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SIYE Time:12:43 on 30th July 2021


Let It Be Repayed
By ajarntham

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Category: Post-HBP
Characters:Dumbledore, Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley
Genres: General
Warnings: None
Story is Complete
Rating: G
Reviews: 2
Summary: Harry learns a new spell, allowing him to call in a life debt, and has a brilliant idea of how to use it.
Hitcount: Story Total: 427



Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights ? J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.



Author's Notes:
This scene takes place during the events of Chapter Seven of DH, “The Will of Albus Dumbledore.” While preparations go on for Bill and Fleur's wedding, Harry, Ron and Hermione have retired to Ron's room to talk about the task in front of them. Note that I'm following the film version, in which Harry and Ginny have kept their relationship secret, though Hermione is aware of it.

This was originally part of a longer story in screenplay format (which isn't allowed here), which you can find among my stories on fanfiction dot net. If enough people are interested, I could "translate" the rest into narrative format also, but I think this part stands well enough on its own.





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Hermione cast a series of locking spells at the closed door to Ron's room, and some silencing spells over the room in general, which the trio hoped would be enough to allow them to discuss their next steps in some privacy. Harry felt some embarrassment at just sitting on Ron's bed and leaving the difficult Charms work to her, but couldn't see an alternative. It wasn't likely that a crash course would bring him up to speed on these in time to do any good. Ron, by contrast, seemed content to lie back and watch Hermione work, but after a while he spoke up:

“I guess this is headquarters for now, eh? Maybe when the war's over they'll make a museum out of it, put up a plaque like 'Here the downfall of You-Know-Who was planned'.”

Harry looked around at “headquarters”: strewn clothing, discarded school supplies, “Martin Miggs the Mad Muggle” comics, etc., all dominated by the jumbo-sized Chudley Cannons posters, faded but still garish, featuring players with rictus grins hoisting and rehoisting butterbeers. He forced a smile to his face.

“Yeah, sounds about right.”

Hermione finally finished up her conjuring and sat down, exhausted. “I put up a distraction charm to get people to forget they were coming to check on us,” she said, “and the strongest locking spells I know to keep them out even if they get past the distraction charm, and--”

“What if they just apparate in?” Ron interrupted.

They all paused at that. We're still thinking like Muggles, Harry said to himself in frustration.

“Well, Ron,” Hermione answered, “we just have to assume that your family has more respect for privacy than that.”

Ron's snort left no doubt how little faith he would put in that assumption, and Harry felt compelled to mention an additional problem: “There are a lot of people here for the wedding who aren't part of the family, Hermione.”

“I know. But what do you expect? I don't know how to put up an anti-apparating ward, and, and do you have any suggestions? Because --”

Harry and Ron were quick to try appeasing her:

“No, we're not blaming you --”

“No, 'course not!”

“And in any case,” Hermione continued, “the main thing we're worrying about is eavesdroppers, and they aren't likely to reveal themselves by apparating in--”

And that was the moment when, with a sudden flash of fiery light, a figure partly obscured by that fire apparated into the room, sending the startled trio fumbling for their wands. Before they could draw, the fire went out, revealing...

“Fawkes?” whispered Harry. He came closer, and saw that Fawkes was holding something in one talon. “Fawkes, you have something there for me? From...”

Fawkes gave a slow nod of the head, sang out a note and held out the little packet. Harry took it with one hand, and hesitantly reached out the other to pat the phoenix on the head. Before he could make contact, Fawkes blazed again and disappeared.

The trio stared for a while at the space he had occupied. After a while, Ron broke the silence.

“What did he give you, Harry?”

Harry opened the packet, which contained three cards featuring Albus Dumbledore. “It looks like... three Chocolate Frog cards. Dumbledore cards.”

Ron looked over Harry's shoulder. “No, mate, those aren't Frog cards. They're more like wizarding portraits, miniatures. But I've never seen anything like these exactly.”

And Harry could see, on second glance, that the cards weren't wizarding photos, like real Chocolate Frog cards, but cartooned-up versions of Dumbledore, simplified and stylized. If they were wizarding portraits, it didn't seem that as much as much magical oomph had gone into them as into the photo-realistic grand portraits he had just started to get accustomed to after six years in the wizarding world. The three Dumbledores' eyes were closed, but Harry could barely detect a slow breathing motion in them. He also noticed that there was more to Fawkes' delivery:

“There's a letter “ two letters “ with it.”

