstruct our community for them and for ourselves.
Harry looked up. “It’s perfect. Where is Hermione?”
Ron frowned. “She’s helping McGonagall. I don’t know what she is doing exactly. I reckon she’ll be Head Girl.”
“Then will she go back to Hogwarts to get N.E.W.T.s?”
“She will after she finds her parents in Australia.”
Harry shifted uncomfortably, his mood darkening over the thought. “Her parents!” He stood up and winced. The wound on his chest smarted.
Ron looked calm. “You don’t have to worry. Kingsley and the rest of the Aurors have already set up investigation headquarters. They will start searching in Australia as well.” He frowned, looking seriously at Harry’s chest. “Oi, your shirt is slightly bloodstained, mate. Go to the Hospital Wing right now.”
Ginny must have heard Ron’s yell, as she hurried over to them. She urged him to go to the Hospital Wing. At her insistence, Harry reluctantly faced Madam Pomfrey and took off his shirt. The merciful school healer examined the big scar on his chest with her wand, and muttered.
“Killing Curse. How could you survive this?”
Ginny gasped, her hands jumping to her mouth. Harry hesitated to confess everything, but Madam’s severe look relented him to tell the story.
“Madam, the story I’ll tell you now is confidential. Ginny, you don’t tell this to anybody. Promise, please.” He pulled out his holly wand and did the Muffliato charm around them.
“I had no choice. I am the one of his…Voldemort’s secret weapon which I can’t tell you in detail. What I can tell you is Dumbledore knew everything. I had to be killed by him before finishing him. As a result, I came back and could finish Voldemort.”
Overwhelmed by his words, Madam couldn’t say a word for a while. Harry was very surprised when her hands touched him on the cheek gently. Tears in her eyes, she spoke, “I thank Merlin that he let you come back to us and you finished the war in the end. I’ll do my best for you to cure the wound.” She urged him to lie on the bed and applied Essence of Dittany to his chest. After casting some healing charms and applying a large piece of gauze, she said, “I hope the scar will be soothed by this, but I can’t promise. Because it’s apparent you suffered from the other Unforgivable Curses. I’m afraid they tortured before or after…casting the Killing Curse. Didn’t they?”
“Yes, they did.” Harry admitted it. It was a horrible memory, they cast the Cruciatus Curse to toy with what they had assumed was his dead body.
“Promise you will visit the Hospital Wing once a day until I can make sure it’s getting better.”
“Yes, I will. Thank you, Madam.”
Ginny was sitting beside him quietly. She didn’t say a word, but he could tell from her determined look that she had made a decision. What that decision was, he couldn’t guess, but at least she wasn’t angry. That was something.
When they came out of the Hospital Wing, she pulled him to the corner behind the Suits of Armor and stared at him intensely. He raised his eyebrows, asking a silent question, and then, . without a word, she stood on her tip toes and kissed him. He considered asking her what she wanted. But her next words were more incomprehensible.
“Do you think the Sorting Hat is still in the Headmistress’s office?” Her gaze was blazing.
“I think so…ah, no, the last time I saw was when Neville pulled out the sword of Gryffindor from it to kill the Great Snake. I don’t know…” He stared back at her eyes and his heart sank into her beautiful brown eyes. This time, it was him that kissed her.
She reached up and her hand fumbled for his glasses. Finally she took them off. “This is better. I can look your brilliant eyes more.”
Feeling the spark from her words, he swept her red hair aside and kissed her on her collarbone. Closed his eyes, he tasted the smoothness of her skin. Then he opened his eyes to hear her whisper,
“Harry, I love you.” Suddenly she stepped back. “I’ll do anything for you. You won’t suffer any more.” And with those mysterious words, she turned and ran away.
“Ginny!” He began jogging to follow her. But his scar on the chest protested and he walked. Then Ron and Hermione came around the corner of the corridor.
“I saw Ginny running away,” Hermione said. “Did you two have a quarrel or something?”
“No. She remembered something I don’t know…”
“Maybe, Fred’s funeral.” Ron answered in a dark mood.
“Yeah, right…” Harry also got gloomy. “Did you get information about time and the place?”
“Yeah. That’s why we were looking for you. A joint service will be held tomorrow afternoon. I heard Ron gave you my speech sentences. Are you ready for that?” Hermione asked him.
“Not yet, but I’ll learn them by heart tonight.”
“Good. You’d better go to bed earlier. Are you okay with the wound?” Ron cast a worried look at him.
“It still hurts, but yeah, it’ll be okay.” Then he remembered the conversation before going to the Hospital Wing, “I heard Kingsley had set up the team for your parents in Australia, Hermione.”
