|SIYE Time:4:52 on 14th August 2018|
Love Enough for Both
By Manwe Valarian
- Text Size +
Category: Alternate Universe
Warnings: Death, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations
Story is Complete
Summary: Harry heard a goblin speaking and he came out of temporary stupor. He was surrounded by witches and wizards all staring at him. The most shocking thing was he had his arms around someone. Who was she and how did they get here?
Hitcount: Story Total: 128978; Chapter Total: 3103
Awards: View Trophy Room
This chapter has been a long time coming, but I was finally able to find the time to write it. There are several differences from canon as they collect and destroy Horcruxes. Hope you enjoy it,because my Beta, Leif, worked very hard to get this chapter presentable.
William Weasley watched as Albus Dumbledore stood up after breakfast on the first Saturday after the breakout at Azkaban. It had been announced in the common rooms that the Dueling Club had been terminated to allow time to tutor students in spell casting. The announcement was posted on Tuesday morning and by noon. Bill had received almost twenty complaints from various students. They wanted to duel each other not just work on their spell casting. It wasn’t surprising that the complaints were coming from sixth and seventh year students. He had just as many comments and questions from younger students who didn’t want to participate in the dueling club, because of a lack of skill.
“All of those who wish to work on your spell casting are to remain in the great hall. All others can return to their common rooms, library, or other appropriate places to…,” he stopped and looked at the twins. “,…study.”
The twins laughed at his comment. They had been some of the older students who complained to Bill about the cancellation of the dueling club. Once he explained the reason for the change, they were in full support of the tutoring. They even said they would help with the younger students.
Over two thirds of the students stood up to leave. Almost all of them were fifth year and older. It seemed that the entire Slytherin table stood up to leave, except about a dozen students that were first and second year. When the older Slytherins saw them still sitting they stood over them and glared until they also stood up and left. After all the students left the great hall, there were only half as many as would usually participate in the dueling club.
Bill was a little discouraged at this development. However, the students who needed the most help were the ones that remained. That gave him some hope that this would be a worthwhile effort.
The Headmaster looked out over the remaining students. “For all of those who remain, I give you your Defense Professor William Weasley.”
Bill stood up and looked at the Professors Flitwick and McGonagall. They had agreed to assist him along with Remus and Sirius. Harry and Ginny would be here, but this morning they had another assignment.
“Welcome, I hope you all have your wands. We are going to start out with simple spells by year. Depending on how well you do as a group will determine how fast we progress. You will be casting spells at inanimate objects, at first,” he stopped talking when he heard an audible gasp. “There are spells that you can’t learn by shooting them at a target, but you will not be learning any dark or dangerous magic during this tutoring. For the older students, I will be asking your help with the younger students, but you will also be getting a chance to practice more advanced spells. Are there any questions?”
Susan Bones raised her hand. She had an uncertain look on her face.
“Yes, Miss Bones,” he acknowledged her.
“Are the younger students going to be learning more advanced magic?” she stood up and asked.
“That would depend on how well they master the simple spells. You will be present when the older students are working on their spells. If you would want to try them, then I will discuss this with the other Professors. We do not want anyone to get hurt.”
Susan stayed standing; her face became pink before she blurted out another question. “Is this class because of the breakout last weekend?”
Even though no one else was talking before she asked the question, the great hall seemed to become quieter.
“Yes, the people who escaped the prison are cruel and would not hesitate harming anyone in this room. We want to make sure you can protect yourself and your friends. You are not being trained to become an army to attack the Death Eaters, but to protect yourself if you ever find yourself caught up in this approaching war.”
There was a loud sigh and a soft “that’s disappointing” from the Ravenclaw table. Bill and everyone else turned to stare at Luna Lovegood. “I think you would be a good general along with Harry and Ginny. We will need to form an army because we not only have to worry about the Death Eaters, but Fudge’s Heliotropes.”
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Amelia Bones appeared in front of a building that could be classified as a palace by Muggles. Harry had Apparated her and Alastor to Potter manor. She had been to many different manor houses during her life. This one was one of the largest she has ever seen. It was also one of the most beautiful. So many wizards and witches seemed to prefer stone or dark exterior wood. This massive three story building with its white walls and trim looked so simple and elegant. When she was a little girl and imagined marrying and moving into her dream home, the home looked like this one.
The second thing that caught her attention was the bitter cold wind, the salty air, and the thrum of the sea breaking against the shore. She tore her eyes away from the building to look at the grounds. The shore was only about a quarter mile away from them on each side. They were on a small peninsula that disappeared in the grey morning mist.
Ginny Potter, Proudfoot, and the Brandenburg family appeared without a sound a few feet away. Harry and Ginny used they magical connection to Apparate the group. It wasn’t Apparition since they never turned and there wasn’t that distinctive pop when they appeared. Everyone acknowledged each other with a nod or eye contact, before anyone spoke.
“Shall we go inside,” Ginny said politely.
“About time,” Alastor grumbled under his breath to Amelia. “They could’ve Apparated us inside to begin with.”