“Go ahead, read it,” said Hermione.

“We'll all read it,” Harry insisted.

He opened one letter and, as he read it, Harry felt he could hear the voice of the deeply missed Headmaster.

Dear Harry;

These small portraits may allow me to assist you (and, I hope, Mr. Weasley and Miss Granger) in need. Each has the capacity to contact my larger portrait at Hogwarts; I should from there be able to call upon our friends, large and small. Their power is limited, however; one use will exhaust each.

The rest of what I have to say is of a more personal nature, and you may wish to read it privately, though you are of course free to share as much or as little as you wish with your most excellent friends.


Ron and Hermione nodded and started moving away to leave Harry to read on his own.

“Don't be stupid,” he said, pulling them back. He opened the second parchment.

My dear boy;

I do not know how far I was able to assist you in preparation for your task, before my departure. I know that what I have done for you will have been too little, and that which lies before you will seem far too much. I am even more certain that any advice and direction I have given you will have been contaminated with the mistakes of old age and “ especially “ of vanity--


“No, sir,” Harry softly told Dumbledore on reading this, “no, you weren't like that.” The letter continued:

...But if you ever thought this advice worthy of your attention, please lend an ear one last time. None of us know in advance when or how they will leave this world, and so I may have fallen victim either to an influenza or a curse. I am sure that in either case I have no reason to fear that my friends did anything less than their best for me--

Harry bared his teeth and growled at this in almost werewolf-worthy fashion, then went back to reading.

So whatever anger you may feel either towards fate or towards whichever foe got the better of me--

“Right, 'got the better' of you,” Harry muttered.

...you must try to transfigure that anger into a firmer determination to work towards our goal “ a world free of Voldemort's terror.

“I understand, sir. I do.”

In a terribly ironic way, your strongest ally in this may be Voldemort himself. Even beyond the many ways in which tyrants and would-be tyrants so often cooperate in their own destruction (some foreseeable and some not), I feel that what is left of Tom Riddle realizes, on some level, that he no longer belongs on this life-giving world, being no longer truly alive enough to merit such a blessing.

This time it was Ron who interrupted the reading. “Yeah, well he's not near dead enough either, is he?”

The letter continued:

Finally, Harry, if it were magically possible to mark any statement with a spell that guaranteed its complete truthfulness, I would use that spell on the following words: it has been a marvel to me, unparalleled in my more than a hundred years of life, to come to know you; and there is nobody known to me, living or dead, in whom I would rather have placed the trust that fate has allotted to you. Adieu, adieu; remember me”ALBUS

It was a while before Harry felt able to gather himself to speak.

“I won't let you “ I'll try my best to --” he took a breath and straightened his shoulders -- “I won't let you down, sir.”

The card he addressed, however, remained obstinately motionless.

“That closing... signature, 'Adieu, remember me'; it seems familiar,” Harry said.

“It's from Hamlet,” Hermione replied. “The ghost of Hamlet's father says it, swearing him to avenge his death.”

Though Harry had neither seen a performance nor read the play, he knew the story well enough to know he would find it perfect poetic justice if he could fulfill that command and punish the beloved ghost's murderer and betrayer.

After a moment of contemplation, it was Ron who spoke next.

“Listen, he left us those cards, those could be dead useful. Maybe we should make a list, how we could use them, and also what else we have in the bag, what kinds of assets we've got between the three of us.”

“That's 'among'...” Hermione began, but checked her grammar-cop instincts to continue, “That's really an excellent idea, Ron!”

“Thanks, Hermione; it means a lot to me to hear that from you!”

Hermione blushed and turned aside on hearing this. Harry looked at Ron, flabbergasted, and Ron mouthed “the book.”

“I was thinking,” said Hermione, “remember you told us how Dumbledore said you had a wizard's debt over Pettigrew, and that might be useful one day.”

“Right, right!” Harry said. “Is there some specific way I'm supposed to be able to make him pay it?”

“Yeah,” Ron answered, “you just have to say 'Reddatur' to the one who owes you.”

Reddatur?”

“ It means 'let it be repayed'” Hermione explained.

“And the wand movement?”

