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Chapter 3: Chapter 3
With a loud “POP”, the trio appeared out of thin air in a quiet alleyway on the outskirts of Godric’s Hollow. They wore identical outfits and to the casual observer looked for all practical purposes like monks. The cloaks were specially designed to hide their features and allow them room in the sleeves to reach up the opposite arm and draw their wand from a special forearm holster. These cloaks had proven quite useful during their search for the Horcruxes and they were not about to let a good thing go to waste.
It was a fairly cool night for this time of the year. Usually Harry would enjoy a walk on an evening like this, but tonight his mind wasn’t in it. He had only been to his parent’s home one time and was unable to stay for long. Almost immediately after they arrived, they were attacked by several death eaters, including Bellatrix Lestrange. They managed to escape, but just barely. Ron had been hit with a nasty little stunning curse and they’d had to do a side along apparition to get him out of there. It took him almost two days to recover.
They were on edge. Too much had happened already for them to fail. They had come too far. This was a gamble. If it turned out that Hermione was right to be suspicious, this one evening could ruin all they had fought for. They still had not told anyone they had destroyed the last of the Horcruxes and they were beginning to question that decision. Earlier in the day, they began discussing who should finally be brought in on the inner workings of their team. It would need to be someone completely trustworthy, someone who would not insist on coming with them. If they did it would defeat the purpose of them knowing. Someone would need to have the information but not be able to act on it in order to meet their purposes. If everyone who knew about it went off to fight and died, who would know how to carry on the fight? But that was a decision to be made later.
They walked silently but alertly as they approached Harry’s childhood home. Everything looked to be exactly as they had left it before. It was a modest two story home with a full front porch and a picket fence that used to be white. The home was not destroyed but displayed its lack of attention for the last seventeen years. Several of the window shutters had come loose and the roof was in bad need of repair. Almost no paint remained on the exterior walls of the house and the lawn was a lost cause. Even though it was in such bad shape, it still conjured up a feeling of home for Harry. He didn’t remember living here, but somehow knew it was where he belonged.
“Well, Harry, what do you want to do?” Ron asked “Should we go inside or wait out here? Personally, I don’t like the idea of sitting out here for anyone to see, but if we go inside we may trigger someone to our presence.” That was the way Ron had come to think. There was always the possibility of a trap, no matter what you did to keep it from happening.
“I don’t know about you two, but I think we should go inside. For all we know he’s already in there waiting for us.”
Harry glanced at his two friends and made a quick decision. “Ron, you open the door and take the left. I’m behind Ron and I’ll cover the right and you take the center of the room, Hermione. You two know the drill. We need to go in quick and cover our sectors immediately. If anything looks out of place, let the others know right away.”
Ron and Hermione looked at each other and nodded in agreement. They’d had to do this before and knew how it went. They had after all learned it the hard way. While trying to recover the last Horcrux, they’d had to enter a small building in Northern Ireland. They walked in without checking the room and were immediately attacked by a large animal that even Hermione cannot identify to that day.
They got into position and Ron opened the door. The three of them entered the room with quiet precision and scanned their sectors. In order of entering, the three of them reported to each other that the room was clear and began doing the same throughout the house. First the dining room, the kitchen, and the den until the entire ground floor was clear. They were about to climb the stairs and check the second floor when they saw Aberforth sitting on the top of the staircase.
“That was an excellent tactic, my young friends. However, I must point out that you left the best place for a tactical assault, the high ground, unchecked throughout the search. Make sure that you do not make that mistake again: It could prove fatal. I would suggest leaving someone behind to cover the stairs and the entrance while the other two check the rooms. Never leave your rear uncovered. That’s a very important rule to remember.”
Ron shook his head in disbelief. How had he not thought of that? It was so obvious a vantage point to fire off spells at the three of them without much chance of retaliation. Fighting your way up was much harder than fighting your way down. He wouldn’t let them make that mistake again.
“I thought you would be alone, Harry, but it is good that you are not. Someone in your position should always surround themself with people they trust.” Aberforth stood up and walked down the stairs, appraising the two additional people.
“You must be Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. My brother spoke of the two of you almost as often as he spoke of Harry. He always told me that you were the only thing that kept Harry sane. Always remember, Harry, no one could conquer the world alone. Even Voldemort requires lieutenants, followers, people to watch his back. I believe that you have your lieutenants right here.”
“Excuse me, Sir, but why are we here?” Hermione asked. “We could have been given a tactical lesson in a less obvious place. We’ve already been attacked here once; they may have this place under observation.”