Harry took his wife’s arm and led them all to the front door of the manor. They didn’t respond to or they didn’t hear Alastor’s grumbling. He held the door open for them as Ginny entered the manor first. Amelia allowed the Brandenburgs to enter before her and Alastor waited until she entered before stepping inside. In the few short minutes that it took to get inside she was already chilled to the bone and shivering.
The entrance hall was warm and at the far end of the hall was a massive fireplace that had to be nearly six feet tall by twelve feet wide. A female House Elf asked for her traveling cloak. Amelia removed it and the Elf cast a Charm to dry it before levitating it into a large closet on the side of the landing. It wasn’t until after the Elf had walked away that she noticed it was wearing clothes. She looked at the other House Elf and noticed it too was wearing clothes.
“Welcome to Potter Manor,” Harry said officially. “Let us go eat. The dining room is off the right.”
The Potters led the way. Amelia was looking at the furnishings and they were all very elegant and tasteful. It was obvious they were also very expensive, but something was bothering her about the place. If this was the Manor house of the Potters, then where were the portraits of Harry’s ancestors? Every Pureblood family she ever saw always had portraits of their ancestors lining the walls.
When she walked into the dining hall, which was nearly half the size of the great hall at Hogwarts, she had another surprise. There were seven House Elves all dressed and sitting at the main dining table. There were ten different tables in the room that could easily seat over a hundred people. The main table sat parallel to a wall with four large windows that looked out upon the grounds.
There was a variety of food in platters sitting on the long table. There was a white table cloth covering the tables and linen napkins at each place setting. Harry and Ginny stood at the table and stared at her, Alastor, Proudfoot, and the Brandenbergs.
“I can see you are a bit surprised to see our friends eating with us,” said Harry.
“We don’t have House Elves as slaves. They are workers and friends to us,” Ginny said. “If you wish to stay in our home and on our land you must agree to treat them as you would a human. If you cannot do that than you may leave.”
“I don’t have a problem with that, but some of our associates may have some issues with it,” said Moody.
“Then they can find another place of sanctuary,” said Harry. “This war isn’t only about the human race of magical beings. The House Elves and goblins also have a stake in this war. Voldemort will have no reservations about getting dark creatures to aid in his conquest. We should also be as welcoming. The Potter family has had alliances with the goblins and House Elves that span centuries. I plan on upholding that tradition.”
“I am little surprised at seeing House elves in clothes and at the table,” Amelia said. “I always thought you all enjoyed being slaves.”
“We all enjoy being of service and take pride in a job well done,” said the eldest House Elf. “We are all different much like your race. I am the fourth generation of my family that has been employed by the House of Potter. All of us are descendants of free Elves, and we are all proud of that fact, and proud to serve the House of Potter of our own free will.”
The old Elf finished with a swell of pride in his voice. The others elves all nodded in agreement. They all looked at Harry and Ginny with respect and admiration. She never realized that any of the ancient Houses had alliances with House Elves and Goblins. She will need to investigate this.
“Let us tuck in,” said Ginny gleefully.
Everyone sat down around the table and started to eat. She didn’t eat much because she had too much on her mind. She wanted to know what other rules and guidelines they would have in this house. She was also curious about the library that Remus Lupin spoke about. He spoke as though it was the largest library in the England. After seeing the size of this house she could believe it.
“Ginny and I will need to leave in a few minutes. We have other things we need to do today. I will ask each of you. Do you agree to the terms of staying here? Will you treat the house elves with respect and promise to keep what you see here a secret from others who haven’t been here?”
Amelia thought it was a strange type of an oath. He had brought them all here, so she assumed that they could pass through the wards of their own free will. Yet, when she agreed, she could feel a weight lift off her shoulders that she hadn’t felt before.
“You all may leave if you wish and reenter the wards, but you cannot bring anyone with you that we haven’t approved,” said Ginny with a smile. She turned to the Brandenburgs. “You may choose any bedrooms in this house to set up residence. Auror Proudfoot, you may choose after they have chosen. The only rooms that are off limits are Harry’s and my suite on the third floor, and the basement is the House Elves.”
“If you have any questions please ask the House Elves,” said Harry. “We must be leaving. I do have one more warning. If you are outside on the grounds do not go past the hedgerow. If you come to a Muggle road, you have left the grounds and are outside of the wards. There are also small caves on the grounds. Please do not go in them, but if you do; be very careful.”
Harry and Ginny stood up. They were getting ready to leave, when they stopped. “I almost forgot. You cannot Apparate into the house. Only house Elves can move in and out of this building.”
“Another layer of protection?” Moody asked.
“Yes, it is,” answered Harry.
“Good,” Moody grunted back at them.
The Potters were halfway across the dining hall when Ashley Brandenburg took off running after them. Amelia smiled as the little girl hugged them both and said goodbye to them. The House Elves started to clean up the breakfast dishes. Constance Brandenburg offered to help. To Amelia’s surprise the House Elves permitted her to help them. The eldest female House Elf struck up a conversation with Constance and the left the dining hall.
“I am going outside,” said Alastor.
“Are you going to find your room?” she asked Proudfoot.
“I am, but I want a map of this place so I don’t get lost,” he said as he walked away.