“No wand” said Ron. “That's one of the things about a wizard's debt, it's “ even if you're wandless and helpless “ in the stories, lots of times the hero is disarmed, tied up, about to get it, and he says 'Reddatur!' and the villain has to listen.”

“OK. Then what?”

“Then you lay out what you expect, what you want them to do in return. It has to be something possible, and it has to be something that isn't, you know, totally against everything they believe in,” Ron continued, pleased to be the voice of wizarding expertise. “Like Derward didn't have to repay the debt to Morsmaistre, because he asked Derward to do something he would rather die than go through with, so a life debt isn't big enough to make you do that. And Morsmaistre had been waiting for years for the right time to pull that, but --”

Harry interrupted the plot summary. “OK. And how do you know it's been accepted, agreed to?”

“The debtor answers 'Reddabo'.”

Ron and Harry turned in unison to Hermione in full expectation of an immediate translation, which of course they received:

“I will repay.”

Harry thought for a moment of how he might have dealt with Pettigrew in the graveyard if he had known about this spell, but would the rat have halted the resurrection ritual, knowing it would probably cost him his life? or was giving up his own life one of those things that went completely against what he believed in: self-preservation? He could think of ways to use Redabbo despite that, but didn't want to trust to its power without any proof.

“Is there any way we can test that?” he asked his friends.

“Actually, Harry,” said Hermione, “you have life debts from both of us; me from the Dementors third year, Ron for the poison last year.”

“But you've both saved my life too, doesn't that wipe it out?

“Not as directly,” Ron answered. “I'm not sure how that works out.”

“Well, let's give it a try.”

There was another pause, and both friends looked expectantly at him. After a little more hesitation, Harry took out his wand.

“OK, Ron: Reddatur!”

Nothing seemed to happen. Ron coughed.

“Um, you have to make the request now, mate.”

“Oh, right, yeah.” Harry paused, flushed with embarrassment, as he realized he really had no idea how to call in this debt. “Ron, I want you to... when we... First night we're out on our own, you get cleanup duty!”

Ron offered a near-convincing grimace of disgust, then a grin. “Uggh! Reddabo!”

A white light quickly flared, embracing Ron and Harry. They responded with a joint cry of “Whoa!” Ron then excitedly said “OK, do Hermione now!”

What did you say?” she replied in a dangerous tone, which Harry missed because he'd just had a Eureka moment: a perfect way he might use the spell.

“Nah,” he said, eager to carry out his brilliant plan, “I think I'll hold onto that for some other time. When I can think of something better.” He was already scrambling to get out of the room, so he also missed seeing Ron's face as he struggled to control his suspicions of what kind of “something better” Harry might want to demand of Hermione.

“Hold on here just a while, OK?” he said to both. “Something just “ I think I'm going to take a bit of a walk.”

Hermione, who had a fair idea where Harry might be walking, and who was deeply doubtful that any bright idea Harry had just come up with involving reddatur would come to any good, tried to hold him back. “Harry, you can't be thinking--”

“Come on, Hermione, trust me. Look, I'll be right back.” And he was out the door, where he could only half-hear Ron asking Hermione “What are you two talking about? What's going on here?” Harry scrambled down three flights of stairs, came to a door and “ after a brief moment of hesitation “ knocked on it.

“Who is it?” Harry's heart skipped a beat on hearing that voice.

“It's me “ Harry.”

Ginny opened the door, let Harry in, and checked that there were no onlookers before closing it behind her. Then she smiled and gave Harry a hug, and his heart skipped two and a half beats.

“It's so good to see you, Harry.”

“You too.”

“Do we have a bit of time to catch up?”

“I hope so. But I also wanted --”

The magnetic power of Harry's brilliant plan was starting to fade already with the realization that he would have to perform it to Ginny's face. He stammered a bit and settled on a way of evading putting it into action for the moment. He pointed to a silver brooch below Ginny's shoulder, in the form of the treble clef symbol, small enough to be held between thumb and forefinger. (About the size of an iPod nano, if Harry had been familiar with the device.)

“That's a nice brooch, is it “ anything? New?”

“Thanks. Yeah, it's a music player.”

“Wow, that small? Magic is amazing. How do you play from it?”

“It starts when you hold it in your hand.”

Ginny unpinned the brooch and handed it to him. A fanfare began, which Harry clearly recognized.

“So,” he asked, “it plays Muggle music as well as wizarding?”