Hermione smiled and said, “Yes, he has. He was so determined, he insisted it would be his first task to search missing people as Minister. He already had some trustworthy information. I have no worries about it. After the joint service, I’ll leave for Australia with his team.”
Ron gave a light cough and said, “And I’ll be there as well.”
Harry was dumbfounded. “What did you say?”
Ron’s face got red as well as his hair. “I won’t repeat. You heard that.”
“Oh…well, support her for me.” He barely said it. He felt lonely, like he was being excluded. It was not the first time he felt like that though. He had felt the same feeling while hunting Horcruxes, one night at the hiding, sensing their intimacies at the Grimmauld Place. Even though they had just been together, barely minutes before, he found himself missing Ginny.
Gideon Crumb of the Weird Sisters played sorrowful songs in sequence with his bagpipes. Arthur and George held an enormous wreath of flowers and stood up. Bill, Ginny, Ron and Charlie followed them. They prayed for Fred and offered them on the altar set in the center of the platform. Percy stayed with Molly, who had been absentmindedly staring into space. There had been already lots of flowers on it, for everyone else who had lost their lives in the Battle of Hogwarts. When they came back to their seats, Harry saw Arthur pat George on the shoulder. When the last floral tribute was done, Harry stood up from his seat and climbed the platform. All words flooded in his mind and he breathed in to calm himself.
“Fred Weasley…” The name came out of his mouth unplanned. He felt Hermione fidget behind. “He was like a brother for me. His wit, jokes made me laugh during hard times. He was the one of bravest of men. Many people died for freedom. And I survived. I ask to myself why I survived that battle…” He remembered the conversation with Dumbledore after he was hit Killing Curse. “I’m not sure I’m deserved to live. My obligation to everyone who has fought for freedom is make our world better. When I meet Fred again, I want him to feel proud of me. I want my parents to feel proud of me. I want Sirius feel proud of me. I want Cedric feel proud of me. I’d like to complete my mentors’ will instead of them. Watch us and guide us, Professor Dumbledore, Professor Lupin, Professor Burbage and…Professor Snape. Watch me and guide me, Mad Eye and Tonks. I have responsibility for all people who died for our freedom and peace of the Wizarding World.” And he concluded his speech as Hermione had suggested. “Let’s pray for the dead. And let’s reconstruct our community for them and for ourselves.” When he glanced back, Molly was standing and started clapping her hands. Her eyes were filled with tears. Everyone followed her example. Harry left the platform to thunderous applause, and gave Molly the biggest hug he knew how to.
Hermione and Ron left with Kingsley’s team for Australia. Harry stayed at Hogwarts, helping professors to reconstruct classrooms and the Quidditch pitch with the other students. The process to repair the buildings was sped up after parents of Muggle-borns and some Pure-bloods who hated Voldemort’s inner circle came back to Britain from a life in exile. Eventually even the food problem was solved and Kreacher and the other house-elves restarted preparing meals cheerfully. Harry’s scar on his chest was getting better, but he still needed a check-up once a day.
Every time he visited the Hospital Wing, Ginny was always with him. On their back to the renewed Gryffindor common room, a kiss behind the Suits of Armor became habitual. And they stopped exploring each other when Harry winced feeling a slight pain on the chest. He explained her the condition was getting better, and she seemed to believe him. But that impression turned to be completely false.
When most of the parents, who had helped reconstruction for almost two weeks, went back home, Ginny also disappeared. Harry asked McGonagall where she had gone. She said,
“I heard she had things to do around setting up her brother’s tombstone. Didn’t she tell you about it?”
“Thank you, Professor. I’ll ask Mrs.Weasley.” He still couldn’t understand her sudden disappearance.
His fear proved right. When he happened to catch Bill, who stopped by Hogwarts to help professors with protecting charms, he told Harry she hadn’t come back to the Burrow. Perturbed, Harry and the Weasleys requested the Aurors to search for her, afraid that she might have been be abducted by the remaining Death Eaters. A few days passed by, and still no news came. Then, early in the morning on the fifth day since she had disappeared, a silvery mare jumped into Harry’s four-poster bed. It spoke in Ginny’s voice,
“Don’t worry about me. I’m safe. Soon I can come back to you, Harry.”
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Chapter 5: Chapter 5 The Hat and The Bird
Author's Notes: Many thanks to melian for beta reading. I feel like continuing this story for now. Please leave your thoughts.
This chapter and chapter 4 were written for Magical Creatures challenge.
Harry glanced back yawning when McGonagall called him. Since he heard Ginny was back safely to the girls’ dorm, he had been able to sleep, the first night in a long time. Still, he felt like he would like to be in bed for a few more hours before breakfast. McGonagall got closer like a tabby cat stealthily once she fixed her aim on him. Vaguely he wished he could transform into a cat. His father’s animagus form, a stag, wouldn’t move in that way. If Harry was an animagi, his would be supposed to be the same one as his father’s. He wondered if McGonagall had tried to be an Auror once in her younger days.