Gabriel Brandenburg ran off after his daughter. Amelia smiled at the young family. She wanted to explore this house, but for different reasons. This house was missing something. It didn’t look like some ancient manor house that had been in a wealthy family for centuries. She wanted to find the Potter history. She remembered meeting Harry’s grandfather when she was young. She had always heard the Potters were wealthy and influential, but she never knew from where they received their wealth. She never heard any of the old wealthy families speaking about a manor house this grand. Her mother was the epitome of a socialite witch, and she would have spoken about a house this grand.
As she reentered the entrance hall, she turned to her right. There was a large set of stairs that ascended to the next floor. The house had three floors, but the staircase seemed to end at the second floor. She walked around them and turned to find a small wall that extended from the side of the fireplace to form an archway. She stepped through the arch only to find another arch set off the left forming a small room. The formal ballroom was though this next archway. There were chandeliers hanging from the ceiling that was made of a mosaic of white, blue, and green tiles. The entire room seemed to sparkle with the only gray light coming through the many windows. She could only imagine what this place must look like with all the candles burning in the chandeliers. She walked along the walls looking at the art on the walls. There were many different paintings. Many were magical and moved within their frames, but none of them had a placard indicating who the subject was in the frame.
After several hours of exploring the house she was able to find the library. It was an amazing place but it wasn’t as large as Hogwarts’ library. She found herself a little disappointed. There were many books, but they seemed to be rather eclectic in their selection. She ran into Moody again on the second floor. He was looking around to see where he could put the map to track Death Eaters, and set up a communication center.
“What do you think about this place?” Alastor asked her. His magical eye was spinning in all directions.
“I find it interesting that a family would have such a grand house, but not live in it. It shows no sign of anyone actually living here for years.”
“This isn’t a bloody house. It is a fortress. The walls have been magically strengthened. The design of the house prevents anyone from easily overthrowing it. A handful of skilled wizards could defend this house against a hundred attackers. The little caves that Harry spoke of are bunkers filled with Muggle weapons. The bunkers are large enough to house twenty soldiers in each. You can barely see the openings until you are practically upon them. This place was designed for one sole purpose and that is to repel a massive attack by thousands.”
“Is that what Harry and Ginny have been doing when they had dropped out of sight for those two years?”
“I don’t think so,” replied Alastor. He scratched his chin as he thought. “Some of these protections seem old. They even said they don’t understand the wards completely. I also don’t think they could have done all this in such a short period of time. This building was warded as it was built.” He tapped his magical eye. “I have never seen such deep protections except for at Hogwarts. We know those protections were set with the stones.”
“Why would a family invest so much money into building such a grand place to turn it into a fortress? Were there any conflicts that the Potters were involved in that would warrant such protections?”
“I don’t know, Amelia, but I am damn glad the Potters built it. It makes me feel safe setting up camp here. It is even large enough to hold large scale training exercises.”
The rest of the day Amelia spent at the manor. She spoke with several of the House Elves about the Potter family, but the more she heard about them the less she understood. It appeared that no one had lived in this house full time for almost eighty years. The House had been constructed over four hundred years ago, and it took nearly twenty years to build. There were both wizard and House Elf protections cast on it as it was being constructed. She wanted to ask the Potters if they knew the reason why this house was built with so much security, but she doubted they would tell her.
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Harry held Ginny’s hand as they walked up the stairs of Grimmauld Place. Sirius and Remus were right behind them as the approached the meeting room. They had had a very busy day today. Ginny and he had opened up Potter Manor to the Order of Phoenix. Sirius and Remus had helped Bill with the new training for spell casting at Hogwarts.
They spent the last six hours looking for Horcruxes. It seemed that they should have been doing this a month ago, but circumstances never allowed them time to start the hunt.
“You’re late,” drawled Severus Snape, when they entered the meeting room.
“You are irrelevant, Snivellus,” responded Sirius. “The Headmaster knew we might be running late.”
“At least I am doing something important, rather than teach children to wave a wand.”
The entire room seemed to go silent at Snape’s comment. Most everyone in the room knew that everyone in the magical community would be in danger if Voldemort took over, even the children.
“Enough,” said the Headmaster. “Now that we are all here, Severus, you can report what you have learned about the Dark Lords activities.”
Harry was sitting against the far wall of the room with his three late arriving companions. Severus stood up and looked around the room with a bored expression at everyone. Harry was amazed at the nerve of this man. He looked as if he had no remorse for deceiving them.
“As you all know, the Dark Lord deceived me and planned a diversion to break his most trusted servants out of Azkaban,” he said with an oily voice.
Several people grumbled and Harry was sure he heard Alastor mumble “bollocks”. Snape just continued on as if no one had spoken. He had to realize that no one in the room trusted him.
“At the present time the Dark Lord seems to be more interested in getting those he broke out healthy rather than planning any more attacks. When he reveals any of his plans to me, I will pass that information on the Headmaster.”
“Why did he leave so many of his followers behind in prison?” asked Arthur Weasley.
“The Dark Lord does not share his reasons with me. I only report what he cares to share with me.” When no one else asked any questions, Snape turned and left the room.
The room remained silent until they could hear the front door close. Protests erupted from all over the room. No one believed that Severus didn’t know about the breakout of Azkaban. It took Albus a good ten minutes to calm everyone down enough to have the meeting to reconvene. The Headmaster stood in front of everyone looking tired and defeated.