“Right you are, young lady. Let’s get to the point. In order for Harry to understand the future, he must understand the past. I have replayed the events of sixteen years ago over and over again in my mind to try and find a solution to our problem. I feel that the answer lies here. Voldemort will not be easily defeated. You already know the lengths he is willing to go to in order to achieve immortality. He is a powerful wizard, capable of astounding feats of magic. What was it that caused him to be defeated here sixteen years ago? My brother places the credit on the protection your mother gave you by sacrificing her life for you on that night. I agree that this is what initially gave you the protection needed to allow you to survive the curse. I also believe that this protection provided you with a small advantage, but we’ll talk about that later. If I’m correct, however, it will be critical to your victory.”
Aberforth turned and walked back up the stairs gesturing for the trio to follow. They climbed to the top and entered a small room on the right that was in a state of disarray which far exceeded the rest of the house. It contained a crib that had been turned over on its side, a large number of toys scattered across the floor, and a changing table in the corner.
“This is the room where it happened, isn’t it? This was my nursery. It seems familiar, but I have no specific memories of living here.” Harry had an odd expression on his face. He managed to look content and sorrowful at the same time. He couldn’t help but think of how his life might have turned out if his parents had survived. This, though, constantly haunted him. He knew better than to think like this--it did no good to dwell in the past--but he couldn’t help it.
“Yes, Harry, this was your room. We assume Voldemort stood about where you are now and your mother was right in front of the crib trying to shield you. When she refused to move, he cast the killing curse on her so he could finish his task and leave. Voldemort has never liked to do his own dirty work, but this was too important to leave to one of his incompetent followers. After he killed your mother, he turned on you. When the curse backfired, he disappeared.”
Now it was Ron’s turn to speak up. “We know all of this already. Every bloody wizard in England knows this story. What are you getting at? Are you saying that’s not how it happened?”
“Young man, I do not have all of the answers. But in order for me to tell you the parts you may not know, we must establish what you do know to be truthful. Everyone here agrees that the course I laid out to you was the most likely scenario. Now that it is agreed upon, we can begin to speculate as to what happened just before the attack. Have you ever seen a picture of you as a child, Harry? Before the attack, I mean.”
“No, I haven’t. All the pictures I have from that time period are of my parents only. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but I guess that’s a little odd, isn’t it? Come to think of it, there are a lot of pictures in this house of my parents, but none of me. What do you suppose that’s about?” It was a small detail but Harry couldn’t believe he had never noticed it. Why would people willing to die for their son not have pictures of him in their home? It didn’t make sense.
“Harry, all of the pictures of you that were taken before the attack have been destroyed. We did this immediately for two reasons. First, most of the people that knew what you looked like were either dead, or made to take an unbreakable vow never to describe your appearance to anyone. My brother did this to protect you from any angry Death Eaters looking for revenge. Secondly they were destroyed to keep anyone from discovering the change in your appearance that took place on that night.”
This was too much for Harry to take in all at once. “What change in my appearance, my scar? Everyone knows about me receiving this scar on that night. It’s how Ron recognized me on the first trip to Hogwarts.”
“No, Harry, not the scar, your eyes. Harry, you take after your father a great deal but you have your mother’s exact shade of green eyes. You’ve been told this many times but what you haven’t been told, what you couldn’t be told by anyone who knew you before that night--except me--is that you were born with brown eyes. When Hagrid picked you up that night the first thing he noticed was that your eyes had changed color, even before he noticed the scar. Eyes like that are hard to miss. No one knows why this change took place. Some think it is a natural occurrence. Children often are born with eyes that are not the same color as when they grow older. I do not believe this to be the case. I believe that a certain very magical item was in this room when the tragedy occurred. When the item was hit with the blunt force of Voldemort’s magic, something strange happened. I think that when your mother transferred her protection to you, the object transferred some of its magic to you as well.”
Hermione spoke up next. “Does this have anything to do with Lilly’s necklace? When Harry showed it to me earlier I noticed that the crystal was the exact same shade of green as his eyes. We were told that she never took the thing off. What is it?”
Aberforth’s eyes immediately got wide and he suddenly became very frantic. “You have the crystal? Where is it? This is very important. We must leave at once! I want the three of you to return to your room at the Leaky Cauldron and wait for me there. Make sure not to let anyone else in and do not let your guard down. No matter what, do not let that crystal out of your sight! This could be the answer we have been looking for.”
Author's Note: 12 February 2007: Just got this chapter back from my ever heplful beta Mini_Marauder. Not any changes to the substance just the grammer and such.