Her piercing eyes were set on his face, which told apparently he was the target.
“Potter, are you hiding something important?”
Rubbing his sleepy eyes, he answered. “Me? Nothing, Professor.” Harry couldn’t guess what was going on.
“The Sorting Hat is missing. I reckon you or Longbottom are up to something. Tell all to me.” Her face got serious. She really looked worried.
“Was the sword stolen from your office again?” At McGonagall’s stern look, he regretted what he said.
“How did you know it might have been stolen before?” Her face got more perplexed. “Potter, did you direct Ginny Weasley to get the sword of Gryffindor at that time, last year?”
“No, Professor. How could I do that while hiding? I’ve just overheard some Gryffindor students tried from Professor Snape’s office last year.”
McGonagall kept staring hard at him and finally softened her face, “You are right. I believe in you. Anyway, we can’t sort new students without the Sorting Hat. If you get some information, let me know.” She patted him on the shoulder, “I’m glad to hear Ginevra Weasley is safe. I got a message from her as well. Though we have worried about her whereabouts, it is understandable that she wanted to do some research about a future Quidditch League. After the war, the sports section also need to be put safely back on its feet. Your girlfriend is an excellent Chaser. I don’t worry about her future career at all.” Smiling, she left.
McGonagall’s explanation about Ginny’s mission sounded plausible, but Harry couldn’t get it. She had one more year to graduate, he suspected she had something to tell him. When he entered the Great Hall in the morning, Ginny was chatting with George and Bill . The Great Hall was crowded with the students and the adults who had been helping with the castle’s reconstruction.
“So what rumor did you hear, Ginny?” George asked, shoving bacon into his mouth.
“I heard the Holyhead Harpies will recruit some girls to fill up vacancies in the team. I asked Professor Slughorn to write a letter of recommendation to Gwenog. He told me he wanted crystallized pineapples for the reward, so I went looking for them out of Hogwarts. I’m sorry to let you worry about me, but I have been safe ... without being attacked by the remaining Death Eaters.” Her eyes twinkled mischievously, and she waved her hands as Harry got closer to her seat. “Morning, Harry!”
“How could you get out of the castle? I don’t think professors ignored a student who left without permission. It’s dangerous, Ginny.” Bill looked skeptical.
Harry nodded, sitting next to Ginny. “Bill is right. It’s reckless of you to leave here without telling that to teachers. At least you should have told me about it.” He stared at Ginny’s eyes, trying to figure out what she wasn’t telling him. He sensed she had been hiding something he couldn’t guess.
Ginny evaded his question and shrugged, “I have something to tell you. But not now. I promise I’ll tell you.”
“Mum has been angry since your missing was found. You might have received her Howler if you were here when the term started.” George put one more bacon on the plate.
“Yeah. I had a long lecture from Mum last night.” She got gloomy and bit into the toast she had been buttering without a word.
Harry started buttering his own toast. “So could you get crystallized pineapples?”
Ginny nodded. “Yes, I did. But I didn’t have enough money, so I gave up.”
“You gave up? I’ll pay for it.” Harry offered and cast a glance at her again. It was apparent that she was lying about something. She didn’t leave for searching crystallized pineapples. She must have been out there for another reason.
She whispered to him, “Come with me.” And she stood up suddenly and left.
“But I’m not done with my breakfast yet.” Grumbling, he grabbed his unfinished toast and followed her hastily to the entrance hearing George’s mumble to Bill from behind, “I reckon they had a quarrel, that was the reason why she left last week.”
“Wait, Ginny. Where are we going?” Harry halted her.
Swaying her ginger hair, she stared at him with her blazing look. “I heard a rumor that Dumbledore’s phoenix visits his tomb once a day. So I camped near it.”
“What?” Harry got dumbfounded with her words.
“Come on. I recorded his pattern. I got a Sorting Hat.” She turned to the entrance and walked down the hill to the Great Lake.
“What? McGonagall asked me if I stole it.” Harry hurried and caught up with her.
“We need it to lure him on. Do you remember how you called Fawkes in the Chamber of Secret?”
“I understand what you mean, but it’s impossible to lure him with the Sorting Hat!”
Ginny stopped and face him. “Why? Fawkes helped us. He brought the Sorting Hat to save you and me.”
“Because Dumbledore let him do that. I needed the sword of Gryffindor to beat Basilisk. Fawkes will help you when real loyalty is shown to Dumbledore.”
“That’s what I mean, Harry. We got a Sorting Hat and we will show our loyalty to his tomb. When Fawkes returns to us, your wound will be healed!” She blurted out. “What if the wound was cursed by Dark Magic? What if no healers can find a way to cure it?”