“We must assume that Severus Snape could compromise our mission and our present location,” he said with a grave voice. “Because of that, we are in the process of moving the actual location of the headquarters. Amelia or Alastor do you want to report what you found.”
Alastor jumped up and started talking before Amelia could say a word. “It is perfect Albus. I couldn’t design a better place to have our Headquarters. I think it is even safer and more impenetrable than Hogwarts. With some help,” he turned and looked at Harry. “I want to move everything out tonight.”
Amelia looked at Alastor in disbelief. “The location is fantastic,” she said, taking over for Moody. “I will say that it is as welcoming and comfortable of a place as this is dirty and dark.”
“That’s my family they are talking about,” whispered Sirius to Remus. They sat beside Harry so he overheard and it brought a smile to his face.
“Yeah, and they only scratched the surface with the darkness,” replied Remus with a smile.
“Yeah, it is almost as if there was an evil presence lurking in the bloody walls. I am not talking about Kreacher,” Sirius whispered as people questioned Alastor and Amelia about the new Headquarters.
Harry was happy that Moody and Bones didn’t reveal that it was Potter Manor just yet. He wanted to talk to everyone where Ginny could get a read on their emotions and trustworthiness.
“We need another week before opening the new Headquarters to everyone,” said the Headmaster. “We can trust that Voldemort isn’t ready to make a move on the Ministry yet.” People started to object to which he raised his hand to calm everyone. “Even if he does, everyone who has the special Portkeys can still utilize them the same as planned, and rest assured that Severus’ is set for a different location from all of the rest of ours.”
There seemed to be an inaudible sigh in the room as everyone relaxed.
The next hour was filled with reports of various things happening with the Order. The recruitment had picked up since the breakout. Many of the new people who wanted to join were family members of the children getting the extra training.
It was reported that Fudge was already starting to question why these children need to receive extra training. One of the maintenance men noticed a memo in Delores Umbridge’s desk asking her to look into it. Several of the Ministry employees groaned at hearing her name. Evidently, she was a bureaucratic nightmare.
No one reported anything unusual from the Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade. Several people stated that there have been rumblings about Ministry involvement in the lack of Bicorn Horn. Amelia Bones asked who was grumbling and why they needed Bicorn Horn. Harry smiled at the MLE coming out in her.
“I would say that if someone could locate any we could greatly increase the financial situation of this here organization,” said Mundungus Fletcher, who quickly shrunk back into his hole in the corner of the room at Amelia’s glare.
“I never knew that a lack of Bicorn Horn would create such a stir,” said the Headmaster, with a slight smile on his lips. “I was contacted by the Ministry and was told that any Bicorn Horn that we do not need for this year’s Potion classes must be turned over immediately. They seemed most disappointed to hear that we had had only enough for our NEWT classes. Is there anything else that needs to be discussed tonight?”
No one spoke up. “I call this meeting to a close. We shall see everyone in a week.”
Harry received a hug from his mother-in-law and a quick handshake from Arthur before they went home. Just before he left room, Moody caught up with him.
“Harry, we need to move the map tonight. I was going to put it in the massive room with the chandeliers.”
“Oh no, you are not,” growled Amelia Bones. “Harry, he wants to destroy your ballroom. Isn’t there another room that will work?”
“What, are you planning on having grand balls while we are fighting Voldemort? We are at war woman.”
Harry saw a major war forming in front of him and tried to stop it before it started. “The map and communication center can go in the den. Let’s go and move it now before you two start firing spells at each other.”
“I’ll see you at Hogwarts when you are finished Harry,” said the Headmaster with smile on his lips.
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Early Sunday morning, six figures appeared in a wooded lane by the town of Little Hangleton. Upon appearing, the popping sound they made sent several birds flying away from shrubs surrounding them. They stood motionless for several seconds until one pulled his wand and cast a Charm.
“I don’t think there were any Detection Charms,” said Bill.
“Bill and I will lead the way to the cabin,” said Albus Dumbledore.
Harry took Ginny’s hand and fell in behind Bill and the Headmaster. Remus and Sirius walked behind them. Ginny was looking at the Headmaster and then at Harry with a strange expression. He had a feeling that she was getting a funny feeling from the Headmaster.
The decrepit cabin stood in a copse of trees. Many years ago it was in a small clearing, now it was barely visible from the high weeds and the young trees growing up around it. The Headmaster seemed to pick up his pace towards the cabin. Ginny again gave Harry that strange look again. He was sure what it was about this time. The Headmaster was getting too excited.
“Professor Dumbledore, please slow down,” said Harry. “We don’t want to trip any traps.”
“I thought you said you were here yesterday afternoon. There shouldn’t be any traps.”
“What if we tripped one that we don’t know about and he came back and reset them. Let us be careful, for all of our sakes,” he pleaded with the elderly wizard. Harry glanced down at Ginny’s stomach. He was mostly concerned for her and their unborn child.
Albus Dumbledore slowed his pace down as they approached the cabin. Everything looked the same as yesterday. The thing that bothered Remus, Sirius, Ginny, and him about yesterday was the lack of spells cast in the area. The only spells they were able to detect were inside of the cabin. It seemed too easy. Certainly Voldemort would have put up better protections around one of his Horcruxes?