“Uh-huh. Depending on who's holding it.”

The fanfare finished, and the song proper began:

Hear me heathens, and wizards, and serpents of sin
All your dastardly doings are past.
For a holy endeavor is now to begin,
And virtue will triumph, at last!


Harry had been smiling and nodding along, until Ginny now declared:

“It's charmed to play the song that's most appropriate for the holder at the time.”

Harry's face immediately clouded over.

I am I, Don Quixote, the Lord of La Mancha,
My destiny calls and I go...


Harry made a motion as if to toss the damned thing away, then realized it was Ginny's and he didn't want to damage it...

And the wild winds of fortune will carry me onward --

... and finally found a surface to put it safely down on. The music stopped, and he glared a bit at Ginny, who remained apparently placid.

“So this Don Quixote,” she asked, “he was a Muggle hero? Slayer of dragons? Rescuer of damsels?”

“No,” Harry answered. “No, he just thought he was some kind of, giant-killer, but really, he was... an idiot. Didn't accomplish anything.”

After a somewhat awkward pause, Ginny said “Well, maybe something's gone wrong with the charm.”

“Maybe,” Harry answered, then “ hastily, but not particularly coherently “ went on: “Listen, though, that isn't “ I probably won't “ I don't want to “”

Harry dithered and fumfered for a moment longer, as Ginny looked at him bemusedly. Then in the middle of the stuttering, he told himself to stop stalling, put on a face of resolution, looked at Ginny and cried out “

Reddatur!”

He could see, on Ginny's face, first shock, then anger, and then some fear, which made him more disgusted with himself than he could ever remember being. After a moment of waiting he called in his life debt:

“Ginny, I want you to keep yourself safe. Don't put yourself in any position of danger. You'll get through this war, you'll be OK.”

Non reddabo!” she shouted. “I should have known it would be something like that!”

“Did you say “NON reddabo”? You won't repay?”

“Not that way, no.”

Harry found himself at a loss. He hadn't even considered getting a refusal, let alone where to go from there.

“What does that mean? It goes against your principles to stay alive? You'd rather die than go on living?”

“It goes against my principles to hide, while the rest of my family is fighting and risking their lives. I'd rather die than let them, and you, get themselves killed protecting me while I stood by doing nothing! Is that something you find hard to understand, Harry Potter?”

Harry's anger slowly abated.

“No, not really. I couldn't “ I mean, how can I say anything to that.”

Ginny was becoming calmer herself now, and said “You know, there's hardly anything you could ask me to do which I would say no to, even without a wizarding debt.”

She waited for him to take the hint, but Harry still had his original goal on his mind.

“I want you to be here if I get back.”

“You want me to 'be here,' does that mean you're asking me to wait for you? Come on Harry, if that's what you mean, say it.”

Harry reluctantly shook his head.

“Is that 'no, I don't care one way or the other,' or...

Harry shook his head more decisively.

“Right,” said a resigned Ginny, “it's the stupid, noble no. Harry, maybe you'd better go back up, people will start looking for you.”

Harry began to walk away, unsure of whether he still had a girlfriend, and also not sure it wouldn't really be for the best if he didn't, then turned back.

“Ginny, I know this is a hard thing for you to talk about to me, especially right now, but anything could be important, and... Is there anything you can think of about Riddle, anything he said to you?”

Ginny paused a moment to think.

“He said he was going to kill me and leave my body to rot where nobody would ever find it. But he couldn't, because you wouldn't let him.”

Harry allowed himself something of a smile at this, nodded at Ginny and whispered “Bye “ see you.” Then he walked away and out the door.

Ginny sat down, retrieved her musical brooch from where Harry had placed it, and squeezed it. The song that started was entirely unfamiliar to her, but she could hardly deny that the player had chosen something appropriate to the listener:

Common sense may tell you, that the ending will be sad,
And now's the time to break and run away,
But what's the use of wondering if the ending will be sad?
He's your fella, and you love him; there's nothing more to say.


Ginny released the brooch, twice made a motion to smash it, then put her face in her hands.

END

“Hear me heathens...” is of course from Man of La Mancha, music Mitch Leigh, lyrics Joe Darion (“I, Don Quixote”).
“Common sense may tell you...” is from Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel (“What's The Use Of Wond'rin'”).

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