“What…Ginny, is that the real reason why you’ve been away?” Overwhelmed by her boldness, her intention to heal his wounds, he felt lost for words. He was very thankful for her care, but at the same time, her attempt sounded quite illogical. “You’d better give the Sorting Hat back to McGonagall.” He started thinking an excuse for it.
“No. I found Fawkes was fond of this.” Ginny pulled out the pointy black hat and rubbed the ragged surface of it fondly like it was her pet. “The Hat told me so. Fawkes and the Hat are friends.”
“Did it talk to you?” He stared at the Sorting Hat, remembering when he was sorted. The Sorting Hat had asked which house he preferred. “How could you notice it?”
“It was simple. I put it on my head. I asked it how to lure Fawkes. It told me they were friends. I put it by Dumbledore’s tomb as it said. I waited hiding in the bushes. It worked, Harry. Fawkes landed on the ground after he noticed the Hat! Come on, Harry. He prefers visiting Dumbledore’s tomb in the morning!” She turned and trotted down to the lake.
Harry jogged after her and soon got ahead of her. As he passed her, Ginny sped up to try to reach the goal first, a pier where some boats parked waiting. Harry won the impromtu race and got on a boat with peeling blue paint. He held out his right hand and pulled her on board. The boat moved slowly from side to side rippling the surface of water. Ginny grabbed the paddles faster than him saying, “No, you can’t. It will hurt your chest.” The determined look was just like her mother, Molly. His pride slightly hurt, he reluctantly let her row across the lake. Bending to the oars made her breasts bounce, and he couldn’t stop gazing at them so close up.
With a grin plastered across her face, she teased him, “Where are you looking at, Potter?”
Blinking, he uttered, “You’re not wearing a bra.”
“I skipped underwear.” She added the words to see his blushed face, “Oh, I meant my top. It is too tight around the chest given the situation I had to cover the Hat.”
Harry grinned comparing vulnerable Ginny, the first year and pale nearly dead in the Chamber of Secret, with the girl whose eyes were full of energy to achieve something for him. Then he asked, “Why are you so confident that Fawkes will come back again, Ginny?”
With sparks in her eyes, she answered, “Because you saved the world costing your own life. Because you were brave at the very end. Because you are the most loyal to Dumbledore.” And she started rowing again.
The foggy air was becoming clear as they got closer to the island where Dumbledore slept. When the boat got to the shore, Harry stood up and hopped out t and helped Ginny to anchor the boat. At the stone that marked where Dumbledore lay, she set the Sorting Hat by Dumbledore’s tomb. She beckoned him to hide in the bush near it. Being unsure about it, he followed her.
“Are you really sure of this?” When he opened his mouth, she shushed putting her index finger on her lips. He crouched down behind her back and breathed in flowery scent from her hair. Her soft ginger hair tickled his jaw.
“Look, Harry. The Hat will sing.”
“What?” Harry shifted his gaze from her to the Hat. It started repeating shrinking and stretching itself and he heard it hum merrily. “It’s the song when we were sorted.” The familiar lyrics were sung and he smiled at his dear old memory in his first year.
“The last time, it sang the one when I was sorted. It’s unbelievable it can memorize the songs and changes the verses each year,” she answered, smiling.
“Yeah…” He was listening to the song for a while and then recognized a dot was approaching towards the island from the cloudy sky above. It appeared to be a glowing red phoenix among the iridescent clouds. Fawkes sang back to the Sorting Hat and landed gently on the ground. At the same time, Harry felt vibration inside the pocket of his robes. His holly wand, the Phoenix feather core became resonant with its song. Unconsciously, he came out of the bush pulling his wand before Ginny stopped him. The wand bent like it bowed to Fawkes and he saw it emit light orange sparkles.
The Sorting Hat spoke.
“Wet the tip of your wand with tears of the Phoenix.”
Harry got closer to Fawkes and held his wand to its beak. The loyal magical bird shed tears and they wet the tip of his wand. Ginny came out of the bush and whispered to him from behind,
“Take off your clothes, Harry. It will heal the wound on the chest.” She took his wand and held it in her hand while he was taking off his robes.
Harry took off T-shirt and removed the bandage. He traced the big scar with the tip of his wand. The ugly welt turned into a scab as he felt a dull pain and finally it ceased aching. When he tried to peel off the scab on the chest, Ginny stopped him.
“Not now, Harry. You’d better wait till Madam Pomfrey checks it up.”
When the Sorting Hat finished the song, Fawkes soared into the sky and circled over their heads. Harry thanked him waving his hand, “Thank you, Fawkes!” Fawkes chirped singing and vanished in an instant.
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