Bill cast a spell at the door of the cabin. “It looks clear. No wards keeping us out. Did you pick anything up, Headmaster?”
Albus Dumbledore also cast a spell around the front of the cabin. He seemed to hesitate and stroked his beard several times before responding. “I don’t detect anything that would prevent us from entering the cabin. You are correct Harry it seems almost too easy. Bill and I will enter first. Don’t come in unless we call for you.”
Harry watched as they shifted the door slightly open. Harry thought he saw the entire cabin shift with the movement of the door. Bill stepped inside first while casting Charms. The Headmaster followed close behind. It only took a minute for them to call out that it was safe.
Remus and Sirius stepped in before Harry and Ginny. When he finally saw the inside of the cabin, he really doubted that it was going to withstand their combined weight. The ceiling had rotted through in several locations. There was a small tree growing up through the floor towards one of the openings. Bill and Albus were kneeling on the floor staring at a floorboard. It looked like the only solid section of floor in the cabin.
“I can only detect one Charm under the floorboards,” Bill said the Albus.
“That is all I can detect too.”
“Was this one of the first Horcuxes he hid?”
“I do believe it was. That could explain his lack of more sophisticated protections. I’ll remove the floorboards and you can work on the Charm.” With flick of his wand, Albus lifted two floorboards revealing a small box hidden below.
Bill started waving his wand and whispering spells to reveal the spell construct of the Charm that was placed on the Horcrux. Several Runes appeared glowing in the air over the box. Bill touched one of them with his wand and they all disappeared. He cast another spell on the small box, as Albus reached his hand in to grab it.
“No,” shouted Bill. Sirius was the closest to the Headmaster. He grabbed the back of his robes and pulled him backwards keeping the box out of reach of his hand.
“There is another spell on the box or the ring,” Bill said emphatically.
He cast several more detection spells at the little box. It seemed like he couldn’t decide which the spell had been cast upon. “Everyone stand back, I am going to do something dangerous here,” Bill said. “Harry and Ginny get your shield ready. Everyone stand together, when I cast a Reducto on the box. Get that shield up.”
Harry held Ginny tight to him. He could feel the shield forming already. Bill gave him a look and he had to relax so the shield wouldn’t prevent Bill from either casting the spell or from him getting inside the area of the shield. Harry focused on feeling safe, even though he was afraid for Ginny’s safety. He could feel the magic to create the shield welling up inside of him.
“All right, he we go,” said Bill. “Reducto!”
As soon as Harry heard the spell being cast, he released the magic that created the shield. A silvery dome formed around everyone. However, it appeared to be unnecessary. The spell didn’t create any havoc. It simply split the little box into several pieces revealing the ring with the Resurrection Stone set in it.
“Well that was rather anticlimactic,” laughed Sirius, after Harry dropped the shield. “Let’s destroy it and move on to the next one.”
“How were you planning on destroying it?” Albus asked.
“A chisel and basilisk venom,” replied Sirius cheekily. He was holding a chisel and a hammer. Remus pulled a vial of basilisk venom.
Albus stared at the chisel with a look of horror. “Must we destroy it?”
“Professor Dumbledore, it is a Horcrux,” said Ginny. “It must be destroyed if we are going to win this war.”
Albus stared at the ring for several seconds. There was a longing in his eyes as he stared at the ring made with the Resurrection Stone.
“We know it is one of the Deathly Hollows, Professor,” said Harry. “The legend is just that, a legend. They were magical articles created by the Peverell brothers. You recognized my family’s cloak as one, and we have noticed that you are using the third one.”
Albus Dumbledore stared at Harry in shock. “How do you know all this?”
“I am a direct descendant of the Peverell’s. I have records of the creation of these items and also the exploits of the three brothers. Professor Dumbledore, we should never use the Resurrection Stone. It and your wand have a history of suffering associated with them. I am amazed that the wand hasn’t turned even you dark, as it had everyone before you.”
The Professor lifted the wand and stared at it for a second. A slight smile appeared on his lips. “I have been tempted at times by the whisperings that I have heard while using this wand.” He stared Harry directly in the eye. “Could you allow me to see these records?”
“Yes, but not today,” Harry replied with a smile.
Albus Dumbledore smiled at Harry. “Destroy it Sirius.”
“Now you are talking,” said Sirius enthusiastically. He stepped forward with the chisel, but Bill put up a hand to stop him.
“I am not sure if that would be safe, Sirius. The Curse on the ring may transfer to you.” Bill turned to Harry. “Do you have your sword?”
“Yes, I do. I suppose that would appropriate,” said Harry. He reached down into his right boot and grabbed the handle of the Sword of Gryffindor hidden there. He carefully pulled it out of the boot and held it aloft. “Using Gryffindor’s sword to destroy an artifact of Slytherin’s ancestor seems rather appropriate.”
Albus Dumbledore stared wide-eyed at the sword. “You certainly are full of surprises, Mr. Potter,” Albus chuckled.
Harry smiled as he stepped forward and quickly stuck the ring lying in the hole in the floor. There was a quick flash that was too bright to be a spark from the metal blade contacting the stone. Harry felt a shiver pass through him and then a wave of warmth. It was ever so slight of a feeling that he almost thought he had imagined it happening.
Bill cast several spells on the ring. “It appears the Curse was released when you destroyed the Horcrux Harry. You can have it if you want it Professor.”
Albus bent over and picked up the ring. He placed it in his pocket.
“I am going to reset the Charm that was under the floor, and we should make it look as if we were never here,” said Bill.
Fifteen minutes later the six of them were staring at the cabin. Sirius and Remus were casting Charms to erase their footprints in the grass and weeds around them.
“Ready to move on to the next place?” asked Harry. A second later all six people disappeared. On a high cliff overlooking the English Channel, they reappeared.
“We found a cave at the base of these cliffs, and it was radiating with dark magic,” said Harry. “The easiest way for us to get into it would be for me to go first and then bring all of you with Ginny.”
“Well stop talking and get crackin’ Prongslet,” laughed Sirius.
Harry glared at Sirius before imagining the cave he was in yesterday afternoon. A quick turn and he was inside of it. The place gave him a cold chill from the dark magic radiating from the stones around him. He closed his eyes and imagined Ginny and wanting her to be beside him. The other five people appeared a second later.
“Took you long enough,” teased Sirius.
Harry didn’t even respond to the teasing. He just put his arm around Ginny. Her touch drove the feeling of cold away that he was experiencing. They stood there and watched as Albus and Bill checked the cave for spells, wards, and traps. After about ten minutes, they stood in front of a place of the cave wall and were talking with each other. Albus quickly raised his left hand and sliced it with a knife that seemed to appear in his right. He wiped the bloody hand across the section of cave wall that he and Bill were standing in front. The stones seemed to shimmer before disappearing to reveal an entrance. Albus healed his hand with his wand.
“Shall we proceed?” Albus asked.
He and Bill stepped through the opening first. Harry could barely see through the opening and he could only make out a faint greenish glow in the distance. Albus and Bill after stepping through the opening moved to the left. He wondered why they did that. Sirius and Remus followed them and they also stepped to the left. Harry could hear water splashing, as he and Ginny stepped towards the entrance. He only saw a brief glimpse of an island sitting in the middle of a lake, before the water bubbled and Inferi started coming out.
Remus quickly spun and pushed Harry and Ginny out as the other three shot flames out of their wands to form a wall between them and the Inferi.
“You two are going to have to stay out here,” said Remus.
Sirius, Bill, and Albus walked back through the opening with grim expressions on their faces.
“It seems that the Inferi are attracted to magical power,” said Albus. “They started to move towards us as each of us stepped into the cave. We could see them move under the water, but when you and Ginny stepped through they started to attack.”
“That is going to complicate things,” said Sirius. “It sounds as if Voldemort wanted to prevent multiple wizards from entering the cave. I will go after the Horcrux alone.” Sirius produced a broom out of his magical pocket.
“No!” said Harry.
“I agree with Harry,” said Albus. “I am guessing there is a trap on that island that would require two to survive it. We must figure a way around this problem.”
“Professor Dumbledore,” said Remus. “Can we assume that there is probably only the trap on the island and the Inferi as our obstacles? If we draw the Inferi towards the strongest magical signal and trap them in a ring of fire. Then two people could go to that island and get the Horcrux.” Remus also pulled a broom from his magical pocket. “You, Bill, Harry and Ginny can trap the Inferi here by the entrance. Sirius and I will enter the cave first and move off to the left. After the Inferi are trapped, we will fly to the island.”
“What if the Inferi escape back into the water?” Albus asked Remus.
“Then we will deal with them,” said Sirius calmly. “With you four over here, I doubt the Inferi would even sense us on that island. Let’s go Moony.”
Without further discussion, Sirius and Remus walked through the opening and turned to the left.
“Harry and Ginny, can you two create a wall of fire?” asked Albus.
“Yes,” Harry said in response.
“Good, you two go in first, when the Inferi come for you create a wall of flame. Bill and I will enter the cave and finish surrounding them with fire.”
Harry took Ginny’s hand. She smiled up to him with reassurance. He was more nervous about Sirius and Remus going to the island to get the Horcrux. What type of a trap did Voldemort set over there?
They stepped through the opening together. The water boiled in front of them as the Inferi came for their magical signature. They quickly moved to the left. There was a low ledge wide enough for him and Ginny to walk side by side along this path. Remus and Sirius were further up the path holding their brooms. The Inferi were moving through the water following them. Some were even coming up out of the water after them. Their stiff and awkward movements made it easy for Harry to stay ahead of them.
“That’s good you two,” shouted Bill.
Ginny and he raised their wands at the same time. Flames shot out of their wands forming a solid wall of flame. To their right Albus and Bill shot flames out their wands. Harry glanced to his left to see Remus and Sirius lift off on their brooms. He refocused his magic so the wall of flame lowered so he could look out over the lake and see the island.
The Inferi were still trying to get to him and Ginny. Some were getting pushed into the flames as other Inferi behind them kept marching towards their strong magical signature. The Inferi sizzled as their water soaked clothes and bodies contacted the flames. Soon the cave was filled with the acrid smell of burning flesh.
Harry glanced over to the island. He could see his parents’ friends moving around in the center of the island. He refocused on the fiery corral holding the Inferi. They were still moving towards him and Ginny. The stench was getting unbearable, but they had to keep the Inferi corralled until Remus and Sirius returned.
“Can you keep the flames up by yourself?” Ginny asked him.
“Yes, what are you planning?”
“I am banishing that stench. I am about to get sick.”
“I am sorry, I forgot about you being sensitive to odors.” He felt terrible that Ginny had to stand here and breathe those noxious fumes.
Ginny laughed at him. “I’ll survive,” she said, before casting the charm to banish the noxious smoke.
“Thank you,” shouted Bill from the cave’s entrance.
“No,” screamed Sirius. His voice echoed from across the water.
Harry turned to see what happened and the flames coming out of his wand faltered. Ginny yelled at him inside of his mind and with her mouth at the same time. He quickly refocused on the flames holding the Inferi.
“Not James! Not Lily, too!” The shout echoed over the water.
“Harry,” said Ginny reassuringly. “I can see them both moving over there. We must stay here to protect them from the Inferi.”
Harry looked over to that island feeling helpless as more of Sirius’ cries echoed over to him. His voice was ragged and Harry couldn’t actually tell what he was shouting. He was getting more nervous about what was happening to them on that island.
“Harry,” shouted Albus. “You can’t do anything to help them.”
Harry glanced back at Dumbledore. He wanted to go rescue his friends. Ginny elbowed him to get his attention. “They are coming back.”
Harry saw both of them on one broom. He was worried why they had to be on the same broom. He was able to follow them as they flew high above the water and directly towards the opening. As they got closer, he could see Remus holding a slumping Sirius on the broom. Sirius looked alive but very weak. As soon as they flew through opening, Harry stopped the flames coming from his wand, and with a sweeping action he blasted all the Inferi into the water.
“Let’s go,” he said and he pulled Ginny by her hand out of the cave.
Albus, Bill, and Remus were huddled around Sirius. “Give him water,” said Remus.
Bill pointed his wand at Sirius’ mouth as Remus held his head still. A stream of water shot into Sirius’ mouth. Sirius gulped the water as it ran out of his mouth and down over his chest. Sirius seemed to get better as he drank the water.
Ginny pulled away from Harry and placed her hand on Sirius’ forehead. Harry could see his eyes clear up as Ginny healed him magically. Bill stopped injecting the water into his mouth and Ginny pulled her hand away from his forehead. Sirius looked up with a sparkle in his eyes.
“Remind me to have some Weasley’s around whenever I hurt myself,” Sirius joked.
“I’m a Potter, and what happened over there,” snapped Ginny.
“I had to drink a nasty Potion out of a basin to get the Horcrux. It was almost like a liquid Dementor. I relived the night that James and Lily died and nights in Azkaban. Remus, you have the Horcrux?”
Remus didn’t say anything. He looked at everyone with a sheepish expression.
Sirius turned from his spot on the ground to look at him. “You did grab it. You didn’t pull me away before we hit the bottom of the basin, did you?”
“I grabbed the necklace, but I don’t think it is a Horcrux,” said Remus. He reached in his pocket and produced a locket.
Harry only glanced at it to realize it wasn’t Slytherin’s locket. Bill cast a spell on it and it didn’t glow indicating it wasn’t a Horcrux. Sirius stared at the locket. He looked rather confused. Harry didn’t blame him. He had to suffer through drinking a nasty potion, and all for nothing.
Sirius took the locket in his hand and stared at it for several seconds. “I have seen this before,” he whispered. He pushed a small button on the side of the locket to open it. Inside Harry could see a folded piece of parchment. Sirius pulled it out and unfolded it. He stared at it with a shocked expression on his face.
“Padfoot, what is it?” asked Remus.
“Regulus,” whispered Sirius.
“Regulus, what about Regulus?” asked Remus.
“He — he wrote this. He got the Horcrux before us. That is why he died?” Sirius said with a sob.
Albus Dumbledore took the note from Sirius’s hand and Remus pulled his old friend in for a hug and to comfort him. Harry had heard about Sirius’s brother Regulus, who was his mother’s favorite son because he joined the Death Eaters. Somehow Regulus discovered the Horcrux and destroyed it. It would explain why he had died. Sirius always assumed that he had tried to leave the Death Eaters.
Albus looked at Harry and nodded for Harry to talk to him. They left Remus and Sirius on the ground and stepped away. Albus held the note in his hand. He wore a grave expression.
“I am not sure that the Horcrux was destroyed. That type of information isn’t readily available and I doubt if Voldemort would have taught his followers that knowledge. I hope the necklace is at Grimmauld Place.”
“I hope it is there too, or we are back to square one with hunting this Horcrux,” said Bill.
Harry looked over at Sirius and Remus sitting on the cave floor. “I guess it is back to Grimmauld Place.”
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
Everyone was standing around Sirius staring at him. Harry was concerned for his friend. In the past two hours, he had discovered that his brother had actually been a hero and tried to bring Voldemort down. From what they could piece together from Kreacher, Voldemort had asked Regulus for the use of Kreacher. He was never told what he planned to do with the House Elf. After making the House Elf drink the Nightmare Potion, Voldemort left the elf to die. Regulus had told Kreacher to come back to him after he was done serving the Dark Lord. Somehow Regulus had discovered that Voldemort was hiding a Horcrux. He decided to sacrifice himself and have Kreacher destroy the locket. However, Kreacher could not destroy it. Even with his House Elf magic, he couldn’t destroy it.
Kreacher was squatting in the corner of the room holding the locket that had been Sirius mother’s. The Elf was mumbling under his breath to himself. Sirius was standing holding the sword of Gryffindor with white knuckles glaring at Slytherin’s locket lying on a small table.
“Sirius, are you all right, mate?” asked Remus.
“Yeah, I am,” he replied without looking at his old friend. “All my life, I despised that prat. He was always my mother’s favorite. He was sorted into Slytherin. He was fascinated with the Dark Arts, and he joined Voldemort and the Death Eaters. The bloody Prat finally realized how evil his leader actually was, and he tried to stop him.”
“We should all be grateful to Regulus for what he did,” said Albus.
The locket jumped on the table creating a rattling sound. Everyone looked at it and then at Sirius.
“You should be getting on with it, Padfoot,” Harry said to him. The locket again bounced around on the table top. “Do you want me to open it?”
“Don’t worry Harry,” replied Sirius. “I’ll get through it.” He lifted the sword above his head. “This is for you Reg.”
Sirius put all his might into the bringing the sword down onto the locket. There was a bright spark as goblin made metal contacted magically protected metal. Harry again felt that strange feeling as the Horcrux was destroyed. The locket had been cleaved in two and the table had a cut through it. It still stood, but there was a foot long slice through the top.
“Piece number three, you evil bastard,” growled Sirius.
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
Severus Snape stood in the hall clearing his mind and calming his nerves. He couldn’t let his emotions betray him. He wondered what he would be facing in the room with the Dark Lord. Facing him was scary enough. Adding Bellatrix to the group made every second he was in there dangerous. She was truly psychotic.
The door opened and Lucius Malfoy waved Severus into the room using his silver hand that the Dark Lord had made for him. As Severus stepped beyond the large double doors, he saw the Dark Lord. He was sitting on a chair that resembled a throne. On one side of him was that massive snake that he kept for a pet, and the other side was the most dangerous snake, Bellatrix.
“If it isn’t Dumbledore’s puppet,” she cackled at the sight of him.
Severus tried to ignore her. He didn’t want to react to her or stare at her, but he also didn’t trust her not to hex him without provocation. He walked forward and bowed before the Dark Lord. “Master,” he said to him.
“Ah, Severus, how are things with the Order of Phoenix?” the Dark Lord hissed out.
“They are recruiting new members…,” Severus started to say.
“Look at me,” demanded the Dark Lord. “Look me in the eyes when you speak to me, Master Occlumens.”
Severus was worried about this. He lifted his eyes up and stared at the Dark Lord. “They are recruiting new members every day. Most of them are not fighters but information gatherers. There are some fighters amongst them…,” Bellatrix let out a cackling laugh.”… but we already know most of them.”
“What are their numbers?”
“I am not sure, my Lord. They do not allow me to see all the members. The Headmaster doesn’t seem to trust me anymore.”
The Dark Lord leaned forward and stared into Severus’ eyes. He could feel the pressure of Leglimency. “Dumbledore doesn’t trust you. Why is that?”
“He knows I lied to him the night you freed your followers from Azkaban. He also figured out that I was involved when the Death Eaters attacked the Weasley hovel. He confronted me about not telling him the truth or warning him about those two operations. I told him that in order to gain your trust I must keep your secrets and lie to the Order of Phoenix. He seemed to believe me.”
“He did, well that is good,” smiled the Dark Lord as he leaned back in his chair. Bellatrix leaded closer to the Dark Lord and glowered at Severus. “What are they planning?”
“They are making contingency plans for when the Ministry falls. They feel that you have many followers in the Ministry.”
Bellatrix stood up and pulled her wand. “You two faced spy, you told them about our plans,” she nearly screamed.
The Dark Lord laid a hand on her wand arm. “It is alright Bella. Albus Dumbledore might be a fool for what he believes, but he is an intelligent fool. What else are they planning, Severus?”
“I know of nothing else, Master. They keep asking me what your plans are and when you will make your move. I tell them that you do not reveal your plans to me. I have not told them anything that you haven’t wanted them to hear.”
“Dumbledore knows what you special assignment is?”
“Yes, Master, he does.”
The Dark Lord laughed a cold mirthless laugh. “Good, very good, but I have another assignment for you. I want you to learn everything you can about Harry Potter. What are his weaknesses and his strengths, and what powers has that soul bond given him.”
“Yes, Master, I will do that,” said Severus. “Am I excused?”
“Excused, Severus?” questioned the Dark Lord. “No, I want you to stay. You are proving yourself to be a valuable asset. I think it is time for you to join my inner circle.”
Severus bowed slightly to the Dark Lord. Even though no one voiced their disapproval, he could see it in their eyes, especially Bellatrix.
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